underground tunnel

Hi David,
I love that story (rumor).   While there is no clear evidence to say that it is true, there is evidence to say it is not.  As much as this congregation was deeply involved in abolition, that part of our history would have taken place in our former meeting house which stood where the current town hall is now located.   Seeing as the current sanctuary was dedicated on March 1 of 1865 and the Civil War ended five weeks later, the building would have been built at too late a date to have been used in the underground railroad.   There is evidence of a former tunnel under the sanctuary.   I have been told that it was a ventilation shaft for a cheese factory.  I’m not sure that is true either, but it sure is a lot less exciting if it is.
Many thanks!

college essay and standard format

Ok — I’ve thought about this a little more and want to clarify a few points.

“Abandon all format” is a little bit of an overstatement. What I really meant was that the traditional, five paragraph essay that kids are taught in school is NOT the right format for a college essay — too restrictive, repetitive … and “letting it flow” is good — essays should really flow and not seem forced. When I mentioned your particular writing style, David, I was trying to highlight the heartfelt, vivid (there’s that word again!) way that you write … but I don’t want to give the impression that punctuation, spelling and grammar don’t matter in a college essay — they really do — again, remember that the reader is tired, overworked — and if there are mis-spellings, or if the essay is hard to follow,etc., it’s just plain irritating …

Also — when you say “pick one” below — all those are great ideas, but it doesn’t HAVE to be one of those — and it doesn’t HAVE to be Neahtawanta … I just figured that that was probably pretty fertile territory. You’ll see in the packet of essays (that I will forward to you shortly) — there are quite a few that play upon that theme of family ties that you are encouraging Michael to explore (I’m always a sucker for that type of essay …)

A great role for parents to play is to brainstorm with the kid before he ever writes a single word — helping the kid recognize some of his own attributes that he might not even be fully aware of … and then helping him recall anecdotes that illustrate that point … you should all take a look at the current Common App essay prompts together — they might trigger some ideas … and “topic of choice” (which used to allow a kid to write about anything) has been eliminated … the prompts are general enough that most topics can be made to fit one of them, but they shouldn’t be disregarded all together.

And “make it longer; too short” … is not a hard and fast rule — a good college essay can be the length Michael’s was — but it should be jam packed with VIVID images … Michael’s wasn’t … The current Common App guidelines say the essays should be 650 words or fewer …

Remember that you have very little space in the Common App to tell the admissions committee who you really are — and you don’t want to waste that opportunity. Another name for the college essay is the ‘personal statement’ — I think that’s a much better name … you are trying to give colleges a glimpse of who you are as a person … “college essay” just sounds like one more writing assignment.

I’ve pulled together some good personal statements and will email them to you shortly … I think you’ll “get it” after reading a few of these …

Good luck!

expressed beautifully


I’m running out the door so rachel may expand on this but I sense Molly’s primary coping mechanism are distraction, humor and more distraction when “dealing” with the loss of her son and now another member of her family, Poncho.

If Robby comes up when I’m on the phone with her or in person it’s really only a passing glance. Once she shared that if we start talking about it or she starts thinking too much about his not being here, “I would just crumble”. “Now David, my wine glass needs refilling”;-)
So….as gently as I can…while it comes so tenderly from your heart to help her with this reading, I sense a couple recommendations of comedies from netflix or dvd’s from the Hudson Library would do her grieving process well;-)
Love you Mather and even more so as you are thinking of ways to help Molly through an experience that to anyone, let alone a single mom, is utterly unimaginable, unfathomable as a parent
Ram dass. whoosh….

Let me die a young mans death

Let me die a youngman’s death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I’m 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I’m 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber’s chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I’m 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman’s death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
‘what a nice way to go’ death
Roger McGough

gentle suggestion (fitbit)

David, sorry to hear about your illness.  I do want to give another shout out for the Fitbit you gave me.  Getting back in to running is just something that didn’t sound appealing to me anymore, but hitting 10,000 steps per day is something that I can easily do and actually look forward to the evening walk around Wooster.  And, more importantly, the pounds are slowly shedding off.  In fact, I’m enjoying it so much I’ve thought about upping my goal to 15,000 sometime soon.  When you gave me the Fitbit, I thought it might have a chance of motivating me to exercise, but I didn’t realize it would have this kind of impact.  Thank you again buddy,



adolescent brain

10 12 13 14 till 25 puberty

15 year period of adolescent.

adulthood. Staying in school longer. Not getting married until 27 or later

the book age of opportunity…..lessons from the new science of adolescence

osho and langer




Mindfulness. Inquisitiveness. Noticing. Charasmatic. Present.

expecting change leads to stability


people who are mindful are living. people who are mindless are dying