Who was beautiful Priscilla Howe? What has she got to do with handsome Ted Williams? What do I have to do with either one of these two talented people? You’ll have to wait until the end of this note to get to that part of the story, and listen to the podcast to get the whole story.

Let’s start with something more serious, that being the central place baseball held and still holds in American life, in fact a glue that holds it together, as “Rudy Giuliani The First” reminded us as the Mayor of Gotham, days after the Twin Towers were felled. How stuck the diamond game is to our national culture was yet again shown during the pandemic.

Detroit, home to haters Henry Ford and Father Coughlin, was a hotbed of anti-Semitism in the years before and during WWII, when Henry “Hank” Greenberg, two time AL MVP, played there and demonstrated that Jews were no sissies. This handsome 6’ 4” giant home run champion held off the haters with his fists when necessary, joined the service before Pearl Harbor, rose from the ranks to be a Captain, served four years, returned in 1945 to lead the Tigers to yet another pennant, went on to rise to GM and then part owner of the Cleveland Indians, and crossed the line to help Marvin Miller and the players win free agency! Did “Hankus Pankus,” as he was known, personally support, on the field of play, Jackie Robinson in his quest to break the color line? Yes, he did. Did he nurture his lifelong friend, Ralph Kiner, to be the NL Home Run Champ seven consecutive seasons to become worthy of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame? Yes, he did. Was Hank Greenberg the greatest American Jew of the 20th Century? Arguably, yes he was, as the hero to millions of American Jews in an era when anti-Semitism was rife.

You want to know about the Boston Braves who departed Boston for Milwaukee in 1953 taking away from Boston Hall of Fame stars like the winningest lefty in MLB history, Warren Spahn, feared slugger, Eddie Mathews, and maybe the best MLB player ever, the late “Hank” Aaron, not to mention four time twenty game winner Johnny Sain, who could well be in the Hall of Fame. The Braves had acquired other stars to play in Boston, like Paul and Lloyd Waner, known as “Big Poison” and “Little Poison,” Hall of Famers both, two time NL batting champion, and yet another Hall of Famer, Ernie Lombardi, NL 1948 MVP, Bob Elliott, slugger Wally Berger, and many others. Listen and you shall hear.

You want to know about the woeful NFL Boston Yanks whose main claim to fame is bringing to Fenway Park opposing football superstars like Sammy Baugh, Bob Waterfield. Sid Luckman, and Don Hutson to treat us to gridiron thrills. Listen and you shall hear.

OK, let’s talk about Priscilla Howe. Petite, charming, talented enough as a band singer to appear on the Arthur Godfrey show, and regularly at Boston’s well-known Rainbow Room, impressionable enough to be impressed to take a liking to me to the consternation of the leader of her band, one Sammy Dale, who had a Mickey slipped to me which could have killed me. Listen and you shall hear!

Taking Priscilla to one of Teddy Ballgame’s last games ever late in the 1960 season seemed like a better bet to escape harm. I predicted for Priscilla what Ted was about to do which he promptly did. Listen to what he did! That caused my podcast partner and good friend, Jordan Rich, to say on air, “You really know how to impress a chick,” adding, “Thank you Chuck Estrada, wherever you are.” Who is Chuck Estrada? What is he doing in this story? Listen, and you shall hear:)!

People. Always people!


An eighty-two year love affair! That is next to impossible, especially considering that a romance that began in the teen years would now be over one hundred years old! Oh, I forgot, this is a love affair with a ballpark, the most iconic one in America, Fenway Park in Boston, where my Dad first took me at age five in 1936. I have attended there ever since, now more than eighty-two years ago. Could I have known that in addition to the many diamond thrills I enjoyed there, a day at the pinnacle in my late coming literary career would occur there in 2013, a day that added some famous names to the growing list that career brought to me, usually face too face. All that In this short seventeen minute podcast? Oh yes! So better you listen, because what is here written is only enough to whet your taste buds.

