30 April 2020

Thoughts on “I’m bored”, Seth Godin

Thoughts on “I’m bored”, Seth Godin

If you’re under 14: “Good.”

It’s good that you’re feeling bored. Bored is an actual feeling. Bored can prompt forward motion. Bored is the thing that happens before you choose to entertain yourself. Bored is what empty space feels like, and you can use that empty space to go do something important. Bored means that you’re paying attention (no one is bored when they’re asleep.)

If you’re over 14: “That’s on you.”

As soon as you’re tired of being bored at work, at home, on lockdown, wherever, you’ll go find a challenge. You don’t have to quit your day job to be challenged, but you do have to be willing to leap, to take some responsibility, to find something that might not work.

Being challenged at work is a privilege. It means that you have a chance, on someone else’s nickel, to grow. It means you can choose to matter.

I’m glad you’re feeling bored, and now we’re excited to see what you’re going to go do about it.

29 April 2020

Ryan Holiday's "Daily Dad" Reflection


It doesn’t matter how old you are or how old your kids are. You have more experience than them. In some cases, that’s a couple decades. In other cases, it’s many decades. But whatever the age difference is between you and your kids, you’ve lived longer and been through more. 

Well, now as the world faces all sorts of troubles, it’s time to draw on that wisdom. It’s time for you to use your authority and your experience to guide them, to help them with what is an unimaginably stressful and unfamiliar experience

That’s what Dads do. That’s why you called yours for help when you were buying your first house. That’s why you went to them crying the first time you got dumped. It’s why, when you were struggling and not even quite sure how or why, your dad was able--with just a few oblique words—to get you back on track. Because they’d been there before. Because they had a better sense of how things tend to work out. 

Whether you’ve got a three year old or a thirteen year old or a thirty year old, that’s what your kids need today. It’s what they’re going to need for as long as you’re around. A nudge. A reassurance. A bit of perspective. Some little story from your past about a mistake you made when you were their age. A recommendation. Or maybe even an admonishment. 

The wisdom you have acquired—often by painful trial and error—was hard-won. It’s valuable. Now's the time to use it.

image image image

28 April 2020

We were invited

We did not ask for this room or this music; we were invited in. Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces toward the light. Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty...We did not ask for this room or this music. But because we are here, let us dance.

27 April 2020

Stones of Hope and Love from St. Mary's!

We painted stones and placed them along the walkways near St. Mary's - Cathedral Road and Cathedral Village. Enjoy!

My heart exults

A Song of Hannah
1 Samuel 2:1-8
My heart exults in you, O God; *
my triumph song is lifted in you.
My mouth derides my enemies, *
for I rejoice in your salvation.
There is none holy like you, *
nor any rock to be compared to you, our God.
Do not heap up prideful words or speak in arrogance; *
Only God is knowing and weighs all actions.
The bows of the mighty are broken, *
but the weak are clothed in strength.
Those once full now labor for bread, *
those who hungered now are well fed.
The childless woman has borne sevenfold, *
while the mother of many is forlorn.
God destroys and brings to life, casts down and raises up; *
gives wealth or takes it away, humbles and dignifies.
God raises the poor from the dust; *
and lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with the rulers *
and inherit a place of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are God’s *
on which the whole earth is founded.

Collect of the Day: Zita of Tuscany, Worker of Charity, 1271

Collect of the Day: Zita of Tuscany, Worker of Charity, 1271
edited by Josh Thomas
Merciful God, who has given to us all things necessary for life and godliness; Grant that we, like your servant Zita, may be faithful in the exercise of our duties, and that whatever you give us to do, we may do it heartily, as something done for you, O Lord, and not for human beings; through him who has called us to glory and virtue, Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.

He was raised!

I Corinthians 15:1-11

Now I should remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you-unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to someone untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them-though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

26 April 2020

Easter III Morning Prayer ~ St. Mary's - Cathedral Road ~ The Rev. Peter M. Carey, Rector 26April20

Easter III Morning Prayer ~ 

St. Mary's - Cathedral Road ~ 

The Rev. Peter M. Carey, Rector 26April20

Easter III Musical Offerings played by our Organist, Jonathan Stark

In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.

