I hadn’t read this since Alise first wrote it. Interesting that it should pop up now. August will be here soon and it a month of remembering for us. Especially remembering Brandon.


I feel most at home at the butcher block, knife in hand, chopping vegetables. I feel most myself when I’m writing: a letter, a story, a grocery list.

On my tenth birthday, we moved to Phoenix. Brandon had been dead for 6 months; San Diego covered with his ashes. That night, June 30 1996, I ate linguine and mud pie. The restaurant overlooked a Family Fun Center. My dad said, “After dinner, you have to ride that roller coaster. Brandon did it on his 10th birthday.” I contested, “No, he didn’t. He had a pool party.”

That year, my mom home-schooled me. We studied Columbus, building his fleet out of Legos. She let me watch Martha Stewart Living then spend hours in the kitchen. She saw that I could write and encouraged me to do so. That year, I learned about prepositional phrases. For years, my mom has said, “Alise…

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