Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
University of Florida
Florida Newspaper Project
Interviewee: David Lawrence
Interviewer: William McKeen
Interviewee: David Lawrence, Jr.
Interviewer: William McKeen
Date: July 27, 1999
M: When and where were you born?
L: I was born in New York City, on March 5, 1942.
M: Were you from a large family or a small family?
L: A large family. One of nine children. I am the second oldest of nine. Eight are
still living. All of us graduated from either the University of Florida or Florida
M: Could you tell us a little bit about your parents?
L: My mother came from, really, a New York Social Register family, one of ten
children. My father came from a Long Island real estate family, the youngest of
eleven children. My mother's family came over in the Mayflower, originally. My
father's family came over in the wake of the Irish potato famine in the 1840s. As
a little boy, I was living in New York City and on Long Island. My father was a
newspaperman at the then New York Sun, now defunct, the same newspaper
where Virginia O'Hanlon wrote the letter that led the editor to respond, "Yes,
Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." My father worked there during the Second
World War . [In]1948, literally on my sixth birthday, on March 5, 1948, our
family, then five children and a mother and father, moved to a farm in upstate
New York.... My father's vision was that he would work on the farm and have a
vegetable garden and a cow and maybe a goat and maybe a sheep and maybe a
pig--at least one of everything . and then work on the weekly newspaper. Of
course, farming did not work like that and ... my father never did go to work for
the Sandy Creek News. But, for the next eight years, we lived on a farm in the
least glamorous form of farming, which is chicken farming. So, if I know
anything about hard work and doing it with other people, it is from growing up on
a farm.... I literally drove the tractor when I was nine years old and sold
vegetables to neighbors. It was a wonderful way to grow up .... Well, in 1956,
when I was fourteen--this is eight years after this grand experiment, my parents
decided that farming was none too profitable .... My parents decided. Let us
move to somewhere warm; we are tired of these frozen winters, and let us go
somewhere else and make our fortune.
So, we literally used the 1952 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia and looked
up Arizona, New Mexico, and Florida, none of which any of us had ever been to
(including my mother and father if I am not mistaken). We looked them up, and I
think the final telling thing was that my parents were great watchers of Arthur
Godfrey on Sundays. Arthur Godfrey, in the winters, brought the show to Miami
Beach, and that is how Florida came to be selected. So, toward the end of the
winter in 1956, we moved to Florida.... So, my father ended up selling real estate,
subsequently going to a paper now dead, a daily newspaper in Sarasota, Florida
[Sarasota News] ... my father worked there for several years. He ultimately
went back into real estate for a while but then ended up the last seventeen-plus
years of his life working for the Orlando Sentinel . most of the time in
Tallahassee, where he became the dean of the press corps. The House press
gallery is named for him today, and he is in the Florida Journalism Hall of Fame.
So, I ended up going into journalism, purely and simply, because I admired my
father and I wanted to be in the same business that he was. When I was fifteen
years old, I started working in the composing room during the summers, at the
Sarasota News which was his newspaper. Then I was sort of off to the races
from there. I was editor of the high school newspaper. I worked summers
during college at The St. Petersburg Times.
M: Describe what the Sarasota News was like.
L: Well, it is almost certainly idealized in my mind ... at... age fifteen, I would go
into the newsroom and I would beg to rewrite press releases. So, I rewrote
those while I was waiting for my father to go home. He was then the managing
editor and the general manager of the newspaper. The back-shop was, of
course, the back-shop of those days, which was a hot lead operation in which
there are terms like "bank" and "turtle" and so forth. We have a whole
generation of journalists now who have never heard any of these terms. The
printing craft was a very peripatetic kind of profession. These folks had worked
at lots of different places. They would work here for a while and go somewhere
else. They were sort of crude and loud and tellers of dirty jokes, but they were
warm people at the same time.
M: You were able to go from the back-shop to the newsroom and do some rewriting.
Do you think that technology has changed so much that there are none of
those early types working in the business.
L: These days, it would be unusual for a newsroom to hire a person who did not
graduate from college. That was not true back then. Of course, pay was slightly
less than mediocre, but the cliche was sort of true, that you were not doing this
for the money, anyway. You just paid your dues and when somebody gave you
a chance to write something or report something, that was a huge deal. I can still
remember as an intern for The St. Petersburg Times the first byline I ever got. I
was in the Bradenton bureau of The St. Petersburg Times that first summer. It
had a two-column headline, and it was about the tomato crop in Palmetto,
Florida. Why should I remember that all of these years? It was that big a thrill....
To this day, I think it is a thrill to have your byline in the paper or your column to
go in the paper. It is still very personal.
M: Since we have you in a reflective mood, do you want to make any other
observations about the changing nature of the species journalist? Are they too
L: It has some tendency toward that. Too many(newspaper people) are out of touch
with most people. I always thought one of the big perils in the newsroom was
that too many had all their friends in the newsroom. You do not learn an awful
lot from people like you. You have to learn from people with different ideas and
different ways of working. For all the good I still see in newspapers, there is real
peril in being out of touch with most people around you.
M: Something else that you have probably noticed in your career is that all of a
sudden, a journalism degree became something like a union card, as the entree
to the business.
L: As much as I love, which I truly do, the University of Florida, if I could do it over
again, I wish I had majored in history or something like this. I actually was in
political science. Because I was expending so much of my energy on the
Florida Alligator, night and day, I said, "well, let me go over to journalism which
will be easier than political science." And that is how I came to graduate in
M: At Vincennes, Indiana, you began working on the high school paper as well?
L: ... I had a remarkable journalism advisor, a woman named Jo Berta Bullock, a
legendary figure. A tiny woman, badly crippled. A beloved figure, not a softie.
A person of great intensity. The paper was printed offset. This was before real
newspapers, big newspapers, were printed offset which, of course, is a
photographic process. A young woman classmate of mine worked in the
newspaper, and did something really dumb. In those days, it was not unusual for
even "good kids" to pen swastikas on their hands. It was not that many years
after World War II, and, clearly, the swastika stands for the ugliest form of racism
and hatred. I can remember kids who did that, and other kids would not say,
"ah, they are anti-Semitic or haters" or whatever else. Anyhow, this young
woman ends up doodling a swastika on the flat, which therefore, because this is
photographic process, ends up appearing as an ad. I remember Jo Berta Bullock,
who was 4 feet-8 or something like that, a very small person, taking her
crutches-she used crutches--she had big braces on--and swinging it up over her
head atop our worktables and saying, my God, do you know what you have
done? Do you know how many people died because of this symbol? It was an
extraordinary moment. And so, the power of symbols, and the power of the
press, your enormous power to damage--has been a lesson that has always
stayed with me ....
