The end of 2007 finds us feeling grateful for good health, good friends and interesting challenges… but concerned about what the future holds for our state, country and world as we look ahead to 2008.
We’re glad we get to share these concerns with our thoughtful and involved kids in California and Massachusetts and work hard at solving some of the problems in Princeton. However, after four years, we still enjoy the change of pace when we go into New York City just about every other weekend to 3M, our shared studio apartment. It is our base for lots of theater, opera, concerts, museums, and exploring once-upon-a-time down-and-out neighborhoods (which aren’t so “out” anymore). This year, the highlight was two July weekends where we did the complete Wagner Ring Cycle done by the Kirov opera at the Met.
Princeton is thriving too. Marv is given credit for his leadership of the redevelopment of the downtown (Ingrid says this), and he keeps busy chairing the Planning Board’s Master Plan Committee and working with his development buddies to form a NJ chapter of the Congress for The New Urbanism (CNU). He is looking forward to serving on the State’s new Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization and Consolidation Commission, to which he’s been appointed by the State Senate President. Most people think it’s a hopeless task -- what, reorganize New Jersey’s 566 municipal municipal governments? -- but he doesn’t think so. Ingrid continues working at Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics on reforming for NJ -- campaign finance, voting, ethics, etc – with frequent appearances in the media. On the volunteer side she
chairs New Jersey Future, the statewide advocacy group for good planning as well as the State’s redeveloping efforts in the capital district of Trenton.
In May, we both went off to Philadelphia for a long weekend to attend the national meeting of the Congress for The New Urbanism. Marv organized an all-day field trip to show off Princeton and two other suburban town centers, and Ingrid presented the plans for “tearing down the freeway,” a favorite CNU topic, and replacing it with a boulevard giving Trenton access to the Delaware river for parks and mixed-use development. A month later we met up with CNU’s President John Norquist and his family in Stockholm where we were hosted for a day by one of Sweden’s leading urban architects, Kjell Forshed, and his wife who came on Marv’s field trip to Princeton. This was a highlight of a three-week sojourn in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Good friends from Washington, DC, Barbara and Isaac Green, joined us for a coastal cruise in and out of spectacular fjords and for exploring Stockholm.
Homeward bound we connected through Bristol, England so we could catch up with long-time friends, Richard and Susan Wakeford at their home outside of Cheltenham, where unfortunately the beautiful countryside and towns of the Cotswold had been devastated by the first wave of summer floods.
We made several trips to California to be with son, David, and his wife Nan, including a whole week in late August to entertain our grandson, Owen, before he went back to school. Several trips up Boston way included going around Hingham harbor with the O’Reillys (daughter Liza, husband Tom, and their girls) on dad’s new boat.
The summer was also time of deep loss for us. Joe Hagy, husband of Marv’s sister Marilyn, died as a result of a tragic accident that occurred while he was trimming a tree. Joe was a wonderful husband, father of Ellyn and Laura and grandfather of little Joey and he was our friend. Joe, like Marv, served on his town council, so we had that in common. We admired his amazing skill and perseverance in creating a non-profit organization to build 17 affordable houses in his suburban community – and we enjoyed sharing our experiences. We will miss him this Christmas, which will be a quiet one at home (with our new artificial tree and its little energy-saving lights). Ingrid’s sister Barbara, her daughter Katja and husband George will be with us. Midweek we join the O’Reilly family in the Berkshires. Marv missed skiing last year, but thinks he can still keep up with the grandgirls. We’ll see.
But, we remind ourselves that optimism, determination and hard work will serve us well as we take up the challenges of 2008.
Ingrid and Marv