By Suzanna Keith
It was mid-August, and our first family trip to Europe was coming to a close. After an exciting Disney cruise with our three children that took the four of us to Naples, Florence, and Rome, we had gone on to Madrid and Barcelona and then enjoyed several delightful beach days at Sitges, a quaint resort town about 30 minutes northwest of Barcelona. I decided we should spend our last afternoon in Spain in Barcelona, where we planned to visit the Picasso Museum and do some shopping.
So after a fun morning at Sausalito Beach, one of the nicest beaches in Sitges, my two youngest and I drove down to Barcelona in our rental car, leaving my oldest son behind so that he could begin to do some things to get ready to return to college at the end of the summer.
The drive on the B-10 Motorway was quick and very easy, and we found a good parking spot not far from the Picasso Museum in La Ribera, an older section of the city. First, we decided to hit a few shoe stores in the Gothic Quarter that had been recommended by friends before we made our way over to the museum. As we neared the museum, though, we could see that the ticket line was around the block. We were told that some of the museum workers were striking that day, so everyone was forced to wait, and the clerk at the ticket window urged us to come back another time.
Not surprisingly, my 14-year-old and 12-year-old were only slightly disappointed. They really wanted to visit Las Ramblas again, their favorite shopping area in the heart of Barcelona that is anchored by a nearly mile-long pedestrian mall jammed with shops and sidewalk cafes. Since it was already late afternoon, my thought was that we could grab a snack along the way before hitting the streets and shops and then heading back to Sitges to pack for our flight home the following day.
We strolled toward La Ramblas, window-shopping on the way, and on the spur of the moment decided to pop into a Desigual outlet on the Plaça de Sant Jaume, a square in the center of the old city, to buy flip-flops for our daughter.
After that, our search for green tea matcha and a clean and free bathroom took us to a Starbucks on Carrer de Ferran, around the corner from La Ramblas. While we waited in line for our food, I struck up a conversation with another American woman and her teenaged daughter. They turned out to be from Michigan, and when I found out that the daughter was about to begin her first year at the University of Michigan, I was able to give her the names of some friends from Rye who were also going there. The three of us continued to talk, but then my children started to get very antsy, so I ended our chat and we exchanged phone numbers. In a short moment I would realize how fortuitous these slight delays would prove to be.
By Paul Hicks
Pullquote: “We are not the first Americans to witness our political parties mired down in vitriolic political warfare.”
While delving recently into the period from 1776 to 1815, I was struck by certain episodes in our nation’s history, which bear remarkable resemblance to a number of current news stories:
*On July 9, 1776, upon hearing the newly adopted Declaration of Independence publicly proclaimed, 40 American soldiers and sailors under the command of Capt. Oliver Brown stole down to the Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan under cover of night. They lashed ropes around the gilded statue of King George III, pulled until their ropes broke and then pulled again.
By Robin Jovanovich
Life is like a well-designed garden, at least for Anne Mottola, who is rooted in creativity and spreads wonder wherever she sows.
Teaching and gardening are in her blood and she figured out how to enjoy careers in both. At Osborn School, she has not only taught, but also created the school garden. She holds a certificate in gardening from the New York Botanical Garden, where she works from March through early November and instills a love of gardens and gardening in young children, generally second graders, after school.
“Part of my job at the Botanical Garden is to create lesson plans,” said Mottola. The more she wrote about the benefits of insects and herbs, starting from seed, harvesting techniques, and incredible edibles, the more she thought about writing a series of children’s books on gardening that included activities.