A Life Lived Backwards: One Man's Life

A Life Lived Backwards: One Man's Life

An audio series based on the new memoir entitled, “Larry Ruttman – A Life Lived Backwards: An Existential Triad of Friendship, Inquisitiveness and Maturation.”

Episodes

January 18, 2022 25 min

That is what historians do! That is what preservationists do! Many a wise man has said that we can’t see where we’re going if we have no awareness of where we’ve been. Human Nature remains the same. The lessons we need to navigate forward are all there in our history. Two late Brookline people who knew that were Jane Holtz Kay and Dr. John ‘Jack’ Little. It seems Jane was born knowing it, raised by her eminent lawyer father, Jackso...

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How could I know that I would spend twenty of the happiest years of my life from age 69 to 89 at one of the most undesirable office locations in Brookline:), amidst a gang of Irishmen, two Irishwomen, a Garage Punk Midwesterner, and a severe  Italian landlady. After all, I had just recently inhabited the grandest office in Brookline’s famous Coolidge Corner. Sure, I wanted a small and private space to test out my notion of becoming...

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January 4, 2022 22 min

Does anybody have the ridiculous notion he or she will live forever? Yeah, me! Not really, but when Jordan Rich asked me on this podcast why I had waited to age eighty-five to have drawn an estate plan, that is what I answered, along with saying I was having too much fun to think about death. He asked why so many people never get around to drawing a will, let alone an estate plan? I replied that folks don’t want to think about deat...

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You’ve had a look at some terrific lawyers in the last podcast. Now take a listen to some of my own interesting, if not fascinating, cases.

I got a call from my friend ‘Horatio’ one morning asking if I’d be interested in the case of the respected Newton minister who apparently drowned off scenic Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts some years past, and had suddenly turned up alive, wanting to return to home, parish, and ...

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December 7, 2021 28 min

Do you want a look inside the otherwise opaque world of lawyers? Listen and you shall hear. Like when as a fledging lawyer I was assigned a criminal case to defend pro bono. I thought the defendant had been imprisoned too long to have received the speedy trial guaranteed by the Constitution, and took my argument to Judge Charles Wyzanski, appointed by FDR, and by then a mythical jurist, respected by all, feared by many. He bought m...

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November 30, 2021 26 min

How could I know my life changed direction the day my longtime and esteemed legal assistant, Cathy Jenness, came into my office and asked for a week off. “Sure,” I said, adding, “What for?” Cathy said her husband Mike was leading his gig racing crew to compete in the championships in the Scilly Isles off Land’s End in England. “Wow, sounds exciting,” I said to Cathy. “I wonder if Mike would let me come along.” A day or so later cam...

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I think the title of this podcast could have been, “Greg Spiers – The Best Buy Next Door.” Here’s why. Some years ago I went to Best Buy for expert advice on an item I was considering. Greg was the salesman. Not only was he very pleasant to deal with, but seemed to know cyberspace from endless end to endless end. In our long conversation it turned out like ESP that Greg lived in the house a door or two down the street from my offic...

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On this podcast you will hear how a theatrical event that started out lightheartedly surprisingly turned into something deadly serious, became an adventure, and brought me a bunch of new and talented friends. Actor and playwright, Larry Tish, contacted me one day saying he would like to write a comic play adapted from my book, “American Jews and America’s Game.” Flattering? Yes. I met Larry. Terrific guy. Knew nothing about basebal...

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November 2, 2021

I never know exactly what will be discussed before any given podcast unfolds. That is because Jordan Rich poses the questions, and I answer spontaneously. Part Two of my memoir is entitled, “Why I wrote This Memoir: Friendship, Maturation, and Inquisitiveness.” It is a rather academic answer to that question, which I surmised Jordan would follow. He didn’t. So whatever came out, came out differently. Jordan’s comments and questions...

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Naturally, Shakespeare got it right. Everybody is an actor. He expounded that notion in his original and poetic way in lines familiar to all of us in his play, “As You Like It,” Here are a few of them:

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages…..”

Not that the idea was original with the Bard. He j...

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Can you make an actor out if a guy who flubbed his one line in a college production of the Bard’s, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and who was far more interested in the sweaty but sparkling young dancer in that play who came off stage to rest near me waiting for her next cue to … Continue reading Thespians, Billy Crystal, and a Gravedigger →
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So how would a Jewish boy do at a Catholic law school? One of the great experience of my life, that’s how, and still ongoing today, sixty-five years later! On day one a lifelong friendship was struck up between me and the then Dean, the late Jesuit Father Robert F. Drinan, fated to become famous … Continue reading Boston College Law School, a Happy Mix of Irishmen and Jewish Men →
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How could Columbia Law School, one of the most prestigious law schools in the country have admitted a dummy like me? You really have to be dumb to take a train from Times Square to the middle of Harlem instead of to the Columbia campus! And dumber still to try to traverse the fraught streets … Continue reading Columbia Law School, the Ambassador and the Dummy →
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Being away from home at seventeen for the first time is really the start of your adult life. My dorm roommate that first year was George Delaney, who at twenty two had already seen the world in the Merchant Marine, as well as all those fetching senoritas on the South American route. George had stories. … Continue reading University of Massachusetts Buddies are Game Changers Too →
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If you’re lucky the teachers you have in grammar and high school will not only ground you in their subject, but teach you something about life. My Principal at Devotion School, the iconic Charles Taylor, felled me with a line drive off my first pitch, teaching me at age eleven, a little bit about bearing … Continue reading High School Teachers are Game Changers  →
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Let’s start with my mother, Doris, an incredible woman who survived a week into her 97th year, bridging the Edwardian era, the Twenty First Century, and everything in between, matching each era with her apt style sense! Emerging from this podcast is a one of a kind woman whose beauty never dimmed, whose temperament demonstrated … Continue reading A Tempestuous Parent and Other Family →
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Alas, Braves Field no longer exists. It disappeared not long after the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1952. But it was my field of dreams in the forties! They let kids in for free with their dads, so living nearby and adopting dozens of dads, I attended dozens of games, even gate crashing my … Continue reading Braves Field, Jackie Robinson, and WWII German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel →
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Have you ever wondered how Jewish folks get to be that way, whatever way you surmise that may be? A good place to start is heavily Jewish Brookline, MA, my hometown where I was Bar Mitzvah’d at age 13 in 1944, ostensibly then becoming a man, in my case a dubious proposition! What is that … Continue reading What is Jewish Life like in Brookline, Massachusetts? →
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September 9, 2021 31 min
Not many of you folks can remember the Korean War during which I served as an ROTC officer in the Air Force from 1952 to 1954 stateside in Washington D. C. during the waning days of Harry Truman’s presidency, and a little later in Wilmington, Delaware, famous for the DuPonts, and later for Joe Biden. … Continue reading Air Force Stories →
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September 2, 2021 12 min
I call my wife Lois a “dog whisperer.” She whispered to all of them, loved them all, and was loyal beyond belief to every one, even the terrible tempered, Wammy, our first dog long ago, misnamed after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the lovely animals who followed: the Bichon Frises, smart Elke and her daughter, the … Continue reading Talking with Dogs →
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