M: What was the University of Florida campus like when you got there, in terms of
L: Very white. The university was not desegregated in its undergraduate divisions
until the fall of 1962 and, in my recollection, the University's student body was
sort of divided between pro- and anti-civil rights .... I remember vividly the
university being segregated. I remember being active in the Alligator and
covering it. I remember taking pictures. I remember writing about it. I
remember asking the state NAACP to write a column, which got me into
significant trouble with the university at that time because J. Wayne Reitz
[University of Florida president, 1955-1967], whom I came to respect a great
deal, was not particularly fond of the student newspaper telling him what to do.
Remember, again, this was the time when some people thought the ADA
[Americans for Democratic Action] might be a Communist organization, however
ludicrous it looks now. So, this was a very divided campus on that subject. You
know, I did not tell you an enormous strength in my parents, which was in
imparting a sense of fairness. So, I have always instinctively pushed civil rights,
and lot of other rights, because this seems to me a fundamental matter of
M: Did you not feel odd coming from a fairly liberal family and going to a segregated
L: Remember, everything was segregated. We would go into major grocery stores,
and there would be "Colored" and "White" drinking-water fountains. My high
school was clearly totally white. So, while the University of Florida was
essentially an all-white institution, it was also an institution trying to, sort of, come
to grips with itself. This is in the immediate wake, you recall, of the Johns
Committee, the sickness of Charley [E.] Johns, senator [Florida state legislature,
1934-1966] and governor [of Florida, 1953-1955] for a while, trying to figure out
who the homosexuals were at the University of Florida.
M: When you arrived in the fall of 1960, you saw yourself as a political science major
who would work on the Alligator. Would that be your pathway to a career?
L: I did not actually even contemplate working on the Alligator. In the second
semester, I sort of wandered over to the Alligator and wandered in. I was quite
sure that something as important as the Alligator would not accept
second-semester freshman. It turns out, of course, they were looking for
anybody they could get ....
M: How long did it take for you to assert your authority and declare yourself editor?
L: Well, I sort of started in my freshman year, and the paper moved from twice a
week to five times a week in my time. By the second semester of my junior
year, I was editor of the paper.
M: Did you serve one or two terms as editor?
L: I served two terms, the second one cut short. I was editor the second half of my
junior year and then all my senior year, except for the last month. I was
frequently in trouble. Part of it had to do with civil rights, and the university
administration seeing me as being intemperate and radical. Part of it was I had
run a letter to the editor that really pissed off the university president. A student
had written advocating free love. It all sounds relatively stupid now, or at least
that part does. So the university was not particularly pleased with me. And the
Board of Student Publications was controlled by the administration and faculty.
Anyhow ... I had written a front-page editorial that feels appallingly stupid now,
an editorial that criticized the choice of my successor as "political." The person
chosen is now the first-rate editor of a Knight-Ridder paper in St. Paul. The
editorial appeared on the same day [President John F.] Kennedy is shot
[November 22, 1963], so we put out an extra on the assassination. The Board of
Student Publications calls a meeting for the following Monday, which would have
been the 25th, to consider this action on my part. I almost certainly knew that my
goose was cooked. I refused to come to the meeting on the basis that, I would
not dignify their proceeding by being there on a day that the president of the
United States was being buried. The assassination was the one extraordinary
event in my lifetime that everybody remembers where he or she was. So they
simply fired my ass. I sort of spent the next month getting married, going off on a
honeymoon, and then December 30 that year, I went to work for The St.
M: So, that helped you put it in perspective. Did you leave the newsroom much that
weekend? Did you have a television in the newsroom that you were watching?
L: Well, we did not have any more papers. Maybe we had a paper Monday. I
cannot remember. I do remember being absolutely glued to the television,
watching Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald. It was extraordinary. I
remember Howard K. Smith [ABC newscaster] and all these folks with mournful
intonations. I have a fairly good size less respect for many of the people on
television now than I did then. These were very somber journalists who knew
that something terribly tragic had happened to the whole country. I do not
remember a more serious time.
M: Let us backtrack a little bit to what brought this all to a head--your relations with
university administrators during your time as editor. You said that J. Wayne
Reitz was not a big fan of yours. Do you want to talk a little bit about [that]?
L: There as a marvelous incident that happened almost twenty years later, when
the journalism school dedicates a new building, and I am the speaker there. I do
not know if I realized it, but J. Wayne Reitz was in the audience, when I spoke
about my earlier travails. At the same time, I was being named as a
Distinguished Alumnus of the journalism school. After the speech, J. Wayne
Reitz stands up-now, remember, I say with affection, he is the guy who blew my
ass off the face of the map at the time, which was very serious to me at the
time-and said words to the effect of. I always knew you would amount to
something; I believed in you then, and so forth. Part of me would be inclined to
think, "well, you hypocrite" and so forth, and part of me said, "well, is that not kind
of lovely?" It was just ironic that nineteen years later, he stands up among
several hundred people and makes this little soliloquy about. I always thought
David Lawrence would turn out to be something special, and I followed his
career. But, it was about a man, me, who had, at the moment in 1963, felt like a
pretty devastating thing had happened to him.
M: What had you done to piss him off so?
L: Well, remember that the University was sort of under siege then. Desegregation
was coming about. And what is a university president's job? To some degree,
keep a damper on it, better keep a lid on it. Then, you have the student
newspaper which, remember, was a creature of the university so, at least in
theory, Dr. Reitz is the publisher of the paper. In subsequent years, the university
resolved this by saying, in effect, "let us get this paper off the campus, and they
can have their own independent structure" and so forth. Anyhow, 1963 on
campus was a contentious time and a tough time for him and the university. I
say with sweetness in my voice now that Dr. Reitz was not looking for help from
me, and he certainly did not want the kind of help I was giving him in what the
university ought to do. A big word used then in Florida was "agitator." What many
even good-hearted people wanted was that people not talk about this. Maybe
then the problem will just go away. There is probably a lesson for us in all of this,
because if we did not have people speaking up, society simply would not make
the kind of progress it should. It was just a very tough time and Dr. Reitz was not
looking for troublemakers, and I was perceived as a troublemaker, an agitator.
M: Did he give you any warnings? Did he let you know when he was upset with
L: Oh sure.
