How I Benefit from the Celebrities I Grew Up /Worked with and Still Do

How many famous and important people do you actually know (besides yourself, of course)? How does this benefit you?

Do I know more than you, or more than most? I’m in the mood to brag, by association, about having such amazing friends and former associates and colleagues. I also want to share how knowing these extraordinary people benefits me.

Some definitions seem helpful, here.

By “grew up/worked with” I mean: I KNOW/KNEW these people. We ate together, went to school or camp together, swam or canoed together, were friends/colleagues for more than a few minutes (some I’m still connected to strongly; several were lovers). Not only would I claim them, but they all know and remember me well.

By “celebrities,” I mean that these are people who have:

  • been on the covers of national magazines and/or featured speakers/presenters at national/international events/conferences;
  • won national or international awards or positions of great importance;
  • invented/started something significant;
  • wrote/starred in/produced something significant in the way of art/music/books/movies/plays;
  • achieved a high level of renown in their chosen field;
  • are known by many others as “great” in their field;
  • been stars of series TV shows and/or featured on popular talk shows;
  • are known by and hang out with other celebrities.

(in no particular order)
From Ladue Schools in St. Louis, MO (apparently, a disproportionate number of important contributors to society, culture, science and justice are graduates from my well-known and -regarded Horton Watkins Ladue High School, not just the ones I list, below):

Dr. Jonathan D. Fleischmann, M.D. My older brother is a urological oncologist who has patented surgical techniques, medications and other treatments as well has being the mentor/teacher for many other surgeons/researchers in these areas. Our mother lost a kidney to cancer in the 1960s and is fortunately still alive today.

Jon

D. Scott Bassinson, J.D., one of my first serious boyfriends and long-time friend, is an Attorney who has argued at the USA Supreme Court, now a Judge and always, a Musician/Composer. It is due to Scott and his brother, Kevin (also a celebrity)’s resignations that I became Ladue High School’s rehearsal and performance accompanist and a professional accompanist for musicals, choruses and performances.

scottbassinson

Karen S. Raskin Kleiman, MSW, author of several books, founder of the Postpartum Stress Center, and leading researcher in Postpartum Depression and its treatments (featured on many TV talk shows, including OPRAH, in magazines and websites).

Karen Kleiman

Rich Rubin, journalist, playwright, Founder/Producing/Artistic Director, Quince Productions and GayFest! (Philadelphia), was my first piano-playing duet partner under Deborah Rosenblum in the early 1960s, and we graduated from Ladue together in 1972.

R Rubin

Craig Pomranz, singer, recording artist, live cabaret performer, children’s book author, was another one of my high school “more than friends” that I’m still in touch with and regard highly.

Raffi cover

Dr. Alice Conway, J.D., Ph.D., attorney and philanthropist, blind since aged three, first blind Board Chair of the The St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Alice and I had many classes together in junior and senior high school.

Alice Conway

Dr. Michael Green, M.D., Ph.D., Professor at UMASS Medical Center in Gene Function and Expression, the recipient of the Searle Scholar Award, the Presidential Young Investigators Award, and the McKnight Neuroscience Award and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Michael was my second serious high school boyfriend and I went to the first college I attended partly because he was there (sorry, feminists). I knew his little brother, Eric, as well (see below).

Green

Dr. Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, recipient of numerous awards and author of many scholarly articles.

Eric Green

Joel Meyers, longtime sports broadcaster (currently play-by-play announcer of the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association). Joel and I went to school together from Kindergarten through high school, but we weren’t exactly friends.

Joel Meyers

Frances Ginsberg, Opera Singer (deceased) with the New York City and Spanish operas before her death several years ago sang in our high school’s Chorale and musicals. I accompanied her solos.

Fran ginsberg

Want to see more about some of these Ladue alums and more? In 2012 (the year of my 40th high school reunion), Ladue held its 60th “Distinguished Alumni” Awards Ceremony and it is on YouTube: http://bit.ly/10vTEaP

From Camp Hawthorn (the St. Louis Jewish Community Center Association’s Missouri Ozarks overnight camp, until 1969):

Sheldon Mirowitz (also from Ladue Schools), soloist musician, producer/arranger and sideman, professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, film and TV composer, winner of awards at the Sundance Film Festival and other accolades for his music,including three Emmy nominations and one Peabody Award. I met Sheldon in 8th grade at camp and then we we re-met in high school and have been friends ever since.

