Essay: A Father's Gift

Jun 16, 2018
lamppost / Fotolia

It's Father's Day weekend, and if you're fortunate to still have a dad in your life, hopefully you'll have the chance to spend some time with him, or call, or give a gift. But Lake Effect essayist Linda Flashinski is think about a gift she recieved from her father:


Flowers are in bloom around southeastern Wisconsin. That includes the flowers in all but one case in Lake Effect essayist Meagan Schultz’s yard:

The Peony Bush Incident, or how to deal with your kids when they make you really, really angry:

Jack Pease Photography

We're a couple weeks removed from the royal wedding, the union of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It was an event that commanded the attention of millions of people around the world. But Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr says looking back, the nuptials should be viewed in a broader context:

Mitch Teich

Kirsten Wisniewski is a Milwaukee native who has working in language and skills education in the US and Europe for the past 5 years. She is perpetually confused for someone much younger, often being mistaken for a student herself. Wisniewski is back to living stateside, but thinks frequently about the young people who have made an impact on her over the years, including one she met on a train:

Essay: Kitchen Clean Up

May 9, 2018
ungvar / Fotolia

Lake Effect essayist Marnie Mamminga chronicles the end of another era very close to home:

It was always a bit messy.

Nothing too serious. A few crumbs on the counter, a cabinet door ajar, a couple of dishes sitting in the sink, a trail of something scattered across the floor.

But I didn’t mind.  It didn’t need to be spic and span or glistening perfect.  What was best about my kitchen was that it was a happy gathering place.

Essay: Caught in Columbine’s Clutches

Apr 20, 2018
Marc Piscotty / Getty Images News

It was on this date in 1999 that two students at Columbine High School in Colorado murdered 12 fellow students and one teacher in an attack that shocked the nation.  While subsequent school shooting have been shocking as well, they have also taken on a saddening regularity.

On this 19th anniversary of the shooting, Lake Effect essayist Marnie Mamminga thinks back on the 2nd anniversary, while she was still a teacher in Illinois:

Warren K. Leffler / Wikimedia

At 6:01pm, on April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King jr. was murdered. The timing of  his assassination meant that many people didn’t learn about his death until the morning after - but the following week brought chaos to many American cities as frustrated mourners rioted and protested King’s untimely death.

For Lake Effect essayist Marnie Mamminga, the news set off a series of unforeseeable events during a spring break trip to Washington D.C.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images News

Tensions continue to mount between Russia and the United States.  A nerve agent attack on a former spy in the UK, expelled diplomats on both sides, nuclear missile testing… it all brings back memories of the Cold War.

Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr says we need to put all of this in context:

Reflecting now firmly established tradition, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has delivered his own version of a state of the union address to the people. His speech on March 1st dealt to a substantial degree with the challenges of economic growth and modernization.

Essay: A Place Where Water Sparkles

Mar 22, 2018
dendron / Fotolia

In honor of International Water Day, essayist Eric Hansen offers this meditation on water. 

We know we are fortunate to spend our days here, in a land we know as Wisconsin -- a place where water sparkles -- and is well worth caring for. Where gurgling streams and wave-washed shores sooth our lives.

Where the bubbling springs of the Moraine Country -- and the timeless flow of the Mukwonago River -- brighten our Sunday afternoons. Where a canoe trip to Horicon Marsh -- or the Wolf River is a nearby treat.

Essay: Billy

Mar 21, 2018
silverkblack / Fotolia

People who study empathy say that before you can empathize with the plight of others, it’s important to see their humanity and what it has in common with your own.  One of the problems with homelessness is that we don’t always do that - we distance ourselves from the stories of homeless people.

For Lake Effect essayist Jan Wilberg, something profound and life-changing forever changed her view:

Essay: The Homeless Book Club

Mar 7, 2018
Roman Motizov / Fotolia

We feature a lot of books on Lake Effect.  Many of them are the subjects of discussion among the scores of book clubs in the area.

Lake Effect essayist Marnie Mamminga is the author of one such book.  She recalls the unique circumstances surrounding a talk she gave to the members of one Wisconsin book club:

The Homeless Book Club may sound like an oxymoron, but for those who participated, it was very real.

Essay: Finding the Power of Memory in Music

Feb 22, 2018
Rob Donnelly, Milwaukee Magazine

It was the last warm day of the year. My parents and I had just spent the afternoon with relatives, walking around an arboretum near Naperville, enjoying the weather. Now we were in the car, returning to my folks’ house in Racine.

Andreas Rentz / Getty Images Sport

We’re into the second half of the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.  Many of the usual winter sports hotbeds - Norway, the United States, Canada - are near the top of the medal table.  But as Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr tells us, the Winter Games may be producing another winner: / Flickr

Lake Effect essayist Jim Spangler on how he came to understand the value of a dollar:

"They say we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. And if the failure is really painful, the lesson is never forgotten. Maybe that’s why I can still recall the pain from an incident in 1950 when I was all of about eight years old.

pressmaster / Fotolia

Lake Effect essayist Jim Spangler has been thinking about education - specifically whether colleges and universities are places that teach critical thinking skills: 

“Don’t bring up politics when you are at our house for Christmas,” my daughter warned me. And I didn’t, and neither did anyone else, most likely having been also warned. That way there was no chance of a Christmas-ruining argument over, what else, but the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.