September 30, 2006

More old photos

Here are a few more old photos that I found and scanned in:

My great grandfathers 75th birthday

Doug, Nana Betty, Mom, Uncle Harry (Grandpa's brother who went out for cigarettes and came back 10 years later), Vera (?), Aunt Isabelle (Grandpa's older sister) and Cousin Sally Frank (Isabelle's daughter)


Grandpa (in his navy uniform) and his brother Gene

Grandpa, Nana Betty and Mom

Grandpa, Nana Betty and Mom

Grandpa, Nana Betty, Mom, Jonathan and Doug at Aunt Susan's wedding

Great photo of Grandpa at his office surrounded by some of his sports programs (he sold sports advertising and things)

Grandpa as RTM moderator

Grandpa, Nana Betty and Mom (pregnant with me)

Even as a baby I liked being surrounded by books

Pushing my grandmother into the pool

At Grandpa's 90th birthday, Mom and I reenacted an old photo of Mom and Nana Betty with Grandpa in 1969 or so

Grandpa and Nana Betty in costume -- I also found the original patterns that she sewed these from!

Christmas 1974 at Alan and Andy's, the day before I was born!

Grandpa and Muffy (who I remember as not being a very nice cat to anyone but Grandpa -- certainly the first cat I remember being scratched by)

Me and Grandpa

Baby Brian in a blanket knitted for me by Nana Betty (which was just given to me)

Brian (with way more red hair then) and Grandpa at the pool

Grandpa, Brian and me at Grandpa's house

Brian, Mom and Grandpa outside Grandpa's house

Summer 1984, Aix en Provence, Grandpa, Uncle Doug, Mom and Brian

Me and Brian

Hanna, Brian and me

Grandpa and Lois at Brian's bar mitzvah

Betty and Eduard with Grandpa


Posted by Emily at 07:49 AM | Comments (3)

September 28, 2006


Mom and I gathered together a bunch of old photos and scrapbooks for people to look at last night. Here's a few shots of what we assembled.
grandpaphotos1.jpg grandpaphotos2.jpggrandpaphotos3.jpggrandpaphotos4.jpggrandpaphotos5.jpg

Posted by Emily at 05:26 PM | Comments (102)

September 26, 2006


I can't even begin to write about this yet, but since many of you who read my blog know me and my family (or, more likely, are people in my family), I wanted to let you know that my wonderful grandfather passed away this morning. I'm heading home to CT tonight to be with my Mom. I'll be back in California Sunday night.

As you know, he just turned 93 last week and had a long and interesting life with many people who loved him.

I feel incredibly blessed that he was there dancing with me at my wedding in March.

Update: Jonathan sent this photo of him, Christopher and Grandpa taken yesterday:

Update: Westport Now piece on Grandpa (copy available below)


Well Known Westporter Ralph Sheffer Dies at 93

Ralph Sheffer: shown celebrating his 92nd birthday last year. WN File photoRalph Sheffer, a key figure in the arts, politics, education, and business of Westport in a career that spanned 60 years--including a record 10 years as moderator of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) from 1959 to 1969--died today at his Westport home, his daughter, Ann Sheffer said.

Sheffer, who turned 93 last week, had been in declining health for some time.

“Westport has lost a leader and a treasure,” said First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, who ordered town flags flown at half-staff in Sheffer’s honor. “He truly was one of the ‘town fathers.’ We are deeply saddened by the news and extend our sincere condolences to the Sheffer family.”

Ann Sheffer said the family will be sitting shiva Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at her home at 19 Stony Point Road. A memorial service has been scheduled for Westport Town Hall on Monday, Oct. 9, at 11 a.m.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Westport Public Library.


A war hero, successful advertising executive, fund-raiser and philanthropist, Sheffer long was one of the most active members of the Westport community in the second half of the 20th century.

He served in a variety of elected and appointed service positions as the town’s population boomed, going from a small town of 11,667 in 1950 to a bustling suburb of just under 26,000 at the turn of the century.

His passions were many--town government, the Westport Public Library, the Westport Historical Society, the Westport Arts Center, and the New York Yankees, among others.

