Another Dad Story

Nat Daniel as a young married man, circa 1945 (years after the time of this story), with my mom, Mollie (photo taken on the boardwalk at Long Branch, N.J., where I was born) To mark my dad’s 108th birthday this week (he was born on Sept. 23, 1912), I’m retelling a funny story about him. […]

It’s a Miracle She’s Stuck With Me

Our wedding, Santa Barbara, California, August 8, 1987 This coming Saturday, Sandra and I will be celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary. It’s hard to fathom that by December, just four months from now, we’ll have completed a full 33 and a third passages around the sun together — married for a third of a century, […]

Dad Stories

Dad with me, probably 1945, Long Branch, N.J. On Father’s Day I’m recalling a few more stories about my dad, Nathan Daniel. They’re mostly “short takes,” so I’m presenting them in bullet form. One day, when I was about eight, Dad brought home a chunk of dry ice, something I’d never seen or heard of […]

Rioting: The Light Side

Bladderball In this time of rioting and broad-brush condemnation of America’s police, both of which I find deeply troubling, I’d like to lighten the mood with a recollection of rioting as I witnessed it in “olden times.” When I was a student at Yale (1962–66), riots were a joyful tradition. Entirely apolitical, they were simply […]

Racism — A Few Things to Think About

I’m 75 years old. As readers of this blog know, I’ve been around the block a time or two, and I’ve seen, read and learned a lot. What I’m seeing right now — America’s racial “conversation” (for some, our national yelling match) becoming ever more shrill and violent — deeply troubles me. I’m also deeply […]

More Than One Way to Skin a Cat or … 

… carve a turkey … or slice a banana. Yes. And I’ve witnessed it. As regular readers of this blog will recall, last week I wrote about my grandson’s bar mitzvah. That got me thinking about my own bar mitzvah, back in 1957. That was a significant year. It was when the USSR put the […]

Our Grandson’s ZOOM Bar Mitzvah

Adam and Jodi blessing Jonah Yesterday we had a wonderful family celebration. Our oldest grandchild, Jonah, celebrated his bar mitzvah, the initiation as a Jewish adult (with all religious rights and responsibilities), which traditionally takes place at age 13. In ordinary times, a bar mitzvah is celebrated in a synagogue or temple in the presence […]

Bittersweet Postscript to My Friend Henry’s Story

Last week I wrote about the adventure of teaching Henry Harutunian, my ex-Soviet Olympic fencing coach friend, to drive. As promised, there’s more to his story. In those first couple of years after Yale, with a recent graduate’s typical enthusiasm for the success of his alma mater’s teams, I followed the ups and downs of […]

Bringing Thrust and Parry to New England’s Highways

With my friend Henry Harutunian at Harvard, spring 1968 The story I’m about to recount took place over half a century ago, in 1966–68, when I was working on my master’s degree in Soviet area studies at Harvard. During the first year of this two-year, multi-disciplinary program, I continued my study of the Russian language, […]

How to Ace a Job Interview — Part 2

The distinguished journalist Edward R. Murrow,1 right, director of the U.S. Information Agency under President John F. Kennedy. At left, Murrow’s wife and son. In last week’s post, I began the story of how in a critical job interview, after I was asked the question I most feared, my luck turned around and I completed […]