Tuesday, October 17, 2017

National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal.

Here's a breath of fresh air … bipartisanship at its best !

U.S. Sen. John McCain is this year's recipient of the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal … awarded annually to “men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe”.

It was presented to him by former vice-president Joe Biden who said in his opening "John, you have broken many times, physically and otherwise, and you have always grown stronger, but what you don't really understand in my humble opinion is how much courage you give the rest of us looking at you," 

McCain said he's humbled to join the ranks of past winners and that it's been his greatest privilege to protect and defend the Constitution. "To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century," he said, "to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain 'the last best hope of earth' for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history."

Did I mention “fresh air”? I'm breathing easier just reading his words. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Trumps insane obsession with Obama …

In 2008 then citizen Trump started a well thought out hate campaign against our newly elected President Obama claiming that not only was he not born in the U.S. but also suggesting that he was trying to conceal his religion by withholding his birth certificate. “Maybe he's a Muslim” Trump gleefully stated. Obama is a Christian.

Trump kept this up FOR YEARS … and never missed an opportunity to disparage Obama or his administration. Finally Obama felt it was causing too much of a distraction and he called a White House news conference to release the long form of his birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii in 1961. This was in April of 2011 and yet Trump continued to stir the pot, bragging that he was the one that forced Obama to release the document and even questioning it's authenticity.

Just a month later Trump attended the Correspondents dinner in Washington and Obama finally had his chance. In a good-natured roast the President said. “I know that he’s taken some flak lately but no one is happier, no one is prouder, to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald. … and that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter—like, did we fake the moon landing?” The audience erupted in laughter as Trump became stone faced and he left shortly thereafter.
That was over 6 years ago but President Trump never forgot that night and the laughter at his expense. Like all playground bullies he is an expert at dishing it out but he certainly can't take it. Now he's getting his revenge (like all narcissists finally do) by dismantling whatever he can that has the Obama stamp on it. His obsession has become our disgrace … here in our country and abroad.   

Monday, October 09, 2017

Lest we forget … in remembrance of Amy.

Here is dear Amy who passed away early Saturday morning at the elevated age of 97. My husband and I met Amy and her husband Herbert in the late 1960’s and we became fast friends. She was from France and he from Germany. Herbert became a father figure to my husband who had lost his dad when he was just a child. Both Amy and Herbert were Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and World War II but they rarely mentioned it.

In the late 70's, after my move to North Carolina, my daughter Jody and her husband Brian continued the friendship and when Herbert died they formed their tight little surrogate family of three.

This went on for many years but still Amy seldom referred to that terrible time. However, while visiting up there in 2006 Amy opened up and confided that a woman editor had approached her to write down her remembrances of the war years. She was very agitated as she told me this and the only thing I could think to ask was if it was cathartic. She answered with a very strong “NO, and it is tearing me up inside...but it must be done. Pretty soon there will be no one left to record the facts and it’s critical that we don’t forget.” And now that Amy is gone I realize how true this is.

One of the memories that she shared with me that day was seeing a busload of Jewish women packed in like sardines with Nazi Guards.  It was obvious that they were being deported to a camp.  The bus was stopped behind heavy traffic and evidently one of the guards allowed them to open the windows to let in some air. As Amy and a group of nuns looked on a girl suddenly flung her small infant out the window.  One of the nuns caught the child and  before the Nazi could see what had happened the baby was gone from sight.

Of course she was crying by the time she’d finished her tale and the only response I had was to cry with her. But now I realize that I have to do more. I need to keep her memories alive in order to prevent them happening again.

Amy was an amazing person who was a world traveler even into her 90's, spoke 4 languages and truly loved her fellow man. Jody and Brian have been with her through thick and thin and it's just made them closer. Here is one of the last pictures of Jody with Amy a few months ago at a park in NY City.

Have a safe journey home, Amy ... and give my love to Herbert.




Thursday, October 05, 2017

Wrapping it up ...

My last 2 blog entries had to do with making life choices and how often the circumstances of life make those choices for us. This is my last entry on that theme but I wanted to wrap it up on a positive note.


