“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

Saturday, June 30, 2007

kansas city is on the map big time


There is no way my snapshots can do justice to the magnificent new Bloch Building, the addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum that recently opened to all sorts of well deserved hoopla here in my hometown of Kansas City.

And rather than go on about my impressions of it, I would rather link you to the exuberant and extremely well expressed ones that have been published in
The New Yorker, The New York Times and Time Magazine. Or just do a google search. Pretty much all the reviews have been absolutely stellar.



The addition garnered its share of criticism from local skeptics during the course of its construction. Many Kansas Citians claimed the “lenses” looked like temporary warehouses, or worse yet, storage bins for the construction equipment. Of course, lots of those same people hated the shuttlecocks when they were first installed on the sloping lawns around the old building.







At any rate, while Abbie and Sam were visiting from New Orleans, we made our first real trek over there. I thought the building looked amazing, and it wasn’t even dark out yet (that’s when everyone loves the glowing effects of the lighted lenses - even the doubters.) The photo exhibit that Keith Davis has put together is mind blowing.

During our visit to the museum store, Abbie and Sam obligingly overreacted for the camera as they discovered my book, Convergence, for sale on the shelves!

Friday, June 29, 2007

assisted living center

I made these photographs for Village Shalom, an assisted living center in Kansas. They are just some of the images that were exhibited in the Epsten Gallery and then permanently installed in the facility. It was a pretty remarkable experience for me. Several of these residents were in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. When they finally engaged with me and looked squarely into my camera, I was moved by their honesty and directness, fleeting as it might have been. All of the people I photographed were delightful. I wrote this artist statement to accompany the installation:

“I came away from these portrait sessions with more than rolls of exposed film. Inspirational stories filled my head, words of wisdom rang in my ears, gifts of kindness filled my heart. Warmth, strength, humor, grace and dignity defined each and every person I encountered during my photographic journey at Village Shalom.

When I was about ten years old and a girl scout, I went with my troop to a nursing home. Beforehand, we carefully and lovingly prepared potted flowers to take to the men and women who lived there. Upon our arrival, we were each paired up with one of the residents. My partner had thick white hair and didn’t have much to say. As soon as I handed her the pot of begonias, my face beaming with pride, she put her fingers in the dirt, and then, to my horror and dismay, began to eat it.

It was a long time before I felt comfortable returning to any sort of assisted living facility.

I have never been to one as life affirming and uplifting as Village Shalom. Thanks to each of you who agreed to sit for a portrait. I’m glad you were able to squeeze me in between work, water aerobics, lunch dates, lectures, shopping trips and Tai chi. Mostly, though, I am grateful that you gave me back those begonias – bright, beautiful and in full bloom.”









Thursday, June 28, 2007

operation breakthrough

Another fun job I got to do recently was an installation of photographs in the lobby of Operation Breakthrough. And just to round out the overview of lobby photos, tomorrow I'll share my portraits of residents of an assisted living center.








Wednesday, June 27, 2007

preschool photos

A couple of years ago, I did a second installment of photographs for the Early Years building at my son’s school. The photos were added to a group I did several years ago, and they line the hallways of the preschool and pre-kindergarten classrooms. Yesterday a mom asked for a copy of one that features her little boy. Going through the negatives, I was reminded how lucky I was to have been given free reign with the project and what fun it was! Here are a few of my faves.








Monday, June 25, 2007

teachers

Included in the process of saying goodbye to our high school senior cum college freshman is the biding of farewells to his friends and teachers. Sounds dramatic, I know, but there’s a certain comforting energy that is created by these people that will be sorely missed by Eddie and me next year.

For the past twelve years, Max has studied drums with a wonderful teacher at the Conservatory of Music of our local university. I used to drive him to his lessons, of course, and watch him from my car as he made his way through the big front doors of the building, his canvas bag with drumsticks, sheet music, earplugs and assignment notebook in tow. Later, he drove himself there, same bag thrown over his shoulder. In the early days, the college musicians who would walk by with their huge cello cases or who would run through the doors after snuffing out a cigarette or kissing a girlfriend or boyfriend goodbye, looked so old and so big and so worldly. Now, of course, Max blends right in.