My grandmother once gave me a tip:
In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don't think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make a soup.
You see?
You are advancing step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Rest a little.
Praise yourself.
Take another step.
Then another.
You won't notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.
- Elena Mikhalkova

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad

Canticle: A Song of the Wilderness
Isaiah 35:1-7, 10
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, *
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
It shall blossom abundantly, *
and rejoice with joy and singing.
They shall see the glory of the Lord, *
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weary hands, *
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to the anxious, “Be strong, do not fear! *
Here is your God, coming with judgment to save you.”
Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, *
and the ears of the deaf be unstopped.
Then shall the lame leap like a deer, *
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness *
and streams in the desert;
The burning sand shall become a pool *
and the thirsty ground, springs of water.
The ransomed of God shall return with singing, *
with everlasting joy upon their heads.
Joy and gladness shall be theirs, *
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Bulletins vs bulletin boards, by Seth Godin

Bulletins vs bulletin boards,  by Seth Godin

[Here’s a simple communications hack for small teams and organizations:]

When times are changing and you’re adjusting on the fly, it’s tempting to send another alert.

The rules at the farmer’s market, the latest schedule for a changing event, the status of a server…

When I was growing up in Buffalo, they used to announce school closings on the radio. Twice an hour, we’d huddle around and listen to an endless list of schools (mine started with a W), wasting everyone’s time and emotional energy.
The problem with alerts is that they don’t scale. They create noise. Every time you poke everyone with a bulletin, you’ve taken attention away with no hope of giving it back.

The alternative is the bulletin board.

Want to know how you did on the exam? Go look at the bulletin board. The grades will be posted when they’re ready.

Want to know the latest situation before you head out? Go look at the bulletin board.

Social media got everyone into the bulletin habit, but we left behind bulletin boards too quickly.

And in our digital world, you don’t need to be a computer programmer to have one. Simply create a shared Google doc. It’s free and it doesn’t crash and it’s low tech. (And yes, there are many alternatives that don’t come from big companies).

Give people the link to view the doc. Include it in your Facebook post or your last email on the topic. “Click here to see the latest updates.” Don’t worry about whether your tweet or post (a bulletin) moves down the screen, because everyone who cares already has the link to your bulletin board and you’ve trained them to check it when they want to know the status of your event or situation. It’s not a great choice for a high-traffic site, but if you’re trying to coordinate a few hundred people, it’s a lot easier than trusting social media.
And you can even share editing privileges with your core team, so there’s no bottleneck for updates. You don’t need to get a programmer out of bed in the middle of the night to update the school closing list. It’s a simple thing to update the bulletin board, to keep making it more up to date and complete as your situation changes.

Information on demand is way more useful than information that demands our attention at moments when we’re not interested.

25 April 2020


Christ Our Passover
1 Cor. 5:7-8; Rom. 6:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:20-22
Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us; *
therefore let us keep the feast,
Not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, *
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia.
Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; *
death no longer has dominion over him.
The death that he died, he died to sin, once for all; *
but the life he lives, he lives to God.
So also consider yourselves dead to sin, *
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Alleluia.
Christ has been raised from the dead, *
the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since by a man came death, *
by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, *
so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Alleluia.

Ways of righteousness and truth

Canticle 19. The Song of the Redeemed.

O ruler of the universe, Lord God,
great deeds are they that you have done, *
surpassing human understanding.
Your ways are ways of righteousness and truth, *
O King of all the ages.
Who can fail to do you homage, Lord,
and sing the praises of your Name? *
for you only are the Holy One.
All nations will draw near and fall down before you, *
because your just and holy works have been revealed.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: 
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

24 April 2020

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! ~ Letter from Bishop Gutierrez

April 24, 2020

Knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

My siblings in Christ,

Alleluia! Christ Is Risen!

I would like to thank you for the beauty and faithfulness of Easter Sunday. Each Easter Service was filled with the hope of Jesus Christ. We are proving that we are innovative, creative, resilient, and faithful.

I have been meeting with the clergy on a weekly basis as news and information changes and want to ensure you have the latest developments. In Pennsylvania, there have been 37,053 COVID-19 cases and we hold in prayer the 1,421 who have passed. We pray for family members, friends and our siblings in humanity who have lost their lives to this horrific virus.

At this time, the state has not eased the restrictions instituted in late March. Our diocese is still in danger due to our proximity to New York and New Jersey. Moreover, the guidelines for reentry have not been met. We cannot take the risk of lifting the temporary suspensions prematurely. We will discern our eventual resumption of services in coordination with health and governmental authorities. All decisions will continue to be made with knowledge, information, and prayer. Naturally, if the government/health officials change the projected dates to allow for an earlier opening, we will adapt and adjust accordingly.
It is important that we not judge our reentry based on what businesses are doing or even what other dioceses are doing. We live within a specific place and context during this pandemic and your safety is of our utmost concern. While there is an anxiousness and longing for us to return to “normal” we must be prepared that our life together may look different for the foreseeable future. However, we face these decisions knowing we are resilient and that we have Jesus Christ.