The Red Sox, under the leadership of their three owners, the liberal and brilliant entrepreneur, John Henry, the veteran and successful baseball executive, Larry Lucchino, and the well-known entertainment mogul, Tom Werner, brought to Fenway a series called, “The Great Fenway Park Writers Series,” a first in MLB history. Under the guidance of its founder, the late George Mitrovich, politico and idea guy, many great writers stood at the podium in the uppper reaches of Fenway Park to tell about their books. I never thought that I would get the call from George, but I did. George wanted me to talk about my 2013 baseball and cultural history book, “American Jews and America’s Game.” I chose the irrepressible dentist, Dr. Charles Steinberg, far more adept at pulling rabbits out of hats than teeth out of mouths, to be my guest on the show. Charles is the same guy who oversaw all those extravaganzas at Fenway you saw on television with a huge American flag draped over The Green Monster, otherwise known as the left field wall, and former Sox players from the year one trooping in from deep center field to surround the mound. Charles wowed me and everybody there in answer to my convoluted and idiosyncratic first question invoking Edward Bernays, the founder of public relations, and his uncle, famed Viennese psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud. That made it easy for me to get along fine with the now warmed up and softened audience, each required to buy a copy of my book to gain admittance. In the audience were luminaries like Pulitzer Prize winning Boston Globe columnist, Kevin Cullen, who also wrote a best seller about famous mobster, Whitey Bulger, after emerging unscathed but unsettled from his South Boston lair some years before. Kevin and I continued our conversation, begun at the event, later that Wednesday evening at a party at the home of socialites and broadcasters, the late Smoki Bacon and the late Dick Concannon.

Sitting with Kevin was the biographer of Ted Williams that very year, Ben Bradlee, Jr. I suggested to Ben that his marvelous biography on the “Splendid Splinter” could be understood as telling about the greatness and deficiencies of Ted Williams on its surface, and those of the United States subliminally. Ted, after all, was a great player, a storied fisherman, and a courageous wartime flier, as well as often being loud, vulgar, ugly, and violent, sort of a mirror image of America.

My stay in the ether surprisingly continued two days later when Kevin featured me in his Boston Globe column that Friday. He wrote there too about Sox southpaw relief pitcher, Craig Breslow, whom I had talked about on Wednesday, dubbed by many as “the smartest man in baseball” because of his degree in esoteric science subjects at Yale University, and about the entire pennant winning hirsute Red Sox squad. Kevin wrote they looked like rabbis, observing that, “Those beards are working,” as they drove toward their World Series victory. Talk about free publicity!

This podcast ends with a few words about my favorite Sox players, Mookie Betts, now alas the leader of the Dodgers, and the colorful Ted Williams way back, a harbinger of the next podcasts which will take you further into the fascinating world of baseball. See you there.

People, always people!


Nonagenarians have an advantage over others of lesser years. Starting life in 1932 or earlier they have witnessed a large part of the 20th Century and a significant portion of this one, and all the stupendous changes in society and the world over in that period of time. They are experiencing a change now they never thought they would witness. That is the threat to our own democracy, now extant for close to 250 years, and to democracies all around the world. All three principals in this podcast are nonagenarians who have lived in or near Brookline, Massachusetts for most of their Iives. They are Justin “Jerry” Wyner, now 97, former Moderator of the Brookline Town Meeting, Marshall Smith, the founder of Paperback Booksmith, and the force behind the Paperback Revolution of the 1960’s, and my classmate at Brookline High School, Class of 1948, and myself. Marshall and I will turn 91 in 2022, God willing. All three of us have made a mark professionally, Jerry as the CEO of Shawmut Mills, his family’s highly successful business, and is known for his participation in Jewish affairs locally, nationally, and internationally. Marshall is a successful entrepreneur in whatever field he enters, especially in books, which he regards as indispensable to the populace of a democratic country. In my work as a lawyer, and now as an author, I have always loved American democracy and freedom, and have done what I could to protect it. Each of us is still fully engaged in life and work.