Max rarely missed a lesson. He enjoyed John’s company and John’s musical expertise. For all these years, John has served as our son’s mentor, teacher, technical advisor, big brother, therapist and friend. I know for sure there were times when the drumsticks were never taken out of that canvas bag on Tuesday afternoon. These two have always been able to talk, and when the going got tough, especially during Max’s adolescent years, John was always there to listen and to gently give advice.

Back when I was fifteen and sixteen, my parents made arrangements for me to make weekly visits with an English professor at the university. I was rebellious, hanging out with questionable characters, alone in my room a lot with the door closed and the stereo headphones glued to my head. I wrote a lot of poetry. Bad poetry.

Once a week, I would schlep my notebook full of poems to her office. These puppies were riddled with teen-age angst, typical existential questioning and a clear distaste of the establishment. I listened eagerly to her comments. For the life of me, I cannot recall her name. She had long, thin hair, which she didn’t wash very often. She chain smoked Salem cigarettes. I had never seen anyone smoke quite the way she did. She would inhale slowly, her lips pursed tightly around the filter, then she’d close her mouth and let the smoke snake up out of her nose as she exhaled with thoughtful consideration, looking over my work with a slightly furrowed brow. When the school year ended, we moved our writing lessons to the campus apartment she shared with her young professor husband. Whenever I arrived, it seemed I had gotten them both out of bed, as his hair was always tousled, his clothes wrinkled and she seemed slightly annoyed that I had actually remembered our appointment.

As much as I longed to please the English professor and have her anoint me Kentucky’s greatest young poet and unusually deep thinker, I think I mostly looked forward to each meeting as a kind of therapy session. I have a feeling that’s what my parents figured, too, now that I look back on it.

So, anyway, back to John. He and his wife are coming to dinner tonight. What a hero he is. How lucky we’ve been to have him in our son’s life. I know Max will be very sad to tell him goodbye.

So will we.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

on writing

A very thoughtful reader of the blog sent me this passage:

From THE FIFTH BOOK OF PEACE, Maxine Hong Kingston

"Writing is like meditation: you sit breathing in silence, only you add one thing--the writing. Instead of letting thoughts and pictures and feelings go by, you hold on to them. You slow them down. You find the words for them ... Writing, you shine light--the light of your intelligence--into a scene of the past, into the dark of forgotten things, fearful things. ...Writing, you change. And you change the world, even the past. You make history ...Write things out, and you won't need to carry memories in your body as pain. The paper will carry your stories. We, your readers, will help you carry your stories. See how light paper is?"

Friday, June 22, 2007

anniversary of my mother's death

mom and me, 1999

Two years ago today my mom died.

Few events have etched their way into my brain the way that one has. The birth of my kids, certainly. The first time I laid eyes on Eddie.

Over the course of these past two years, not a day has passed that I haven’t thought back to the period of time when my mother was ill. And then the night she died. And the fact that I recorded much of that time with my camera.

I struggled with it then, and I guess I still do now. Why did I take pictures of my mother’s death? Was it ultimately an invasion of her privacy? Was it a way for me to see more clearly what was going on or was it a mechanism that allowed me to pull back from it? Perhaps it was my way of trying to hold on to her image as long as I could?

Fellow photographers and close friends have reminded me that photographing is simply the way I journal. That this is the way I remember. Here is something I finally wrote about the process a year or so ago:

“As my mother became more ill, I began to photograph her. I had always made pictures of her while I growing up. But these were different. These pictures were about her death. During the last three weeks of her life, I documented the process of dying. As I placed a frame around her tired and drawn face, I removed myself somewhat from the reality that was at hand, but I also brought myself closer to it – to linger on it, to study it, to consider it, to try to make sense of it. Order, commemoration, preservation – the same reasons I’d always made pictures.”

cancer sucks

encouragement from my dad

the night before she died


I wrote about it, too. I have always loved the combination of photography and words, so that part made perfect sense to me. I began by describing the fact that three of the four of us kids live quite a distance from my folks and that for the eleven months that she was sick, we all pitched in.

