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Greg Susan John001


Countless Blessings, Unfathomable Sadness

At 80 life is infinitely beautiful and joyful beyond anything I had ever expected or imagined.

At 80 life is infinitely sad, tragic and mysterious beyond anything I had ever expected or imagined.

I grew up in a corner of Poland in Central Falls, Rhode Island and am infinitely grateful for this blessing of an old European culture.

As a child I loved science and classical music and learned the essence of both before I went off to college thanks to Dad, Mom and luck.

I spent seven years at MIT and found my second father, Professor Amar Bose who I got to know over almost 50 years as a student, mentor, employer and friend until my time speaking to him as he lay dying.

But life really began when two new people came into my life: Susan Ziegler and Zhenya (now Gregory), both in the picture to the left.

I met Susan after a very lonely 15 years between marriages because of a mutual love of classical music: “And then there’s Mahler” and a fire cracker went off in both our souls.

We met Zhenya in Sochi, Russia in 1994 when he was four years old. As Susan puts it: “We won the adoption lottery.”

When I told Professor Bose that after seven years at MIT, another two or three or more to do a PhD dissertation was not a road I could take, he set in place the other part of my life: “Would you like a job?” and I became the 5th employee of Bose Corporation. Obviously the dice of my life had been loaded.

Photograph at left circa 1995.

Then, in 1974, after seven but somewhat lonely years in engineering, Jerry Ruzicka, the director of marketing asked me to become a product manager. I did not hesitate for I wanted to move on. And, for reasons that I think were signs of wanting to be independently creative, I chose to extend a lifetime hobby and bought a view camera. In retrospect it is still a bit of a mystery but it was the right thing to do. Over 28 years I exposed 20,000 sheets of film.

So at 80, Gregory, now a wonderful man of 32, Susan, and photography are my blessed life. With an exception: the terrifying world and the magic and tragedy of humanity.

Below the Sudbury River about a mile from my home just after sunrise, with the sun rising behind me and shining under the clouds. I often felt compelled to rise before the sun for that could be a time of magic.

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I pray that this photograph, Spring Morning After Storm, made in 1991 is a portent of things to come.

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