I say this because we have seen the diocese come together in ways one could not imagine five years ago. Churches are streaming services, and many are working in partnership; laity are leading prayers during the week; innovative curriculums for youth are being deployed; coffee hours are virtual; and calls to each other remain vitally important. The ministry of your clergy in this new time is uplifting as they continue to provide pastoral care, create innovative liturgy, and reach out to those who are isolated. You have had an opportunity to see, from a new perspective, their dedication to prayer, their commitment to preaching and teaching, their willingness to explore new ideas, and most importantly their love for each of you.

Due to our reliance on the health authorities and government for direction, and after consultation with diocesan leadership, I suspect that the restrictions on in-person worship will last into June. Thus, we will continue with the broadcast of video live-streaming of the Daily Offices and Holy Eucharist.

As we look to the future, we can see that this virus will continue to affect our lives for the next 18 months. We will have numerous challenges over this time, and we are now busily preparing for what is to come. There will be a period of re-entry. Safety protocols will still need to be followed; gatherings will start out small, and will come in phases, with some areas starting re-entry before others.

I will be with you all along the way, updating you as things change, and I will coordinate with your clergy and leadership if the conditions for reentry are met. Recently, I have asked clergy to meet with their vestry leadership, and in May will provide a detailed plan and accompanying criteria regarding the next critical phases.
My ministry is committed to supporting you pastorally as well as working with diocesan leaders as we journey into the next phase of life amid the pandemic. I am in meetings with other bishops and governmental leaders and health officials on every level. While I lament not being able to be with you in person, I will continue to lead worship including on Sundays and for parts of the Daily Office. We will also be launching a weekly diocesan bible study that I will help to lead.

The staff continues to be proactive reaching out to support our clergy and lay leaders. They are coordinating food ministry, fielding questions about the CARES Act, troubleshooting problems with social media platforms and technology and leading worship at churches that have no clergy. They also help to ensure that our website has all the current information and relevant resources.   

The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania has demonstrated to the entire Church our profound hope and belief in the power of Jesus Christ to make things new. Our resiliency, our bonds of community and faith has defined us in the past six weeks; and that makes me all the more confident that we are prepared to face whatever challenges lie ahead. We have traveled this far and although we face challenges ahead, we will persevere; for hope does not disappoint.

Please continue to pray for one another. Check on one another, love one another and let us ground our entire being in the one who makes things new - Jesus Christ.

Alleluia! Christ Is Risen!

Easter Blessings,

Bishop Daniel

23 April 2020

Joseph E. Trelli, 1943-2020


 Joseph E. Trelli

Joseph (Joe) Edmond Trelli, 76, of Lafayette Hill, PA passed away on April 22, 2020 of natural causes.  

Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1943 to Giuseppe and Philomena (nee Cinelli), both deceased.  Married to Camille (nee Ficarra), deceased.  Survived by his daughter Christine Snyder and her husband Stephen Snyder, son Joseph Anthony Trelli, life partner Phyllis Fox, granddaughters Grace Elizabeth Snyder, Qi Trelli, and Violet Trelli, and countless aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

Joe was a graduate of South Philadelphia High School, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania with graduate level degrees in Electrical Engineering and Education and spoke fluent Italian.  He began his working career as an employee of the Boeing Vertrol facility in Ridley Park, PA, and served as an engineering designer of the still viable CH-47 Chinook helicopter.  He held a longtime position with the School District of Philadelphia as a teacher of electronics and industrial arts, from which he retired.  He also maintained a business, JET Electronics since the early 1970s.  He built his own home in the Miquon section of Whitemarsh township in 1981.  

Joe possessed the knowledge, ability, and patience to fix literally anything, and used those talents to help anyone and everyone in all manners of life.  Mr. Trelli traveled extensively through North America and Europe, including a journey by train across Canada, and many trips to Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Germany.  He loved to feast, and though he visited more steakhouses, BBQs, diners, seafood restaurants, cheesesteak and hoagie houses, water ice stands, pizzerias, and Chinese buffets than he could count, his father's Italian food would never be eclipsed.  