“My siblings and I traveled back and forth to our hometown to help out however we could. This meant picking her up after she had fallen, helping her get up from the toilet on particularly bad days, putting a heating pad on her shoulders, stocking the refrigerator with sweet potato and split pea soup, doing the laundry, driving her to the doctor, organizing the sheets in the linen closet, trimming the rose bushes, washing her hair, and painting her fingernails.”

I ended the essay with a description of the night she died. I was alone with her. I consider that an honor and a blessing. I also know that it has affected me in ways I have yet begun to figure out.

“No one had ever prepared me for the task of watching someone die. As much as Mom and I had talked about her illness, her funeral, who should have her sapphire pin and her collection of souvenir spoons, we had not quite gotten around to covering what the actual death scenario might look like. I was on my own.

My mother was serene now. Her breathing had moved from her belly up into her chest. It was growing more and more shallow. The sheets were draped around her frail frame; her head was propped on the pillow. Her face looked round and peaceful, like a full moon bobbing just above the clouds on a cold, clear winter night. I began to talk to her.

I thought of death scenes from movies, from books, from plays. Words came tumbling out of my mouth – words that had been uttered by so many others so many times before: “Let go now, Mom… it’s okay, just let go… you’ll see, it will be so much better without the pain… you were a wonderful mother… we all love you so much… we’ll miss you terribly… let go now, Mom… go on, it’s okay… I’m here with you… we love you… we’ll think about you everyday… I’ll see you again, I know it… just relax, let go… it’s okay… I’m right here with you.”

Her breathing started to move up out of her chest into her throat and became very short and thin. Every third inhalation or so, it seemed like minutes passed before she finally exhaled. To my surprise, her eyes opened. They were glazed, but as blue and pure as ever, and they darted about as if she was looking for a place to land. I leaned down and wrapped my arms around my mother, my chest on top of hers. I placed my head on her shoulder and nestled my face into the crook of her neck.

Then she fell silent. And suddenly I was hovering near the ceiling watching the whole scene. I floated high above and saw the two of us, wrapped up together on a small hospital bed in a small, darkened room. I saw myself kiss her neck. I watched with fascination as I told her, when I felt sure the breathing had stopped, goodbye.

I saw myself pick up the phone to call my father.

***

During those last twenty-six hours with my mother, I found myself waiting for some important secrets to be revealed. When she was speaking in random fragments, I felt sure I would hear something that would astonish me, enlighten me, surprise me, answer the unanswered, explain the unexplainable. I figured I would come away from the experience wiser about who she was, more informed about our relationship as mother and daughter, and absolutely clear as to what the point of her life, or any life, might be. When her eyes opened at the very end, I guess I had hoped she might call my name, speak suddenly, and tell me what she was seeing and where she was headed. When she drew in that last breath, I suppose I was holding out for a dramatic last word or two, something that would change my life in a profound way and provide me with strength and purpose.

***

The morphine machine kept purring every few minutes after my mother died, still releasing the drug into her arm. I looked out the window and noticed that dusk was settling over the city. The fireflies would be out in full force in my parents’ back yard by now, flickering like stars.

I saw myself embrace my father when he walked into the room. An hour or so later, I watched as I drove him home.”

mom and me, a few minutes before she died

Thursday, June 21, 2007

ten thousand villages

If you have not been to a Ten Thousand Villages store or to their website, please do so. You're in for a treat.

This morning I met with the women who run the store in Overland Park, Kansas, and they enthusiastically agreed to host a fund raising party this coming November - the 13th to be exact - for Change the Truth. Fifteen percent of everything that is sold in the store during our three hour "party" will go directly to CTT. They loved the paper bead jewelry that the kids and teachers at St. Mary Kevin's are making and are going to pitch them to the head honchos for consideration to include in the store's inventory. It's a longshot, but certainly worth a try.

