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WHY I LOVE BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN BY / CHRISTINE SHAFFER

Larry, my boyfriend, introduced me to Springsteen in 1975 in our local Queens, New York record shop. “You gotta get this album,” he said, handing over Born to Run. Since I was captivated by everything Larry did, being that he was a senior and I, a sophomore who loved him with that complete baby love I still had at fifteen, I bought the album and listened to it that afternoon. From Springsteen’s first gravelly vocal notes of “Thunder Road” to his last moaning cry of “Jungleland,” his words fed the embryonic writer in my brain. Born to Run was not just an album of eight songs, for me they were short stories, plays, movies, poems, essays set to music. I was giddy with the workings of it all. You could do that? Write gritty stories of one’s neighborhood, one’s friends, shady people, using one’s actual streets names –– give them all credence? Then perhaps I could, too. There were stories of struggle, of lost loves, of dreams that would never be realized on that record. At the same time, I saw characters of my beloved English Lit class come to life –– Romeo and Juliet lived in the title song and in “She’s the One,” Mercutio and Tybalt fought in “Jungleland.” I realized this was no longer my world of David Cassidy and Donny Osmond. This was serious, exciting, complicated. It was the adult world and I was getting ready for it. I had already let Larry, in his to-sir-with-love moment, take me from Tiger Beat Magazine to Rolling Stone, from the Jackson 5 to Jimi Hendrix. Larry became my pseudo Bruce boyfriend because he conveniently looked like Bruce –– except for his purple tinted aviator eyeglasses and the fact that he was a Greek-American, Larry had Bruce’s permanent five o’clock shadow, tousled brown hair, was skinny, wore a motorcycle jacket every day, tight Levis and dusty, black biker boots. And Larry was practically from New Jersey himself; his family rented a summer house in Point Pleasant Beach just six miles from Bruce’s Asbury Park. It was all perfect. My mother forbade me to be with him. “He’s already a man,” she said, “much too old for you.” So, of course, Larry and I spent a lot of time together, secretly driving in his dark blue Camaro –– not down Kingsley as Springsteen sang about, but down Astoria Boulevard to Astoria Park –– stopping between drag racers, drug dealers and other bored teenagers like ourselves look2 2 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

Editor & Publisher Editor Art Director Executive Editor Travel Editor Editors at Large

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ing to make out beneath the Triborough Bridge. Afterwards we’d hold hands, my head leaned back in the crook of Larry’s leather jacketed arm, while looking at New York City’s diamondesque lights across the East River, hearing the endless thump-thump of cars above our heads mingling with Born to Run playing on the car’s cassette player. I felt Springsteen was in Larry’s back seat the whole time, saying, “I know how it is, man, I know all about it.” As though Springsteen knew our lives: our alcoholic, absent, unemployed fathers, our bitter, tired mothers, our crowded apartments, our graffiti-ridden public schools, our downtrodden teachers, our tumbleweed existence. Bruce gave us, gave me, hope in his famous line, “baby we were born to run” and I sincerely believed I was going to run out of there someday. In time I had to let Larry go, buckling under the pressure of “doing it” or in my case, not doing it. “How long do you think Larry’s going to walk you home after school and take you for car rides, Chris? Huh?” my best friend, Patty would ask me, “How long before, you know ––– Jeez, Larry’s not a monk, for god’s sake. You know what Bruce says? ‘From your front porch to my front seat, the door’s open but the ride ain’t free.’ The. ride. ain’t. free. Chris. Get it?” Bruce and Patty were right. It wasn’t free. So I released Larry to willing girls and the open maw of quasi-illegal activities that surrounded our high school while I took my place in regret. I kept Bruce though, and graduated to his other albums so that by my senior year he had cemented for me the last stage of my evolution in becoming an American teenager. I was born in Paris, France and arrived in New York City with my parents at eight months old, in 1961. My musical heritage was Edith Piaf, Tino Rossi, Serge Gainsbourg and Johnny Hallyday but they weren’t my generation and I didn’t understand, couldn’t interpret their nuances, the cadences, the underlying net of their stories. How could I when I had scalpeled most of my being away from my French self by then, leaving only a quick desire for crème brulée, Tintin comic books and Petit Bateau T-shirts? Springsteen supplied the sealant as I grafted myself onto my American world. How was I going to explain to my French cousins, Bruce’s words: “…Magic Rat drove his sleek machine over the Jersey state line?” or “the highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive?” How was I going to explain his characters of Wendy, Eddie and Bad Scooter to them? I wasn’t. We were on different planets. One cousin knew it when I visited him one summer in France. I was nineteen. I arrived wearing my navy blue and goldenrod yellow cowboy boots and a denim jacket with the inside of Led Zeppelin’s IV album painted on the back. “She’s a rocker,” my cousin whispered as I walked by. He said it with such heaviness, as though he were saying goodbye to his best friend. He was saying goodbye. I wouldn’t return for another sixteen years. In that time, Bruce delivered more of America to me as he himself delved deeper with parts of The River, Nebraska and the Ghost of Tom Joad –– albums that arced away from his arena-anthemed, pop songs and paid quiet homage to Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan –– an American musical tradition steeped in grit and struggle. With just his guitar, harmonica and a far off fiddle, Springsteen described the histories of the Depression and its harshness, Mexicans crossing U.S. borders into horror, prisoners on death row, highway patrolmen doubting the law, bank robbers, Vietnam vets all living in places I knew nothing about: Fresno County,

2 4 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

Youngstown, the Sierra Madres, Sinaloa, the Mesabi iron range. This was the music of how America explained itself, and Springsteen, in those albums, laid it out for me like an ever-expanding triptych. I now use Springsteen’s music to explain calamities to myself. Two years ago when my father was dealt his double death sentence of liver and bile duct cancer, while my mother was diagnosed three months later with Lou Gehrig’s disease and became paralyzed, I listened to all my Springsteen albums one after the other almost every day. I also listened to Maria Callas, The Who, Mary J. Blige, the Decemberists –– but mostly I listened to Bruce because only through his music could I take an Alice-inWonderland tumble back to 1975, where reliving the story of two teenagers in a Camaro gave me respite from the crushing gears of the business of the dead and the deformed. His songs gave me repose from the words “terminal,” and “low survival rate,” which continue to press against me daily. His songs appeal to the pessimistic side my parents planted in me long ago but Bruce then goes one more step –– deliverance, even if it’s temporary. He throws me the rope to get out, leads me to the escape hatch. Show a little faith. Roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair. Let the brokenhearted love again. Viper’s in the grass, this too shall pass. Together, Wendy, we can live with the sadness. Someday girl, I don’t know when, we’re gonna get to that place where we really want to go and we’ll walk in the sun. You work nine to five and somehow you survive. Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact. But maybe everything that dies some day comes back. I carry those lines with me as armor, as inoculation against sheer despair so that when I see my mother I can cheerfully say “Hi Mom, how’s it going today?” without breaking down, or I can look into her eyes, smile, even though she can no longer breathe without a machine. It’s all right. Springsteen taught me to put one foot in front of the other and to march on. He has become my reference guide, my what-would-Bruce-say gauge, my go to guy. And I do go to him. I can hear him through his songs saying, look darlin’, these are the cards you’ve been dealt. They’re not all good. Now let’s examine. And when I do, Springsteen tells me that redemption and salvation are hard won and sometimes they don’t come at all. That’s just the way it is. Bruce has braided the three threads of my life, by jump starting my young desire to be a writer, assisting in my transformation from an immigrant kid to an American teenager and he still teaches me –– now it’s how to push through grave illness. During his concerts, Bruce is my time machine. When the blue light comes down on only him and he sings the slow part in “Jungleland,” it’s as though I’ve swallowed an elixir of memory, a vial of the pure past. In that moment, I can almost hear the crackle of Larry’s leather jacket around my neck once more, his stubble at my cheek. In that moment, it is 1980 again. Look how happy Patty and I are dancing in Bruce’s Madison Square Garden audience. We’re happy to be there of course and overjoyed because we’ve got tickets to see him again for the next two nights. Here in this moment, my father is alive and my mother walks this earth. ❉ Christine Shaffer, a writer, lives in Westport.

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MEET WESTON’S PETER SCHIFF: INVESTOR, CRITIC, CANDIDATE BY JOHN HOCTOR REPUBLICAN U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE AND WESTON RESIDENT, PETER SCHIFF, WAS A NEAR LONE INVESTMENT VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS AS EARLY AS 2004 WHEN HE BEGAN PREDICTING THE COUNTRY'S HOUSING AND ECONOMIC COLLAPSE. SCHIFF, AN ECONOMIST, INVESTMENT BROKER, WALL STREET PROGNOSTICATOR, TALK SHOW AND YOUTUBE STAPLE, FORMER ADVISER TO THE RON PAUL PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 2008, AND THIRD GENERATION NATIVE SON, DECLARED HIS CANDIDACY FOR CONNECTICUT'S U.S. SENATE SEAT ON MSNBC'S MORNING JOE IN LATE 2009. A QUESTION CONNECTICUT VOTERS WILL HAVE TO ASK THEMSELVES THIS YEAR IS IS SCHIFF, WHO GAINED FREE-MARKET CELEBRITY STATUS AFTER CORRECTLY PREDICTING THE HOUSING CRASH IN 2008, CORRECT ABOUT WHAT CONNECTICUT-AND THE COUNTRY-NEED?

The field of Republicans Schiff must first vanquish in primary battles if he's going to win the seat of retiring Senator Christopher Dodd include former eastern Connecticut congressman Ron Simmons, and Republican National Committee darling, Linda McMahon, resigned CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment and wife of World Wrestling Federation legend Vince McMahon.


Promising on Morning Joe to improve his accessibility to local media throughout the campaign, Schiff was interviewed by Weston Magazine on a gray December morning at his sprawling Weston home. To create a mental picture of the trim, 46-year-old Schiff, think Liam Neeson cast as a contemporary Tevye with a crew cut and a receding hairline. Schiff discussed in his classic rapid-fire, high-decibel style the campaign, family, Connecticut, and his favorite topic, the economy. Schiff is the author of the 2007 Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse. Schiff passionately told Weston that the $700 billion bailout was a mistake of magnitude that only prolonged and exacerbated economic ills of Wall Street investment houses and banks. “It would have been best for the taxpayers, the Wall Streeters, the government, and the country to let them fail,” Schiff began. “As a result of the bailout actions [taken by the government] Wall Street thinks it's better off, but the currency has been further debased to the point of no return.” Even Goldman Sachs' own chief operating officer, Gary Cohn, recently posited that the bailout may have been unnecessary in a recent Vanity Fair interview. There Cohn said, “I think we would not have failed,” without the bailout. Supporting Schiffian logic further and risking the rage of taxpayers, Cohn stated in his lower Manhattan office, “We had the cash.”

Financial Sage or Doomsayer? Alternately called financial sage and doomsayer, Schiff also disputes conventional wisdom that the U.S. economy has turned around. “I really do believe this country is headed for a major crisis. We didn't just have the crisis. The crisis is still in front of us, and I think it's going to be horrific.” It must be acknowledged early on that Schiff is the president of Euro Pacific Capital, a Westport headquartered investment house that to be sure appears nearly recession proof, reaping indisputable profits for

out of his one-bedroom apartment after he bought a broker dealership, and reincorporated it in 1996. “I spent all day cold calling people to get clients,” Schiff recalled. The approach paid off, with the successful growth of the business to become the 100-person firm Euro Pacific Capital is today. With methodical zealotry and no apologies to the political left, Schiff had publicly dismissed Dodd as a lifelong “politician” tainted by longevity and connectedness, and not what early founders favored in a citizen legislator. Schiff looked to his Euro Pacific leadership and touted-with Palinesque rhetoric-that his lack of political experience was advantageous to credibly challenge Dodd, the powerful, five-term chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Now, he's ready to take on all Democratic contenders. Schiff claims his concern for the Constitution rather than political opportunity was his motivation for a seemingly volte-face career decision. “Let me be clear, I'm interrupting my career. It's not like I want a career in politics. But I'm willing to interrupt it the same way that the greatest generation interrupted their careers and joined the World War II effort and went off to fight the Nazis. I don't think that I'm that heroic, and I don't think I'm risking as much as a soldier. But it's the same principle. There is too much on the line IF the federal government continues to destroy the Constitution.” His one goal if elected would be to “get America's fiscal house in order and stop Washington's reckless spending!” The same irresponsible financial policies that got Wall Street into trouble are repeating themselves in Washington- only on an even bigger scale, Schiff contends. “We cannot borrow and spend our way to economic prosperity. Most Connecticut families are making cutbacks during this recession, and Washington needs to match their sacrifice.”

“WE CANNOT BORROW AND SPEND OUR WAY TO ECONOMIC PROSPERITY. MOST CONNECTICUT FAMILIES ARE MAKING CUTBACKS DURING THIS RECESSION, AND WASHINGTON NEEDS TO MATCH THEIR SACRIFICE.” clients during all years of the last decade except, he concedes, 2008. With bravado, Euro Pacific Capital's website advises potential investors to, well, invest during any economic climate, “Because there's a bull market somewhere.” Seizing opportunity could be considered Schiff's long suit. Schiff's fiancée and campaign worker, Martha O'Brien, noted to Weston that Schiff supported himself through college, and was “self made and started [his business] with nothing” by getting up everyday, working long hours, and sacrifice. After earning a degree in economics at UC Berkeley, Schiff went to work at Wall Street firm Shearson Lehman Brothers. He left seven years later, in 1994, out of disgust over what he termed Wall Street's “shady deals and unsound financial practices,” which included convincing investors other than the institutional investor giants to invest in deals that he said benefited the investment houses rather than the investors. Schiff started his own one-man firm

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Poster Boys Schiff called Dodd the ultimate Washington insider and the “poster boy for the economic crisis.” Former adviser to former Libertarian Ron Paul's Republican campaign in 2008, Schiff also noted that in college he was the only student with a life-sized poster of Ronald Reagan displayed on the wall. Schiff's arch villain also appears to be “government.” “Government is going to continue to make the same mistakes that have made this [economic] crisis inevitable.” Schiff said. “Every time there's any kind of crisis, the government responds to it by seizing power, and we surrender more liberties, and more of the Constitution is shredded, all in the name of trying to solve problems.” Schiff also assailed the Obama administration and government intervention into health care. “Obama's stimulus package cost taxpayers $160,000 for every job it created.” Schiff sees as absolutely predictable that when the government intervenes, costs, including those for health


Peter Schiff Bio Peter David Schiff was born March 23, 1963, in New Haven. He is Jewish; attended public elementary and secondary schools in Connecticut, New York, Florida, and California; and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in economics in 1987. After college graduation, Schiff worked for Wall Street's Shearson Lehman Brothers as a financial consultant. He then started his own brokerage firm in 1996 and is now president of Euro Pacific Capital. Schiff's parents divorced when he was 5. Schiff has a 7-year-old son, Spencer, who attends Head O'Meadow Public School in Newtown. Schiff's hobbies include playing board games and chess with his son, sailing, tennis, and golf. He loves sitcoms, has seen every episode of “Seinfeld,” and his favorite movies are Gladiator and Braveheart. Schiff, divorced, is engaged to marry Martha O'Brien, who works with the Schiff campaign. care, will go up. He offers as a case in point Lasik eye surgery costs, which typically aren't covered by insurance but have gone down, while other costs covered by Medicare and other insurance have gone, sometimes exponentially, up. O'Brien added that Schiff “is the most pro-life candidate in this race,” and opposes government funding of abortions. Peter Schiff is nothing if not consistent on message. Schiff insists that his consistently pure free market stance, rather than rendering his campaign feckless, as some commentators have claimed, is his strength, one that the public is more willing to recognize than the pundits. Schiff pointed to a fall 2009 address he gave in Poland at an economic conference. “People were coming up to me wanting a picture. I was the only person, really, that got any applause. And the applause spiked when I directly addressed capitalism and the beauties of the free market. I got applause from people who were born in a communist country.” Schiff also has a potent self-awareness that makes his message and potential candidacy viable, with the near built-in support of the Ron Paul voting bloc. Schiff has, like Obama before him, outmaneuvered his fellow Republican opponents via the Internet. Indeed, Schiff pointed to response from young people to his free market purity as the catalyst for his getting into the Senate race. “About 5,000 people contributed to the Schiff for Senate site schiffforsenate.com that was set up by a few kids

in California.” He said he then set up his own exploratory site and told website visitors that he was thinking about running, and if anyone wanted him to run to send him money and maybe he'd run. “I got lots of emails from people too, especially from young people, not just from America, but all around the world,” he recounted.

Last “Laughter” Schiff's internet fans produced a politically priceless ten-minute YouTube video clip of his various predictions on financial market collapse, which has garnered more than 1.3 million hits. The clip includes segments such as Schiff's now signature statement, “The U.S. economy is like the Titanic and I am here with the lifeboat trying to get people to leave the ship... I see a real financial crisis coming for the U.S.” That heretical, prophetical TV outburst provoked smirks and ridicule by none other than the grandfather of “trickledown” economics' himself, Arthur Laffer. With his typical broad grin and the reassurance of being proved right and the last “laugher,” Schiff reflected easily. “What made that clip so good is not so much me as everybody else. People all over cable were laughing at me.” Schiff's website has raised more than $1.2 million in donations and posts a running tally. Schiff is well aware that his presence on the web has been oxygen to his campaign. “I don't think young people are strict CNBC watchers, [where he was a near regular in 2008] but they're seeing me largely on my daily video blog or the numerous YouTube posts online.”

Free Market Purity or '10-for-One' Political Extremism? But Schiff's free market purity could ultimately be his undoing. Candidate Schiff's strategy certainly could be to keep the pot boiling over with hot rhetoric to ignite his candidacy. A May 2009 Time.com opinion poll predicted that his political star may be waning already because of extremism that is similar to, while not shared by, his father, Irwin, 81, currently serving 13 years in federal prison for tax evasion. His father is highly published on the merits of revolt against paying taxes, including the 1992 book The Federal Mafia. Tax paying-Schiff said that he took “the easy way out” on taxes-unlike his father's absolute adamancy against paying any taxes and numerous court battles protesting their constitutionality. In a July, 2009 interview with MotorhomeDiaries.com, Peter Schiff lamented that his father, with his intellect and talent, has spent so much of his life fighting the losing battle over the constitutionality of taxes. The candidate said that he talked with several judges himself about his father's battles in the courts against the IRS, and that judges had told him “off the record” that his father is technically right that the federal government cannot legally collect taxes, but from a practical standpoint the practice is benign and the judges have to “protect the government's revenue sources.” He said the government didn't even respond to complaints his father filed in court, yet judges ruled in the government's favor. “The problem with my father is that he refused to acknowledge [the impossibility of winning]” because he wanted to be vindicated. Quixotically, his father would say that he had “a tiger by the tail” and, therefore, couldn't abandon his battle against the federal government. If elected in 2010 to the six-year Senate seat, Schiff would bring a unique mathematical equation to the table. He would presumably posi-


tion himself in a party of one in the Senate, and, he contends, would serve as its only real constitutional defender of freedom. “Of course Ron Paul and Alan Grayson, a good friend and client, are there, but they're just two congressmen. Paul is older now. If I can take a Senate seat, there's a lot more power in a Senate seat than a House seat. And most of the other senators spend 90% of their time trying to get reelected-raising money, doing what it takes to stay in the Senate, right? I'm not going to spend any of my time on that. So I'll be, like, ten Senators all by myself.” A financial professional for more than 20 years, Schiff relocated Euro Pacific Capital to Connecticut in 2005, according to the Stamford Advocate, to find brokers “who think like him” and because the New York metropolitan area has the highest concentration of brokers in the country, easing their recruitment. Schiff is president of the company, which has offices in Newport Beach, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach; Los Angeles; and Manhattan. An expert on money, economic theory, and international investing, Schiff is a highly recommended broker by many leading financial newsletters and investment advisory services. Schiff continued: “Our economy as it is currently structured does not work. It functions because we go around the world and borrow money from the Chinese and the Japanese and the Saudis, and then we spend it on products that we import. So 70% percent of our GDP is composed of consumer spending. How can you have an economy that runs like this?” In many ways, unlike the competition, Schiff saw everything that Dodd was blind to in the current economic crisis, and he would be foolish not

It's pointless to go mano a mano or issue du jour with Schiff on the decade's big issues: healthcare, terrorism, environment, war/peace, or economy, because eventually any discussion cycles backward to his hard-boiled free market ideological foundation of the Austrian school of economics, which advocates a laissez faire approach to the economy. This potentially could handicap his entrée into mainstream politics, and remains obvious to media that have interviewed Schiff. The risk he runs is that he could be 'defined' by his opponents as too doctrinaire or inflexible for Washington's collegial senatorial culture. Finally, it's easy to universally promote higher savings but where is the reconstruction plan to provide jobs and income to save? Ultimately, constitutionalist Schiff thinks it doesn't really matter what he believes about abortion, evolution, and drugs because government cannot constitutionally, in his opinion, legislate these issues in a free society. Like his father before him, the younger Schiff believes that no constitutional authority exists to authorize the federal government to pass laws limiting these freedoms, and deems that the states are solely responsible for the power not given by expressed consent in our constitution. Largely expounding the entire Ninth Amendment, Schiff added, “This means that most social issues would be dealt with on a state level.”

Consistency in Message and Practice? “If preserving purchasing power is the goal, we are convinced that the investments best able to achieve this goal can only be found beyond American borders,” claims Euro Pacific Capital's website. “However, most stocks are not conservative, and neither are most currencies. The chal-

“EVERY TIME THERE'S ANY KIND OF CRISIS, THE GOVERNMENT RESPONDS TO IT BY SEIZING POWER, AND WE SURRENDER MORE LIBERTIES, AND MORE OF THE CONSTITUTION IS SHREDDED, ALL IN THE NAME OF TRYING TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.” to drive home the point. To be sure, the campaign website (www.schiffforsenate.com) claims Schiff to be “Right on the economy. Right for Connecticut. Right Now.” Schiff's first scheduled debate is March 2, 2010, at the University of Hartford, sponsored by the Courant and Fox61 News. Regardless of political stripe, Schiff has made a campaign thesis statement and articulates it in perfectly understandable language to the average Connecticut voter. However, during the nearly two hour interview with Weston Magazine, he repeatedly clarified that he would demonstratively, as Reaganites before him, draft Senate bills not only auditing the Federal Reserve but perhaps abolishing it, as well as the Departments of Energy, Education, and Health and Human Services. Meanwhile, former collaborator Ron Paul is co-sponsoring a House bill with ideological bookend Grayson to require Congressional Federal Reserve Bank auditing. “I think the market should be setting the rates,” Schiff stressed. “Let the Fed worry about the money supply only. Healthcare, college tuitions, and everything else will come down IF the market is simply left alone. Government simply blows up the bubble. We need government to stop inflating the bubble.”

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lenge is to choose the currencies that are most likely to conserve their purchasing power, based on objective economic and political criteria, and then to invest in conservative stocks denominated in those currenciesthose that might be thought of as being for 'widows and orphans' for citizens of the countries in which they are domiciled. However, 'conservative stocks' are not without risk. They are merely believed to be less risky then typical stocks or those thought to be aggressive or speculative.” Generally, what Schiff's brokers at Euro Pacific Capital are selling are dividend-paying stocks that trade on foreign exchanges, gold and gold certificates. In lay terms, it would seem that the main thrust of Euro Pacific's long-term strategy is to move “our” assets abroad to receive maximum return. The question, therefore, in rebuilding America in 2010 and beyond will be whether this strategy is another part of the problem that got us here or the new solution that Schiff will seek if elected. ❉ John Hoctor is a veteran political reporter who recently relocated back to Westport from San Francisco, where he was a featured writer for www.fogcityjournal.com.


SCHOOLROAD

LEGAL EAGLES BY RENÉE MANDIS

P

eggy Jorgensen had never coached a mock trial team before. In fact, she had never even been to a mock trial. But when looking for something new and thought-provoking to stimulate her 7th and 8th grade TAG students, the creative and passionate Weston Middle School TAG teacher thought that entering the Connecticut State Mock Trial Competition could be just the thing to teach the kids some great lessons about law and about life. So, as with everything she does, Mrs. Jorgenson threw herself (and our community) into an experience that truly has been one of the most exciting and educational events ever to grace our small town. Not one to do things half-heartedly, Mrs. Jorgensen soon deduced that the undertaking was larger than she imagined in the way of time it would require. Though the students were practicing in TAG class, during lunch and recess periods and sometimes staying after school to refine their techniques – to be their best – it simply wasn’t enough. They would need to work on weekends, too. To this end, like any great leader, Mrs. Jorgensen quickly enlisted the help of experts in the field, including some of Weston’s finest lawyers and actors to help train our young attorneys and their witnesses. Dennis Tracey and Marcia Hamelin, both lawyers, graciously offered their home as “Mock Trial Headquarters,” welcoming the 33 kids who were to compete on weekends for coaching, rehearsals, critiques and, of course, pizza. Parent/lawyers Jim Federici and Josh Cohen worked alongside the Traceys to teach the kids how to make viable arguments, valid objections and build a convincing case. Writer/singer/actress (and mom) Barbara Schottenfeld coached the witnesses on how to perform convincingly. And some very special guest appearances were made by a couple of grandfather/lawyers, who also imparted their wisdom to the eager young minds. Mrs. Jorgen sen’s most invaluable recruit was Hailey Fitzgerald, a graduate from Tufts University who is currently applying for law school. She has

WESTON MIDDLE SCHOOL SHINES AT OUR FIRST STATEWIDE MOCK TRIAL COMPETITION been competing in mock trials since middle school and judges on the college level. Hailey became our de facto coach, selflessly giving countless hours of her time to train the kids in how to compete seriously in mock trial. Mrs. Jorgensen also brought experts into the classroom. All three TAG classes were treated to visits by Officer Chris Powers of the Weston Police Department, who generously came in to help the students prepare to testify and to explain what to expect in a court setting, also helping them understand the role of the police detective in the case. The way mock trial competitions work is that all participants are given the same set of affidavits and exhibits that make up the existing hard evidence for a case. The kids are assigned roles as lawyers or witnesses and have to study the documents — and the accompanying rules — to prepare their cases.