He held a lifelong love of animals, and spent his life with birds, guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, as well as cats Cheshire, Merry, Sam, Monty, and Mango, and German Shepherds Dune and Scout.  In addition to family, Mr. Trelli led a passionate life focused on his beloved Sea Isle City, NJ shore house, aviation, boating, his vintage Chevrolet Corvette, Boy Scouts of America, youth job placement, H.O.P.E, Angel Flight East, and served as an active member and volunteer of St. Phillip Neri of Lafayette Hill and the National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia.

Given the current environment, a private burial will take place in the immediate, followed by a memorial service and celebration of Mr. Trelli's life with friends and family at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Joseph E. Trelli to Angel Flight East, 1501 Narcissa Road Blue Bell, PA 19422 or online at www.angelflighteast.org

A new birth

1 Peter 1:3-4, 18-21
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, *
by divine mercy we have a new birth into a living hope;
Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, *
we have an inheritance that is imperishable in heaven.
The ransom that was paid to free us *
was not paid in silver or gold,
But in the precious blood of Christ, *
the Lamb without spot or stain.
God raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory *
so that we might have faith and hope in God.

22 April 2020

The Fremen principle, by Seth Godin

The Fremen principle, by Seth Godin

If you want to know how to work with new or limited resources, find a population that’s used to not having many alternatives.

Of course Harvard and the others are terrible at distance learning. They’ve had four hundred years of in-person lectures, tenure, accreditation and a waiting list to lean on. Our tiny team at Akimbo has run circles around them online precisely because we didn’t have the advantages they do.

It’s no surprise that American car companies had trouble shifting to fuel-efficient small cars, because their DNA was about wide roads, cheap gas and growing markets. The Japanese had to make do with none of that.

And a home cook who’s used to the unlimited aisles of the modern supermarket isn’t sure what to do when there’s not much to choose from. An Italian grandmother is a better guide in that moment.

When we have alternatives, we compromise instead of commit.

Find someone who has already optimized for the reality you’re about to enter and learn from them.

[The Fremen are the (possibly) fictional natives of the desert planet of Arrakis, who live with very little water.]

"Morning News" by Gary Margolis

Morning News
The first thing you don’t want to do
this morning is listen to the news.
Instead of the red-winged

blackbird clearing his throat.
The low-moaning morning
dove, her broken record
of love. Not that you don’t like
to open your eyes to reality, too.
Whatever it is and isn’t. Or hear
what it is happening in the I.C.U’s,
the dying and recovering there.
Not that you won’t read who died.
Gave up their lives in the line
of their personal, professional duty.
Cleaning a hospital room.
Cooking, nursing, doctoring
the tubes and monitors.
Everyone mask-talking,
as if they are family.
As if they could hear the birds
through the fixed windows.
To remember the sounds,
the songs they make this spring
morning. The numbers rising
and falling like mist in the fields.
sirens singing in the canyons
between apartment buildings.

by Gary Margolis

21 April 2020

Ella King Russell Torrey, Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory!

Ella King Russell Torrey, 1925-2020
Father of all, we pray to you for Ella, and for all those whom we love but see no longer. Grant to them eternal rest. Let light perpetual shine upon them. May her soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Almighty God, with whom still live the spirits of those who die in the Lord, and with whom the souls of the faithful are in joy and felicity: We give you heartfelt thanks for the good examples of all your servants, who, having finished their course in faith, now find rest and refreshment. May we, with. all who have died in the true faith of your holy Name, have perfect fulfillment and bliss in your eternal and everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ella King Russell Torrey,

who dedicated her life to peace and human rights, dies at 94

by Bonnie L. Cook, Philadelphia Inquirer. Updated: April 21, 2020- 4:40 PM
Ella King Russell Torrey, who dedicated her life to peace and human rights, dies at 94

Ella King Russell Torrey, 94, a longtime Chestnut Hill resident who dedicated her life to peace,
diplomacy, and human rights after losing her 20-year-old brother during World War II, died
Tuesday, April 14.

Her death at Chestnut Hill Hospital was due to complications from COVID-19. She had lived
at Cathedral Village in Roxborough for 15 years.

In March 1944, Mrs. Torrey was preparing to enter Bennington College when word came
that her brother, pilot Louis Russell, had been shot down and was missing in action over
the Pacific. His remains were never found.

“This was when Ella decided that war was not the answer,” her family said in a statement.
Over a half-century, Mrs. Torrey advocated for cross-cultural understanding and human rights.

