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October 23, 2002 - Images from New York & Home
Well, there's good news and bad news.

The bad news is that Mary Jo, Annie's mom, passed away on Sunday, October 6th. She had been diagnosed with rapidly growing, terminal liver cancer just a few weeks ago. Annie moved into her house to help her mother in her final days. Very sad - she had made it through 3 previous bouts with cancer, all different types, but not this one. In the end, Mary Jo was accepting her condition and ready to die. And though it is a relief to see her suffering over, we will miss her terribly.

On the good side, before all the sadness, Annie and I had a terrific New York vacation in August - hassle-free travel, nice weather, great fun in the city, wonderful visits with relatives - couldn't ask for a better time. Returned to exquisite weather and a (surprisingly) still thriving garden. It thrives to this day. And life goes on, even in NY. Here are the pix:

Gershwin Hotel exterior.

We spent 3 cosmopolitan days in Manhattan, staying 2 nights in the Gershwin Hotel (pictured here). This is a very cool place, on 27th St. east of 5th Ave. It has some connection to the old Andy Warhol "Factory" and is filled with pop art - in the rooms, halls, even stairwells. It also has film screenings on the roof and a comedy club downstairs, where Annie was called up to participate in an improv. She wowed 'em. Guests were a very international and young population. We were among the few "old folks" staying there. It's location was just right for us, right on the edge of Chelsea, where we hung out, touring about 25 or so of Chelsea's 180 galleries. There we were also in walking distance from midtown and the Broadway theater district, where we saw a hilarious mounting of "Noises Off" with Jane Curtin. Laughed 'til it hurt. We also walked my old haunts in the Village and Soho. We even spent some time in Tribeca, where we had a nice lunch in a cool tavern and visited the huge hole where WTC used to be (see pix way below).

Among all the original art in the hotel was this picture of Picasso, which hung over our bed. The room contained other nice touches like hardwood floors and a cool, multi-colored tile bathroom. Reasonably priced, too - our kind of place.
picasso in our room at the Gershwin

Empire State Building

No New York tour would be complete without the Empire State building so let's get it out of the way right now. We were staying about 7 or 8 blocks away from it but this is as close as we got. As far as NY architecture goes, I prefer the Flatiron Building (below), which was a few blocks south of our hotel. This was New York's first skyscraper (maybe the first anywhere) and is incredibly interesting (and very flat).

Flatiron Building

Flatiron details




Here is a small section, showing the amazing detail that adorns the Flatiron Building. It is a giant quilt embelished with two eyefuls of stuff like this. Actually, many buildings in New York sport complex exterior details such as these. Too bad they just don't build 'em like this anymore.

Or like this.
NY building gingerbread

Crier sculpture on building.





Or this.

Or this, one little part of Rockefeller center, where I worked for 2 years and, jaded New Yorker that I was, rarely looked at the details. Rockefeller Center.

Madison Square tower clock.



Or this, the old Madison Square Garden building, where we used to go to the circus when I was a kid. Now, the newer Madison square Garden is integrated into a transportation complex, sans most of its former charm. The trees in the forground are in Madison Square, a park a few blocks from the Gershwin (I love that name. George and Ira created the world's most indelible musical impression of New York. Gershwin means New York.).

Here in the park, the City funded a few public art works. These tents are actually sculptures, one of the works that were commissioned by the City. Too bad they didn't just use real tents. Could have housed a few of the park's regular denizens. See the Flatiron Building in the background?

Madison Square tents.

Ric & annie in Mad. Sq. glass.



This is another of the commissioned works, a complex glass and mirrored environment that did some very interesting things. Depending on how you viewed it and from where, it combined various segments of the park with a selection of the surrounding buildings. What's more, it allowed self-portraits with tricky backgrounds. Some parts you could see through and others reflected what was behind.


Sometimes you saw both at once. Another view of Ric & annie in the Mad. Sq. glass.
Urban Wildlife Center door





The third Madison Square art work was this "Urban Wildlife Observation Unit". It looks like something you might find in a remote wildlife refuge. Cool in its incongruity.


It is full of books, pamphlets and maps - the real deal. The "ranger" actually hands out nice little urban species guide books. Wildlife observatory wide shot.

Urban species.



And here are the species we saw there in the park, all seemingly well fed.


Another park dweller, enjoying a snooze in the shadow of a founding father. Man behind roses.

Window washers



Nothing special, just window washers. I happen to enjoy the sight of people high on the outside of buildings (not, of course, if those people include me). The guy on the right appears to be the supervisor.

One of the Chelsea galleries we visited had these huge windows overlooking this rooftop view. That's the Hudson river out to the left. I had a hard time looking at the art. This was more enticing. Gallery window overlooking rooftops.

Chelsea clothing store entrance


As we passed this strange Chelsea entryway, we couldn't figure out what lay behind it. We guessed that if you didn't know, you didn't belong there. But we, of course, saw another opportunity for a self-portrait. We finally did gather up our courage and approached the door, which opened for us. Turned out to be a tres chic clothing store with tres cher prices (such as t-shirts for $350). Very interesting interior too, though - skinny galleries with stiffly standing salespeople/guards eagle-eyeing every pricey garment and every suspicious looking visitor.