I lifted the following from the Ten Thousand Villages website, just to give you an idea of what they're about. For more info and to peruse the wonderful items they have for sale, go shopping on the site!

"The inspiration for the name—Ten Thousand Villages—came from a Mahatma Gandhi quote: “…India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages…we have hardly ever paused to inquire if these folks get sufficient funds to eat and clothe themselves with.” Each village in the world represents a unique, distinctive people…offering extraordinary products born of their rich cultures and traditions.

Since 1946 Ten Thousand Villages has supported the work of literally tens of thousands of artisans in over 30 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, making it one the largest fair trade organizations in North America. Working with more than 100 artisan groups, they purchase fine pieces from craftspeople with whom they have longstanding, nurturing relationships…helping to bring dignity to their lives.

Ten Thousand Villages is a founding member of the International Fair Trade Association, an organization that includes over 200 members in 55 countries, including many artisan groups in developing countries. They are part of a worldwide movement that is striving to improve the livelihood of disadvantaged people in developing countries through the expansion of fair trade."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

ugandan grandmothers





Nearly two-thirds of orphans in southern and eastern Africa are in the care of the “grannies.” These women were, for the most part, long past the days of sexual activity when HIV took hold, so most have escaped it. They remain healthy as their own children waste away and die, often by the age of thirty. These women end up taking in not only the grandchildren, but also neighbor kids who have lost their parents and who have nowhere else to go.

Here are a few of the heroic grandmothers I met during my travels in Uganda. The women pictured here range in age from 40's to 80's. Not one of them thinks she is doing anything extraordinary, even though her life would be considered difficult for someone half her age. Each one definitely worries, however, about what will happen to these children when they, the grannies, die.

Monday, June 18, 2007

the bride


One of my favorite pictures from the wedding! The wind picked up just as we finished the "formal" shots, and Em made the most of it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

wedding weekend


Western Washington is the site for my niece's wedding this weekend. We’re in Gig Harbor, which is gorgeous. Last night was the rehearsal dinner. I got to be the photographer. At the wedding tonight, I’ll share the honors with my daughter and sister-in-law. I must say it's a lot of fun.

Friday, June 15, 2007

brain gets a thrill from charity: study

By Julie Steenhuysen
Thu Jun 14, 5:10 PM ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Knowing your money is going to a good cause can activate some of the same pleasure centers in your brain as food and sex, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

People who participated in a study got a charge knowing that their money went to a charity -- even when the contribution was mandatory, like a tax. They felt even better when they voluntarily made a donation, researchers found.

Ulrich Mayr, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon, said the research sheds light on the nature of altruism and could help people feel better about being taxed.

"It shows that in an ideal world you could have a tax situation where you could be a satisfied taxpayer," said Mayr, whose study appeared in the journal Science.

In the study, Mayr and two economists gave 19 women volunteers $100 each and then tracked their brain activity in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner.

The women were shown their money automatically being transferred from their account to a local food bank.

When the money reached the food bank account, it activated portions of the brain -- the caudate nucleus and the nucleus accumbens -- known for pleasure. The effect was even greater when the people got to choose to give the money away.

"What is interesting is that these pleasure areas are for really basic needs, like food, sex, sweets, shelter and social connection," Ulrich said in a telephone interview. "It's the area that tells the brain what is good for us."

As it turns out, "That very same brain area not only tracks what is good for us, but what is good for others," he said.

He and colleagues were hoping to find out whether there was something in the act of giving itself -- and not just the social and egotistical reward of being a philanthropist -- that offers satisfaction.

"The fact that we find pleasurable activity in those mandatory tax-like situations strongly suggests the existence of pure altruism," he said.

Of course, simulating a tax is quite different from paying taxes to a government with policies you may or may not support, he noted.

