Auf Wiedersehen Papst Benedikt XVI

February 11th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Just a timely, mini- post:

“Come and say what prints all day. A whole few watermelon. There is no pope.”-Gertrude Stein, TENDER BUTTONS (1914)



Some big Pradamelon shoes to fill:


Happy Birthday with the GertrudeandAlice vs. Gertrude or Alice vs. Gertrude Super Bowl XLVII…

February 3rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

It was Tom Hachtman who called to my attention that this year’s Super Bowl was really a Gertrude Stein Super Bowl because it’s her 139th birthday  on February 3rd. Also this year’s two football teams, the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, have ties to GertrudeandAlice.

In reality it is either a “GertrudeandAlice vs. Gertrude Super Bowl” as both ladies lived in San Francisco, Gertrude for only a couple of years after leaving the there of Oakland and then spending a few years in Baltimore before heading to Europe.  Or an “Alice vs. Gertrude Super Bowl” if we don’t want to count Gertrude’s few years  in Frisco (sorry!) and give more weight to the Baltimore Steins.  But then, if we factor in the birthday, maybe Alice will forfeit her involvement and allow it to be solely a Gertrude Stein Super Bowl!

"Gimme a 4!" "4!" "Gimme a 9!" "9!" "Gimme a small e!" "Small e!" Gimme a small r!" "Small r!"

“Gimme a 4 !” “4 !” “Gimme a 9 !” “9 !” “Gimme a small e !” “Small e !” Gimme a small r !” “Small r !” (Tom Hachtman, 2013)

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Another year and fruitcake to boot !

December 24th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

As another year ends, I, as many of you, will exclaim “Another year? What a year!”

All years have their ups and downs and this one was no different.

Events on the world stage were as crazy and heart-breaking as ever .  And I often wonder as years like 1929 or 1941 or  1962 came to a end, whether the despair of events of those years overwhelmed the joys that must also have entered people’s lives.

Two major links to GertrudeandAlice left us this year: Julian Stein, Jr. and Robert Lescher.

Those of you who have been following my posts have been introduced to Julian, Gertrude’s cousin, through the excerpts that I’ve featured from his memoirs.  (There are more to follow in the new year, I promise.) Julian will be remembered for a long, long time by all of those who knew and loved him.

The unforgettable Julian Stein, Jr.

Robert Lescher was a major figure in the New York publishing scene for 60 years working with such writers as Robert Frost, MFK Fisher and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Literary mentor Robert Lescher

He traveled to Paris in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s to work with Alice on writing her memoir, WHAT IS REMEMBERED.

Alice had begun work on the book with Max White, whom Gertrude had praised as one of America’s young, up-and-coming writers in the late 1940s. For a number of months he met with Alice at rue Christine, taking notes as she related her life with Gertrude to him.

Portrait of Max White by Alice Neel

However, at one point he stormed out of a visit , notes in hand since , as he later put it, he did not believe Alice was telling him the truth and he wanted nothing to do with such a book.  He destroyed the notes and it was up to Robert Lescher to again begin the process as her publisher eagerly awaited the manuscript. The book was finally published in 1963.  I had a chance to meet with him twice in NYC and enjoyed his recollections of time with Alice.

So, as we all wrap up the last week of 2012 and gird ourselves for the ups and downs of 2013, my card to all of you this year features you know who,  with four-legged you know who the second and a few collaged items to make it all festive!  In her lap, Alice proudly displays her fruitcake which was one of the things that she relished making at the end of WWII.  The recipe is in her cookbook and ends with preparing icing  though she insists that that is “gilding the lily!”

With all good wishes to all….



A Gertrude Stein Thanksgivng

November 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Feathers. A plate.

To gobble is to wobble.


Yes, a goose.


And then we got stuffed.



Thanks…and Yes, Thanks!

November 18th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s been another tough year on this planet of ours.  Mankind has been up to his usual no good at times and Mother Nature has once again proven how angry she can get, undoubtedly due to some of the no good mankind has afflicted on her.  Why shouldn’t she be upset?!

In a German children’s picture book that we grew up with, ETWAS VON DEN WURZELKINDERN (Something from the Root-Children), there is a wonderful illustration of Mother Earth preparing the root-children for the coming of winter.  Now this is the way it should be!

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Confessions of A First-Time Picture Book Writer One Year Later (and it ain’t all pretty!)

November 11th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


“Ill get you my pretty, and your little dog too!”

11.11.11.  The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. That’s today.  It was the day and time in 1918 that World War I – you know the war that was to end all wars (Right!)-ended.  It was formerly know as Armistice Day, but was changed to Veteran’s Day because it was easier to spell and WW I did not end all wars.


11/11/18 Wall Street, NYC

11/11/11 last year is also the official day that Tom Hachtman and I decided would be the publication date of our book GERTRUDE and ALICE and FRITZ and TOM.  We liked the way it sounded and considering all of the alliteration in the book seemed right. By the way, have heard from Tom and there is lots of post-Sandy cleanup in his home in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ.

