Thursday, March 24, 2011

Piano stairs: an idea video - Madmen - Fitzpatrick / Poem: Into the Cold

So, I'm minding my own business, typing up my notes for my next article and I click on a website for an ad agency Doyle Dane and Bernbach. One thing leads to another and I get to the above irresistible clip.

Lunched w/ my new boss Gerry Dungan who took two of his writers out to Pasta Fazool in the Pepperidge Farm Shopping Center in Willow Grove.

Not only am I stuffed with delicious cheese ravioli but I don't think I will need to eat for another week.

For me, cheese ravioli smothered in a delicious tomato sauce, is a real treat. My kidney-healthy diet has me eating: no cheese and no tomato sauce.

The other writer there was food columnist and mom, Heather Greenleaf. She comes from a prominent local family. Her father/law is State Senator Stewart Greenleaf and her husband, another Stewart Greenleaf, is running for controller of Montgomery County.

These are wonderful people, and I think they're Republicans!

Heather has two kids: another Stewart who is 4 and little Alice who is 1. I forgot to tell her I love the name Alice. I mean, how much can you compliment someone after first meeting them?

Our boss Gerry asked us to lunch to discuss a new Mommy's column our paper will debut. Because of my age (I'm 65) I didn't think I'd have much to say about today's moms. Amazingly, though, I was able to contribute to the conversation, remembering those happiest days of my life, when I was the mother of two young children. And happily divorced from my ex.

Oh, what a good intro to printing a poem about Sarah. I may've printed it before but I trimmed it a little.

Yesterday was one of the busiest days in my life. Or do I say that every day. Had to get the manuscript of our first poetry review Icing on the Cake to the graphic designer, Terry Spross.

Had to coax all the people from our Coffeeshop Writers Group to get me their work on time. Plus I kept losing their stuff and would write an email, "Pls resend your poems. i lost em. thx."


But I got everything in and then took a huge nap - man, was I exhausted - before my living room therapy group from 7 to 9 pm.

My busy day began w/ my first appt w/ physical therapist extraordinaire Margaret Fitzpatrick. She has her own practice with staff at Regency Towers. I'd taken mom there 3 years ago when she had problems w/ dizziness and Margaret gave her a series of exercises which corrected the problem.

We never forget good people, so when my new bone doc David Mancini said to get physical therapy for my bad neck I chose her. Neckercises is what I do now.

I am probly the least-conscious germ person you've ever met. When I take my antirejection pills starting April 1 I've gotta learn to keep clean hands. When my friend Stephen Weinstein took me out for a pre-surgery dinner, he gave me these hand sanitizers he sells to supermarkets and other places.

Will I soon rival Jack Nicholson when he played that germ-o-phobe?

The worst thing, tho, is I can't garden for six months b/c of microbes in the soil. Not even with gloves, for the first six months. Dyou think I will adhere to that?

Oh, I wanna tell you what Surgeon Zaki and I talked about in our intimate informational session two weeks before surgery.

I said to him When I get Sarah's kidney I'll have to be on my best behavior for the rest of my life. Options open to other people will not prevail for me. For example, I said, What if I want to kill myself? I can't do that b/c I owe it to Sarah for giving me her kidney.

Of course you can kill yourself, said Zaki. You and Sarah are two different people, each with your own lives. Do what you want.

Actually, Sarah and I had discussed this and she also said it was fine.

I absolutely believe that suicide is fine for many conditions....except a suicidal depression, which me and about 500 other people I know, have experienced.

When I interviewed Alan for my upcoming article on the Art Collection at the Upper Moreland Library, we talked of many things. He was art director for SmithKline Beckman before it became GlaxoSmithKline. I asked him if he watched Mad Men. He said that those folks represented the old way of doing advertising - back in the 1950s when business was done on the golf course, with wining and dining and providing women for the clients.

A new wave of advertisers came in during the 50s and 60s who were accomplished graduates from art schools. Alan himself was one of these people.

Doyle Dane and Bernbach, ad agency, revolutionized the advertising biz, he said. They cared about creative talent rather than playing golf and schmoozing and drinking.

Alan said that his work as an art director was the closest thing to being a movie director. "We were like business people in art school," he said. "We met with artists, writers, doctors, business people - a great mix."

When he and his wife moved into Willow Grove in the 1950s a different sort of people lived here. People who appreciated the finer things of life, namely art. I remember Dr Millie Wintz said the same thing to me about the newer Willow Grove. There's no culture here, she said.

As I said at the Mommy's meeting this afternoon, we imbue our children with our values. That's the most important thing we do. When I lived in the apartments, I always had artwork on the walls and jazz and classical on the radio and a handsome man on my arm.


It happened so fast
This grown woman thing
You came to town and threw me a party
With birthday cake and red roses you put by the radio
I prevailed upon you to stay an extra day
You are the one
I long for
You became the writer I always wanted to be
Married a man who took you from our quiet street
Where green lawns and new cars are the measure
Of success
To a world rich with meaning
That day in Battery Park we sat listening to him play
While the dancers rumbled about onstage
There’s Julie and Guillermo you pointed out beneath
The darkening sky
The grass was our quilt and the
Hudson rippled in the distance
And now at party’s end I must see you off
The night is cold and dark
Wind howling round my little yellow house
That refuses to bend or yield to the mighty assaults
But stands: bright lights blaring as I walk you to the
Back porch
You wear a little tapered jacket and hat I want to call
A beanie from your Brownie days when you sold cookies
Small unrecognized prodigy that you were
We step onto the back porch
Me in my neck brace and limp
Nothing but a wounded fluttering bird
You ready to take on the world
As the wind soars around the back porch and
The door flaps on itself
Your smile as great as the wind and the cold night
Gone down the
path where the kids come in from school
the door bangs shut
I stand by the fire to warm myself
While your thoughts were on getting home to
The world you left behind.


  1. Beautiful, beautiful! And it is not ok with me (you know what!) and made me cry for a moment as I am feeling vulnerable right now. Pain is soemtimes unbearable, true, but like the flame of love that creates more love when you light it like a candle, pain turned to suicide begets so much more pain. I am waiting for the next act of your life's play, still to be written and Sarah is a co-creator. Yeah, two different people, but now even more intertwined than ever.

  2. all this talk about suicide is hypothetical of course. in thinking about my t'plant i wanted to cover all possible contingencies. you also give such great comments, iris. glad you liked my poem. i have a problem and think i'll never be able to think of another topic to write about. of course in bill's class we have assignments.

  3. I know but just wanted you to know the feelings that were sparked in me when I read it. I liked the poem very much. I know the feeling about being frozen at times and believing we can't think of new things, but I know that somehow we do. These exercises are good as they keep our minds going and skills fresh and the topics come to us. Am struggling with a couple of pieces of writing now also.

    One thing I am sure of (One of my goals) is that I want to see you and perhaps also your Sarah and Dan in person again. It has been far too many years.

    Now on to work at quieting a restless mind (mine) tonight.

  4. always glad to hear you're writing and engaged in that everlasting writer's struggle, as i am now, working on an article for patch.

    the way i quiet a restless mind (good phrase) is to turn on a movie and watch in bed.


  5. I often leave comments that don't get through. I think maybe its because there are so many steps I think I am done before I actually am.

  6. yes, the google blog should make it much easier to leave comments than it is. i appreciate your persistence, bill. half a dozen people have told me they couldn't figger out how to leave comments, so again thank you! i always look f/w to what you say!

  7. and the thing is, once I have said it, sometimes I just can't say it again. So it was with my original comment on this post.