L: Directly on a couple of occasions. I was called into his office. Settle down; I do
not want this kind of stuff. I was standing there before the mighty lion, and that
is a pretty intimidating sort of thing.
M: Where were your offices then?
L: In the basement of the old Florida Union.
M: You said you met your wife there and that she worked for the Alligator. Where is
L: Originally from New York. Her father died when she was six, so by the time she
was nine, she and her mother and sister had to pull up roots.
M: What brought her to UF to study journalism, or did she study journalism? Just
because she worked on the Alligator, I should not assume...
L: No, she did not study journalism. I do not even know if she ever had a
journalism course. She did not graduate from Florida. She graduated from
Temple University in Philadelphia when we were there.
M: You had some journalism courses which, when you talked about them earlier,
sounded like a necessary evil to get out of college?
L: Oh no, and I do not want to give you that impression I came to have,
incidentally, an enormous affection for Rae [O.] Weimer [dean emeritus and
professor of journalism and communications, UF, 1949-1973]. I never had him
as a teacher, but I came to believe that he was one of God's decent people. He
fought cancer with such fierceness that I just admire him as somebody who was
able to live with so much agony for so long and smile. But, I did not know him as
a teacher. I had two exceptional teachers. By legend, they disliked each intensely
and competed with each other--Hugh [W.] Cunningham [professor of journalism
and communications and director of university information, UF, 1955-1990] and
Buddy Davis [Horance Gibbs Davis, Jr., distinguished service professor of
journalism and communications, 1954-1986]. They were both extraordinary
teachers in my opinion. The one course I failed was Buddy Davis' in
photography. I felt very comfortable writing, but the camera scared me to
pieces, and he failed me in the course, and told me he was doing me a favor.
Now, this is something my mother would tell me--she was doing me a favor. I
ended up taking art photography from Jerry Uelsmann [Jerry N. Uelsmann,
Professor of Art and Art History], who was then a very young professor there.
He is still there, and quite legendary now. I got over the fear of the camera, and I
have always subsequently felt comfortable with people technically a lot smarter
than I am. But, I know that I can frame a picture in my eye in the camera and
know what a good picture is, and I like taking pictures.
M: Buddy Davis was legendarily punitive. Did you ever suffer any of his wrath in
L: If I did, I do not remember it. He was in charge, so he was not going to take any
smart lip from anybody. Also, in my view, he was somewhat of an actor playing
a game. Part of it was exerting control. Part of it was to teach. If he thought
you gave a damn and worked hard, you were just fine. He could spot a shirker,
though. He could spot who did not care that much about journalism, and you
were in deep doo-doo then.
M: We were talking earlier about how, certainly at the time, you did not seem to
really need a journalism degree, said it was not required. Were you happy only
in retrospect to have earned a degree in journalism? At the time, did you
recognize the value?
L: If my father had not insisted upon it, I might have left college early to go work for
the newspapers. I was hot to go out and work on newspapers. That is what I
really wanted to do. My appreciation, really, is for the whole university. It is a
privilege to go to a place like the University of Florida. Remember, I was going to
a high school that was totally white. Only one Jewish family. No black people in
the whole school. Hispanic--well, we did not even know the term existed.
Certainly no Asian Americans, and so forth. So mine was a very sheltered
world. The University of Florida was a beginning of getting to know a lot of
different people from a lot of different places. The whole Gator mentality little
interests me. People and professors do interest me. I saw Sam Proctor the other
day. I never had him for class. I have read at least two of his books. What a
wonderful thing for the University of Florida to have people like that, over a span
of fifty years of their lives.
M: So, you met your wife. You were obviously serious enough to want to get
married the day you were going to graduate.
L: We, in fact, tried to get married before. My wife is Jewish, and I am Catholic.
We were to be married in a Catholic church, and tried to get married the previous
September, but the Catholic church moves in its own very special way. That is
why we got married in December.
M: She did finish her degree elsewhere? She had to leave school beforehand
because of your career?
L: No. I think it is fair to say she was not an immensely successful buckle-down
student in those days, and so ended up going to work for the campus bookstore.
She went back to school after we were married. And graduated.
M: December 30, 1963, that is when you began with the...
L: St. Petersburg Times, $95 a week.
M: Were you downtown? Were you at a bureau?
M: And you had already interned there?
L: For all of my summers, from high school on.
M: So, can you talk a little bit about that newsroom. What was that like when you
entered it as a full-time employee?
L: The St. Petersburg Times was a fabulous place for a young person to work as a
reporter. Making $95 a week, I was taking home something considerably less
than that. Let us say it is $79. We had a child nine and a half months later, in
October of 1964. On the other hand, rent was $60 a month, and the landlady
felt sorry for us and moved it to $55. Our dream was, if we make $10,000 a year
by the time we are thirty, we are going to be just fine. The Times was a place
where you could have all kinds of responsibility at a very young age, and it was a
place that, while it had a pretty sizable newsroom staff, you certainly knew
everybody there. The executive editor was Don Baldwin. The managing editor
was a man named Courtland Anderson, who died young but had been managing
editor of the paper when he was twenty-seven years old. A very sharp fellow.
M: How did he die?
L: Cancer at age fifty. He was dean of journalism at Ohio University, had left The
St. Petersburg Times in his early thirties.
M: We were talking about the newsroom at The St. Petersburg Times that you
joined at the end of 1963. Nelson Poynter [president, Times Publishing Co.,
1953-1969, and chairman of the board, 1969-1978] had a desk right in the middle
of the newsroom. Correct?
L: No, not correct at all. I do remember Nelson Poynter vividly, and his then wife,
Henrietta, as well. At one point, I succeeded Bob Haiman as telegraph editor.
Telegraph editor now sounds beyond antiquated. Ultimately, they changed the
title to news editor. But the A section of The St. Petersburg Times was not for
local news. It was for national and international news, which deeply reflected
Nelson Poynter's feelings about what was news and what was not, and what was
most important and what was not. The telegraph editor was responsible for the
A section, minus the editorial pages. I remember Henrietta Poynter who was an
interesting, intimidating, and somewhat fabulous figure in her very own right.
Boy, I can remember her going down the bank of wire machines; the New York
Herald Tribune wire, the New York Times wire, the AP wire, the UPI wire, the
state wire, the such-and-such wire. She would look at each of them, rolling up
the wire stories in her hands. It was pretty intimidating, because here is one of
the owners, making up her own mind about what is news and so forth.
