"You know," my husband said to me last year as we were strolling among the vendors at Hopkins's annual Spring Fair, "we should open a booth next year and sell hanging baskets and bedding plants from my parents' farm."
I have to admit, the idea held appeal. I pictured myself in a canvas apron and straw hat a la Martha Stewart, perkily dispensing plant care information. "Let's do it!" I said.
That's how, for three days running in late April, we found ourselves stationed on Hopkins's Upper Quad, flanked by pots of tuberous begonias, yellow verbena, and ivy-leaf geraniums. Our booth was just next to Bettina's Beads, and across from Mrs. Rozina, Palm Reader and Handwriting Analyst (whose elemental set-up elicited a certain amount of envy on our part; while we had to arrive just after sunrise each morning to begin lugging water and arranging our displays, Mrs. Rozina sauntered in at 9:59 a.m., card table in one hand, chair in the other. One minute later she was open and ready for business).
In addition to being exhausting, the whole experience was instructive. For one thing, I learned that when you don a straw hat and canvas apron, then station yourself amid trays of bedding plants and herbs, people expect you to have answers--to all their gardening questions. While I felt confident giving advice on the stuff we were selling ("Yes, those rosebud impatiens would be a perfect choice for the shady spot in your backyard!"), I got many questions that ranged far beyond my rudimentary knowledge of things green. In defense, I developed a few fail-safe responses that I used in rotating fashion:
Switching hats--but still wielding the pruning shears--I should tell you that I'm thrilled to be taking over the helm as editor of the magazine. And equally thrilled that Elise Hancock will be staying on staff in her capacity as senior editor. With this issue, you may notice that a few things are different--we've added a "Contributors" section below, for instance, and have made some subtle changes to the cover. But don't expect sweeping change, primarily because I subscribe to the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought.
Along those lines, I'm happy to let you know that once again Johns Hopkins Magazine has been been ranked among the Top 10 university magazines in the nation, in the annual judging by CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education). We pulled a gold medal in the staff writing category, and two Hopkins Magazine articles were singled out as Best Articles; Dale Keiger's profile of writer Rosemary Mahoney, "In the Land of Small Lives" [February], won a silver medal, and my "The Case of the Duplicitous Duchess" [April] won a gold. --SD
"I loved the aspect of photographing people who work with their hands in such a creative way," explains the 38- year-old Ciesielski, a regular contributor to Johns Hopkins Magazine, who's been shooting for Baltimore ad agencies and design firms for a decade. "As machinists, Walt and Mike get to think in an open-ended way, and that's what I like about photography: people come to me with a particular project, and often I have to wing it, to figure things out on the fly."
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