Let’s take Jerry and Town Meeting first. This is where democracy starts. As the French philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, author of “Democracy in America,” observed when he visited America almost two hundred years ago, “The town….exists in all nations….It is man who makes monarchies….but the township seems to come directly from the hand of God. Town meeting….bring(s) it within the people’s reach.” Indeed! Jerry Wyner invoked as a precedent to the first vote of any town meeting in the country, the vote of the Brookline Town Meeting to bring home the troops from Vietnam, the action of the very same Brookline Town Meeting in 1773 opining on the Boston Tea Party.

As you will hear from me on this podcast, and as you have read, local institutions everywhere have been attacked in the last few years. The divisiveness in the country has been seen lately for the first time ever in the Brookline Town Meeting. The constructs of democracy gifted to us by our founders are under threat of dissolution in all corners of the land.

Marshall Smith, a man who doesn’t say a lot but does a lot, recognized when he founded his first paperback bookstore in 1961 that “democracy is founded on the knowledge of its citizenry.” Thus he took as his mission to broaden the scope of paperbacks to cover a multiplicity of subjects. Not long after, under the impetus of Marshall and others, the number of paperback titles grew exponentially in number and subjects from 3,000 to 30,000, including titles in fiction, non-fiction, history, political science, science, and other subjects. That signal event has been dubbed, “The Paperback Revolution.”

Both of these gentlemen are personal friends. Their families and friends are more than interesting. My own interactions with each of them are informative, and sometimes humorous. I think you’ll enjoy all of that on this podcast, as well as the discussion of the present crisis.

I thought I should devote this note to the sections in the podcast of existential importance – the threat we face of losing our cherished democracy, the longest lasting
democracy in the world’s history.

People, Always People!

The Two Faces of Rudy Giuliani

Within a month after the horrific events of 9/11, I wrote a story entitled, “Baseball, Brookline and  Giuliani,” There existed then another Rudy Giuliani who resembled the one seen lately aspiring to become the mayor of Kiev in the Ukraine. That Rudy Giuliani was a terrific DA, and then a terrific mayor of New York City. A few weeks after 9/11 he was seen rallying Americans at the World Series, and intoning accurately that, “Baseball has an amazing grip on people. It is a unifying force.” That Rudy was a real unifier, not the divider his alter ego became.

How right Rudy was! America came together in those almost now forgotten days,  perhaps for the last time. What is it about baseball that has such force. It can’t really be defined. It has to be experienced. It lies in mysterious regions, like music. One way to approach it is in the telling and retelling of ordinary folks‘ baseball experiences. That is what I tried to do in the story. That is what I tell about in this podcast. Like how “Bunny” Solomon got to catch for his grammar school team when regular catcher, “Wiggy” Wiggins fell out of a tree and broke his wrist. “Bunny” had “a proud moment” when out of the corner of his eye he caught his Dad proudly watching behind the backstop! Like how Pops conductor, Harry Ellis Dickson, would sit with his friend, famed movie star and comedian, Danny Kaye, in the press box at Fenway Park, munching hot dogs and talking baseball. Like how Bob Sperber, longtime innovative Brookline Superintendent of Schools, was given a “Fifty is Nifty” birthday party by his workers, the motif of which, as shown by the Red Sox themed paraphernalia they created, was his love of the Red Sox and dislike of the Yankees of his native city. And what about Broookline folklorist and School Committeeman, Owen Carle, whose hilarious baseball recollections include his grammar school principal, Charles Taylor, giving him a baseball to make a serious point; French philosopher Albert Camus; his violinist mother, Florence Owen Mills; the megaphone toting public address announcer of the lineups for that day’s game at old Braves Field, Eddie O’Brien; his bottle collecting to make a profit with later rabbi, Al Rubin, at the 1936 MLB All-Star Game, which turned out not to be very profitable, and his trip with the the local nine to play the Young Men’s Polish Association of Manchester, NH, where his outfield collision with budding artist Billy Maynard resulted in Billy’s tooth sticking in Owen’s hand. That left the team with only eight players. Who won? Did Billy ever get his tooth back?