The case in the competition was “The State of New Justice vs. Jessie Chandler.” It is the case of a 20-year-old person (all roles are gender-neutral) accused of the aggravated robbery of a smoothie store at which he/she worked. Jessie is accused of tying up a customer and the store manager, taking $2700 from the safe, then fleeing to a “vacation” in the Smoky Mountains. The six witnesses in the case are Detective Dakota Marchetti, who made several errors as the crime investigator; Nic Atwell, the suspicious store manager with a history of drug abuse; Amari Wilson, a spacey cus-


tomer of questionable character; two quirky employees of other stores in the shopping center; and Jessie Chandler himself. Our TAG participants were broken up into three teams, two 7th grade teams and one 8th grade team. Each team fielded a defense and a prosecution group. Each defense and prosecution team conPEGGY JORGENSEN sisted of three lawyers, who alternated in making opening statements, examining direct and cross-examining witnesses, and making closing statements. The “lawyers” had to learn to deliver convincing arguments and think on their feet, as they would gain points for objections sustained and lose points for those overruled. This requires a great deal of strategy, confidence and mental analytics, which is difficult for a real lawyer, let alone a twelve- to fourteen-year-old. Each witness had the dual job of acting in character and of convincingly defending his or her character’s “story”, no matter how sketchy on paper. Through study and countless rehearsals, the witnesses truly learned to inhabit their characters, infusing them with insight, humanity and quite often, humor. In preparation for the “big day,” Mrs. Jorgensen and the coaches — Hailey always with clipboard in-hand — worked tirelessly with the three teams in long sessions and two dress rehearsals, to give the kids pointed criticism. Many parents attended the dress rehearsals and the kids were very excited to have the presence and support of Weston Middle School Principal, Ken Craw, who also came to proudly observe a dress rehearsal at the Traceys’, as well as the event itself. To further prepare her “legal eagles,” Mrs. Jorgensen arranged a field trip for all participating students to the Superior Court in Stamford, CT. There, they spent a day observing a criminal trial, arraignments, family court, interviewing a bailiff, viewing holding cells, and meeting judges and attorneys. This trip was made possible by volunteers from the Connecticut Bar Association. The students (and Mrs. Jorgensen) learned so much in one incredible day “that brought the whole process to life” for the young students. As they moved from one venue to the next, many students impressed upon Mrs. Jorgensen their collective sentiments that “all students should be forced to spend a day in court to witness the bad choices that many individuals have made… if they did, maybe they wouldn’t make such poor choices later in life.” Mrs. Jorgensen was touched and motivated by their perceptive observations and plans to spend more time visiting courts in the area with her students next year, making the court experience an integral part of her curriculum.

Finally, the big day arrived: Monday, December 12th . Approximately 70 parents and kids from Weston, led by Mrs. Jorgensen, descended upon the Connecticut State Mock Trial Regional Competition at Bethel Middle School. Congregating in the cafeteria in business attire and witness outfits, students from all over the state chatted, paced, took pictures, and, with trepidation, awaited their turn to “show their stuff.” Each team competed in two rounds, once as a prosecution team, and once as a defense team. Watching the students go up there and compete was exhilarating and quite moving to behold. Our lawyers were thought3 8 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

ful, deliberate and quick-thinking, and our witnesses were confident, convincing and downright entertaining. Not surprisingly, Mrs. Jorgensen and company outdid themselves. Though mock trial “newbies,” Weston Middle School was so thoroughly prepared and rehearsed (it didn’t hurt that we have great raw talent to work with) that we won five out of our teams’ six rounds. The two teams that won (a team must win both prosecution and defense to win as a team) will be progressing to the State Quarterfinals in West Hartford on January 11th, 2010. Due to their impressive performance, our third team will compete in an Invitational Mock Trial competition at Rochambeau Middle School in Southbury, CT on January 27th. While all three teams were incredibly strong and prepared, mock trials, like real trials, depend on a great extent to luck, as there are several subjective variables in their outcome. The one team that lost left with their heads held high, knowing in their hearts how well they did – a feeling no verdict could take away from them. It was an unprecedented debut for a program that is clearly here to stay in Weston. Many of the 8th graders would love to see it continue at the High School level. There is no doubt these kids will be well prepared to take on the challenge. Indeed, the entire experience brought out a unique and warm feeling of community, pride and passion in all of those involved. As we often bond together to cheer our children on in sports, it was exciting and humbling to behold them shining so brightly in a rigorous academic competition, and getting recognized for their very, very hard work. For more information on the Mock Program, visit www.cclce.org. ❉ Renée Mandis is co-owner of Westport ad agency, wsaa, inc. and proud mom of 7th grader Jackson (“Dakota Marchetti”) Siff.

“Mock trial competition is a lot like a team sport. It requires 12 team members working together to be successful. One superstar won’t carry the whole team. And, It requires a lot of practice. There was a real team atmosphere that Mrs. Jorgensen thoughtfully encouraged that made it fun, despite the hard work.” JIM FEDERICI LAWYER/FATHER “The competition process was extremely challenging and was similar to clinical classes that law students take in their second or third year of law school. Learning the entire process of evaluating witness statements and investigative documents and trying to determine how to turn them into courtroom testimony and evidence was a fantastic achievement that the students should be so proud of.” MARCIA HAMELIN, /MOTHER/LAWYER/MOTHER “It was a remarkable evening and we all feel so proud of what these children have accomplished through their hard work and dedication. Mrs. Jorgensen has inspired each one of these kids. Her classroom is not only a place for learning and exploration, but a safe haven where the kids feel accepted and inspired and proud to be who they are. They were so excited and so supportive of one another.” AMY WEISS, TAG MOTHER


THE DOCTOR IS IN

BY DR. ZANE SAUL

PANDEMONIUM OVER THE PANDEMIC WHEN I CHOSE INFECTIOUS DISEASES AS MY MEDICAL SPECIALTY, I NEVER IMAGINED THE DISEASES I WOULD BE TREATING WOULD BE MAKING THE HEADLINES OF NATIONAL NEWS. IN 1985, WHEN I STARTED MY RESIDENCY, AIDS WAS A LITTLE UNDERSTOOD SYNDROME THAT CLAIMED THE LIVES OF INNOCENT HOMOSEXUAL MEN, HEMOPHILIACS AND INJECTION DRUG USERS. BEFORE LONG, TELEVISION NEWS, MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS WERE FILLED WITH STORIES ABOUT ROCK HUDSON, RYAN WHITE AND MAGIC JOHNSON. FAMOUS PEOPLE WERE INFECTED WITH THE AIDS VIRUS AND SUDDENLY THIS DISEASE CAPTURED NATIONAL ATTENTION.

After September 11, 2001 when Al Qaeda attacked the USA, small envelopes with white powder that turned out to be Anthrax were being sent in the mail. The media immediately embraced the story about this poorly known infectious agent that was posing such a threat to our country at the hands of terrorists. But the focus of this media frenzy became the antibiotic Cipro, which was highly effective against Anthrax. Family members and friends wanted prescriptions for Cipro “just in case.” I hadn’t even thought of keeping a stockpile of Cipro for my family and myself. Pharmacies were selling out of Cipro and we developed a national shortage. Years later SARS and Bird Flu surfaced and the travel industry was rocked. People were afraid to get on planes with others who might be ill. Masks were being used in airports. People were afraid of poultry, knowing intellectually they couldn’t get it from eating chicken. Once again the treatment for these ailments, the anti-viral Tamiflu, emerged as the new

national obsession. People wanted Tamiflu in their medicine chests. Patients were calling on the phone. Friends admitted they checked my home medicine cabinet while visiting to see if they could grab some extra Tamiflu. (I had it well hidden!) Suddenly I was facing the media on a regular basis. I was being interviewed by local TV news, newspapers and radio shows. My job was to reassure the alarmed public that we were not all going to succumb to the next infectious diseases epidemic. We even survived the media blitz over MRSA, the drug resistant bacteria that had spread into the community. High school athletes were developing difficult to treat skin infections with this highly contagious organism. Some schools closed down. Entire families were becoming infected once it entered the home. Again the media seized the pulse of the paranoid public and stories about MRSA appeared everywhere. But NOTHING I have experienced in my twenty-year career in Infectious Diseases has reached the fear, anxiety and public obses-


sion of the H1N1/Swine Flu Pandemic. We originally heard of this unique virus when an outbreak occurred in Mexico and began spreading around the world. We learned this virus emerged from swine origins but for the most part was a “novel” virus. The novel aspect referred to the fact that this particular strain, or anything like it, had not been seen in decades. Therefore, young people, pregnant women, and immune compromised patients were highly susceptible. Reports of death occurring in otherwise healthy young people were catching the attention of the world. It seems that persons born before 1957 had some immunity to some aspects of this virus, but not young people, especially those under 25. The CDC and other medical institutions were quick to point out that tens of thousands of people die every year from seasonal flu. It made no difference. This was different; those that die of seasonal flu are old or very frail. With H1N1 we are faced with the potential of otherwise healthy young people

NOTHING I have experienced in my twenty-year career in Infectious Diseases has reached the fear, anxiety and public obsession of the H1N1/Swine Flu Pandemic. having a fatal outcome. The public began to panic. As we were learning more about this virus, the first wave of cases began in the Spring of 2009. Patients were developing flu-like symptoms in a time of year when seasonal flu is not present. Emergency Rooms were being bombarded, as doctors were afraid to have these patients come to their office. Flu patients were taking up time and space in ER needed by more critically ill patients. The next problem came in deciding the best way to make the diagnosis of H1N1. We test for seasonal flu by doing a deep nasal swab that detects particles of the virus. This test, called the EIA, can be done quickly but is only accurate in 50% of cases. A more sophisticated PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test needed to be done in cases of a negative EIA, but these were done only in the State Lab or Academic Centers. These too became overwhelmed within the first week of the spring pandemic and would no longer run tests unless the patient required hospitalization. Practitioners quickly learned that if someone had flu-like symptoms, treat them as such without even doing a swab test. More confusion occurred as the CDC did not come forward right away with guidelines for isolation, treatment and prophylaxis. The majority of the patients at this point were young, healthy and able to be treated at home. Some immune compromised patients and pregnant women had more difficult courses. Some patients needed to go on respirators to breathe and some patients did die of H1N1 infection. Fortunately, we had enough resources to overcome the first wave of H1N1. We had enough Tamiflu to treat patients with flu-like illnesses. The CDC and State Department of Health issued guidelines and gave doctors and hospitals some guidance on treatment, prophylaxis and isolation. Still, some schools need-

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ed to close due to high numbers of cases. Some entire families became ill with the flu. There was incredible worry and concern. What about the H1N1 vaccine? Would there be enough Tamiflu? Summer camps were sending children home with flu symptoms rather than risk infecting the entire camp. As the summer of 2009 came to a close, we seemed to have weathered the storm. This short reprieve gave us doctors and hospital administrators time to plan for the next wave in the fall. What if we run out of room? What if we run out of staff ? What if we run out of respirators? Lots of time was spent planning for the worst. Strategies and protocols were being developed to answer each of these difficult questions. Guidelines were published. Lines of communication were opened to medical staff and the public. Lots of media attention once again in hopes of relieving some anxiety over the H1N1 flu. It has become the news story of the year that kept the public attention. Rumors of Tamiflu shortages and lack of enough vaccine began to spread. People turned out in record numbers to get their seasonal flu vaccine in hopes it might help with H1N1 until supplies ran out. Then in October of 2009 the second wave began. ER and doctors’ visits were way up with flu-like illnesses. This time, however, we had a better idea of what to expect. Hospitals got the first shipments of H1N1 vaccine and health care workers were vaccinated. Pharmacies had plenty of Tamiflu, even for the worried well. Again patients were getting ill, but the majority did not require hospitalizations. Another burst of frenzy occurred when the H1N1 vaccine became available to the public. People frantically scrambled to get their families vaccinated. At first there was just a limited supply, but by Thanksgiving there was more than enough vaccine to go around. As we endure the winter months we continue to see flu-like illnesses, and some patients are acutely ill. The majority are treated at home and quickly recovers. Some that get hospitalized in ICU are critically ill. The CDC has done a masterful job of making available an incredible experimental intravenous anti-viral drug called Peramivir. This drug has saved the lives of many people who may not have survived this deadly flu. As the Christmas holidays arrived we all seemed a bit more relaxed and a whole lot more educated about H1N1. The public’s attention seemed to be distracted by the White House party crashers and Tiger Woods. As we face the third and likely last wave of both H1N1 and seasonal flu in February and March, we seem to be prepared. We learned a lot, however, in this journey with H1N1. As history has taught us, this is unlikely to be the last time we are faced with new infectious diseases that will pose a threat to society. Fortunately, we live in a country with the most sophisticated healthcare technology in the world. The public will always panic as new germs emerge. But H1N1 shows us that we have the ability to respond as a medical community to minimize the negative impact these germs may have on the population. Be calm. Be patient. We will get through this too. ❉ Dr. Zane Saul is Chief of Infectious Diseases at Bridgeport Hospital, and Clinical Instructor at Yale Medical School. He has been in private practice in Southport and Stratford since 1990 and resides in Weston.


THE GREEN ROOM

A New Decade at Long Wharf Theatre ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS Weston resident Eileen Wiseman decided upon becoming director of development at Long Wharf Theatre was to change the location of the opening night party. Opening night parties were traditionally held at area restaurants. The audience was always invited, but the tendency was for only theatre people to attend.

THE FANTASTICKS-RAY DEMATTIS AND DAN SHARKEY. PHOTO BY T. CHARLES ERICKSON

“That was nice, and they deserve to celebrate, but it seemed to me we missed an opportunity to celebrate with our audience,” Wiseman says. With the opening of the 2009-10 season, a magnificent production of the classic musical The Fantasticks, Stage II, under daylight an industrial looking black box, was transformed with the simple additions of light, food and music into an inviting, warm venue. Performers mingled with audience members, members of the Board of Trustees chatted with staff and the evening was transformed into a community celebration of Long Wharf Theatre’s storied history. “Our six opening nights are the single best showcase for what we do and who we are,” Wiseman explains. “They represent a unique opportunity to partake in an important theatrical tradition. Opening nights are special. They are different from other nights. They come with a level of excitement, anticipation and good will… I wanted to put a focus on bringing people together for the very important nights in the life of the theatre.” This relatively simple, yet profound change is one example of a new way of thinking at the theatre, led by Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein and Managing Director Ray Cullom. Edelstein, in his eighth season at the theatre, is committed to creating new works by both established and up-and-coming playwrights, in addition to his reinvigoration of classic works. Cullom, hired in May, has signaled a commitment to responsible and balanced budgeting and a concerted effort to wash away the theatre’s debt. Early in the 2009-10 season, it appears the formula is working. Ticket sales have been generally robust and, in the case of the world premiere of Athol Fugard’s Have You Seen Us?, starring Sam Waterston, record-breaking – it was the highest grossing show of the past decade. Contributions are rebounding from the difficult financial environment of the past year. The theatre’s education program is serving thousands of students a year at schools


CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: SAM WATERSTON–HAVE YOU SEEN US? PHOTO BY T. CHARLES ERICKSON HAVE YOU SEEN US?–SOL FRIEDER, LIZA COLÓN-ZAYAS AND ELAINE KUSSACK. PHOTO BY T. CHARLES ERICKSON THE FANTASTICKS–JESSICA GROVÉ AND MICHAEL SHARON PHOTO BY T.CHARLES ERICKSON

Critically acclaimed shows feature some of the finest actors of our time, such as Waterston, Brian Dennehy, Jane Alexander, Mia Farrow and many others. throughout the state with subsidized tickets to shows, residencies, workshops and teacher training programs. Planning is going on in earnest for the 2010-11 season and beyond. “It is our job to use the resources we have to perpetuate this theatre. The biggest resources we have are the plays we produce and the education and outreach programs we run,” Wiseman states. Cullom recently looked back on Long Wharf Theatre’s history. The theatre, founded in 1965, began its rise to national prominence under former Artistic Director Arvin Brown, a former Weston resident, who alongside his wife, actress Joyce Ebert, created decades of great theatre for Connecticut audiences. The last decade was, in many ways, a tumultuous, interesting time. Several changes in leadership and a planned move to downtown New Haven occupied the headlines oftentimes as much as the theatre’s art; critically acclaimed shows featuring some of the finest actors of our time, such as Waterston, Brian Dennehy, Jane Alexander, Mia Farrow and many others. But as the 2000s wind down and Cullom quickly comes up on his first complete season as co-leader of the theatre, he feels that the institution is

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poised to continue its innovative work. “First and foremost, the decade brought us Gordon Edelstein, who has ushered in an era of artistic excellence equal to any in Long Wharf Theatre’s history. We’ve had years of artistic triumphs, a staggering number of which have moved on to life elsewhere, in New York City and other major regional theatres,” Cullom says. One of the first questions people ask about the future of Long Wharf Theatre is whether or not the move downtown to the former site of the New Haven Coliseum will go forward. Progress on the project has slowed because of the economic downturn. “We are still meeting regularly with the Mayor’s office,” says Long Wharf Theatre spokesman Steven Scarpa. “We are excited about the prospect of moving downtown and committed to continuing our negotiations with the city of New Haven.” However, the theatre is currently having productive conversations with the owners of the Food Terminal about extending its lease past 2012. In addition, theatre management is exploring short term improvements to its current facility. “We are always looking at options that will enhance the experience of coming to Long Wharf for our audiences and improve our staff’s ability to create exciting theatre,” Scarpa notes. With unparalleled critical acclaim and a continued commitment toward improving the audience experience, Long Wharf Theatre is poised for an innovative and exciting next decade. “We hope our audience feels connected and part of what we do, that it renews their passion for (theatre), making them part of the huge network of people who believe in the importance of Long Wharf Theatre,” Wiseman says. Long Wharf Theatre’s 2009-10 season continues with the world premiere of Lil’s 90th, a poignant and funny late-life love story, starring Lois Smith (East of Eden, Five Easy Pieces) and David Margulies (Ghostbusters, “The Sopranos”). The show runs through February 7 on Stage II, 222 Sargent Drive. For information about the remainder of the season, or to purchase tickets, call 203/787-4282 or visit www.longwharf.org. ❉


BUDDING SCRIBES

Time for the Movies and Theatre

ON THE NINE SET WITH FERGIE, SHEPPERTON STUDIOS, LONDON- PAUL BOGAEV WITH WIFE BARBARA SCHOTTENFELD AND THEIR SONS THOMAS, DANIEL AND MICHAEL, LEFT TO RIGHT

BY . MICHAEL DAMPF

he first time I interviewed Paul Bogaev at his country home in Weston he was rushing in from working with Academy Award-winning actor Daniel Day Lewis, one of the stars in his most recent movie musical, Nine. Several other Oscar winners and nominees, including Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, Dame Judi Dench and Penelope Cruz also star in Nine. Once inside, Paul led me to the living room. There we sat surrounded by his grand piano, a microphone and his Grammy for Aida on Broadway and his Emmy for Annie, the television movie, on the mantle. A well-respected and successful musician definitely lives in this house! I asked Paul how it all began and he told me the story of his musical career. At five he would stare longingly at his grandmother’s grand piano and at seven he began lessons from his second grade teacher. While still a child he played the piano for school plays because “the school liked it that one of the kids played well enough to do it.” Years later a professor taught him to feel the music and the audience would believe what he was doing. “Express, don’t impress” are words that Paul Bogaev learned as a student at Julliard long ago. Not sure of what direction to take, Paul has played piano, conducted orchestras, directed vocals, acted in musicals and produced/directed the music for Broadway shows and movies. I asked him to name the Broadway shows he has conducted. They are Sunset Boulevard, Les Miserables, Chess, Starlight Express, and Aspects of Love. He supervised and/or produced the music for Bombay Dreams and Tarzan, “But I did not conduct them.” Paul was both music producer and conductor for Aida. He really enjoyed working with Elton John on Aida. Paul told me that Elton John really let him be creative. “I write the songs, you make a show out of it.” But how did he go from Broadway to the movies, I asked? He said, “The people who produced Cinderella knew me as a Broadway conductor and wanted me. Not many people in Los Angeles could do that stuff.” The same people did Annie and Chicago; “I got the Emmy for Annie, I got the Grammy for Chicago.” Chicago won multiple awards, including Best Picture. He also produced the music for Connie and Carla. Since then, Paul has directed vocals for Dreamgirls (another big winner) and Across the Universe, a movie based on the music of the 1960’s rock band, The Beatles.

T

Nine, which was originally produced on Broadway in 1982, is the retelling of Federico Fellini’s autobiographical film, 8 1/2. Daniel Day Lewis plays the filmmaker, who instead of enjoying his most recent hit, relives all of his past relationships with women. I asked Paul what makes him a good music director/producer and he told me: “I’m glad I had that acting training and experience. It’s very, very easy for me to get performances out of actors who are unaccustomed to singing. That’s what I do a lot with these movie stars.” I also asked him which he prefers, conducting or producing, and he replied, “I love conducting, but nightly, that is hard. I miss it, I haven’t conducted in a long time, I’m going to conduct on the movie I am currently doing.” Since completing Nine, which premiered worldwide Christmas Day, Paul has stayed very busy fulfilling a lifelong dream. Paul’s wife, Barbara, was asked by producer Granville Burgess to work on the score for a musical to be performed at Gettysburg about the Battle at Gettysburg during the Civil War. Barbara told Mr. Burgess that Paul had just completed four wonderful songs for a new Gone With the Wind musical and she felt if given the opportunity he would do a terrific job. Paul wrote Battlecry, his first full score ever, which premiered at Gettysburg last summer. It was such a success that a New York producer is looking to bring Battlecry to the New York stage and the Gettysburg Center Museum wants to perform Battlecry annually. With the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War (2011) and the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address (2013) around the corner, Paul’s first ever score is both timely and relevant! Finally, Paul’s Gettysburg Address score has become an important choral piece that is being picked up by high school and college choirs throughout the country. So grab your popcorn and join me at the movies and theatre. And remember, “Express, don’t impress!” ❉ Michael Dampf is a fifth grader at Weston Intermediate School. He loves science, writing stories (his poem “STAR” was published in A Celebration of Poets Summer 2008) and reading. Michael lives with his parents, Vanessa and Richard, his brother Steven, and two cocker spaniels, Chester and Lucy.


WESTON WESTONGALLERY

WESTON CHAPTER P OF P.E.O. SOCIAL AND BENEFIT PARTY

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n the spirit of holiday giving, the members of the Weston Chapter P of P.E.O. hosted a social and benefit party at LCR in Westport, on the evening of November 19. Members and their guests enjoyed an evening of food, wine, and shopping while learning about P.E.O.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s scholarship and educational loan projects. LCR, an independent boutique owned and operated by women, generously donated 10% of the sales that evening to support P.E.O. projects.

For over 100 years, P.E.O., a philanthropic educational organization, has been devoted to raising money to empower women through education. It is a non-profit organization that welcomes women of all races, ages, religions, and backgrounds to join its Sisterhood. Friendship is the cornerstone of P.E.O. It exists to be a source of encouragement as well as financial support for women to realize their potential in whatever educational endeavor they choose. P.E.O. sponsors six philanthropies/projects, which are designed to assist women with their education goals. They are: The P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund, (known as ELF) which currently lends up to $10,000 at a 4% interest rate to worthy women students who are pursuing a college degree. The P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (known as PCE) provides need-based grants of up to $3,000 to women in the US and Canada whose education has been interrupted and who find it necessary to return to school to support themselves and/or their families. The P.E.O. Scholar Awards provides awards up to $15,000 to women of the US and Canada who are pursuing advanced

degrees or are engaged in advanced study and research. To date, 1,303 awards have been given for a total of ten million dollars. Cottey College is a small, fully accredited two year liberal arts college for women owned and supported by P.E.O., located in Nevada, Missouri. There are five first-year students from Connecticut currently attending Cottey. The P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship (IPS) provides scholarships of $10,000 for international students to pursue graduate study in the US or Canada and to encourage peace through education and understanding. To date, $25,904,703 has been awarded to 6,201 recipients. The STAR scholarship award, just recently added to the philanthropies, awards outstanding high school graduates with $2,500 for their college tuition. Although the organization assists women all over the world, the benefits are also local as Weston Chapter P is currently sponsoring a Weston High School candidate for a scholarship, and we hope to award a newly created Chapter P Scholarship in the Spring of 2010. All of the candidates for scholarship or loan application must be sponsored by a local Chapter of the P.E.O. There are 34 chapters in Connecticut and 16 of those are in Fairfield County. Chapter P has members who live in Weston, Westport, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Easton, Norwalk, Redding and Trumbull. Anyone interested in learning more about the organization's projects may call Betsy Ready, Chapter P President, at 203/454-7980. â?&#x2030; CLOC CLOCKWISE O KWISE FR FROM ROM LEFT LEFT:: NANCY JOSEPH, MISSY DORSEY, NANCY BROWN BRAN SANDERS, GLORIA MILLER FROM WESTON BETSY READY, NANCY LACK, PAT BROWN


BALANCESHEET

How to use a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) as a Retirement and Estate Planning Tool By Tom Sherman A CHARITABLE GIFT MADE during a person’s lifetime can be a valuable estate planning technique with three important tax benefits: 1. Estate Tax Break – A lifetime charitable gift removes assets and future appreciation from the potential estate. 2. Avoidance of Capital Gains – By giving away appreciated securities, investors avoid capital gain tax that would be imposed if those assets were sold. 3. Current Income Tax Deduction – The fair market value of a charitable gift may qualify for a current income tax deduction in the year the gift is made. A Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) can be an attractive way to make lifetime gifts to a charity. In addition to the benefits listed above, it also can provide a fourth important benefit – a lifetime income to the grantor(s).

How a CRT Works A CRT is an irrevocable trust that names one or more qualified charities as beneficiaries. It requires a trust document and is often funded with appreciated assets. For example, it is common for low-basis stocks to be contributed to a CRT. Once stocks are transferred to the trust, they may be sold by the trustee and the assets can be repositioned to increase income and diversification. Since the trust is a taxexempt entity, no capital gains tax is due on the sale of trust assets. Because the transfer is irrevocable and the grantor gives up control of assets, they are removed from the grantor’s taxable estate. The trust generates a current income tax deduction for the grantor/donor in the year the gift is made. It also can provide lifetime income for one or two income beneficiaries. At the death of the last income beneficiary, the remainder passes to the designated charity and the trust terminates.

The Grantor’s Four Decisions The grantor of a CRT has four major decisions to make in setting up the trust: 1. Selection of a Trustee – The grantor must appoint a trustee, a person responsible for the CRT’s administration and asset preservation, and perhaps also a successor trustee to act in case the primary trustee dies. 2. Selection of a Charity – The law requires that the trust remainder be transferred to one or more qualified charities at the death of the last income beneficiary. However, the ultimate charitable beneficiary need not be irrevocably designated in the trust document. Grantors may change charitable beneficiaries at a later date. 3. Selection of Income Beneficiary or Beneficiaries – The income beneficiary receives income payments specified by the trust docu-

ment for life or a specified period of years. The beneficiary may be the grantor, the grantor’s spouse, another person, or any two people. 4. Selection of Income Amount and Duration – An annual income payout to an income beneficiary is required and may be made over a single life, joint lives, or for a certain period of up to twenty years. In making this decision, it is important to take into account the income beneficiary’s income tax needs. While the CRT itself does not pay income tax, the income beneficiary pays tax on trust distributions as received. The character of the income to the beneficiary is the same as it would have been to the trust, were the trust a taxable entity.

