Category Archives: Memoir

With local sports, he made a difference

A wonderful tribute for a sports writer and, indeed, any journalist: “He instilled in us the importance of knowing that the event you were covering that day was the most important thing to the players and coaches on the field. George never thought he was bigger than the event and he never thought another event was bigger than the one he was covering.”

This accolade is for Trentonian sports writer George O’Gorman from Bob Nuse, Packet sports editor, who I am privileged to number among my friends at Princeton United Methodist Church. Here is his memorial column.

Advertisements

Medieval Nuremberg

dscf3537.jpg

Good friends,  Ginny and Norm, will have two days in Nuremberg, our home town in the ’60s. They have booked the Nuremberg trial tour, and here is my ‘take’ on what else to see. Our most recent visit was 2015, when our friend Martin gave us an excellent tour of the medieval city, rebuilt after the war to look old again. Take your guidebook but here are my picks with the caveat that my sense of direction is spotty; check your map!

The “berg” in Nuremberg is a hill. The “burg” on the top of the hill is a castle.  Start at the  the castle, the highest point in the old city. You can do it on your own but if you take the  short tour you get into the “deep well,” which is fun and could be a sermon topic. You will learn it was NOT part of Bavaria, but of Franken, of historic import, says Martin.

As you walk down the hill to the RR station and tourist office, you will pass most everything you need to see. Plan to get to the Hauptmarkt and Frauenkirche at noon, so you can see the Glockenspiel clock.

DSCF3484

But do stop at the Albrecht Durer house. We spent at least an hour there, going room to room and learning about 16th century life. You might even be greeted by Agnes Durer. A Durer-focused gift shop is across the street.

 

 

My favorite of the churches is St. Lorenz. Buy the English guidebook and you can easily spend an hour. You will also like the big area at the back with its mission exhibits. Weekday services are at 5 p.m., just before closing time at 5:30.

558px-Nürnberg_St_Lorenz_Veit_Stoß_Engelsgruß
Annunciation at St. Lorenz

DSCF3202

Tabernacle by Veit Stoss at St. Lorenz. Open 9 to 5:30, services at 5.

 

 

DSCF3242

 

 

The Nurnberg Angel (I don’t have an umlaut but I like this spelling better) hangs over the streets in December for the Christkindlmart. You should be able to find her in the souvenir shops; she is made from colored foil. The story goes that a Nurnberg craftsman was grieving over the loss of his golden-haired daughter. She appeared to him in a dream, and he made a little doll out of colored foil for his Christmas tree.

 

By this time you will have reached the Hauptmarket, where you can get fixings for a picnic. They probably sell lebkuchen, and they might even have it ‘gluten frei.’ You can read about the sad history of this area,  a plaza dominated by Frauenkirche, here.  Hopefully you arrived at noon so you can See the clock . Don’t bother with the church. The Beautiful Fountain is also here as is St. Sebaldus Church, worth seeing and open till 6 p.m.

At the bottom of the hill, right at the wall of the old city, across from the RR station and the tourist bureau, is the crafts market (Handwerk Market) good for window shopping, tho pricey, and it also has eateries.  Tree ornaments are hard to resist!  If you might want to buy loden woolens (I love my cape), price them at Landau’s before you leave or online. They are more fun to buy in Germany, but they might be just as well priced in Princeton. But shop in Germany for unusual and stylish woolen hats.

Another option for sightseeing is this excellent walking tour from the New York Times; it emphasizes St. Sebaldus Church.

Somewhere in the city – ask in the tourist office because I can’t remember where – is an outside statue of a man whose front half is normal and whose back half is full of worms and ugly things. It’s a cringe-worthy Bible lesson for medieval passersby.

Along the way you will encounter lots of photogenic spots, including this one on the Pegnitz River. Be sure to get someone to take this iconic photo!

DSCF3238
Thanks, Martin, for a terrific tour! Ginny and Norm, have a wonderful time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From worm poop to designer bottles?

TerraCycle_CEO_Tom_SzakyGarbage is certainly the hero at the Terracycle headquarters, says Diccon Hyatt, who tells of Tom Szaky’s latest iteration, a new business model for his throwaway manufacturing business. It’s Diccon Hyatt’s cover story in the issue dated July 4 but being distributed a day early, click here, 

It’s a long way from when the headquarters for Szaky’s four-person start-up was a basement room, with a futon cot, on the corner of Nassau and Chamber Street.  U.S. 1 has charted his progress. His success story – leaving Princeton University to start a business –  is no comfort to hand-wringing parents of students aiming to quit school to follow their dreams.

 

Listen well to get at the truth

OwlthenaLogoFINAL_Full-Logo-on-White

An article from the Harvard Business Review courtesy of Niki (Veronica) Fielding’s  new newsletter Owlthena, validated one of my favorite approaches to reporting: Keep prepared questions to a minimum and just ‘follow the trail’ of where the conversation leads.