Sheldon

Chuck Blitz, became independently wealthy in the first dot.com boom and turned that to opportunities to be a philanthropist, environmentalist, social/environmental activist, particularly in the Santa Barbara, CA, area, and with Ram Dass and the White Lotus Foundation (ecological, social community and world service (SEVA) programs and yoga teacher training). I went to camp with Chuck; his sister, Judy (“Jay”) was my first counselor, but he and Glenn Savan were/are my brother, Jon’s, age, so we weren’t really friends.

Glenn Savan, (deceased in 2002), author of White Palace, a semi-autobiographical novel turned into the film in 1987, starring James Spader in Glenn’s role and Susan Sarandon as the love interest, using the local “White Castle” hamburger joints as the setting. I knew Glenn from camp, but we weren’t exactly friends.

White Palace

Colleges and New England living (University of Wisconsin/Madison and University of Bridgeport/Connecticut (undergrad) and University of Massachusetts/Amherst (graduate)

Dr. Hans van der Giessen, Ph.D., Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs for and Political Science Professor at the Univ. of Bridgeport, Hans was a close personal friend for many years. We aren’t still in touch, though.

Dr. Rahima Wade, Ph.D. (deceased, 2012), almost single-handedly brought “service learning” into public schools in the 1990’s. She also introduced me to the idea of returning to school as a parent of young children and we both attended UMASS/Amherst at the same time. I first met her in Keene, NH, since we belonged to several of the same community groups.

Rahima

Dr. Mary Kalanzis, Ph.D., and Dr. Bill Cope, Ph.D., Professors, authors/researchers in Multicultural Education and Workplace Diversity globally. I met them when Mary came to Keene State College in New Hampshire as a Fulbright Scholar from Australia in 1990-91 with her husband and colleague/co-writer, Bill, and son, Philip. I then traveled with my partner to visit them in Australia in 1996. Mary and Bill are now at the University of Illinois/Champagne, where she is the Dean of the College of Education.

Mary and Bill

Dr. Sonia Nieto, Ed.D., Dr. Jerri Willett, Ph.D., Dr. Peter Elbow, Ph.D., Dr. Masha Rudman, Ed.D., Dr. Barbara Love, Ed.D., Dr. Maurianne Adams, Ed.D., Dr. Pat Griffin, Ed.D., among others at UMASS/Amherst, when I studied there in the early to mid-1990s. These particular professors taught/advised me and are authors/ researchers/ activists of great renown in their respective fields (Teacher Education, Curriculum Development, Multicultural Education, Second Language Acquisition, Social Justice Education, Writing Education, Lesbian/Gay Studies, Literacy/Children’s Literature). Because of them, I have held positions as an instructor/trainer in various subjects at various colleges/universities and several nonprofits around the USA.

Dr. Caroline Myss, Ph.D., best-selling author, speaker, medical clairvoyant, teacher. I met Caroline in 1983 in New Hampshire and we became close friends, seeing each other almost weekly until she moved to back to Chicago in 1992. Since then, we stayed in touch, sporadically, but she travels internationally and is unusually busy even when she “lands” somewhere. She mentions me and our friendship in several of her books’ dedications/acknowledgements.

caroline_sitting

Other notables from the Antioch/New England Graduate School in Keene, NH: Faculty members/authors/ researchers, David Sobel, Rick (Youst) van der Poll, and Mario Cossa (who is also a longtime good friend and colleague). Mario, two of our students and I co-authored one book about the program he started that I helped fun for many years in Keene, ACTING OUT,

Acting Out book

and I edited Mario’s second book.

Rebels

Recently, Mario was introduced to some colleagues in Israel as “the most prominent psychodramatist in California.” How exciting!

From Camp Med-O-Lark (in Washington, ME)

Bari K. Willerford, actor in the National Deaf Theatre and star of MathNet children’s TV show on PBS as well as continuing to appear in many other TV series, movies (American Gangster) and TV episodes.

Bari

From Community Matters in Sebastopol, CA:

Rick Phillips, M.S. Ed., co-author and co-creator of the Safe School Ambassadors anti-bullying program and book, which I helped edit, write and edit. I worked at CM for almost five years, up to 2010.

SSA book

From Northern California:

David “Gus” Garelick, musician, composer, conductor, teacher, author/researcher, D.J., founder/artistic director of “The Hot Frittatas,” “The Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble” (both of these groups have CDs available) and “The Wild Catahoulas,” also plays/has played in many other duos and bands and on many recordings, including with Queen Ida.