Her most high-profile job came in the early 1950s as public information officer for
Eleanor Roosevelt, who had been appointed by President Harry S. Truman as a U.S. delegate
to the United Nations. She was also Roosevelt’s stand-in on the U.N. Human Rights

Mrs. Torrey told the Chestnut Hill Local in 2011 that she handled Roosevelt’s speeches
and correspondence. She found her boss to be good-humored and a hard worker.

“I wasn’t afraid of her at all,” Mrs. Torrey told the Local. “Working days began with
staff meetings and then scheduled U.N. meetings around 10 a.m. Lunch was either
an official meeting in the delegates’ dining room or, as Mrs. Roosevelt preferred,
in the cafeteria, where she carried her own tray and we sat with secretaries, guards,
and U.N. staffers.

“It became very personal, and I was often invited to eat dinner with her and visit
occasionally at Val-Kill Cottage," her home in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Born in Philadelphia to Norman F.S. and Ella D. Russell, she was raised in Edgewater Park,
on the Delaware River in Burlington County. An aspiring dancer, she graduated from the
Agnes Irwin School in Bryn Mawr. She had commuted from New Jersey.

On a lark after graduating, she and a friend auditioned for the high-kicking Rockettes in
New York City. She failed the test. Once her father heard of the audition, he urged her to
enroll in college. She graduated from Bennington in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

After college, Mrs. Torrey joined the Chicago Tribune’s bureau in Paris, soon becoming an
editor in the Paris bureau of Al-Misri, then Egypt’s largest daily newspaper.

“She was one step closer to her interest in the United Nations, which, in Paris at the time,
was dealing with the Arab-Israeli issue,” her family said.

In late 1949, she joined the U.N. as an information officer, writing reports on all meetings
of the Security Council, General Assembly, and U.N. committees. The reports helped g
overnment agencies and U.S. embassies overseas formulate U.S. foreign policy.
As a reward for her performance, she was made an aide to Roosevelt.

In 1954, she married Carl “Buzz” Torrey. That year, the family moved to Cambridge, Mass.
Later, the Torreys lived in Bethlehem, Pa., where she became director of the local World Affairs

Their final move, in 1969, was to Chestnut Hill. She became community affairs director of the
World Affairs Council. An engaging guide, she led cultural-exchange tours to the Soviet Union,
China, and Nepal.

From 1977 to 1987, Mrs. Torrey was executive director of the International Visitors Council.
Under her tenure, the Philadelphia branch grew to serve more than 4,000 foreign visitors a year.

Mrs. Torrey retired at age 62. She volunteered for the Friends of the Wissahickon and the
Philadelphia Committee on Foreign Relations.

In 2015, Mrs. Torrey received the U.N. Human Rights Hero Award from the U.S. Mission
to the U.N., for her 50 years of service. She addressed the delegates during ceremonies in
New York.

She is survived by a son, L. Russell; a daughter, Elizabeth P.; and six grandsons. In addition
to her brother and husband, she was preceded in death by daughter Ella King Torrey
and son Carl G. Jr.

A memorial service will be held later at Cathedral Village.

Contributions may be made to the Ella Russell Torrey ’47 Scholarship Fund,
Bennington College, 1 College Dr., Bennington, Vt. 95201.

Posted: April 21, 2020 - 4:40 PM
Bonnie L. Cook | @cookb | bcook@inquirer.com

Article in the Chestnut Hill Local, April 2017:

