In mid-July of 1975, a newly single woman, I threw myself a birthday bash. Sixty people showed up at my home in suburban New Jersey on a Sunday afternoon. Huge amounts of food were prepared, by me and others, from chicken Marengo and quiche...

This past weekend I hosted four family members for the Fourth of July. While manageable and enjoyable in terms of everything summer house, it was in sharp contrast to past summers where we numbered some 22 and the week was anything but manageable. The joy of those summers, however, was palpable.

“Buddy Looney’s gone,” whispered Louie as he slowly maneuvered his intimidating back end onto a barstool.

Behind his desk, a desk even bigger than Mr. Slotkin’s, Mr. Langly breathed through his nose like a train whistle and stood his fingertips. “What is this all about, Frances? Where did a little girl like you learn such language?”

We walked 86th Street. The trolley alongside us rode its tracks, sparks shooting off its long swaying rod, slotted into the wire strung above.

I’m sitting with my girlfriend, Amita, and another couple, her friends, in Della Femina’s in East Hampton. Though I grew up in Hicksville, where I watched the Long Island Expressway being built practically through my backyard, this is my first time in the Hamptons, Amita having insisted that I rent a house in the Amagansett dunes for a couple...

Now that she was turning 65, Alexandra regretted the tattoo. Truth be told, she’d regretted it for years.

“Come here! Come out here!” my father called to my little brother and me through the screen door.

On a certain bleak day in March, hundreds of mothers, fathers, and children are in a line snaking out onto the street in front of the JetBlue terminal, where the taxis and black S.U.V.s are double and triple-parked. Our family is no different.