Harry Wolf

She was an amazing catch and Harry knew it. She loved him unconditionally from day one.

harry-debby-andy-wolf.jpgIra Ludwin called me tonight. I haven’t spoken to him in a while. Our mutual friend Harry Wolf was killed in a car crash. I hadn’t spoken to Harry in a while either.

Harry and I, to use the term currently in vogue, palled around in the 70s. We were friends through ham radio. I knew Harry when he met, moved in with, then married Debby. They were married 32 years. They had a son and daughter–both in their twenties now.

Harry was an off-center kind of guy. Bald early, Harry wore glasses and was never confused with an athlete. He was a smart guy who knew a lot about a lot of different things. He ran a self-financed talk show on a little station in Jersey. I understand he was teaching recently–at Temple, his alma mater.

His relationship with Debby was the best part of the story. She was an amazing catch and Harry knew it. She loved him unconditionally from day one. It is difficult to conceive a more nurturing relationship.

Tonight on the phone Debby reminded me of July 4, 1976. I was living in the Philly area. Harry and Debby, along with a few other friends went to Washington, DC for the Bicentennial fireworks.

We sat on a small hill overlooking the Mall. Our section applauded loudly when, from our vantage point, it looked like a shell would hit a plane. I know that sounds awful today, but we knew it was just an optical illusion. It was a good natured example of homogeneous crowd personality. It was a memorable day all around.

What do you say at a time like this?

This is the part of life they never explain when you’re growing up.

Must Be The Season

I spend a lot of time watching the tropics. It comes with my job. These tropical systems are fascinating and devious.

Right now I’m watching two with great interest. The first is Ernesto, off the Carolinas and officially just below hurricane strength.

When Ernesto’s path out of the Caribbean was first predicted by the Hurricane Center, it was centered in the Gulf. Actually, it was well into the middle of the Gulf. Ernesto actually moved up the center of Florida and emerged in the Atlantic.

Not even close.

This is not to say the Hurricane Center doesn’t do a great job. They get the word out, which is probably their most important job.

Even though Ernesto is a wimp, people will die and property will be destroyed. We can predict, not prevent. I feel frustration over that. Isn’t that silly?

Stef’s move back to college is scheduled for Saturday. That’s Ernesto’s big day in the Northeast. Darn!

The second storm is more interesting on an intellectual level, though it won’t affect me personally. That’s Hurricane John, in the Pacific, off Mexico’s West Coast.

John is on track to strike Cabo San Lucas. We were there in January.

Cabo is a beautiful seaport town. It’s at the southern tip of Baja California. Stretching south of the city, into the Pacific is a string of rocky islands, called Land’s End.

If John passes just west of Cabo, its winds will be out of the south. They’ll be guided by Land’s End, piling water into the harbor and flooding all the low lying areas. Meanwhile, damage to the homes and businesses built on the surrounding hills will be immense.

Again, as with Ernesto, I can see it happening in my mind’s eye. It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion. There’s just nothing I can do about it.

With proper warning, most people will be saved. You can’t move a building. You can’t stop the terror for those who have nowhere else to go, or the uncertainty for those who get evacuated.