"What it shows is that, in principle, we are capable of feeling good about doing our share," he said.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

bench


Interlaken Park is an oasis of forest in the heart of Seattle and is steeped in Seattle history. This densely wooded park covers over fifty acres on north Capitol Hill. The park's main attractions are the paths, winding through a wooded ravine, for bikers, joggers, and hikers.

John Hoge was commissioned by my sister to make and install this bench in memory of her husband. Rob was killed in a plane crash in 1993 when he was just thirty-eight. After his untimely and tragic death, my sister had a dream about an organically shaped stone bench in a park-like setting. When she described it to a friend, the friend recommended that she look at the work of Hoge, a sculptor who works in stone. Bobbie saw his work, and it was similar to what she had seen in her dream. It all flowed from there. Hoge titled this “Maple Leaf Bench.” It is made from basalt stone from eastern Washington. It’s a beautiful piece in a gorgeous setting and brings to mind the life of a wonderful man.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

change the truth update

The exhibition last month at Leopold Gallery resulted in a very nice donation to Change the Truth. Eight photographs were sold, as were lots of CDs, beaded jewelry and t-shirts. Thanks to Paul Dorrell, owner of the gallery, for agreeing to donate a percentage of his take to the kids.

I will be speaking about my Uganda trip and CTT at St. Andrews Christian Church, 13890 W. 127th Street in Olathe, Kansas on June 24th at 9:30 a.m. St. Andrews has long been an enthusiastic supporter of my work, having exhibited my “Among the Ashes” project a couple of years ago and making purchases of my work along the way for their collection of artwork displayed in the building. The talk will be in Friends Hall. Any and all visitors are gladly welcome, I’ve been told, so if you’d like to attend, by all means do.

More pen pal connections have been made: Ashton has been paired up with her new Ugandan friend Claire. Both girls are nine years old. Quinn’s Ugandan pen pal is Annet, and Joshua’s is Nicolas. If any of you blog readers have heard from your pen pals and wish to share excerpts from your letters here, please let me know. I think we’d all love to hear what the children from St. Mary Kevin’s have to say!

A very large print of “Hands in Sky” has been purchased by the University of Kansas Hospital for installation in their new cancer center. To the administration there, the image evoked a sense of hope, and they feel certain that cancer patients and their families will have the same reaction to the piece. Little did the children at St. Mary Kevin’s know that they could inspire people dealing with disease and death half a world away!


Since my visit with Michael, I have been yearning more than usual to return to Uganda. It looks as if there is a strong possibility that this may actually happen in October! Talks are underway with a local organization that may send a couple of travel/work companions along with me. I have also enlisted the assistance of an ace grant writer to explore further possibilities for fundraising and for building a dynamic partnership between St. Mary Kevin’s and the aforementioned organization (which wasn’t really mentioned…yet).

In the meantime, I’ve been going back through the work I made in October and have discovered a few images that I probably shouldn’t have overlooked the first few times around. This is one of them.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

an unusual volunteer job

Our high school graduate is spending his summer bussing tables for a catering company by night and whirring around the city in an ambulance by day. The latter stems from Max’s training in the eighty-hour Wilderness First Responder course he took over spring break in Arizona, followed by a an Explorer course he took with a Kansas City metro ambulance company. He has always had a need for speed and a desire to help those in trouble.

So, this kid who usually sports flip flops, sagging shorts and a Lienenkugels beer ball cap and who doesn’t utter more than a few grunts and groans before 9:00 a.m. energetically left the house Saturday morning at 5:30, smartly dressed in the ambulance crew uniform - tight fitting cargo pants, a bright green polo shirt, a belt (to which was attached his cell phone) his new black shoes and, last but not least, a stethoscope (prized graduation gift) draped around his neck.

But let me back up a bit. Before any of this happened, I had to sit before a representative of the ambulance company who explained the risks involved in riding with a paramedic/EMT crew as they venture into any and all parts of town, lights flashing, sirens screaming, tending to wrecks, homicides, heart attacks and the like. Then I had to sign a waiver.