As for me, I have many baseball memories, marking the seasons of my life and how my character developed. My words ending that story of a generation ago seem as true now as they were then:

“For sure that grip and that force are being felt all across America every day and every night in these baseball days following the trauma of 9/11, somehow diverting us, helping us to heal the wound, and making us yet again feel whole as a people”

Listen and meet these people.

People, Always People!

“John Gallagher and Dr. David Link, Two Jewish Brookline Guys Who Changed the World”

John Gallagher Jewish? Sounds Irish to me. The John Gallagher who was the President of the world famous Longwood Cricket Club where tennis is king and was deplored for its policy of not admitting Jews as members? The very same. The guy who wore a custom made mezuzzah with a Star of David and a shamrock embedded in it, not to mention attending more Bar Mitzvahs than most Jews, knew lots of Yiddish phrases, had his own yarmulke, and sent his daughter, Amanda, to pre-school at nearby Temple Emeth where Rabbi Zev Nelson led the congregation? Why not? It was Zev Nelson who taught John Jewish history as a a kid, befriending him when John’s forty four Jewish classmates at Baker, the local public school, left him and two others not Jewish alone, when they attended Nelson’s Jewish history class. “Three is not a baseball team,” as John puts it, so he snuck into Temple Emeth and joined that class, thus becoming Jewish, sort of. Enough to later become a Shabbat father in Amanda’s class, the only Irishman to be so honored. John says, “That is how I became an Honorary Jew AND an Irish Catholic. It shows Brookline’s egalitarianism.” At least in South Brookline, it might be said. Brookline has had its own racial problems. But not lately at Longwood which has outgrown its earlier bad rep, and now, as John proudly points out, is an oasis, open and equal, fun and friendly, moderate and not boisterous, respectful to all, the only requirement for admittance being a love for tennis. John’s Irish credentials include his stepfather, “Last Hurrah” Mayor of Boston, James Michael Curley, and his grandfather, the erudite former counsel to the Boston Globe, Francis T. Leahy. That gentleman took John into his home when his father passed early, where he reaped the benefit of learning Latin and locution at his grandad’s knee, and the pleasure of interacting with his forty four first cousins, and other members of the Leahy clan. John learned the art of getting along in a large family so well that he became an all-time integrator of peoples.

The world lost a great doctor and humanitarian when Dr. David Link unwillingly and prematurely left the world a few months ago. As an expert in vaccination he would have brought help to many souls in this pandemic. Leaving the profitable private practice of his early years to take up the far less remunerative practice of pediatric primary care and public health for the less affluent here and abroad, allied with his work as the Head of Pediatrics for over thirty years at the Cambridge Health Alliance and the Mt. Auburn Hospital. In that role, David traveled often to Africa and Europe to improve health systems. The Jewish Community Relations Council commissioned David and his team to visit  Dnieperpetrovsk, the city of Peter the Great, to introduce the vaccine for Hepatitis B so Ukrainians could get there what we get here. His team won 10,000 patients to that vaccine. Revisiting some years later, David was happy to see the  plan had been legislated into law so the vaccine was available country wide. His major interest was children. Loving music learned from his Viennese Mozart loving family, David said maybe he could save a kid who would become a Mozart – that if Mozart could have been saved from his early death from kidney disease at thirty five we would now have over 1,000 of his works instead of only 600. In my own case, it may be I owe an existential debt to David. When I developed an invasive melanoma above my left eye a few years ago, he told me in no uncertain terms that, “Anyone who has a melanoma in or around Boston who doesn’t go for care to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute is nuts.” I went. I’m here. Thank you Dr. David Link!

People, Always People!

