On the day I sat down to write this farewell to readers, I noticed an obituary in the local paper for one Patricia Ann Morris Harris. Somehow the name rang a bell. I read the details, and there was the connection: She was part of the team that opened the Scudders Mill Road campus of Merrill Lynch in the mid-1980s. I remember her well — Pat Morris, as she was known then. It was a mournful bell. She died May 17 at the age of 64.
As the massive office was being built, Merrill had established a beachhead in a smaller office elsewhere in the Forrestal Center. U.S. 1, still in its infancy, had succeeded beyond my expectations with smaller companies sprouting up in the Route 1 corridor. But how would we do with a corporate gorilla like Merrill? I discovered that small office while delivering the paper, of course, and introduced the paper and myself to the person at the desk. It was Pat Morris and she received the paper enthusiastically — Merrill Lynch was eager to be part of our community.
As I have said on several occasions in this column and in public settings, a newspaper is only as good as the community it serves. Here in the greater Princeton area, U.S. 1 has been fortunate to serve a readership that has appreciated (usually) and interacted with (often) our unusual blend of business and entertainment news. When thinking about the editorial lineup for a given issue of U.S. 1, I have tried to imagine a typical reader. One would be a person like Pat Morris: a business person who got into human resources and manager training at Merrill and later Bank of America. But she was also interested in the arts: She had a BA in music from Davidson College, founded the Women’s Chorale there, and later entertained friends and family on piano and guitar.
I thank so many people like Pat Morris for their support and for letting us come into their homes and offices — in many cases literally — on delivery Wednesdays.
I also thank all the readers who have indulged me as I have stepped outside the lanes of U.S. 1’s business and entertainment focus to write columns on subjects of personal interest, pet peeves, national affairs, letters from the lake and Barbados, and, oh no, personal diaries of medical incidents and their aftermath.
I am stepping aside from U.S. 1 now in part because it has been 35 years, in part because I am 72, and in part because one of my personal interests has turned into a full-blown obsession — and a book project on the life of William H. Whyte and a campaign to empower people to bring the principles of urbanism to their communities, even ones in the suburbs and exurbs. I don’t want U.S. 1 to turn into the Journal of the Congress for the New Urbanism.
I am also confident that U.S. 1 and its sister papers are in good hands, with Dan Aubrey handling the arts side of the equation, Diccon Hyatt overseeing the business coverage, and Sara Hastings artfully managing the two-ring circus. You can reach all of them at their e-mails. If you want to follow my work on urbanism, or stay in touch personally, please send me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The column in this issue is certainly not the ultimate in columns, but it is the ultimate column for me at U.S. 1. Once again it’s a huge indulgence, and I thank you for your time. Til we meet you again, god bless you. Adios.