David and I are friends (meshpucha, Yiddish for extended family [by blood and not by blood]) who also play music together (he rather well, I rather badly). I posted our last California duets on my YouTube Channel! Have a listen/look when you’re in the mood!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w/feed

David has planned a series of three volumes about mandolin music, including his own and others’ tunes. Here is Volume I:

Mando book cover 1

Allegra Broughton and Sam Page, singers/songwriters, musicians, founders of “Solid Air,” members of “The Wild Catahoulas,” also play/have played in many other duos and bands. Author of a series of books about and original tunes for mandolins, David also writes a column for Fiddler Magazine and is a national, state and regional fiddle champion and often, judge of fiddle contests. Solid Air has many great CDs available.

Solid Air

Don Coffin, singer/songwriter, musician, teacher, former husband and member of Kate Wolf’s band, member of the “The Hot Frittatas,” Don also plays/has played in many other duos and bands. Don taught well-known guitarist, Nina Gerber, when she was first learning guitar.

Don C

Dennis Hadley, musician, singer, member of “The Hot Frittatas,” “The Wild Catahoulas,” also plays/has played in many other duos and bands. Legally blind since birth, Dennis is one of the best accordion players and enthusiastic vocalists in northern California.

Dennis

From Chagdud Gonpa, my Buddhist Community (Sangha):

Our main teacher, deceased in 2002, His Eminence, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, was a meditation master, teacher, author and Buddhist scholar. A contemporary of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Rinpoche studied with him under many of the same teachers and escaped Tibet to India at about the same time as the Dalai Lama. His books are well-known and -regarded, and the Western students he taught and groomed to become teachers before his death are well-known and -regarded as Buddhist meditation masters and teachers in their own rights. Among them are my teachers, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu (known as Lama Drimed) and Lama Padma Shenphen Drolma (known as Lama Shenphen), who are also authors and Buddhist scholars.

CTR

Rinpoche’s books are well-known and -regarded, and the Western students he taught and groomed to become teachers before his death are well-known and -regarded as Buddhist meditation masters and teachers in their own rights. Among them are my teachers, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu (known as Lama Drimed) and Lama Padma Shenphen Drolma (known as Lama Shenphen), who are also authors and Buddhist scholars.

Change of heart

Among our sangha members whom I know personally are two authors: Barbara Gates, who wrote a thinly fictionalized novel about her early years at Chagdud Gonpa’s main residential meditation center, Rigdzin Ling, with these and other teachers and sangha members, In the Buddha’s Kitchen; and, photographer/teacher, Cary Groner.

Exiles-210

Now, all of these (still living) celebs can brag that they know ME!

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#Free #ebook if you have class or Book Club and want to co-develop a #curriculum using Volume I, “This Changes Everything,” “The Spanners Series” (or any future Vol.)

Volume I, This Changes Everything, The Spanners Series
could be free to participants in your class or Book Club!

Are you a teacher or curriculum developer? I have worked in those fields a lot! Do you belong to or moderate a Book Club?

Let’s co-develop discussion questions, activities and projects for your classes/group to inspire your students/participants to read parts or or all of my ebooks, starting with Volume I, This Changes Everything, The Spanners Series.

Middle/high school and college teachers of English or science fiction literature, world history, ancient art and artifacts, physics, astronomy, social science, communication, art, psychology, sociology and writing could use this Volume and the others in the Series as jumping-off points for great projects, further research and discussions. Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is due out in spring, 2014.

Appendix D in each Volume provides the actual individuals, by category, that are referred to in the Series. In several chapters, there are also specific political, artistic, geographic and historical references and descriptions related to the themes and topics in the Series.

The novels are in the science/speculative fiction/romance genres for a mixed audience of adults, new adults, and young adults. The Series’ themes, characters and plot points incorporate Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, physics, astronomy, multiverse/multiple timelines, social speculation, sexual orientation and gender identity, psi/paranormal skills, aliens/life on other planets and orbs, politics and government, Nazca lines, pyramids Roswell and Area 51, and much more. (Synopsis and Table of Contents for TCE at the end of this post.)

Volumes II – X coming in 2014 and soon after. Alternating (even-numbered) Volumes utilize narrators and points of view from young adults, teens and children.

I will provide Volume I or any of the Series’ ebooks free to students using my ebook in a class and to Book Club members as long as one copy is purchased (usually by the leader/teacher).

Also, I live in northern California and am willing to travel if you’d like the “author visit” or “author reading” or “author Q & A” session for your group. Since I used to teach middle and high school as well as college and graduate school and have been a reader since I was 3 years old, I would be delighted to speak with students and readers anywhere, any time, about my books, about writing, and about the themes in The Spanners Series.

Pre-order at half-price or purchase after 12/20 (see below). Then, if you are interested, email me to discuss! sallyember@yahoo.com

Pre-orders at $1.99 11/5-12/19 on iBooks, B & N nook and Kobo via Smashwords; release date via Smashwords and on Kindle and other sites starting 12/20/13, @ $3.99.

