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Florence in Words

The Power of Kennedy

I’ve admitted to occasional bouts of depression, assuaged usually by a new mind-moving project, and on occasion by dog-sitting Yoya, a delightful Maltese, whose antics are irrepressibly comic, and whose cuddling warms my heart. Last week, I discovered another possibility—house guests who included a two-year old. Four visitors arrived for a week: daughter Alice, grandson Jack and his wife Maban, and their daughter Kennedy who is several months past two. Kennedy was not a nay-saying two-year-old. Her approach was “let me do it”—from feeding herself to feeding others. Fearless, she fed the largest animals in Central Park’s petting zoo, one food-pebble at a time. And fearless also, she fed Yoya small bits of cheese, and thus won her attention as well as her heart. Read More 
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Cleaning Up

Four members of my chosen family are coming from Mississippi and Kansas to visit for a week: daughter Alice, grandson Jack, his wife, granddaughter Maban, and great-great-granddaughter Kennedy. To get ready, I cleaned closets and sent off to the Hunter College library three boxes of books. And then I turned to the boxes of overflow files for which there was no room in my huge filing cabinets, and which ran the gamut from the early 1960s to 2008—all in a heap. Read More 
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Jeannette Petras, Creativity in Action

When I first met Jeannette Petras in 2005, I was temporarily the director/publisher and she was working part-time at the Feminist Press, a tall, slim, attractive twenty-something, who spoke with calm energy about what marketing was possible in three days a week. I liked her readiness for laughter as much as I liked her firm sense of order. Between 2004 and 2010, she became the marketing manager at the Feminist Press, directing two junior staff members plus a raft of interns. She was responsible for marketing, sales, inventory (which included paying attention to fast-moving books for reordering), and attending to the website, that ever-growing, hydra-like realm that replaced mass mailings and advertising. For quarterly Board meetings, she produced detailed sales reports that illuminated the kinds of markets books were reaching. Several times during the six years, she was offered jobs that would have paid her far more than she could earn at a non-profit. But she cared about our mission, she said, and felt rewarded by the importance of the books themselves.  Read More 
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