Looking Backwards to See the Future

That is what historians do! That is what preservationists do! Many a wise man has said that we can’t see where we’re going if we have no awareness of where we’ve been. Human Nature remains the same. The lessons we need to navigate forward are all there in our history. Two late Brookline people who knew that were Jane Holtz Kay and Dr. John ‘Jack’ Little. It seems Jane was born knowing it, raised by her eminent lawyer father, Jackson Holtz, to read, read, read, which brought her as a student at Radcliffe College to stand before Brookline’s 19th Century ornate and beautiful Town Hall in her famous and futile attempt to save it from the wrecking ball. That led to her book, “Lost Boston,” (1980), which told in words and remarkable pictures how many of Boston’s great homes and buildings of earlier times had met a similar fate. I clearly remember when first looking at that book how sad I was to see how development had won over good sense. It was In “Asphalt Nation, How the Automobile Took over America and How We Can Take It Back (1997), that the prescient Jane Holtz, expanding on the ideas of Frederick Law Olmsted, America’s most renowned landscape architect, that Kay hit full stride as an exemplar of urban design and the conservation of natural and urban environments a generation before others got on board. She demonstrated the deleterious dominance of the car on American culture and climate. To prove it Jane sold her car and got along very well without it living in Boston’s Back Bay. She opted for trains, bicycles, less cars, and living densely. What a lady! What a generous person in my own life, always helping me in my early efforts as a writer.

And what about Jack Little, another Jewish preservationist whose mother, noted historian, Nina Fletcher Little, lived at Brookline’s famous palace of Jewish learning The Maimonides School, named after the famous Jewish 12th Century philosopher. Well, not reallly, not at all. The school stands on the grounds and in the structure of the former affluent Fletcher home where Nina lived as a child looking out on Boylston Street and its horse drawn carriages, now Route 9. In later years Nina returned home in 1978, by when it was the Maimonides School, to give a reading of her work, “Reminiscences of the Philbrick Road Neighborhood,” which the home and now the school partially bordered. She and her husband, Bertram Kimball Little, both noted preservationists, brought Jack Little up in the same tradition in an old house not far away on Warren Street. Besides preserving and building early TV’s, radios, and autos, Jack, as President of the Brookline Historical Society, preserved old houses such as the famous Devotion House which dated back to the 17th Century and where the curator of the Society lives. In his college years Jack and a friend drove an old Model T Ford 12,000 miles over four months seeing the USA, and repeated the exploit in his Army years in Europe in a French Citroen. That led to his collection of vintage cars and old medical apparatus. Truly, Jack Little preserved the past! Indeed Dr.Little even found time to become one of the most famous radiological researchers in the world during his long tenure as a Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, writing five hundred or more published articles, and receiving many honors. Whenever I ran into Jack he always met me with a big smile.

Listen to hear me tell more about these two incredible people!

People, Always People!

Irishmen and Irishwoman are a Boy’s Best Friend

How could I know that I would spend twenty of the happiest years of my life from age 69 to 89 at one of the most undesirable office locations in Brookline:), amidst a gang of Irishmen, two Irishwomen, a Garage Punk Midwesterner, and a severe  Italian landlady. After all, I had just recently inhabited the grandest office in Brookline’s famous Coolidge Corner. Sure, I wanted a small and private space to test out my notion of becoming an author and historian, but what was I getting myself into? My tough landlord, Patricia Simboli, had me cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s, probably figuring this old guy will be outta here in no time with his grandiose notions. As (bad) luck would have it, on my first day my office mates, each having their own small office, were out in the hall talking, chief among them the seemingly unwelcoming husband and wife legal team, Joe and Paula Killion. Being crazy me, I said, “Hey everybody, I’m just what you need up here, an old Jewish guy.” That broke the ice. We all became immediate friends, and that warmth continued forever.

