Flashback, November 2006: Cape Cod Chronicle Guest Article, Non-sucky Networking Parties, Papermate – Where’s Yours?

Cape Cod Chronicle? You Guest It!

At 90, my grandmother is sharp as a tack in both mind and style … she never leaves the house without dressing to the nines.

On the occasion of her birthday, dozens of cousins, aunts, uncles, and other relatives of mine descended on Cape Cod like locusts from across the country. The crew was motley and the scene a-buzz with chatter and laughter, but Gramma never lost her poise … she just presided over the entire affair from her chair at the head table, resplendent in yellow.

When I said goodbye on Sunday, the last thing she told me was ‘write something about this, Jac. Make sure you do.’

I don’t mess around. The Cape Cod Chronicle offered me some space as a guest writer – for the You Guest It column.
Read the text here:

cape cod chronicle

4,680 Sunday Newspapers

By Jaclyn C. Stevenson

Ninety years can be broken down into any number of measures – 32,850 evening dinners, 23 presidential elections, 4,680 Sunday newspapers, or two Red Sox wins in the World Series.
But facts and figures aren’t enough to illustrate a life that has spanned countless moments of prosperity as well as hardship, war as well as peace, and joy as well as sadness. Indeed, it may be impossible to ever truly tell the story of one person’s journey, especially given the many, intertwined relationships that color one life with thousands of brushstrokes each day.
Every friend, relative, and acquaintance of Muriel Jamieson – we know her as Gramma, or Mimi, or Mum – has a different set of moments and memories that create how they perceive this woman who continues to sail through nine decades of life. Some of us, however, have shared memories.

Despite being the matriarch of a family that is far-flung across several states, ages, and walks of life, there is a small Cape Cod home with weathered shingles and impeccable window boxes where many of our childhood memories were made.
Undoubtedly, most of us have noticed the rows of silver and turquoise bracelets that always line her wrists. The red, braided rug in the living room has been there for years, as has the cabinet that always held coloring books and a big tin of crayons. Many of us colored on that rug, pausing only to grab handfuls of Canada mints, always contained in a white dish shaped like a chicken in a nest.

There were other treats in the kitchen, like Stella Doro breakfast treats, each shaped like an ‘S.’ For years, I thought they were only available at Gramma’s, because ‘S’ of course stood for Stevenson.

True, these are our memories, and not hers, but they were among the stories traded one afternoon in September, 2006, when we gathered to celebrate those 90 years and also to reconnect as a family, some of us for the first time in years.
Looking around the room, I mused that the similarities between us would likely be evident even to strangers. We all have the same wide, toothy grins and throaty laughs. We have big eyes, and bigger mannerisms. For most of us, those characteristics were inherited from the guest of honor, but there are also plenty of spouses and friends in the room that day, and I noticed many of them have those same sweeping mannerisms and boisterous laughs, too.

Perhaps that’s just a symptom of being around people with those traits for years, or maybe it was the celebratory feel in the air that made everyone mirror each other’s squinty, genuine smiles.

Or perhaps it’s another measure of 90 years – not days, weeks, or months – but a sort of intangible legacy that begins with one woman and spans out to children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and further still to wives, husbands, in-laws, step-children, and beyond.

In short, it’s a connection that doesn’t begin and end with a bloodline. It’s the collection of moments, memories, and minutes, each spiraled together to define one life, after another, after another.

It’s family.
-Sept. 2006

Thanks to Tim Wood , editor of the Cape Cod Chronicle

Published: Wednesday, 1 November 2006 Tags: writer cape cod chronicle tim wood redsneakerblog chatham

Achievers: UNITE

Hey all, my story on Lebowski Fest is on the stands. The kind folks at the Valley Advocate gave me the cover … here is a link to the online version . Thanks to James Heflin and Tom Vannah at the Advo!

Hey all, my story on Lebowski Fest is on the stands. The kind folks at the Valley Advocate gave me the cover … here is a link to the online version . Thanks to James Heflin and Tom Vannah at the Advo!

Published: Thursday, 9 November 2006 Tags: coen valley advocate lebowskifest lebowski

Networking Parties Do Not Have to Suck

You hear ‘networking event’ and what do you envision? Likely, a dull assembly of suits balancing plastic cups of bad chardonnay in one hand and a cocktail napkin filled with pigs in a blanket in the other. And everyone is wearing big, garish name tags. As a business writer, I am called upon to attend these functions fairly regularly, but truth be told, would rather put my contacts in with a spoon.

But fear not, intrepid professionals! Help is one the way in the form of a new revolution in networking, and it’s happening in downtown Holyoke, Mass.
David Caputo , owner and president of Positronic Design , a graphic design firm that works with a number of diverse clients nationally, has been rethinking the business model since he was old enough to say ‘how much.’ Caputo already does business in an historic, three-story Colonial home where he also lives, in an otherwise unassuming section of Western Mass. He subcontracts, which keeps his overhead down while attracting a bevy of freelance talent. And, he serves lunch to his staff regularly, often with the help of a whole-foods chef.
That alone is progessive. But Caputo has also reinvented the networking party to make it a rockin’ event for executives of all walks of life. At Positronic, networking parties are … well, parties.

A few times a year, Caputo tricks out his home/office with bright lights. He hires musicians — several, who perform concurrently on each of the house’s floors — and sets up drink stations and food from the local Polish deli. He has themed cups printed for the occasion. Then, he sends out a few e-mail invitations to a number of Creatives on his radar screen, and leaves the door open from 5 p.m. until the wee hours.
The result is a mash-up of like-minded folks as well as plenty who would never meet each other anywhere else. Contacts aren’t made through the exchange of business cards, but through e-mails scrawled on napkins. Both times i have attended a Caputo- soiree, I’ve come out with a slew of story ideas and new contacts that bolster my own business.
As my editor says, there’s a story under every rock. But sometimes, those stories only like to crawl out at night, and Caputo knows that, and capitalizes on that.
As I was swaying to the mellow tones of DJ Muse in his attic, only moments after jammin’ to The Concoction and their way-better-than-the-original version of Dirty Deeds, and also after lending my own voice to a piano-bar rendition of Ain’t Nobody’s Business, I realized that not only has Caputo uncovered a hidden gem in the world of business planning, but he’s also proven that creative professionals don’t have to don the corporate armor to succeed.
They just need to enter the fray in a place that lets them be themselves. Pumpkin ale, house music, homemade burgers, AND a few leads? I felt right at home.

Published: Friday, 17 November 2006 Tags: positronic positronicdesign caputo holyoke western mass writer networking

Comments

A visitor‘ left this comment on 29 Dec 06
Sounds like a blast – great idea. Have you read Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Never eat alone?” I got a lot out of it.

Papermate — Where’s Yours?

The only way I can possibly tie this entry into my blog is – well, I do cover health care…
Regardless, I am beyond compelled to share this story. My cousin just underwent a surgery to remove a sponge and clamp that were left in her body after having her gall bladder removed. Bummer, right? Bad enough?
No! After just receiving an update on her condition, I was told that doctor’s retrieved a PAPERMATE PEN.
Papermate, with a tag line like ‘Where’s Yours?’ you may have an interesting marketing angle here… if the pen still writes, that is.

I’m just saying.

Published: Wednesday, 29 November 2006 Tags: papermate healthcare surgery

Comments

Writerjax‘ left this comment on 29 Dec 06
Just an update, kids … upon checkin in with said family member, the answer is yes. Yes, the pen still writes.

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