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These stories are about my family’s secrets.

Minnie's Potatoes Book Cover

Up-Coming Speaking Events

I’m pleased to announce a few more speaking engagements. Mark your calendars! September 18 Detroit Family Book Launch & Brunch, hosted by Eileen Isenberg, in Southfield, Michigan. November 13, 10 a.m. – noon Jewish Book Fair at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, in West Bloomfield, Michigan. November 21, 12:30 p.m. Philanthropic Educational Organization’s […]

Donna Hartman’s Green Tomato(e) Mincemeat Recipe

Donna Hartman’s Green Tomato(e) Mincemeat Recipe

I found it! I found it in a pile of paper memories … Mom’s handwritten recipe for Mincemeat with the word tomato(e) misspelled, just like Dan Quayle misspelled potato(e) in the 1992 presidential campaign. My mother, another creative speller, taught me how to make a pie, how to peel thin skins from potatoes so some […]

Mother’s Day: Lessons in Oral History

Mom sat near the end of the table at the assisted living center in Standish. Her shoulders slumped.  Her eyelids were closed, her jaw was set. “She won’t talk or eat,” Dad said from across the table.  “If she doesn’t eat she will die. Do something, Laurie,” he said, his voice cracking. I held the […]

Risky Business

My brother read my diary when I was eight, teased me at dinner in front of my parents and that was the end of the diary. It can be a dangerous business to register an opinion on paper. Words can be used against you in a court of law, or can cost you your head […]

Why Preserve Family History?

My parents died two years ago within a month of one another. I didn’t realize the grounding their physical presence gave me until they were gone. They were my connection to childhood, to cousins and to memories of my hometown. I wrote about them so I wouldn’t lose the memories. Those stories started me wondering […]

Lousy Lumberjacks: Minnie’s Potatoes

Lumberjacks were lousy with bedbugs and lice. Common knowledge in the 1880’s was to avoid the hemlock tree. Lumberjacks thought this slow-growing, long-lived evergreen that lent elegance to the landscape brought blood-sucking bugs to your bed. It was believed by woodsmen the conifer gave shelter to bedbugs during some part of their life cycle. When […]

Eat Like a Lumberjack: Minnie’s Potatoes

Consume 9000 calories a day? Lumberjacks did. My grandfather, Wilhelm F. Hartman, cooked meals for Michigan’s lumberjacks from 1886 until well into the 1920’s. When this experienced woodsman made breakfast for his grandchildren in the 1950’s, he fried potatoes in lard, cut pork chops or ham from last night’s meal into the spuds, and then […]