Mother's Day in the Park

Barton Gellman and Amy Wilentz

Mother's Day in the Park

Barton Gellman and Amy Wilentz

Mother's Day in the Park
An email conversation about the news of the day.
May 15 2000 12:04 PM

Barton Gellman and Amy Wilentz

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Oh Bart:

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Boo-hoo. As usual the story comes to you, Bart.

What is it about you, anyway, that it ends up that the mayor's sweetheart lives in YOUR building? I mean, your building is a nondescript major-big highrise in the nondescript highly upper, highly east side. Unlike mine, a respectable PREWAR on the upper west side, where an actually respectable girlfriend might live. (Of course, Giuliani's girlfriend could never live on the West Side, where all the homeless people he preseumably swept from the city now reside, where there are still potholes in the streets, where there is "diversity" and where the garbage is just not picked up as often as across the park in Bart's and Judy's town...)

As I was saying, what is it about you?

I cannot fail to recall--when I see Judith Nathan, and her little dog too, perched in front of your faux brick entryway--just how it was that you came to have an exclusive interview with Yitzhak Rabin's assassin, right after the killing, when the shooter--Yigal Amir--was already in custody. (This was when you were cool and lived in Jerusalem, in a very nice very pre war.)

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You just--if I'm getting my facts right--happened to have gone to talk to a bunch of settlers some time before the assassination, and visiting those settlers just happened to be Amir, and you just happened to talk to him, and then you just happened to have notes on it, with his name scrawled down, and then (was it coincidence????) he just happened to kill the prime minister--hence the exclusive.

There was a lot of speculation afterward about how Amir might have been set up or egged on or at least, not stopped by his friends and acquaintances and Israeli intelligence types, but now I think maybe it was you who put him up to it.

Now you're covering NYC and you've got the mayor's girl, uh, living with you. Just luck?

And how come, by the way, neither of the mayor's female helpmeets bothered going to the Million Mom March? Maybe they think that kids in private schools are exempt from school shootings?

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Secret: I didn't go either, because I wanted to experience Manhattan as a relatively mother-free zone. Lots of my friends went down to Washington, and I say, thank you. The parks here were nice on Mother's Day, did you notice? Not so many strollers and gaggles of women drinking Starbucks and talking about kindergarten placement for the year 2000. Not so many Labrador Retrievers (the Mom's dog). The playgrounds were quiet, with mostly big kids smoking cigarettes and skateboarding. Bucolic, almost.

Bye.

Your friend,

Amy

Oh, and I forgot to say: I believe, in the post-Clinton age, that when a guy starts moaning about his troubled love life, and begins saying he's not sure he can devote himself entirely to politics, and starts whining about his terminal illness, that he's about to declare that he IS running for high office.

A former Pentagon, Middle East, and diplomatic correspondent, Barton Gellman is special projects reporter for the Washington Post. Amy Wilentz is the author of The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier. She writes frequently about the Middle East and is finishing a novel about Jerusalem.