Winter 2020


Dear Readers,
Gloria Steinem walked into a Harley-Davidson showroom in New York City to buy the sparkly belt she saw in the window. When she said it was for herself, the salesman did not want to sell it to her. Nevertheless, she persisted – and walked out with a red one and a purple one. She wore the red one when she spoke at Symphony Space about her new book.


Gloria is a great story teller – smart, knowledgeable and funny. She is a devotee of circles: “Talking circles remind us that simple things are useful, useful things are simple, and being together with other human beings is as necessary as air, food, and water.” Even sitting on a stage, in a chair, with her legs crossed, she makes you feel she is part of your circle.

Persimmon Tree can feel like a story circle. Stories, long or short, happy and sad, true and invented, and poems and pictures appear in the submissions inbox. We read them. The circle that is the Editorial Board decides which to accept, then chooses a combination of pieces for the next issue. At their best, the pieces play off each other; a story circle of life for women over 60 emerges.

Whenever anyone asks Gloria what they should do, she says, “don’t worry about what you should do, just do whatever you can.” Well, this issue shows what can be done. There was no way I couldn’t open with Ann Vander Stoep’s “Neighbors.” Talk about doing what you can and more. Then came Hope Nisly reminding me of Base Christian Communities and the work they did in Central and South America before they were crushed, work that inspired me to visit Nicaragua in the eighties.

Their stories came to us and now the Editors invite you into this circle. Perhaps you have more to share with us. Perhaps you will be inspired to “just do whatever you can.”

One more time to quote Gloria before I close: “Voting isn’t the most we can do, but the least. To have a democracy, you have to want one.” 2020 is almost here. This won’t be the last time we will remind you to vote. At least, vow to do the least.

All together now,
Sue Leonard