“Guess what, Aussie? The New Yorker has an article on Peter Cunningham.”


“Our friend, Peter Cunningham, the photographer. Remember we visited him and Ara Fitzgerald last summer at Grand Manan Island?”

“I LOVED Ara. She was constantly stroking and petting me, making a big fuss, letting me sleep on the bed in the dining room so that I could look out the window and greet everyone who came to the door. Is she also in The New Yorker? By the way, what’s The New Yorker?”

“It’s an elite, elite, elite New York weekly, with articles, reviews, cartoons, photos, and short stories from some of the best English-language writers. They did an article and photos on Peter’s encounter with Henri Cartier-Bresson and how he took him all around New Jersey to take photos.”

“New Jersey? Who takes photos of New Jersey?”

“Now you’re sounding a little like The New Yorker yourself, Aussie. The point is, Peter has been a great photographer for many years.”

“He’s taken photos of The Man, right?”

“But not just of Bernie, but also of the Boss, Springsteen, Madonna, so many of our best-known artists. We can see some of them on his website, Aussie. You should see his photos of our retreats at Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Black Hills. He has done some beautiful photography books, and now he’s in The New Yorker!”

“I haven’t seen you this excited in a long time.”

“You know, Aussie, it’s not easy to be successful as an artist. You can barely make a living, in fact most artists have to hold other jobs just to keep a roof over their head. You work hard in anonymity for years and years.”

“So, when are you going to appear in The New Yorker?”

“I haven’t done anything to appear in The New Yorker.”

“You’ve written about me.

“You’re not New Yorker material, Aussie.  Peter’s photographed the fishermen in Grand Manan and the events of 9/11 in Manhattan. He did exquisite photos of Bernie and Peter Matthiessen on a Zen pilgrimage in Japan. He even photographed the old Bronx Yankee Stadium before they destroyed it even though he’s a Red Sox fan. Came the post-season, he and I would exchange some nasty emails and—”

“So why did I have to get adopted by you, a nobody?”

“You know, Auss, even nobodys who never get into The New Yorker have value in the world.”

“Not much.”

“We do things, Aussie.”

“Like what?”

“Things nobody hears about. We drive friends to the hospital, we cook meals for a soup kitchen, we take care of children and the elderly, we help clean up a river and protect trees and drive over to someone’s home with a hot meal—”

“Who cares? Nobody ever hears about them!”

“We volunteer at animal shelters, which is where you’re heading if you say one more word. It doesn’t matter if you ever get into The New Yorker or not, Aussie, just be a mensch, as Bernie used to say.”

“Did he ever get into The New Yorker?”

“Oh Aussie, can’t you be happy just being a nobody?”

“No. Do you think Peter could create a book of photographs on me? Just think of it, I could be smiling at millions of people from a coffee table.”

“I don’t think so, Auss. And photography books don’t sell by the millions.”

“This one will. And you can write the captions.”

“I don’t want to write captions, Aussie.”

“[Groan] Life just ain’t worth living if you’re not a celebrity.”

                    Donate to My Blog                      Donate to Immigrant Families

You can also send a check to: Eve Marko, POB 174, Montague, MA 01351. Please write on the memo line whether this is in support or immigrant families or of my blog. Thank you.