Now one year after the publishing of our book on 11/11/12 some thoughts about the book on its first anniversary.

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Thinking of you out East…

November 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

It has been a week since Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast and it has been a week since I last heard from Tom Hachtman, the incredible illustrator of my GertrudeandAlice picture book.

Tom by Tom (2011)

Tom and his wife and mother-in-law live in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. not far from the ocean.  They have been in my thoughts all week.  A mutual friend has tried to reach them via phone, but has not been successful and closed his last e-mail to me with –  “I will let you know if I get any news.”

Me by Tom (2011)

I know that the pictures online and those on TV only tell part of the story and just as in the case of Hurricane Katrina, any of us who have never seen or lived through this kind of devastation, have really no idea of what it must be like. (I have not been able to fathom the destruction that my parents witnessed during World War II and their ability to move to a foreign land and start over with 3 young children in tow.  I don’t think I’d have it in me to do the same.)

Berlin, 1945

Tom has a thing about redheads. ( I don’t recall him ever telling me how this came about.)  Every morning he sends an e-mail to his list of friends of his latest redheaded find  – movie star, model, famous painting, etc.  He must have a collection of several hundreds of these.  The last one was sent weekend before last, as he wasn’t sure how much longer they would have power.

From time-to-time I sent him redheads that I’d find online or in magazines and even sent him a redheaded Gertrude that I created from a picture postcard.

Tom, Joey and Myrna my thoughts are with you, your families  and your neighbors.  Please know that I’m here to help in whatever way I can.

Missing you and your redheads!


November 6th:

The first redhead du jour arrived early this morning and here she is:

A Loved, Loving, Laughing Man Remembered with Laughter

October 13th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

There are some events in life which can never be repeated or should only be repeated in the most pleasant of dreams.  Such an event, the memorial for Julian Samuel Stein, Jr., began at a few minutes after 4 PM, October 6th, 2012 at the Maryland Historical Society one week ago today.

The Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore

The auditorium of the society was almost filled as Vishwa and I walked in. We were ready to join the SRO corps that would undoubtedly soon form.  It was like entering the Metropolitan Opera at the final performance of the most highly revered tenor in the world and all seats were taken.   Luckily we saw our friend Betsy, Julian’s partner, near the front of the auditorium and as we wanted to be sure to greet her with loving hugs before the program began, we pushed our way through the not yet seated crowd.

We found Betsy and hugged, all of us a bit teary-eyed.  She sensed we were looking for seats and there, three seats down from where she was sitting in the front row were four empty chairs next to two of her close friends.

“Are two of these taken?” I asked.  “No, “ replied Betsy’s friend.

Betsy and Julian…enough said !

There we were in the front row for the event of a lifetime to hear about the events of a lifetime!

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Julian Stein, Jr.: A Cup Overflowing, Life Stories Part II (and a confession)

October 1st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Some people who have blogs are  good about posting things a lot, sometimes even everyday (many of those folks are paid by the Wall Street Journal, NY Times or CNN, of course, so it’s part of their multi-million dollar job description!).

I on the other hand have become more and more lax, not because I don’t have things to write about, but just because LIFE ,(not the late-great magazine), just keeps getting in the way and I can’t seem to push away those pesky everyday tasks to just sit down to do it.


Flying saucers? Huh?

I’m not a good to-do list maker other than a Post-it here and there that’s tossed once the task is done.  (I had a colleague once who festooned the dashboard of her car with Post-its to remind herself of many a daily task. Luckily they weren’t plastered all over the windshield too.)

Sometimes I write two or three things on a Post-it and once I get all of them done,  it’s a real coup.  I know the I-thing this or I-thing that is engineered to make life more manageable, but I’m not there yet.  I’m just as far as getting excited about my iPad, quite sacrilegious for a book  collector!  But how can you not be thrilled when in seconds you can be reading the first few pages of that 50 Shades pulp porn and not even have to let the person sitting next to you on the plane know about your journey to S&M fantasyland?  (No, I don’t  have a copy of any of the 3 volumes, either paperback or i-Padized.)

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Julian Stein, Jr.: A Cup Overflowing, the Life Stories Begin

August 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I have never understood it when after someone has died people often say ‘He (or she) had a full life,’ as if  a life lived can be measured in a Pyrex measuring cup.  As if once life reaches beyond the little red markings with the possibility of overflowing onto the Formica counter, it’s time to pass on. cup runneth over

A few weeks ago, my friend Julian Stein, Jr. died in Baltimore.  At 93, I’m certain many will say he had a full life, but I am willing to bet that his family and many others including me, wish that the Great Filler of the Pyrex Cup in the Sky would have allowed him just a few more ounces above the red markings.

There are many who miss him so, so much already.

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