How the CRT Tax Deduction is Calculated The current tax deduction allowed on contributions to a CRT is determined by IRS formula, based on the present value of the remainder projected to be left to the charity. The formula calculates the discounted value of projected annual income payments to income beneficiaries over the payout period. The total discounted value of these payments is subtracted from the fair market value of assets contributed, and the IRS allows a current tax deduction equal to the remainder. In general, the older the grantor is at the time the trust is established, the greater the current tax deduction will be as a portion of the total value contributed.

Trustee Choices in a CRT Who can be the trustee of a CRT? Four choices are allowed: 1) a corporate trustee, 2) the charity, 3) an individual; and 4) the grantor. In reality, the first choice usually is recommended by professionals because of the trustee's heavy responsibilities. Each year, the trustee must file with the IRS a Split-Interest Trust Information Return (Form 5227) by April 15. Another important task is the appraisal of property contributed to the trust. Within 125 days after selling trust property and within three years of its contribution to the trust, the trustee must submit a signed copy of Form 8282 to the IRS. Corporate trustees have the systems, staffs and objectivity to perform these complex tasks.

Who Can Take Advantage of CRTs CRTs can have the most advantages for people: 1) who are generally age 50 or above; 2) have a strong desire to give their time and/or money to charity; 3) are in a fairly high federal tax bracket; and 4) would like to avoid ongoing investment management responsibility, while receiving a steady flow of retirement income that they can't outlive. When these conditions exist, individuals should consult qualified financial professionals for more guidance on applying this technique. ❉ Tom Sherman is a Financial Advisor & Specialist with Park Avenue Securities & Strategies for Wealth. He is a 16-year resident of Weston with offices in Rye Brook and on Wall Street. 914/288-8845 or tsherman@strategiesforwealth.com.


WESTONREMEMBERED

IMAGE OF A COMMUNITY

WESTON TOWN HALL IS THE NEW HOME OF “COMMUNITY,” BY WESTPORT MURALIST BARBARA LAWLESS. THE CANVAS IS NINE FEET WIDE AND 4 1/2 FEET HIGH AND DEPICTS CONTEMPORARY WESTON ON A FANTASY LANDSCAPE.

The mural is a mix of people, places and events that together distinguish Weston’s unique small town culture and character. The various elements which comprise the mural were selected by the artist with the help of the Town Beautification Committee and the advice of a group of Weston artists, particularly Andy Neilly, Paul Heifetz, Bill Moran and Ellen Spadone. The mural is a gift from the artist to a community “where I have family, friends, and many other wonderful attachments and experiences.” ❉

About the Muralist Barbara Lawless, a longtime resident of Westport, grew up in Greenwich. Her first major mural was at the Ann Norton Museum in West Palm Beach. Locally, her murals can be seen at St Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, the Brick Walk in Fairfield, the Morgan Manor in Stamford, and the Sound Federal Bank in Greenwich. Nationally, they can be seen at the music hall at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, the Palm Beach Post Office, the Marguerite de Angeli Library in Michigan, and in many private homes. 4 6 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

PHOTOS BY AYALA GAZIT


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magine yourself walking into the PTI Rye Brook location. For many of you, it will be for different reasons. Maybe you’ve recently given birth, and would like to start back on the track to looking and feeling great. Or maybe you just are not happy with how you are feeling these days. Maybe it’s something the doctor ordered, to account for a medical complication you might be going through at this time. Or simply, you are fed up with self-service gyms. At PTI, they guarantee results. Below, the experts at PTI answer some commonly asked questions.

Question: Can you provide some information on what you do at PTI? Answer: PTI is a one-on-one fitness facility that balances nutrition counseling with personal training to give you optimal results. We can help you set and achieve realistic goals – the reason you are interested in joining a fitness facility.

Question: Can I lose weight, tone and feel better? Answer: The first thing that PTI stresses is that we are not a typical gym or fitness facility where you can come in and work out on your own anytime that you want. We do not provide a social scene – no one comes here to hang out – but we are here to achieve results. PTI works by appointment; clients will see their dietitian once per week and, ideally, their personal trainer three times per week. PTI works exclusively with a method of exercise commonly referred to as HIT (High Intensity Exercise) or Superslow. It is all we have used for 22 years. It will be the most intense form of exercise you will ever participate in, but it delivers results — shockingly positive results. This is because you will be getting effective workouts and combining them with proper nutrition.

Question: I understand that this type of exercise was designed to add muscle to the body. Can you explain the metabolic properties of muscle? Answer: The more lean muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolism is! What that means is that for every pound of muscle that you add to your body with strength training, you will increase your metabolism by 50 calories/day. The average PTI client gains six pounds of muscle in the first three months of their membership, thereby increasing their metabolism by 300 calories per day. That means that they can eat 300 calories more every day and not gain fat, or not eat the extra 300 calories and lose the fat. So the calorie-burning benefits of strength training are two-fold: during the actual exercise session with your trainer your body will burn anywhere from 200 – 500 calories, and, because adding muscle to your body increases your metabolism, your body becomes a more efficient calorie burner — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – even while you sleep. This is permanent, as long as you maintain that lean muscle mass. This is as opposed to cardiovascular exercise, which, while improving your cardio pulmonary system, only burns extra calories while you are actually doing the exercise – not after. If you were to rely on cardio exercise alone for weight loss, you would have to run or walk approximately 35 miles to burn only one pound of pure fat! That’s a

lot of time, effort and energy for only one pound. We do have a cardio studio that you can use anytime you want – you don’t need an appointment with a trainer for that. However, we will give you specific recommendations as to how much cardio exercise you should be doing for optimal cardiovascular and fat burning results.

Question: What are the benefits of the nutritional counseling you provide? Answer: As a client, you will be meeting with our dietitian every week to review your personalized eating plan, which will allow you to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. By putting these two components together, and being consistent with both, you will see incredible results on a week by week basis. The dietitian is going to tell you exactly what to do. She is going to figure out how much food you need to eat to achieve your goals. Basically, she is giving you the answers to the test – don’t change them. The eating plan uses real world foods, but our dietician is going to tell you how much of it to eat, and how to make healthier choices. If you do what she says and remain consistent with your training, you will see the results that we are talking about, without fail. In your first individualized meeting with the dietitian she will take your measurements — weight, body fat, lean muscle weight and inches — as well as educate you on nutrition and exercise, and advise you on exactly what it takes to get to your stated goals. The eating plan that you receive uses readily available foods — no fads, and no excluding food groups. In your weekly follow-up meetings the dietitian will check your progress by retaking your measurements; she will review your food diary, and make recommendations to help you continuously get and maintain results. If you don’t follow her advice, what will happen? You will get stronger, you won’t gain fat as easily, you will improve your health, and you may experience some weight loss from the increased metabolism but not as much as you wanted to lose. If I said to you that you wouldn’t lose a pound but your clothing would be looser, would you be angry with me?

Question: How can this type of exercise improve my overall health? Answer: Strength training adds muscle. Adding muscle will improve or prevent osteoporosis by increasing bone mass and density. It lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose if any of those issues are a problem for you. Also, it prevents frailty in old age. What makes an elderly person frail is muscle loss. People naturally lose muscle as they age – approximately a half pound a year starting in our early 20’s, which is why the likelihood of getting osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose and weight gain increases as we age. We do offer a Free Trial Workout. Come in and either our owner or manager will put you through one of our workouts, so you may experience what we have been discussing. 5 Rye Ridge Plaza, Rye Brook, NY . 914/305-1662; personaltraininginstitute.com. ❉


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Dan Burstein with photography by Julie O’Connor I get to the top of the 555 foot high Washington Monument about once every twenty years. The first time was in the 1960s. I was a teenager doing a summer program in Washington, D.C. The second time I was in my thirties writing an article for the Condé Nast Traveler about a group of Japanese as they toured America. Now I am in my fifties, and on a brilliant windswept early fall day, I am here again, gazing out at the White House, the Capitol Building, the Jefferson Memorial, the Potomac River, and all the other sights you see so spectacularly from the top of the world’s tallest and most unusual Egyptian obelisk. I am here with my wife Julie and we are following in the footsteps of Robert Langdon and Katherine 6 2 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

A Magical, Mystical Tour of Washington, D.C. Solomon, the fictional hero and heroine of Dan Brown’s new blockbuster novel, The Lost Symbol. We are researching Secrets of The Lost Symbol, the new book that I am doing with my writing partner and fellow Westonite, Arne de Keijzer. Our mission is to understand The Lost Symbol on all its many levels and in all its dimensions—history, architecture, philosophy, religion, spirituality, science, art, ancient civilizations, codes and ciphers, secret societies, and much more. We have done this twice before with Dan Brown’s books. Our Secrets of the Code became the world’s bestselling guidebook to The Da Vinci Code. It ended up on the New York Times bestseller list and appeared in more than 30 countries.


We had a similar experience with our Secrets of Angels & Demons. For those projects, Julie and I, accompanied by our son David, went to Paris and Rome to learn more about the locations that figured so prominently in the plots of those books. Now, with Secrets of the Lost Symbol, we are following Robert Langdon on his first American adventure. As a result, we are seeing our nation’s capital as we have never seen it before. The Washington Monument is obviously an obelisk, yet on my previous visits I had not understood why that architectural format was chosen to honor George Washington. But now that I am so deeply immersed in Lost Symbol research, I have come to understand the importance of Egypt, Greece, and Rome to the Freemasons, and the importance, in turn, of Freemasonry to George Washington and many of the founding fathers of American democracy. (Washington, as well as Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, John Hancock, and many other heroes of the American Revolution were Masons, as were at least nine signers of the Declaration of Independence and more than a dozen American presidents). The Freemasons arose as an important secret society in early 17th century Europe, at a time when political life was dominated by kings and

clergy. The Masons focused on democratic ideals. Their belief in science, brotherhood, equality, tolerance, and an open society, was still considered dangerous and heretical at that time—thus the need for secrecy. They referred to the golden ages of ancient civilizations as metaphors for their thirst for knowledge. They made a particular metaphoric connection to Egyptian stonemasons and pyramid builders, whose knowledge of engineering and geometry was obviously quite advanced. The Freemasons believe in the power of symbolic language, which is incorporated into the rituals they conduct, the art works they create, and the buildings they build. The Washington Monument is a glorification of George Washington, and yet it is so austere and spare as not to overglorify a single mortal man. It represents humankind’s reach to the heavens, but also celebrates the here and now on the ground. It hearkens back to ancient Egypt’s belief in the sun god, and the Egyptian use of the obelisk as a physical embodiment of a sun ray. Most of the financing for the Washington Monument came from 19th century Masonic groups. Their contributions are memorialized on special stones built into the monument. The “lost symbol” of the book’s title turns out to


be the Bible, which, along with some 200 other time capsule documents from the 19th century, was buried inside the Monument’s cornerstone, set into the ground in a Masonic ceremony in 1848. Dan Brown tells much of this history as his characters, Robert Langdon and Peter Solomon, ascend the Washington Monument. He

that our capital city should be built on those classical dimensions, filled with pyramids, pantheons, and parthenons. As we walk around the park area at the base of the Monument, the street level of American democracy is coming vibrantly to life. Americans and tourists of dozens of nationalities are talking, taking pictures, sharing moments. Lovers are kissing. College students are reading. People are sending emails and chatting on their iPhones— and taking pictures of themselves and their friends in front of this iconic monument to democracy and the first American president. There’s a Chinese family feeding a baby. There’s a Middle Eastern family with women covered in traditional garb. There’s a group of young professional Indians talking about a company they’re planning to start. Even with all our national and global challenges, standing right there at the Washington Monument on this beautiful fall day, we feel in tune with the optimism and the daring spirit of American democracy.

Have you ever stared up into the upper reaches of the dome in the Capitol Rotunda? The huge fresco painted there, the Apotheosis of Washington, is routinely ignored by visitors because you have to crane your neck really high to take it all in. Painted by Constantino Brumidi, (known as the “Michelangelo of Washington”) Apotheosis is an amazing art work that figures promi-

I have come to understand the importance of Egypt, Greece, and Rome to the Freemasons, and the importance, in turn, of Freemasonry to George Washington and many of the founding fathers of American democracy. also takes special note of the ring of flags around the Washington Monument and a darkened circular pattern in the sidewalk on the ground, suggesting that the circle surrounding the point (the Monument) comprises a “circumpunct,” one of the most important of ancient symbols. Looking rather like retailer Target’s corporate logo, the circumpunct was the symbol of the Egyptian sun god, Ra, but also a symbol in some Christian traditions for the eye of God and of the center of the divine order of the universe. It is also the alchemist’s symbol for gold. I am walking around the base of the Washington Monument noticing this “circumpunct” for the first time and thinking these weighty thoughts about symbols that cross over between cultures and have meanings that range from the most spiritual to the most material. And Julie and I are talking about the incredibly visionary group of founders of the American democracy. From the very first days of our republic, they believed that what they were doing had a significance that recalled the accomplishments of ancient Egypt, Athens and Rome, and ABOVE: MONUMENT AND FLAGS, GEORGE WASHINGTON MONUMENT OPPOSITE: DONORS TO THE MASONS, HOUSE OF THE TEMPLE, DC

nently in both the beginning and the last moments of The Lost Symbol. Mal’akh, the evil villain, has planted Peter Solomon’s severed hand in the Rotunda to open the book, and the hand is pointing up 180 feet to the top of the dome. We will later learn Mal’akh is seeking “personal apotheosis”—he is literally trying to become an immortal soul. The Lost Symbol tells us that Brumidi’s fresco portrays Washington ascending to heaven and becoming an American god. But whether you believe that on a literal or only a metaphoric level, the fresco is amazing. Using Greek mythological forms, and stylistic elements from the Renaissance painter Raphael, Brumidi has surrounded Washington with goddesses representing everything from war to science to justice to invention. Finished around the end of the Civil War, Brumidi’s work was so visionary that it even included a scene representing the laying of the first Trans-Atlantic telegraph cable and another depicting an early electrical generator. We exit from the Capitol through one of the recently built under-


Secrets of the Lost Symbol

ground connections to the Library of Congress. Julie and I feel for a moment like Robert Langdon and Katherine Solomon on the run. After a long hike through the passageway, we arrive at an information desk. We immediately inquire about the scene in The Lost Symbol where Robert and Katherine escape by putting themselves on a conveyor belt used for moving books through the library. The friendly docent tells us she has never seen that conveyor belt and she too is wondering about it. Later we will interview a spokesperson for the Library of Congress who will tell us, that while a conveyor system actually does exist and is currently being upgraded, their ride would be much more of a challenge than Dan Brown suggests. “Since it is designed for boxes carrying books and has a significant number of horizontal and vertical switching points, it would not be possible for a person to fit on it and ride from the stacks in the Jefferson Building to the Adams Building.” OK, so that’s why they call it fiction. But meanwhile, we are in this awe-inspiring palace dedicated to books and knowledge. For me, as an author, this is one of the most magnificent interiors I have ever expe6 6 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

rienced. The central space has rightly been called “the most beautiful room in the world.” We are immediately captivated by the grand scale, the spectacular architecture, the statues and murals devoted to major writers and philosophers, the paintings devoted to the history of writing and book-making, the quotations about the importance of books, libraries, and the printed word, and the sense that the legacy of Thomas Jefferson is everywhere in this building.

After the Capitol and the Library of Congress, the next important stop on The Lost Symbol tour of Washington is the Smithsonian. The fictional Katherine Solomon runs her noetics research projects at the real-life Smithsonian Support Center in nearby Maryland, and the fictional Peter Solomon is supposed to be the Secretary of the overall Smithsonian Institution. As I stand on the National Mall in front of the “Castle,” (the first of what has today become numerous Smithsonian buildings) I am reminded of some of the history of James Smithson, the original endower of the Smithsonian. Some of this hisABOVE: SPHINX AT THE HOUSE OF THE TEMPLE, WASHINGTON, D.C. OPPOSITE TOP: THE APOTHEOSIS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON ROTUNDA OPPOSITE BOTTOM: THE GEORGE WASHINGTON MASONIC MEMORIAL, VA.


tory is told in The Lost Symbol, but not what I think of as the best parts of the story. Smithson is known in history as a pioneer in chemistry, although he may have had a background as an alchemist (and he also may have been a Freemason). He knew many of the great scientific and political minds of the European Enlightenment. And he made a fortune during his lifetime. In his will, he specified that, on the death of his nephew, the money should go to the United States, a country to which he had never been, in order to endow in Washington, an institution devoted to science and the diffusion of knowledge. Eventually, a London court had to decide if England was really prepared to see all Smithson’s money go to America. After a long set of hearings, the court finally ordered eleven crates of Smithson’s gold loaded onto a ship and sent to America. His chemistry papers came too, although they burned up in a fire before they were ever inventoried or archived. I thought Dan Brown would have been fascinated by the details of the Smithson story, but he went in other directions with his interest in the Smithsonian.

Street with two sphinxes that I have driven past my whole life, but had never actually gone into...Now I hear they are bracing for tourists.” Despite the fact that the Freemasons make much of their secret rituals, handshakes, and passwords, there are daily public tours of their fascinating 1915 vintage building. The House of the Temple was designed by John Russell Pope, a Freemason and a major figure in Washington

We are on 16th Street in the company of two giant sphinxes and staring at an imposing Washington building that is actually modeled on one of the wonders of the ancient world—the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. This is the so-called House of the

Temple, the headquarters of Scottish Rite Masonry in America. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote the Sunday Book Review commentary about The Lost Symbol. She didn’t like the book all that much. But she gives Dan Brown credit for the interesting details he brings to light: “What Dan Brown does so well is he makes you look at things that you see every day and haven’t thought about, like why do we have a pyramid with an all-seeing eye on the dollar bill? Like, who put that there? There’s this Scottish Rite Masonic temple on Sixteenth

architecture. (A coded message on the cover of The Lost Symbol refers to “Pope’s Pantheon.” ) Pope also designed the Jefferson Memorial (in the shape of a Roman pantheon) and the National Gallery of Art (which was originally endowed by the philanthropist and Freemason Andrew Mellon, who may well be the prototype for the Peter Solomon character.) The House of the Temple is worth a visit for many reasons, but I would recommend it as one of the few places in DC where you can see the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Koran together in one place on one altar table, reflecting Masonry’s openness to people of diverse faiths and beliefs. The remains of Albert Pike, the legendary unifier and codifier of American Freemasonry, are in a place of honor in the House of the Temple, as mentioned in The Lost Symbol. Pike is also the only confederate general to rate a statue in Washington. It is in Judiciary Square. Most tourists never see it, and Washingtonians who pass it every day have no idea who Pike was. But in the late 19th century, Albert Pike was a major force in American intellectual life and largely responsible for integrating a wide variety of myths and legends from ancient civilizations into the ritual practices of the Masons.

George Washington has a second monument: the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.


Secrets of the Lost Symbol Built in the 1920s and 1930s it is based on another wonder of the ancient world—the lighthouse at Alexandria in Egypt. This is a museum devoted to the side of Washington we know the least about—his role as a Mason and the importance of his Masonic beliefs. Original and reproduction memorabilia are here, including the trowel Washington used for laying the cornerstone for the U.S. Capitol building in 1793 in a full Masonic ceremony. Dan Brown came here several years ago to do research for The Lost Symbol and worked the George Washington Masonic Memorial into his story.

er, in fact, than many well-known European cathedrals. (One of Dan Brown’s points in The Lost Symbol is to emphasize how Washington is just as intriguing, mysterious, and mystical as Rome, Paris, London, Seville, or any of the European cities used as backdrops for his prior books). The National Cathedral, which is formally an Episcopal institution but very ecumenical in its outreach to people of many Christian denominations and other faiths, becomes an important location in The Lost Symbol. One of the minor riddles Robert Langdon has to solve is to find a location that has stones from Mt. Sinai, one from “heaven itself,” and

The House of the Temple is worth a visit for many reasons, but I would recommend it as one of the few places in DC where you can see the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Koran together in one place on one altar table, reflecting Masonry’s openness to people of diverse faiths and beliefs. NATIONAL CATHEDRAL

To the staff ’s relief, he did not use their 333-foot tall tower as a location for a murder. But somewhat to the staff ’s dismay, their building was used only as a red herring in the plot, and Langdon never actually goes here. A highlight of the tour here is a reproduction room styled after the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, or at least the way the Masonic mind imagines this most sacred of Old Testament locations.

one with the “visage of Luke’s dark father.” Langdon knows immediately that this is the National Cathedral, which has a moon rock brought back by Apollo astronauts designed into one of its stained glass windows, ten stones from Mt. Sinai in Israel, and a grotesque (a kind of gargoyle) depicting Darth Vader (Luke Skywalker’s father), as one of the most intriguing facade details high atop its tower. When our tour guide learned we were from Connecticut, she made special efforts to point out that the Cathedral houses the remains of former Easton resident Helen Keller, in addition to president Woodrow Wilson and other American notables. Exiting from the tour, we found ourselves in the National Cathedral bookshop with a tremendous selection of books reflecting many faiths, many styles of spiritual practice, many kinds of philosophical inquiry into the deepest questions of life. And there, in the center of it all, was a large display of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. ❉ Dan Burstein has lived in Weston for nearly two decades and is coauthor with Arne de Keijzer (also a Weston resident), of SECRETS OF THE LOST SYMBOL: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Found in the Da Vinci Code Sequel (William Morrow/HarperCollins). Their series of Secrets titles now includes six books, two documentary DVDs, and two special collector’s issues of US News, accounting for more than four million copies in print in more than 30 languages. Their Secrets of the Code

We ended up at the National Cathedral, going on the tour and taking

and Secrets of Angels & Demons were both New York Times bestsellers.

tea at the top of its tower. The National Cathedral was envisioned by George Washington’s hand-picked first architect/designer of the city, Pierre L’Enfant. However, work was not started until a century later. After 83 years of construction, it emerged as not only the longest construction project in DC history, but the sixth largest cathedral in the world—larg-

To learn more, visit: www.SecretsOfTheLostSymbol.com.

6 8 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

Julie O’Connor, whose photographs of Washington, D.C. are featured in this article, is the author and photographer of DOORS OF WESTON: 300 Years of Passageways in a Connecticut Town, published in partnership with the Weston Historical Society.


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Crossers By Philip Caputo

ON

a raw November afternoon, when low-lying clouds made Lower Manhattan seem more claustral than usual, Gil Castle left his office early to make a five o’clock appointment with his counselor at the House of Hope. In the lobby of his building, he buttoned the collar of his trench coat, took a twist out of the belt before buckling it, aligned the buckle with the flap, then stepped out into the noise and jostle of the capital of capitalism, walking briskly down Exchange Street to catch the subway for Grand Central and the 3:17 express to Stamford. Half an inch under six feet, with graying black hair combed back in a style reminiscent of a 1940s movie actor, a trim build, and mahogany brown eyes flanking a thin raptor’s nose that lent to his face the patrician severity of a Florentine prince, he made a pleasing impression on most people but his looks lacked the voltage to draw second glances from women. And in fact Castle didn’t draw any as he weaved through the pedestrian crowds; he would not have been aware of them even if he had. Since Amanda’s death, he had become sexually inert, dead to desire and, beyond that, to the desire for desire. Shoulders hunched against the damp wind’s bite, one hand jammed in his coat pocket, briefcase swinging from the other, he marched on toward the Exchange Street station. The faint rumble of subway trains rising through sidewalk vents, the rush of heating plants blowing exhaust on rooftops, the sounds of traffic and countless feet treading pavement fused into one sound: the hum of the New York financial district, whose frantic busyness had once energized him, now stirred up a surly resentment. He recalled the commentaries he’d heard and read after 9/11. The day when everything changed forever. We will never be the same again. People seemed to really believe that bullshit, to want it to be so, as if they’d been yearning for some great and terrible event to tear them from their empty pursuit of stuff and the money to buy it, from their trivial amusements, their shallow celebrity worship, their love of titillating scandals, Monica Lewinsky blowing the president in the Oval Office. But the bustle through which he passed, young men and women scurrying by with iPod buds pinned to their ears, babbling into cell phones, signified that the cataclysm that was supposed to have changed everything had changed nothing,

except for the families of those slaughtered on that exquisite morning. And for the soldiers fighting and dying in Afghanistan. Otherwise New York and America had moved on. It was important in America to move on, to avoid living in the past. That, Castle supposed, made him somewhat un-American. He could not help but live in the past; it clung to him like a second skin. His sour discontent extended to his forthcoming appointment with Ms. Hartley, his counselor or therapist or whatever she was. Her platitudes and banalities, which her mellow Lauren Bacall voice wrapped in a cloak of profundity, grated on him. Nevertheless he was going to see her, partly out of habit—he’d been attending two sessions a week for some eight or nine months, one alone with her, one with a group—and partly to keep his two daughters at bay. After the disaster, Jay Strauss, head of his firm’s retail division, had told him to take some time off to “get yourself back together.” Morgan and Justine had become alarmed by his behavior during his leave. This sociable father of theirs, this neatnik who always tied a perfect Windsor knot and never wore the same suit twice in a row, had turned into a minor-league Howard Hughes, secluding himself in his house, going without shaving or showering for days on end, letting his hair grow long. To their minds, his unhygienic reclusiveness was evidence that far from getting himself together, he was coming further apart. Clearly an intervention was warranted. It was Morgan, the elder and a devout believer in the nostrums of the therapeutic culture, who had found the House of Hope on the Internet. This clinic that offered counseling to the bereaved was just what he needed, she said. He had to realize that he wasn’t alone; by sharing his suffering, he would relieve it. He’d resisted her urgings to sign up. He could not think Amanda’s name without breaking into tears; to utter it aloud to a stranger was unimaginable. Even the name of the place sounded ridiculous—the House of Hope, like you went there for hope as you might go to IHOP for pancakes. Morgan, however, was used to having her way; she’d always been like that, and her job as a literary publicist— importuning reluctant newspaper editors to interview her authors, bookstore managers to set up readings and signings—had honed the trait. She roped her sister into her campaign. Jussie was in her second year at Columbia Law and employed reasoned arguments to reinforce Morgan’s

Philip Caputo was raised in the suburbs of Chicago. After serving with the Marines in Vietnam, he spent nine years as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, including five years as a foreign correspondent, and shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his reporting on election fraud in Chicago. In 1975 he was wounded in Beirut and during his convalescence completed the manuscript for A Rumor of War, his much-acclaimed memoir about his service in Vietnam. In 1977 he left the paper and turned to writing books and magazine articles full time. He is the author of seven works of fiction, including Exiles, The Voyage and Acts of Faith, two memoirs, and four works of non-fiction. In addition, he has been a contributing editor for the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, National Geographic, and several other publications. He divides his time between Connecticut and Arizona.


