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

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    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • 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...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance's Go For Pink Shopping Event

    2014.10.02
     @ Greenwich Avenue area

    Breast Cancer Alliance announced that it is partnering with Greenwich merchants for a special day of events and shopping on Thursday, October 2nd...

  • New Goergen Lecture

    2014.10.02
     @ Bruce Museum

    Reflections on Highlights of the Hohenbuchau Collection featuring Peter C. Sutton Known today as the "Golden Age" of Netherlandish...

  • 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...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • Muddy Up 5k Adventure Run & Family Fun Walk

    2014.10.05
     @ Camp Simmons

    Are you ready for some MUDDY fun? Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich is proud to host the 3rd annual Muddy Up 5k Adventure Run & Family Fun...

  • Muddy Up 5k & Family Fun Walk

    2014.10.05
     @ Camp Simmons

    Race starts at 9:15 a.m. REGISTRATION HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO MON. SEPT. 29 at 8:00 A.M. DON'T LIKE THE MUD? SPONSOR A CLUB MEMBER TO RUN...

  • Sweat for a Cause

    2014.10.05
     @ SoulCycle Greenwich

    The Young Women's League of New Canaan (YWL) is sponsoring its first fundraiser of the season, "Sweat For A Cause" at SoulCycle...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Tuesday Toddler Tours

    2014.10.07
     @ Bruce Museum

    Come to the Bruce this fall to take part in our exciting new children and family programming! No advance registration is required and programs...

  • 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....

  • Lyme Research Alliance 3rd Annual Golf Tournament

    2014.10.09
     @ The Stanwich Club

    Tee up and raise funds & awareness for Lyme disease awareness at one of the area’s finest golf courses. The golf tournament is part of...

  • 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...

  • Annual Outdoor Arts Festival

    2014.10.11
     @ Bruce Museum

    There is plenty to discover on Columbus Day weekend, and this year much of it will be in Greenwich, on the grounds of the Bruce Museum.  On...

  • Outdoor Arts Festival

    2014.10.11
     @ Bruce Museum

    Come and enjoy the Bruce Museum’s 33rd Annual Outdoor Arts Festival. More than 85 artists from all over the country, many of them new to...

  • Lookbook Live Tour

    2014.10.12
     @ Westchester Mall

    In September + October 2014, Simon will team up with three of the world's top fashion magazines, Glamour, GQ, and  Vogue on a nationwide...


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