The Woman Who’s Counting Up to 100

Luisa Radeschi‘s been carrying the photo around for as long as she can remember. She just turned 94, so it’s safe to say that it’s been going on 70 or 80 years. She digs through her black handbag and brings it forth. The hand-size print, resting in a simple plastic slipcover, is as wrinkled as a prune. The people in the photo are her family. Her mother had already died when it was taken, so it shows only her, her father, her brother and her sister. Luisa is the little girl on the …

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The Piano Man

Walter “Wally” Boot finds himself fine-tuning a Steinway, and it’s all because of a blue suit he needed a half century ago. Back in the dog days of the summer of 1962, the aspiring industrial art designer had a big job interview. That’s why he wanted the suit. But he was only 18. He didn’t have any cash; the only thing he carried in his jeans pockets was hope. So he walked the two blocks from his family’s railroad apartment to the 11-acre Steinway & Sons factory and applied for temporary work. It was the logical choice. He had …

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The Lady of Losses

In the living room, past the pair of wire cages that confine Melanie, Peaches and Shadow, there’s a small black table that holds a toy car, a child-size football, a tablet engraved “Georgie” and a large color photo of a handsome man. Marilyn Maras, curly honey hair, cherry-red lipstick and light lavender polish painting her nails and toes, reaches into a cage and shows off Melanie, who, at nearly 7 years, is her oldest guinea pig. At one time, when Georgie was with her, she had 17 of the mop-topped critters. Guinea pigs only live about four years, so Melanie’s&…

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The Jazz Player

A coffee cup. And a trumpet. Josh Deutsch carries them out to his second-floor balcony. He didn’t intend to bring them both; it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. If you think that the only thing that links them are Josh’s hands, you’re wrong. They sum up, better than any words, what he is all about. The cup is filled with the fancy coffee he brewed this morning. Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling Josh has three musical careers. “I’m a coffee snob,” he says proudly. “I’m from Seattle, after all.” In between sips, he takes up the …

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