Total Pageviews

Saturday, December 31, 2011

La Mulți Ani, Earth!

Happy New Year!

Shirl and I are celebrating quietly in warm and sunny West Palm Beach, Florida.  Valer Şuteu has been with us on this trip, but tonight he is the guest of the Romanian family in Boynton Beach who are also hosting my Clujian friend Cristina.  We all had dinner last night in the "happening town of Del Ray."  Atlantic Boulevard was lit brightly for Christmas and the holidays, and The Office restaurant turned out to be both Romanian-owned and a source of excellent cuisine.

So, for Shirl and me it will be another quiet New Year's Eve, probably a good thing, as tomorrow we must begin our return drive to the North.

So, in the interest of philosophical consistency, I shall close with my Facebook Status post of the day:

Wishing the whole world a peaceful 2012! (It may take a miracle, but they do happen.) 
With love and respect for my fellow inhabitants of Earth,  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

At Sf. Ioan de Suceava In Manchester

On the 18th of December I joined Mihaela (Miki) Fera and her parents from Sibiu (now living in Arad), Romania, at the Christmas pageant at the only Romanian Orthodox church in New Hampshire.
The Fera family includes my "niece" Roxy, who is teaching now in China.  I had met Roxy in Sibiu during my Fulbright year, Miki had come to our home for Alexandru Mican's birthday party last September with her two beautiful children, but this was my first chance to meet their parents.  It was a joyful evening.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Joy, 2011!

Here's wishing a wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season to my readers everywhere!

Here are two of my favorite passages from Handel's Messiah:

(I apologize for ads if YouTube includes them.  Feel free to skip them.)

First, The Annunciation (Buna vestire),

and then, Hallelujah!

With love, gratitude, and respect,


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Pax Americana: Is it ending with the withdrawal from Iraq?

Three hours ago, my beloved Romanian niece, "Roxana Fera de Sibiu," posted the following sad link on her Facebook wall, along with her comment, "OH MY GOD!! WHAT A WORLD WE LIVE IN!!!"

Iraq Marine Throws Medals.

War is Hell.

I am not anti-military.  Quite to the contrary, I credit our men and women in uniform for our freedom.

I was born into a WWII U.S. Navy officer's family.  Two of my three brothers are Vietnam veterans.  I was rejected (due to respiratory allergies) when I volunteered in 1964 for pilot training in U.S. Naval Aviation.  Ever since, though I married young, started my family, and never myself served in the military, I have respected those who serve, and those who have served in the past.

In Budapest, on the evening of 4 October, 2011, I met a Norwegian man, 64 years old.  When he learned I was American, he said, "All the citizens of Europe should get down on their knees and say a prayer of thanks to America."  This man and I had met by chance on a Danube dinner cruise.  He had nothing to gain from me.  He was merely expressing his heartfelt belief.

So, Roxy, I respect you and your right of free speech so much that I will leave your post where it has appeared on my FB home page, and have posted your link again, here.  I am sorry for this young man, and I understand his anguish.  It is, indeed, a cruel world.  But let us not disparage all that America has given to support the security of the Free World since 1945.

Whoever it was that coined the term "Pax Americana" was exactly right.  Caesar Augustus, credited with having overseen the 50 years known as the Pax Romana (during which time the Prince of Peace was born) had his legions fight many skirmishes on the fringes of the Roman Empire.  Still, that half-century under Augustus was spared a major war, as have been the past 66 years, the Pax Americana.  The difference has been that the American Presidents are not emperors.  In defending The Free World, Americans have given freely of their blood and treasure, demanding no land, and extorting no tribute from those whose freedom they have defended, of which our exit from Iraq is present-day proof.