The guy behind the desk turned his attention at one point to Max: Have you ever been to a morgue? You’ll probably go to one this summer. Ever seen anyone die? You probably will this summer; maybe little kids or even kids your age. Ever been up close and personal with someone else’s blood, vomit or feces? Get ready to wipe all of the above off your shoes.

I felt a little woozy during this part of the presentation. I looked over at Max. It was obvious he was getting only more pumped up.

During the course of his first day on the job, our volunteer Explorer kept in close contact with us by way of text messaging:

8:27 a.m.
We’re making a Code One call with the lights and EVERYTHING. I’ll tell you all about it after we do it.

9:13 a.m.
We’re at the ER near Becca’s house… we picked up a lady from a nursing home. She had back pain, so they called us. Nothing big (yet) but it was fun.

10:16 a.m.
This is Unit 24. We’re 10-19 to North Kansas City Hospital. We have a Code Two…a.k.a. not a big deal. Guy has a swollen ankle. Got him from the police.

11:54 a.m.
This is Unit 24… My 10-20 is the back of the car writing graduation thank-you notes. I have seven done. Over.

2:32 p.m.
Just running calls. Still nothing too exciting.

4:05 p.m.
Oh hell yes we got a call to Rockfest. Woop woop woop!! We have an ETOH patient (that means he’s drunk). Also on coke.

Max came home safe and sound and says he can’t wait to go out again.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

this is not your grandmother’s hearing aid

My audiologist and I have been watching my hearing test results closely for more than ten years now. They are starting to look not so pretty.

No surprise. My mother and grandfather both suffered from hearing loss. Throughout the seventies I attended more than my fair share of very loud rock ‘n roll concerts, occasions where I’d flash my press badge and end up standing excitingly close to the stage and those huge, pulsating speakers. I have always relished settling in with a new album or CD in a comfy chair with headsets on, new music happily blaring away. And, oh yes, I am over fifty. Every year after fifty, we lose one-half of one percent of our hearing.

Throw in noise pollution, which has increased by leaps and bounds over the past few decades, and, well, here we are.

So when I got the news that my numbers have now officially dipped into the “hearing aid zone” I marched bravely into the office to try one on. Nowadays, they call it “test driving” – that is, you can be fitted for a device and see what you think, or maybe I should say hear. After four weeks, if you hate it, you can return it.

The industry probably couldn’t wait for baby boomers to hit this phase of life. No longer are the products bulky and unattractive. Now they come in small sizes, trendy shapes and all sorts of sexy colors. In fact, thanks to the age of IPODS and ear buds, some people who don’t even HAVE a hearing loss are opting for these things because they actually can make life a little easier. The one I’m trying out, for example, can be hooked up to a bluetooth phone, meaning that I wouldn’t need to actually pick up the phone when it rings – just push a button on the little IPOD looking device I’d wear on my person somewhere, and I could have a conversation right through my hearing device. Once televisions become bluetooth accessible, the same will be true there. The sound system would be fed directly to my cute, colorful, and don’t-you-wish-YOU-had-one hearing device!

And the advances in digital technologies mean these puppies can now do much more than simply amplify sound. Directional microphones can be fine tuned to zero in on specific frequencies coming from specific directions, or to cancel persistent background noise such as fans or traffic. There’s even a model that allows you to replay the last ten seconds of conversation, just in case you missed someone’s name. As I said, not your grandmother’s hearing aid.


Apparently, it’s cool now to wear a hearing aid. Who knew? Just as coke bottle glasses have been transformed into glam, stylin’ fashion accessories, the type that everyone wants to have on their face, hearing aids will soon be the next “have to have” item. Some are being made to resemble earrings or pendants. For kids, there are slipcovers that fit over their device – making them look like little dinosaurs or rainbows.

Disappearing is the stigma of wearing a hearing aid. Apparently, there is a huge percentage of the population that could benefit greatly from one, but refuse to go there – a deep and untapped market, wouldn’t you say? Even the names and the faces behind the industry are starting to scream coolness. One company is called “Pulse.” And Huey Lewis looks pretty hunky sporting his salmon colored “assistive device” for the company that pays him to be its spokesperson. His device is very small and comes in an array of sleek, colorful designs.

