Posts Tagged ‘Kersten Rettig’

Happy President’s Day 2012

Posted by    |    February 20th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

How many of us have ever been president of something?  I was elected president of the Southwest High School German Club in the fall of my senior year.  I wasn’t ambitious or qualified; I just had the most Germanic name so I was the leader of choice.  My only responsibilities involved overseeing the annual fundraiser, the Gummy Bear sale, and making sure we had enough competitors for the Foreign Language Fair.  Gummy Bears were still very exotic in 1984, so they were an easy sell. Recruiting classmates to perform plays in German was a different story.  We ended up with only two entries in the spoken German category; my best friends supported me by performing “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” auf deutsch and yours truly and another friend performed a depressing dialog about a teenage girl who becomes pregnant and tries to convince her Mutti that a stork is responsible.  Whether it was the material we chose or the talent we presented, none of us left the fair with a ribbon that day.  Sad, since we had given up a Friday night to be in top form for Saturday morning competition; and we didn’t win any resume-building accolades. It was that Saturday evening when I decided being president, being the one responsible for all, is not for me.

Being a president is hard work.  Are any of us really capable or qualified to be president? Having said that, though, the definitions of president sound pretty impressive:  head of state; chief executive; person who presides over an assembly, corporation or group; one who governs a body of people, etc.  What, with all that power, who wouldn’t want to preside?  Who hasn’t thought, just once, “Heck, I could be a better president than that guy!”   (more…)

There Goes the Neigh-borhood

Posted by    |    December 16th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Merry Christmas!  I love saying that.  I kind of feel a little edgy when I say it – so many folks these days stick to Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. I love Christmas, I do. Each year at Christmas I relive my (minor but self important) part in the 5th grade Christmas play (we could still call it a Christmas play in 1977) and belt out “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” in the shower and make the kids watch A Charlie Brown Christmas with me. I love to create funny Christmas cards and buy thoughtful gifts for friends and family. But here’s what I don’t really love: the throngs of people who drive up and down my street and throughout my neighborhood looking at Christmas light displays.

Call me Scrooge. The homes on my street in Highland Park are, for the most part, original 1927-ish Tudors that have been updated. Our lots aren’t wide or deep and our street is narrow. So, imagine a scene in which four vehicles are parked on one side of the street, another seven are parked along the other, and residential traffic is trying to pass through. Then let’s add to this little Christmas kaleidoscope, a horse-drawn carriage with people sipping Starbuck’s hot chocolate and sweating their Thanksgiving paunches off. Just for fun throw in a Dan Dipert super bus inching down the street right behind it.  Then, for a really neat visual image, picture me, in white and blue polka dot flannel pajamas and Uggs, taking my anxiety-riddled Golden Retriever out for a tinkle. (more…)

Remembering the Past

Posted by    |    September 11th, 2011 at 1:33 pm

“We’re in a war,” he said. “The story of this war – dates, names, who started it, why – that belongs to everyone. Not just the people involved in it, but the people who write newspapers, politicians thousands of miles away, people who’ve never even been here or heard of it before.  But something like this – this is yours.  It belongs only to you. And me.  Only to us.”

-Téa Olbrecht in The Tiger’s Wife

Everyone has a 9/11 story. Mine begins in November 1990 when I moved to New York City fresh out of college. I knew my future was there in the form of independence, career and, the damnedest of all things that ensures and derails your future at the same time, love.  We were freshman-in-college sweethearts who had lost touch for years but, somehow, ended up in New York at the same time. His office was in the World Financial Center, mine was in the Flat Iron district. His subway stop, which soon became our subway stop, was Cortlandt Street, World Trade Center. The World Trade Center was our one-stop for facilitating the business of life.  Our first joint checking account was opened at Chase Bank, 1 WTC. Our dry cleaners, our book store, the Lerner NY store where I bought work clothes for my $16,000- a-year PR job – it was right there in the WTC mall. (more…)