I grew up as an only child in Branford, a Connecticut shore town that was founded in 1644 and realized its future through its commitments to public education. Dot, my mother, was a nurse anesthetist and Frank, my father, a mechanical engineer.
We lived in a red house on Meadow Circle Road, which was more of a half-circle with a meadow in the middle of it.
After BHS, I studied at Holy Cross (American history), at Yale (history of American religion, ethics), and at Penn (law), where I met and married a classmate named Fran. I also spent six years in the Coast Guard Reserves, including late-winter boot camp in Cape May, New Jersey and a summer life-guarding at its reserve training center in Yorktown, Virginia. WorkLifeReward includes short stories about each of these people and places.
Many jobs followed. Noteworthy among them were celebrating the 200th birthday of the first law firm where I practiced; helping citizens to amplify their voices about public policy with city-wide polling; and being the targeted face of a billion-dollar energy project that ultimately failed to bring LNG to Philadelphia so that terrorists could use it to blow up the Liberty Bell. These jobs also have their places in my writing.
The work I’ve liked most has involved teaching, including high school students, professionals in law and business, and kids with special needs like autism, physical disability and grief-related trauma. As a swimming instructor, I’ve taught adults who claimed to be “sinkers,” parents with babies that swam before they walked, and some of those same special kids. For the general workforce, I’ve taught ethics, alternate dispute resolution and start-up business planning along with workshops about the role that values should play in our work.
My first check for publishing something came in 2012. I put a copy of it over my writing desk, like you might see in diner behind the cash register.
I live in a 107 year-old house in the East Falls section of Philadelphia and am no longer surprised by how often I see deer, foxes, hawks, eagles and turkeys in my yard. A family of possums is in permanent residence near the “historic” (i.e. big enough/old enough) tulip poplar outside my window, and there are raccoons in a lightening-ravaged Alaskan pine that’s next to it. Occasionally, a coyote will also show up. Whatever terrier happens to be living here also finds himself in a perpetual state of excitement over the sights and smells that somehow persist in the middle of everything else that is Philadelphia.
Last but hardly least I am proud every day of my daughter Emily, who consults with professionals on strategy and marketing from Brooklyn’s cutting edge.