Archive for Books

Then and Now…

In the waning days of World War II, France was deeply divided. Invaded in 1940, it quickly capitulated and for four years was humiliated by the German occupation and puppet government in Vichy. 

Local Resistance cells were established throughout the country to aid the Allies and Free French Forces of General Charles de Gaulle’s government in exile, but the majority of French citizens kept their heads down, went carefully about their business, and submitted to the humiliating occupation.  read more

Art in the Pandemic Era…

If art, music, dance, or theater were an important part of your world earlier, the pandemic has turned it upside down. With the ability to travel, attend events and visit museums limited, we have been left casting about for alternatives. Art is meant to be experiential—best when it’s a one-on-one experience with the original. 

A picture can’t begin to deliver the feeling of standing next to Michelangelo’s statue of David at the Accademia in Florence. In its presence the stone pulses with energy, muscles ripple, veins throb and eyelids almost blink. read more

A Trump Allegory…

Over the years I’ve tried on several iterations of Christian orthodoxy–I was baptized Catholic (grandmother’s wish), then went on to Congregational Presbyterian, Unitarian, and Episcopalian versions. Sometimes my engagement was passionate, sometimes not, but I settled on being an Episcopalian 30 years ago because I liked the rituals – the smells and bells – Catholic without those politics. My attitude changed when a rigidly conservative vestry forced my friend, Robert Taylor, Dean of St. Mark’s Cathedral, to resign. He was a star, but gay, and that got under their skin. Since then I’ve felt a kind of benign indifference. read more

Paying it Forward…

You’ve got to admire a friend so eccentric, so eclectic, that his magazine subscriptions included The National EnquirerNew England Journal of Medicine, Popular Mechanics, The New Yorker and How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive (A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot). Dr. Fred Terry Simmons was that friend – a Boston brahmin, graduate of Exeter, Yale, and McGill University Medical School and all-around tequila loving polymath. 

In 1975 I sold him my 1967 Volkswagen Squareback. He named it F. Potato (yes, that F), re-registered it, drove it home to Los Angeles, ordered a vanity plate, kept the Idaho registration until they stopped renewing by mail, and drove it until it rolled down his steep driveway and self-demolished. Whereupon he bought an identical Squareback, named it The Biscuit, and drove it until he died and it was towed away in 2014. I often fantasized he might choose to be buried in it like one of the Pharaohs. read more

She Lived Her Dream…

Night before last, in the uncanny way of the unconscious, I woke up thinking about a woman I hadn’t seen in 50 years. In the morning, I Googled her name and was directed to her obituary. It wasn’t that she was a great beauty or broke my heart, but the news is haunting me. We knew each other for a short time when we were starting to grow into the people we would become. Then, we went our separate ways.

Judith Devereux Fayard and I met in Manhattan in 1967. We were both new to the city. She transferred from Time/Life job in Los Angeles to one in New Yorkand I left a law firm in LA to be a Pan Am pilot at JFK. I knew her as Judy then, but prefer to think of her now as Judith, the whip smart Catholic-school girl from Mobile who became a Parisian journalist/editor celebrated for her no-nonsense editorial chops and chic fashion sense. read more