CROSSERS strident nagging. The sibling tagteam at last pummeled him into submission. How odd. His girls had become the parents, he the child. The thirtyish Ms. Hartley was kind and earnest and much given to the cant of her profession: healing and closure and the grieving process, as if grief were something like digestion. Castle was sure she had never known grief from the inside, never felt its iron grip. Most of her advice was useless, like her suggestion that he cut his leave of absence short and return to work. She assured him that reestablishing familiar routines would do him a world of good. It did not. Nor did the presence of others in his group who had lost spouses make him feel less alone, any more than his own presence made them feel less alone. He’d discovered that deep sorrow, like bone pain, is profoundly isolating. It won’t allow itself to be shared. For that matter, he did not want to share it in the hope of achieving what Ms. Hartley said was his ultimate goal—acceptance. Why should he accept the senseless murder of his wife by a gang of homicidal zealots? Maybe some wounds weren’t meant to heal. America seemed to have become a society dedicated to the proposition that no one should suffer, at least not for long. A Xanax in my tummy, and all’s right with the world. Castle had taken to reading the Roman stoics like Seneca and certain Greek tragedians like Aeschylus, whose voices spoke to him, across an ocean of time, with a thoughtfulness and a gravity utterly absent from Ms. Hartley’s psychobabble. And as in the November gloom he approached the Exchange Street station, a chorus from the Oresteia sang somberly in his mind’s ear. He who learns must suffer. And even now in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God. Suddenly, at the station’s mouth, the clammy subterranean air lofting up into his nostrils, he stopped and, without making a conscious decision, turned around and headed for Ground Zero. This was peculiar. Although Harriman Cutler’s offices were only a short distance from it, he always walked blocks out of his way to avoid setting eyes on it. Two months ago, during the observances of 9/11’s first anniversary, he made sure not to turn on the news. But now, for what reason he didn’t know, a compulsion like a magnetic force drew him to see and smell and touch the place where Amanda had been blown to atoms, also for a reason he didn’t know. He climbed up to a platform and joined a crowd watching giant shovels take bites of debris and spew it, giant mouthful by giant mouthful, into dump trucks. Workers in hard hats and hazmat suits descended into an excavation deep as a stone quarry. Cutting torches flashed amid the wreckage, which by this time had taken on an orderly appearance. Gone were the smoking, jumbled mountains of melted steel and pulverized concrete he’d seen in photographs; gone as well the tall, jagged fragment of a tower’s facade that had thrust out of the ruins like a broken idol from some vanished civilization. How strange to see so much light pouring into these streets. It wasn’t a cheering light; it heightened the impression of a vast desolation, like the sun on an empty plain. What awful power had directed those nineteen men to wreak this calamity? His pastel Episcopalianism rejected the existence of the devil except as metaphor, yet the scene before him testified that real evil roamed the earth. Castle had studied the photographs of the hijackers in newspapers and news8 6 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

magazines, paying special attention to Muhammad Atta, the ringleader, the Egyptian engineer with the unsmiling mouth and hooded eyes. A sinister face, but no more sinister than the mug shot of an ordinary criminal, its lineaments offering no clue to the madness within. No, not madness. The attacks had been too well planned and executed to have been the work of lunatics. That was a new thing in Castle’s experience, and it was beyond grasp—an insane act perpetrated by sane minds. He watched the workmen, he watched a team of dogs sniffing for remains in the mass grave of three thousand human beings. Mandy’s grave. Having been left without a body to bury had deepened the cruelty. Amanda hadn’t been killed, she’d been annihilated in that supernova of exploding jet fuel. He left the platform, ducked under a sawhorse barricade, and strode over hoses and past pumps and grinding machinery toward a mound of rubble, an incongruous figure in his pinstripes and trench coat. Spotting a hard hat on the ground, he put it on, figuring to masquerade as a city official who had business there. With the furtive movements of a shoplifter, he plunged a hand into the mound and filled a coat pocket with dirt and ash, imagining, or pretending, that it contained some remnant of Amanda. Before someone saw through his paltry disguise, he walked away quickly, dropping the hard hat. He would place the contents of his pocket in an urn, like funeral ashes. Or maybe he would scatter them over Long Island Sound, where she’d loved to sail on summer weekends. It would provide a catharsis of sorts. Closure, in Ms. Hartley’s annoying argot. The atmosphere from Ground Zero lingered as he walked back toward the subway. The air felt charged with menace, as before a thunderstorm. He’d made predictions throughout his career. The market was going to be bullish or bearish, this stock or mutual fund or commodity should be bought, sold, held. But nothing was predictable, was it? And if nothing was predictable, how was one to make sense of anything—or anyone? It was as if the fireballs of the exploding airliners had revealed a terrible truth previously hidden from him—his whole benign life and the faith it was founded on, that reason triumphs in the end, had been beautiful illusions. As he rode the uptown train to Grand Central, paranoia overtook him. That dark-complected man in the doorway could be an Arab with a bomb or a gun concealed under his padded jacket. Why not? Anything at any moment. The policemen and National Guardsmen patrolling Grand Central did not reassure him. If some suicide bomber decided to blow himself up, right now at rush hour, they could not stop him. Beneath the zodiac on the terminal’s dome, painted stars on a painted sky, Castle dodged through the hurrying crowds toward the track for the Stamford train. He’d missed the 3:17 but was on time for the next express. An unshaven derelict approaching from the side— “Hey, got some spare change?”—so startled him that he almost broke into a run. He walked down the platform, found a nearly empty car, and sat next to the window, alert and watchful, his back stiff, his knees locked, his briefcase on the seat beside him to deter unwanted company. Afraid of what? he wondered as more passengers entered the car. Of being blown up by some fanatic from the Arabian deserts? The terrorist who killed him would be doing him a favor. Of the unknown, the


unpredictable? Yes, that. Of another strike that would take someone else dear to him? That, too. Morgan, sporty, competitive Morgan, slender Justine, her willowy frame belying her tough, lawyerly mind. To lose his daughters would be unendurable. Maybe he should talk to his girls, urge them to move someplace safer, insist on it. As the soldier who loses faith in his commander trembles before the enemy, so did Castle’s loss of faith in an understandable world bring on this queasy dread of the armies gathering even now in desert huts and city apartments and mountain villages to plot new outrages; the fevered armies delirious with visions of the paradise they would gain by killing themselves and hundreds or thousands of innocents who weren’t innocents in their eyes but infidels deserving of death. Soon enough the car was packed. A stylishly dressed young woman stood in the aisle, glancing at the briefcase that occupied the empty seat, then at him. She looked safe enough. He put the case on his lap, and she sat down and pulled a book from her shoulder bag. It could just as easily have been a grenade or a canister of poison gas. What was wrong with the Metro-North railroad? Airline passengers were being screened and searched and wanded as never before, but rail commuters weren’t given even the most cursory once-over. Imagine releasing poison gas in a crowded car. It had happened once, in Japan he thought it was. Sarin gas, if he remembered right. The train rolled through the underground darkness, then into the fading daylight and past the Westchester suburbs into Connecticut. As it approached Stamford, another frightening thought came to him: the stuff in his pocket was as likely to contain remains of the hijackers as anything of Amanda. He knocked his knees together, drummed the briefcase with his fingers, and even as he said to himself, For chrissake, get a grip, he stood up, crouching under the luggage rack, and muttered, “Excuse me,” to the young woman. She swung her legs aside, and he wriggled past her into the doorway. The train stopped, the doors snapped open. He got out. In the late-autumn dusk, several commuters on the platform threw quick, puzzled looks at the well-dressed, fiftyish man dipping into his coat pocket and flinging dirt over the tracks, like someone scattering grass seed over a lawn. He felt embarrassed but relieved. He called the House of Hope and canceled his appointment with Ms. Hartley, then caught the train for New Canaan. Half an hour later he pulled into his drive on Oenoke Ridge. For ten years, he and Amanda had shared the white frame colonial with black shutters and the plaque beside the front door declaring the name of its original owner, one Seth Raymond, and the year it was built, 1801. Its windows were darkened. He unlocked the door. As always, Amanda’s absence was a presence in itself. Samantha slightly deflected the blow, bolting inside through the dog door in back to prance around him, giddy, as if he’d been gone for a month. He petted her, thinking, They live outside of time; a few hours can seem like a month to a dog. The English setter trailed him to the hall closet, where he hung his coat, then to the bar in the den, where he knocked back a scotch to calm his nerves, then upstairs to the master bedroom, where he changed into jeans and a sweatshirt. He took a piss. “I went to…,” he said aloud as he came out of the bathroom. He was going to tell Mandy about his visit to Ground Zero. It wasn’t the first time he’d begun to speak to her before catching

himself. There were times when he half expected to see her. To the kitchen, where he warmed two slices of leftover pizza and washed them down with several glasses of wine. To the den, where he tried to read the Times and the Wall Street Journal but couldn’t get past the first paragraph of any story. He caught Headline News on CNN…. Much talk about getting UN inspectors back into Iraq…. Was there a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11… WMD…. A new addition to the lexicon, WMD…. At nine-thirty he returned to the bedroom and undressed and went into the bathroom and took an Ambien. He held the bottle for a moment before putting it back in the medicine cabinet and counted the remaining pills. Six. Aware of his state of mind, his doctor allowed him only ten per prescription. Castle fell onto the unmade bed, hands crossed over his waist. The interregnum of fear that had gripped him on the train had passed; grief, the true monarch of his heart, resumed its oppression. It was a physical sensation, like a weight on his chest, while from within came a sharp, cold prickling, as if he were breathing ground glass. Would it be this bad, he wondered, if she had died in an accidental plane crash? If she’d been murdered by a mugger? One image that kept coming back to him was of Mandy at the moment she knew she was going to die. She would not have been hysterical, she would not have been begging for mercy, she would have been crying quietly, resigned to her fate, for a phlegmatic, even a tragic temperament dwelled beneath her jaunty exterior. The picture knifed Castle right through his marrow, she imprisoned in that hurtling missile among strangers, facing her death without him, while in the cockpit Muhammad Atta, hands on the yoke and throttles, prayers to Allah on his lips, aimed for the north tower with no feeling for the lives he was about to extinguish. Amanda had been the victim of a huge atrocity calculated down to the last small detail, and that stark fact made all the difference in the world. Samantha stood beside the bed, her long snout resting on the mattress, and whimpered a plea to have her ears tickled or her head rubbed, but he couldn’t move his arms against the weight pressing down on him. Morgan had told him to sell the place and move into a condominium before he drove himself crazy. Sensible advice, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Nor to sell Amanda’s car, still in the garage, or her little sloop, still in the boatyard. He hadn’t got rid of her clothes and shoes and jewelry, her hairbrushes and cosmetics and the hundred and one other things that belonged to her. Everything was as she’d left it, right down to the Tampax in the bathroom closet. Castle wasn’t sure why he clung to her possessions. Ms. Hartley assured him his was a normal reaction to a traumatic loss. To remove her belongings would be to acknowledge that she really was gone, and he wasn’t ready for the acceptance stage. He, or some part of him, was still in the denial stage. Another tidy explanation from the young woman whose job was to cage unruly emotions in airtight categories. Denial. Acceptance. Crap. Let the wild beasts pounce and devour, Castle thought. They will anyway. Sam’s demands for affection grew more insistent. He managed to reach over and ruffle her floppy ears. Her claws clicking on the hardwood floor, she moved to the other side of the bed. She was seven years old now, and he could not break her of the habit she’d had since she was a pup of going first to his side of the bed for a good-morning and


CROSSERS a good-night petting, then to Mandy’s. Nearly every night and every morning she would stand there for a minute or longer, as she was now, and it broke Castle’s heart to see her, waiting and wagging her tail in expectation of the touch that could never come. He remembered the last time he and Mandy made love on this same bed—the balmy night before he left for Atlanta on business, she for Boston to visit her family before she was to fly on to L.A. She had been a large woman with large, healthy appetites. She liked to eat and pummeled her body with cycling and sit-ups and swimming at the Y to keep her weight under what she called “the George Foreman range.” That strong, ample body, so much life in it. Anthropologists found bones of protohumans who’d walked the earth with mastodons and saber-toothed tigers. How could there be not a fragment left of her? There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present sorrow. His second marriage, in contrast to the first, had been happy, happier than he thought possible. He supposed that was why his pain could find no relief—he could not forget the joys. The heaviness increased, crushing him into the mattress; it had a color—black, of course—a taste, a metallic taste, it was almost tangible. He began to weep. It had been like this for more than a year; he could see no end to it. Too many reminders, prompts to a memory that needed none: this house no longer theirs but his; the friends no longer theirs but his; the neighbors no longer theirs but his. Go to sleep in mourning and wake up in dread of each new day, like a man with terminal cancer. The hell of this cancer was that it wasn’t terminal. He went downstairs with the movements of someone in a trance, Sam following him. In the den, surrounded by his books, by his prints of leaping trout and flushing grouse, by the trophies attesting to his triumphs in skeet-shooting matches and country-club tennis tournaments, observed from above by the heads of a whitetail buck, a bull elk, and the big glass eye of a mounted tarpon, from below by Samantha, lying on the worn, antique Bukhara, and from his desk by his mother and father, his daughters, and Amanda, with her direct, green-eyed gaze and faint smile, her upper lip thin and straight, the lower lip full, suggesting a tension between the New England rigor and the southern sensuality in her blood—her father’s ancestors were Massachusetts Puritans, her mother’s French Huguenots from Charleston—Castle opened a door behind which stood a tall black safe. He twirled the combination lock, and from the firearms standing upright in felt-lined racks, he selected an old Fox Sterlingworth side-by-side with a double trigger. His favorite shotgun. It had been his father’s. He opened a drawer below the gun racks and took a twelve-gauge shell from out of its box and loaded the right barrel and thumbed the safety off. Turning the photographs facedown, as if to spare everyone the sight, he sat at his desk, placed the gun stock on the floor and, leaning a little forward, put the muzzle in his mouth, his thumb on the front trigger. There he sat, looking a bit like a Turk smoking a hookah, his face wearing a relaxed, thoughtful expression. He was actually in a semblance of a cheerful mood and restrained his thumb to give himself a moment to savor it. Then his brow creased as a picture of what he would look like afterward flashed in the brain he intended to blow apart. If his daughters were to discover his body, they would be horrified. Could he do that to them? Yes. And what of Sam? Who would take care of her? She was more 8 8 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

than a pet, she was his hunting buddy, a partner. Could he leave her alone? Yes. Yes, if by applying a little more pressure on the trigger, he would hurl himself to Amanda’s side. But he wasn’t convinced that that was where he would go. He envied those who believed in the immortality of the soul, but he considered himself a realist—anyone who managed half a billion in assets had to be or he would soon be out of a job—and Amanda, declared the realist, wasn’t anywhere. Annihilated body and soul. She lived on only in his memory, and if he pressed a little harder, he would obliterate all that remained of her. There would be surcease from pain, yes, but nothing more. The end of everything. Eternal darkness. His resolve drained away as another piece of wisdom came to him: his terror of oblivion exceeded his longing for it. He took the gun out of his mouth, unloaded it, and returned it to the safe. He could almost hear the monarch cackling, You can’t get away from me that easily. Climbing the stairs to the bathroom, he gulped three Ambiens, not in expectation that thirty milligrams would be enough to kill him but in the certainty that they would give him an installment of death. The installment lasted nearly fourteen hours, from darkness to noon of the next day. He woke to the sound of Samantha slurping water from the toilet bowl. Dry-mouthed and groggy, his knees rubbery from the aftereffects of the drug, he sat up, cleared his head, and then shuffled downstairs to fill Sam’s water dish and food bowl. In the den the red light on his answering machine was flickering—eight messages. The caller ID informed him that four were from his office, two from Morgan, and two from anonymous callers, probably telemarketers. He would deal with the office later. He played back Morgan’s messages, the first just a call to find out how he was doing, the second a followup. “Dad? Where are you? Are you all right? Please call me.” A great worrier, Morgan was. A shiver passed through him when he thought of what he would have done to her had last night’s attempt, or rather attempted attempt, succeeded. He sat for a while, gazing at the tarpon hung above the doorway, the 120-pounder he’d caught years ago in the Florida Keys, and attempted to bend his normally analytical mind to his predicament. He had proven that death, the boundary beyond which all his ills could not pass, was also a boundary he could not cross until his natural time was up. He was condemned to live. But how was he to live with this pain that was like a chronic migraine of the heart? He was going to go mad if he didn’t find some way out. Out. Yes, out. Morgan was right. Out of this memoryhaunted house, and more—out of the East altogether, far away from all these reminders. It was the only solution he could think of. From a cabinet beneath a bookcase, he removed a box containing the condolence letters and sympathy cards he had saved. Among them was a letter from Monica Erskine, his cousin Blaine’s wife. SAN IGNACIO CATTLE COMPANY POB 651 Patagonia, Arizona 85624 Tel: 520-394-2118 E-mail: sanignacio@dakota.net September 13, 2001 Dear Gil, Your sister has called us with the terrible news. I have been sitting here


for an hour trying to think of something to say. Everything seems so inadequate. This is an outrage beyond words. Blaine, Aunt Sally, and I cannot imagine what you must be thinking and feeling. Our sympathy (Sympathy? What a pathetic word) gets all mixed up with anger. Rage, really. There is no pit in hell deep enough or fire hot enough for the monsters who did this. We are so, so sorry we never got to meet Amanda. We have been thinking if there is anything we can do for you. Sally suggested that you might feel a need at some point to get away for a while. If you do, we have a place for you. It’s the original homestead your great-uncle Jeff built. Maybe you remember it from the last time you were out here. It isn’t much, but we have fixed it up some. When we hire extra hands for branding or gathering, we put them up there. You would be most welcome to it. Just call or write or e-mail, and we’ll have it ready for you. I will write you a better letter once my mind has wrapped itself around this awful thing. All I can do for now is express my deepest condolences. Blaine and Sally do, too. Sincerely yours, Monica It was a generous offer, considering that he wasn’t close to anyone on his mother’s side of the family. He hadn’t met them until he was in his late thirties and had seen them only three or four times since. So he felt like an intruder when he phoned Monica to ask if the offer still stood. It did, she replied, surprised to hear from him after all this time. Her recently divorced brother had been living in the place, but found it too lonesome and had moved back to Tucson. Castle said his stay might be for longer than a while. Was that all right? He would, of course, pay rent, whatever they thought was fair. Yes, she answered after a few moments’ hesitation. Yes, he was welcome, and forget about rent. When could they expect him? In a few weeks. Castle spent those weeks methodically cutting ties. At his office he gave notice to Jay Strauss and his partners in the Castle Group, Melissa Josephson and Joyce Redding, that he was taking early retirement. They all three asked him to reconsider, but their entreaties were largely ceremonial; in the past year it had become as obvious to them as it was to Castle himself that he’d been merely going through the motions, a crippled lion who had to rely on his females to do the hunting on the veldts of the capital markets. He informed his daughters and his younger sister, Anne, that he was leaving for good. All approved except Morgan, who in characteristic fashion argued that he was doing what the terrorists wanted, fleeing, and that it would be much better if he resumed his therapy. He crushed an impulse to tell her that the only thing babbling to the banal Ms. Hartley had accomplished was to bring him to the edge of suicide. But for several days it looked like Castle wasn’t going anywhere. He’d drawn up a long to-do list and proceeded to do nothing. The closer he came to the date he’d set for his departure, the more he felt the gravity of the familiar pulling at him. It was as though he’d grown so accustomed to his misery that he was reluctant to do anything that might alleviate it. Extraordinary measures were called for. He purged the house of everything Amanda had owned. Strangling at birth all temptations to linger over some object or picture in bitter

reverie, he cleaned out her closets and drawers, emptied her desk, tore the dresses and coats from the mothballed hanger bags in the attic, and ruthlessly added to the pile their wedding album and every photo he could of her or of them together. He stuffed the lot into plastic lawn bags and hauled them to Goodwill. He sold her sloop and her car and wished there were an agency to which he could consign the comical hum Amanda made when she couldn’t or wouldn’t answer some question of his, or the mock pout she put on when she suffered a minor disappointment—all the little tics that he remembered about her. The house was on the market only a week before it sold, for twice what he’d paid for it. After he peddled his furniture at an estate sale, Anne insisted he stay with her and her husband in Redding. He then consulted with his lawyer on how best to dispose of his financial assets, which with the proceeds from the house now totaled in the low eight figures. He was surprised, and somewhat embarrassed, by how hard it was to get rid of even a minor fortune, portioning his out to various charities and conservation groups, to a scholarship fund for minority students at his prep school, Hotchkiss, and to a trust for his daughters and any future grandchildren. Combined with his generous retirement package, what remained was considerably more than enough to sustain him in style if he lived to be a hundred, which he fervently hoped he would not. His sister held a valedictory Christmas dinner for the whole family. Morgan and Justine came in from the city and stayed the night. They cried when he left the next morning. With all his belongings fitting easily into the cargo compartment of his Suburban and with his dog for company, he saw himself as a refugee of the strange new war that had begun on a temperate September morning. Were it not for his girls, he would have felt deracinated, jobless, wifeless, parentless (his father had died of esophageal cancer at sixty-seven; his mother had fallen to a stroke three years ago). There was no rush, and he made the trip in easy stages, watching the landscapes change from hills to plains to desert to mountains and back to desert. He caught the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square on a motel-room TV in New Mexico, spent New Year’s Day driving through eastern Arizona, and at last, a week after starting out, arrived at the San Ignacio. His house in New Canaan had had twelve rooms, his new dwelling two, heated by a wood-burning stove. It was off the grid, electricity supplied by a generator, and was sheltered in a grove of Emory oaks backed by a ridge and sided by two low hills. The front porch, supported by varnished pine posts, looked out upon the grasslands and tree-speckled canyons of the San Rafael Valley, rolling away to the Patagonia Mountains and the San Antonios in Mexico, a view most people would have described as “breathtaking” or “inspirational.” Castle did not find it so. Although he wasn’t blind to the beauty of his surroundings and was grateful that there was nothing in them to prompt the wrong memories, he hadn’t come out for inspiration and breathtaking vistas, nor with any illusions that living close to nature in the great American West would release him from his despotic grief and the fear it sometimes permitted to share its reign. An easing of his bondage, not an ending, was all he expected of his solitary life in the sequestered adobe. It was a kind of halfway house between the iron lockdown he’d known and the liberation he’d sought with a twelve-gauge shotgun. ❉

EXCERPTED FROM CROSSERS BY PHILIP CAPUTO. COPYRIGHT © 2009 BY PHILIP CAPUTO. PUBLISHED BY ARRANGEMENT WITH ALFRED A. KNOPF, AN IMPRINT OF THE KNOPF DOUBLEDAY PUBLISHING GROUP, A DIVISION OF RANDOM HOUSE, INC.


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Between a ROCK and a HARD PLACE WRITE/LEFT@CENTER LITERARY PROJECT

Using the prompt “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” writers were invited to submit essays developed around the ideas surrounding the exhibition Aggregate: Art and Architecture – a Brutalist Remix, curated by Westport Arts Center Director of Visual Arts, Terri C. Smith. The three award-winning essays explore situations that at first seemed especially bleak, but were somehow transformed into stories of unexpected beauty and hope.

Makeover By Megan Smith-Harris The entire east coast was in the throes of post-traumatic holiday stress disorder. Under the mall’s unforgiving fluorescent lights, everyone – teens, babies, career women, me – looked pasty and unwell, like extras from Night of the Living Dead. We were sick of winter. I wanted to shout, “Come on you guys – let’s hop on the next flight to Cabo. We’ll be sipping mango daiquiris by sunset!” But I didn’t. Instead, I crossed the threshold of Victoria’s Secret to return a crotch-grazing fuchsia satin nightgown – a misguided but wellintentioned Christmas gift from my sister-in-law. The salesclerk’s eyes swept over my no-longer “hot” (just barely lukewarm) body, dismissed me as unworthy of a leopard thong and matching pushup demi-bra and turned to a much younger customer. I slunk out, defeated. I needed cheering up. Maybe I’d buy myself a little something? I hopped on the nearest escalator and was delivered to the velvety interior of Saks. The air was rife with commingling scents – citrus, musk, ambergris, gardenia. I glanced at the perfume bottles arranged alluringly on a silver tray. The labels seemed to neatly encapsulate the cycle of life: “DNA,” “Beautiful,” “Passion,” “Amour Amour,” “Eternity,” “Revenge” and “Escape.” Only a matter of time, I thought, before some marketing genius cre1 0 4 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

ated “Dumpy,” “Whore-moan-al” and “Corpse.” I looked up and came face-to-face with a bag lady. What on earth was a bag lady doing in Saks? I took in the dun-colored coat, greasy hair, sallow complexion and empty eyes. Defeat clung to her like a bad smell. Where was security? I smiled. She smiled back. I blinked. So did she. In one terrifying moment of clarity, I realized that I wasn’t staring at a bag lady – I was staring at my own reflection. Good God. “Would you like a makeover?” asked a disembodied female voice. I stood paralyzed on the dove-gray carpet. “Going somewhere special tonight?” the voice persisted. “Yes … yes, I am,” I lied. “What color outfit are you wearing?” I turned slowly. Where was the person that belonged to that voice? There were so many mirrors, so much glass… I couldn’t determine her location. “A pale green blouse and a black suede skirt,” I lied again. “With black boots,” I added unnecessarily. “Nice.” Finally, I found her, standing in front of the Estée Lauder counter. Black Lycra pants (highlighting every gluteal divot), appeared to have been professionally upholstered to her ass; her ivory knit top, bedaz-


between a rock and a hard place zled with a giant turquoise butterfly, showcased impressive cleavage. Her nameplate read, “Marybeth.” She worked here? Marybeth’s blonde hair had been backcombed to Barberella proportions and her makeup was worthy of an aspiring drag queen, and yet, she looked inexplicably pretty. Once upon a time she must have been a knock-out. “Would you like a makeover?” The question hovered between us like a tiny hummingbird. Yes, I thought. I would like a makeover. I would like my face made over, my body made over, my marriage, house, and finances made over with maybe some career makeover tweakage thrown in as a bonus. “Yes. I would,” I said, surprising myself. “Terrific!” she replied and led me to her counter like a baby lamb to Jesus. “Have a seat here, Hon. We’ll fix you right up.” The concept of being “fixed up” was enticing. Since becoming a mother, I was so preoccupied that I rarely acknowledged my own pressing needs, like going to the bathroom and plucking stray chin hairs. Forget about bikini waxes and lingerie, my world was now firmly entrenched in Jockey for Her and elastic waist pants. How the mighty had fallen. Why did I put my face in the hands of a woman whose maquillage screamed “Barnum & Bailey” rather than whispering “Bobbie Brown?” I don’t know. I just did. After more than a decade of marriage and motherhood I wanted somebody to pamper me, to offer me sanctuary, even if it was a stranger at the Estée Lauder counter in a suburban mall. Or maybe I just wanted to fall in love with myself again? I parked my shopping bags and hoisted myself onto the black leatherette stool. While Marybeth busied herself assembling product, I pondered what I used to love about being me: the curve of my back, my bikini-worthy stomach, my cooking, comic timing, maddening optimism, perky breasts and yes, my intelligence. I used to feel smart. I used to be smart. Back in the day, I’d been a babe, a catch. If I’d been a guy I would definitely have wanted to date me. Now I just wanted to give myself spare change. The fact was I was no longer dating myself. No dinners out, no flowers. And when was the last time I made myself laugh? Bought a new outfit? Had sex? If I had stopped loving myself, did that mean everyone else had too? Had I been rendered officially unlovable? Ironically, I had no clue when the romance with myself ended. Clearly it hadn’t been a wrenching break-up but rather a slow, protracted deathby-obligation-to-others process. Was there still a microscopic flame of self-love deep within my soul? If so, could it be reignited? “We’re going to start with moisturizer,” said Marybeth, effectively

puncturing my flammable reverie. “Everybody’s complexion is dry this time of year and this Wrinkle Lifting Serum is fantastic for mature skin.” Mature skin? Wielding a rubber-tipped dropper, she applied five amber drops of fluid to my face. “This stuff is liquid gold,” she enthused, rubbing it in briskly with her fingertips. “It has restructuring peptides.” I had no idea what peptides were but the “restructuring” part was appealing. “At a certain age,” she continued confidentially, “the collagen starts to flow out of your face faster than cheap champagne at an Italian wedding. This serum begins rebuilding collagen in just two hours! See? Your skin already looks fresher!” I peered into the mirror hopefully. “Really?” “Really.” My need for reassurance was now bordering on pathetic. “What’s your name, Hon?” “Claire,” I replied, lying inexplicably for the third time. (I just always loved that name.) “A green blouse, right, Claire?” Marybeth stood in front of me displaying a gold case with a full complement of verdant eye shadows. “Um … yeah. But I don’t really wear any color like that. I prefer …” Nothing, I thought, I prefer nothing. “Neutrals?” “Yes!” “Lilac tones would really bring out the blue in your eyes – make ‘em pop.” “Well…”

I would like my face made over, my body made over, my marriage, house, and finances made over with maybe some career makeover tweakage thrown in as a bonus.

