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Posts Tagged ‘About Laurie’

Monday, January 4, 2010

You Get the Picture

Allen rarely holds strong opinions that differ from mine so when he does, I pay attention. The first time this proved to be a wise strategy was related to the decision of where to send Henry to school. I favored sending him to my alma mater, Washington, DC’s prestigious (to the extent that a nursery school can be such a thing) National Child Research Center where 30 years earlier I stapled my brother Andrew’s thumb and met my first best friend Katie Hawke. Allen wanted Henry (and eventually Jack and Joe) to go to a Jewish preschool because, well, we’re Jewish, and also to give them sufficient instruction in Judaism to increase the probability that they would be mensches. We enrolled them in the Gan Hayeled Nursery School at our synagogue where each played with blocks, made beautiful art work and friends for life, and took a few sizable steps down the road to mensch-hood.

Allen was sure that Norman Jean Roy, a prominent, award-winning portrait photographer (think U2, Cate Blanchett, Katherine Heigl, Isla Fisher) would agree to take my Saving Henry publicity photos. We had met Norman and his beautiful inside-and-out girlfriend (now wife) Joanna in June 2001. They had traveled by car for about five hours from their home in New York City to Bethany Beach, DE where Henry, Jack, Allen and I were enjoying a day on the beach. Norman’s assignment was to take a photograph of Henry for a New York Times magazine cover story that Lisa Belkin had written about ours and the Nash families’ race against time to save our children. Norman’s photographs poignantly capture Henry’s incredible strength and indomitable spirit and the havoc that Fanconi anemia had wreaked on his body. Something magical happened on the beach that day. Norman and Joanna ended up getting engaged and then married. We got one of the last and only pictures of our family of five (Joe was five months in utero and I was most certainly showing). We formed a lasting bond unaffected by geographic distance or frequency of communication.

After Henry died, Norman sent us all the contact sheets from that day on the beach with a note instructing us to pick any and all that we liked. The photographs are displayed throughout our house.

When Hyperion bought the rights to Saving Henry, Allen felt strongly that Norman should and would take the publicity photos. I thought that Allen could take the picture. I did not think it would be as beautiful as the piece of work that Norman could create.

Norman is in demand. His breathtaking work is featured on the pages of Vogue, Vanity Fair and other top magazines. His photography book TRAFFIK, portraying Somaly Mam and other survivors of Cambodia’s sex trade, is stunning. So when Allen wrote to Norman this fall asking him if he would be willing to take my photograph, I thought Norman would simply be too busy to do it. I was wrong.

On October 30, 2009, Allen and I flew to Los Angeles, rented a car and drove to Norman’s studio on Sunset Boulevard. We spent hours with Norman and Joanna talking and remembering. They shared their heartbreak over the despicable human sex trade and their inspiring work with Somaly Mam to bring attention, and hopefully an end, to it. Allen and I shared a copy of Saving Henry. I let Norman see the depths of my joy and heartbreak which not surprisingly he captured beautifully in the photos.

Publicity PhotoPublicity Photo 2Publicity Photo 3

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

25 Things You Don’t Know About Me

There are probably a whole lot of things you don’t know about me, including the fact that I’m a celebrity “news” junkie. For years, I would volunteer to do the family grocery shopping on Friday mornings so I could buy “US Weekly” fresh off the presses. Allen caught on so among last year’s birthday gifts was a subscription. There are so many things to read and learn, but one of my favorites is the page that highlights 25 things that before that day I did not know about Dolly Parton or Tim McGraw or whoever. While I might have guessed that Dolly Parton at one point had a crush on Johnny Cash, I had absolutely no idea that she still believes in Santa! I may not be a celebrity to anyone beyond my son Joe who upon seeing me on TV exclaimed, “I didn’t know you were famous!” but I thought I’d share my own list with you. Just in case you want to know.

  1. I trained for a marathon but have never run one.
  2. I hid my collection of Wacky Packages in my childhood home so well that even I never found them.
  3. I became a vegetarian when I was six (and still am one today) because my family owned a cattle farm and I thought it was wrong to eat our pets.
  4. I’m grateful for National Parks.
  5. I know all the lyrics to The Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.”
  6. I took flying lessons in high school.
  7. I love Shrinky Dinks.
  8. I believe there is always room for one more.
  9. I love eating in diners.
  10. I always have a Plan B.
  11. Sometimes I go to the movies just for the Sno-Caps.
  12. I have a long list of covers I would perform if or when I become a rock star.
  13. When and if I ever “make it,” I want to open up a nail salon/cocktail lounge called “Get Nailed.”
  14. I’m afraid of dogs.
  15. I love sunsets on the beach.
  16. I never pack the right things.
  17. I find most of our art work in flea markets.
  18. I’d walk miles just for a piece of Godiva chocolate, especially if it had hazelnut in it.
  19. I won a dance contest in 7th grade and was given the choice of the following prizes: Barry Manilow “One Voice” featuring the song “Ships” and Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut. And I chose Barry Manilow. (I hope Jack doesn’t see this.)
  20. I think Batman is the coolest superhero by far.
  21. My goal in 10 years is to own an Airstream Trailer and to go on a year-long road trip with Allen and the boys if they are up for joining.
  22. I do not have a green thumb.
  23. I believe strongly in retail therapy.
  24. I love finding sand dollars.
  25. I still feel lucky.
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Favorite Things

The list of Henry’s favorite things was originally created on December 9, 2002, to remind Henry – who was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital – why he needed to be strong and get better. Allen read each item aloud, beginning with Mommy; his girlfriend Bella; small, shiny objects. The list grew by the hour. Henry’s desperate condition worsened by the moment. Within a day, the list transformed into Allen’s and my desperate attempt to remember everything important to Henry. Everything that made him special. Everything that made him Henry. As he lay dying, among the many horrors we faced was the fear that we might forget something, anything.

The list has continued to grow over the past seven years and much of it appears in Saving Henry. If you read it, you will know almost everything there is to know about Henry. You will know that he loved life, family, friends, fun, big things, little things, things that can only happen in the winter, and other things that require warmth and sunshine.

I keep a list of favorite things too. It brings back memories. It gives me things to look forward to. It makes me happy. Here is a peek.

  • Going to live music shows with Allen, particularly Todd Snider, Lucinda Williams and Kasey Chambers
  • When Jack discovers some great music and shares it with me
  • Playing cards with Joe
  • Looking for sand dollars in the waters of Captiva, Florida with Henry, Jack and now Joe
  • The smell of fresh coffee in the morning
  • Candy stores, especially if they sell Pop Rocks chocolate bars and red shoestring licorice
  • Cocktails on the beach
  • Right after I’ve completed a long run (but definitely not during)
  • Camp fires, especially with smores
  • Seeing endangered species in the wild like manatees and bald eagles
  • Ceasefires
  • Cozy cashmere throws
  • When someone shares a new-to-me picture of Henry
  • Wearing slippers
  • The first big snow of the year
  • Nearly anything made of potatoes
  • Seeing butterflies in my garden
  • Great finds at flea markets
  • Eating at diners
  • Allen’s dimples
  • Jack and Joe’s long hair
  • Boardwalks

Keep checking in. There’s more where all that came from.

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