Sunday, March 12, 2017

VERO BEACH | Mar 12–Day of FDR's 1st Fireside Chat

Charlie Miner (Seated) and L to R: Alice Tepper
Marlin, Suzanne Hyatt, John Tepper Marlin and
Charmaine Caldwell. We were celebrating John's
75th birthday and Charlie's 95th.
Mar 12, 2017—Earlier today, on the 84th anniversary of FDR's first Fireside Chat, Alice and I were the guests for brunch of Charles Miner, Jr. in Vero Beach, Fla.

Charlie, as he calls himself (his cousins have called him Chas, pronounced Chaz), is one of three surviving grandsons of FDR's first Treasury Secretary, William H. Woodin. 

Charlie's mother Mary was the eldest daughter of Will and Nan Woodin. Mary married Charlie Miner Sr.

FDR was able to devote the time to perfecting his first Fireside Chat because he delegated the calming of the panicked financial markets entirely to Will Woodin, an unjustly forgotten Republican member (one of three recruited by FDR from the GOP) of FDR's first Cabinet.

Joining us at lunch were Charlie's daughter Charmaine Caldwell and his niece Suzanne Hyatt.

I picked up some new stories from Charlie about his life. His late wife Mary Mae (Maisie) was from the south. He had previously told me that marrying her opened up to him a part of America with which he was unfamiliar, and which he came to know more about, appreciate and love. He gave some examples and ended, as he often does, with some dry humor:
We had a man in East Hampton named George who would take care of things for us. When we had a problem, Maisie would say: "Let George do it."
Back then, the main job of girls in the south was to look pretty... nice hats, you know. We played tennis but she was more of a spectator at sports. When I stopped playing tennis I started playing golf more. 
Maisie is buried in the John's Island cemetery. It's on the river side. I asked them whether I could get a few more spots in the cemetery and they said I couldn't get as many as I wanted. I guess people are dying to get in.
Besides the first FDR Fireside Chat, we were celebrating retrospectively Charlie's 95th birthday in December and John's 75th birthday earlier in March.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

BIRTH | Mar 11—Douglas Adams ("Hitchhiker") Would Be 65

Mar 11, 2017—This day would be the 65th birthday of British humorist and science fiction writer Douglas Adams, born in Cambridge, England.

He died in 2001 of a heart attack in Montecito, Santa Barbara County, Calif. He was resting from his regular workout at a private gym. He had been suffering from an undiagnosed gradual narrowing of the coronary arteries, which led to a myocardial infarction and fatal cardiac arrhythmia.

His five-part "trilogy", The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is told by a Candide-like character named Arthur Dent, who is saved from Earth's imminent annihilation by catching a ride on a spaceship operated by an alien travel journalist. It was originally produced in 1978 as a BBC comedy.

Arthur meets many interesting inhabitants of space, including
  • the two-headed Galactic President, 
  • a pathologically depressed robot,
  • the other human survivor in the universe, a woman Arthur had met once at a party in England, and
  • the Vl'Hurgs.
The Vl'Hurgs are of special interest because Arthur ignited their outrage with his statement, carried to the Vl'Hurgs by a wormhole (possibly, given where the news is taking us these days, facilitated by Russian cybertappers), "I seem to be having difficulty with my lifestyle." This phrase happens to be, in the Vl'Hurg language, the most dreadful insult imaginable.

The insult was attributed by the Vl'Hurg negotiators to the G'Gugvunts and they immediately declared war. Vl'Hurgs typically wear black, jewelled battle shorts as part of their uniforms. The Vl'Hurg mathematical system is based on entrails and a dried velohound penis.

The events described in the trilogy have presumably not yet occurred, since more than two humans are for the moment alive. The self-certified Emperor of the Vl'Hurgs is meanwhile living in Oxford and goes by the name of Chris Oakley. A 30-year-old photo of him punting on the Cherwell River is the best I can come up for the moment as further identification.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

BALDWIN | Feb 27—Dr Porges Comes to Vero Beach, Fla.

Feb. 27, 2017—Baldwin's new Head of School, Dr Marisa [pronounced Ma-RISS-uh] L. Porges, was guest of honor in our home.

A group of eight alumnae and five spouses convened in Vero Beach, Fla.

1. Baldwin Alumnae at Vero Beach. Front row: Ann Pierce Roberts, Dr Porges.
Row 2: Barbara Dunlop Hauptfuhrer, Mary Scott McElroy, Helen Milne Justi.
Row 3: Alice Tepper Marlin, Diana Hole Stickler, Cathy Yates Woofter
(Photo by your blogger JT Marlin.) 
Photo 1 from the event shows the eight alums, including Dr Porges, on the steps. Photo 2 adds the five spouses who attended.
2. Baldwin Alums (8) and Spouses (5). L to R, Front Row: Jay McElroy, Dr Porges,
John Tepper Marlin, Dick Roberts. Row 2: Ann Pierce Roberts, Helen Milne Justi, Richard Strickler, Pete Justi. Row 3: Mary Scott McElroy, Cathy Yates Woofter.
Top Row: Barbara Dunlop Hauptfuhrer, Alice Tepper Marlin, Diana Hole Strickler.
Dr Porges is the first Baldwin alum to become Head of School. She is the eighth head of school, which will be 130 years old next year.  She graduated from Baldwin in 1996 and went on to Harvard College, where she enrolled in ROTC and graduated in 2000. For graduate studies she attended the London School of Economics (M.A.) and King's College, London (Ph.D.).

Her bio below includes a sentence on her being a Naval Flight Officer. To make sure the implications are clear, she sat next the pilot as navigator on a missile-equipped anti-cyber-attack Navy airplane. Who knew that Baldwin alums did things like that?*
Baldwin Bird, our new parakeet, got named
 the evening of the alumnae event.
The evening of the alumnae event we came up with a name for our blue parakeet—Baldwin.

*Personal note: We owe a lot to our flying officers. My uncle Willem van Stockum piloted an RAF Halifax on six missions the week of D-Day, 1944. He was shot down June 10, and is buried in Laval, France where Alice and I went in 2014 to an unveiling of two monuments to the 14 airmen who perished. A book was written about him.

Other Baldwin Posts: 125th Anniversary . P. L. Travers Portrait at Baldwin . Alumnae Awards (in 1982 lists Alice)