My Norwegian acquaintance in Budapest understood that fact.  I hope that those who view this anguished young man's video will, also.  While War is Hell, sometimes its opposite is not peace, but slavery.  If you do not believe that, you would do well to visit Memorialul Victimelor Comunismului şi al Rezistenţei, "The Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance," in Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania.  It is a museum built inside the prison once reserved for the intellectual and artistic elite of that country, imprisoned (and in many cases killed outright, or allowed to die in prison of disease, starvation, or neglect) under the Communist dictators who ruled Romania from 1948 until the Revolution of December 21, 1989.*  

The major military/geopolitical news of this week was the end of the war in Iraq.  The American soldiers are now out.  I am glad for them, and for their families.  But, given the state of the Middle East, and of the World, this change in the status quo begs the question, is the Pax Americana ending with the withdrawal from Iraq?
*How curious that these thoughts should have come to me on December 21, 2011, exactly 22 years after the Romanian Revolution, stimulated in me by a Romanian friend.  Perhaps, it was not coincidence?

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Christmas Sprit

With an Internet message has come a blessing.  Yesterday, I received from Mihai Moroşan and his wife Waltraudi this beautiful Christmas greeting:

As you faithful readers know, Mihai Moroşan is the fresco painter from Suceava, pictures of whom and of whose work I have posted both elsewhere, and earlier in this blog.  I do not think it a stretch to say that Moroşan is a Great Master among living painters.  I am deeply touched by this gift.

Dear Traudi and Mihai, I shall be thinking of you on Christmas Day, and of the wonderful day I spent with you last December.  May God bless you, your lovely home, and all of your family this Christmas Season, and through many years to come. 

The Spirit being upon me tonight, I offer links to two of my most-loved English carols, Good Christian Men Rejoice! and The Holly and the Ivy.

For search purposes: Morosan.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Motorhead Report:1975 R90S, and Fritz.

But right now, my project is Fritz, my 1990 BMW 525i, for which I paid $1,000 .  He is Klaus' emigrant older brother, who was found, friendless, on the street here in Campton, and is responding nicely to some TLC from this old motorhead.  He has 269,000 miles (438.000 Km) on his odometer, but he runs just fine, handles like a 5-series Bimmer, and looks sharp in his new pinstriped suit.
Fritz's new clothes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Reminiscence: A Week with Our Alex

It was the third week of May back in 2010.  Shirl, Alexander, and I had flown from Boston to Stuttgart via Zurich.  We planned on a six-week adventure in Klaus, so we'd come first to see Dietmar and Sabine in Fellbach, where Klaus stays when we are home in the U.S.A.  After a couple of pleasant days seeing our friends, their sons Max and Ferdi, and after meeting Chico, the canine addition to the family, we took Klaus south.  First we drove to Friedrichshafen, then rode by ferry across Lake Constance to Switzerland, where we shun-piked up through pastoral alpine valleys to Chur.  There, we spent our first night "on the road."  I have just come across pictures from the early part of that six-week trip, so while hardly news, these images will serve as visual memories. 
Shirl and Alex, a bit jet-lagged.
Our view from Hotel Alte Kelter, Fellbach
For this old aviator and model-builder, The Dornier Museum in Friedrichshafen proved a thrilling find.

In the early days of commercial aviation, the 1920s and 1930s,
Lufthansa was in the forefront. (And today, Alex2 (Mican) works
at the Silver Fox Inn in New Hampshire.)

Twelve-engined flying boat of 1929, the DoX.

The Dornier 217.  Thousands served the Luftwaffe in WWII.

Dornier's designs have long been innovative.
This Do31 V-STOL military transport is no exception.

Another example.  Why do it the same way as the other guys?

Swiss meadow, as we climb by GPS (shortest route) toward Chur.

Alex and Shirl in the Alps

Ain't Klaus and Shirl a stylish pair?

And from here, down the southern slopes into Italy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ralu Goes to Cluj

Last night I drove Ralu and her masses of luggage to Logan Airport, and saw her off on her journey home.  It was a drizzly night, so when we learned that her British Airways ticket was on a flight operated by American Airlines, we were grateful for the enclosed walkways from Terminal E to Terminal B.  We walked nearly a mile, each of us pushing a full luggage cart.  Ralu got "soaked" not by rain but by AA for a bundle of cash for her extra bags, but the agent was kind enough to ignore the fact that one was 24 pounds (10+ Kg) overweight.  If he hadn't, she'd have returned home $200 poorer.

Shirl was upset last night by the absence of her (fellow night-owl) friend, Raluca.  Our place was too damned quiet.  This must be what an empty nest feels like to an old stork, left behind to winter in Romania.  (Sad image.  I saw one last year.)