“I can’t think of an important Westport cause or organization that Ralph Sheffer and his family did not support with unbounded enthusiasm over the years,” said Joseloff, who upon stepping down as RTM moderator last year equaled Sheffer’s 10 years in that position.
Gordon Joseloff and Ralph Sheffer chat in the fall of 2005. Both men served as moderator of the Representative Town Meeting for 10 years, sharing a record for length of leadership of the town’s legislative body. Sheffer served from 1959 to 1969 and Joseloff from 1995 to 2005. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Westport’s history over the past half century and Sheffer’s involvement were almost synonymous.

Shortly after his election to the RTM in 1953, he chaired the Nike Site Committee which dealt with the federal government’s ownership of the site off North Avenue—later to become home of Bedford Middle School.

A 1958 film that brought Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward to Westport, “Rally Round the Flag Boys,” portrayed the town’s troubles dealing with the Nike Site and its amorous GIs.

Sheffer was particularly pleased that Newman’s character in the film—a harried account executive--was based on him.

Sheffer was a member of the Coleytown Elementary School Building Committee when the school opened in 1953, the first year he was elected to the RTM.

Later, he and his wife Betty were supporters and participants in the school’s highly acclaimed amateur theatrical show called “Coleytown Capers.” It was run mostly by show business professionals who happened also to be Westport parents.
Ralph Sheffer and Westport friend Lois Schine greet Pope John Paul II in Rome in 2004. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

In 1959, Sheffer was elected as RTM moderator and a year later sat on the committee which negotiated the acquisition of what is now known as Longshore Club Park.

The property today is widely regarded as one of the town’s “crown jewels” and its purchase one of the town’s most prescient real estate buys.

In later years, the soft-spoken Sheffer, with his ever present smile and twinkle in his eye, said serving on the Longshore committee was one of the proudest moments of his Westport civic service.

In a 1961 letter to RTM District 8 constituents asking for their vote, Sheffer explained his desire to serve his town.

“My reason for wishing to represent you stems from a continuing desire to protect and improve for all of us those things which make Westport such an attractive place to live—the quality of our schools, the pleasure of our recreational facilities, the value of our homes, the availability of town services, etc.,” he wrote.
Ralph Sheffer celebrates his 93rd birthday earlier this month with (l-r) Lois Schine, daughter Ann Sheffer, Susan Malloy, and Maxine Bleiweis. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Reflecting years later on his service on the RTM, Sheffer told an interviewer: “It was the greatest form of democracy since the Greek Senate. I used to say that and I believed it. All the people in the RTM—you can ask anyone—they all felt I was fair.”

There were three commissions in the 1970s and ‘80s to revise Westport’s Town Charter. Because of the widespread respect he had earned in matters municipal, Sheffer was named to chair all of them.

“The Charter is the law of this town,” Sheffer said of the document. “I regard my work on the commissions as most significant.”

Upon his retirement as moderator of the RTM in 1969, an editorial in the Westport News said: “The loss of Mr. Sheffer’s expertise in town affairs and his adroit control and guidance of the town’s legislature will be felt deeply by those familiar with the municipal workings of Westport.”

Not only did Sheffer make history, he recognized the need to preserve it. In 1980, he joined the Westport Historical Society Board of Directors and for the next quarter century supported the organization with money and time.
Ralph Sheffer gets some kisses from wife, Betty (l), and daughter, Ann, upon his retirement as RTM moderator in 1969. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

In 2003, he celebrated his 90th birthday there as the Society dedicated its new Betty and Ralph Sheffer Hall.

Support of the Westport Public Library was especially important to Sheffer. He was chair of the library’s capital campaign from 1983 to 1985, a trustee from 1983 to 1990, and president of the library board from 1989 to 1990.

Sheffer played a major role in sale of the old library on Post Road East, now home of Starbucks, and its new construction on Jesup Road. He liked to recall that people didn’t think he’d get more than $1.1 million for the old building but ended up selling it for $2.8 million.

In the 1990s, he devoted many of his efforts to the Westport Arts Center and used his considerable fund-raising skills to help save it. He served as president and chairman of the board.

“I am particularly interested in art and music,” he told the Westport News in 1996. “My entire family can be ‘blamed’ for that.”

Sheffer’s son Jonathan is a composer and symphony orchestra leader. His late wife Betty played the piano and loved music. Her father, Aaron Rabinowitz, was a shareholder in Carnegie Hall, among his other interests.

Son Doug is an actor, producer, independent school board member as well as a skier and helicopter pilot, Daughter Ann is known for her philanthropic and charity work as well as promotion of the arts.

