Virginia Buckingham

Weekly columns by Marblehead Current board member Virginia Buckingham

EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY: Get thee to a fire pit
Columns, Opinion, Virginia Buckingham

EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY: Get thee to a fire pit

Lest I be accused of being obsessed with fire, let me share that one of us eight Buckingham siblings once played with matches and lit a neighbor’s yard on fire and subsequently ran away from home. That sibling was not me! But if not obsessed, I am indeed, let’s call it, enthralled. Last year around this time I wrote a column about embracing the onset of early darkness. Wearing it like a cozy blanket. My theory was that if my attitude was one of welcoming the opportunity to retreat and reflect, then these days of waning sunlight would not be something to get through, but something to cherish. As I often do, I found a book with a wise author’s words to support my approach. Katherine May’s “Wintering” offered a guide through. This year, I need an additional strategy and another ...
Columns, Opinion, Virginia Buckingham

EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY: It’s okay to look away sometimes

Initially, I planned to entitle this column “Don’t look away.” The topic is the toll of consuming news during these painful times in the country and the world. And the importance of staying informed, and bearing witness.   I still believe those things are important. I also have come to understand that taking a break from doing so preserves our energy to engage at all. I’m a daily newspaper reader and have noted in the past that Twitter (or that platform now known as X) was a handy news aggregator for me. It seems less so now — more clickbait than content. I still check the world’s goings-on there, it just takes more effort. TV news? That’s been hard to watch. During the pandemic, my daughter and I made a habit of watching Anderson Cooper on CNN every night. It fed our need t...
Columns, Opinion, Viewpoints, Virginia Buckingham

EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY: I was tired, now I’m inspired

When was the last time you felt inspired? Not momentarily, like when you watch a video or read a story that gives you a temporary morale boost, but inspired deeply, in your gut, in a way that you know will impact you for a long time to come. Virginia Buckingham. Given that the news coming from all corners is so dispiriting, I wish there was some way to bottle pills of long-lasting inspiration so we could all take a dose when we need it. We sure have needed it lately. Daily tragedies have been making me feel tired and sad. Scrolling through my phone and watching the evening news gives me the urge to curl up in a cave and emerge sometime next spring, like a bear. Then I went to Dallas. The George W. Bush Presidential Center hosted an alumni reunion last week of a program call...
Columns, Opinion, Virginia Buckingham

EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY: The games we play

I recently saw a headline about a new study that showed that running as little as two miles three times a week could extend your life. That seems doable, I thought, until I asked my knees, who immediately protested that it was not doable at all (you idiot, they added!). Thus, I’ll stick with the original guidance I’ve tried to follow in recent years that a regular walking routine is the key to a healthy aging body. Yet, I am reaching that age where the health of my mind is increasingly on my mind at least as much as my mobility. What to do for that?On Instagram, Maria Shriver offers weekly brain teasers — three people walk into a bar and seven people are related to two of them, tell us why, or something like that. I haven’t spent time trying to crack them because just reading them makes m...
Top Stories, Views & Reviews, Virginia Buckingham


I find myself thinking a lot about Danny Pearl these days. He was the Wall Street Journal reporter kidnapped in Pakistan a few months after 9/11. His murder was filmed by his terrorist captives, in which they made him say out loud before beheading him, “My father’s Jewish, my mother’s Jewish, I’m Jewish.”  It was shocking, the brutality of it — all the hate of Jews that sometimes seems so hard to comprehend when contemplating the vast evil of the Holocaust, brought home in the singular torment of one man staring into the camera and saying the simplest of facts about himself and his family, the reason for his slaughter. Virginia Buckingham I follow the Auschwitz Memorial on Twitter and its leaders understand the impact of individualizing our understanding of what happened in ...
Views & Reviews, Virginia Buckingham

EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY: What’s in your “go-bag”?

Last week, we all received what I thought would be an unnerving alert on our cell phones from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As much as possible, the agency forewarned that the alert was a test only. It seems they did a good job. There were no widespread reports of alarmed callers checking with local police and fire and plenty of funny notes about being in a conference room when hundreds of phones went off at once. The alert still jolted me but, then again, I don’t think I’ve once been near a cannon going off at sunset that I didn’t jump a million miles in the air right after I told myself — don’t jump, the cannon is about to go off.  Virginia Buckingham The alert and the very real natural disasters people have had to contend with around the country got me thinking — if th...
Views & Reviews, Virginia Buckingham

EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY: Comfort me with goulash

I devour books by chefs like I sometimes try to make and devour their recipes. There’s something about a chef’s appetite for life that’s alluring. Some favorites are by Bill Buford (“Dirt” and “Heat”), Gabrielle Hamilton’s “Bread Bones and Butter” and anything by Ruth Reichl. Her “Tender at the Bone,” “Garlic and Sapphires” and “Save Me the Plums” are akin to having the opportunity of sitting at the knee of a perfect observer of what matters in life (read: family dinner). Virginia Buckingham Which brings me to goulash. If I could write a chef’s memoir, which I can’t because I’m a recipe follower, not one who is at ease playing with the combinations of “Salt, Acid, Fat, Heat” (h/t Samin Rosnat), I’d riff off of Reichl’s “Comfort Me with Apples.” But I’d sub in Hungarian goulash i...
Virginia Buckingham

EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY: A lifelong desire for fire

We’re just easing into fall so forgive this Christmas imagery. I’m sitting in front of a roaring fire, little kids playing on the floor in matching holiday pajamas. Norman Rockwell has nothing on me when it comes to imagining warm New England scenes. My childhood had plenty of cozy Christmases. But no cozy fire. We thought the public television channel that displayed a crackling fire-log was pretty cool. And it was. I also accepted my mom’s assurance that Santa didn’t have to come down a chimney, the front door was just fine.  Virginia Buckingham Yet. I always wanted one.  A fireplace to sit in front of. To read. To nap. To talk with friends. To just gaze. An apartment I once shared in my 20s with a roommate had a working one and I spent plenty of time staring into it.&...
Virginia Buckingham


What name is it under? Uh, try Buckingham? Nope. Try Lowy. Nope. Try Buckingham-Lowy, even though that’s not really my name. Yes, I know that’s what it says on my license. The introduction of the hyphen is a Registry of Motor Vehicles story I’ll tell in a few minutes. Your passport, you say, that’s the definitive answer? The surname on it is Buckingham Lowy.  No hyphen. Not my name. Birth certificate – Virginia Beth Buckingham. Used to be my name. Marriage certificate? Virginia Buckingham Lowy. Bingo. My legal name. Except I never use it. Virginia Buckingham My name conundrum is a cautionary tale I share mostly because it’s a pain in the neck. Some 30 years ago when I got engaged, I wanted to keep my maiden name because I already had an established career. I also wanted to have the ...
Viewpoints, Virginia Buckingham

EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY: A majestic memorial

Travel experts advise getting to the airport two hours before a domestic flight, three for an international one. I know it’s a lot to make happen, but on an upcoming trip, consider adding an hour more. There’s a place I’d like you to see at Logan Airport, and I’m guessing most of you have only glimpsed it from the roadway — not due to a lack of interest, but rather the difficult logistics of it all. The bit of extra time you’ll spend is worth it, I promise. Dedicated in 2008, the 9/11 memorial at Logan is breathtaking as a piece of public art, heart-wrenching as a gathering place of the names of the dead and reverential as a place to reflect on a world changed forever 22 years ago this week. Don’t look for it at Terminal A, B, C or E. Nor does this structure that is part elegy, part...
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