Janet’s Update from 2001

Janet and Larry

Janet and Larry, 2001

This report came in from Janet in September of 2001:

Since leaving Chicago for Georgetown University (thanks to Bobby London’s college counseling), I have lived and worked in the Washington, D.C. area. During my college years I worked part-time for Senator Stuart Symington, and upon graduation worked full-time for him until his retirement in 1976. I interned in that office during “May Month” thanks to Muriel Moulton’s efforts to introduce four of us to the workings of government. After a brief stint as an assistant for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I became a Congressional Relations Officer for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (which Senator Helms abolished a few years ago) where I ended up in a political slot and out the door when Ronald Reagan was elected. Law school then seemed like a good idea. I graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1985 and soon joined the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld L.L.P. I left in 1995 to join the Office of the General Counsel of U.S. Department of Energy, where my work generally concerns contract issues.

Larry Altman has been my “Significant Other” for 15 years. He is the medical correspondent for The New York Times, and his work has brought me into contact with the different (from the law) worlds of medicine and the news biz. Larry’s work takes him abroad quite a bit, and I have been able to join him on great trips that have included a month in Australia, and last year, ten memorable days in South Africa. I have a small house in a wonderful neighborhood that was designated the first historic district in Arlington, VA. We enjoy entertaining, especially when the weather permits using the screened-in back porch that overlooks my garden. I also try to keep in shape through working out in the DOE gym, walking and tennis. The other 15-year resident in my home is my other great love, a white, domestic long-haired cat named Agrippina (her look-alike sister, Electra, passed on a few years ago).

I have regularly commuted to NYC on weekends for 15 years, since Larry is based in NYC. A few years ago I considered moving to the Big Apple, but after some job hunting I decided that my DOE job is too good to give up. When possible, Larry works in the NYT Washington Bureau and I take advantage of the Federal Government’s “flexiplace” work program that enables people to work at home or, in my case, NYC.

Like many, my sense of well-being and security has been upended since September 11, 2001. On Sunday, September 24, we went to visit the site. I will long remember the smell – an acrid, strong stench of wet dust and mold. The next day, after a storm and strong winds we could smell it in Larry’s midtown apartment near Lincoln Center. Neither of us could really take in that two giant buildings once stood where there is now just a pile of rubble. The confluence of September 11 and our 30th reunion has brought into sharp focus the security and freedom to travel we have enjoyed for 30 years. While our high school years seemed tumultuous due to the Vietnam war, political assassinations and the chaotic Democratic convention, now a new and deeper uncertainly gnaws at my core. I look forward to seeing familiar faces from years past to help put all of this into better context and brain storm about our collective future.

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