Columnists

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Thanks to my friend Marian Westbrook for her fascinating account two weeks ago of Sonia Purnell’s book about Virginia Hall. This week’s article will review a classic fictional work, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” by Betty Smith, whom we can claim as a North Carolina writer and playwright based …

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Labor Day weekend was always a time of anticipation for my family because on Sunday, we met at the Scuppernong Church of Christ in Creswell for a family reunion, an event that began in 1929 and has met consecutively except for 1949 (the height of the polio epidemic), last year and, now, this year.

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How did an American woman become the most effective agent in organizing the French Resistance during World War II? This remarkable story is told in Sonia Purnell’s well documented biography “A Woman of No Importance” (Penguin, 2019).

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My husband Dave and I have always been dog lovers. In our early married years, we had an English setter named Dixie who was our constant companion. She had a sad end, so we forswore having any pets up to the time we were expecting our second child. Cam and Sue Williams in our church offered …

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With schools reopening, seasoned educator John McRae, formerly of Goldsboro, has some advice for parents about the importance of the parent-teacher conference to assure successful communication and to mark students’ progress throughout the school year.

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A faithful reader of this column, Lisa Reaves, called a month or more ago to lament the proliferation of words formerly taught to be taboo, the words parents threatened to wash our mouths out with Octagon soap if they heard us using them.

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With rain dripping down now and a similar forecast for several more hours, the weather makes a book review of “Fifty Words for Rain” an appropriate topic for this week.

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For two weekends, you will have the chance to experience live one-act plays in Wayne County. Center Stage Theatre will perform One Acts 2021 at the Wayne County Museum on July 23-25. Spotlight Theatre will present A Night of One Acts at the Sabre Cinema on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base on J…

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One of my most rewarding volunteer responsibilities is to organize a blood drive at St. Francis Episcopal Church on Thursday, July 22, a task I have done for the last six years. Becky Barclay’s excellent article on Friday, July 2, in this newspaper has inspired this look at blood itself and …

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In preparation for Sunday and July 4, I have put the red, white, and blue wreath on the front door, set out the red and blue bath towels, and changed the table linens to flag-like placements. Besides displaying small flags on our church grounds, we will celebrate our country’s birthday this …

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Adventure — summer seems to be the time for experiencing this word that originates from the Latin advenire, meaning “arrive”; and from the Latin adventurus, meaning “about to happen”; from the Old French aventure, a noun; to Middle English to Modern English. Its definition combines both Lati…

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Now let us all praise these giants in children’s literature who have departed this earth but left a legacy of their works — Beverly Cleary, Eric Carle, and Lois Ehlert, all of whom died between March and May this year.

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Several months ago, when I participated in Dr. Elliot Engel’s Shelf Improvement Book Club, I learned about the Trilby hat when we were studying Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca.”

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As often happens, when I search for a topic, I turn to A.Word.A.Day, the website that discusses etymologies of words that have the same theme, defines them, and gives examples of their use.

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Having just heard Dr. Elliot Engel’s lecture on F. Scott Fitzgerald at the Asheville conference, I was excited to attend the Center Stage Theatre production of “The Great Gatsby” last Sunday. The play captured perfectly the mood of the 1920s, an era of decadence, corruption, hopeless longing…