Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Howard

Today is my dear friend Howard Grufferman's Birthday.
Howard, Gene Siskel, along with yours truly.
In Chicago to see Michael Jordan play.

Happy Birthday Howard.

Howard and I go back a long way. How long? I first laid eyes on him at my college orientation. The college was the University of Maryland. He had long hair, wire rimmed glasses, and reminded me of John Lennon.

He also was from New York as were a lot of the students. New York was far enough away from College Park, four hours, that parents wouldn't just drop in. But it was close enough where you could go home for the weekend.

Good deal.

Howard began his college days at Garrett Hall, a co-ed dorm, and I was next door at the all male Talbot Hall. I'm a fan of co-ed dormitories and here's why. While we were watching water poured from a trash can swirling from the top floor to the bottom floor via the stairwell, the guys next door were busy being on their best behavior because there were women present.


We both became RAs, Resident Assistants. He was one, I was one, and out of being in the same club, our friendship began.

Years later after college (he graduated, I didn't) I was on the radio in Chicago and trying to get to the Big Apple. I knew one person in New York, Howard. I called him up, he let me stay with him, I got the job, and off we went.

Some highlights...

When I first got to New York and the hockey playing Islanders were on their way to winning a bunch of Stanley Cups I said, on the radio, how proud New Yorkers must be of them. Howard gently pulled me aside and told me the Rangers were New York, the Islanders were Long Island.

Didn't know that.

We climbed professional mountains together.

He in the tough world of New York real estate, me at CBS. The only time I was on David Letterman, Howard drove me. It was during the so called Blizzard of '96. That evening the streets were full of snow and devoid of cars. He had a Range Rover that had four wheel drive. It wasn't afraid of the icy and snowy Manhattan streets.

That's how I got there to read The Top Ten.

Howard was the first person not named McEwen to see baby Maya.
Young Sarah and Young Maya. Dancing.
I still have the video he made that night which is the earliest film I have of my daughter.

Later I unwittingly walked into the hospital delivery room after his lovely wife gave birth to their first daughter, Sarah.

Sarah and Maya are friends to this day.

His wife? Barbara Hannah Grufferman. She's an accomplished author, The Best of Everything After 50, plus she has a new book coming out next year, Stay Younger Longer. She's also a regular blogger for The Huffington Post, and was named a 'Best Blogger for 2015' by them, thank you very much.

They have two daughters, the other one being Elizabeth. I've known them both forever and now they both go to college. Sarah in the Honors program studying Neuroscience at Hunter College and Elizabeth is at, wait for it, St. Andrews in Scotland.
Both of us with Little Elizabeth

Elizabeth, Howard, and I, had dinner together in New York recently. Barbara was under the weather but Elizabeth took her place and was charming, sweet, and just so dear.

They've raised some great girls...

I mentioned Howard is in the dog eat dog world of New York real estate. He is and does very well. He is a Vice Chairman at his firm and Howard was just honored for being their Top Broker Worldwide.

That's more than 13,000 brokers, people.

Very cool.

One day he told me a funny story about how when he was young people made fun of his name. How would you do this and how would you do that? I had to admit to Howard that was pretty gosh darn funny.

My birthday is September 16th and for the 19 days until he catches up, I'm older than him.

He.never.lets.me.forget.it.

This year he did text me that we are now old enough to be grandfathers.

Nah.

A dear friend.

Happy Birthday Howard.



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