Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Brief Acquaintance With Mr. A.M. Rosenthal


By D'Ann Fago

I once wrote an article for the Herald
That would be the Randolph Herald
About a family of housepainters.
Whatever needed a slap of paint
Got it from the Maynard Brothers.
It wasn't a bad story, if I do say so myself.
After it was published, I got a note
From Mr. A.M. Rosenthal of the Times.
That would be the New York Times.
Apparently he'd been visiting New England,
Because he said he'd read the article
As he was just passing through.
I kinda liked the sound of that: "just passing through."
It was a very nice note.
So I wrote him back:
Dear Mr. Rosenthal,
I just came in from squirrel hunting,
Had a bag of squirrels over my shoulder,
And there was your note.
So I dropped the gun, hit the dog . . .
Et cetera. I was quite pleased with myself.
I showed the letter, and my reply, to my son John.
He was a freshman at Wesleyan at the time
And very aware of new horizons—
His, that is, through me.
And he said, "You can't send that."
So I rewrote the letter and proposed some story ideas.
I think I mentioned some commission or other at the State House
That had just accepted women—it was kind of a big deal.
I then sent this very formal pitch letter to Mr. A.M. Rosenthal and waited.
Eventually, a reply came: "Thank you, Mrs. Fago, but we have stringers for that."
And that was the end of my acquaintance with the New York Times.
It’s my favorite story about not listening to your kids.
Last week, I finally got up the nerve to write to Mr. Rosenthal again,
I was disappointed to learn he's been dead for the past five years.

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