Archive for April, 2013

Thank You, Mrs. Konigsburg (and Ross)

E.L. Konigsburg with son Ross and me, 1967

E.L. Konigsburg with son Ross and me, Oct. 1967

I never thought of it before today but, as a child, my two favorite authors both published under their initials: E.B. White (whose spider’s woven vocabulary lesson inspired this blog’s name) and E.L. Konigsburg, who died on Friday at age 83. I never met the creator of Charlotte, Wilbur, and Stuart, but I did have good fortune to meet Elaine Lobl Konigsburg, in 1967, because her son, Ross, was one of my grade school classmates. Her first two books were published the same year, and she came to our school library for a special reading and book-signing event.

I remember vividly the confusing mix of embarrassment and pride I felt when I was pulled off the afternoon school bus to pose for a photo with Ross and his mother. The bus driver had to wait for a good ten minutes while the photographer fiddled with his flash and repositioned us around a table stacked with books to get the shot just right. I knew, and the other kids waiting on the bus to go home surely suspected, that we had all been delayed because Ross had a crush on me. My embarrassment and confusion were compounded the next day when the photo appeared in the local newspaper, and my mother wondered aloud why the photographer hadn’t directed me to tuck the stray lock of hair behind my ear. There I was, hair astray, pictured with shy, nerdy Ross, when, like every girl in our class, I had fallen hard for Dick Still, whose All-American good looks and athleticism crowned him our golden prince right through our 6th grade graduation. (Forgive me, Ross, if you ever stumble across this post. I’m sure we’ve both come a long way since 3rd grade!) Continue reading ‘Thank You, Mrs. Konigsburg (and Ross)’

Gimme Shelter, in Place

I will never complain about crowds or traffic in Harvard Square again

I swear, I’ll never complain about the traffic in Harvard Square again.

Yesterday, pre-lockdown, I was drafting a reflection on why I’ve always resisted self-identifying as a Bostonian. This is where I left off:

I wasn’t anywhere near the finish line of this year’s Boston Marathon, and even if I hadn’t been out of town, I never would have braved the crowds in Copley Square to be there. Nothing against the runners, I steer clear of Boston’s other signature events, too. I don’t have the slightest interest in attending First Night, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, or the July 4th Pops concert and fireworks on the Esplanade. I just can’t stand large crowds.

So, where was I on Marathon Monday? In tranquil midtown Manhattan, at Museum of Modern Art, along with throngs of others taking in the “Inventing Abstraction” exhibit. Critically acclaimed and set to close the next day, the show documented the explosion in the art world that began 100 years ago and radically changed how we see the world. Nothing would be the same after 1913, in art or geo-politics. Continue reading ‘Gimme Shelter, in Place’

Leaning In with the Women of Mad Men

mm31Like many rabid Mad Men fans, I’ve been pre-gaming for the April 7 kickoff of Season 6 by re-watching Season 5. And, like many of my girlfriends, I’ve also been reading and thinking about Lean In, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s new playbook for professional women. In Sandberg’s view, the office playing field hasn’t leveled off nearly enough for women in the 40-plus years since Mad Men heroines Peggy Olson and Joan Harris were the female standard bearers at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce – and, Sandberg asserts, instead of whining that the game is (still) rigged, today’s women simply need to “lean in” harder. Watching Mad Men has given me a new appreciation for how hard Peggy and Joan had to lean in back in their day, and reading Sandberg’s book has given me a new lens through which to view their actions.

So, let’s listen in on a “Lean In Circle” facilitated by author Sheryl Sandberg, as Peggy and Joan relate their progress moving the ball down the career field. The circle’s meeting takes place immediately following Episode 11 of Season 5 (“The Other Woman”). Continue reading ‘Leaning In with the Women of Mad Men’


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