On December 6, 1876, in the tiny village of Washington, Pennsylvania, an Austrian-born immigrant named Baron Joseph Henry Louis Charles De Palm became the recipient of what is described as the first cremation in modern America. It was not a pretty sight.
Now that we know his flaws, not many of us can romanticize John F. Kennedy or his presidency. And the glamour of the Kennedy clan has been tarnished considerably in recent years as scholars and reporters have pointed out its members' various shortcomings.
Friedrich Nietzsche observed that the human capacity to forget is not solely the result of inertia: "It is rather an active and in the strictest sense positive faculty of repression." According to Nietzsche, we forget not merely because we have to but because we want to—and we forget selectively, picking and choosing what we remember in order to construct the world in which we choose to l
A man once bought himself a cemetery plot and a lawn chair, and then took a week of vacation to sit on the chair at his plot. I don't think he sat there because the view was pleasant or because he was proud of his new property. He did it because he wanted to see his life from the point of view of his death and his death from the point of view of his life.
You would never have read anything by me and probably never have heard of me were it not for Jerald C. Brauer, who died September 26 at age 78. When Christian Century editor Harold E. Fey asked Brauer, then dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School, to recommend a young writer who might become a contributing editor to this magazine, Brauer gave him my name.
Few people listen to their lives as closely as Frederick Buechner does, and fewer can articulate so well what they hear. This book, Buechner's fourth memoir, resembles his previous autobiographies—The Sacred Journey (1982), Then and Now (1983) and Telling Secrets (1991)—in that it deals with pivotal moments and persons in Buechner's life.
On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, Joseph and Celice, both middle-aged professors of zoology, revisit the remote beach that was the landscape of their courtship and first passion. Joseph is hoping for an amorous encounter, and Celice heads into the dunes looking for a mattress of grass to cushion their adventure.