Traveling in Charlotte, North Carolina today and tomorrow morning. Folks around here pull for Carolina. Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels. I went to NC State. Wolfpack. Arch rivals.

My exposure to life at NC State in 1981 began with my freshman roommate. I recall getting the notice in late spring during my senior year of high school – upper east side of New York, going to college in the south, and my future roommate’s name sounded…black. Or so thought some of my cousins, who were from New England and therefore even more nervous of blacks than I was. Continue reading



Did I tell you that I was homeless for an afternoon?

Not really, mind you.

It was during my senior year of college and I had a rented room in a house with 13 other undergrad and graduate students, but for a sociology experiment I dressed as a homeless man and went out on to Hillsborough Street in Raleigh across from the campus of North Carolina State University to spend a few hours peddling and learning how people dealt with being asked for money. (Today, I am a professional fundraiser, and I can tell you that the job is much the same in many ways, but now I smell better and get to have at least one 0.001-ounce bag of pretzels per flight.) Continue reading

make mine with a twist

It was 1973 in Laurinberg, North Carolina, which is about two hours east and a little south of Charlotte. My family and I were staying at the Holiday Inn with the rest of the out of town family for the wedding of my cousin Reg and his fiancée Melissa. “Cousin” was a loose term. I think we shared great-great-great grandparents or something, but we were family nonetheless. Everyone in North Carolina was family. I was ten; my brother was eight. Continue reading