Meanwhile, Nelson Poynter used to call every night, about 8:30 or so, to ask,
"what is going on?" And you better know what was going on. If you said, "not
much, Mr. Poynter," it would not have been smart. He would start a conversation,
"do you know about such and such; have you heard about such and such;" have
you thought about such and such? This was a man who breathed for his
company, a visionary man. He was a man of total integrity, a man who had the
newspaper foremost at heart, a man who had taken a lot of crap himself. People
referred to him, which he was not, as a communist in conservative St.
Petersburg. He was a man who I thought had all the right values and cared
deeply about the newspaper. He was a man, in a sense, of the world, not just St.
Petersburg, not just Pinellas County, not just the State of Florida, not just the
United States of America but of the world. A great man of business, too. He was
the man who set up the process that keeps the paper in its rare and independent
status. He is the man who had profit sharing before people were talking about
M: You talk about him as a visionary, and you gave a couple of good examples of
Poynter as a business type visionary. Do you see him as an editorial visionary
L: He was a man who was not provincial in any way. He understood the
importance of local news but, he also understood the news in a global context,
which is exceedingly rare. Look at how the paper did over the years which I think,
in part, is because it had a larger view of its mission in the world. At the time I
was there and, I think, always since, it was one of Florida's best newspapers.
Florida has been particularly blessed because of the economic underpinnings to
the particularly good newspapers. If you go around the state and you look at
newspapers today, then I think we have some pretty darn good newspapers. I
could easily name ten good newspapers in this state and others that would not
fall that far behind. What other state could do that? I am not sure there are any
other states that could do that. Part of it was fueled by Florida [being] such a
boom place, a relatively easy place to make money. So Jacksonville had a good
economic base for a newspaper, and Tampa did, and St. Petersburg did, and
Miami did, and Fort Lauderdale did, and Orlando did, and other papers were not
M: We have not really talked about the role of women in journalism. You have
mentioned Henrietta Poynter, who was a very strong-willed person. Would you
say The St. Petersburg Times was ahead of its time in treatment of or regard for
L: Well, I would say yes but not so far ahead of the time that it was a world-beater.
There were people there who were women who had substantive responsibilities
but for many years their responsibilities were very much connected, most of
them, to women's news, softer kinds of things and so forth. A very smart woman
named Anne Rowe, later Anne Rowe Goldman, was in charge of the women's
and feature sections. She clearly could have been the editor of the paper. So I
would say the paper was some ahead in some of the places but not a long way
ahead. Of course, The St. Pete Times got into relatively deep water a few years
ago on exactly this question. So, no, I do not think it was a particular pioneer in
this area. The whole business was sort of shabby on the subject. Women made
distinctly less, had lesser jobs, and did not have much of a path to get more
responsibility and more money.
M: Aside from the nightly phone calls, what were your dealings with Nelson Poynter?
L: That was it.
M: That was it? He did not adopt you or see you as a ... ?
L: No. I always felt enormous warmth about him, particularly because when I left
for Washington-which is where I went to from St. Petersburg-I was a member of
the Newspaper Guild, and Washington was frightfully expensive. Though I made
more money, it was frightfully more expensive. We then had two children. There
was a strike. Benefits were then something like $30 a week. This was a big deal
in our house. How long would the strike last and so forth? I went over to see
Nelson Poynter at CQ [Congressional Quarterly, a periodical owned by Poynter's
Times Publishing Company] and he said, essentially, whatever you are making at
the Washington Post, I will match that for the duration of the strike. Now, I
actually never exercised this because the strike was over quickly, but that was a
remarkably decent gesture. Later, I became active in ASNE [American Society
of Newspaper Editors], so I was seeing him at conventions and so forth for
several years before he died. Now I could have a little bit different conversation
than I before. But he always was of a different generation and of different stature.
M: We were talking earlier about the problem of journalists becoming more distant
from the world they are supposed to cover, and the fact that they could be elitist.
Do you see the St. Pete Times, either under him or since, as being an elitist
L: Well, the only time I really know the St. Petersburg Times is when I was there.
Now, realize, that now goes back thirty-plus years, and I do think, in many ways,
it was an elitist newspaper. An elitist newspaper with a soul. It was relatively easy
at that place to be pretty insulated and isolated from much of the real world.
You know, It is only in the last fifteen years that I have really, myself, come to
grips with how much more I needed to know about my own world. I wish I did not
have to say this but I do. The majority of the people in the newspaper business
know relatively little about their own communities. Certainly that is true of
M: What was your epiphany? We are getting ahead of ourselves, but...
L: I am not sure it was an epiphany. I would say that one of the interesting
experiences that I had in my working life was being managing editor of the
Philadelphia Daily News, the No. 3 newspaper facing the Bulletin and the
Inquirer. Each of them had hundreds of newsroom people. At the Daily News we
had fewer than 100 people. It tests every competitive part of you as to how use
your resources wisely when somebody has three, four, five times more people.
And who are your readers, really your readers, and how do you genuinely reach
them? That period from 1971-1975 was important for me. Another important
moment for me was going to the advanced management program of the Harvard
Business School, not because I learned a lot about finance, but because I was in
a class with people from thirty-three countries, not counting the United States of
America. That was in 1983. Ever since I have made it a practice every year to go
somewhere else in the world to learn. Ours is a frequently isolated country
because it is so big, so powerful, so self-sufficient in many ways, though much
less than it used to be, of course. It is very easy to have your whole life in this
old American prison. This year I will be in France. Sweden, Italy, and Greece.
Just discovering the world has been exciting for me. Another very important
moment came in Detroit, where we had two newspapers, both of them losing
money. It was easy enough that one or the other could be dead. At the Free
Press as publisher (during the four years of application for a Joint Sperating
Agreement), I found myself responsible for 2,000 families' lives up in the air. You
learn what is really important. This is really old-fashioned, but the joy in my life is
learning things. I am now terribly enmeshed in early childhood education. I knew
nothing about this three years ago. I have met a vast array of people I would
have never known before.
M: Long after Poynter's death, the St. Petersburg Times did a twelve- or
sixteen-page pamphlet on itself called "Tower of Power," and the subhead was
something about, "a newspaper that may be too good for its community." I
wonder what you thought Poynter's reaction might have been to something like
L: I will tell you what my reaction was: it made my skin crawl. What arrogance, "too
good for the community." Well, that is just bullshit of the highest order. It is
disrespectful to the people. The fact that people have not been educated in
France or have not been around the world or whatever does not mean they are
dumb. Readers are pretty damn smart people. No, I rejected it totally and I would
be stunned if Nelson Poynter, who I do not think was an arrogant man at all,
would feel any different.