1 0 6 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

“No point in getting a makeover unless you zazz things up. Am I right?” A new palette of violet, plum and aubergine appeared in her hand as if by magic. I hesitated. There was a good chance I’d end up looking like I’d lost the world heavy weight title. But Marybeth was right. I did need to “zazz” up my life – I’d just forgotten how. Maybe purple eye shadow wasn’t the answer … but maybe it was? “Fantastic!” she said, interpreting my vacillation as consent. “You’re going to love it. Now, some primer,” she said reaching for a glossy tube, “or ‘spackle’ as I like to think of it.”


Marybeth laughed at her bon mot whilst dabbing my forehead, cheeks and chin with the miracle compound. It felt good to be touched so gently, to have someone single-mindedly focused on my wellbeing. “Close your eyes. Relax. You’re going to look beautiful.” I closed my eyes and tilted my face up like an obliging child. She applied foundation in long feathery strokes and nattered on about her Christmas – a feuding family, incontinent dog, alcoholic boyfriend. It was incredibly soothing. My mind wandered. I thought about an obituary I read that morning concerning a woman who died of a stroke at 47. Fortyseven! I was three years older… essentially one foot in the grave… foot… feet… were my feet as wrinkled as my face? Would the Wrinkle Lifting Serum make my toes more youthful? Did people ever get their toes injected with Botox? Ugh. That would be crazy… right up there with “vaginal rejuvenation” – another wack-a-doodle concept being marketed to women to make them feel worse about themselves… market… I still had to go… what should I make for dinner? “Open your eyes!” said Marybeth. I opened my eyes and looked in the mirror. Staring back at me was an attractive woman with brilliant blue eyes. She wasn’t 17, but she wasn’t pushing a rusty shopping cart overflowing with garbage bags and soda cans either. Hunh. The purple eye-shadow really did make my eyes pop. “What do you think?” “I think,” I said, admiring myself, “that I’ll buy that Wrinkle Lifting Serum.” “Terrific!” said Marybeth. I handed her my credit card. “And throw in the eye-shadow too.” “Sure thing.” “Marybeth?” “Yes, Hon?” “Thanks.” She smiled and handed me my small bag of hope. I glanced at my watch – still plenty of time to get my hair done, buy a new outfit and take myself out for an exquisite dinner. It was going to be one fabulous date. Megan Smith-Harris’ career encompasses documentary, television, film, theater and radio. She is the Executive Producer/Director of SURROGATE STORIES, a two-hour documentary special about surrogate mothers and their intended parents that will air on the Women’s Entertainment Network in 2010. Megan is writing a satirical novel, BENEFIT, set in the imaginary town of New Stanwich, Connecticut.

SomeTrees By Christine Pakkala When my sister Kathy and I were young girls growing up in Idaho and Washington, we lived in houses surrounded by trees. We got to know many trees because we were always moving, first because our parents divorced, and then because our stepfather could not make

the house payments. Each house was a little smaller, a little colder and darker. But the trees were always grand, as if our stepfather’s situation could not touch them. The fourth house was even on a street named for trees—Elm Street. All that changed the spring I turned seven, and Kathy eight. My stepfather couldn’t make the rent on the Elm Street house. We moved for the fifth time—in the middle of the night—piling our five dogs and our belongings in the back of his round-top pick-up truck—to a little town called Asotin, in a trailer park. There, the trees seemed to agree that our family truly was destitute. The trailer park was set into the side of a barren hillside rising up from the river canyon. There nothing but scrub grew—sagebrush, small prickly pear cactus, yellow star thistle, cheat grass. Farther up, there was pine, and down below, by the creek bottom, there were willows and cottonwoods. But where we were, there was nothing to obstruct our view. We could look across the Snake River and see Idaho, where our real Dad lived with his new wife Rita, and that gave us a thrill, almost like going home.


between a rock and a hard place Even though we no longer enjoyed the shade of leafy trees, trees still offered us an indirect sort of protection, in the form of the lumber mill in Lewiston, where Neal sometimes got work. When he did, he drove back down the river road wedged between the Snake and a cliff of rock. There was a sign on the road, bluntly saying “Falling Rock.” Kathy and I wished for a boulder to flatten Neal’s truck, the way a thumb casually wipes away a gnat. It would have been a simple solution to his unwanted attention to my sister, his nightly visits to our room, where he pulled her from the top bunk. It would have put an end to the beatings he dealt out when he didn’t like my behavior, like when I drew pictures of Barbie and Ken with red loops between their legs. If Kathy told Mom, he would do it to me, he said to her. If I drew that again, I’d be beaten buckle-end of the belt. We wished for boulders, but he came home unscathed, smelling of

manager into calling the police about our dogs that roamed the trailer court. They came and arrested Mom, right in front of us. Neal, who had been hiding behind a neighbor’s tool shed, came out. After the police took Mom, he put his sons, our stepbrothers, in his pick-up and he left. I do not know who called him, but our real Dad came to get us. Dad’s wife Rita, whom he had married just a few months before, scooped us up at the door, one in each arm. She bathed us and put us in clean clothes. She fed us quantities of food she placed on a Lazy Susan, so that we could spin it and take another apple muffin, another slice of cake. In those first few days, we could not stop eating. We ate things we had never before tasted, like oranges and lettuce. We brushed our teeth. At night Rita tucked us in, and, when Kathy screamed us awake, she brought us into her bed. There, she soothed us with stories about her childhood in Boston, about how she loved strawberries so much that for one year, she only ate strawberries. She spoke with a Boston accent that was wonderful to us, as if we had traveled to a foreign country and could magically speak the language. Galls, put on your shots, we’re going to the library. Several months later, at a time when mothers were almost always granted custody, Idaho Family Court said we could live with Dad and Rita forever. We never had to go back to Mom. We were safe. Rita convinced Dad to hang a tire swing on a giant branch of the weeping willow in our new backyard on Warner Avenue. Underneath the tree, Rita gave us ideas for pageants. We were Egyptians once, with black lines extending from the corners of our eyes. She gave us pita sandwiches filled with cottage cheese and slices of peach, from another tree she had planted in the yard. I drew a picture of Rita and me, holding hands under a full green tree full of circular red apples, even though we didn’t have an apple tree. I suppose it was my way of telling her I loved her because I knew how much she loved the yard and her trees. When Rita died of a heart condition the summer I turned seventeen, it made sense to have her memorial service in the backyard, a place that she loved so much, underneath the weeping willow, beside the peach tree. Now, I am far from the trees of my girlhood. The scrubby pines of my years with Mom, their branches sometimes exposed on the desolate hillside. I think now that Kathy and I were like those trees. We were tough, and we could survive lack of nurturing and a bleak climate. But we weren’t thriving; we weren’t trees for bearing fruit. It took Rita for that. It was Rita who showed us how a peach tree could give up its fruit, and it was Rita who showed us that we, too, had special talents, gifts that we could offer the world. She tended to us, keeping harm away, and hunger and thirst. Rita was with us just long enough to root us firmly and give us a direction to grow. Here in Westport, it’s time to plant a tree for her. A fruit tree, I think, is what she would have liked.

Grabbing Mom by the hoop earrings, he yanked them out. oil and cigarettes, lining his work boots at the door and picking up his guitar, motioning for Kathy to come stand beside him. While he was gone, Kathy and I and our two younger stepbrothers—as well as our five dogs—spent most of our summer days on that desert-like hillside. Inside, Mom smoked cigarettes and entertained our stepfather’s brother, Uncle Pat, a Vietnam Vet newly released from prison. Our stepfather didn’t seem to notice how close Mom and Pat were becoming, nor the gentle swell of her stomach. In that sparsely treed landscape, we played among the tumbleweed, shielding our eyes from gusts of dirt blowing up suddenly. Out there, I burned, my redhead’s fair skin first peeling off in giant sheets, then freckling. My sister’s blonde hair whitened and her skin turned the color of honey drizzled on wheat bread. The sun beat on our heads and made us thirsty. But we knew better than to interrupt Mom and Uncle Pat inside the trailer. Instead we fastened our lips to the nozzle of the hose and we sucked down water until it felt as if we were drowning. We stole canned fruit from the neighbor’s shed and ate the peaches and cherries in the grass, taking turns drinking the liquid. We wiped our sticky fingers on the tall grass, and Kathy tossed the empty Mason jars far down the hill. But Neal couldn’t be away forever. Eventually Neal discovered what Mom and his brother were doing. He came home one night, banging open the screen door, screaming. Grabbing Mom by the hoop earrings, he yanked them out. The blood was on her, on me, as I held onto her legs. Kathy pulled me away, forced me out the fire escape door. We leapt into the darkness and tumbled down the hill, collecting cheat grass in our polyester princess nightgowns. We watched Neal leave. He didn’t come home. A few days later, Neal got his revenge. He goaded the trailer court 1 0 8 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

Christine Pakkala is a graduate of The University of Idaho, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she earned an M.F.A. in Poetry in 1993. The author is currently at work on a memoir, “Stepmother Country.”


Diminuendo By Emily Lutringer The spotlight froze me like a deer. My ingrown toenails pulsed as the blood rushed to my toes; my decaying Vans sneakers stuck to the pavement. The light enveloped me, or perhaps I was shrinking; dread numbing my mind, reducing me to nothingness in this fluorescent white world. Like ghosts, faces hovered inches from mine, features gradually materializing, silhouetted against the light. “We know it was you,” a hefty, confident voice said, coming from the face to my left. Something touched my arm—like seaweed dragging me under, I was caught, suffocating, the light growing distant as the waters closed above my head. “What?” My own voice speaking suddenly brought everything into focus. Policemen, three of them, were surrounding me. One of them was taking my arm to cuff me. “What did I do?” “We know it was you,” the man repeated. “We have a video tape of you at the station.” I retreated into myself, pulling back my arm and holding it to my chest as if it was wounded. I took a step backwards, but one of them was behind me too. For the first time in my life, I felt claustrophobic. “What did I do? What video tape?” I was pleading like a freshly trained puppy at the front door. I disgusted myself, but that was the least of my concerns. Panic throbbed in my throat. “You tell us. You know what you did,” he replied, lips barely moving, his face like a wax figurine. Another officer—younger and squatter— chimed in. “We have it on tape. You were vandalizing cars in this lot.” Despite an irritated glance from the older officer, he continued. “Keying cars, slashing tires, breaking the windows… and stealing whatever was inside. Numerous reports.” He nodded curtly. I snarled. The last four months of my life had been spent trolling this parking lot. It was my home. They knew no one would care if they got me off the street and into jail. For a brief moment the thought was tempting. Free food, bed, heat, books. Freedom could be found from within, in small things, like forbidden rooftops and dumpstered bagels. The world was already a prison. A physical prison would have made me into a billionaire. But, alas, my pride intervened.

I no longer felt helpless. I was the gazelle in the front of the pack, knowing the lions would nab the stragglers. I knew they were lying. I hadn’t done anything of the sort. What’s more, with all the time I spent in this parking lot, I knew no one else had done it either. Whatever tape they claimed they had was a sham. “I didn’t do anything. You’re plain lying, you fat, bored, miserable wastes of life. You can’t arrest me until you show me that tape. You don’t got any proof, so get the hell away from me, you f—-ing pigs!” They moved in closer, menacingly. “We can bring you in just for talking to us like that, you stupid whore.” One of them tinged his fingernail against his cuffs.


between a rock and a hard place They reached for me. I ducked and skipped sideways, somehow finding an opening, and dashed towards the street. I saw a car, too close —I bit my lip and blinded my mind, running, running, running. I am the lead gazelle. Don’t look back. Run. The car shrilled like a banshee and swerved behind me, and then somehow, I was over the curb. I scrambled down the embankment and crouched in the shadows, the skin of my cheek against the skin of a tree, epidermis to epidermis. I willed myself invisible. I didn’t exist, I was nothing. I was the tree, I was everything. I’m not here, I’m not here. Instead of taking chase as I expected, the policemen got back into their cars and drove off. In silence, heart galloping, I waited an hour before venturing back across the lot towards the train station. Even the predator had abandoned me.

I leaned against the tiled wall of the tunnel under the station, bending over to dig a cigarette butt (already been smoked, stomped, rained on and forgotten for a year) out of a crevasse in the concrete walkway. A skitter echoed in the tunnel. A skateboard slid, upside-down, towards my feet. I helped it turn right ways up again, like a tortoise, and nudged it on its way back to the boy flat on his back, grimacing and groaning. He glanced at me and sprung to his feet, grabbing the board, giggling gleefully as if he had never felt pain. He sighed as he flicked his lighter over and over, trying to light my miserable cigarette. We slumped to the ground and ignored the stampede of polished black dress shoes tripping over us – which made it 6:37 PM, according to the tattered schedule that I had read countless times. We took turns coaxing the lighter, petting it, talking to it, praising fire gods and demons and spirits and promising it glory and riches, but to no avail. Our nonsensical incantations had inadvertently summoned our nemesis, the god of rain, as we set out on foot. We climbed up to the train platform, but of course, it was empty now. We walked down to the end, where a lone elderly woman sat on a bench, her chin nuzzled to her chest, a section of today’s New York Times over her lap. I turned my head sideways to catch a quick read. “Mahathir Tells Islam To Embrace Technology,” was the headline. I pushed my palm towards the woman’s face. She stared at my wrist, wrapped like a mummy with bits of found cloth tied together, safety pins, rubber bands, scars still pink and tender, and then looked up at me, startled, disgusted. She was expecting me to beg for money. I formed my hand to hold an imaginary ball, and smiled at her as I offered it to her. “Would you like an orange, ma’am? It’s free.” Confused, she took my vaporous orange and nodded, mumbling, “Yes, yes, thank you.” The boy had already jumped off the end of the platform and was giggling hysterically at my antics as he stepped onto the tracks. I leaped off after him and exploded into laughter mid-air, darting ahead as I hit

the ground, both of us snickering and tugging at each other playfully. The sky was thick and heavy, and as the tracks elongated endlessly behind us, we ceased to silence. The safety of the tunnel and my parking lot were now an hour or two back. I fingered my pocket hoard to lull myself along—a feather, a blue string, an unidentified plastic thing, an anonymous eightyear-old girl’s school portrait. My clothes stuck to me in the rain; I was self-conscious about my breasts being so defined. I lagged behind the boy, not wanting him to look at me. I wanted to be alone. He glanced back at me and winked a sepia eye as he veered off the tracks towards Main Street, probably to our favorite public bathroom with clean floors and with a drive-thru outside, which we ventured to at closing time to ask for leftover coffee and bagels. I, instead, headed towards the woods on the north side of the tracks where I could go delirious with the scent of pines in the darkness. I was chilled and weary, possibly bordering on hypothermic. These were the times that you envisioned all the families inside their houses, fires blazing, lounging on couches, smiling and playing checkers or watching TV all together. So warm, so comforted, loved and belonging. The impenetrable uterus of the living room. Feasts deserving of kings digesting in their miles of intestines, how they take

I am the lead gazelle. Don’t look back. Run.

11 0 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

it for granted! How I once did too. And yet, out here in the suburban savannah, lightning resounded in my every cell. The docile world of men was no place for a beast like me. I am the humble, noble snail, picking up the debris that others left behind in their race to create a surreal collapsible world. I pull my musty blanket from the branches and nuzzle into the earth. A lone bird’s chirrups become audible as rush hour sighs to a close. Like diamonds we all are, innumerable shimmering possibilities for existence contained in each of us. By becoming microcosmic, one attainment of my infinite true potentials resonates in the heartbeat of the universe. I am nothing, but I am alive, every atom tingling with song! The darkness grows bolder, sheathing me, or perhaps I am shrinking. I watch the stars sear the clouds. I know that soon I will expand into a different existence, and yet, this is where I have always been, in some reincarnation or another. I am in the wilderness, ecstatic. ❉ Westport native Emily Lutringer attended Naropa University in Boulder, CO, and studied at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics there.

She graduated with a self-designed

major of Cultural Sustainability, combining Anthropology, Religious Studies, Environmental Studies, and Green Construction.

Copyright © 2002-2009 by the Westport Arts Center, Inc. All rights reserved.


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FICTION

BRUDERMAN’S NANNY BY STEPHEN RHODES

LIKE SPIDERMAN’S “SPIDER SENSE,” an acute sense of paranoia was the secret weapon that made my twelve year career on Wall Street possible. My philosophy goes something like this: everyone in this business is out to get you, take over your accomplishments, steal your Rolodex. Then they’ll either cut your throat or knife you in the back, whichever is more anatomically convenient. The words and actions of others — no matter how casual — are studded with clues of an ongoing Darwinian struggle. Accept it, live by it, use it to your advantage. Then, four days ago, a single goldenrod memo circulated to all North American employees at Matheson Wellborn Capital Markets destroyed my world. It announced that Jon Bruderman was new head of capital markets. Bruderman had scored a palace coup, pushing me aside — and my superhuman powers of paranoia completely missed the flashing red lights. Now as I step off the elevator onto the trading floor of MWCM, and wind my way through the grid of trading stations, my sense of paranoia is screaming at the top of its lungs. I imagine all the twentysomething stress addicts that previously reported to me are now silently mocking me. Everyone knows it, Lockhart. They can’t even look at you. You’ve been whacked, hammered, slammed, crushed, drilled, walloped. Beaten like a red-headed stepchild, clubbed like a baby seal. I drop into the Aeron chair at my workstation. Three newspapers await me, my daily nutrition. I push them to the side. While my computer flickers to life, the brays of traders fill my ears. The thrill and agony of trading securities is in my blood. If Bruderman takes this away from me, I’ll wish a particularly painful strain of testicular cancer upon him. I gaze over at my nemesis. Bruderman’s prowling about in his 1 2 6 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

glassed-in corner office like some predatorial species. Two conference rooms were demolished to give that platinum-certified prick a view of the Park worthy of Zeus himself. Alexandra Savarese, the desk assistant, swoops over with a pink Post-It note. “Sorry, Matthew, he told me to give you this.” The PostIt reads: JON WANTS TO SEE YOU ASAP. Let the games begin.

Entering Bruderman’s sleek domain, I nearly trip over a bulging Tumi suitcase on the floor. Meanwhile, Bruderman ignores my entrance. He squeezes a blue rubber ball as he works the speakerphone. “JT, let me circle back to you on that. Sounds good conceptually, but gimme the rest of the day to get my arms around it.” Click. JT is Jack Tricarico, the North American head of Matheson Wellborn. JT was lured away from Goldman Sachs last year with a huge upfront payday. Through backchannels, Goldman let it be known that Jack’s ass was grass there anyway, mocking Mattheson for obscenely overpaying for a backbencher. Jon Bruderman became instant BFFs with JT shortly after he learned Tricarico was deep down on the six-year-long wait list for golf privileges at Burning Tree. Somehow, Brudie had the juice to leapfrog Tricarico to the top of the list of the most lusted-after private club on the East Coast. JT now plays in Jon Bruderman’s regular Sunday morning foursome. It’s not surprising that Tricarico returned the favor by elevating Bruderman to run the capital markets division. Which means, he’s my boss… until I’m let go. Bruderman slouches into an infuriatingly casual posture. “Sorry about not returning your messages, Sparky, but I’ve been up to my ass in alligators since Monday’s announcement.” Sparky. The mailroom guys once told me it was street-slang for douchebag.


“Sure, Jon. Whatever.” I’m getting vertigo from the view. “What’s up?” Jon Bruderman’s brow furrows in mock compassion. “You should know,” he says softly, “that there will be a formal announcement about a restructuring shortly, possibly as early as next week. I’m working to find a place for you, but we’ve got headcount pressures from upstairs.” Though not unexpected, it still hits me with brass-knuckled cruelty. For four days, Tricarico and Bruderman have been conspiring to push me out completely. Perhaps it could have been worse; death by a thousand cuts, by which they nick me with one indignity after another until I can take no more and quit; or they could have slowly suffocated me by quietly reassigning my responsibilities without telling me. This is for the best, I assure myself. “Thanks for the courtesy of a head’s up,” I say neutrally. I make a motion indicating the luggage. “Going somewhere?” He contemplates his cuticles. “Four Seasons in Nevis. Six days, five nights with the wife and kids.” “Sounds like fun.” “F—k no.” Bruderman yawns theatrically, already bored with the trappings of his all-too-easy success. “I’ll be climbing the walls within 12 hours.” It strikes me then that Brudie looks like hell — exhausted, pallid face, hair thinning. Perhaps he’s something other than another ugly guy with a beautiful wife and beautiful home in Greenwich. I see him as a racehorse with a shock device attached to his flank, pushing him inhumanely toward some finish line. When he crosses the line, it’s not so much the thrill of victory as the end of agony. A victor, but not a winner. “I think we’re finished here, hammer.” He’s already punching up Tricarico’s number. “We’ll pick up the transitioning after Nevis.” I walk toward the door. “Bon voyage, dude.” He rears back, cobra-like, “Did you just call me ‘dude’?” I close the door on his words. My hands are shaking. For the first time in my adult life, I will be out of work.

I duck out early to catch the 4:36 p.m. Metro-North train from Grand Central to Greenwich. For over a decade I’ve kept coal miner’s hours, rarely leaving the office before nightfall, so I’m unaccustomed to the brightness that floods the filthy confines of the bar car. The train is well-populated with advertising types, all of whom look positively miserable. They are diehard junior execs with their eyes on the prize, feverishly working their BlackBerries, ThinkPads and iPhones. At the bar: “Two Absoluts in a cup, straight, wedge of lime.” Just as I score my cocktail, the train pitches suddenly to the left. Someone collides with me, nearly upending my double shot. A striking young blond girl in a pastel sundress murmurs an apology around a dazzling smile. “So sorry.” I’m taken aback by this radiant burst of genuine friendliness. My attraction to this girl is instant—and not completely sexual. It’s more that she seems a beacon of positive energy on a hostile planet. She makes me think of lemon meringue pie. “My fault, actually,” I offer. “I suppose it doesn’t matter much either way, does it?” The girl holds my eyes for a moment while I try to place the accent. Australian, 1 2 8 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

I’m guessing, with the vanishing r’s. “My name’s Matthew,” I say, surprised by my own cojones. “Fiona.” “Ah. Can I get you a drink, Fiona? A Coke?” “I’d much prefer a Foster’s, actually. With a vodka chaser.” With that, Fiona flips open her cell phone and starts texting. When I return with the drinks, she’s on the phone with a friend, peppering her conversation with an exotic slang that reminds me of A Clockwork Orange. “It’s choice… That’s spot-on…What a complete saddo she turned out to be…. Ah, Viv, Bruderman can be such a drongo sometimes.” Bruderman. Could it be? “Kia ora, baby” she says. She snaps the phone shut and smiles. “That was my mate Vivica. She’s my cozziebro. I trust her with my deepest secrets.” Fiona accepts the shot and the beer and slugs down four quick throatfuls— a party girl. “Thanks for your kindness. I’m not used to that, especially in New York.” “Pleasure. You from Australia?” “Australia? How insulting.” “I didn’t mean any offense—” She laughs mellifluously. “No worries, just teasing. I’m from New Zealand originally. For the last year, I’ve lived in Greenwich.” “I live in Greenwich also.” I struggle to sound casual. “I heard the name Bruderman. Would that be Jon Bruderman?” Fiona’s blonde eyebrows climb her forehead in surprise. “I live with the Bruderman family. I’m their au pair.” Bruderman’s au pair! It makes perfect sense—the trophy nanny to go with the trophy wife. It was all so… Bruderman. “And you just dropped his children off in the city.” “Right,” she says. “The family is vacationing in Nevis or wherever. Wait a minute—how did you know that…. ?” Her voice trails off as she tries to decide whether I’m a clairvoyant or a stalker. “So happens I work with Jon Bruderman.” “Bloody hell!” With a mock-naughty face, she hides the beer behind her back and giggles. “Don’t tell him about the beer. He’ll freak out.” “Deal,” I say conspiratorially. “That is, if you tell me what you meant when you called Bruderman a drongo.” Fiona draws in a sharp breath. “Ah, yes. A drongo. Well, the American equivalent, I guess, would be dickhead.” I double over in laughter. Things are definitely looking up.