Joe turned out to be a pussycat who helped me out of the trouble my bad driving habits induced, and discussed baseball with me constantly, he having been a star pitcher at Holy Cross. He also proved to be the Champion Pack-Rat of all time! Brilliant criminal defense lawyer, Paula Killion, stared at me with her gorgeous blue Irish eyes, set in a face of flawless alabaster skin, but later shared with me her vast knowledge of the criminal law and shrewd opinions of people. Linda Gavin, Esq. became a chapter in my book, “Voices of Brookline”, when she was married by the Town Clerk to her longtime same sex partner at the Brookline Town Hall right after the Massachusetts Supreme Court allowed such unions in the landmark “Goodrich” case. Gentle Walter Landergan flawlessly handled several cases I referred to him with honesty and respect. Walter was close to Joe, and was broken up, as were we all, when Joe passed early at seventy. Walter and I bonded as friends. So too I bonded with the low key Steve Simon who startlingly combined that persona with his love of garage punk music which he blasted out on his program on Boston College radio station WZBZ. Steve’s late small dog, Chloe, came to the office often with Steve, and whimpered when I called him down the hall from his sanctum sanctorum to fish me out of my ineptitude on my computer. It turned out that Patricia Simboli possessed a full measure of warm Italian family feeling when she told me of her happiness with me as a tenant, and of her pride in my success. My luck in friends had held, coming as I did from my previous big quarters and my long friendship there with David Jensen, Esq., who like those above possessed a warm personality that has made us friends to this day.

Listen and you’ll hear much more about these nice folks! Who knows, you might get to like lawyers’

People, Always People!

Life and Death

Does anybody have the ridiculous notion he or she will live forever? Yeah, me! Not really, but when Jordan Rich asked me on this podcast why I had waited to age eighty-five to have drawn an estate plan, that is what I answered, along with saying I was having too much fun to think about death. He asked why so many people never get around to drawing a will, let alone an estate plan? I replied that folks don’t want to think about death, although that was not true in my case. My thinking was crystallized into action when an older couple for whom I had drafted a will some years previously consulted me about a codicil to their will. By that time it was plain that their holdings required an estate plan drawn by an expert in that specialty. I sought one out for them. We met with her. She impressed me mightily. Her name is Kristin Shirahama, whose persona impressed many, resulting in her election as President of the Womens’ Bar Association while still in her thirties, and a partnership in a large Boston law firm a few years after we met. Cool, calm, and collected is Kristin as a professional, warm as a person! I retained Kristin to draw a plan for Lois and me, a necessity in many ways, not least because I am a decade older than my wife of fifty-eight years.

In an unusual collaboration Kristin and I joined forces on a plan leaving major gifts to several charities when we’re gone. She handled the expert advising and drafting required, and I met the leaders of the various charities considered. It required two years to get it right, but the the result was the plan of my and Lois’ dreams. That included the warm friendship Lois and I sought with Kristin for the long term, unanticipated benefits from the charities chosen, such as the august New England Historical Genealogical Society collecting my authorial papers and publishing them on the worldwide net, arrangements for a foundation grant to the newly formed Jewish Heritage Center, a valued participatory association with the Yiddish Book Center, and other honors of the same ilk. The experience directed my thinking to the needs of elder people, and the ideas expressed in my memoir that older folks need not take to the sidelines, but can remain immersed every day in life. For example, anybody can write about their own life for the benefit of family, friends, and associates, even if not for commercial dissemination, by the simple act of dredging their memory for the forgotten incidents of a long life. Everyone has a story to tell! Everyone in reasonable health can contribute meaningfully to their own and others’ lives until their dying day.

Listen to this podcast and hear that not only in my words, but in how I speak those words.

People, Always People!


You’ve had a look at some terrific lawyers in the last podcast. Now take a listen to some of my own interesting, if not fascinating, cases.

I got a call from my friend ‘Horatio’ one morning asking if I’d be interested in the case of the respected Newton minister who apparently drowned off scenic Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts some years past, and had suddenly turned up alive, wanting to return to home, parish, and wife who, along with everybody else, thought him dead. YES, I softly said at the top of my lungs. Too much to tell here about this publicity attracting case, the handling of which they don’t teach in law school, but listen and relive the adventure with me.