M: How long were you at St. Pete overall? You joined in the beginning of 1964?
L: Well, the end of 1963. Three and a half years.
M: Okay. And then to the Washington Post?
M: Were you wire editor, news editor, the whole time?
L: At The St. Pete Times?
L: Oh no. I held a whole bunch of different jobs, partly as a reporter and partly as
M: Reporter there? Did you cover the Capitol?
L: No. Well, the only thing I ever covered was [when] I helped cover one legislative
session in Tallahassee with Martin Waldron, who was a legendary figure in the
newspaper business. But the coverage I did was mostly general assignment,
some county commission, some school board, some zoning commission,
etcetera, from the time I was an intern until subsequently.
M: What did you want to be? Did you want to be the grand fromage somewhere?
L: Well, I never said to myself, I want to be publisher. I was twenty-seven years
old when I was a managing editor of a newspaper. So, I sort of woke up when I
was thirty and said, well, I have done this; what do I do now? So, I had a good
deal of responsibility at a very young age. I left St. Petersburg when I was
twenty-five, worked two years in Washington, first on the news desk and then,
when Style was formed, I became the news editor of Style. Dave Laventhol was
in charge of the section. Then, I became managing editor of the Palm Beach
Post, because I really wanted to run something. Cox [Enterprises, Inc.] had just
bought it from Perry Publications and Gregory Favre, who was the editor, asked
me to be the managing editor. I only worked there for a couple of years, from
1969-1971, and went to the Philadelphia Daily News for a couple of months as
assistant to the editor and then became managing editor. I worked there until
1975. Then I went to Charlotte to succeed Jim Batten as executive editor [at the
Charlotte Observer], and I was there for three and a half years. Then, to The
Detroit Free Press as executive editor in 1979, succeeding Kurt Luedtke. I then
become publisher of the Free Press in 1985, leaving there in 1989 to come to
M: So, you were there for the creation of Style at the Post. What do you want to
say about that? That is considered such a defining moment.
L: Well, I had been asked in 1968 by Ben Bradlee (Benjamin C. Bradlee, executive
editor of The Washington Post) to go back and work as the night women's editor,
because he had a lousy leadership struggle there, and give him a sense of what
was going on and what he needed to do. So, I went back there and worked for
six or so months. That was a time in this country when newspaper people were
reconsidering women's pages. A lot of people were joking about the feminist
movement, but there clearly was a serious feminist movement. Starting up Style
was an extraordinarily intense time. I remember staying at the hotel next door
overnight, working hard, to do right by this thing. It had a collection of really bright
people, people [like] Judith Martin ["Miss Manners," syndicated columnist] a
writer for that section. I remember editing Sally Quinn, who was a brand new
reporter there covering the embassy beat. Dorothy McCardle was a legendary
old hand who covered the embassy scene, too. Paul Richard was the art critic of
the paper, and still is. Paul Hume, the classical music critic, was the guy that to
whom Harry Truman [Harry S. Truman, President of the U.S., 1945-1953] wrote
the famous letter defending his daughter Margaret's singing voice. Nicholas Von
Hoffman, the columnist. Later in 1969, Nick Von Hoffman was sent to
Haight-Ashbury [the then-hippie district of San Francisco, California] to do a
series. Haight-Ashbury was a big deal then. He did not like my editing, and he
quit. I do remember Bradlee saying, oh, do not worry about that; that is Nick, he
will be back, no big deal, and that is exactly what happened. But, it was a very
heavy time for me, as a young person working with a star columnist.
M: What did you do after that?
L: I left in the summer of 1969 to become managing editor in West Palm Beach.
M: What was that paper like when you joined it? That was before its Pulitzer for the
L: It was a paper that would not have dreamed of winning a Pulitzer. It made a great
deal of money, as a monopoly of sorts. Remember, Palm Beach County then
was 300,000 to 350,000 people. It is now a county of about a million people. So,
it has had enormous growth. Here, I was twenty-seven. The editor of the paper
was, maybe, thirty-four, Gregory Favre. We practically hired the staff new, added
an awful lot of people. We were so young that we did not know all the normal
road-blocks to doing good things. We hired people like Dallas Kinney [Pulitzer
Prize recipient, 1970, for "Migration to Misery"] and Kent Pollock that led to the
Pulitzer with the migrants. But, there were lots of other awards and lots of other
things done. It was a young staff and certainly not overpaid. But for an
extraordinary number of people, it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Enormous energy, enormous enthusiasm, a sense you can do anything and,
again, the economic underpinnings to do a bunch of things.
M: Let us talk about your father's career now, to be parallel. Was he in the capital
by this time?
L: Oh, sure.
M: You had associations with movers and shakers in Florida politics by then, either
through him or in your own career?
L: Though I started at The St. Petersburg Times, it was when I come back to Florida
in 1969 as managing editor of the Palm Beach Post that I began to get more of a
sense. I clearly had the opportunity to know the leading political figures. I was in
West Palm Beach when I first met Lawton Chiles [Florida governor, 1991-1998].
He was walking around the state. That is where it sort of begins for me.
M: And the governors in that era? Did you know Claude Kirk [Florida governor,
L: I know him quite well. But he knew my father better than he knew me. I know
Reubin Askew [Florida governor, 1971-1979] and he knew my father even better.
Reubin Askew was the kind of person who, when my father was dying in the
hospital, went to see him. When my father died, the state Cabinet, of which
[Robert] "Bob" Graham [Florida governor, 1979-1987] was presiding, signed a
special proclamation honoring my father. So one of the joys of coming back to
Florida was seeing a considerable number of people whom my father wrote
about and who remembered him so fondly and vividly. My father had a reputation
for working hard, getting the facts right, and being fair. People from whatever part
of the political spectrum would have said, that my father was fair.
M: Did you ever feel that you were under more scrutiny because of your father than
L: No. First, my father spent the preponderance of his life not as an editor, and I
have spent many years as editor or publisher so, in a sense, we did different
things. There is an extra burden in being the offspring of successful people, but
doing something enough different gave me some room. Plus, my father was
always inordinately proud of his children. A picture of all his nine children was in
front of him every day at work. We were my father's definition of success.
