The Story of Me
Author, teacher, father of seven and really swell guy.
That’s me (right) in my favorite outfit, when we lived in Warrington, England in the late 1950s. I was born in Indianapolis, and grew up in Warrington; Weisbaden, Germany; Omaha, Nebraska; Homestead, Florida; and Fort Worth, Texas.
This idyllic-looking town (below) is Cohasset, Massachusetts, where I lived for 10 years. Yes, it really is that pretty. I moved to the adjoining town, Scituate (pronounced SITCH – u – ut) in 2023. It’s the next town over, another festival of New England quaintness and weirdity.
Sometimes, I feel as if I live in a Norman Rockwell painting. These towns are rosy-cheeked wholesome. We even have milkmen here.
Every spring, all the townspeople gather for the annual baseball parade. We meet on the town Common and then, with the high school’s marching band, we walk to the baseball field, where we raise the American flag, sing the national anthem, then draw straws and stone to death the person with the shortest straw.
The quintessential New England town, as I say.
Here’s a photo I took of the Cohasset shore in winter, when we rented a rickety summah house (i.e., with the merest suggestion of insulation) right on the water. A beach covered in snow was strangely attractive to me. I spent most of my life in Florida, so this was a novelty.
Okay, that’s enough Chamber of Commerce stuff for a while. Onto my life history.
If you think you crossed paths with me in childhood, please keep in touch. I’m always on the lookout for old friends — Alan Rinehart, Paul Franks, Ricky Wilson (who nicknamed my big brother ‘Bowels’) and the eternally beautiful Mary Savage.
Back to the family ….
My father was a flight surgeon in the Air Force, hence all of our moves. He retired from the service and opened a private practice in Bloomington, Indiana, which is as close as I have to a hometown. I was in the last class to ever graduate from University High School in Bloomington, and earned two degrees at Indiana University.
As a grownup, I’ve lived in Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Florida and Massachusetts.
I began working for daily newspapers when I was 14 — first the Courier-Tribune in Bloomington, Indiana, and then the Palm Beach Post in Florida. I later worked for a couple of magazines, The American Spectator and The Saturday Evening Post. After beginning my teaching career, I worked for the Norman Transcript in Oklahoma, the Gainesville Sun in Florida, the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Tampa Bay Times. In addition, I did contract work for the Associated Press and two radio stations in Oklahoma City, WKY and KGOU.
I fell into academia and began my teaching career at Western Kentucky University. I taught there for five years, then moved to the University of Oklahoma, where I earned a doctorate while serving as faculty member and assistant director of the school of journalism and mass communication. After four years, I joined the journalism faculty at the University of Florida. I was there for 24 years and chaired the journalism department for the last 12 years there.
I moved to Boston University in 2010 and chaired its journalism department through February 2023.
I remain on the faculty and will teach until I expire in the middle of class. Scatter my ashes on Commonwealth Avenue.
Click on my resume for details.
I have seven children: Sarah, a designer in New York; Graham, a university administrator in Indiana; Mary, who works for a non-profit in Chicago; Savannah, a nurse in Scituate, Massachusetts; Jackson, an artist in residence at my residence; Travis, a student athlete at Rivier University in New Hampshire; and Charley, a young scholar enrolled at Miami of Ohio.
In addition, I have five granddaughters: Mabel and Myer (daughters of Graham and wife Amanda); Pearl and Rose (daughters of Sarah and husband David); and Vivienne (daughter of Savannah and husband John).
I’ve written or edited 13 books and you can learn the details here.
I love teaching and I consider myself on call for anyone who’s ever been in one of my classes. Say hello: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love hearing from former students — and there are a lot of them. I’ve been teaching for 45 years. Being a teacher is a lifetime commitment and it’s been a supreme pleasure.
In the words of Joe Walsh, “Life’s been good to me so far.”