About Bru


My Checkered Past

Laurel Wicks with heart shaped spud

Laurel sits in her potato patch with a heart shaped spud.

I had no idea what my childhood was until decades later. That may be a pattern, the long view perspective. My parents worked as a team like horses harnessed together who pull in the same direction whispering to each other as they share their burden. Their work was so innate that it seemed effortless, not like work at all.

My mom was a first grade teacher who chose to be at home with her children during our formative years. She was an excellent homemaker. Our house was always clean and tidy. She sang us little songs and read to us. She was a good cook and baker. When it was time to bake, she pulled a tall stool over to the baking counter, gave me a tiny little apron made and embroidered by my grandmother and told me, “I can’t do this without your help.” She’d measure out a cup of flour and level it off with a knife, then hand it to me to pour into the bowl. Every step was like that until I was convinced that I had, indeed, been instrumental. She never let it show that a child’s involvement actually slowed her down.

My dad used few words. He worked. His job was as a welder and a welding technician for Eastman Kodak. When he came home, he changed his clothes and worked in the garden or at his messy workbench. He could make or fix anything. All the men that were part of our family’s life asked my father for advice. He had a sparkle in his eye. He could tell great stories or play jokes on those he cared about. Every weekend we drove to his home town to my grandma’s farm. The family fished and hunted and walked in the woods and watched the migrating spring birds. My dad knew every bird whether perched or in flight or by its song when hidden from view.

The Little Birders

Lynn, Lee and Laurel


My perception was that I was abused because they made me get up before light to go bird watching. I remember whining because we had to have fresh caught trout and asparagus just picked from the garden for dinner again. I was jealous that my friends’ families spent time in the city going to museums and concerts. They dressed up and dined in fancy restaurants.

I was a lackluster student. I have always had curiosity for learning. For years it was dulled by too many mediocre teachers and my own sense of being trapped. I read hundreds of books, including every biography in the town library, looking for someone’s life to reflect me to myself. C G Jung’s autobiography Memories, Dreams and Reflections came the closest by sharing an internal landscape and few exterior events. Dancing ballet and writing poetry sustained me. I longed for the life of a beatnik. I made good grades, never studied and learned no study skills. My self conscious smugness did me no favors in the world of academia. All I wanted was to rebel against. When I look back, I wonder when I started moving toward forming my own life.

Attending Reed College in the 1960’s was definitely change. Just what I thought I wanted, it was far from everything familiar…

More of this to follow.