This afternoon Ralu reported her safe arrival, bags and all, at home in Cluj.  Farewell, lovely niece.  We love you and we miss you and we wish you great success and happiness.  Keep that gorgeous smile on your face, and in your heart, and you'll do just fine!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

National Day Noncoincidences

December 1, 2011
Valer came with me to Boston today, both to back me up as a driver lest the oral surgery I was scheduled to have left me uncomfortable or impaired, and to meet with Dr. Davis of Bentley University regarding their Ph.D. program.  As I shall explain below, the surgery was postponed.  Our appointment with Prof. Davis was not until 2:00 PM, so the two of us had a late morning and early afternoon free to wander through Boston on a beautiful autumn day.  We left the car at the Dental School, and took a bus into South Station, from which we walked through Downtown Crossing to the Boston Common, across the Common to the State House, and headed down Beacon Street.  

Site of the John Hancock House, Boston
 Adjacent to the State House is an historical marker at the former site of the home of John Hancock, famous as the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence, and thus the first to put his neck in a noose, had the subsequent American War for Independence been lost.

The next building on Beacon Street had a bronze sign on it that read, "Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations."  It turned out to be the national headquarters of that religious group.  The door had a sign saying, "Walk In," so we did.
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations Building

Well, back in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, I had heard that the very first Unitarian congregation was founded in Cluj during the Reformation.  I told Valer, "This is my chance to see if that was a rumor, or an historical fact."

Inside, we inquired of the receptionist, who called upstairs to the Office of Information and Public Witness, from which a young woman named Rachel appeared, and invited us to sit and ask whatever we had on our minds.  I explained my curiosity, and my history in Cluj.  She then told us of two major strains of theological thought, the Unitarians and the Universalists, and how they had merged into the present-day Association.

Then Rachel said, "The Unitarian movement traces its origins to Transylvania in the 1600s, and to the congregation in Cluj."  So, dear Romanian readers, I think you may consider it to be historical fact that Cluj is the wellspring of Unitarianism.

Now, to be fair to Rachel, I should also report that she briefed us on the theological reason for the schism that caused that Transylvanian congregation to break with established Christianity of the time.  The Unitarians in Cluj believed in One God, and they believed the Bible to be a Holy Book, but nowhere in The Bible did they see belief in The Holy Trinity to be a necessary element of faith in God.  Hence, voicing the Nicene Creed made them feel hypocritical, an intolerable state for them.  And thus, they chose to worship God, a Creator big enough to relate to us all without need of the trappings and formal rituals of the established and emerging churches, be they Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Romanian Orthodox, Lutheran, or other Protestant churches.  'Twas Reformist thinking of a fundamental kind.
Gate to Harvard Yard (Normally, open to the public.)
Vali and I then re-boarded the Red Line, and rode the subway to Harvard Square, where we were blocked from entering Harvard Yard, temporarily closed to the public because the Occupy Wall Street enthusiasts had a protest demonstration going on there, and the University had decided to keep it orderly by admitting only people with a Harvard University ID.  I was told by the officer at the gate that as an alumnus, I could secure a temporary ID at Holyoke Center, but we decided time was too short, and we were hungry.  So, we ate a good lunch at a pub on JFK Ave., then rode the "T" back into Kendall Square, where we enjoyed a good meeting with Dr. Davis over coffee at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

Dental Disappointment

Back home that evening, I wrote the following e-mail to inform three of my doctors of the morning's events at Boston University's Dental School.  It was addressed to my ophthalmologist, a retinal specialist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, to whom I had written a few days earlier regarding my left eye problems.  I sent copies to my primary physician and my B.U. periodontist, whose work had been postponed that morning.
Dear Dr. C:
In my philosophy, there are no coincidences, so I have a hunch that my dental disappointment of today may prove to be a blessing in disguise for my eyes.