We had to do it. The big hole at "Ground Zero" called us and we came. It was staggering. GroundZero




And it called lots of other people too, mostly tourists (like us). It seems New Yorkers just don't go down there if they don't have to. And who can blame them?

Just like in most other busy pedestrian areas in the City, there are street vendors selling souvenirs, only here they are hawking their wares amidst fences full of memorials. And their wares all channeled the sadly lamented World Trade Center. Street vendor at Ground Zero

WTC memorial with boots.




Images and icons from the victims' lives were lovingly sculpted into memorials, hanging on fences surrounding the World Trade Center site.

Many of the tributes had a disarmingly bright, almost cheerful quality. WTC colorful tribute.

WTC tribute with many flags.



All had extremely patriotic motifs. None lacked at least one American flag.

They were all poignant but some were break down and bawl poignant. WTC memorial - Jimmy's birthday.

Nephew Matt's party


What's the opposite of a smooth segue? I guess it's this.

Leaving Manhattan, we returned to my sister Rebecca's house in residential Brooklyn (not quite the suburbs but sorta burbish). The next day we attended my nephew Matthew's 11th birthday party, celebrated in the pool with his wild and crazy posse. That's matt in black making the hook-em fingers.

And another Olympic-size leap.

Last New York stop before winging home is at my aunt Ruth and uncle Justin's art filled home out on Long Island. Great folks, my Unk and Auntie. Justin is my late father's brother. He is a talented piano player and all around fun guy. Ruth is no slouch either. Something seems to have Annie in stitches (actually, it looks like she may be tickling herself).

Justin Annie & Ruth

Purple lantana.



Into the time machine and zoom - a few hours later we're back in Texas. We're home in the hill country where there's lotsa room and the south beds are in lotsa bloom (Someone stop me. I feel a country song comin' on.).

The garden was still going strong on September 10th. Here's the harvest that day. Harvest9-10-02





And here is yesterday's (October 23rd). We'll be eating stuffed peppers tonight.

And, no Pedernales Post would be complete without a shot of our grandson, Zachary the Wonder Child, posing here on our upstairs porch with his dad (my little guy) Reed, Sawyer and Woody.

Mary Jo Hudson Freeman
March 4, 1925 - October 6, 2002

This obituary appeared in the October 8, 2002 Austin American Statesman:

Picture of Mary Jo

Mary Jo Hudson Freeman, age 77, passed away peacefully in her Lake Travis home on October 6, 2002.

A fourth generation Texan, Mary Jo was born March 4, 1925 in Refugio, Texas.

To Mary Jo, education was paramount. She graduated from UT Austin with two bachelor's degrees and a Masters. In later life, she was both cheerleader and important financial contributor to her grandchildren's college careers.

After moving with her children from Corpus Christi to Austin in 1964, she taught elementary school and piano for about 9 years before becoming a Disability Determination Examiner for Texas Rehabilitation Commission.

Mary Jo was a lover of books and learning, an accomplished painter, a true and loyal friend who loved to laugh, and a traveler of the world. But she would probably describe her greatest accomplishment as the legacy she left her children and grandchildren, not just her generous college aid but a legacy of interests - art, literature, laughter and love of the outdoors. All three of Mary Jo's progeny are passionate about nature, remembering wonderful, long camping vacations with their mother and grandmother.

Preceded in death by her parents, Jack D. and Jewel Hudson and her brother, Jack D. Hudson, Jr., she is survived by her daughters Annie Borden Sternberg and Tanya Stephenson, and her son, Jeffery Freeman, Annie's husband Ric Sternberg and their son Reed Sternberg and grandson Zachary Sternberg, who loved his "GG", Jeffery's wife Patty and their daughters Kim Lake and Kelly Freeman, and Tanya's sons Raymond, Lance and Wyatt Stephenson as well as her sister Sarah Fryman and her husband John Fryman, brother Weldon Hudson and sister-in-law Betty Hudson.

Funeral services will be held at 11 am at St. Lukes On the Lake Episcopal Church on Wednesday, October 9 with Rev. Parker Jameson officiating. Burial will follow in Austin Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice Austin.

Mary Jo Young

Mary Jo with siblings

The four Hudson kids - Mary Jo, Jack, Weldon and Sarah


Blowing out candles

Beauty portrait

Mary Jo pensive

Wind swept portrait

Bathing Beauty

Mary Jo with sailors
Mary Jo bride


Swinging with Pecos

With Tex-Ann & Pecos

And if you haven't had enough, here are links to the archived former postings and websites:
The previous (July, 2002) edition of the Pedernales Post
The June edition of the Pedernales Post
The April (and inaugural) edition of same
The world-renowned pictures of our house
The Susan Lee Solar Memorial site
The Century Management site that we have built and maintain
The grandparents' (potentially annoying to others) pictures of our grandson Zac
And, last but not least, our own Aim Productions site

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