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Once upon a time I had two little boys trapped in the house with me for many weeks due to winter storms and sickness. To fill our days we read many, many stories about pirates and presidents. We worked on homework brought directly to our front door by their teachers. We could see them coming…

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I imagine Abraham Lincoln entered the romantic lamp-lit ballroom and exclaimed, “How clean these women look,” as he weaved through dresses of silk and crinoline. I imagine he was out of his element at that fateful dance.

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Eight hours later I found myself barreling up the sidewalks of Manhattan in a rickshaw with my daughter-in-law and her mom, circumventing a midtown traffic jam, rushing to Lincoln Center to make the 8 o’clock curtain of “Madama Butterfly” at the Metropolitan Opera.

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Toast is very comforting, but my toaster, not so much. My gleaming white two-slice toaster was a gift. I took it out of the box, made my first piece of toast and realized this was not the toaster for me.