M: In terms of his career, do you think he ever wanted to be an editor? Did he envy
L: If he did, it totally escaped me. He had a very good life doing what he did. I do
not know an editor-certainly proof of my myself-who at times would not wish to
be I. F. Stone [Isidor Feinstein Stone, unconventional American journalist, author
of I. F. Stone's Weekly], doing your own thing without legions of editors around
you. In many ways, the best job in a newspaper is as reporter, not editor.
M: When you got to the Palm Beach Post, what did you do, now that you were the
the managing editor? What policies did you institute that had not been in place
L: Remember, this was a newspaper owned by a man named John [Holliday] Perry
[Jr., owner of Perry Publications], a legendary figure who was deeper into
miniature submarines than he was into newspapers. There was not a good paper
in the lot, and Perry newspapers were money machines all over the state. I had
never been an editor or a managing editor for a newspaper before so, what do
these people do? I had to learn on the job. Anybody who gets one of these jobs
has to learn on the job. Remember that this was not your normal situation. You
have a lot more money to spend, maybe not enough but a lot more money to
spend, and you have a good market to do it. It is a place with plenty of good
stories, most of which have not been touched for years and years and years.
The paper had not been aggressive about anything.
M: For example?
L: The migrant labor movement was in the paper's backyard.
M: It is such an odd county. Such wealth. Such poverty.
L: And migrant laborer conditions that were the modern equivalent of slavery. The
paper's new aggressiveness made a lot of people nervous. Nor had the paper
traveled anywhere to do stories. We did some extraordinary projects. I remember
one on drugs, a very sophisticated, tough piece of reporting on a vital subject.
We did not hesitate to do things like sending Kent Pollock to Vietnam. The Palm
Beach Post sending someone to Vietnam? And so forth, thinking then we could
do a bunch of things as well or better than somebody else.
M: After a couple of years there, was there an irresistible offer from Philadelphia, or
did you just want to get out?
L: I had gone to a APME convention in November of 1970 and sat on a picnic table
in a park in Honolulu with Larry Jinks, of what was then Knight Newspapers.
Larry essentially said, you really ought to come work for Knight Newspapers
[Knight-Ridder, Inc.]. Soon after, I was invited to come see Byron Harless, who
was a legendary figure of that time. He had been the first person to interview me
when I was a senior in high school and wanted to be an intern for the St.
Petersburg Times, and he later became a principal counselor to the leadership of
Knight-Ridder. A quite special human being, in any event. I talked with him and
ended up going to see a guy named Rolfe Neill, who was then the editor of the
Philadelphia Daily News. The Daily News was just an awful paper at the time, a
tabloid, principally street-sold. I ended up going there far more for reasons of the
quality of Knight Newspapers than I did because of the Philadelphia Daily News.
My predecessor as managing editor was a legendary figure who had a desk piled
high with pieces of things, by legend could find anything, worked there eighteen
hours a day, went home to "mom," his wife, wrote the advice column to the
lovelorn. When Malcolm X died, this is the guy who grabbed a recent Saturday
Evening Post, rewrote an article, and made a five-part series on Malcolm X. The
paper had a wonderful sports section, but nothing much else that was
self-respecting. The paper improved dramatically over the next several years.
Its crucible came at a time when Frank Rizzo was the mayor [of Philadelphia,
1971-1979], a legendary figure in American mayoral politics, larger than life,
former police chief. Rizzo was in a terrible feud with a guy named Pete Camiel,
who was head of the Democratic Party, about who was lying about something. I
have forgotten the issue. Rizzo, who was very charismatic, was headed toward
potentially being governor of Pennsylvania. People either hated him or loved him,
but he had a big "love him" backing. We convinced Frank Rizzo to take a lie
detector test with Pete Camiel. Rizzo, a long-time and tough cop, was pretty sure
he could beat it, but he clearly ends up failing it. The headline was, "Rizzo Lied"
with a picture of Rizzo strapped to the lie detector machine with a quote
alongside that says, "'If this machine says a man lied, he lied'--Frank Rizzo." Of
course, it blew him up. He never was a significant political figure subsequently.
Over those few years, the paper became far more aggressive, far more into real
coverage in the community, including people who frequently never got covered.
It was a paper that stood up for people. It was known as the People Paper. It was
a tabloid and willing to have outrageous headlines, but, it was a tough,
aggressive, straightforward newspaper in everything it did.
M: Did you see that as a key moment in your career?
L: It was significant in my beginning to understand what newspapers needed to do
to get close to readers and keep your own soul.
M: What drew you away to Charlotte?
L: Jim Batten, the executive editor in Charlotte, was going to headquarters in Miami.
He was one of the sainted people in my whole life. If I had to pick the single
best person I have known in this business, it would be Jim Batten. He was a man
of instant integrity and the fullest decency and the greatest possible human and
journalistic values. Jim was leaving to go to Miami because Knight-Ridder
wanted him to play a larger role in the company. He eventually became
chairman and CEO. They needed his successor as executive editor.
M: At this time, did you think of yourself as still an independent, or did you see
yourself as more of a Knight-Ridder?
L: I have never felt [like] a company man in the way that some people do. While the
attraction to go there was, then, Knight-Ridder and its quality--I am now old
enough to have known John S. Knight and Jim Knight, and Lee Hills, a great
journalist and the top editor in Miami and Detroit--I never thought that I worked
for Knight Newspapers or Knight-Ridder. I always thought I worked for the
Philadelphia Daily News, The Charlotte Observer, The Miami Herald, the Detroit
M: You went to the Palm Beach Post, which was a newspaper that needed shaking
up. You went to the Daily News, which needed that, too. But, Charlotte at that
time had a pretty good reputation, did it not?
L: It had a fading reputation when Jim Batten went there, but he worked hard and
successfully to build back those standards.
M: So, you went from managing editor to executive editor. What does an executive
L: The definition changes from place to place. Generally, the managing editor is the
day-to-day operational boss of the newsroom. The executive editor might be the
person who is the managing editor's boss and the person who is ultimately in
charge of the newsroom, or it could be the person who is in charge of the
newsroom and the editorial page. In Charlotte, as executive editor, I was
ultimately in charge of the newsroom. Later, as editor, I was in charge of the
newsroom and the editorial page.
M: So, what changes did you institute there? You were there for four years?