It works only when there is no time limit, and when you have the freedom to circle back to the subject again, but it’s pretty exciting to start at square one as if you know almost nothing. When you let one question lead to another, both you and your subject may be surprised at the discoveries.

HBR says: Follow-up questions seem to have special power. They signal to your conversation partner that you are listening, care, and want to know more. People interacting with a partner who asks lots of follow-up questions tend to feel respected and heard.

It also works for me to say, at the beginning, anything can be off the record:

HBR: People also tend to be more forthcoming when given an escape hatch or “out” in a conversation. For example, if they are told that they can change their answers at any point, they tend to open up more—even though they rarely end up making changes. 

The article came to me in Niki’s new Owlthena newsletter, “What’s Hot Wednesday,” an assembly of business studies that I would not have seen. The one from HBR was by Alison Wood Brooks and Leslie K. John. (Feminist thought: is it a coincidence that this intensive study on listening was done by women?)

One caution about this approach: Many busy people don’t want to give you the time to meander down uncharted lanes. Keep the prepared questions in your pocket.

 

 

 

Safer children? Maybe not

20120610164834_00019ALiving three blocks from a school, I am continually surprised to see parents walking fourth graders to and fro. Yet I remember how my sister and I walked ourselves to school in every grade. As for my kids, I never accompanied my kids to the bus stop and often I didn’t keep tabs on where, in the neighborhood, they were.

Is it such a different world? This article in the Atlantic explains how today’s parents protect their children — and question whether that’s needed or effective.

Breakfast with Pat

pat tanner

Pat Tanner bills herself as the sixth of seven children in a food-obsessed Italian family, and she admits that the terms ‘food-obsessed’ and ‘Italian’ are redundant. An award-winning food writer, restaurant critic, and blogger, Tanner speaks at the Princeton chamber breakfast on Valentine’s Day, Wednesday, February 14, at the Nassau Club, starting at 7:30 a.m.

Always devoted to some aspect of food, Tanner edited the Zagat Survey, contributed to publications such as the New York Times and New Jersey Monthly, hosted a live, weekly radio show, co-founded the Central Jersey Chapter of Slow Food, and catered meals delivered to homes,  In fact, that’s when I first met her — Tanner delivered dinners to my fridge in the ’80s.

She has written for U.S. 1 Newspaper since 2002 – later for the Princeton Echo of Community News – chronicling how Princeton added fine dining opportunities to what was pretty much a wasteland.

In true U.S. 1 fashion, Tanner told the stories behind the cooking personalities, as in this profile of three women bakers. Early in her tenure she shared what she taught to financial advisors: a top 10 list of breaches of dining etiquette. She’s not too uppity to review a hot dog stand,  She has a blog, dinewithpat.com. 

Last year, when Tanner put food writing on the back burner, she began letting her picture be published. (Food critics try to remain anonymous.) But her fans keep hoping to lure her to the table.  The breakfast table at the Nassau Club is the place to be on Wednesday.

 

Merrie Landers: Girl Scouts to Europe

original

Here’s a wonderful piece by Margarita Cambest in the Towson Times, a Baltimore Sun newspaper, about my Girl Scout troop, the Merrie Landers, and our 1957 10-week trip to Europe.  A memorable moment in time.  I’m in the first row, far right, in both pictures. Fashion note that Cambest included: we camped in Girl Scout uniform dresses. We weren’t allowed to wear pants.

beth girls DSC04668

person to person still matters

franklin corner deli

It’s 6:30 am at Franklin Corner Deli, and in walks Jerry Fennelly, one of my best ‘sources’ when I was reporting on real estate, picking up morning coffee for his 13 hour day. What’s new, Jerry? He obligingly launches into his trend analysis (I haven’t seen it, but you can order it). My take on what he said:

  • landlords should worry, businesses are taking smaller offices than their job roster warrants because many workers will be traveling or working from home.  Fennelly cited a company that is taking half the space that the workforce size would warrant.
  • retail real estate dealers should worry because the whole world of real estate is morphing into an Amazon-endangered zone.

fennellyFennelly and I enjoy a back and forth about the prospects of shoe stores and food stores. Shoe stores, he admits, might survive because bunion-sufferers like to try on shoes. The food business might be transformed by the Peapods and the Blue Aprons, but folks will still patronize the entertainment side of food – restaurants.

Today a New York Times article underlines Fennelly’s proposition. What we in Princeton know as “shared office space” began l-o-n-g ago with businesses like Princeton Office Solutions in inexpensive (now ancient) developments like Hilton Realty’s Research Park. The cheapest rental space is the mailbox they keep for you, and you can rent conference rooms if you need to meet a client.

In the ’80s and ’90s independent landlords operated these spaces all over Greater Princeton. Last time I looked (disclaimer, I retired 5 years ago and no longer track this), virtually all the Class A spaces had been bought out by Regus. 

The next new business model might be for large co-working space operators to rent large amounts of space for, according to a NYT source, “commercial landlords who want to maintain a hands-off approach with renters and not have to provide copy machines, mail forwarding and receptionists to individual tenants.” In other words, the co-working spaces will house – not just start-ups and entrepreneurs but significantly sized companies.

