From the Founders: Of Travel and Timidity



photographs by Bob Capazzo

My New Year’s resolution is to be braver. I mean, at my age, what have I got to lose by sticking my neck out every once in a while?

I’m not a very adventurous traveler, but I married one. And Jack is just like his mother. Maybe it’s that strong Philadelphia stock, but regularly she would take off on her own on some exotic trip. Early on it was cross-country in a 1936 Ford woody with Jack and his older brother, Ed, both too young to drive. In Arizona they got a flat tire, and while Ed got a ride in town to get it fixed, she and Jack took refuge from a thunderstorm in a hut whose occupant boasted a large arsenal of guns. Later she learned he was an escaped convict.

Once it was to the French Cameroons where, at the introduction of cousin Charles Moffly, our consul there, she would go into a chieftain’s hut and charm the tribal leader so much that he would give her the elaborately carved stool he was sitting on. (Jack quipped that he would stand up to greet her and she’d whip it out from under him.) Anyway, she pulled this off so often that we ended up with several.

When we tried to call Granny in 1962 to announce the arrival of our firstborn—Jonathan—we found her in a hotel in Bogota, Colombia. “It’s so interesting here, Dearie,” she said, after warm congratulations. “I’m looking out the window and watching tanks roll down the streets!”

“Better get home, Mother,” Jack replied. “You’re in the middle of a revolution—again!”

We had a wonderful editor Dina Modianot-Fox who thought nothing of taking off lock, stock and barrel to someplace she had always wanted to visit—like Florence, Italy, or Adelaide, Australia—and hunkering down there for several years, making new friends. Nope. I’m not made of such strong stuff.

Some examples: In Bryce Canyon, I flattened my back on the rock wall behind me for support in case I fainted, and watched in horror as my husband and son stood chatting on the edge of a cliff, their toes dangling over the precipice. Snorkeling in the Galapagos, I screamed bloody murder and almost drowned when a shark swam between my legs. Except it wasn’t a shark. It was a baby seal just wanting to play with me.

In preparation for a trip to Egypt in 1997 just after the Luxor Massacre when Islamic terrorists killed off all those tourists at the Temple of Hatshepsut, I redid my will and the list of treasure I would leave our children and grandchildren. “Don’t think you’ll come back?” queried our lawyer Ed Rodenbach. I was not a happy camper, but I went. And I did come back, having had an amazing time. Never mind the body guards with Uzis who accompanied us everywhere—sitting at nearby tables in restaurants, cruising alongside our ship on the Nile in their motorboats with machine guns, and riding on motorcycles beside our bus when we visited Sadat’s tomb (he himself having been assassinated, of course). Actually, I found their presence rather comforting.

In St. Petersburg, fearful of pickpockets and uneasy with beggars, I wasn’t game to leave our hotel for after-dinner strolls to check out the street art in the park next door. Then one evening Jack prevailed, and within minutes we were surrounded by teenaged boys with their hands out. But I had come equipped—with Tootsie Rolls, one of which I popped into the open palm of the ringleader. He looked down at it and said: “Oh, fook!” I didn’t correct him on the proper English pronunciation of that word.

In South Africa, I found myself in a jeep in the midst of a pride of lions—a scraggly male, two females and a bunch of cubs. The driver and his sidekick (with rifle) were thrilled with this rare opportunity for a close-up look at lion life and had prepared us well. Be very quiet, don’t move, and keep your arms and legs inside the jeep. So the first thing Jack did was drop his camera case over the side. I felt fairly safe sitting between two people in the middle row of the topless vehicle, but after what seemed forever, I’d had enough. “OK,” I whispered, “been there, done that. Let’s go.” Pat Geismar, whose daughter Beth has organized many of our more colorful excursions, dubbed me “Donna, Queen of the Jungle.”

Then on a cruise in the Greek Islands, I got left behind in a restaurant in Mykonos after dinner. I had gone to the loo, and by the time I had figured out how to work the darn thing and had played with a kitten in a back hall, my party, including the Crosses, Yudains and Jack, had taken off. So there I was listening to the ship’s horn blasting farewell as I groped my way downhill in the dark through a labyrinth of winding streets to sea level. I just made it.

Yup, we’re still married. Hard to believe. And I’m working on being a woman of stouter heart. It’s never too late, right?

Happy New Year, and may all your resolutions come true.

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    FLINN GALLERY Opening Reception 'IN FOCUS' Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm Seven artists share their visions - Carolyn Conrad,...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Harvest Fair and Gift Show

    2014.11.01
     @ Second Congregational Church

    Event Will Include Hay Mazes, Games, Crafts, Food, Holiday Shopping The community is invited to a Harvest Fair and Gift Show on Saturday, Nov....

  • New Fitness Class: SalsaTone

    2014.11.01
     @ Latin Moves Dance Studio

    Starting November 1st ~ Every Saturday morning 10 to 11 AM Instructor: Melissa Lopez Start your weekend off right with this exciting cardio...

  • Lynne Scalo Design Opening

    2014.11.05

    Please join Lynne Scalo, Greenwich Magazine and athome Magazine to celebrate the Greenwich showroom opening of Lynne Scalo Design Cocktails...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show

    2014.11.06
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Breast Cancer Alliance to Host Branching Out, Coming Together, Aspiring to a Cure 19th Annual Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show: November 6,...

  • Free Screening of Documentary ' Children of the Inquisition'

    2014.11.06
     @ Bush-Holley House

    Join filmmaker Joseph Lovett as he presents his documentary film and multi-platform project of personal exploration and...

  • P.A.L.S. 2nd Annual Soarin' Soiree~ November 7, 2014

    2014.11.07
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    You are invited to join our State Senator, L. Scott Frantz and our First Selectman, Peter J. Tesei, for an awe-inspiring evening to benefit Patient...

  • John Hardy Event

    2014.11.08
     @ Bloomingdale's

    John Hardy One of a kind. One at a time. Each by hand. Bloomingdale's is inviting YOU to meet the head designer Guy Bedarida as he presents...

  • Olivine Gabbro Opening

    2014.11.08

    Olivine Gabbro invites you to join them for their Opening Party! DJ | Cocktails | H'Orderves | Gift Bags Made to Measure Beautifully...

  • Meet Joshua Safran, Author of "Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid"

    2014.11.11
     @ YWCA Greenwich

    Meet the author of this powerful memoir. Joshua Safran is an author, attorney, occasional rabbi, and nationally recognized advocate for...

  • Markham Roberts: Decorating the Way I See It

    2014.11.13
     @ Belle Haven Club

    Join us as Interior Designer Markham Roberts shares coveted design insights, key to creating the perfect home. The program will include...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Henry & Me
    Greenwich
  2. Go For Pink
    Greenwich Avenue
  3. Joie Shopping Event
    Joie Greenwich
  4. 100th Annual Hunt Ball
    Conyers Farm
  5. 6 Ways to Practice Mindfulness
    Simple steps to get the most out of each moment