Contact me here any time after December 20, 2013, to download the free ebooks (I will give you a code).

Meanwhile, review this TOC, below, and check out excepts via this website or on The Spanners Series by Sally Ember Facebook page (which has more!), and let me know what you think of using this book for your Club or class.

This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series
Synopsis
After several millennia of mostly secret visits and contact with Earthers, members of the Many Worlds Collective (MWC) Council decide that a Liaison, dubbed the Chief Communicator (CC) must be contacted and that this contact must be made public in order to avert multiple types of disasters on Earth. The visiting members of the MWC come in hologram form to the selected CC (Clara Branon, 58, living in northern California) for the first time on December 21, 2012.

As a “Spanner,” Branon is one of millions of “Baby Boomers” who survive across two centuries and bridge the divide (hence, “Spanners”) between nonpublic and public contact with the MWC and many other major changes that occur during these decades.

Because most Earthers are not prepared to accept this type of reporting or storytelling as nonfiction, this first and some other volumes of the series are of the realistic fiction/science fiction/fantasy genres. Many of the characters, events and locations are actual; some are not, or haven’t happened (yet) at the time of first publication.

In This Changes Everything are: a love story, spanning about 40 years; dialogue and scenes of the relationships among the CC and her mother and siblings; communications between the CC and her adult son; dialogue between the CC and some friends; info about the selection and identity of the chosen media contact for the CC, with excerpts from her journal; news stories about the CC and the MWC events from Earth media as well as MWC media; background about the CC and the reasons for her being selected; excepts from minutes of meetings of the InterGalactic Council of the MWC; and much more.

After the MWC educational resources and information become widely available, in 2013, all time is now known to be simultaneous. Writing from any point in time and timeline is means that the love story and other aspects are depicted in multiple versions. Will Branon and her Future or Fictional Husband be together? Which “re-set” of the Transition After Public Contact prevails?

Tone is humorous/serious; mode is utopian. Narrative includes history, poetry, literature, music/lyrics, science and technological advances, paranormal skills, law and government, Buddhism and other religions, meditation, social-emotional intelligence, time and space travel, interspecies communication, and social/futuristic depictions of the Earth, post-MWC public contact.

This Changes Everything is the first of The Spanners Series, which chronicles the public contact between the CC and the MWC and the impact of these contacts on Earthers and the MWC over the 30 years that Branon is the CC. Chapters are written from several perspectives. Some Volumes in series purport to be nonfiction or have nonfiction sections.

Genres and Audience: Sci-Fi/Speculative Fiction/Romance, Adult/ New Adult/YA novel

Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE First Contact between the Many Worlds Collective
(MWC) and Clara Branon, Ph.D., in northern California, December, 2012
INTERLUDE I Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log What is Fiction?
CHAPTER TWO Minutes from the Fission Subcommittee, MWC Intergalactic Council Earth Date: August 5, 1945 Page 6 of 9
INTERLUDE II Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log Clara Freaks Out
CHAPTER THREE “‘They’ Never Leave: the MWC and Earthers; or, Crop Circles, Alien ‘Abductions,’ Whitley Streiber, Roswell/Area 51 and other MWC Blunders” Opening Remarks given by Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator and Liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective Global Unity Leaders Council #1, 6/8/15, The Hague, The Netherlands
INTERLUDE III Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log Who are “The Spanners”?
CHAPTER FOUR Many Worlds Collective Intergalactic Travel Authority Accident Report Earth Location and Date: Roswell, NM, USA, July 8, 1947
INTERLUDE IV Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log Ackerman Family’s Adventures in Psychokinesis
CHAPTER FIVE The Mayan and Current Calendars; or, Why First Publishable MWC Contact Occurs on December 21, 2012 Vid Interview given by Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator and Liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective January 6, 2014, with Media Contact, Esperanza Enlaces, Interviewer
INTERLUDE V Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log Clara Develops Trust in The Band
CHAPTER SIX Epifanio’s Version Epifanio Dang Tells His Story
CHAPTER SEVEN MWC Collective Artists’ Guild’s Philosophy and Policy on Off-Planet Installations Approximate Earth Locations and Date: Teotihuacan (Mexico) and Sudan (Africa) Pyramids, 250 BCE
INTERLUDE VI Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log Clara Describes Her Earlier Timulting Experiences
CHAPTER EIGHT Second Public Contact between the MWC and Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., or, This Is Not a Dream
CHAPTER NINE From Esperanza Enlaces’ private journal entries, February 13 – December 23, 2012
INTERLUDE VII Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log Confessions of a Bad Poet: How I Become a Writer
CHAPTER TEN How Our Contacts Become Public (thanks to my son, Zephyr Branon, and the 2013 world-wide web [www])
INTERLUDE VIII Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log “Clara: the Outsider Who Becomes the Ultimate Insider” rehearsal for interview with Espe for May 2, 2013
CHAPTER ELEVEN First Internet News Stories, posted simultaneously on The San Francisco Chronicle’s website as well as salon.com, Reuters.com, slate.com
and hundreds of other sites January 5, 2013 and the Changes Publicizing the MWC Contact Bring
CHAPTER TWELVE Individuals from the Many Worlds Collective: Their Names and Their Worlds (as Earthers know them)
INTERLUDE IX A Compilation from Clara Branon’s Personal Journals All the Epifanios
CHAPTER THIRTEEN Do Solar Storms Make Us Do It? Conflict, Wars, Violence and Other Human Flaws Are Not Our Fault?
CHAPTER FOURTEEN Exploding and Imploding Earthers; or, What the Buddha Taught That Made His Followers’ Heads Explode Public Talk give by Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator, new Nobel Laureate Nobel Peace Prize Recipients Ceremony, 12/12/16, Oslo, Norway
CHAPTER FIFTEEN Generated by Events of January, 2013 – March, 2013 Contact-Induced Injuries Report made to MWC Intergalactic Council April 27, 2013 Earth Date
CHAPTER SIXTEEN Whom I Saved and How It Happened; or, “I Told You So, Part I” (for my brother, Dr. Thomas Ackerman)
INTERLUDE X Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log Being Changed “For Good”
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN MWC Lottery Winners Determine First Public Delegation to Earth Story posted on mwcw.lottery.verse December 8, 2012 Earth date
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN How Ongoing Contacts and My Role as Chief Communicator Change(d) Me
CHAPTER NINETEEN IGC MWC Musicians and Artists Festival, first-ever held on Earth Sydney, Australia, August 15-22, 2022 Earth dates
INTERLUDE XI Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log Even Social Media Have “Previews”
CHAPTER TWENTY Who Survives and How We All Change: Learning about Re-set
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE From Esperanza Enlaces’ private journal entries, April 18 – May 20, 2013
CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO
“Imagine: The Elimination of Nations, Boundaries, Citizenship, Race, Religions, Politics, Hunger, Poverty and War; or, What John Lennon Knows” Public Talk given by Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator, Templeton Prize Recipient for 2014 5/12/14, London, England
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE Minutes from the Jesus Subcommittee MWC Planning Committee Meeting Capernaum, Galilee (Israel, Africa), November 13, 32 A.D. Earth Date Page 2
INTERLUDE XII Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log Explanations, Appendices and Acknowledgements
CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR The Love Story Embedded in This Story; or,
“I Told You So, Part II” (that’s for My Future Husband, Epifanio Dang)
INTERLUDE XIII Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log When Trouble is not Trouble
CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE Interspecies/Interplanetary Marriagebond Laws stories posted on mwcw.laws.verse May 30, 2023 and February 10, 2035 Earth Dates
CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX Other versions of Clara and Epifanio’s Love Story (either/ors and both/ands)
CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN Sono-Pictorial Languages of Cetaceans, Sign Language and Vocalizations of Primates and Other Species’ Communication Modalities on Earth and Afar
CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT There’s No Time Like the Present; or, (as Zephyr Branon coined) Timultaneity: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Outside It
CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE The Media and Clara POPULAR MEDIA
“Lost and Found: How My Time with the Aliens Helped Me Lose 130 lbs. and Find Love” (interview with Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., by Esperanza Enlaces O Magazine [Oprah Winfrey’s periodical], September, 2014 Earth Date)
CHAPTER THIRTY “The Future of Earth and the Many Worlds Collective,” Panel Discussion at the Ceremony for the Retirement of the Chief Communicator Part I San Francisco, California, USA, Link MediaVerse Studios December 22, 2040 Earth Date
CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE What Happens When we Die? Clara Learns About Return and ReInvolvement
CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO “The Future of Earth and the Many Worlds Collective,” Panel Discussion at the Ceremony for the Retirement of the Chief Communicator Part II San Francisco, California, USA, Link MediaVerse Studios December 22, 2040 Earth Date
CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE Clara Explains Human Relationships to The Band: The Romantic Paradox
CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR Photos and Captions
INTERLUDE XIV Excerpts from the Chief Communicator’s Occasional Log Clara’s Apology Letter to Epifanio
CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE Even the Chief Communicator Disappoints Her Mother
CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX “It’s Not Over ‘Till It’s Over”