Aaron and Clara Rabinowitz had come to Westport in 1928 to join their friend, the famed social worker Lillian Wald, who had been Aaron’s mentor at the Henry Street Settlement in New York.

Born in Baldwin, N.Y., on Sept. 13, 1913, Sheffer was raised in New York City where he majored in pre-law. He attended Columbia and New York University Law Schools, receiving a law degree in 1937.

During World War II, Sheffer served with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific on a destroyer and battleship and saw action at Iwo Jima and Tarawa.

Sheffer and Betty Rabinowitz married in 1947 and soon after built a house in Westport where they first spent only summers. The five-acre plot next to Betty’s parents was a wedding present. Today it houses the Westport Weston Health District.

In 1951, the Sheffers decided to make Westport their year-round home and Sheffer became a full-time commuter to his Manhattan job at Spencer Associates. The advertising and marketing firm enabled Sheffer to become involved in the U.S. Olympic movement.

In 1966, Sheffer became chairman of the Corporate Participation Division of the U.S. Olympic Committee and raised megabucks for the committee. He sold his interest in the firm in 1977 following the death of his wife.

In addition to daughter Ann and sons Jonathan and Doug, Sheffer is survived by five grandchildren: Emily, Brian, Betty, Eduard, and Brooke.

Posted by Emily at 08:51 AM | Comments (7)

links for 2006-09-26

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September 24, 2006

Taste of Morgan Hill

If you're local and looking for something to do today, come on down to Morgan Hill for the annual Taste of Morgan Hill event, 10-6. There's a classic car show, a quilt show, and booths from local restaurants and organizations up and down the main street.

I'll be at the Friends of the Library booth from 10-12 if you want to stop by and say hello....

Update: a few photos

Posted by Emily at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday Mom

Happy birthday today to Mom, who is busy at the 3rd annual Fairfield County Concours d'Elegance.

Some pre-coverage of the concours (with the usual misspelling...)
Fairfield County Concours d' Elegance a...Car show guarantees to Rev your motor

According to Bill Sheffler, one of the founders of the third annual Fairfield County Concours d' Elegance, they don't make cars like they used to.
Hence, the reason why Sheffler, John Shuck and Dan Long, all of Westport, organized the Concours Sunday, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Veteran's Green across the street from Town Hall on Myrtle Avenue.

Posted by Emily at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)

links for 2006-09-24

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September 23, 2006

Round Challah

I made some round challah today using a super simple recipe (plus a dash of honey since that seemed appropriate for the holiday) and the bread machine. It turned out remarkably well (I was a little dubious while trying to braid it) and was dangerously easy and tasty.


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Happy Birthday Jane, Barbi and Greg!

Sept 23 is always a big birthday day -- happy birthday today to Jane, to Aunt Barbi and to Greg!

Posted by Emily at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2006, marks BBW's 25th anniversary (September 23-30).

2006 BBW; Read Banned Books: They're Your Ticket to Freedom

Most Challenged Books of 21st Century (2000-2005)
Explore Banned Books with Google

Posted by Emily at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2006

Happy Rosh Hashanah

L'shana tova! I'm off to the local grange hall (?) to see what our local congregation is like for tonight's Erev Rosh Hashanah service.

But I've already gotten a head start on starting off my new year very sweetly with some divine rugelach that Mom and Bill sent. Thank you!!!
(the goal will be to have some still sitting there when Shachar gets home tomorrow night...)

(Though I don't think anything will ever top the great video greeting we got last year!)

Best wishes to all of you for a sweet and happy new year!

Posted by Emily at 06:21 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2006

2 More

I got two more books in the mail today from the paperback book swap (really, its not too late to join in, just let me know and I'll email you the invite!). Today in the mail were:

The Visiting Professor by Robert Littell
The Wind Caller by P.D. Cacek

all three so far have been postmarked from Washington DC

Posted by Emily at 06:52 PM | Comments (442)

September 20, 2006

Now playing...

I wish I had more time... look what's playing locally!

Tick, Tick....Boom!
Bus Barn Stage Company
September 6-September 30, 2006
A musical look at the courage it takes to follow your dreams, TICK, TICK... BOOM! is Jonathan Larson's autobiographical tale of a young composer on the brink of turning 30 and falling into oblivion. His girlfriend wants to get married and move out of the city, his best friend is making big bucks on Madison Avenue, yet Jon is still waiting on tables and trying to write the great American musical.
Saw this one years ago and loved it -- and I think it's one of Eduard's all time favorites.

Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches
City Lights Theater Company
September 14-October 15, 2006
Set against the AIDS crisis in the mid-80's, this award winning epic tale of heaven and earth takes aim at many of humankind's most immediate and troubling issues. It exposes our weaknesses, extolls our strengths, and weaves a magical, inspiring tale of suffering and survival.
I've never actually seen this on stage -- just the HBO version which I was totally engrossed by.

But this weekend is booked up with services and the Taste of Morgan Hill (come by Sunday and say hello to me at the Friends of the Library booth from 10-12)

And of course I still want to get to the Renaissance Fair before it leaves...

Posted by Emily at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

September Books...

Another pile of books has piled up without me blogging about them, let's see if I can remember them all.

But first -- I'm so excited that I received my first book back from my paperback book swap! If you're interested in participating (you send out one book and send the letter to six friends, you get back 36 books!), please let me know -- I'd love to include you and somehow I doubt that all 6 of the people I sent it to are planning to actually follow through with it (if you did, thank you!! isn't it fun!!) I just got Bel Canto in the mail, which I have been meaning to read forever and now will finally try to get around to!

Anyway, here are some of the books I've been reading/listening to lately:

The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
Thank you Mom for sending it -- I do love Jasper Fforde! I thought this was better than The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime, and so much fun to jump into the now familiar Nursury Crime world. Can't wait for the next Thursday Next though...

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
The local teen librarian had said this was the best book she had read all summer, and I can totally see why. Its a fantastic YA vampire book with great characters. A week later I was dreaming about making the movie version of it and I'm on the waiting list for the sequel. A quick can't-put-it-down one.

All Over Creation by Ruth L. Ozeki
I had really liked My Year of Meats a few years ago so thought I'd take this one (plus I thought S would enjoy the agricultural angle so it seemed like a good choice for our long weekend car ride) It was complicated and long (and I admit I fell asleep for some of it which probably didn't help), but overall I liked it and it lead to some interesting conversations in the car about genetic engineering and things.

Dragonsinger (Harper Hall Trilogy, Volume 2) (Harper Hall Trilogy, Volume 2) by Anne McCaffrey
We listened to this one on the way back home from Oregon. They're such comforting, easy to listen to stories. I'm glad I had listened to A Gift of Dragons since it got me familiar enough with the world that I could jump into book two of this series pretty well. I don't know why I haven't read all of them before now...

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
I had avoided picking this one up for ages, but was desperate for a CD so finally gave in -- and then of course loved it. I had no expectations going in except that the back blurb didn't sound very appealing. But the commutes zoomed by all week with this one playing.

I'm still slogging my way through this month's bookclub pick, Gate of the Sun, but it puts me to sleep so I doubt I'll finish in time for next week's discussion (and then I'll probably abandon it for my growing pile of fun books). Just started Elsewhere in the car which seems promising.

Posted by Emily at 07:44 PM | Comments (1)

links for 2006-09-20

  • a great piece on Joi Ito (aka "World's Coolest Guy"). I still laugh when I think of meeting him in '89 and now seeing him as one of the most famous people anywhere...
    (tags: joiito)
Posted by Emily at 12:22 AM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2006

Studio 60... and other tv shows

Lisa called to say it was worth watching Studio 60, so I'm staying up for it (rather than just letting Tivo get it and watching it tomorrow) so that I can compare notes with her, Mom, and anyone else who watched it tonight...

Here's my current (if slightly random) collection of must-see (or at least Tivo) shows:
Veronica Mars (we're almost up to date on DVD and ready for the new season!)
Daily Show -- sometimes its the only way to face the news
Extreme Makeover Home Edition - a guilty Sunday night pleasure... Busdriver, move that bus!
Project Runway - Brian convinced me to watch the episodes I had storing up on Tivo and now I'm up to date and ready to find out what the next challenge will be!
various HGTV shows (just can't resist... even if I'm completely DIY-impaired)

If there are other must-see new shows this Fall that I'm missing, feel free to clue me in... thanks... its been a while since i had so many to look forward to!

