miltongardens.com Welcome to Milton Gardens - This website is dedicated to the life and times of the Magills of Milto...

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Welcome to Milton Gardens - This website is dedicated to the life and times of the Magills of Milton Gardens, Rye NY, and the Leavitts of Rowayton CT Welcome to Milton Gardens This website is dedicated to the life and times of the Magills of Milton Gardens, Rye NY, and the Leavitts of Rowayton CT Pages About Milton Gardens Leland’s Architectural Certification from State University of NY Where is Milton Gardens in Rye? Leland’s Architectural Design Degree from Pratt Institute Satellite View of Milton Gardens Today Harmonization, 1917 lot survey map and current addresses Magills’ House at Milton Gardens on Lot 19/20 in the 1920s & 30s Milton Garden’s Hollow Center in the 1920s and 30s Lelands Retirement From the Veterans Administration in 1960 Matriarch of Milton Gardens Helen Eliza Tousley Magill House on Lot 7 – Leavitts Letter from Congresswoman O’Day to Leland in 1936 Leland’s Real Estate Office House on Lot 3 June Magill and Peter Leavitt’s Wedding Witnesses Leland’s Milton Gardens Inc. Purchase of Full Ownership House on Lot 5/6 House on Lot 2 House on Lot 4 House on Lot 8 House on Lot 9/10 House on Lot 11 House on Lot 12 House on Lot 13 House on Lot 14 House on Lot 15 House on Lot 16 House on Lot 17/18 -Adamsons A Dining Room at Milton Gardens Four Living Rooms at Milton Gardens Categories H. Leland Magill (1) Magill Daughters (1) Marriottsville MD Leavitts (1) Uncategorized (10) Woodstock Leavitts (2) Archives June 2010 (12) June 2009 (3) Calendar August 2016 S M T W T F S ? Jun 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Search Recent Posts H. Leland Magill – Architect, Builder & Manager of Milton Gardens Random Shots of Milton Gardens June Magill – First Child of Milton Gardens June Magill’s Artistry Leland and Helen Magill in McLean VA – 1940s and 50s Milton Garden Kids that Remained Life-Long Friends Peter Pulman Leavitt – Literary Man and Artist, Feb 1913 – Dec 2010 Chronicles of My life Chronicles of Cricky – September 1943 to August 1966 Chronicles of My Life as a Molecular Biologist – 1966 to present My Life with Becki – 1986 to the present Marriottsville Years – 1974 Through 1999 Woodstock Years Woodstock Years 2009 Through 2011 – My Parents Final Years My Feelings About the Origin of Life Meta Log in Valid XHTML XFN WordPress Rowayton CT, home of decendants of Milton Gardens The Rye Historical Society June 29th, 2010 H. Leland Magill – Architect, Builder & Manager of Milton Gardens By John Transcribed from the “National Builder” volume 66 (2) p. 13, published February, 1923. Click all thumbnail pictures to enlarge. There is a group of houses in Rye NY that automobile parties go out of their way to see – one of those local attractions to be shown wee-end visitors, as proof that “we live in the finest suburb of New York City.” Rye is a suburban city at the extreme eastern tip of Westchester County, on Long Island Sound. It is the last stop on the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in New York State. Through this little city runs the famous old Boston Post Road, known to everyone in the New York district who owns an automobile. The houses that attract so much attention are near the Boston Post Road – probably the most traveled automobile tourist road in the United States. The landscape is rugged and rocky, quite heavily wooded, thus lending itself very readily to the character of the development. Two brothers are responsible for most of the remarkably pretty houses which are ideally located on the rugged, rocky, wooded slopes. They are H. Leland Magill and Urwin J. Magill. Some of the work of H. Leland Magill is shown herewith… H. Leland Magill is the younger of the two brothers. He attended Pratt Institute, Brooklyn NY, and studied both craftsmanship and architecture. With that fundamental training he soon found a opportunity to exercise his initiative. A very few years ago, with capital of about $6000 – just about enough to finance one house – he began designing and building homes. Mr. Magill had not only a fundamental education in carpentry and house architecture and native initiative, but he had an idea. He realized that there are in every big city a great many salaried men who accumulate families and get tired of apartment house or city flat life; yet who, for one good reason or another, do not want to buy suburban homes. … however much they may be sold on suburban living. Mr. Magill then set himself to the problem of supplying homes to this class of home believers. By purchasing land in large plots and developing the plots as a whole he was able to buy real estate to advantage, and he was able to develop his property in large units and not merely as individual narrow building lots. For example, building a group of houses forming a hollow square made it possible to develop the interior of the square as a community park or playground, and thus add many attractive advantages over the usual “backyard” with fences and ash cans. The houses nestle into the landscape as if they were a part of it. They show originality of design, inside and out. They are designed to be real “homey homes.” They have to sell themselves although they can’t be bought. Builds, Leases, and Operates Mr. Magill has no building organization of his own, but buys all of the material and equipment. He sublets the work like masonry, plastering, electric wiring, plumbing, etc., in separate contracts. Read the rest of this entry ? Posted in H. Leland Magill | Comments Off June 29th, 2010 Random Shots of Milton Gardens By Admin From left to right: 1. View of the house on the corner of Oakland Beach and Dearfield from inside the hollow center rented then owned in the 1920s by the St. Claires. House to the right of the St. Calaires was rented for two years by the Leavitts. House to the left of the St. Claires is on lot 4. 