By Thomas J. Bourgeois
I begin with the latest from the Reverend Caroline Bail, whose reliable annual report I commend as a model to be emulated (Hint, hint!) by more of you, dear readers. Carrie, who still tends the flock at First Congregational Church of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, writes, “Third year as ‘Designated Pastor,’ half-time, in a pandemic, trying to discern how to help a mainline church survive it. Imagining retiring; not sure when. Twin daughters closing in on PhDs. Geneva will finish her clinical psychology internship at Mass General Hospital, and Orelia will have her degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, with a concentration in cultures, institutions, and society. Her focus is studying history curricula in post-conflict societies.”
News from the intersection of fine art and commerce: my fellow native New Orleanian—and fellow Piersonian—Patricia(Greenblatt) Hambrecht has joined Pryor Cashman as of counsel in the art law group in New York. Patty, who earned her JD from Harvard Law School, has previously been president and general counsel of Christie’s North and South America, and deputy chairperson, chief development officer, and general counsel at Phillips Auctioneers LLC. In the release announcing her new post, the firm notes, “An art and luxury goods transactional attorney with extraordinary market and deal-making experience, Hambrecht represents clients in high-profile—and often sensitive—art transactions and related disputes.” Congratulations to Patty and, of course, to Pryor Cashman!
Last year saw the publication of Andrew Giarelli’s debut novel The Talking Statues. Its namesakes are six Roman statues of varying age, some dating to the imperial era, that are said to “talk” because, since the sixteenth century, Romans have affixed messages of political and social criticism to them. Most of these messages are couched as satire, and their authors have for the most part posted them surreptitiously—to avoid detection, first by papal agents and later by secular political authorities.
When Andy was teaching at the University of Vienna a few years ago, he was working on a scholarly book about the subject. He then took to heart a student’s suggestion that he should novelize the story. He wrote the book between June 2015 and April 2017, and by early 2020 he had given up on the prospect of publication. Along came publishers Danzig & Unfried, and within a year the novel—part detective story, part thriller—was on the market. As Andy told PragueLife, “It’s not like The DaVinci Code. It’s way more complex than that. But not as complex as an Umberto Eco novel.” Sounds like excellent summer reading.
These days, Andy and his wife Kim, a special education teacher in Portland, Oregon, spend four months of the year at their Portland home and the other eight at their apartment in Prague, where he is a senior lecturer in literature and chair of the Department of Arts, Culture, and Literature at Anglo-American University. He also teaches—and, more important, given the recent dire events in Eastern Europe—practices journalism. He sent this word in late April: “I’ve been writing about different angles of the Ukraine story since the war’s second week, from Slovakia, Poland, and most recently Moldova.” You can find a sample of his timely work at LinkedIn.
As this column was about to go to press, Andy reported on Facebook that he was named Teacher of the Year, 2021–22, in AAU’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Kudos, Andy, and thanks for the treasure trove of news!
Mini-reunions on either coast: I recently visited with BK Munguia and Jon Mark, along with their daughter Ramona, here in Los Angeles. A few days later, BK and Jon were back in New York, where they connected with Bill Carmean and Nancy Ross at the Manhattan home of Charlie Keefe and Lila Locksley.
Finally, this sad news came from Flores Webb Bishop, sister of Louis Cunningham Webb: “My brother Louis died December 27, 2021, in San Diego, California. He bravely pushed the envelope and was in hospice almost five years. He lived to see his 68th birthday, for which we are grateful.
“On September 25, 2004, the weekend bookended by two pharmaceutical conferences he had put together, Louis suffered a devastating dual aneurysm, which cut short by at least 14 years what was already a remarkable career as a certified financial analyst in New York.
“In 2007, Louis moved to San Diego to be close to family, and San Diego was a special place for him:
“1. The Acquired Brain Injury program is offered free through the San Diego Community College Extension. At the time of Louis’s arrival, a comparable program in NYC was said to cost $30K and require a nightmare journey of trains and subways/buses which would have been impossible for him to navigate.
“2. The San Diego Maritime Museum, through which he took many memorable sailings on the tall ship California, also owns the tall ship Surprise. The Surprise underwent a name change from the HMS Rose, which Louis boarded in England to spend a vacation week in 1996, hoisting sails and sleeping below deck in crew quarters with other sailing aficionados.
“3. The weekly support group for people with brain injuries was led by someone who had followed him through Jonathan Edwards nine years later.
“4. One of his neurologists was James Grisolia, who graduated Yale with Louis and served with him on the board of the Yale Scientific magazine.
“Louis’s Yale experience was one of the highlights of his life. He is buried at the Grove Street Cemetery to be by his beloved Yale, from which he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and applied science.”
In addition to Ms. Bishop, Louis’s survivors include niece Zahra (Clinton) Kardos, grandnieces Noura Al-Zanbai and Sarah Kardos, grandnephew Tariq Al-Zanbai, as well as cousins. Our condolences go out to all his friends and loved ones.
As always, I welcome—and rely on—your news.