Basically, I just want to stop uttering the question “what?” and be able to fully appreciate what someone is saying to me, especially if we’re in a room full of people who are all talking at the same time.

I guess if I can look good doing it, that’s pretty amazing.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

sales rep

I am in the process of creating a store for the Change the Truth website, complete with beaded jewelry, t-shirts and CDs. I am reminded of all the other business ventures that make up the tapestry that is my life as an entrepreneur.

I started early. When I was nine, I became a Wallace Brown rep.

Beginning in the fall of 1963, I lugged a catalogue brimming with Christmas card samples all around my neighborhood. Nice ladies like Mrs. Ballard and Mrs. Brown (no relation) would invite me in, offer me a glass of juice or milk, and carefully peruse the overstuffed, spiral bound book of cards I proudly presented to them. These cards were stunning. They were chock full of red foil, silver glitter, fantastic drawings of sleighs and elves and, most important, they could be individualized with the personalized embossment of the lucky buyer’s name. My customers could choose from an assortment of colors and styles, though most usually went with the red or green decorative script. No matter how much I talked up the gold bronzing, it was just too expensive for the average investment in yuletide greetings.

I was jealous. Since my family was Jewish, I knew there were no Christmas cards in store for us. No fancy, embellished script spelling out “Seasons Greetings from the Baker Family.” No jolly Santas, no cute reindeer. It was hard to sell something I secretly longed for, but knew I couldn’t have. I kept a stiff upper lip, however, and did quite well. By the completion of my second season with Wallace Brown (I preferred calling him “Wally” for short) I was awarded a certificate for expert salesmanship, signed by none other than Wallace Brown from New York City.

The following is probably very similar to, if not the same ad that caught my eye and first lured me to work for Wally. I found this on a Google search. It was originally published in a comic book in 1962.



"Do you know 20 people? Of course you do! Add up a half-dozen relatives, perhaps 5 neighbors, the butcher, the baker, the milkman, the grocer, your dentist, several friends and other trades people-and you've probably got a lot more than 20. So what are you waiting for? These folks alone can bring you in at least $50.00, probably $ 100.00 to $200.00 extra money in just a few hours spare time. And this is just a start! Almost everyone you know needs Christmas Cards, and when you show them the spectacular nationally famous 1962 Wallace Brown Line of Cards and Gift Items, it's love at first sight. They'll soap up 2, 3, 6 or more Christmas Card Boxes right on the spot. Keep up to 50 cents of every dollar you take in! This is the fun way of making Money because it's so easy We send you samples that do the selling for you. And, besides making money you'll save money on your own personal Christmas Cards, Gifts, Wrappings, etc. See for yourself without risking a penny. Mail coupon, you'll be glad you did!"

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

michael in kansas city

Michael’s visit ended too soon. We did get a lot accomplished over the course of three days, however. Michael graciously met with many friends of Change the Truth, answering their questions in an articulate and thoughtful manner. What amazed both of us was the range of creative ideas people have devised to raise awareness of and funds for the orphanage. We took lots of notes during our meetings and hope to begin implementing some of these projects in the near future. Stay tuned!

Michael got a pretty good taste of Kansas City, dining on Kansas City strip steak, listening to some very good jazz at Jardines, checking out the Plaza, touring Operation Breakthrough and the Jewish Community Center and discovering KC bar-b-que. He even managed to meet some of the Harlem Globetrotter who were here for a kid’s basketball camp. He wasn’t sure who they were, only that they were tall, but we took a picture anyway.

Michael reunited with Salvation, a boy who lived at the orphanage for two years, and the family which has adopted him

Michael with Eddie, Max and me at Jardine's

Erin and Gina, leaders of the Jewish youth rally for Change the Truth, presented Michael with a wall hanging made by the some of the high school kids who attended

Michael met Jessie, the very first contributor to Change the Truth

Michael and the Globetrotters.