Today I was refused a scheduled oral surgery (three implants) at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine.  I'd already been fully draped and given Novocaine when the overseeing professor, one Dr. M, asked me, "Have you taken any aspirin in the past 24 hours?"  When I told her, "Yes, my nightly dose of 975 mg," she looked startled, asked me to explain that dosage, then canceled the procedure, citing a risk of excessive bleeding.  My implant surgery has been rescheduled for January 23, 2012.

As my medical record at your office will show, I have been taking three 325 mg Enteric-coated aspirin tablets nightly.  I have done so since about 1984, when my arthritic finger pain (from typing many HBS doctoral program papers) had caused me to ask my family doctor (at the time in Westborough, Massachusetts), what to do about it.  He recommended aspirin in that dosage, which he termed "the minimum anti-inflammatory dose," and it worked.  Hence, I have been taking 975 mg of enteric-coated aspirin nightly, ever since.

Now, it occurs to me that the thin blood induced by this high dose of aspirin may be contributing to the slow healing of my current cloudy vision in my left eye, especially since I have on many occasions seen a reddish cast in the blur, as well as occasional new dark floaters.  It may be that one (or more) of my burst retinal microaneurisms has been bleeding into my eye repeatedly, ever since October 6, when my current vision problem arose.

Action Plan

For the two weeks prior to my December 16 visit to your office at DHMC, I shall reduce my aspirin intake to one 325 mg aspirin tablet per day.  I hope that this reduced intake of aspirin will improve my blood's clotting ability, and thus speed the recovery of full vision in my left eye.

I am not at present planning to go off aspirin entirely, as it may have heart-protective effects, and at my age it makes little sense to risk trading one problem for a potentially more serious one.

I am copying this message to Dr. R., my primary physician in Plymouth, NH, and to Dr. "Tina", my periodontist at BU.  I shall keep you good doctors all posted if I experience any major effects, for good or ill.  Please let me know if any of you has specific advice contrary to my stated plan.

Thank you for your caring, and for your excellent work in treating my diabetic retinopathy over the past several years.

Sincerely yours,

Duncan McDougall
 So, dear readers, please wish me, and my eyes, and my teeth, "Noroc și sănătate!" 

Thus went Romania's National Day, 2011, just another day in the life of your humble blogger.  Da, da, da, da! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

La Mulți Ani, România!

1 December 2011, Campton, New Hampshire (Photo by Tarcea)

"At Alba Iulia on December 1, 1918, the treaty was signed creating the union of Transilvania, Wallachia and Moldavia that forms modern-day Romania."

I hereby wish all Romanians, everywhere, a

  Happy    National      Day!     

Last year I spent 1 December in Alba Iulia with friends Valer and Leonina  from UBB-Cluj, and with Leonina's good friend Andreea, who lives there in "Alba."

Today Valer is an MBA candidate at Plymouth State University and works as a graduate assistant here in New Hampshire.  He and I will "celebrate" tomorrow by driving to Boston University's Goldman School of Dental Medicine, where I shall have three surgical implants installed where three of my front teeth used to be.  Afterwards, we shall go to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Valer has an appointment to meet a Bentley University business professor to discuss Vali's interest in their Ph.D. program.  Please wish us both, "Noroc!"

Life goes on!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Gift / "Romania Primer"

I am reading a first-edition of the newly-published book, The Little Book of Romanian Wisdom , by Diana Doroftei (din Bârlad) and Matthew Cross (of Connecticut).  It is a beautiful work, and I think that if you are a very good boy or girl, and if you spend the holiday at Hotel New Hampshire, you just might find a copy if it under the tree on Christmas.

Before seeing this book, I never would have guessed that Johnny Weismuller and Edward G. Robinson (among many other notables) were Romanian-born!  And who cannot love a saying such as, "Ceea ce viaţa te invaţa este mai important decat ceea ce te invaţa şcoala." (Emy, rrom)

All the entries in the book appear in both Romanian and English... but I'll let you translate that gem on your own.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Has Elfster Killed the Economy?