In July of 1989 a family intervention lovingly made it clear to me that I had a drinking problem and they wanted me to get help. I felt guilty to be going away for 28 days because my husband was very ill and I had no idea how much longer he would be with us but he insisted..  

When I came home I started the long journey of recovery with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. It wasn't easy … on me or on Dick. 15 months later my husband passed away at the young age of 59 and to this day I regret that he never really benefited from my recovery. However, his main concern was that his three children would have a sober mother and he got that.                          

I still felt that I’d let Dick down and one night, while sitting at the table in my kitchen, I closed my eyes and “talked” to him. I told him that I loved him and that I hoped he was in a place of peace and finally free of pain and disease. I was going to ask him to forgive me for the things I hadn’t done for him but I was stopped in mid-sentence. I felt a breeze on the back of my neck and then something brushed by my left shoulder. My eyes flew open and I blurted out, “Dick, is that you?”

Of course no one was there but I felt a sense of comfort that I had never felt before and I knew that I had been absolved and that all was right in my world. This is a true story, exactly as it happened to me. I am not a religious person but I do believe there is a type of higher power out there. It’s way beyond my comprehension but there is no doubt in my mind that it was with me that night in my kitchen … and it's stayed with me ever since.




Friday, September 29, 2017

The dream that never came to fruition


Dick and I were married in NY City in 1958. We'd met a year earlier when he was launching his own career as a free lance photographer. He had just left “Life” magazine where he'd been an assistant to an array of well known “shutter bugs” such as Eliot Elisofon, Margaret Bourke-White. Alfred Eisenstadt and, his favorite, Gordon Parks

In 1956 his assignment for “Time” magazine (partner of “Life”) took him to Madison Square Garden. This shot, “The Relay”, was featured in the magazine and then won first prize in the 1957 edition of “Photography Annual”.
I never tired of the stories he told of his 4 years at “LIFE“ and it helped to open doors for him when he started his own business. Among his clients were Union Carbide, DeLaval, IBM, Time Inc., Met Life, ABC Radio and the NY based offices of Swissair. 
What should have been the start of an illustrious career was cut short in 1959 when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. He was extremely brittle and it made it impossible for him to continue in a business that required odd hours and much travel carrying bags of large strobe lights, tripods and other heavy equipment.
I've often wondered what would have happened to Dick’s career (and our life together) had he stayed with “LIFE”, but it was not to be. He died on September 22, 1990 at the way-too-young age of 59. I have friends who are surprised that I never re-married but why should I ? Good memories make great companions.









Monday, September 25, 2017

Which road would you take ?

 “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I … I took the one less traveled by,  and that has made all the difference”.
                                                         Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963
  I don’t think these were the roads that  Robert Frost  had in mind when he wrote those      words but it got me to thinking. Why have I chosen certain roads and left others behind and where would I be if I'd taken a different path? 
  It boggles my mind.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

1950 … a night at the Boston Pops

In 1950 I was 17, on a first date with a college man (sigh) and attending the opening concert of the 65th season of the Boston Pops conducted by the world famous Arthur Fiedler. Who could ask for anything more?

During the Symphony Season this venue was very conventional but as soon as it became “Pops Season” it changed drastically ... the seats and risers were removed and small tables and chairs (reminiscent of the type that you might see at a curbside Bistro) were packed in. Everyone relaxed and waited in anticipation for the great man to appear.

The minute that Arthur Fiedler came to the podium a roar of approval erupted from the audience. He gave a low bow of thanks and then took up his baton. The lights were lowered, the talking ceased and the concert began. It was a typical “Pops” evening filled with semi-classical music and a few lighter pieces.

What really impressed me was that, at the end of each number, instead of going offstage, Arthur Fiedler took a seat at the front of the stage and beamed at us, while waitresses collected orders for wine, or lemonade. Then he would stand up...our signal to stop talking...and the next segment would begin.

I still remember the thrill of that evening and smiled when I read that in May, 1979 he conducted a concert to celebrate his 50 years as conductor at the Pops. He was to die of a heart attack barely two months later but he certainly went out on his own terms and with the love and admiration of his audience.