L: Three years, from 1975-1978. Some of this fades as time goes on. One of the
things we did, in my estimation, was to try to get a far fuller picture of what
existed in that part of the world. Most of the people who worked for the Charlotte
Observer had never been in a textile mill, which was the principal industry in that
part of the country. I dragged people all around the Piedmont of North and South
Carolina, trying to understand the small towns surrounding Charlotte, from where
an enormous number of readers had come. You have to get out of the office. You
are not learning anything at the office. You better get out and see who is out
there, who the readers are. You have to walk around a lot. You have to go see
a bunch of different people in different settings. The Observer needed to be
considerably more than simply a Charlotte newspaper, it needed to be a
Piedmont, North Carolina newspaper as well.
M: Then from there, you went to Detroit?
L: And followed a guy name Kurt Luedtke who was a brilliant figure in this business.
He could have been a brain surgeon if he had wanted to. He could have been
anything he wanted. He wrote the screenplay for Absence of Malice, which was
nominated for an Oscar. The second screenplay he wrote was Out of Africa,
which won best picture. The Free Press was not a particularly happy place at that
time. The competition had intensified. The Detroit News, an evening paper,
was now into the morning field. Neither newspaper eventually made any money.
The newspaper, when I came there, had a total of four minority professionals on
the staff, one of whom insisted he was not a minority. I insisted that the paper
move toward being representative of the community it served--not for a social
engineering experiment but to be able to cover and reflect the community far
better. The paper grew in a whole bunch of ways, including in resources,
including in circulation, but it sure as heck was not making any money. And by
this time, the Detroit News was not making any money at all. In the late 1980s,
the News was being sold for fifteen cents, and the Free Press for twenty cents. It
was an insane situation. And the best bargain anywhere, for a reader. So, the
powers-that-be were both getting nightmares, and deciding they were going to
move toward a joint operating agreement, which would combine the business
operations, but leave the newsrooms separate and independent. It was not a fun
place to be, I promise you. It took four years to get it, and it only came about on a
four-to-four tie vote by the United States Supreme Court. For all that period of
time, in the case of the Free Press, 2,000 families' lives were all up in the air.
Lose, and there would not be a newspaper. So, just learning to live under those
circumstances was crucial. How do you hold on to good people, for instance?
M: What did you come up with to hold onto?
L: Well, what you come up with is some monetary incentives but beyond that,
people want to be where they trust you, where they think you care about them,
where they think you care about their careers, and so forth. But we did
remarkably well in holding onto them. Just to hold onto people was a big job.
The paper had remarkable loyalty. It was a long, tough siege for an enormous
number of people, with some big ups and downs. At one point, August 8, 1988,
the attorney general rules that it can go ahead. Days later, there is a stay, and
then it is all back into the court system. It was a tortuous, awful thing.
M: What did this situation do for the quality of journalism in Detroit between the two
papers? Because we do not see competition very often.
L: On the one hand, wonderful things; on the other hand, not so good things.
Certainly, excellent journalism came out of the competition. The minus: Each
paper was forever tempted to copy every thing of the other. You start a new
section; I will have a section on the same thing, only I will do it better. You
frequently end up working not off of your own ideas and game plans.
M: What was the attraction to Miami that would get you out of this situation?
L: Going to a JOA [Joint Operating agreement] was like playing for a tie. I am too
competitive for ties! A JOA meant separate newsrooms but combined business
operations. Now, remember, I was responsible for business operations and also
the news and editorial operations, so a JOA would mean lesser responsibility, for
one. Then on Saturday and Sunday, we would have these bastardized combined
papers. Well, I am a very competitive person, and I am not necessarily interested
in joining mastheads and that kind of stuff. Moreover, Knight-Ridder wanted me
to do something else. They wanted me to run the Miami Herald and El Nuevo
Herald. I was significantly skeptical about it, because why would I want to be in
the headquarters city?
M: You felt they would be breathing down your neck?
L: Even good people would be breathing down your neck. Mine would be the paper
they get at home, and so forth and so on. It is their community. They have their
ideas. I would always rather be 1,500 miles away, even with good people. I
emphasize that these are good people, and I was never asked to do anything
immoral, and so forth.
M: The staff at the Herald when you joined it was a pretty amazing group of people.
Do you want to talk a little bit about it? The newspaper had this reputation of an
attitude, and also great writers.
L: The Herald had so many strengths. It was very aggressive in what it covered and
did. It had wonderful writers. It had as good a set of columnists as exist in the
country, and that only got stronger over the years. On the minus [side], it also
had a reputation for being unfriendly to minorities and as a newspaper pretty
significantly out of touch with a changing community. During the 1990s, the
Herald won five Pulitzers, in as changing a community as there exists in the
United States of America. This is a community here that is 55 percent Hispanic,
22 percent or so African-American and/or black, and the rest non-Hispanic-white.
So folks like you and me are a pretty distinct minority. It is also a community with
enormous promise to people in the Americas. It is also significantly
undereducated and underskilled and, in many ways, growing poorer. It has had a
significant problem of corruption, some of it petty and some of it big. The Herald
won a Pulitzer in the past year for coverage of exactly that. Change is very
threatening to people, so change over the years has been very threatening to
people at the Herald. For years the Herald was, to some degree, inattentive to its
own community and quite attentive to, oh, people like us, who are up in the
Treasure Coast, who are in Palm Beach County and Broward and wherever else.
Meanwhile, the community continued to change, and the Herald was relatively
ill-positioned for this. Today, for instance, there are a half-million people in
Miami-Dade County who either can only deal in Spanish or much prefer to deal
only in Spanish. The Herald comes in the English language, the last I looked, and
that is a significant problem. Maybe, evolution in time will take care of a good
deal of this language challenge. But more and more people are coming here,
many with the same kind of challenges. Remember, as well, that the exile
population that came here from Cuba in the early 1960s is significantly different
from the refugee immigrant community coming here now. The people who came
here in the 1960s from Cuba were generally educated people who once had
money even if they did not have it now. They were often educated people,
prepared for success. And, they had a newspaper reading habit. Havana had a
half-dozen daily newspapers, in the 1950s. Today there are no real daily
newspapers in Cuba, now. The Herald made its, sort of, first foray into Spanish
language journalism in the early 1960s in translating a couple of columns one
day a week. Not until 1976 did El Miami Herald come about, and that was, more
or less, the translated version of The Miami Herald. To use the vernacular, we
just did not get it. These people wanted "my own newspaper." Anyhow, it was
not until 1987 that El Nuevo Herald came to be. My point is that it was not until
1987, when we began to say, these folks need their own newspaper with their
own set of editors and reporters, thinking their own way, and so forth. To this
day, people are struggling with, what is the smart way to do this and what are we
willing to do? Only a year and a half ago I agreed that we would sell El Nuevo
Herald separately. Before, you had to get it with The Miami Herald. Many people
just wanted the Spanish-language paper. So, ultimately, we decided that they
needed to be able to get just the Spanish-language paper.
