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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Home Birth

Why not consider a house animate? Why not relate to it as to a living being? Why not honor a house with a name and treat it with common decency and good manners?

Losing Gretchen

A new year begins as Earth moves through space, turning around the sun once again. Its orbit is not altered in the slightest by the sudden absence of his daughter.

The Cantor’s Birthday

It was nearly 11 P.M., and I was packing for an early morning flight, bushwhacking through the closet trying to guess my mood and the weather for the next month. Clothing occupied my bed like an invading army. Shoes were aligned in a frozen march across the floor.

On Being Beautiful

I’m beautiful. It’s lasted quite a long time, this beauty of mine, but it won’t be lasting much longer because I’m forty now, as I’m writing this, forty now and probably by the time you read it forty-one, and so on and so forth, and we all know it ends up as worms or ashes, but for the time being I’m still beautiful. More or less. Less than I used to be, despite the regular application of henna to my graying hair and concealer to the rings beneath my eyes. Less than Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, who is precisely my age. Less than many of my students now — but still, perhaps, a little more than my eleven-year-old daughter.


Burt Osborne Rules The World

All day long, on that day in the sixth grade when my life changed forever and the world became a better place, everything had been smelling and tasting like overcooked eggs. I wasn’t sick exactly; it was more that I was no longer friends with the taste of food. Through the last, abbreviated class periods and the final rehearsals for the annual Saint Vitus Academy Christmas pageant, I could smell eggs everywhere, hard and cheesy on people’s breath; could taste them in the green-sprinkled Christmas-tree cookies they gave us, in the red lipstick that Mrs. Carmody put on everybody’s mouth. Outside, the darkness lay flat against the windows that I had never before seen at night; indoors, everything seemed soaked in yellow dye.

At The Window

I am standing at the bay window in our living room, watching my son walk down the street. I am Nathan Gold, son of Morris, father of Jeffrey. I am Nathan, son of Rose, husband of Jacqueline, father of Jeffrey. I am fifth on the singles ladder at the Racquet Club. I am Nathan Gold, who has been challenged by Sidney Zucker, number six on the ladder. Zucker has been taking hour-long private lessons three times each week since April. It is now July, and he has honed his serve, his forehand, his backhand, his approach shot, his net game, and probably his overhead. He is determined to master the game, which he started playing only a year ago; determined to beat me, a player for the past twenty years. In his determination he reminds me of my son, Jeffrey. And so I am Nathan Gold, soon to be sixth on the singles ladder at the Racquet Club, unless Zucker happens to meet with sudden, unforeseen misfortune, a possibility which, I am ashamed to admit, has become the fabric of my unguarded fantasies.

Readers Write


My mother always told me my face was pretty, but I thought it was too fat. In the first grade, kids started adding an F to my last name, calling me Terry “Fatkin.” I thought Dad liked my sister better than he liked me, but Mom said it wasn’t true. Still, she selected my hairstyles, hats, and headbands on the basis of what would be flattering to a “full” face. (I never understood the distinction between full and fat.) Cute little hats were out because they emphasized the fullness. Short hairstyles didn’t work with the round contours. It was best to keep my bangs short or the hair pulled back off my face entirely.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


Beauty is one of the rare things that do not lead to doubt of God.

Jean Anouilh

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