A High School Classmate

My Belmont High School classmate has passed away. Professor Marvin Zonis passed away on Sunday November 15, 2020. He was a popular and talented friend. In fact he was the President of our Class, Belmont High School 1954. He lived about 1/2 a mile from me, half way to the High School. I passed his home on Goden Street every day.

As Class President he gave a speech at our graduation, as did I as Valedictorian. He was far more accomplished as a public speaker! It is rather fitting that he went on in life to be such a popular and prominent professor at the University of Chicago. We sort of shared similar fields of study, he chose political science, I chose economics. I don’t know if he was in Chicago when I was at Northwestern in Evanston, just to the north. Early on in the post-high school years, he and 2 other classmates traveled to Afghanistan. That adventure must have provided good fodder for his chosen field of study.

We remember Marvin fondly. May he rest in peace.

Third Thoughts

This is getting serious. An autobiography in 300 words is the assignment. I met someone who said she had written 330 words and the editor returned it to her. She gave it to her daughter to eliminate her excess words. Strictly 300 words or less is the rule/assignment.

So I will start again and eliminate all those random memories!

She came into this world in the final month of 1936. Born in Boston at New England Baptist Hospital, weight 5 lbs 11 oz. Taken home to Belmont in due course. A happy loving family – mother, father, an older brother and 2 older sisters; a comfortable home in a nice neighborhood. But when she was 12 years old her childhood changed abruptly. Out of the blue, her father died – it was a coronary thrombosis.

The family dynamic was changing. The 3 older siblings were now adults and were leaving to get married. The years passed and soon Janet left too. She went to Middlebury College in Vermont, graduating in 1958. She went on to Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois to earn a Master’s Degree in Urban Geography.

Her first job as a graduate was in Seattle. But it wasn’t too long before she returned to her native Boston to work for Arthur D. Little, a prominent management consulting firm. After 3 years, she transferred to the San Francisco Office. She could’t resist the lure of the University of California in Berkeley. She enrolled in 1964 to study economics. In 1966 she went to Kenya to do the research for her PhD thesis.

Shortly after arriving in Nairobi in August 1966, she met Ian, her husband-to-be. They married in 1968. From Kenya they moved to Dublin Ireland for Ian’s job with An Foras Forbatha, The National Institute for Planning and Construction Research. Three sons were born in quick succession.

This young family proceeded to roam the world because of Ian’s work. Two years in St. Lucia in the West Indies, 2 years in Fiji in the South Pacific, 5 years in Bangladesh, 2 years in Bhutan in the Himalayas, 1 year in Ghana in West Africa, and back to Kenya in East Africa for 5 years.

These 3 sons are now all married and we are blessed with 9 grandchildren.

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That’s about 400 words and I haven’t written about my various jobs. Needs editing!

SUDDENLY

As I was going about my business this morning, suddenly a totally unrelated memory popped into my head. It was a memory I hadn’t had for years and years and years. It was a memory of the day my father died. He died at noon in March 1949. I heard him die as my sister Nan and I waited anxiously in another bedroom. Later my mother and I sat on the living room sofa and she told me the sad news. We sadly proceeded to have lunch in the kitchen. In the afternoon I was taken out to Hartwell Farm to get some of their special heart warming soup. I can’t remember who took me – possibly my brother Bob and sister Nan. My sister Ruth would have stayed at home to help my mother with all the things that had to be done.

Writing Ian’s Biography

Here we go – this will be challenging. Where are all those files of resumes we wrote together over the years?

He was born at home in Belfast Northern Ireland on October 30 1933. His home was within a stone’s throw of Stormont Castle, the center of government in Northern Ireland. In 1934 when Ian was 8 months old his father died following an operation performed on the kitchen table. His father had been severely wounded in the First World War but had recovered and married Ian’s mother in 1927. A baby girl was born in 1929 but she only lived for 6 days. A baby boy was born in 1930 – Stanley is still alive age 90. You might say that Ian grew up in the shadow of the tragedy of the First World War and the relatively primitive stage of medicine and medical procedures at the time.