Yet – yet – the Wall Street Journal says the opposite. 

Employers are ending or reducing remote-work arrangements as managers demand more collaboration, closer contact with customers—and more control over the workday. But bringing workers back to the office isn’t easy.

Fennelly went on his way and I went back to Delaware Valley Physical Therapy  to introduce aJames-W-226x150.-Schorsch,-PT,-DPT friend to the ministrations of the fabulous Jim Schorsch. Seems to me these two trends will prevail — the value of chance encounters like this one, and the viability of hands-on occupations like the various therapies. You can’t massage a sore knee with TV medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

Cross your fingers: health news

Today’s healthcare news:

I’ll start with Juliet Eilperin’s coverage of the healthcare bill in the Washington Post, “From hospitals, doctors, and patients, a last gasp of opposition to the Senate health-care bill,” A Daily Princetonian alumna, the Post’s senior national affairs correspondent, she tells of how hospitals have mounted unusual lobbying efforts. ‘While McConnell had been pressing for a vote on the measure before the end of June, the delay gave opponents more time to marshal their arguments and make their case to lawmakers. This final lobbying push represents opponents’ best chance of derailing McConnell’s final drive to passage, which continues to look uncertain.’

Today the CEO of Incyte, Herve Hoppenot, speaks at the Princeton Regional chamber lunch. Look for me in a striped jacket. At age six I ‘worked’ in my parents’ cancer research lab and 70 years later I have a vested interest in new cancer cures.

 

Leni Morante: Turning the Page

leni
Leni Morante at work

Looking back can be so much fun, especially when your past can encourage someone else’s future. Léni Paquet-Morante,  an artist who has kept touch with me over several decades, called with her latest news. I took vicarious joy in what she is doing now.

Morante had been busy with raising three children, volunteering in their schools, rehabbing an historic house, and supporting the successful career of her sculptor husband, G. Frederick Morante. In 1984 they met at the Johnson Atelier,  where she did bronze, copper, and clay sculpture. I wrote about her husband’s work for U.S. 1 Newspaper in the late ’80s. His Daedulus remains one of my favorite pieces, and his ‘Relative’  is one of the large bronzes that J. Seward Johnson commissioned for Grounds for Sculpture.

Thirty years later (can it really be that long ago?) I am retired, Fred is on the staff at the Digital Atelier, and Leni has turned the page in her career. With her children grown, she carved out a space next to the kitchen for her studio and declared independence from cooking dinner.

morante Untitled-Rosemont-061017-30x30-for-website580
Leni Morante: June 11, 2017 In 2017, acrylic on linen, Untitled: Rosemont – 30 x 30

Leni has a solo show opening Wednesday, July 5, at Princeton University’s 113 Dickinson Hall, called “Atmosphere, Place an Time,” described as “paintings that represent familiar local landscapes but which also hint at something more complex.” Best of all, she has an artist residency award at the Lacawac Field Sanctuary in Lake Ariel, PA, and will have two weeks of focused studio and plein-air work next October.

I smiled and smiled when Leni spoke of being recognized with a two-week residency because in 1980 — at almost exactly the same point in my career, I had had a similar opportunity. I landed an NEA Fellowship to a dance critics workshop at the American Dance Festival at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Along with a dozen journalist from around the country, I took movement classes, saw concerts, wrote reviews, and was totally immersed in dance.

It was triply sweet.

b at adf cropped
Barbara Figge at ADF 1960
  • I could leave family cares behind for three weeks.
  • It was my second visit to ADF: 20 years before I had gone to ADF when it was at Connecticut College. That summer persuaded me not to a pursue a dance career. Now, three children later, struggling to make my mark as a journalist, I could go back to ADF as a working dance critic.
  • I returned to my ‘stomping ground.” ADF had moved to my alma mater, Duke University.
1980-slow-walk-adf-e1498928809148.jpg
American Dance Festival 1980, Duke University. Student learning how to do a “Slow Walk” with choreograher Kei Takei

So, yes, I can truly rejoice with Leni Morante. She is using every available minute to paint. Right now she has a day job, so she paints on weekends, but in October — I smile and encourage her painting sabbatical. Meanwhile, with vicarious joy, I will admire her work.

 “Atmosphere, Place, and Time,” paintings by Léni Paquet-Morante, will be on view starting Wednesday, July 5, at 113 Dickinson Hall. This gallery, curated by Dana Lichtstrahl, is sponsored by Princeton University’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies and is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A “meet the artist” reception is Friday, July 14, noon to 2 p.m. Her home-based studio is in Hamilton, NJ. Her portfolio since 1984 includes painting, bronze,copper, and clay sculpture, some of which is represented in NJ corporate collections, private collections locally and internationally, and as public art. A full CV and other works can be seen on her website http://www.lenimorante.com. Requests to meet the artist and/or for additional image files can be made through lenimorante@yahoo.com or cell 609-610- 3631.