Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Recent Talks

It was a rare, warm(ish) day in NY on the day I went to speak in Princeton. The library, whose list of speakers I had always admired, was under half a mile from the train station (one takes a very short train called the "dinky" from Princeton Junction to Princeton) and it was a lovely walk. The town, which is dominated (at least along the route that I followed) by Princeton University, was beautiful with Gothic buildings (the sun set as I walked from one end of the campus to the other, and I watched as the old buildings began glowing from the inside), flanked by old (in terms of age but not upkeep) New England-style homes. I stopped for frozen yogurt and thought it would be prudent to ask if it was safe to walk back to the train station later that night; the young guy laughed, and said that there hadn't been a crime in Princeton for 43 years (which was well beyond his lifetime of experience). And I realized that the group in attendance asked the highest number of questions per capita.

Following my presentation in Princeton, I went to South Florida for two more speaking opportunities (and to visit my son, Mike). The first was organized by my sister-in-law, Chani, who spent all day baking, despite not knowing how many people would show up on a "school night." But a nice sized crowd flowed in, listened attentively and asked questions, and then quickly grabbed something to eat and headed h ome to make sure their kids finished their homework, bathed, etc. I was quite impressed with the turnout, as I know I never had that much energy late (8:30 p.m.) on a school night.

The following morning, I spoke at a synagogue in Boca Raton to a surprisingly large audience -- about 200 people. In contrast to the Princeton audience, this group asked the fewest questions per capita, but many of them came over to me afterwards to tell me about their own personal connection to my grandfather's story -- one woman's father had been born the same year as my grandfather, another one had had a relative who was in the same war, though he knew nothing about it; I even met someone who had been at my parents' wedding.

I'm starting to get enough experience to know which jokes work with which audience, and even though I regularly get laughs, my kids still insist that I'm "not funny." I'll just keep messing with their heads by letting them know what other people think.

No comments:

Post a Comment