From Analog to Digital

by Carol A Westbrook I gave my husband an Ember mug for Christmas. The Ember mug is artfully crafted, with its embossed monogram and satiny, comfortable finish. The magic of this mug is not its beauty, but the fact that it holds coffee or tea at a constant, pre-set temperature for over 2 hours. It’s…

You’ve Got Mail —Junk Mail, That Is

by Carol A Westbrook There was a time when getting an email was a rare event, a special event. Remember the 1998 film, “You’ve got mail,” in which Meg Ryan meets Tom Hanks in an online chatroom? Not recognizing that they are business rivals, they eventually fall in love, in what is perhaps the first…

Whatever Happened to the Neanderthals?

by Carol A Westbrook It is 42,000 years ago, somewhere in central Europe. A human hunter treks through the forest, dressed in furs. He is carrying a large pack. Alongside him is his mate, a short, blond Neanderthal woman, and their son, about 8 years old, with features of both. They reach their destination, a…

Forgotten Americans along the Susquehanna River

by Carol A Westbrook The smoke of a thousand campfires… That’s what you’d find 600 years ago in the Wyoming Valley of Northeastern Pennsylvania, now the site of Wilkes-Barre and a couple of dozen smaller cities and towns. At the time Columbus visited America, the First People were comfortably settled in this area, which was…

The Piano Lesson

by Carol A Westbrook I began taking piano lessons when I was 8 years old, along with Lynn, my older and Mark, one of my brothers. Every Wednesday we’d walk together from school to a small storefront on Milwaukee Avenue about a half mile away. The store windows were covered in drapes, with a little…

For Father’s Day: Chester Felix Garstki, Dad

by Carol A. Westbrook We think about our fathers during the month of June. Father’s Day is a time to remember these beloved men, especially those who have passed. We reflect on how remarkable their live were, and of so many questions we’d ask them if they were still alive. I’ ask my Dad what…

Smitten by Fitbit

by Carol Westbrook If all the data from the 70 million Fitbits and other wearables in the U.S. were analyzed for clusters of flu-like symptoms, we might have known about the coronavirus epidemic, traced the contacts and perhaps slow its spread, even before widespread testing was available. This is the power of wearable health technology.…

Looking Up with 2020 Vision: Astronomers’ Views of our Night Sky

by Carol A Westbrook Have you ever looked up at a dark night sky filled with millions of stars, and felt the wonder and awe of the universe? It’s a rare experience in 2020, since the night sky is so bright due to light pollution, that even the brightest stars appear dim. Fortunately, don’t need…

The Candidate: Running for office in small town America

by Carol A Westbrook “You must be crazy,” the current Council president said to me. “Why do you want to run for Town Council?” Being on the Beverly Shores Town Council was a thankless job. It paid only a small stipend, took up a lot of time in month meetings, committee meetings, and pubic events.…