When Joe got back to Tuscaloosa this month after his semester in Cuba, he had fish to check up on.
He's a fisherman and also sort of a fish collector; for the past year or so, he'd been raising baby fish from the Black Warrior River, the little bream and other small fry that would normally be thrown back into the river. Joe kept dozens of them in a large aquarium in his living room, and dozens more in a pool in a tiny creek that runs into the Black Warrior near downtown Tuscaloosa. He named them and fed them and got kind of attached to them.
But when he left for Cuba in January, he moved all his fish to the little creek and wished them well. They were on their own.
Happily, they survived the winter, though heavy rains apparently washed them downstream into a different pool. In this picture, Joe was walking along a drainpipe that criss-crossed his creek, trying to see how his babies were doing. They were growing and swimming actively and doing all the right fishy sorts of things.
Joe now is living in Philadelphia, where he has a bowl of goldfish. He's completed all his coursework and will graduate in August from the University of Alabama.
This year, our own Joe Stein went virtual for his Halloween disguise. He joined the Mexican national team for a critical game against Panama, near the end of which he pulled off this flying bicycle kick to generate the winning goal that qualified Mexico for next year's World Cup.
Most spectators at the game October 12 thought it was Raul Jimenez who did the magical bicycle thing. Well, boo.
The White Mountains National Forest parking lots were jam packed on this hot Fourth of July, and dozens of the cars in those lots held people eager to hike the trail up to Champney Falls, high on the north slope of 3500-foot Mt. Chocorua. But nobody challenged us when we claimed swimming rights in the pool beneath this little cascade of the falls. The water was cold up there, the walk through the woods was shady and occasionally breezy, the sun was summery, we had cherries to eat, and there's really nothing else to say. Left to right: Susan Wiggin, Emily Wiggin, Joe Stein, Joshua Wiggin.
The babe in arms in this picture, Gregory Stein, recently started his freshman year in engineering school at Cornell. His parents are Miriam and Eugene Stein; Eugene is Norman's first cousin.
The urchin in front here is Joe, baby Gregory's second cousin. Joe is currently a music student at the University of Alabama.
The rocks are 400 million years old, give or take.
The photo is five years old.
The occasion was the birthday gathering on Peaks Island in Maine in honor of Bob Horowitz--my father, and the grandfather of these fellows--who was then 80 years old.
There's one obvious constant through all these years: some of us hominids are hard-wired to build forts and weapons and stuff out of rocks or whatever is close to hand.
Not as obvious, perhaps, but just as constant: some of us are hard-wired to knock down other people's forts and stuff. Hank recalls that he had to rebuild this whole structure all by himself. Had to.
My father will be 85 this next week. He's well beyond the stone age; most days, he aims for the Big Band era.
Left to right: Brothers Ted, Hank, Allen, and Joe Stein, with cousin Nick Horowitz.
And many happy returns of the day.
Joe Stein is admiring dinner. It should be tasty, thanks to Joe's buddy Joe Fair, who went catfishing the other night in the Black Warrior River near Moundville, Alabama.. According to one of the Joes, it took an hour to reel in the big guy.
This photo is ten years old now. Since then our five boys have rarely shown up in the same time zone, much less the same picture frame--this is an important document in family history.
The original negative is gone; there may be some high-resolution prints around somewhere, but I'm not sure where. What I've got on my computer is a scratched, speckled, and stained scan comprising just a handful of pixels.
This gussied-up version is only arguably better than the straight scan. Whatever: from left, in order of age, that's John, Ted, Joe, Allen, and Hank.