For the next thirty minutes Fiona Hensleigh riffs animatedly about her adventures since being plucked from Christschurch, New Zealand and plunked down as an au pair in Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.A., the epicenter of history’s most excessive cycle of boom and bust. She dissects the archetypes of the Connecticut Gold Coast in deliciously bitchy detail: the beauty-shop-addicted, Prada-obsessed prima donnas, whose sense of entitlement is without limitation; the insecure, cigar-smoking, ambition-addicted husbands whose self-worth is measured by the girth of their Humvees; and their worshipped, frettedover, unlovely offspring, spoiled beyond belief and taught at the youngest age that viral disrespect for authority is a virtue. As Fiona


speaks, I wonder if this is actually a sneak peek into my rival’s secret world… If so, Mrs. Bruderman is something of a bitch on ice and Brudie himself is no candidate for sainthood, prone to moodiness and shouting matches with his better half. Fiona clearly possesses deep secrets about my nemesis, but she doesn’t trust me enough to give up the goods. Smart girl. Now, since my wife Sarabeth left me six months ago, I’ve lost my bearings on such things, but I believe Fiona Hensleigh finds me attractive. A certain tilt of her face, the way she lets the gleaming wisps of her blond hair tumble over one eye. I realize how the distance between our bodies has shrunk. A chill prickles my skin with each incidental contact. Unless this is purely my imagination—and I concede it might

nels suck — chick flicks, slasher movies and insipid car chases. The phone rings in the kitchen. The machine picks up. An uncertain pause... then... a soft fumble of the handset as it is passed to someone. Heated whispers, shushing and the musical laughter of drunken young girls are discernible. I rise from the couch, hover over the machine. The caller ID gives it away: BRUDERMAN, J. More giggles, unintelligible whispers. Her friends put her up to this, I realize, and it is like a juvenile slumber party dare, for chrissakes — still, I’m struck by a surge of undefinable energy. Fiona chickens out, and there is the curt click of the line going dead. I stare at the machine and exhale. She didn’t say a word. Didn’t have to. It’s a siren song I cannot resist. At 10:15 PM, I ease my XJ-8 out of the garage, heading to a huge

BRUDERMAN’S AU PAIR! IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE— THE TROPHY NANNY TO GO WITH THE TROPHY WIFE. be—there is an electricity between me and Bruderman’s nanny. Fiona is telling me how much she misses some dreadful-sounding Kiwi delicacies—Minties, Jaffas, Moro bars, Wattie’s tomato sauce, and Vegemite—when the Old Greenwich train station rolls into view. “My station,” I say, feeling regret that this encounter is ending. I offer my hand and the New Zealander’s equivalent of aloha. “Kia ora.” She seizes my hand, glancing briefly for the wedding band I happen to not be wearing, then says flirtatiously, “About tonight— “ Flustered, I manage: “Tonight? What about it?” “We’re having a piss-up at the Bruderman’s. You ought to pop on by.” “A piss-up?” I stand immobilized as commuters pour around us on their way out. Pressed up against me, her breath is warm on my cheek, cloyingly sweet with the tang of imported lager. One Night Only — The Nannies’ Ball — Live At The Bruderman’s. I picture myself in the midst of a gaggle of out-of-control, drunken European girls, trashing Bruderman’s place. Incredibly tempting. But more than a tad dangerous. “Uh, I don’t think so, Fiona.” “You change your mind, you know the way to the Bruderman’s, don’t you?” I do indeed. She flashes a dazzling smile. I walk off the train backwards, nearly stumbling into a heap on the platform. They say crack cocaine is instantly addictive. Having met Bruderman’s au pair, I totally get the concept. BY ALL INDICATIONS, my Friday evening is shaping up to be a lonesome night, to be killed off with a Domino’s pizza and a bottle of Grey Goose vodka. I have difficulty pushing the image of Fiona from my mind’s eye. Partially anesthetized with Russian vodka by 8:30 PM, I’m sitting in the living room, gunning the remote as I mindlessly skid through the channels of the 60” flat screen TV. Satellite television on Friday night is a depressing, 700-channel wasteland of reality shows, formulaic cop procedurals and talking heads. All the movies on the premium chan-

party at my boss’ house in the backcountry. With a delicious thrill, I tell myself, And he’s not invited.

I use my Magellan GPS to find the address, and my stomach crumples in envy as I pull off Round Hill Road and spy Bruderman’s seven-bedroom mansion at Twelve Larkspur Lane. It is a hideous erection of eatyour-heart-out opulence set back on five acres of fertile onion farmland. The house itself looks like a Siamese triplet of mansions melded together for maximum impact. Four-car garage, tennis court, an Olympicsized pool in the back. I wedge the Jag aggressively into an oblong space in the front yard and head down the circular limestone driveway. A menacing throb of bass from Limp Bizkit’s “Break Something” grows in intensity as I near the entrance. The door is ajar. I sidestep a puddle of fresh puke and cross the threshold into my rival’s private residence. The point of no return. The Nannies’ Ball is in full swing — which is to say, totally out of control. A hundred stoned kids have commandeered chez Bruderman and converted the expansive living room into a makeshift dance floor. The lights are turned down and Bruderman’s Bose speakers are cranked up. The bodies writhing to the rhythm are not just of a different generation than me — they could just as well be of an alien race. They have turned self-mutilation into high fashion: tonguestuds, belly-rings, lip-piercings. The acrid smell of pot suffuses my nostrils. In the picture window, I see a clot of bikers from Bridgeport skinny-dipping in Bruderman’s pool. I don’t know what I imagined the Nannies’ Ball would look like, but I couldn’t have imagined this… “Hey, you.” I whirl around. “Fiona. Wow, this is quite a — piss-up.” She’s clearly as intoxicated as I am, and puts her warm hand on my forearm. “I knew you’d come.” “How’d you know?” “I just did.” She says this with a note of triumph in her voice. “So where’s your car? We’re running out of the hard stuff and we need to make a booze run to Port Chester.”


After completing our mission of buying more hard stuff from a package store in a terrifying neighborhood in Port Chester, we take an impromptu detour to a secluded, rocky beach at the ass-end of Steamboat Road. In my intoxicated state, I’m now actually imagining having sex with Jon Bruderman’s au pair in the backseat of my car. At the water’s edge, there’s some small talk about how her friends Vivica and Didi put up a Facebook page with details of the au pairs’ bash at Brudermans, and now it’s gotten a bit wild with dozens of party-crashers. She is in a talkative mood — I watch her bee-stung lips moving as she speaks, waiting for an opportune moment to kiss them. I picture how this might play out: Maybe I start by kissing her neck, grabbing her apple-bottom ass and pulling her close. I can smell the henna of the shampoo in her hair and I’m seized by an urge to taste the salt on her skin. “I have something to tell you, Matthew.”

way radio saying back-up is on the way. Four half-naked and soaking wet party animals are led in cuffs to the back of the vehicles. Vivica is weeping. At the center of it all, the Bruderman family. I will later learn that Jack Tricarico called Jon Bruderman at the airport and asked him to cancel his vacation for an impromptu weekend marathon concerning Matheson Wellborn’s possible acquisition of a regional bank. They came back early, stumbled onto the Nannies’ Ball and called 9-1-1. And now Mrs. Bruderman is on a nuclear tirade, ranting to two subservient cops. They dutifully scribble down her every word. I accompany Fiona to the epicenter of this frenetic scene, expecting a throwdown with Jon Bruderman and the Greenwich police — but something odd happens. Bruderman looks past me as if I’m invisible. He trains his laser-like glares on a defiant Fiona. A smile begins to play on her pursed lips. And I catch something passing between them.

I ACCOMPANY FIONA TO THE EPICENTER OF THIS FRENETIC SCENE, EXPECTING A THROWDOWN WITH JON BRUDERMAN AND THE GREENWICH POLICE Uh-oh. “Okay.” “This is actually my going away party.” “You’re leaving? Going back to New Zealand? When?” “Next weekend.” She begins to cry. “Jon and I are involved, and he’s afraid Alessandra’s going to go through his text messages and find out. He’s super-paranoid about it. So I told him I’m quitting.” “How long was this going on?” “Almost six months. He said he loved me, but now he won’t even look at me.” She gulp-sobs. “And now I think I might even be pregnant.” This bit of TMI is pure buzzkill, and my desire for her ebbs away. What the hell am I doing here anyway? Is bird-dogging Fiona any real revenge for losing out to Bruderman, or just a selfdestructive act worthy of a slot on Jerry Springer. But as I silently berate myself, I start to wonder whether Bruderman’s au pair has just handed me some currency of great value. He’s super paranoid about it, she said. My mind whirls with possibilities. Fiona’s cellphone twitters with a new message. She squints at the illuminated display through teary eyes. Her sorrow turns to panic. “Bloody f—k!” she spits out in a most unfeminine way. “We’ve got major trouble!”

Something, I know, that can only be understood by two people who have been sexually intimate. I turn and walk away, carrying with me Jon Bruderman’s dirty little secret. He’s been banging the nanny, and his wife doesn’t know it. Not yet, anyway. Bruderman sprints over to my car as I step into the Jag. “Hey, Matt, how’s it going? Say, can we keep all this on the down-low for now, at least until we can talk on Monday? I think I may have found something for you in the Hong Kong office — “ I twist the key in the ignition and the engine roars to life. “Actually, London has a lot more appeal to me, Jon. I think I could make a real impact in the region.” Bruderman grits his teeth. “I’ll have a talk with JT tomorrow, see what we can do for you there.” “You do that, Jon, you do that.” I cock my head in mock empathy. “No reason to be paranoid, Jon. Work out that London gig for me and this goes nowhere.” I leave him standing there on the curb in front of his mansion, looking paranoid and panicky, knowing I have him by the short hairs. Like I said: paranoia is my secret weapon. My paranoia… and yours. ❉ A 15-year veteran of Wall Street, Westport’s Stephen Rhodes is

Ten minutes later, we pull up to the house, and the Nannies’

the author of two novels, including the critically acclaimed financial

Ball is now a complete shitshow. Blinding strobe lights from the three Greenwich Police squad cars wash the Bruderman estate in psychedelic red-blue hues. The squawk of the dispatcher over the two-

thriller, The Velocity of Money (Morrow/Avon).

1 3 0 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

His writings have

appeared in the Best American Mystery Stories, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.


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THIRD EYE

LARRY SILVER (B. 1934) SUNSET AT SHERWOOD ISLAND STATE PARK, CT 1978 GELATIN SILVER PRINT SIGNED AND DATED ON VERSO 16 X 20 INCHES

As the son of

renowned Westport photographer Larry Silver, Bruce Silverstein was raised to believe that photography was underappreciated as an art form. “Experiencing art — going to museums regularly, looking at art books, taking art courses, shooting with my father —was ingrained in me from a very early age; collecting was a means to enrich our home that later evolved into a form of financial savings.” At the age of 22, at the beginning of what would become a successful career on Wall Street, Bruce began to collect important photography aggressively. “Much of the pleasure I got throughout my time on Wall Street was converting my earnings into art. When that was not enough, I left.” Bruce would never have conceived that within a remarkably short period of time, he would become one of the foremost photography dealers in the world, with a ground floor gallery in the heart of the Chelsea art district in New York City, and be representing his father’s work. “I have fond memories of sitting on the couch listening to my father while watching him gesture with his hands, as we looked at images by W. Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Walker Evans. I was constantly learning the language of seeing art, and talking about art, with my parents. This was not just limited to photography – my parents’ interests were wide and diverse, and spanned the history of art and antiquities. Learning such a broad language from such a young age gave me a real visceral understanding for art that I believe is difficult to learn later in life. Accompanying my father on shoots throughout my childhood, as well as my own drawing and sculpting, taught me about the process of creating. So, when I began to look at collecting, it did not take me long to get my bearings and to feel comfortable with my own abilities; I had a large enough visual vocabulary, as well as an understanding of historical artistic context to select images that were both important and to which I connected. I made a decision to collect primarily original vintage photographs, which are the first prints that were made at the time the images were taken. I also stuck to major photographers, as I found it remarkable that such important masterworks could be had for relatively affordable prices. One of the lessons I learned from my father was to buy the best I could afford and that I was better off buying fewer pieces of better quality.” Ultimately, Bruce decided to leave Wall Street to open a vintage photography gallery in a townhouse on West 22nd street in Chelsea. With no prior experience, he taught himself each facet of running a gallery—from designing the space on a limited budget, matting, framing, how to hang pictures, building and designing an internet site, and writing press releases. 1 4 6 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010


“Photography was still being discovered and appreciated at that time, eight years ago, and there was a unique opportunity – even for someone who had no gallery experience. My earliest shows were focused on classic photographers, both known and unknown... My second show was called ‘Aaron Siskind Transformation.’ Aaron Siskind was the only photographer who was a member of the Abstract Expressionist Group. Siskind was influencing De Kooning and Kline and hanging in the same shows. I began to realize, after seeing what many dealers had in their inventories, that there was a certain portion of Siskind’s work that few understood. These early pieces were transitional in nature, where he was exploring abstraction but wasn’t quite there, yet it was very much an integral part of his entire body of work.” Dealers were willing to sell these photographs quite inexpensively, which enabled Silverstein to build up a critical mass of prints. They would become the basis for his exhibition ‘Aaron Siskind Transformation,’ which received a full-page review in the Times. “Getting that review after my second show reinforced my decision to leave Wall Street and open the gallery.” After five years, Bruce began to feel constrained by his space and storage limitations. “The space was 600 square feet — perfect for a jewel-like vintage exhibition, but not a place to show larger contemporary work.” He relocated the gallery to a 5000-square-foot

space on the ground floor of 535 W. 24th St. “With regards to historically important photographers, I look for bodies of work that either have not been seen, or have been overlooked or misrepresented. For example, André Kertész has always been known within the art world as one of the great photographers, yet most of that focus has been on his early work, which was done in Paris between 1925 and 1935. In fact, he moved to New York in 1936 and for the next 50 years took pictures of New York, but those pictures were fairly unknown. Except for a few key images, the majority of that work was really unappreciated and assumed to be secondary to the body of work he did in Paris. I put together a show of his New York period images. For many, this was an insightful new approach into an extremely important artist. The Kertész estate took notice, appreciated that I had added value to the understanding of his work, and joined the gallery. The Siskind Foundation would later join us as well. I enjoy taking artists that have been stereotyped, wrongly at times, and expanding the knowledge of that artist. We did the same thing for Robert Doisneau, an artist who is famous for the photograph ‘Kiss by the Hotel de Ville, 1950.’ I decided to call the estate in Paris. They said to me, ‘I’m sorry we have no more images of the ‘Kiss’.” I said, “I’m not coming to look at the ‘Kiss’.” They said, “No one has ever come


THIRD EYE SHINICHI MARUYAMA (B.1968) SELF-PORTRAIT 2006 ARCHIVAL PIGMENT PRINT 57 X 43 INCHES

to look at anything else.” I went there and found some incredible images that showed the breadth of his work — one of the great French photographers, but very unknown in America because he had become so famous for one picture.” Since the move to 24th Street, the gallery has expanded to representing contemporary artists, including Martin Denker, Todd Hido, Yao Lu, Maria Mameli, Shinichi Maruyama, and Michael Wolf, and now shows in all major art fairs around the world, including Art Basel Miami and the New York Armory Show. “Showing contemporary work feels natural to me. I used to think that in order to understand what is new, one must first understand what has been done before. But in fact, it goes both ways, new work constantly redefines and reinvigorates works from the past. It is one system, past, present and future. Doing one without the other no longer makes sense.” Silverstein is enthusiastic about his plans for the future. “The gallery has expanded its focus to photographers who work in various mediums, but have been typecast solely as photographers. For instance, Frederick Sommer, who is known for his photographs, also produced significant abstract expressionist paintings, drawings, watercolors, collages and even musical scores. I am finding the notion of moving into other art forms irresistible. I plan on doing this for a very long time, and building and growing is only natural.” 535 West 24th Street, New York, NY. 212/627-3930; www.brucesilverstein.com. ❉ 1 4 8 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010


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RRURAL U RA R A L PPALATES AL A ATTE S by Cathryn J. Prince

Le Farm photos by Ayala Gazit

IIff Chef Chef Bill Bill Taibe Tai aibe and a d his an hiis wife wiife fe e Rachel had their druthers, diners would gather at tables in a pasture and their kitchen would easily be run from inside a barn. That’s how passionate the Weston couple is about their new farm-to-table restaurant, LeFarm. Last October the couple opened LeFarm on Westport’s Colonial Green. The Taibes simply want to serve good, fresh food, and, if that results in reducing their carbon footprint and helping the environment – well, that’s just icing on the cake. “I have always cooked with that mentality. My concern is for the highest quality,” says Taibe, who grew up across the border in New York State. “I’ve been cooking like this forever. I’ve been doing it long enough that I have nothing to prove.” Indeed, that so many restaurants claim to have gone green to earn some green fazes neither Taibe nor his wife. The Weston residents have long believed that only the freshest, highest quality food will do. A recent review in Connecticut Magazine backs that up. The magazine said: “Supremely talented, adventurous and a demon for perfection, Taibe is a chef’s chef and the darling of a discriminating populace willing to follow him anywhere.” Diners have followed Taibe from Wild Fire in Greenwich to Relish in Norwalk, then Napa & Co. in Stamford. “Napa was a really big operation and we wanted to do something small now,” says Rachel Taibe, who met Bill at Wild Fire ten years ago. The couple has two young sons, Oliver and Caeden.

1 6 6 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

Tucked inside a renovated space, the intimate 30-seat restaurant speaks to its name. Votive candles nestle inside mason jars, mirrored windowpanes with vintage post cards stuck in the frames hang on the walls. With a staff of just seven, LeFarm serves dinner Wednesday through Saturday and lunch Wednesday through Friday. “It’s hard for me; for the first time in my professional career I don’t have a kitchen staff of the same size as I once did,” Bill Taibe says. “The cooks are still learning my food. It’s a small kitchen and I’m physically cooking every day.” The idea of farm-to-table isn’t new. In the United States it began in California during the 1960s when Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Thomas Keller’s French Laundry is another landmark restaurant of this ilk. The trend moved east and includes restaurants such as Arrows in Ogunquit, Maine and both The Schoolhouse Restaurant in Wilton and the Dressing Room in Westport. These restaurants might have different menu options but all subscribe to the same idea: ingredients should come from as nearby as possible. Hence the peas snap and the corn crunches. Moreover, farm to table means few middlemen muddy the trip from harvest to hearth. “Bill loves the restaurant because he has time to be on the farm. Part of doing this restaurant was to give him time to work with farmers,” explains Rachel Taibe. In recent years diners have learned to eat seasonally – both because of taste and also because it is viewed as better for the environment. And then there is the notion, however idealistic, that one is closer to one’s roots and


R U R A L PA P A L AT AT E S to the earth by eating locally grown vegetables and raised animals. Still, the Taibes realize crossing state lines is a must, in order to get topnotch ingredients. “It’s just not possible to do everything local,” Rachel clarifies. “At the end of the day we want to source the best quality product.” To find the choicest product, Bill Taibe often heads directly to the farms. There is Urban Oaks in New Britain. This farm of sorts took over a greenhouse in the center of the city. To Bill’s surprise and delight, their greens are far superior to anything shipped from California. If he’s not in the kitchen in the Colonial Green plaza, he might be at Holbrook Farm, in Bethel. Taibe goes there once or twice a week to gather fresh eggs and free-range chickens from the 13-acre family farm, which has been pesticide and herbicide-free for the last thirty years.

“Desserts are described to diners verbally, each day, depending on what we have,” Rachel Taibe smiles. She has been known to bring in homemade confections, but most sweets are chef-conceived. For example, the corn bread, candied bacon, and chili maple gelato. “I always pause after I say it,” laughs Andrea, one of the wait staff. “People love it; if you like pancakes for breakfast, you’ll love it too,” says Bill Taibe. “But I’m not a dessert person. This is a chef’s dessert. I’d

Ingredients should come from as nearby as possible. Hence the peas snap and the corn crunches. rather sit down to a cheese plate. We go for simplicity. You won’t find spun sugar or raspberry coulis here. We offer what we have.” Offering what they have is part of the plan. Rachel Taibe makes clear they want people to feel as if they are at home enjoying a meal. That means diners sit down to cheesecloth-covered tables, where silverware sprouts from mason jars. The barn-like room was revamped and renovated with the help of Andy and Marcia Glazer of Rowayton, to give it a farmhouse feel. “Just be comfy. It’s good food and we’re fortunate to have it,” Bill Taibe exclaims. “We eliminated the pomp and circumstance. It doesn’t matter how the food looks on a plate — no ring molds and droppers — it’s about the taste of the food and about being together.” ❉ Cathryn J. Prince, a freelance writer, is writing a book about the 1807 Weston Meteorite to be published by Prometheus Books Fall/Winter 2010.

But if it’s pork that he needs, then Taibe calls on John Boys Smokehouse in Pound Ridge. Here all pigs — registered Berkshires — are born and raised on the family farm. The Pound Ridge homestead feeds only locally grown, fresh ground grains to their animals, which usually are out to pasture on rotated fields. Of course sticking to the seasons brings all kinds of challenges. Flexibility is key; the menu is known to change during the course of an evening. Most nights about thirty percent of the menu will change; sometimes dishes are limited and run out after the first seating. Some recent dishes included soft boiled local chicken eggs and white anchovies, lamb shanks and heirloom chickpeas, and roasted duck with blue blossom honey. Not to mention cornucopia of chard, figs, olives, and pastas. For now, LeFarm does not have a separate pastry chef.

1 6 8 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010


Rural Palates Assaggio Stratford, CT

reviews

Assaggio

This is a new, out of the way eatery that’s worth the trip for a wonderful meal. Situated on the water in Stratford overlooking a marina and with an expansive patio for outdoor dining, Assaggio offers a taste of regional Italian dishes prepared with fresh ingredients by creative hands. Co-owners Waldir Correia and Miguel D’Onofrio hail from Brazil, with fond memories of and strong ties to their Italian-born grandmothers. The dining room is large and airy, dominated by a long bar offering premium cocktails and many wines by the glass. All dishes are served on contemporary white square and rectangular ceramics. To start, offerings include a range of carpaccio dishes — thinly sliced and raw — such as salmon, tuna, octopus or beef, each with its own bed of greens and dressings. Seafood appetizers abound, both hot and cold. Try the insalata di mare of baby shrimp, mussels and calamari with an olive oil, herb and lemon dressing served in a martini glass; New Zealand clams sautéed in garlic, oil and white wine sauce; or crab cakes over a mixed green salad. The rollatini di pepperoni, sweet roasted peppers stuffed with gorgonzola and served hot with a balsamic glaze reduction, is a rich and wonderful non-seafood starter. Pasta choices are numerous and varied, and include orechietti tartufatto: fresh orecchietti sautéed with prosciutto di Parma, wild mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, black truffles and parmegiana cheese; and ravioli di zucca, mildly sweet pumpkin ravioli in a butter sage sauce with a sprinking of crushed Amaretto di Saronno biscotti on top. Entrees of veal, fish, steak and chicken are available, as are light and appealing desserts. Open daily, $10 express lunch buffet weekdays; champagne Sunday brunch. 955 Ferry Boulevard, Stratford, CT. 203/381-9200; www.assaggiostratford.com.

Café Manolo Westport Chef/owner Pedro Garzon has fond memories of his Tio Manuel, a retired general and medical doctor in the Spanish army who he visited often as a child and with whom he toured Europe, dining at fine restaurants and garnering an education in cuisines, wines and manners. Manolo is the nickname of that beloved uncle, and the name of this delightful new restaurant in Westport. The below-grade restaurant space, formerly Zest, has been softened and transformed by carpeting, candlelight, and dark wood furniture. Now cozy and wine cellar-like, it offers a handsome chef ’s table that can bring a dozen strangers together to enjoy a comfortable meal,

while seating couples, friends or families at well spaced tables throughout. Chef Garzon offers “local ingredients in traditional Mediterranean fare and presentation.” Dishes change with the season, and may include starters such as fresh Portuguese sardines cooked over the grill with olive oil, salt, lemon and parsley; slow roasted beets with blue cheese, maché greens and toasted hazelnuts; or housemade country paté with whole grain mustard, pickles and frissé salad. Entrees such as risotto with chanterelle mushrooms, butternut squash and corn; grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce; and wild striped bass in a tomato and black olive preparation are straightforward and pleasing. Don’t skimp on sides such as creamy truffled polenta; crispy pomme frites with garlic aioli; or sautéed spinach with garlic, pinenuts and raisins. If its not fresh and locally available, its not on the menu; if it is on the menu, its well-prepared and satisfying. All portions come in plate or platter size —sensible servings for one or larger measures to share — priced accordingly. Try the Tito American-made vodka in your favorite martini, or one of the wines from their extensive, multi-region wine list. Open for lunch Wednesday through Saturday; Dinner Tuesday to Saturday. 8 Church Lane, Westport, CT 227-0703; www.cafemanolo.com.

Meigas Norwalk

Meigas

Certain types of ethnic eateries can be found on every corner in Fairfield and Westchester counties, but an authentic Spanish restaurant is hard to find. Meigas in Norwalk serves classic and nouvelle Spanish tapas, wines from the Rioja region, main dishes that pop with the spices and seasonings of the province of Galicia, and shellfish rich from the Mediterranean sea. New owner Carlos Hernandez lavishes attention on his guests, turning curious first-timers into enthusiastic regulars. And to beat the economic downturn blues, Carlos offers a range of specially priced enticements: Three course prix fixed tapas menus Monday and Tuesday nights; half priced wines on Thurday and Sunday nights; and a business-express lunch for $9.99 which includes a choice from five special items. Wine dinners featuring a local expert to discuss the plate and wine pairings and serenaded by Spanish guitar encourage exploration of the Iberian peninsula, while Flamenco and Rumba nights heat up both the place and the pace. From the cold tapas list, enjoy Executive Chef Luis Bollo’s Ensalada Nevat: Nevat goat cheese, dry figs, crispy serrano ham, walnuts, tomatoes, and frissé in a truffle oil and sherry vinaigrette. On the hot and savory


side, sample the Coca de Lomo, marinated and grilled pork tenderloin with black olives, tomatoes, scallions, and melted Tettila cheese served on crispy Galician bread; Cochinillo asado a la Segoviana — roasted suckling pig in a honey sherry vinegar sauce with spinach and potato confit; or Costilla de Ternera Guisada— braised short ribs in red wine and gingercaramelized garlic over cabbage, potatoes, spinach, dried apricots and serrano ham. For a surf n’ turf combination extraordinaire, order the codornices rellenas de setas y gambas: quail stuffed with sweetbreads, shrimp and mushrooms with amontillado sherry sauce. Main plates, paellas, and inventive desserts round out the menu. 10 Wall Street, Norwalk, CT. 203/866-8800; meigasrestaurant.com.

Tawa Indian Cuisine

Tawa Indian Cuisine Stamford

Tawa, meaning “iron skillet,” is a new addition to the downtown Stamford dining scene. Many of the fresh, prepared-to-order dishes at this upscale Indian eatery are indeed seared at high heat in large, cast iron cookware, with the balance cooked to perfection in two enormous Tandoori ovens. As the kitchen is open and viewable from the bar and Lolita downstairs dining areas, with a small set of barstools Cocina facing in towards all the cooking action, diners see & Tequila first hand the preparations made by chef Kausik Roy’s Bar kitchen team, and may discourse with chef Roy, who loves to explain his craft as he prepares their meals. The restaurant offers a number of familiar Indian dishes, but also a range of more unusual specialties. Lamb Demsak is a rich, fragrant lamb stew served en croute; chicken Hariyali, with mint, cilantro, basil and key limes is a presentation of green chicken; Goan shrimp Balchao, from an area of India colonized by the Portuguese, is butter sautéed tiger shrimp in a spicy tomato and garlic sauce. Artichoke scallion pakoda, crispy artichoke and scallion fritters served with eggplant and tamarind dipping sauces are chef Roy’s twist on classic Indian fritters; while the Konkani crab ‘n shrimp pocket with curry leaf, coconut-tempered lump crab meat and shrimp in a savory pancake, is pure culinary genius. The restaurant offers a range of breads (nan) baked in the tandoor that arrive hot and buttery at the table— plain, or stuffed with garlic,

jalapeños, dried fruits or nuts. Other must tries are Poori, a deep fried and puffed whole wheat bread; roti, simple whole wheat bread (without oil or butter) and paratha, a multi layered whole wheat bread that comes in potato, cauliflower, cheese and mint versions. Tawa has a full bar, including house specialty martinis and a selection of wines chosen to compliment the full-flavored dishes. Finish the meal with desserts that are lightly sweet, such as mango flavored yogurt or cheese dumplings with walnut brittle. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Dine in, take out or delivery. 211 Summer Street, Stamford, CT. 203/359-8997; www.tawaonline.com.

Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar Greenwich Get ready for a titillating evening, a trip off the tongue that satisfies the palate as well as all the other senses. Lolita, “a cb5 joint,” is a new locale in Greenwich created by a group of experienced restaurant consultants that is the antithesis of establishment Greenwich restaurants. Both sophisticated and savvy, Lolita plays up multiple elements that please, from décor to lighting, service to ambiance, and, of course, the food. Cunningly dim exposed brick and concrete walls, steel pipes overhead and wood plank floors below, seem to be lit only by clusters of candle-bearing black and red chandeliers, and well placed, glimmering candle holders. The bar offers over 100 different tequilas and tequila-based drinks, with fresh margheritas being prepared tableside in the dining room off of a well stocked rolling cart. The waitstaff is young, hip, but knowledgeable, and fortunately, eager to please. To expand the overflowing dining rooms, an outdoor patio with silent film projection is available seasonally. Excellent primeros (appetizers) include queso fundido, a bubbling hot asadero cheese with sausage, poblano chiles and mushrooms and a cilantro pesto drizzle; sticky spare ribs of bbq’d pork with Mexican coffee bean, chocolate, sesame and orange glaze; crisp jicama salad with watercress, oranges, avocado and ancho chile vinaigrette; and blackened grouper tacos with jicama slaw, chipotle cream and pumpkin seeds. Principal plates such as the caballero ribeye with roasted cilantro potatoes, or the garlic lime chicken with a roasted corn/red onion salsa and matchstick potatoes are matchless. Various sides compliment the freshly prepared platos principales, including an addictively dense, moist, iron pan cornbread with roasted garlic sauce; and verde rice with cilantro cream and jack cheese. For dessert, try the fried coconut ice cream bar in a cornflake crust with hot fudge dipping sauce, or warm chocolate bread pudding with brown sugar caramel, but be sure to leave room for the mile high cotton candy served to everyone at the end of the meal! ❉ 230 Mill Street, Greenwich, CT. 203/813-3555; www.lolitamexican.com.


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THE HEALING AGENT

Emergency Room #5 BY . D R . J AY M E I Z L I S H

THE SICKEST patients are hustled into Room 5, the ones who come already undergoing CPR or who look like they may be needing it imminently. The system is called triage. It started on the battlefront to identify who gets care first. In the ER if they take you to Room 5 you get the full attention of a full team immediately. The waiting room may be jammed and the sore throats have a four-hour wait, but Room 5 gets care NOW, STAT! Nobody looks rich or powerful in Room 5. Whether the mode of transport to the hospital was a Porsche or an ambulance, whether the suit was Armani or Old Navy, whether the shoes Manolo Blahnik

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or Crocs: Lying under the bright light of the large overhead lamp, dressed only in the flimsy hospital gown, nobody appears â&#x20AC;&#x153;larger than life.â&#x20AC;? Upon transfer to the room 5 gurney, clothes are rapidly removed, cut off with a pair of large shears if necessary, and are replaced by a hospital gown. Now proper assessment of the entire body is feasible and there is free access for intravenous lines and other lifesavers. It also starkly sets the scene: Pretense is left at the door. Power and influence are removed as surely as the shirt. Here only three questions determine if life as it had been can be reclaimed. 1. What have you got? 2. Did you get here in time? 3. Can it be fixed? These are the laws of Room 5 and in this time and place they constitute reality.


All you need to remember is the Elizabeth Pfriem Swim Center for Cancer Care: We’ve thought of everything else.

i

State-of-the-art imaging equipment

i

Ambulatory infusion center with personal, flat screen plasma TVs, meal service and private room option

i

Multi-disciplinary care from a team of specialists

i

Healing environment with plenty of natural light

i

Survivorship programs providing continuing holistic care

Even before unveiling our amazing new building, St.Vincent’s already earned “Full 3 Year Approval with Commendation” by the National Commission on Cancer, a distinction shared by only seven of the sixteen Cancer treatment programs in the entire state. Our architects and designers worked with detailed input from doctors, nurses and patients to create a state-of-the-art facility for the people of Fairfield County. So trust us with your health, and your family’s. Because when cancer hits home, you shouldn’t have to leave town to get treatment.

Trust Your Family With Ours  2800 Main Street • Bridgeport, CT 06606 Call our Care Line at 1-877-231-SWIM (7946) for more information WWW.STVINCENTS.ORG


It is a cold, cavernous, white-tiled room where battles for life and against death are fought. Well lit, it is dominated by a huge ceiling-mounted lamp that hangs over the gurney in the middle of the room. This is “stage center” for the dramas that unfold here. The respirator sits at the head of the bed and waits to deliver air to those who cannot breathe on their own. The defibrillator sits on a wheeled table off to the far right, its two round silver paddles ready to shock a dying heart back to life. Cabinets line the walls overflowing with the IV’s, pacemakers, catheters, scalpels, medications, fluids, sutures, gauze pads and chest tubes that may be needed at a moment’s notice. Telephones hang on the wall above the small counter that serves as a desk. The black one connects

This is where the stricken come to fight for their lives and survive, or to breathe their last breath and have their time of death precisely recorded. directly to the OR, the red one to the lab and blood bank; yellow is to mobilize the angioplasty team for heart attack victims. Wide heavy doors at either end of the room allow hurried entry from both sides of the Emergency Department. This is Room Five, the “crash room.” This is where the stricken come to fight for their lives and survive, or to breathe their last breath and have their time of death precisely recorded. The room remains empty most of the time, but will become available at a moment’s notice. It remains empty even though the waiting room is filled with a four-hour wait. Only the threat of imminent death prompts the full speed trip down the hall and the loudspeaker blaring overhead: “A doctor and a nurse to room 5!” The victim may have fainted and have no heartbeat, or one too fast to count. He may be having the crushing chest pain of a heart attack or be

1 9 0 I S S U E 4 0 . 2 010

suffering a massive stroke from wildly elevated blood pressure. She may be in the midst of an asthma attack and be unable to breathe without exhausting effort, or she may have stopped breathing altogether and display the cyanotic blue look that precedes death. Winter’s specialty is hypothermia, the dangerously low body temperature caused by prolonged exposure to the cold. Summer’s hyperthermia with fever exceeding 105 degrees may be equally deadly. Saturdays bring drug overdoses. Holidays feature suicide attempts. Who comes to this moment? Surely, more than a mere diagnosis; their stories can be spellbinding. He is a homeless man subjected too long to the cold street, or a country-club housewife whose 6000 square foot mansion cannot shelter her from her demons. He is a drug addict stricken by the “bad fix,” or a comatose, private school eighth grade girl heretofore unexposed to the vodka that she “borrowed” from her father’s bar and disguised in a Poland Spring water bottle. She is an unemployed diabetic who spent her vanishing cash on food, not medication, or a millionaire CEO with a heart attack suddenly struggling merely to survive, leaving behind the billion dollar merger that brought him to this brink. He is a heavily shackled prisoner with an overwhelming AIDS-related infection, or an investment banker equally tightly bound by the win-at-all-cost pressure of his hedge fund, now bleeding to death from his stress-induced stomach ulcer. Sometimes the people who accompany the victims are the most compelling. There are the young children in the waiting room outside, happiness and security largely dependent on whether mom or dad pulls through. There is the abject horror of a parent watching a child subjected to room 5’s cauldron. The elderly spouse who has faced these crises before, confronts this new calamity with quiet grace. This contrasts starkly with the young husband, agonizing over his wife’s sudden decline, or the young wife overcome by the possibility of losing her mate. The saddest are those who have nobody. They have come alone and will fight alone. Somehow along the way they have lost the social connections to help pull them through life’s toughest times. For some it is no surprise. They have been seriously ill and are fighting yet another battle in their war to get well. For others it is like a bolt of lightning, totally unexpected, shocking in the sudden change from apparent perfect health to desperate illness. Critically ill, deprived of clothing’s social shield, only the frail reality of the moment remains. Elegance, strength and power are stripped away with the clothes now stuffed into the plastic bag on the shelf beneath the stretcher. Elegance is not the Polo pony or the Rolex crown, but the quiet courage and stoic resolve to continue to struggle. Strength is measured not by the biceps’ bulge, but by the steely will to surf this deadly wave of sickness to a healthy shore. Power is not control over others, but an inner power to hang on and to survive. Business promotions, academic achievements, professional goals, personal hopes and dreams all fade away: Room 5 is the equalizer; it is the classroom for a central question of the existential final exam: “Am I going to make it?” ❉ Dr. Jay Meizlish is a consultative, interventional and preventive cardiologist in Fairfield, Connecticut. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Subspecialty Board Certification in Nuclear Cardiology, and Interventional Cardiology.


My doctor told me I had cancer.

The first

When the shock was over, I met with the cancer specialists at Norwalk Hospital. They helped me weigh all my options: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, even the latest clinical trials. Norwalk Hospital’s Whittingham Cancer Center offered me comprehensive care and hope. I was treated by leading cancer physicians who made me feel like I was their only patient. Plus the staff at the Hospital’s Smilow Family Breast Health Center was there for me every step of the way. The care was extraordinary, and I know great care. Besides being a cancer survivor, I’m also an ICU nurse. And I chose Norwalk Hospital.

30 seconds are all I remember Smilow Family Breast Health Center and Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital

Joyce Quinlan, ICU Nurse

For more information call 1-866-NHB-WELL or visit norwalkhospital.org


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Advanced Dentistry Of Westchester Part of the DaVinci Dental "Extreme Makeover" Team as seen on ABC-TV The practice is called Advanced Dentistry of Westchester because it offers patients of all ages the latest in dental care well before others in the profession. Using minimally invasive techniques such as computer-guided implants, which can provide “teeth in an hour” and laser “drill-less” fillings and soft tissue treatment, Dr. Kenneth Magid and Dr. Sabrina Magid provide an amazing and unique experience for the dental patient. This advanced treatment even extends to treating snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea with the new Somnomed oral appliance, that can often replace the CPAP for patients unwilling or unable to use it. Named one of America’s Top Dentists by the Westchester Magazine survey and the Consumers’ Research Council of America, Dr. Magid is an Associate Professor of international and honors esthetics at NYU College of Dentistry and teaches other dentists from around the world the techniques and artistry of creating beautiful smiles. Part of the DaVinci Dental “Extreme Makeover” team as seen on ABC-TV, Dr. Magid has also created the beautiful smiles of celebrities and your Westchester/ Fairfield neighbors. Under the guidance of Dr. Sabrina Magid the practice has set up the services to treat deaf and hard-of-hearing patients including text and instant messaging for appointments, a knowledge of American Sign Language, and an understanding of the special needs of these patients. By carefully communicating with their patients and working together with their team of dedicated specialists, hygienists, assistants and patient coordinators Drs. Sabrina and Kenneth Magid create a plan to achieve the highest level of health and beauty within their patients’ scheduling and financial comfort.

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Kenneth S. Magid, D.D.S. Sabrina B. Magid, D.M.D. 163 Halstead Avenue Harrison, NY 914 835 0542


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Is your little one a future snorer? Many kids today are unable to breathe comfortably through their noses and instead breathe through their mouths. Allergies, nasal polyps, and large adenoids are few among many potential causes for nasal obstruction. Children who are mouth breathers tend to have growth patterns that differ from the rest of the population. Their lower jaws are smaller and shoved back, their lips don’t close, and their noses tend to develop a bump. The dropped lower jaw usually causes the tongue to fall into the back of the throat. This condition, combined with large tonsils, a long palate, and nasal obstruction, completes the ingredient list for snoring. Obstructed breathing in children and adults disrupts sleep and causes the brain to wake up hundreds of times per night. The resulting disruptive or fragmented sleep prevents individuals from getting the needed deep delta sleep and causes fatigue, forgetfulness, and irritability upon awakening. Kids can even become hyperactive. The good news is that with the right diagnosis and treatment children can breathe through their noses. ENTs and orthodontists can change the shape of children’s faces-giving them a beautiful smile and a pleasing profile with a strong chin and full lips-and enhance children’s daytime performance by opening airways and eliminating headaches, neck aches, ear ache and snoring. According to the Stanford University Sleep Center, treating children with preventive interceptive orthodontics can greatly reduce snoring and sleep apnea problems they might encounter as adults. Many of the Gelb Center’s orthodontists and ENTs in Westchester and New York City focus on breathing related sleep disorders in children and adults. Coordinating the efforts of dentists and ENTs, one of the best ways of opening the nose, for example is early expansion of the palate. Small, non-invasive sleep recorders that resemble Dick Tracy watches can monitor children and adults while they sleep in their own beds. In these times of increased stress, not only is it important to get enough sleep, but also good-quality, non-fragmented sleep.


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Bumps Bum B p ffor B Boomers by Rich Silver IImagine mag agi e discovering agine diisco o ering ov e i g The The Fountain Fo F ountain ai Of Youth... from a skiing perspective. Aspen Mountain’s “Bumps For Boomers” program is designed for baby boomers with a passion for skiing. The goal is to learn how to ski the entire mountain safely, comfortably and without fear, for the rest of your life. Skiers want to feel like those heroes of the sport that we see in magazines rocketing down the mountain. The problem is, as we get older, we’re fearful of falling and enduring months of physical therapy, so we stay on perfectly groomed runs. We’re envious of those who can ski moguls and the more challenging terrain of the great ski resorts. Bumps For Boomers is a different approach to skiing. As founder Joe

Nevin says, “It”s all about giving boomers and older skiers skills, terrain tactics and confidence so that they can ski injury-free for their whole lives.” Nevin’s background as an Apple executive for twelve years has helped him think out of the box and develop this program. His motto is “You don’t need a shot of courage, what you need is a new approach.” The three or four-day sessions are broken down into groups of four stu-

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dents and one coach teaching a specific strategy for learning control, balance and safe tactics. The first two days are spent on super short ski boards, which take you out of your comfort zone to heighten balance awareness. Contrary to most teaching methods, Bumps for Boomers instructs you to flatten your skis instead of edging. This allows the skier to slide and drift between moguls while in complete control. The BFB technique gives you better speed control, less muscle fatigue and is much easier on your knees. As we get older and our reflexes slow down, this is a fabulous method for reducing “terrain anxiety,” and skiing moguls safely. The next days are spent back on your regular skis putting the lessons into practice. Certified instructors Alan Bush, Sam Green and Bob Mattice each possess terrific communication skills and provide a consistent message with just the right combination of drills, on-snow feedback and laughs to make it a productive yet fun learning experience. BFB is a program “designed by boomers… for boomers… taught by boomers”. Even though it’s a clinic about bumps, the skills you learn make you a better skier on groomed runs as well. Every person in my group agreed these were by far the best and most productive ski lessons they had ever taken. Learning the secrets of speed control helped us develop the confidence to ski black diamond mogul runs more quickly than we could have ever imagined. You look back up the hill and see the steep mogul run you used to avoid at all costs and realize you’ve just skied it easily. What a feeling of accomplishment for a skier on the north side of fifty years old! Check out their website: www.bumpsforboomers.com for info, testimonials, rates, program dates, exercise videos, lodging suggestions and weekly ski tips sent directly to your inbox. And as an added bonus, you’ll be able to enjoy all that legendary Aspen, Colorado has to offer.

Sky Hotel ““WHERE WHERE R WRAN WRANGLER RA GLER R MEET MEETS S PRADA” PRADA” IN ASPEN, ASPEN P , CO COLORADO OLORAD RADO If you were to create a recipe for the modern day ski lodge/hotel, what would the ingredients be? Let’s start with the best location in arguably the premiere ski town in America—Aspen, Colorado. Mix in a cool vibe,


SKY HOTEL


Like a Rolling Stone fun amenities, friendly service, a stylish restaurant and lounge, and you have the Sky Hotel. Opened by the Kimpton Group in 2002 and remodeled in 2007, the Sky has been called “The Sexiest Ski Lodge in North America.” With 90 luxury guest rooms, this boutique hotel brings an unusually fresh style to the mountains. The union of mountain lodge warmth and modern style is felt immediately as you pass through the funky lobby into “39 Degrees,“ the hippest restaurant and lounge scene in town. It’s a cozy hot spot with comfortable couches, a roaring fire, edgy vibe, and thumping house music to set the tone. “Wickedly Creative Cocktails” like the “Champagne Supernova” and the “Ménage a Trois” are HERE AND BELOW: cocktails you won’t easily forCANYON RANCH get. There’s a remarkably tasty lounge menu which i n c l u d e s T u n a Ta r t a r Tostadas, Meat Ball Sliders, Gnocchi Mac and Cheese and the “Frickin’ Big Steak.” You can ski right down from the slopes to the lounge, and there is no doubt, this is THE place to be for après ski. Adjacent to the lounge is the heated pool area, open year round, complete with outdoor fire pits, hot tub, and beautiful Aspen Mountain as a backdrop. In the summer the lounge doors swing open to an outdoor bar. Locals like to say, “The pool scene is the hottest place in town to cool off.” Don”t miss the “Altitude Adjustment” wine hour every day at 5 pm, along with complimentary appetizers and Wii games. Aspen Sports Ski Shop is conveniently located downstairs in the hotel for rental equipment, ski storage and last minute items you may have forgotten. A full service concierge is available for tips on all that Aspen has to offer. There is also a fitness center; business center; free in room wi-fi; complimentary morning coffee and afternoon hot chocolate and cookies. As part of The “Happy Ending” Spa Package, Sky Hotel partners with The Aspen Club and Spa to provide full spa service options. Other popular packages include The Ski Package, (lift tickets included) the often asked about “But I Don’t Ski” package, and the Spark Winter Fun couples package. The family pooch is welcome with the “Howlin’ At The Sky” pet package. Bring your BFFs for the “Cougar Den” Women’s Getaway Package, which includes special room amenities, (please use your imagination) and reserved table and bottle service in the lounge. Kimpton’s Sky Hotel has succeeded in bringing the ultra-hip boutique hotel concept to the mountains. There is no doubt that this is the coolest place to stay in this very hip ski town. 709 East Durant Ave. Aspen, CO. 800/882-2582; www.theskyhotel.com.

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Canyon Ranch LENOX, LEN OX, MA A by Paula Koffsky When the opportunity presented itself to plan the perfect mother/daughter spa retreat, Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA was, hands-down, the ideal locale. This was clear to us when it came to the end of our stay and the only thing we could think about was when we could come back! Canyon Ranch is so much more than the usual luxury spa resort. Beyond the conditioning, the de-stressing, and the pampering, my daughter and I came away with a refreshed view on how to empower our lives with a renewed focus on vitality and health. Knowing about the seeds of Canyon Ranch sheds a world of light on this awardwinning resort. It all began in 1978, when builder, Mel Zuckerman, overweight by 40 pounds and struggling with asthma, high blood pressure and an ulcer, made a New Year’s resolution to lose 20 pounds. By March first, he had gained four! Needing a better fix, Mel checked into a local health spa. After two weeks of exercising, hiking and eating right, he felt like a new man, a new man with a vision. Mel and his wife, Enid, would go on to create two magnificent, luxury vacation-fitness resorts, Canyon Ranch, Lenox, MA, and Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Arizona*, where visitors are inspired by physical and spiritual enlightenment. Unlike the fat farms of the 1970’s, the resorts were designed as multi-disciplinary retreats, offering advice in medicine, nutrition, biofeedback, hypnotherapy, habit management, smoking cessation, movement therapy and stress management. Canyon Ranch continues to lead the health and wellness industry today. The core of the resort is the Health & Healing Center, where seven board-certified physicians educated at Harvard, Yale, Stanford and NYU, work with a team of physiologists, behavioral health, movement, acupuncture and nutrition specialists ready to custom fit a client’s program to his or her special needs. The integrative approach to wellness is about uncovering the underlying causes of a disorder and finding paths towards wellness, using both Western and Non-Western medicine. A visitor’s Spiritual Health also takes front seat at Canyon Ranch. This may include services in Healing Energy, Spirituality and Life Management. Luckily, we didn’t have any medical concerns, but I’m always open to a spiritual reawakening. I went for the “Clearing Energy Blocks,” which focuses on life’s imbalance on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. After the sessions, I had a renewed sense of health and vital energy. My daughter


tried the Ayurvedic treatment, Marma Chikitsa; a combination of touch therapy with transdermal aromatherapy, in which special oils WASHINGTON, WA ASHINGTON, D DC C specifically chosen for the dosha (body type), are applied to the “marmas,” or energy points which in turn send messages to internal The Four Seasons hotel in Washington, DC blends into its historic, brick, organs and vital functions, an amazingly relaxing and energetic low-rise Georgetown neighborhood perfectly, yet inside, everything is experience. sleek and up-to-date. Soft hues and modern décor grace the marbleCanyon Ranch’s Lenox location is both bucolic and state of the art. floored public areas, as well as all the spacious, state-of-the-art gueJust miles from Tanglewood, the facilities include all the cardio, weight strooms. Service is tip-top; guests are acknowledged by employees from rooms, and yoga studios of a first rate sports complex; throw in a luxudoorman to concierge, addressed by name, greeted and feted conry spa, Olympic pool, tennis courts and ropes-course set amid miles of stantly. Want the hotel’s complimentary Mercedes sedan to take you to hiking, biking and cross country skiing trails, all in the shadow of the your meeting or dinner? Just stop by the front desk to see if it’s availbreathtakingly beautiful Berkshire Mountains and you’ve got a winner. able. Otherwise, a town car can be booked for your use during your stay, Really, what more could you want? or the taxi stand at the end of the driveway will fill your needs. Your day can start early with a guided 7:00 a.m. hike and a Tai Chi Full fitness facility with lap pool, spa, children’s amenities and busiclass, or for a slower paced morning, the Wake-Up stretch class. All ness services have the hotel satisfying the requirements of both busioutdoor and fitness sessions are rated in difficulty, so you won’t ever ness and leisure travelers alike. get in over your head. Wanting to challenge ourselves, my daughter For those requiring the ultimate in security and luxury, the new, 4000and I took an exhilarating mountain bike ride in the nearby National square-foot, bulletproof Royal Suite fits the bill perfectly. Diplomats, Park, and our canoe/hike combo trip was pulled right from an advencelebrities and corporate titans can enjoy eight spectacular rooms and ture magazine. Our guides were sensational, both as instructors and terraces complete with dining and kitchen facilities, library, study, cashcompanions, and they brought along yummy snacks. Not wanting to mere throws, surround sound stereo, outdoor firepit, and leaded windows. miss out on the intellectual growth Canyon Ranch offers, we tried not The hotel’s Bourbon Steak House restaurant and lounge are bustling. to miss the daily topical lectures on health, fitness and wellness, Overseen by nationally renowned chef Michael Mina, slow poached which were paired with our goals in nutrition and reversing the foods and sublimely grilled meats keep the restaurant on a reservaprocess of aging. Evening activities are numerous, whether it’s listentions-required standing. (The duck-fat fries with three dipping sauces ing to romantic guitar, playing bingo, taking art classes, or baking that are whisked to each table at dinner may also help.) Live jazz on bread. Our most memorable evening was the “Superfoods” cooking Thursdays as well as signature cocktails with housegrown garnishes fill demonstration. Don’t miss it. If you do travel with your teen, they’ll find that their needs are considered with FOUR SEASONS WASHINGTON D.C. services and discussions such as Skills for Lifelong Good Posture; Holistic Thinking & Problem Solving; and Healthy Eating Consultations. Of course, between spa services, workouts and lectures, is the need to feed the engine, and there’s no better feeling than a delicious and much needed meal to restore the energy supply. Don’t worry, long gone are the 800-calorie meager servings with lackluster flavor. Honored by Condé Nast and Gourmet Magazine, the cuisine is innovative and delicious— no deprivation here! Canyon Ranch measures its success by what visitors do after they leave the Ranch, what new awareness and empowerment you incorporate into your life. My daughter and I left with memories of a lively array of activities, as well as a new perception and appreciation for living a PHOTO BY MICHAEL KLEINBERG healthy and balanced life. 165 Kemble Street, Lenox, Massachusetts. 800/742-9000; www.canyonranch.com. the bar with a beautiful, youthful, local clientele. * In addition to the two health resorts in Lenox and Tucson, Canyon Steps from the hotel’s entrance lie the boutiques, eateries, and Ranch operates Canyon Ranch SpaClub facilities at The Venetian/The watering holes of the wonderful Georgetown neighborhood, while 1600 Palazzo Resorts in Las Vegas; the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Pennsylvania Avenue and the halls of the DC power scene are only FL; and onboard Queen Mary 2 luxury ocean liner, Oceania Cruises, and blocks away. 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, DC. Regent Seven Seas Cruises. 800/819-5053; www.fourseasons.com/washington. ❉

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WHAT’S W HAT AT ’S ST THE HE LATEST? L AT ATEST ? BARN STORMING L

ocated in North Stamford, Le Barn Antiques offers a charming experience unique in its setting on an old family estate with gorgeous colorful landscaping. A walk in the rolling fields offers country vistas along with peace and quiet in the fresh air. The best surprise of a visit is located in two large barns brimming with antique and vintage treasures. Kathy Sachs travels the world to bring back unique pieces from Europe and Asia. French country antiques found in old chateaux and open markets, painted desks and tables in subtle hues of grays, blues, and greens, zinc topped tables and antique garden furniture are collected together in Bordeaux to be shipped over in one of the many containers Kathy sends each year.

zip to your interiors. Chinese horseshoe chairs and red lacquer bowls and accessories show East meeting West. As you stroll the multiple lanes of the barns, you will discover baskets of all sizes, garden pots, an ornamental iron works and plaster plaques, mirrors in both country bamboo and wonderful gold leaf. Hard to find lamps, buckets for magazines or fire wood, fun small accessories, colored glass vases — all waiting for you to discover and find a treasure for your home. Kathy Sachs and Nana Smith can work with your dimensions to help you determine appropriate scale and size, furniture layout, and lighting. They will share the history of the pieces and

Treasures you can find: Farm tables Antique beds Side tables Chairs Baskets; bucket; lamps Architectural Elements Desks Mirrors Original Knoll chairs And much, much more Using small, vignettes displays, Kathy shows the success of eclectic interior design, where each piece enhances another. You will see a large French armoire paired with a Chinese altar table, a vintage coffee table, architectural lamps, and a pair of Luis XV bergere chairs. An added surprise is a collection of mid-century chairs and tables from Europe and New York. Farm tables in fruitwoods and 200-year-old wine tasting tables make great dining tables, desks, or buffets, each with assorted chairs for every size person, or, find yourself a set of dining chairs perfect for your own table. Tibetan painted bureaus and scholar’s table can add some

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help coordinate them in your home. Whether for a family excursion, a girls’ day out, a place to meet a friend, or just time alone to browse through history, you are welcome to visit, enjoy a break, and explore the world through the stories these unique pieces tell. Call to let them know you are coming: 203/2539378, or visit their websites: www.lebarnstamford.com; www.lebarnantiques.com.