For about 30 years, as father of six, I had to buy myriad Christmas presents.  Thousands of dollars that we could ill-afford to spend went out each Christmas season in order to ensure a big pile of colorful presents under the tree on Christmas morning.  Much went for plastic crap with heavy price tags:  Star Wars toys, My Little Ponies, etc.  Then came all the electronic toys, Ataris, Nintendos, Playstations, etc., and God knows how much software for them all.  Sure, there were some sweaters, shirts and socks included, but the vast majority of the money went for toys that soon were gathering dust in corners of the kids' rooms, or in the "bunk room closet."   Moreover, all the kids, as they grew to be teenagers, felt equally compelled to give gifts to each other, and to us parents.  So the pile under the tree got to be a small mountain.  It was too much.  And then, along came Elfster!

Now, thanks to Elfster, we all have one family member to whom to give a Secret Santa gift!  It makes all the sense in the world!  Christmas is still about giving, and it is far less stressful for us all.

Christmas is no longer the time of year that my credit cards get tapped out, and for which I have to be paying all year long, at 18% interest.  Thank you, Elfster!

And the economy is tanking, and unemployment is at 9 to 16 % (depending on how one measures).

I am but one Dad among millions and millions of Dads in this consumerist country called America.  So, who's still doing the forced consuming that gave us those boom years?  Far fewer of us, thanks to Elfster!  Yep, thanks, Elfster.  (Thanks a bunch!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

La Mulți Ani, Jamie, and Felicitari, JJ & Amy!

Yesterday our strong, handsome, hardworking son Jamie turned 35, and a year ago today we celebrated the wedding of Jamie to the lovely, smart, kind and caring Amy Larkin in Orlando, Florida.  We love you, JJ & Amy!  Keep up the good work!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More from that Tuscan Classic Motorcycle Rally of May, 2010

Triumph Trident 750
 It occurs to me tonight that my fellow aficionados of motorcycling may have been shortchanged by my most-read post, so tonight I shall share more of the photos I took at Piazza Michelangelo that morning late in May of 2010.  Consider this a gallery.  I shall caption all which I can identify.  I encourage all who can to comment with the precise identity of any of these classics.
Moto Perugina 175

Honda CB500 Four (Circa 1970)

Pre-unit construction Triumph Twin (500cc or 650c, Circa 1958, I believe)

Honda CBX1000 Six, Circa 1982
Benelli 250

Suzuki 750cc Two-stroke Triple.  "The water buffalo."

Moto Guzzi Le Mans

Another view of the Le Mans

Ducati Single (Circa 1965?)

Honda CB350 Four  (A jewel)

Ducati Scrambler?

They all felt this way about their mounts.

Pre-V Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi engine detail shot.

Suzuki GSX550ES Circa 1985

MV Agusta 350

MV Sticker

Triumph Engine detail

Triumph gearbox (note right side shifter)

Triumph rear end detail.  Hard tail!

And we close with a lovely Laverda 750

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Trier and Wilmette Recollections Shared by an Old Friend

Message from a classmate:

      I'm still enjoying the reunion.  And I'm very grateful you brought Joseph McCloskey with you.  Also, I enjoyed learning that you dwell in the environs of my alma mater - a wonderful part of our country. 
      We survived Sonnenfeld
[our excellent, demanding, fifth grade teacher in Wilmette] together.  You likely may not remember me, as I spent a considerable amount of time in the silent "conference" room working independently with serenity - efforts to manage my behavior.  My solitude was commonly interrupted when Skip Dunham was sent in; he would educate me on the sexuality of the world. 
      Glad you convinced me that nobody was cut from the swimming or diving team.  I was self-centered enough back then to interpret not being "chosen" as a premier as being cut.  At least now I can begin my recovery.
      Anyway it was great to see you and identify that the spirit of your youth still prevails.

  George Brannen


Dear George,

It was good to see you, my friend.  I know what you mean by "still enjoying the reunion."  Me, too.

Interesting to read your story about your interpretation of being put on the "C Squad."  I had the identical reaction when, as an eight year-old, I was told that I was being put on a "farm team" in the Wilmette Little League.  Proud of my ability as a sandlot/Cub Scout League softball player, I was so hurt not to be put in the "majors" that I quit, and never played competitive baseball again. 