Ella Torrey, 91, a former Chestnut Hill resident who now lives in upper Roxborough, holds a photo of herself at the United Nations. Torrey was the Public Information Officer for Eleanor Roosevelt when she was a U.S. delegate to the U.N. (Photo by Sue Ann Rybak)
by Sue Ann Rybak
Ella Russell Torrey, who lived in Chestnut Hill for over 41 years before moving to Cathedral Village in Roxborough, has led an extraordinary life. Born on Aug. 7, 1925 in Philadelphia, she grew up in Edgewater Park, N.J.
Torrey, who spent her career working for international peace, recalled listening to President Franklin Roosevelt announce that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.
“It was December 7, 1941, Sunday,” she said. “My brother Louis, who was two years older than me, was shot down trying to rescue a buddy who had disappeared into the Pacific. He was listed as Missing in Action and declared dead at the end of the war and received the Distinguished Flying Cross posthumously. It was devastating to my family, but I once asked my father how he had coped, and he said he had been too young for World War I and too old for World War II, and he found great comfort in knowing that his son had died fighting for his country.”
Torrey said one of the reasons she spent over 50 years working for international peace was the fact that her brother had been killed in the war. She said she knew what it meant to lose someone you love to the ravages of war. However, when she graduated from the Agnes Irwin School, a private all-girls school in Radnor, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I looked at Vassar College, but I wasn’t the type to wear those sweet little collars.”
Then one day, she decided to go to New York with a friend. “That night at the dinner table, my father asked me, ‘What did you do today?’ I said, ‘I tried out for the Rockettes.’” And he said, “YOU DID WHAT?” Torrey laughed and said louder, “I tried out for the Rockettes!”
“The Rockettes were an interesting group,” she said. “They told me I had to go home and work on my wings (a tap dance move done on your toes). They said to come back and then they would probably hire me. The gal I went with joined the Rockettes and stayed with them for 30 years. I once took my grandchildren over and showed them the stage that I danced across when they made us try out. They couldn’t believe their grandmother had done that.”
The following week her father took her to Bennington College in Vermont, where a woman named Martha Graham taught dance. “For four years, I danced with Martha Graham,” Torrey said. “She once said to me ‘You have the body but not the soul. You’ll major in English,’ so I did.”
After graduating from Bennington College, she studied English at Penn. Despite her father’s efforts to persuade her, Torrey dropped out of school just six weeks before getting her master’s degree to move to Paris. “A friend of mine who ran a program in France asked me to come over, so I did.”
Later, Torrey got a job as a fashion editor for the Chicago Tribune. She recalled her interview with the “gruff old editor.” In an animated deep voice, she repeated the editor’s questions.
“Did you ever take a course in journalism,” he asked.
“No, sir,” she replied.
“Did you ever do any writing for a newspaper?”
“No, sir,” Torrey answered.
“Oh, OK,” she said in an animated deep, throaty voice pretending to be the editor, “Well, you’re hired.”
After a few months of working for the Chicago Tribune, she got a job working for Al Misri, then Egypt’s largest daily newspaper. “They hired me to work with these seven Arab guys, who they knew needed help with their English. They were all from different Arab countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia. My mother was so upset she flew over to see what was going on. There was nothing going on. They were all nice guys who cared a lot about what they were doing.”
When she returned home in 1949, she got a job working at the U.S. Mission to the U.N., a branch of the State Department in New York. Later she was named Public Information Officer for Eleanor Roosevelt, who had been appointed by President Truman as a U.S. delegate to the U.N.
“She took a lot of flack,” Torrey said. “Republican Sen. Arthur Vandenberg, of Michigan, called her an emotional rattle-brained woman. He later said he had eaten those words many times. Mrs. Roosevelt was very smart. Sometimes she would practice speaking if she were going to debate someone like Andrei Vishinski, a brilliant Russian ambassador. She was always well prepared. It scared the hell out of them.”
Then after the morning session, Roosevelt and Torrey would ride out to the Sperry Gyroscope Company’s Plant in Lake Success in New York, temporary headquarters of the United Nations from 1947 to 1952. “We would be driven out by our chauffeur named Claude. Eleanor had a great interest in everybody. She reached out to everyone.”
Torrey said Claude was trying to get on the New York Police Force. She said Roosevelt would always ask, “Claude, how are you doing on your test?”
‘“Oh, Mrs. Roosevelt,’ he would reply, ‘I pass the physical every time, but those mental tests get me,’ but she would always encourage him.”
Torrey said the U.N. meetings could “get awfully dull. The photographers were always waiting for someone to fall asleep. One of my major jobs was to sit behind her and when I would see her starting to fall asleep. I would take a piece of paper and make it look like it was very important, and that would wake her up. She would respond immediately.”
Torrey added that Roosevelt had a very good sense of humor. “The delegates would often say our meetings are too long, and she would often say in her quiet little way, ‘Well, if you want to have shorter meetings, make shorter speeches.’”
After the afternoon session, there was a reception. “Every country in the U.N. would host at least one reception a year. There was a joke that if you forgot who was your host at the reception … if you were getting champagne and caviar, you were being entertained by one of the new developing countries, and if you were getting Coca Cola and peanuts … the great USA was hosting you.
“I remember some nights she used to say to me, ‘Ella would you like to come down and have supper with me at the end of the day?’ I’d say, ‘Oh no Mrs. Roosevelt, I have a date tonight.”
Torrey said on Dec. 10, 1948, at 3 a.m., something happened that had never happened in the history of the U.N. before or since. All the delegates rose to give a standing ovation to a single delegate, Eleanor Roosevelt, who was chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was unanimously passed.
“Mrs. Roosevelt used to always say that you find yourself by serving others,” said Torrey.