So Long, Rusty. Thanks for the Memories

Valentine Brkich September 5, 2022

A couple days ago I learned of the untimely passing of one of my best childhood friends, Arthur Russell “Rusty” “Russ” Wilbur. I thought I’d share a few stories of our time together, which was during some of the best years of my life. I first met Russ when I was maybe 7 years old. I was out in…

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My Empty Nest

Valentine Brkich June 9, 2021

Ever since my kids were very young, I’ve been dreading one day becoming an empty nester. I just figured it would happen years from now. Oh, the kids are still home. We still have several years before they officially fly the coop. The nest I’m talking about is an actual nest, a robin’s nest, which is just…

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Would I Lie to You? Yes.

Valentine Brkich March 6, 2020

“I thought you were brushing your teeth?” The Animal called out from his bedroom, as I reached the top step. My wife and daughter weren’t home yet, but it was late and my son was already in bed and waiting for me to tuck him in. I answered him from across the way in his sister’s room, where…

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The Secret of the Lost Amulet

Valentine Brkich December 30, 2019

Back when I was a kid, I was captivated by the 1985 movie “The Goonies,” which follows a group of kids on a perilous but thrilling adventure in search of hidden treasure. If only something like that could happen to me in my hometown! Alas, the only treasure-hunting adventures took place in my imagination, as I explored the dark…

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My Newest Pet Peeve

Valentine Brkich November 15, 2019

The first time Boogieface asked for a dog she was just three years old. Not gonna happen, we said. But she persisted. So we told her she could get one when she turned 10.  Lying to your kids is one of the many privileges of parenthood. Of course when 10 rolled around, there was still no way we were gonna…

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Will It Ever End? I Hope It Never Ends!

Valentine Brkich November 5, 2019

If anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be here. The first eight years of parenthood were tough. It seemed like I’d never get to a point where I wasn’t helping my kids do something.  Then just like that it got easier. Suddenly they could get their own cereal. They could bathe themselves. Dress themselves. Clean up…

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The Saga of the ‘Lost’ Raggies

Valentine Brkich August 28, 2019

“Daddy, I can’t find my Raggies!” My heart sunk as soon as she said it. We were on vacation in New Hampshire, and Boogieface was getting ready to go to bed when she realized her beloved ‘Raggies’ — a pair of old burp cloths she sleeps with every night — were missing. Immediately I began searching high and low for…

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Donut Debacle

Valentine Brkich June 24, 2019

So my dad calls me on Thursday evening. “I’m going to get some Oram’s cinnamon rolls tomorrow morning,” he says. “You want me to get you some?” Every once in a while my dad drives to Beaver Falls early in the morning to pick up a box of Oram’s legendary pastries, which he then passes out to…

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A Lasting Impression

Valentine Brkich June 5, 2019

It was Saturday afternoon and the second day of the annual Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Adventure at Benner’s Meadow Run Camping and Cabins in Farmington, Pa. For a full day, my daughter and I had been camping out and enjoying the various speakers and vendors, all centered around the legendary hairy man of the woods.  Not that I believe in…

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We Haven’t Lost the House. (Yet.)

Valentine Brkich May 29, 2019

Five years ago today, I walked away from the highest paying job I’ve ever had. And a company-match retirement plan. And a comprehensive health care plan. And a guaranteed monthly paycheck.  No, I didn’t have a massive head injury. I just wanted to take a shot at freelance writing. In the years since, I’ve never…

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