Wayne Luckmann looks back on growing up in Milwaukee’s South Side during the 1930s and 1940s, sharing hard-fought lessons from his childhood and beyond in this touching memoir.
In A Stirring of the Air, a Shifting of the Light, Luckmann celebrates his family, childhood friends, and many others who have played meaningful roles in his life.
His recollections include “Margaret and Her Children” in which he shares the rich heritage of his mother’s European family who immigrated to America at the start of the last century. Their deep, abiding love—often unexpressed—help turn him into the man he ultimately becomes.
In “My Father’s Keeper,” he explores his father’s side of the family, showing how various relatives influenced his relationship with his dad. This side of the family helps shape his attitudes, perceptions, and relationships with others, especially his son.
These recollections seek to preserve moments and memories of things past that were rich in flesh and blood and bone. Although they are now only flickering neural images, they made Luckmann who he is, and they have profound meaning for anyone seeking a bridge to the past and an understanding of self.
I lived my early years in a ghetto that existed on Milwaukee’s Southside from the 1920's through the 70's, some 50 years during which German and Polish cultures mingled through marriages and conflicts and then dwindled and died. The last time I wandered through, returning for my mother’s passing, I saw the culmination of the changes which had already begun to be discussed on summer evening porches and over backyard fences in the late 1940’s: the advent of other cultural groups moving in at the edges bringing to the streets and alleyways an aura so different I could not have begun to imagine when I lived there and flourished there among the sounds and colors and flavors of those German-Polish neighborhoods secure and invisibly bounded that I had wandered as a boy.
Wayne Luckmann is a writer and a student of ideas. He taught writing for more than thirty years as a tenured faculty member at a college in Auburn, Washington, where he also taught philosophy; English, American, and world literature; and poetry. He’s published short fiction and poetry in magazines and chapbooks, including the collection Secular Saints. He divides his time between Arizona and Oceanshores, Washington.