Margot Adler Sang at My Wedding

Margo in the foreground; that's me in the back.
Margo in the foreground; that’s me in the back.

It was 1971.  The song – no surprise to anyone who was young then, was Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream, Ed McCurdy’s anti-war anthem.  We knew we couldn’t get married in the middle of the war that had defined much of our lives without acknowledging it, and the song was the perfect way.  Margot was amazing, her voice clear and passionate; people even cried as we two 20-somethings stood, mid-ceremony, and Margot sang.  She had a great voice, had actually been a music person forever, and attended the famed Music and Art High School in Manhattan.

We met cute.  A friend brought her into the Senate Radio-TV Gallery, just off the press balcony overlooking the Senate.  Reporters wrote their spots there, and there was a small studio where Senators could come and make statements for the cameras.  I didn’t know Margot, but her Pacifica Radio friend knew she had a question that any pal of Margot’s would have loved.

“Pacifica (the progressive, listener-supported NY-based FM radio station) wants to hire me to cover the White House.  I’ve just come back from Cuba where I was helping the Venceremos Brigade harvest sugar cane.  Will that be a problem?”

This was Richard Nixon’s White House she was asking about.  You can imagine my answer.

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

From then on, until I left Washington with the man who is still my husband, our adventures were many, and varied and intense.  The moment that rises to the top though, is a small one, very Margot – precise and painful.

We had seen Love Story, the shameless, sentimental, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” Love Story.  (Yeah, I know, but everyone went – even politicos like us.)  She was quite upset, more than I would have thought – and I never go by Mt. Sinai Hospital on Fifth Ave without remembering it.  “What I hated most” she said, “was the scene on the street outside the hospital where my mother died.  It was like they threw it in there to make the whole thing extra painful.”

It’s a small story but it always stayed with me.  Along with the time we came to NY after we had moved to Palo Alto so Rick could finish school.  We were staying with her and we walked in and there in the front hall was her altar.  It was the first time we learned of her decision to follow her Wiccan self and it was such a weird way to find out.  She kind of said “Well I couldn’t just put it in a letter, right?”

She was, of course, a brilliant reporter and writer and thinker.  She was fun and alive and full of curiosity and political brilliance and personal warmth and charm.  I hadn’t seen her in a long time, but this week, she’s very much with me, along with the memories of that day, and of course, this song.

 

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Cynthia Samuels

Cynthia Samuels is a long-time blogger, writer, producer and Managing Editor. She has an extensive background online, on television and in print, with particular experience developing content for women, parents and families. For the past nine years, that experience has been largely with bloggers, twitter and other social media, most recently at Care2's Causes Channels, which serve 20 million members (13 million when she joined) and cover 16 subject areas. In her three years at Care2 monthly page views grew tenfold, from 450,000 to 4 million. She has been part a member of BlogHer since 2006 years and has spoken at several BlogHer conferences. Among her many other speaking appearances is Politics Online, Fem 2.0 Conference and several other Internet gatherings. She’s also run blogger outreach for clients ranging from EchoDitto to To the Contrary. Earlier, she spent nearly four years with iVillage, the leading Internet site for women; her assignments included the design and supervision of the hugely popular Education Central, a sub-site of Parent Soup that was a soup-to-nuts parent toolkit on K-12 education, designed to support parents as advocates and supporters of their school-age kids. She also served as the iVillage partner for America Links Up, a major corporate Internet safety initiative for parents, ran Click! – the computer channel - and had a long stint as iVillage's Washington editor. In addition, she has developed parent content for Jim Henson Interactive and served as Children’s Book Editor for both Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com. Before moving online, she had a long and distinguished career as a broadcast journalist, as senior national editor of National Public Radio, political and planning producer of NBC's Today Show (whose audience is 75% women) where she worked for nine years (and was also the primary producer on issues relating to child care, education, learning disabilities and child development), and as the first executive producer of Channel One, a daily news broadcast seen in 12,000 U.S. high schools. She has published a children’s book: It’s A Free Country, a Young Person’s Guide to Politics and Elections (Atheneum, 1988) and numerous children’s book reviews in the New York Times Book Review and Washington Post Book World. A creator of online content since 1994, Samuels is a partner at The Cobblestone Team, LLC, is married to a doctor and recent law school graduate and has two grown sons who make video games, two amazing daughters-in-law and three adorable grandsons.

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