Posted by Emily at 10:00 PM | Comments (23)

September 17, 2006

Back from SF

Its been a bad week for me blogging -- I definitely need to get back into the swing of things. It was the combination of coming down with a bad cold and having a super busy and stressful week at work (which probably caused the cold) and a bunch of afterwork meetings leading to some late nights (library commission, beyond books campaign). But I'm starting to surface I hope and should be back on top of things. S came home from the weekend (he's been down in SoCal on some field trials) and we drove into SF Saturday morning to meet up with Dad and Jane who are there for a conference. We took them to our favorite tea place Samovar and checked out the Museum of Craft and Folk Art which had a cute exibit of animal art (there was a giant orange cat out front made of mailboxes and things that I'll post photos of later). Dinner later at LuLu, which apparently we had been to years before and a bakery stop this morning where we go to learn more about their remodeling plans. S is headed back out to the field and I'm going to rest up so I can try to beat this cold before heading back to work.

Thank you Dad and Jane for hosting us in SF and letting us have a nice weekend away!

Posted by Emily at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2006

links for 2006-09-16

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September 13, 2006

Primary Results

Looks like the results are in for yesterday's primaries, and my friend Darren's race is over. Hopefully he had a grand time running and learned alot... for next time!

CQPolitics - Democrats Say Hall Is ‘the One’ to Take on Kelly in N.Y. 19: Hall garnered 49 percent of the vote over Aydelott, who finished second among voters with 27 percent. The remaining 25 percent of the vote was split among political consultant Darren Rigger and high school principal Ben Shuldiner.

Poughkeepsie Journal - Hall defeats 3 Democratic challengers in District 19: On Tuesday, primary voters got to choose from four Democrats each hoping to ride a current wave of anti-GOP sentiment to a victory over Kelly in this November's general election.

Posted by Emily at 06:13 AM | Comments (3)

Happy birthday Grandpa!

Happy 93rd birthday today to my grandfather!

Update: Mom sent along these great photos:

mmm... oreo cookie ice cream cake and a visit from the head of the local library! sounds like a pretty good birthday...

Posted by Emily at 06:04 AM | Comments (2)

September 09, 2006

links for 2006-09-09

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September 08, 2006

Happy Birthday EMY!!!

Eek -- Thank you to Emy for the subtle comment that I had forgotten that today is in fact her birthday!


mmm... Kirspy Kremes for breakfast sounds like a great way to celebrate!

Posted by Emily at 01:30 PM | Comments (3)

Happy Birthday Radi

Happy Birthday today to Radi!

Posted by Emily at 06:11 AM | Comments (1)

September 07, 2006

links for 2006-09-07

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September 06, 2006

links for 2006-09-06

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September 05, 2006

Alexis' Sabattical

You can follow the adventures of my cool cousin on her year-long culinary (and other) adventures around the world: The Sabbatical.

Posted by Emily at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2006

Labor Day Weekend in Oregon

After work on Friday we drove North. Because of the traffic we only got as far as Red Bluffs, CA before stopping for the night. The next morning we were back on the road and made it to Crater Lake, OR in time to score a nice campsite there (and to finally cash in the National Parks Pass Carrie had given us). We hiked around the crater, including a really steep hike down to the boat dock (though the boat tours were all sold out for the day) and back up. My favorite was the wildflower walk through a gorgeous meadow. Back at camp, we were able to try out all the fun camping gear items that we had received as wedding presents! That night there was a ranger talk in the outdoor amphitheater about birds, but I could hardly keep my eyes open. The next morning, we packed up and drove towards Ashland, OR, home of the famous Shakespeare festival. I had found a camp nearby online (The Resort at Howard Prairie Lake) before we left, and our timing was perfect to get a recently vacated lakeside spot (S-38). We set up camp, ate lunch, and then drove back to Ashland, arriving just in time to purchase tickets and take our seats for the 1:30 show of The Winter's Tale. It was fantastic production and then we had a chance to wander around Ashland and get some ice cream. I had been to Ashland once before, years ago on a trip with Lisa (where we saw The Tempest), and there's just something about the town that I think is so wonderful. Back to camp by the lake for dinner and a campfire and then we packed up this morning for the drive home (with a stop at The Olive Pit in Corning, because I can't resist well-signed roadside attractions).

Here are a few photos from the weekend:


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September 02, 2006

links for 2006-09-02

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September 01, 2006

links for 2006-09-01

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