Meet Margie Arons-Barron, accomplished “wordsmith” and enthusiastic BOLLI member.
BOLLI freshman Marjorie Arons-Barron is president of Barron Associates, a communications consulting firm, and a blogger at www.marjoriearonsbarron.com
If she looks familiar to you, it could be because for 20 years she may have been a guest in your living room, telling you what to think about anything from the local sewer bond issue to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. You may not always have agreed with her. Even her husband doesn’t. Not all the time anyway.
Margie is well known for her long career as editorial director at WCVB-TV, Boston’s ABC affiliate. From 1979-1999, she also produced and often hosted Five on Five, back then the nation’s longest running, locally produced public affairs discussion program.
Margie has been honored with numerous awards, including three New England Emmy Awards and, for five consecutive years, the National Award for Excellence in Television Editorials from the National Broadcast Editorial Association.
Prior to Channel 5, Margie was an associate producer of PBS Television’s The Advocates (which, she confesses, was the most fun she ever had at work); a national political affairs writer for The Boston Phoenix (she’s glad she’s no longer covering national conventions); a reporter for WGBH-TV’s Ten O’Clock News and political editor of The Newton Times. (Covering the local scene is hardest of all because you end up in the CVS line next to someone you’ve just criticized in print.)
Margie is a passionate overseer emerita of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a director of the Mass. Broadcasters Hall of Fame. An honors graduate of Wellesley College, she received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Regis College.
Margie joined BOLLI last summer. Contrary to some critics of her editorials, she jokes, she has never written fiction. At BOLLI, she is now writing fiction and also memoir. She’s loving all her courses and exhilarated to pursue interests sidelined for nearly 50 years as she pursued a career and raised a family. Her two sons and five grandkids are still what she is proudest of. Her husband and best friend, Jim Barron, is an attorney and consultant and is writing a book with a working title of The Greek Connection, to be published next year by Melville House.
Margie wrote the following piece in response to “A Hole in the Bucket” Writers Guild prompt earlier this year.
A HOLE IN THE BUCKET
by Margie Arons-Barron
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Warned the grandfather clock in the living room. Liza was running late. Nothing had gone right this morning. When the alarm went off, she wasn’t sure where she was. It took her a while to get her bearings. As her feet hit the hardwood floor, it suddenly came to her. She and Henry had an appointment at ten to take care of something legal. Was it their mortgage? No, they hadn’t had a mortgage for years. Update their wills? Yes, that was it. They were meeting the attorney–Asa what’s-his-name?–at the law offices because Henry had had an emergency appointment with the dentist to glue a crown back in his mouth. Liza and Henry had been together since they were children. After 45 years of marriage, it was patch, patch, patch.
She went to the closet and grabbed a pair of grey flannel pants with an elasticized waistband along with a tailored shirt. Was this grey or blue? It didn’t matter. Where were her socks? Maybe the ones left rolled up last night in her weather-beaten running shoes would do. She pulled them on and struggled with her shoelaces. Maybe it was time to go Velcro, but she couldn’t bring herself to do that. It just didn’t look dignified. Finally, she was dressed.
There were two pink post-its on the bathroom mirror. “Brush teeth.” Which she did. “Put on lipstick.” She applied it as carefully as she could, her hand shaking slightly. Eyeliner and mascara were a thing of the past. She did the best to smooth her hair, noticing the widening band of grey at the root line. She’d have to do something about that. Maybe next week.
Tick. Tock. Tick. It was 9:30. Henry had told her to take a cab to the lawyer’s, but, she figured, she still had time and wanted to drive. Where were her keys? Not in her purse. She looked frantically on her dresser, on her desk, in the front hall, in her coat pocket. Did Henry hide them? He really didn’t want her driving anymore. Neither, for that matter, did their son Malcolm or daughter Christine. But Liza was determined. She raced through the bureau drawers, then headed for the kitchen. Utensil drawers? Not there. Pots-and-pans shelf? Nope. She opened the refrigerator, and, there on the top shelf, were her keys. This was crazy. What had she been thinking? Had she also left a bottle of milk in the medicine chest?
Liza started to tremble, tears tumbling silently down her softly lined cheeks. What was happening to her? It was one thing to forget people’s names, especially if she hadn’t seen them in a while. She had done that for years. She remembered a concert reception when a familiar looking, elegant woman came toward them, smiling broadly.
How are you?
Fine, and you?
It’s wonderful to see you. It’s been too long. (What was her name?)
Do you know my husband, Henry Snodgrass?
“Nice to meet you, Henry, and do you know my husband, Burt?”
They parted five minutes later, Liza still unable to recall the woman’s name.
Lately though, things had gotten worse. If Henry hadn’t reminded her it was meal time, she would have forgotten to eat. Sometimes she had gone out to walk and had difficulty finding her way back home, though they had lived in their quiet Victorian neighborhood for nearly half a century. She had double paid some bills and neglected to pay others. So Henry had taken over the household finances, and Liza had raged against the loss of control. Some days, she just didn’t want to get out of bed. It was warm and safe, and she didn’t have to confront the myriad frustrations that plagued her daily life.
Tick. Tick. Time was running out. It was almost ten o’clock. She’d have to call a cab. As she reached for the phone, it rang. An unfamiliar voice asked, “Is this Liza Snodgrass? Ma’am, this is Captain Lynch at precinct 4. Are you the wife of Henry Snodgrass? Ma’am, I’m afraid there’s been a car accident. You’d best come to the Emergency Room at the General.”
“Ma’am? Ma’am? Do you understand what I’m saying?”
A garbled sound rose from deep inside her.
What was he saying? What did it mean?
3 thoughts on “MEET MEMBER MARGIE ARONS-BARRON: A HOLE IN THE BUCKET”
I am glad that’s fiction (not current reality)- and it’s very well written. I am glad you are enjoying BOLLI- and people are enjoying you as a classmate. (I’ve just been lucky to know you longer -since our freshman year at Wellesley College).
Patty, Your enthusiasm about BOLLI helped sell me on trying it when I (mostly) retired. Thanks so much for the advice. It has been life-enhancing.
(This comment is from Eleanor Jaffe–firstname.lastname@example.org–got attached to a different article by mistake)
Margie — The circumstances described in your short story about slipping into Alzheimer’s are unnervingly believable: the forgetfulness, the sense of dislocation, the shifts in one’s marriage, etc The story dovetails with my blog about Alzheimer’s (did you see it?) Some may wonder if our efforts were coordinated; they weren’t, of course. But both pieces appearing at the same time only underscores the magnitude and pervasiveness of the disease. –Eleanor