I grew up as an only child in Branford, a Connecticut shore town that was founded in 1644 and realized its future through its commitment 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. My first job was trying to be an Indian.
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 Fran, a classmate. 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 several short stories about my family and these places.
Many jobs followed. They included celebrating the 200th birthday of the first law firm where I practiced; encouraging citizens to amplify their voices about public policy with city-wide polling; helping a start-up to maximize the value of its medical technology; 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 place in my writing.
The work I’ve always 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 a diner behind the cash register.
I live in a 110 year-old house in East Falls, which is bounded by both the Schuylkill River and Fairmount Park, 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” (big enough/old enough) tulip poplar outside my window. 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, sounds and smells of nature that somehow persist in the middle of everything else that is Philadelphia.
Finally, I’m tremendously proud of my daughter Emily, whose work includes consulting with professionals on strategy and marketing, teaching yoga, and challenging my preconceptions.