The Modest Missionary

Eartha Thompson-Washington sparkles in the sunlight. Her tunic, the color of blushing pink rosebuds, is studded with mini-mirrors and gold sequins. She bought it in Bangladesh while she …

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The Prince and Princess of Pastry

It’s noon when Catherine and Frank Terrizzi walk through the front door of Terrizzi Pastry Shop. They’re not here every day any more, but they can be counted upon to appear every Saturday at this time. They are the closest thing the shop has to royalty. Catherine’s the Grande Dame of Desserts. Frank’s the Maestro of Marzipan. Catherine, whose blond bouffant of bygone days swirls around her head like cotton candy, runs up to the counter girl and greets her with an affectionate peck on the cheek. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Frank and Catherine at …

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The Flesh-and-Blood Man of Steel

Every day, Jim Pignetti sees the past in the present. He can’t help but be reminded of the way things were because his business, Metalmen, is only four and a half blocks from the house he grew up in. He and his older brother lived there with their parents, their uncle and their maternal grandparents, who had come over from Sicily. The backyard garden had fig trees and a grapevine, and Jim used to deliver newspapers to the business at Metalmen’s address. He played Johnny Rides a Pony in the streets with his pals and ran across garage …

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The Play Mommy

A little boy in a bright red T-shirt rushes into the living room like Thomas the Train, singing and dancing himself silly until he collapses, hysterical, onto the coffee table. Sylvia Ramsaywak laughs her head off. This is her 7-year-old son, Jude, and this is his way of entertaining guests. As soon as Sylvia sits in the recliner, another little boy drops into her lap and presses his body into hers with a Teddy-bear hug. This is 3-year-old Jesse, and standing next to him is 10-year-old Jordan, giving him her best big-sister look. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Sylvia plays&…

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The ComiX Creator

It starts with a rape in outer space, but Starfighter really begins in this earthly living room, where we find Shakespeare on the bookshelf, Star Wars on the TV console and HamletMachine on the sofa. In the heat of battle, Cain, the dark fighter, forces himself on Abel, his pretty-boy virginal navigator. Their actions are determined by none other than the mighty HamletMachine, aka Michelle Palumbo. Michelle, a super-shy, self-effacing, self-described sci-fi nerd with a nose ring and a pair of chin piercings, created Starfighter, an online erotic comic strip, three years ago. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Michelle, aka&…

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