It's been about a month since I've written in this blog, but what a month it's been.
First of all, thanks to all of you who have looked in from time to time. Thanks for your interest and patience. I'll try to be a bit more consistent.
Things have been happening around here and that's the main reason I haven't had time for this blog. Let's start with the most important thing.
About a week after the last time I wrote here, daughter Melanie gave birth to an 8-pound baby boy, her fourth and our seventh grandchild. Here he is with grandpa.
It occurred the same way many of the births in our family have -- timing unexpected. She went to the midwife that Friday and was assured that she had plenty of time before the baby was to be born. We had a fine Sabbath eve dinner and went to bed.
At 6 the next morning, there was Mel knocking on our door with the news that she was in full labor and headed for the hospital. It's the Sabbath so there would be no phone calls or other information until after the Sabbath ended, after 9 that night.
Needless to say, it was a tense time.
The phone rang after 9, and it was her husband, Josh, saying it was a boy and Mel and the boy were doing well.
Well, daughter Esther and I went flying down to St. Vincent's hospital near Greenwich Village to see the baby and pick up Josh.
There was, however, a problem. The baby wasn't behaving quite right. But the next day, Mel and Josh talked us into heading out on a planned week away. Josh was home from work, Esther was available at least one day and, frankly, we would have been in the way. Besides, we had promised my step mom, who lives in Maryland, that we would visit and didn't want to worry her by not showing up.
Of course, we kept in touch from the Washington and Philadelphia areas. A diagnosis was arrived at and the news was the baby needed surgery, which was to be performed at the end of the week. We returned to New York and waited.
The surgery went well and the baby is home from the hospital and, as far as we and the doctors can tell, is doing beautifully.
That was some three weeks. We are grateful to, first of all, God, and the doctors and other medical professionals.
A couple of days after being born, the baby was transferred to the Morgan-Stanley Children's Hospital at Columbia Presbyterian. This is one great place. The NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) is designed beautifully and the staff are angels.
One thing we learned, although we knew it before, was why young people have little kids. I don't know how Mel and Josh do it, chasing after two boys, 5 and 2. Tamar, their 7-year-old daughter, is a joy and helps as much as possible.
My job most days was to take the 2-year-old to the playground. There are a number of really great playgrounds in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. So, Avraham Moshe, the 2-year-old and I go off and swing on swings and play on playscapes and I chase him around, then come home in time for his lunch and nap. It's amazing how fast a 2-year-old's legs can carry him.
Of course, the others have to be taken to camp in the morning and then picked up from camp and taken to all the places kids need to be taken. My pal is Raphi, who is 5. I got to spend a lot of time with him and he's a joy, too. So, that's what I have been doing the past three weeks.
Word came Friday that the Journal-Register Co., the parent of the New Haven Register and 18 other dailies in the East and Midwest, had emerged from bankruptcy. What that did was cancel a lot of mistakes the JRC and its predecessor, Ingersoll Corp., had made in buying up a bunch of newspapers for, basically, promises to pay at sometime in the future, and then being unable to pay off those debts.
Much of that choking debt has been canceled and JRC now has financing to the tune of about $225 million, which a lot of experts say it should be able to manage.
The company has promised to pay much of the tax debt it owed to Connecticut. Unfortunately, the judge allowed it to pay a group of executives about $1.3 million for firing workers.
Some of the people who ran JRC before it filed for bankruptcy weren't really nice people. Ralph Ingersoll II, who bought the Register from Stewart Jackson and family, squandered a lot of money on failed schemes such as the St. Louis Sun, which never shone and set very quickly, taking scores of millions of borrowed dollars, and the hopes of a lot of journalists, with it.
I truly hope the new JRC will learn from the mistakes of the past and has the wherewithal to offer its readers the kind of news and other information it hasn't been able to lately.
I have a history with the company. I worked there for 14 years was laid off in 1990, four years after Ingersoll bought the paper, because the finances were in such horrible shape. But that sent me off to other adventures, including stints at some of the nation's largest and most famous newspapers, so I guess they did me a favor.
So I truly do with them the best in their renaissance. The Register has some talented and hard-working journalists who deserve a chance to do their best undeterred by the financial woes caused by past owners.
Higher on this page, I mentioned a trip to Maryland and Pennsylvania. In the next few days, if things stay calm on the baby front, I plan to talk about those and some tips on how to get superior hotels for not much money, as well as some other travel hints.
Until next time...