Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Melton’

Letter From Claverack 11 03 2016 Crowing proud…

November 4, 2016

Kevin James Malone is not my nephew.  He is the child of my oldest friend, Sarah McCormick Malone, whom I have known since we were three.  There is a picture of the two of us on her parents’ couch in our rain gear on our first day of kindergarten.  [We were adorable.] We were already fast friends then and have been ever since.

From the time he was born, I was around about as much as any of his maternal uncles as the Malones lived in New Mexico and Michael, Bill and John, her three brothers, lived in the Midwest and on the East Coast, where her parents had settled.

On one wonderful Mother’s Day weekend, Sarah and Kevin came to visit “Uncle Mat” when I lived in Santa Monica.  We flew kites on the beach and road around in my convertible, watched movies late into the night, Kevin outlasting both his mother and me.  Kevin was maybe three years old.

When the eldest McCormick daughter, Mary Clare, celebrated her 25th anniversary to her husband Jim Eros [I had brunch with them last weekend], her parents threw a dinner at their country club on Long Island.

It seems to me that I was still living in California but was in New York at that moment and John and Eileen, Sarah’s parents, told everyone there would be a surprise guest.  [Me.]

Kevin was then about eight or nine then.  At some point in the evening Kevin went to his grandmother and asked her why Uncle Mat had a different last name than her other brothers, leaving Eileen to awkwardly attempt to explain.

Forever captured in the photo album of my brain is Kevin Malone walking up to me at that dinner, dressed in a suit and tie, putting his hands on his hips and looking up at me and demanding to know:  what do you mean you’re not one of my mother’s brothers?

It was a hiccup in our relationship we survived.

Years later, when he and his father and I were visiting him at work, we met his boss.  Kevin introduced his father and then me and said, this is my Uncle Mat.

When he was married to Michelle, I gave a toast at the Rehearsal Dinner.  We shopped for a shirt for him that day, together.

Kevin is not my nephew by blood but he is my nephew by choice.  His and mine.  I refer to him as my nephew when I talk about him to other people.  There is no other way to describe my relationship with him or his to me.

When he emailed me yesterday, along with others in his family, to announce he had passed the Bar in the District of Columbia, I felt so proud and glad.  Today I learned he has also passed the Bar in Massachusetts and I felt another swell of pride.

You see, I have no words to describe how wonderful a young man Kevin is.  He is one of the most unique individuals I have ever encountered.  Caring, thoughtful, whip smart without being arrogant about it, determined to be the best Kevin James Malone he can be.

I don’t remember how I met Sarah McCormick Malone but I did and our childhood friendship has endured and I am blessed to have been included in her family as a member of choice and they in mine, as family of choice.

Because of logistics we will not be able to do it this year but we have spent many a Christmas together over this last decade.

In the Strum und Drang of these last days before the election, I am comforted by the presence in this world of a man like my nephew Kevin, now a member of the Bar, a lawyer for real, who will do extraordinary things in his life.

Kevin, I am so proud of you.  Congratulations.

Kevin and his mother the weekend of his wedding to Michelle Melton…

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Letter From Shepherdstown 01 01 16 Bounding into the New Year…

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!  It is another grey day in Shepherdstown, WV, which has had nothing but a string of grey days since I arrived here almost two weeks ago.  The day, while grey exteriorly is sunny inside, surrounded by old friends.  My nephew, Kevin, is prepping to make bacon to go with waffles.  His wife, Michelle, is reading the news on her phone and I am beginning my letter while waiting for a call.

My friends, Medora Heilbron and Meryl Marshall-Daniels, and I have convened most Thursdays or Fridays for almost fifteen years to share our week’s experiences, our highs and lows and to love and support each other.  It is a gift the universe has given us and we have helped each other through a whole variety of things and have celebrated our successes and supported each other in our bumps in the road.

When one of us is traveling and the call doesn’t happen, it doesn’t feel like the week is quite right.  It’s good to be starting 2016 with a call.

I can’t quite believe it is 2016.  I never thought I would live this long but here I am, slowing moving into old age and having a better time of it than I thought I would.

My stomach bug has lifted and I woke this morning in fine fettle, eager to burst into the new year.  I texted friends to wish them Happy New Years and then came down and made coffee and read another 25 pages of my textbook.

The world, of course, is not coursing as quietly or as joyfully as my life in Shepherdstown.

A suicide bomber struck a restaurant in Kabul last night.  Five were wounded in the French restaurant, one of the few still catering to foreigners.

During New Year’s Eve celebrations in Dubai, a luxury hotel and apartment building caught fire and competed for attention with the fireworks at midnight.  Officials are investigating the cause of the fire. 12 were injured but there appear to have been no fatalities.

Wayne Rogers, “Trapper John” from the TV series “MASH” passed away last night, surrounded by family.  A much beloved star, he was also a shrewd investor and successfully managed money for a variety of clients while also acting.

Less than an hour ago, it was announced that Natalie Cole, one of the great voices of the 20th century and the daughter of the legendary Nat King Cole, passed away.  She was 65.

In a Tel Aviv pub, two were killed and four seriously injured by a gunman.  Investigators are working to determine if it was a crime or terrorism.  Isn’t terrorism a crime? Yes, I think so.

In Turkey, President Erdogan, who was Prime Minister for ten years, is seeking to change Turkey’s constitution to make the President, not the Prime Minister, the senior position.  An example he quoted:  Hitler’s Germany.  He did not elaborate.  No wonder the world thinks he may not be committed to democracy.

What I am committed to today is to enjoy feeling well, my spirits boosted by the sun breaking through the clouds and the camaraderie of friends and family.