As for the "C Squad," it had a few remarkable successes.  Mike Doscher was a C-Squad member for three years, then made the State Meet Team as a senior.  He had skipped a grade, and was a year younger than we were.  Once he matured a bit, he got really fast.  I do not remember his event in the State Meet, but I think he may have been our second man in the 200 free, as Dave Robertson had moved David Lyons into the 50 and 100 for the state meet, letting Terry "T-bone" Townsend handle the 200 and the 400, events they had shared all season long in the dual meets.  This left a second slot open in the distance events.  As it happened, Lyons and T-bone brought us four first places in the solo freestyle events.  The last time I saw Mike Doscher, he was swimming in the finals of the NCAA meet at N. C. State in 1963, as a member of Stanford's 400-yard Freestyle Relay team.   ...

Our meeting and conversation were part of the Plan.  There are no coincidences.  That realization has come to me only in the last three years. 



Sunday, October 30, 2011

A great teacher, and a good friend.

Back a few posts I reported attending my 50th high school reunion in the New Trier Township, near Chicago.  Classmate Gay Weake and I brought our favorite English teacher, Mr. Jopseph W. "Uncle Joe" McCloskey, a WWII B-24 copilot who flew in the Pacific, out of New Guinea among other places, and is now a mere 89 years old, to the event.  He had a wonderful time there, as he was surrounded by admiring former students.  Here is a photo from the Friday bash at the Renaissance Hotel in Northbrook, Illinois.
Uncle Joe and Gay at the Reunion, 14 October 2011 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My A- for "Gross Illiteracy." (Alternate title: "Playing to a Tough Crowd")

There follows a Facebook conversation I have had over the past 18 months with my high school classmate author Lois Borkan Morris. [Posted with Lois' permission.]
May 12, 2010

 I hope this note finds you well and still thrilled with life. You can read about mine at the link below.

Your admirer and friend,


May 14, 2010
Hi. Your present and immediate future life sound exciting, speaking of thrilled with life. After your note last year about your brother (at Penn), I was about to counter with a bit of bragging about my outrageous radical activist criminal attorney sister, Susan Jordan...but then she died. Now, nearly a year later, I'm beginning to research a memoir about her, her career, our relationship. Much about the 60s, 70s, decisions made and life courses taken. Like there we were in Chicago August 1968, where she was in law school and I had returned to be married to my future ex-husband. Comes the day of the Democratic Convention and she's in the riot and I'm at a bridal shower.

And going back just a handful of years from that, to 1963, there I am writing you a letter in code, Jack Kennedy gets killed, life changes. And keeps changing.

Be well and enjoy your journeys. May we all. //L

July 19, 2011
  • Lois wrote: "And more: Duncan, how does the current government of and younger generation in Romania deal with the, uh, unpleasant realities of the past?"

    There are clearly visible scars in the demeanor of older Romanians, who are still quite reserved and formal in their modes of behavior and communication. Younger college-age (and just beyond) Romanians seem to me to be enjoying their European-hood, are ultra-modern users of the Internet and social media, and are doing a lot of travel in Western Europe. But still, they are pretty down on their country. They find that Romania, and Romanians are denigrated by their Italian "cousins," and that hurts their self-images. (I heard reports of beaches in Italy that had banned Romanians. The Romanians blame their expatriate "gypsies" for this image, but suffer nevertheless from the discrimination.)

    Male Romanians tend to be pessimistic. "Those in power are the former Communists, and until they die, things will never really change," is an oft-heard remark. The young men seem to buy into this thesis. They have not learned to take charge in a representative democracy, which can be done by a small minority that votes as a swing-vote block. (Witness Youth in electing B.O. here, and the Tea Party today in giving him fits.) The bureaucracy is huge and lacks a service attitude. The people exist to serve the government, rather than vice-versa.

    Female Romanians in the university town I lived in
    (Cluj) seem far better-adjusted then do men. They really take care of themselves, and they like to be noticed and appreciated by men. Of course, their beauty and charm are not lost on us auslanders, and many end up marrying foreigners and moving abroad. In general, the women evince self-confidence to a much greater degree than do Romanian men.
Those are my personal observations/opinions. Nothing more.

Thanks for asking!

