Category Archives: Personal

The Things You Remember

 

ED DIED

The things you remember…

When I first came up to New York to take over Kaiser Aluminum’s eastern public relations effort, I came in range of Ed Block.

I had just turned thirty, coming up out of Ravenswood, population six thousand, West-by-God Virginia, where Kaiser Aluminum had its biggest plant, coming up out of the wilds of rural West Virginia to the Capital of the World where all the God-like creatures roamed.  And there was Ed Block. Ed Block of AT&T.  The AT&T. The biggest, most influential telecommunications company in the country, maybe in the world.

I didn’t get to meet him right away. I first saw him at a Public Relations Society of America event at the Waldorf where he was being honored for one of the things he was always being honored for.  I remember sitting in the audience that night and being awed. I watched him, listened to him, and knew with absolute certainty that here was a master of the craft, a man who knew what to do and knew how to do it, no matter the challenge. And he was unpretentious, and graceful, and dignified, and disarmingly charming. I remember leaving that event thinking that’s what I want to be. I want to be Ed Block like.

There wasn’t that much difference in our ages, but he was a couple of classes  ahead of mine in our field — like a senior if you were a freshman. He was the star of the senior class who lowly freshmen were to walk respectfully in the presence of. I did. Willingly and with admiration. Ed Block was the standard you aspired to.

Later I got to know him well, worked closely with him on some things we both felt were important. I never lost that thought, though.

Ed died a few weeks ago.

I was so very, very lucky to have had the gift of his friendship and pleasure of his company.

Ed’s passing reminded me of the debt we all owe to the men in the class ahead of ours whose friendship and coaching played such a key role in helping us get from where we were to where we got. I think I said thank you. Lord, I hope I did. Only Shep is still around to hear it. If I didn’t, with regret and apologies, I do so now. And if I did, I gladly do so again.

For my part, and for the record – to Bob Sandberg of Kaiser Aluminum and Bill Shepard of Alcoa, to Larry Foster of Johnson & Johnson and John Verstrate of 3-M, and to the first in that line, Harry Towles of Kentucky’s Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources, thank you, gentlemen.  I am truly beholden.

 

FLIP A COIN

I’m not sure whether I’m conflicted about this next book or merely procrastinating.

They are three possibilities. I’ve already mentioned them to you

One is a story about what happens when the meek, whoever they are, inherit the earth, as it is written they will.

The second is how the King of the Craw was killed, and why, and how — and what therefrom resulted. He was a person of quite some notoriety was the King, John Fallis, and the Craw itself even more so. Fallis wouldn’t be the main character, a young man who becomes involved with him would be. But Fallis will be pivotal and since he is real and much about him is known, I must be extraordinarily careful about what I imagine him doing and saying. This requires more control of a character than I’m used to. Usually, I just listen and watch.

The third is that  tale of the poor country boy trying to do the best he can in a world he never made. You’ve seen some copy from it — the More To Come stuff. I’ve put that story hold. It would be a true story, or as true as memory can make it, and very difficult to write. I’ve not jettisoned the idea entirely. It’s still there like one of those old songs rarttling around in your mind that you can’t quite turn off.

Must decide. Must pick one. Must begin. Flip a coin?

Tomorrow.