Letter From Shepherdstown 12 30 15 The eve of New Year’s Eve…

December 30, 2015

It is the eve of New Year’s Eve and I am in Shepherdstown, WV with my childhood friend Sarah and we are prepping for the return of Sarah’s son, Kevin and his wife, Michelle Melton.  Her husband Jim has gone on to Alabama to see his parents.

The balmy weather has passed and we are in a string of grey, chill days.  I have been a bit under the weather today; some small stomach bug has bitten me and I have had only tea and dry toast.

It has been a pleasant day though.  I am prepping my mushroom soup and a salad for dinner while doing my best to take it easy.  We went to the store, Sarah and I, and picked up some foodstuffs and wine for tomorrow.

Mary Clare, Sarah’s older sister, and her husband Jim own the house we have been occupying for the Christmas party. Tonight they are returning from New York, with their son Michael and we’ll all toast the New Year in tomorrow.

My eyes have been turned from the world while watching movies, including “Steve Jobs” with a wonderful turn by Kate Winslet as well as Michael Fassbinder.  Today, Sarah and I were watching “Suffragette” with Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep.  It is about the struggle for women in Britain to get the vote. 

The hard life of lower class women of the time, both in Britain and America, is almost unimaginable yet it was…

I remarked that it was the other side of “Downton Abbey.”

We have come a long way since then but not nearly far enough.

The rest of the world has remained away because I have not turned to face it.  I’m not eager to right now though it will need to be faced when this respite is over.

I’ve been ploughing through my textbook for “Media and Society” and beginning to organize the class.

Checking my emails, there is almost NO business going on in my world.  I am assuming that everyone, like me, has retreated into the Christmas Week mode. 

The stomach bug has made me a bit weary so I am going to sign off.  But not before wishing all and any who read this, a very, very Happy New Year!

Letter From New York 12 26 15 Thoughts on Boxing Day….

December 26, 2015

Boxing Day.  Shepherdstown, WV, Olde Hudson Cheese.  Dena Moran. Sarah Malone.  Kevin Malone. Michelle Melton. Jim Malone. Syria. Mosque fire in Texas. Corsican fire.  Australian fires. NY Times Virtual Reality. World Food Program. Hope, AK.  Bill Clinton.  Hillary Clinton.

Outside it is as grey, as it has been for the last few days. It is warm, too, near 50 degrees in Shepherdstown, WV.  It will be grey all day with rain probable in the evening.

It is the 26th of December, Boxing Day in those countries once affiliated with the British Empire.  Boxing Day derived its name from two traditions.  One is that for servants it was the day they had off to celebrate Christmas after devoting the actual day to waiting on their “betters.”  The other reason was that on the 26th of December, children would roam the streets of England collecting alms for the poor in boxes.

Often in the past I’ve had a “Boxing Day” party.  When Dena Moran, proprietor of Olde Hudson Cheese in Hudson heard I was gone between Christmas and New Year’s, she frowned and said, “What, no Boxing Day party?”

But I am gone, sitting at the dining room table of my friends’ home in Shepherdstown, sipping coffee the morning after a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

My oldest friend, Sarah McCormick Malone, her husband Jim, their son Kevin and his wife Michelle, and I gathered around the dining table and have feasted.  We have sipped wine and consumed appetizers and desserts and wonderful mains, crab cakes and duck.

We spent two hours opening presents around a small tree we purchased on Christmas Eve to ensure that there was Christmas spirit in the house. 

Now, on Boxing Day morning we are all gathered in the kitchen, preparing for French toast and more feasting and a concert tonight.

While I’ve been coddled in the warmth of my friends and the coziness of this home, the world has been relatively quiet as I looked at the news this morning.

In Corsica and in Texas, mosques were burned on Christmas Day as antipathy against Islam grows in the West.  In Hope, AK the childhood home of Bill Clinton burned in a case of suspected arson.  Was he the target of the anger or his spouse, Hillary, who is leading the Democratic field for the Presidential nomination?

Disastrous fires burned over a hundred homes outside of Melbourne, Australia while tornadoes and flooding ravaged northern Alabama.

While we feasted, celebrated, opened presents, and enjoyed the coziness of this house, the war waged on in Syria with a rebel leader killed on Saturday.  He was anti-Assad and his death will have ramifications in the confusing cauldron of that country.

As we were prepping our Christmas duck last night, Kevin shared a VR NY Times video about refugees, taking us as visually close as we could to the lives of three young refugees, one from Ukraine, one from Syria and one from South Sudan, two boys and one girl.  It was stunning and affecting and each of us experienced it felt closer to their experiences than we would have simply by reading articles.

The Ukrainian boy fled with his family as rebels advanced.  When they returned, his grandfather’s body had been in the garden all winter, the school destroyed and most homes damaged.  The Syrian girl lives in a refugee camp and gets up at 4 AM to work in the fields.  In Syria they had toys, now they only have each other.  The Sudanese boy fled with his grandmother into the swamps.  His father was killed, his mother has disappeared.  They fend as best they can. 

VR Video made this painfully real.

When I begin teaching in January and someone asks me what to look at in media, I would suggest looking at Virtual Reality as a career opportunity.  It is changing our media experiences.

We spent time after opening presents to discuss what charity we might want to support this year.  High of the list was World Food Program which supports the feeding of refugees.  I tended toward that organization after seeing the plight of the three children.

We have more refugees since any time since the end of World War II.

It is a great deal to think about as I wander through another day, in a warm house, surrounded by warm friends, knowing that my friends and family are safe but from all but the most normal of hazards, living without, for the most part, any fear of suicide bombers, starvation and having to live with idea of fleeing at a moment’s notice from their homes and towns.

Not like so much of the rest of the world.