M: Throughout your career, probably because of growing up with the influence of
your parents, you always had a sensitivity to minority issues and minority
concerns, and I guess it was heightened in Philadelphia, Detroit, and then here.
Do you feel now, having left The Herald, that The Herald was beginning to do
L: I think the newspaper business needs to be in constant evolution. The question
is, can you keep it in constant evolution and hold on to all the values. That is the
trick. I do not think The Herald or anybody else reaches the Promised Land at
any one point. I do not think you are ever going to reach it. The community is
going to change, and the newspapers should change.
M: After, I guess, nearly ten years at The Herald, you chose to leave [but] you
stayed here. Is there something about Miami?
L: It is interesting. Increasingly, after more than three decades in newspapering, I
came to want to do something in public service. But, I never could figure out what
to do. My wife Bobbie would say, well, whatever you want to do, I will support you
in that. But I just could not figure it out for almost three years. It was not a
question of money. I probably have--I do not know--forty dollars in my wallet, and
I am happy with that ... actually twenty-six dollars. I write, at the most, two
checks a year. I handle no money. I could not tell you how much money we
have. We have no highfalutin' taste. We do not belong to country clubs. I
drive a Volkswagen bug, and I am totally happy with it.
M: My son would envy you.
L: Metallic blue.
M: What year?
L: New. I do not play golf; I do not play tennis. I do not belong to any social clubs.
I love to travel. I love to read. I care a lot about art. And much of my life is
centered around my five children and my wife. About three years ago, I got
involved in early childhood education and development, and started to
understand it. Governor [Lawton] Chiles asked me to be on the governor's
Commission on Education, and then I was asked to chair its readiness
committee. That is how I came to be involved in this issue. Anyhow, last summer,
a year ago-this is semi-crazy-I said, the only way I can ever resolve my
uncertainty about the future is to leave the newspaper. Let us say I did not want
to go to another newspaper at this point, and let us say I wanted to be a
homeless-center director. Now, I do not, so if you see a job, do not think of me.
M: Okay, I will not.
L: But, no one would say, oh, the publisher of The Herald, he might be a candidate
for that. I would just be off the radar screen for all sorts of opportunities. And I
wondered whether I could psychologically survive not being a big shot and not
making a whole bunch of money. And there are other things involved in this
including that the [newspaper] business became far more of a
business--inexorably over the years and, thus, a lot less fun to me. I never
missed a day of work, so I would always be up for the next day. I just needed to
do something else. So, I resolved, the only way to do it was to leave. Now,
because I had no other "job," I simply announced on August 4 of 1998 that I
would leave at the beginning of the following year, which I did, and that gave me
some time to look. The announcement, if you go back and look at the paper,
only says something about my interests in doing something with both public
service and with children It was not thought out better than that. The following
Saturday, a man named Jerry Katcher calls. Jerry Katcher is a man in his
seventies. He owned a bank in town with a number of branches, which he sold to
Mellon [Bank] in Pittsburgh and therefore had a lot of money. I have known Jerry
over the years, been involved with him in things in the community, and he called
up from Aspen, Colorado, and said, some of us have been talking, and we do not
want you to leave town; if you want to work full-time on children and readiness, in
which I know you are interested, we are willing to set up a foundation [The Early
Childhood Initiative Foundation] so you can do it. This was, and is, terribly
humbling to me, so I have sort of committed myself that I will work hard on this
for at least the next couple of years, and see what comes to pass and what
difference we can make.
M: Do you miss the newspaper business?
L: I never look back. I love newspapers, always will, and think they are important,
but it was time for me to do something else. How many years do we have in this
world? My father was sixty-four, and he gets cancer. He ends up retiring early
and dies at sixty-six. He had all sorts of plans, and he got to do none of those.
The easiest financial decision at age fifty-six was to wait until I was sixty, when
our youngest, Dana, graduates from high school. But, I do not know how much
time I have, or how many years, and I do not know what I will end up doing.
Maybe I will do this for years. Maybe I will do this for a while. Maybe I will do
something else. I do not know. But I will tell you how different I am. Or maybe
I am not that different. But, we had somebody from the benefits office come over
to our house the following Saturday, after the Tuesday announcement. She came
over and explained what we were entitled to. We had stock options and other
things, and we needed to understand it. I did not realize until that Saturday that I
was technically able to retire. I had been with the company twenty-five plus
years, and I am at least fifty-five. So, I do not draw any of my retirement now
because it is advantageous for me to wait a while. But, retirement was not even a
consideration. That show how, in many ways, money is unimportant to me. We
have five children, and I am not trying to figure out how much money we can
leave them. We are there to help them. My folks did not leave me any money,
nor did I expect them to. Other people can use it more than I can, including some
of my siblings.
M: Do you think that your work in this area is going to send you into politics, as a lot
of people thought you might?
L: There was a moment there where it was sort of heady to be asked by a bunch of
people, including the attorney general of the state of Florida and other people, to
please consider this and so forth.
M: You are speaking of running for governor?
L: Right. But, it never really seemed real to me. I raised a lot of money for other
causes, but I do not really want to raise money for myself if I can avoid it. Part of
me says, this is a job you could do; you care a lot about the issues; you know
how to get people together; you are an inclusive person; you would be fair. But,
the timing made no sense. I do not say never to anything, but I do not focus an
ounce of my energy on that subject. What I do know is, that if we could ever get
children started off better in this world, we would have a profound impact on
society. I am excited about all of this. I love my new life. Look around this office.
You did not see many journalism things in here, did you?
L: You did not see any.
M: No. The awards are for humanitarian ...
L: Children and stuff like that. I took the state certification course here to be able to
work with children.
M: I see by this artwork that you are a fantastic painter, too.
L: Oh, yes, it is quite extraordinary. I did that, too.
M: Did you really?
M: It is good work.
L: Well, you would be stunned at how it was done.
L: Yes, with marbles.
M: I have saved my son's. Looks just like that.
L: This was actually rolling in marbles around in a shoe box. I am just excited about
having something new to do in my life. I only have one life. I have clearly lived
way more than half of it, right? I am fifty-seven.
[End of the interview.]