Published in the Boston Globe, December 26th, 2014 See a video of Mindy touring the house: on Boston.com. There is no player at http://bcove.me/1ohkaee5. My parents unbolted the front door of my childhood home in Lexington only for parties. Otherwise, people entered the 1966 Garrison Colonial via a side door. This door, located on a tiny porch that led into the mudroom, was closer to the garage but still outside, so we raced on rainy days. We mostly used the tiny porch for entry and egress. Yet it contains a special memory: Every spring for 45 years, my mother’s annual hanging impatiens contained a bird’s nest — the mother studying our comings and goings like a British Palace guard, and we monitoring her babies’ progress like neonatal nurses. The compact mudroom led into the kitchen of the four-bedroom house — spacious for those days. But as a kid, all I really cared about was my bedroom, with its Beatles posters and gold clanking glass beads covering the doorway during those preteen years — lest anyone enter undetected. And I felt special that the laundry chute was in my room (used, at times, to plunk my German shepherd’s toys down to tease her, annoying my mother). This was home from my formative years through college; eventually, I bought a house in neighboring Bedford, and my older sister raised her family in Andover. My parents remained three more decades and updated twice: the kitchen in the ’70s, augmenting the original brown cabinets with white and oak doors (a mismatched combo, but a popular solution back then), and in the mid-1980s, as part of a large renovation project. They removed bedroom number...Read More
Published in the Boston Globe, March 2014. Stanley frequents Nashoba Brook Bakery in Concord, but not for the pastries and sandwiches. This 165-pound, 5-foot-long Great Dane, with yardstick-size legs and a nose waist-high to an average human, is on the job. Stanley accompanies his companion Becky Spencer everywhere, even just for a cup of Joe. And he wears a sign on his harness: “I’m working. Stop. Do Not Distract.” Spencer, 39, is an Army National Guard veteran with two decades of service despite multiple injuries exacerbated in a Humvee accident in Iraq. Her complex medical conditions can trigger seizures, spills, or emotional distress. Stanley is her service dog. The colossal canine — and others like Stanley — fulfill a specific task: aiding humans with stability and balance issues. Some 60 Great Danes like Stanley perform jobs such as these, thanks to the Great Dane Service Dog Project. SDP breeds, raises, trains, and donates the dogs, with priority to veterans and their families, but also to others dealing with Parkinson’s disease, Friedreich’s ataxia, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic brain injury. Carlene White, president and head dog trainer, founded the nonprofit in 2003 on her private 12-acre Ipswich farm. SDP is the only accredited member of Assistance Dogs International to train Great Danes. Some 40 dogs, from pups to seniors, live on the farm in the main house and four barns with dozens of heated kennels, cared for by five part-time staff members and more than 45 active volunteers. They place 12-25 dogs per year. In a prior life, White, 76, ran Animal Episodes for 30 years, providing trained animal “actors” of all kinds for print ads, television, and movies...Read More
Published in the Boston Globe Address Section: My First Home, July 27, 2014 Two years ago, on the day my aging parents moved from their three-story home of 45 years, they expressed little sentiment. My father proclaimed that “some moves are prompted by desire, while ‘necessity’ drives others.” This move’s necessity emerged when my mother’s scoliosis made navigating stairs problematic in that spacious Lexington home where I grew up. Their lack of emotion surprised me until Dad explained he was too busy orchestrating the move to feel sentimental. And while my mother described the move as bittersweet, she directed her limited energy to selecting which of her treasured paintings would fit in their compact apartment in the independent community two towns away. All around me, friends were coercing elderly parents out of multistory homes, while my sister and I were relieved our parents accepted that it was time and took action. Other than these thoughts, I also felt little emotion. After all, I’d moved out decades before. However, after my parents and the moving van drove off, my husband — the family member who most honors the past — requested a final trek around the vacant house. Steve and I began our tour in the large foyer, where I pictured the old dining room where my parents held dinner parties. I could practically smell the stuffed mushrooms, beef bourguignon, and chocolate mousse cake my mother spent days preparing in her Julia Child phase — well before Costco introduced ready-made gourmet. During these parties, my sister and I were banished to our bedrooms, where boisterous voices debating political issues could be heard thundering up the stairs. Come morning, we’d tiptoe...Read More
-Henry David Thoreau
Mindy Pollack Fusi is a freelance and creative writer who writes essays and articles regularly for The Boston Globe. She also coaches students on college application essays and supplements, and teaches college application essay workshops for area adult education programs. In addition, she helps writers edit their work and periodically runs creative writing workshops.
In 2013, The Place for Words Press published Judith Yarbrough’s “Friends Forever in My Heart,” available on amazon.com.
Place for Words Press was founded in 2011 to produce “The Ice Cream Stand and Other Stories & Poems” by 21 writers from The Place for Words, funded in part by a generous grant from the Bedford Cultural Council.
Information about more of Mindy’s articles and essays, as well as samples of student work from past creative writing workshops, and books she has edited for other writers.
If you work for a newspaper or magazine and would like to discuss contracting with Mindy to write a feature, please contact her.