July 20
  • So interesting, and so different from the Chinese, who make no comments about their government in public or private, as far as I can tell (when I'm drunk in China I understand every word). The younger generation is SO techno and Western-cool. And they're so into money. The older (our) generation that I've met--mostly in the arts--seem wistful. The bad old days were better for the artist than the profit-makes-perfect era.

    I've never traveled in eastern Europe, though when I was ed-in-chief for Arthur Frommer publishing, I wrote a guide to Romania in one of our newsletters, info culled from the tourist office in NY. I got more kudos from readers for that than for guides to countries I've been to. Hmm.

    Are you returning to Romania? //L
July 21
  • Yes, I will go back to Romania every chance I get. I love many people there, and it is a beautiful country, especially in Transylvania. Have you seen my photos from there, both in FB and in my blog?

    Doing Utmost, Never Caving, Always Nimble
July 21
  • Yes, I've seen the great photos. Are you going back to teach next semester? But you are coming to the reunion, right?

    Thanks for the book plug, by the way...
July 22
  • Dear LBM:

    No thanks needed. Tian/Morris is a great book. A page-turner about opera, of all things! (I have long loved a good biography, and this one I could not put down.)

    Yes, I am planning to come to the reunion, where I will attempt to give you a belated hug. Gay Weake and I are to be co-hosting the nearly blind and still beloved Uncle Joe McCloskey, if, as he puts it, he is "still around come October."

    I am to be teaching for my New Hampshire university in the fall, but only online MBA courses, so I will be free to accept my daughter's invitation to accompany her to Buenos Aires in September [a trip we decided to postpone for a year], and to fly to Budapest for an accreditation visitation scheduled for the week before our reunion. I hope to go to Europe a week or so early so that I can visit friends in Cluj, which is only a six-hour bus ride from Budapest
    [a trip recently completed].
Finally, I hope you saw my "then" in "seem better-adjusted then do men" as a typo. I would have circled it in a student's paper. ;-)

July 25
  • So glad you liked the book, Duncan. What an interesting job to write someone's memoir who didn't remember the context of what was going on around him, because he was a child, and whose childhood I researched, finding details that at first he fought me on, such as the specific actions the Red Guard took against named teachers at the middle schools he went to (oh I do love research).

    I remember Mr. McCloskey with great respect and affection. I had him for English senior year, I think it was. Were you in class with me?

    Buenos Aires (good opera city, btw), Budapest, Cluj, Chicago--eek, but surely advernturous.

    I have given you an A- minus for your then/than mixup--or I would have in junior year English at NT, where Mr. Jensen (who also taught German) had a list of Gross Illiteracies. But since the advent of email and texting and all that, your personal suffering will suffice. 


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Class of 1961

Reporting today from Northbrook, Illinois, where I am attending the 50th reunion of the New Trier High School Class of 1961.  We graduated 980-strong, and went our separate ways in a time of optimism and prosperity in America, and from today's perspective, in a less complicated world.  Some 150 from the class have returned to this Chicago suburb to share memories.  Those who are here look remarkably good, and seem to have weathered the years rather well.  Many are retired, but some (including Yours, Truly) are still working.
Gay Weake, Your Blogger, and Ann Rheinstrom, all NT '61

Last night we had a "meet & greet" here at the Renaissance Hotel, where the star turned out to be Mr. Joseph McCloskey, 89, a beloved English teacher whom Gay Weake and I invited to attend.  Scores of his former students kept him surrounded for almost four hours, and he seemed to enjoy the experience greatly.  "Uncle Joe," as he used to ask us to call him, was the sort of teacher who demanded that we read good books, and think about them, that we learn new words, and retain them, that we write good English, and that we express ourselves clearly, but he never told us what to think.  He was among my mentors.  I was thrilled to find him in good spirits, and so clear of mind.  He is now legally blind, and suffering from a "touch" of Parkinson's disease, but last night, you would not have known it.

Today we toured NT, where our class had been the first in the "new" tower building, and the first freshman class to see and use the magnificent auditorium.  We visited the balcony of the swimming pool, where a picture of me with "six-pack abs" still graces a wall of champions from the years that I was diving on the NT Swimming team. 

Now, I must pull on my formal duds and get downstairs, for the ride to the dinner dance leaves soon.