The same might be said about my participation in bringing to these shores the infamous porn film, “I am Curious Yellow.” The legal twists and turns of this case were way more titillating (pardon the pun) than those shown by the so-called lovers on the silver screen in that flick, but our legal team was rewarded aplenty as Americans flocked to see it.

Tinsel Town has its own dark side as you will hear in the case I’ve dubbed ‘“Righting a Wrong,.” In that one a lawyer from north of the Mason Dixon Line (me) joined with another barrister interested in justice from beneath it, to beat Hollywood at its own game and return wherewithal and mental health to a kindly gent who exhibited movies as a sideline. That kind of a case leaves one with a good feeling!

Should you get into an accident involving bodily injury, it’s a bad idea to flee the scene. This otherwise nice guy and family man did, and the gendarmes didn’t track him down until twenty or more miles from the scene. The lady DA was intent on putting him away in a dangerous State prison for a decade or more! What to do? How to help this guy? You’ll see how I did when you listen to this tale of tactical decisions in the courtroom setting along the way to the result.

No homeowner wants to have a single family house next door expanded into a much larger two family house to take advantage of the exploding value of houses in Brookline and depreciate the value of your own house, a town conveniently surrounded on three sides by easily reached Boston, but yet retaining its distinct non-commercial environment, open spaces, and great schools. I didn’t when I was threatened with such a disaster. So I fought it, rounding up all four of my adjacent and also threatened neighbors, joining  forces with a Brookline zoning lawyer, and going to work. Do you own a house, want to buy one, or have an interest in what lawyers do in this kind of not uncommon neighborhood dispute. Then you’ll learn a thing or two listening to this case.

Can you imagine arguing yet another movie case in front of the highly respected Chief Judge of the Massachusetts Superior Court in which the judge imitated a bunny rabbit. I can’t, but it happened to me, and here I’ll tell you all about it.

People, Always People.


Do you want a look inside the otherwise opaque world of lawyers? Listen and you shall hear. Like when as a fledging lawyer I was assigned a criminal case to defend pro bono. I thought the defendant had been imprisoned too long to have received the speedy trial guaranteed by the Constitution, and took my argument to Judge Charles Wyzanski, appointed by FDR, and by then a mythical jurist, respected by all, feared by many. He bought my argument, and angrily summoned then Massachusetts United States Attorney, Elliott Richardson, who went on to world fame, to fess up. The case ended well, and Larry and  Elliott, an odd couple for sure, became longtime friends.

Several other well regarded attorneys, who may have viewed my work habits dimly, affected my development profoundly. Like Morris Michelson, a meticulous lawyer’s lawyer civil trial attorney who taught me the basics of that craft, introduced me to my lifelong passion for classical music, and to a Committee of top Boston lawyers committed to social justice and Jewish values.

My early association with wizard real estate attorney and draftsman, Melvin Newman, brought out my previously hidden talent for the facile and clear drafting of legal documents. Through Mel I met Julian Cohen, not a lawyer, but a fabulously talented real estate developer, Chief Fueling Officer in his twenties for convoys in the North Atlantic in WWII, the biggest philanthropist to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and to my good fortune, a valued friend.

Another legal eagle of my youth was Sumner Kaplan, Judge, Selectman, General in the Army, and State Representative, who was instrumental in my appointment as an Assistant AG for Civil Rights in the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Edward J. McCormack, Jr., whose uncle, John W. McCormack, was Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. My senior there was Gerald Berlin, a clarinet playing tough Southerner transplanted from Virginia, appointed by the forward looking Eddie McCormack to lead his newly formed and groundbreaking Office of Civil Rights. Gerry was passionate about fairness in our country, and included me to assist in the United Stated Supreme Court case of “Gideon vs. Wainwright,” one of the most famous cases in 20th Century jurisprudence.

The best friend of all is Paul Sugarman, who rose  from nearbthe bottom rung of the societal heap to the very top of the ladder as perhaps Boston’s top lawyer of the last half of the 20th Century, a man for all seasons, who found time to be my longtime friend in and out of bad times.

People, always People.