WHAT’S THE LATEST? And Company Inc.: A History as Long as the Nile By Stephen Coulter

In 1930, two shops opened in Cairo selling precious heirloom fabrics to native Egyptians. Still in existence today, a company has blossomed from those origins to produce rare linens and silverware products for a global market. And Company Inc. is the business spawned from the small Egyptian stores, which has extended itself to America in three locations—two in Norwalk, CT and another in Westport, CT. Since their arrival in America in 1987, And Company’s Egyptian cotton linens have radiated noticeable success, because of their unique process and ancient history. “What is key is that we make our production and all our designs,” says Heshem, one of the Norwalk store managers. “It is a handmade fabric that we use and each fabric sheet is very small and soft.” Another secret behind the scenes is the precious care with which the company’s employees treat the fabric in its two most important stages— washing and dying. “We hand wash and hand clean, which gives it a soft feeling,” Heshem adds. “This process was used in the 9th and 10th century and our designs also come from that period of time.” The history behind producing this vintage, heirloom quality material can be traced back to an even earlier time period than the 9th century. “Egyptian linen first came into existence in 5000 BC, and there is still use for it today,” explains Heshem. “It’s known for its durability; you know mummy’s used to be buried in these very same linens.” Durability is an important part of the company’s philosophy, but what

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seems almost more important is adaptability. The stores do not just receive dividends from ancient fabric techniques. They have developed into a business that encompasses diverse products, ranging from silverware, bath goods, and personal care items, to men’s and women’s clothing. “We are now a handpicked clothing store with many upcoming designers who are not known yet, but will be,” Heshem smiles. According to Heshem, the company’s goal is “to open more small shops in New York City and Westchester County.” This expansion may not have been possible if it weren’t for modern technology. “We used to produce our designs by hand, but we no longer have to do that anymore,” Heshem notes. “New technology allows us to do more electronically.” It is clear that And Company is not averse to adapting to modern times despite its historically deep roots; that’s why the business plans on expanding on the Internet in addition to multiple new store locations. “In March, we will have a hotel collection online only,” Heshem beams; www.thecarpenterofthenile.com. Through the tides of change, And Company has remained invested in two things—the products it produces and the hands of labor that keep the business flourishing. The product and the people of And Company, Inc. have had one constant—their durable interconnected relationship, ensuring they continue to have success. ❉ 104, 108 Washington Street, Norwalk, CT. 203/604-8060; 139 Post Road East, Westport, CT 203/227-7740; And Company Home 127 Washington St. South Norwalk, Ct. 203.831.8855; andcompanyonline.com.

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INDEPENDENT SCHOOL GUIDE

Darrow School SMALL COMMUNITY, BIG OPPORTUNITES

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arrow School is a college-preparatory boarding and day school where students in grades 9–12 are motivated to reach their potential and become their best selves. Darrow’s low 4:1 student-teacher ratio, small classes, challenging hands-on curriculum, inspiring National Historic Landmark campus, and personalized attention encourage students to become critical thinkers, confident learners, and creative individuals. Darrow is a place for students to stretch themselves and reach new horizons. At Darrow, respect for different cultural backgrounds, experiences, learning styles, and interests is emphasized. All students have the opportunity to assume leadership roles, whether on the playing field, in the classroom, in various prefectships, or in the dorms. Students also participate in Hands-to-Work, a community-service program based on the Shaker motto “Hands to work; hearts to God” that allows them to learn about the benefits of purposeful effort and use of time, as they work alongside their peers, faculty, and staff to maintain our historic campus and reach out to the local community. Another long-standing tradition at Darrow, stewardship of the earth, also harks back to a Shaker legacy. Darrow students study sustainability across the curriculum, helping them to become not only responsible caretakers of our historic campus, but also knowledgeable decision makers and future leaders in global environmental issues. Darrow is the only secondary school in the United States with a Living Machine, an all-natural

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wastewater treatment facility and learning laboratory, and its Samson Environmental Center has been featured as an example of green building on the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association’s Green Building Open House for six consecutive years. Living within Darrow’s close-knit community makes it easy for students to learn about collaboration and teamwork. The combination of personalized feedback from highly accessible faculty and the hands-on effort of each individual allows every student to clearly see that he or she makes a difference. Darrow students learn that success may not come on the first try, but can be achieved through persistence and reflection. They also learn that it’s okay to make mistakes—it’s part of the process of becoming a life-long scholar and a responsible citizen. Because of this approach to educating the entire individual both in and out of the classroom, Darrow students feel comfortable being themselves as they learn how to express who they are through academics, visual and performing arts, sports, and a variety of stimulating social activities. Whether a student is looking for new opportunities or a fresh start, Darrow School provides a welcoming environment in which all students can excel if they apply themselves conscientiously, and then graduate feeling prepared for the challenges of college and beyond. For more information about Darrow School, visit www.darrowschool.org. 110 Darrow Road, New Lebanon, NY. 518/7946000; Toll Free: 877/432-7769.


Fordham University MBA VS EXECUTIVE MBA: WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU? A discussion with Francis Petit, Ed.D. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Fordham University Assistant Dean & Director of Executive Programs, Graduate School of Business Administration Q: For those who are not willing to give up their high paying jobs or derail their career track, yet are looking to further their education with an MBA degree, what are the options? MBA Programs and Executive MBA Programs sometimes have a similar curriculum, but the class format and admission requirements vary. Typically, the applicants to an Executive MBA Program must have a minimum of five years professional work experience. Executive MBA Programs are designed to meet the needs of upper level managers and functional specialists. Candidates are often evaluated based on what they will bring to the program. In some cases, taking the GMAT is not required. MBA Program applicants are not required to have professional work experience, but they must take the GMAT. An MBA degree is essentially a significant management degree. Class format also differs between the two programs. In an MBA Program, students usually choose the classes they will take each semester. In an Executive MBA program, students often complete classes in a step-lock method, attending courses with the same classmates for the duration of the program. Q: What is the difference in the actual degree of an MBA and Executive MBA? The same degree is issued: a Masters of Business Administration, known as an MBA. However, differences do exist in the programs. EMBA vs. MBA - Some Differences MBA is an individual effort. EMBA is far more of a grouporiented approach. EMBA lends itself to lifelong relationships and friendships among students. MBA is more flexible in course selection, time to degree and selection of majors. EMBA is structured and uniform. Q: What are some other differentiators of the EMBA? Price is certainly a difference with some schools. Class sizes range from 14 to 60+. An International trip is now a big component of some EMBA programs: students visit/tour companies at international locations. At Fordham, part of the cohortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s last semester is a solution-based project that will be presented to an international company.


SPECIAL SCHOOL SECTION

Non-academic, business-related events add to class bonding and camaraderie. Some examples includes: Extensive Wine Tasting Courses Teambuilding exercises Group Dinners Jazz modeling For additional information contact: Fordham University, Graduate School of Business Administration, 400 Westchester Avenue, West Harrison, NY. 914/ 367-3274; www.bnet.fordham.edu.

small classes and a big 200-acre campus. From every window there are views of mountains and a pasture where horses, sheep and a llama graze. The school operates a working farm, woodlots, maple sugar production and offers seasonal outdoor sports and play—from horseback riding and soccer fields to ice skating and ski hills. The challenging traditional academic curriculum (4th – 9th grade) integrates the surrounding environment for meaningful class projects. For instance, math students conduct a cost analysis to determine if raising our own pork is cost effective while another class collects data to measure our monthly utility use. An extensive daily arts and theater program taps children’s creative instincts. Julie Berglund is the parent of a 6th grade student. She remarks, “We love the outdoor orientation of the school and its focus on non-electronic activities. I am delighted that the students learn to make practical choices in their daily dress and the “style” or brand name is not the important factor. This is one of the many factors that contribute to my daughter building her self-confidence from the inside out, rather than the outside in. She’s learning to be a well-rounded person through the hands-on teaching, being creative, being close to nature and being unplugged! The school reinforces the positive in students in whatever learning process serves them individually.” Joe Scafidi talks about why NCS is a good match for his sons: “NCS allows children to go back in time; it provides them with the opportunity to be kids again—the way it was 30+ years ago—but with many of the advantages we enjoy today, including an appropriate exposure to technology.” He continues, “It is a very difficult decision to send your young child to a boarding school. While nobody can replace Mom and Dad, NCS is a very nurturing environment. It emphasizes the importance of family, community and the responsibility that go with that. The diverse background of the student body helps foster the needed ability to remain open minded of others’ views and interests. The school offers a beautiful

North Country School ADDRESSING THE CRITICAL MIDDLE SCHOOL YEARS “What’s the most important educational decision you’ll ever make for your child? It’s not college, it’s not grad school, and it’s not high school.” Pausing, the headmaster of North Country School shakes his head before continuing; “Middle school is the most determining factor in a child’s academic and personal well-being. Middle school is where the action is. A North Country School education affects the child, thus, the teen and the adult of the future. Our children leave with a solid foundation. They are robust, resilient, and carry a healthy perception of themselves. They develop strong leadership skills and have the confidence to ask questions. Our residential program is different from other boarding schools; we are smaller and personal. Our children live in houses with their houseparents.” North Country School is a co-ed day and boarding middle school in the Adirondack Mountains just outside of Lake Placid, NY. It’s a school with

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combination of structure and discipline. It encourages children to try different things. My oldest son has been involved with everything from ice climbing to constructing the set for the school play. We have a lot of experience with other boarding schools; NCS stands apart from most in their commitment to activities and community responsibilities. What you learn in the classroom is only a small part of what NCS delivers. North Country is the complete package.” Headmaster David “Hock” Hochschartner concludes, “It is critical for children to pursue projects with passionate intensity — that is the key to all future academic, artistic, athletic and business success. Children do that here. They have the opportunity to reach their potential.” North Country School also operates Treetops Summer Camp; both are very welcoming, inclusive places. The staff and faculty work together to create meaningful projects for the students and campers. For example, NCS students plant seeds in the spring, summer campers from Treetops tend the plantings throughout the summer, and the students at NCS harvest in the fall. The animals are a natural tether for all: the camp family tend and love them in the summer and the school community carry on that care during the rest of the year. Like the family dog, students and campers grow very attached to the sheep, horses, llama, and even the chickens. Treetops summer camp is a natural transition to the boarding school. Campers often beg to stay on for school and many students who graduate from NCS come back to work at camp. NCS is proud to have multiple generations of family connections from all over the world. It’s that kind of place. 4382 Cascade Rd, Lake Placid, NY. 518/523-9329; www.nct.org.

The Ross School A GLOBAL EDUCATION, RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER Classrooms filled with active learners. Electives that take place on the beach, in the woods or on a farm. A global curriculum that offers a chance to travel the world. This may sound like a utopian vision of education, but it is alive and well at Ross School. Serving students in pre-nursery through grade 12, Ross School is located in the Hamptons, just two hours from New York City and Connecticut. The Upper School is nestled in the woods in East Hampton while the Lower School is surrounded by farmland in Bridgehampton. This private institution also boasts an innovative and thriving boarding program for students in grades 8–12. Only in its second year, the program has more than doubled its enrollment, starting with five students and growing to include 50 boarders, or 25% of the High School. A major draw is the school’s dynamic learning environment. Cultural history is at the core of its global curriculum, weaving together math, science, language arts, visual arts, performing arts, media studies, technology and physical education/wellness. Students are provided with a 21st century skills set and are encouraged to become environmental stewards and compassionate citizens, following the school’s motto, “Know Thyself in Order to Serve.” With an educational focus on cultures and peoples around the world, it is only fitting to have a student body that represents all corners of the globe.

“Our curriculum has always been global in nature, but with the boarding program, we have been able to truly expand our student body beyond the immediate region. With students from all over, our community is a richer one in terms of experiences and backgrounds,” said Mark Frankel, PhD, Director of Ross High School. The current student body represents China, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, Colombia, Brazil and the United States, including students from Texas and New York City.

Fara Kaner has been attending Ross School for the last three years, first as a day student and now as a boarder. Originally from New York City, she attended the United Nations International School before coming to Ross. “The best thing about Ross would have to be the innovative nature of the curriculum and the warm environment the classes create, to make learning enjoyable,” she said. Boarding students follow the same integrated curriculum as day students and are expected to maintain strong academic standing. A support network of house parents, faculty and the Director of Residential Life offer boarding students assistance at every turn. There are two options for housing. Boarders can choose between living in a family-style home or with a host family. The boarding houses offer beautiful, spacious living environments and are supervised by Ross faculty house parents. Students living with host families are able to experience life in a home with siblings who are, in most cases, Ross students themselves. Hosted students are encouraged to attend all boarding house activities and excursions as well. Ultimately, the boarding program at Ross exposes day students to their peers from across the globe and around the corner, while providing boarders with a home away from home. “Being a boarder as opposed to a day student is a very unique experience. I feel that it creates a sense of independence that I would not have necessarily developed living at home,” said Fara. “I also believe that it creates long lasting bonds between people who would not have necessarily formed strong friendships unless under these circumstances.” Upper School: 18 Goodfriend Drive, East Hampton, NY. 631/9075000. Lower School: 739 Butter Lane, Bridgehampton, NY. 631/5371240. www.ross.org.


SPECIAL SCHOOL SECTION FACTS ABOUT ROSS SCHOOL • Ross School is accredited by the Middle States Association (MSA), with an International Credential; it is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the Association of Boarding Schools (TABS). • Boarders eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Ross Café. The Café uses regional, organic, seasonal, sustainable foods and serves a variety of fresh, healthy and flavorful meals each day. • Ross High School students can take international trips as part of Winter Intersession. Students and teachers work intensively on group and individual projects for three weeks, including service projects, either home or abroad. • Ross School’s state-of-the-art athletic facilities feature two gymnasiums, a dance and martial arts studio, four multi-sport fields that can be configured for soccer, lacrosse and baseball, six indoor/outdoor Har-tru tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court, and a Field House. • The school has excellent college placements, including Columbia University, Emerson, Oberlin, Tulane and Yale. Since 2001, 369 students have received 1480 acceptances at over 340 colleges and universities both in the US and internationally. • The Ross School boarding blog features a review of weekend activities as well as upcoming events, photos, and changes in school schedule or travel alerts. Visit www.ross.org/boardingnews.

Westover

ular program in conjunction with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) offers a variety of electives aimed at preparing students for careers in science or engineering. WISE graduates also receive special consideration for RPI’s engineering program. A number of Westover graduates who have participated in these programs have later pursued studies in dance, music, science and engineering in college and have gone on to establish careers in these fields. In addition, Westover offers three signature programs that further reflect the School’s commitment to giving students opportunities to gain experience and knowledge in special areas of interest: the Sonja Osborn Museum Studies Internship, the Online School for Girls, and Westover’s Summer Programs for girls entering grades 7, 8 and 9. • The Sonja Osborn Museum Studies Internship. The Museum Studies Internship, designed for students with interests and aptitude in the study of art history, consists of a ten-week program. The first eight weeks are spent at Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT, the home designed and lived in by Theodate Pope Riddle, Westover’s architect. The final two weeks are spent working on a project that investigates the historical ties between the museum and Westover. • The Online School for Girls (OSG). Westover was one of four all-girls schools in 2009 to establish a consortium to offer online education for girls. Girls taking part in the program are offered courses taught by faculty members from the consortium over the Internet. Courses range from multivariable calculus and differential equations to women in art and literature. All classes focus on collaborative projects for participating students. • Westover’s Summer Programs. The School’s residential one- or two-week summer programs in the arts and academics are an extension of the Westover experience, allowing girls to benefit from courses taught by Westover instructors while enjoying a range of summer activities. Recent course offerings have included ceramics, creative writing, dance, drama, Model United Nations, and photography. These six programs reflect the diverse offerings that Westover pro-

EDUCATION PLUS OPPORTUNITIES FOR GIRLS IN SPECIAL AREAS OF INTEREST Westover, a selective boarding school of 200 girls, grades 9 - 12, in Middlebury, CT, has students from 16 countries and 19 states. Because the Westover community values the ideas and talents of every student, its students have endless opportunities to distinguish and challenge themselves. In addition to its rich and varied curriculum, Westover offers three specialized programs for those students with more concentrated interests. These programs provide co-curricular experiences for Westover students with the Brass City Ballet, the Manhattan School of Music, and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). • Brass City Ballet. As participants in this program, a joint venture between Westover and the Brass City Ballet, select students have the opportunity to study dance at one of the region’s leading dance schools. Students audition in the fall of their entry year and take six dance classes a week in ballet, modern, and jazz. • Manhattan School of Music. This joint program between the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division and Westover offers talented musicians and vocalists the opportunity to study music and play in an orchestra or ensemble at one of the country’s leading music schools. Students must complete a separate application and audition to be accepted into the program. • WISE (Women in Science and Engineering). This advanced extracurric-

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vides for all of its students. As Head of School Ann Pollina has noted, “Westover’s small, all-girls’ environment forces students out of boxes and into a bigger picture of themselves. Our girls are artists and athletes, musicians and mathematicians, poets and physicists – sometimes all at the same time.” ❉ 1237 Whittemore Rd, Middlebury, CT.; www.westoverschool.org. For admissions information, or to arrange a visit, contact Westover’s Office of Admission at 203/577-4521 or e-mail admission@westoverschool.org.


Discover Ross School A BOARDING AND DAY SCHOOL FOR PRE-NURSERY—GRADE 12 Ross School is a co-educational boarding (grades 8–12) and day school (PN–Grade 12) located on two beautiful campuses in East Hampton and Bridgehampton, about 2 hours east of New York City. The School offers a global, integrated curriculum with engaging courses in science, arts, humanities and wellness, while offering opportunities for independent study, competitive athletics, extracurricular activities and travel. Ross has a successful college placement program with

100% of applicants receiving acceptances at competitive colleges and universities. Ross School attracts a world class faculty and

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serves over 500 domestic and international students.

visit us online at www.ross.org/boarding


Middle school is one of the most important educational decisions you and your child will ever make. A North Country School education is active and all-encompassing. We are a co-ed day and boarding school for children in grades 4-9. Our 200-acre campus is located in the heart of the Adirondack high peaks, just outside of Lake Placid. Let our challenging curriculum, extensive arts program, and working farm expand your child’s curiosity and creativity. “The only bad question is the one that is not asked.” ~David Hochschartner, Head of School

Schedule your visit today! Christine LeFevre, Director of Admissions 518.523.9329 ext. 111 admissions@northcountryschool.org

www.northcountryschool.org North Country School does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion, color, nation or ethnic origin.


Darrow School

A College-Preparatory Boarding and Day School for Grades 9-12

Small Community. Big Opportunities. That’s Darrow. And there’s more…  Challenging Academic Program – Real-world learning using a unique combination of classroom instruction and community involvement

 Hands-to-Work/Community Service – A tradition that cultivates an appreciation for purposeful work and builds connection to the community

 Individualized Approach– Inspiring  Inclusive Athletic Opportunities – classroom environment and one-on-one Eight competitive team sports and several Tutorial Program offer strategic mentoring non-competitive sports, including skiing for academic success and snowboarding five days a week  Commitment to Sustainability –  Visual and Performing Arts – Robust Responsible stewardship of environmental art offerings, in-depth music curriculum, resources and environmental awareness and a dynamic theater program foster permeate the Darrow culture creativity and collaborative learning

Please join us for an Open House! January 18 | March 6 | April 17, 2010 | 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Experience the Darrow School Community Attend a Darrow class, meet our dedicated faculty and enthusiastic students, enjoy lunch, and take a tour of our distinctive campus. Ask questions, hear the chorus sing, learn about Shaker history and so much more!

You may register by sending an e-mail to admission@darrowschool.org or online at www.darrowschool.org/openhouse. If you are unable to attend an open house, we also welcome visits throughout the year. Call (877) 432-7769 to schedule a visit today!

110 Darrow Rd., New Lebanon, NY 518.794.6000 | admissions@darrowschool.org www.darrowschool.org Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools


    

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5 Bedroom, 4 Bath, 4,000 Sq Ft on 0.14 acres (18,000 Sq Ft Lot)

• Personal and knowledgeable Service • Top professional skills continually refined through Weichert training programs respected industry wide. • Commitment to help you leverage Weichert’s resources. I can save you valuable time and effort in securing home financing, insurance and home connections. • Land for sale see my website in my listing

Website: Rye-Homes-For-Sale.Com Contact: victordedvukaj@aol.com • 83 Purchase St., Rye, NY


Luxury Real Estate

Weston

$1,745,000

Weston

$1,749,000

Weston

$2,525,000

Weston

$2,699,000

barbarababcockhomes.com 203 246 6300 / 203 221 4415 b a r b a r a @ b a rb a r a b a b c o c k h o m e s . c o m


Luxury Real Estate

Westport

Weston

$5,550,000

$2,479,000

Weston

barbarababcockhomes.com 203 246 6300 / 203 221 4415 b a r b a r a @ b a rb a r a b a b c o c k h o m e s . c o m

$1,899,000


?b`ljbm^oqlclro fkqbok^qflk^iob^ibpq^qbkbqtloh With over 600 franchise partners in 33 countries, Engel & Völkers is one of the world’s leading international real estate franchisors specializing in the sales and marketing of prestigious properties. Our unique shop concept, innovative IT strategy, international referral system and in-house lifestyle magazine “GG” are just a few of the reasons to choose the Engel & Völkers brand. To learn more about becoming part of the Engel & Völkers network, please contact us at 212.584.1177. New York Head Office · 420 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10170 · 212.584.1177 usa.northeast@engelvoelkers.com · www.engelvoelkers.com/northeastusa

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{COMMUNITY.ROOM} THE THINGS THEY PAID FOR By Mary Kay Zuravleff The things they paid for were largely determined by necessity. They paid for help around the house: someone to clean the bathrooms, vacuum as well as dust, and dry mop the wood floors. Eventually, they paid someone to empty the flaccid broccoli and slimy lettuce from the refrigerator and then fill the refrigerator with crisp, locally grown vegetables whose shelf life was more like a half-life. They paid someone to plan nutritious, budget-minded meals and make the accompanying grocery list, which they passed to the someone they paid to fill the refrigerator. For a little extra, the former would hand the list to the latter. They paid someone to help them have another baby and someone to take care of the new baby. They paid someone to plan an addition to the house and someone to build the addition. Then they paid someone to sue the person who stopped halfway through building the addition. They paid someone to patch the cracking, flaking plaster resulting from the addition’s construction. They paid someone to sand and prime the new plaster, choose wall colors, and paint their walls in the chosen colors. They paid someone to watch the paint dry. No, not really; that would be silly. But after the paint dried, they paid someone to frame, mat, and hang pictures and a mirror. They paid someone to prepare their taxes. Although they paid their taxes and their taxes paid for schools, they paid for more innovative and challenging schools than the ones paid for by their taxes. First, they paid someone to test their children and suggest forward-thinking schools that offered blacksmithing, Japanese, or Japanese blacksmithing. Then they paid to apply to schools. They paid someone to drive their children to and from their schools, and they paid someone to tutor their children in Japanese blacksmithing. They paid someone to invest any money that remained after the things they paid for. The first piece of advice they paid for was not to invest any money they couldn’t afford to lose. They were given the pitch for height technology, a predicted growth industry to offset the obesity boom, and because one of them was still paying for an older brother’s taunt about not being fat, just being six inches too short, they paid to invest in low-tech height tech. Alas, no one was interested in growing taller, only wider. Also, the market tanked. They would have paid someone to wrestle their funds back but for the waiver they had paid to have notarized. They paid for elves. Because they’d paid for a holiday trip to Morocco, they paid for the early delivery of an organically grown and naturally flame-retardant Douglas fir. They paid for the “Victorian Package,” wherein couples in period costume of velvet and brocade sing holiday-ish carols and decorate the tree. The elves were just part of the whole gestalt. They paid someone to walk and feed the dog while they were in

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Morocco. Usually they paid someone to stay at their house, but this time they paid someone to come by in a van equipped with individually belted doggy car seats and drive the dog to a compound where dogs romped in copacetic playgroups during several sessions that they paid for each day. The dog reportedly loved it, so they paid someone to walk the dog when they were back in town but at work. They paid someone to wash the dog. Then the dog died; no one’s fault, really. They paid someone to keep an eye out for a new dog. They paid someone to train the new dog and someone to train them so they would not undo the progress the new dog had made. They paid someone to clean the carpet before the new dog’s training fully kicked in. Nostalgic for Morocco’s coast, they paid someone to teach them how to sail in five easy lessons. They paid for five more lessons. They paid for one of them to have lunch now and then with the sailing instructor. They paid for one of them to have a full day of sailing lessons, sunup to sundown, and for refreshments, including some excellent Pinot Grigio and phyllo-dough pastries layered with dates and ground almonds soaked in honey. They paid for marriage counseling. They paid for rent on an efficiency apartment until the counseling fully kicked in. They paid for a beach house, nothing much, just a getaway within driving distance, but it was cheaper than the efficiency and it was an investment they could see the water from. They thought of that all by themselves. Because the place was in such rickety shape, they could bring the dog, whose training had paid off. There was barely room in the hybrid for them, the children, the dog, and their gear. So they left the children behind. No, that was a joke. They were joking a little more often these days. They paid for a joke book, and they left it in the bathroom at the beach house. They paid someone to clean the beach house bathroom, which had an undiscoverable source of spiders and crickets, not to mention the usual beachy mildew and conical piles of sand. They paid for a small used sailboat. They paid for chicken necks and a spool of string, and after sailing, they’d sit on the dock and catch blue crabs for dinner, tossing back the females and the ones who still had some growing up to do. They managed the drive to the beach about twice a month, but they also paid a realtor to rent the place, which ended up paying for itself. Friends marveled at their luck and their new routine, but they felt they’d paid dearly. They paid to frame the bullet they’d dodged, which was money well spent. And they paid for sunscreen in bulk, because as much as they were enjoying the face of the sun shining upon them, they didn’t want to pay for it later. ❉ Mary Kay Zuravleff is the author of two novels, The Bowl Is Already Brokenand The Frequency of Souls. “The Things They Paid For” is an homage to Tim O’Brien’s iconic story, “The Things They Carried.”


Maxi Marine Chronometer 43 mm - 266-67-3/43 Self-winding chronometer certiďŹ ed movement. Water-resistant to 200 m. 18 ct rose gold case. Available on gold bracelet or rubber strap.

W W W . U LY S S E - N A R D I N . C O M



weston magazine fwinter-2010