2. Winter scene at the entrance to the hollow center showing the St. Claire’s house and the Leavitt’s house in the back and the back of the Magill’s house (525 Milton Road) to the right of the entrance off Milton Road. 3. The kids of Milton Gardens around 1931 or 32 with June Magill (face partially hidden), Jean St. Claire, and Tommy (Betty) St. Claire in the back row (left to right). Nancy Adamson is in the middle row between and in front of June and Jean. The Leavitt’s house in in the background. Click to enlarge. Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off June 29th, 2010 June Magill – First Child of Milton Gardens By Admin Quintessential Rowayton Mom of the 1950s June’s formal name was Helen Harwood Magill. “June” was a nick name for “Junior”. She was born at Brooklyn Hospital on September 28th, 1919. Funny thing but we have always celebrated her birthday on the 27th. It was a little bit weird discovering this a few months ago. Left to right 1. Leland with Helen Tousley at Coney Island with Pratt Institute friends in 1915 (furthest to right); Leland and Helen married in 1918. 2. June at about six-months; picture developed in April 1920. 3. June in either Dec 1930 or Jan 1931 at the age 11 with sisters Kate (age 6) and Mary Lois (about 6 months). 4. Milton Garden kids around 1931: June Magill’s face is partially hidden in back; to the right of June are Jean and Tommy (Betty) St. Claire who lived in the house on lot 5/6; Nancy Adamson (Foster), who lived next to June in the house on lot 17/18, is between June and Jean slightly in front. 5. June, Lois, and Kate sitting on the front step of the Magill house on lot 19/20 in about 1931 or 32. 6. June at about 15 or 16 around the time the Magills left Milton Gardens. June’s father, Leland Magill, was from Massachusetts and had received an architectural degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. This is where Leland met June’s mother, Helen Tousley from Saranac Lake NY (next to Leland on far right). With baby June, they moved to Rye NY around 1919-1920 where Leland had gone into business designing and building nice houses, mostly in the Milton Gardens section of Rye. This is where June and sister Kate, and later sister Lois, lived until around 1935 and where they met Nancy Adamson (Foster), eventually our neighbor in Rowayton CT. Milton Gardens is also where the Magills met the Leavitt family that had moved to this country in 1927 from Istambul/Constantinople Turkey and had rented one of Leland’s homes (on Lot 7). The Leavitts brought four kids into the neighborhood – eldest Peter (eldest), Ruth, John, and youngest Ann. 1. Peter, Ruth, Anne, and John (clockwise); picture probably taken in fall of 1927 or spring of 1928 when Peter was 14 or 15. 2. June (back right) almost flirting with John with Kate standing in front of John; June always spoke about having a crush on John. This large tree is in the hollow area between houses on lot 19/20 (Magills) and lot 7 (Leavitts). 3. Leavitt family after leaving Milton Gardens in the 1930s: Peter, dad Aurthur, mother Elsie, John, Ruth and Anne. Peter was a big kid, seven years older than June, so June played with Ruth, John and Ann. Then, the Great Depression slowly broke up this neighborhood during the early-mid 1930s. Read the rest of this entry ? Posted in Magill Daughters | 2 Comments June 29th, 2010 June Magill’s Artistry By Admin Left to right: 1. Queen Ann’s Lace. 2. Butterfly Weeds on Cape Code. 3. Yellow Roses with Purple Background. 4. Scene of sons John, Peter, and David (descending in age), and daughter Phoebe in small skiff launch in pond in the back yard in Rowayton CT. Click each to enlarge. Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off June 29th, 2010 Leland and Helen Magill in McLean VA – 1940s and 50s By Admin Leland and Helen bought Elmwood on Old Dominion Drive in Mclean VA in 1939. This is where they lived until Leland’s retirement from the Veterans Administration, and where they raised their youngest daughter Mary Lois who was 5 years old when they left Milton Gardens. Left to right: 1. Leland the late 40s with Shandy and Chang (smaller dog) in front of Elmwood. 2. Leland with me on his Tennessee Walker and holding Blue Jean around 1950-51. 3. Leland and Helen in the early 1950s. Click to enlarge. The scenes below show my Grandfather Leland preparing to take me (eldest grandchild Crick Leavitt) and my cousin Suzy Cornbrooks (eldest Granddaughter) for a surrey ride on dirt roads in the late 1940s in McLean. We trotted down Grandfather’s long dirt driveway to Old Dominion Drive and then did a sharp right onto Balls Hill Road, a dirt road then which headed toward Seven Corners. I found the intersection of Balls Hill and Old Dominion on Google Maps and if you go to the satellite image, you can see my Grandfather’s long driveway winding up to the house, McLean House, on the west side of Old Dominion where Balls Hill angles off of Old Dominion. It’s all still there. Read the rest of this entry ? Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off June 29th, 2010 Milton Garden Kids that Remained Life-Long Friends By Admin From left to right: 1. June Magill furthest right with St. Claire girls Tommy (standing 2nd from left) and Jean (standing next to June) at Virginia Beach in 1939. 2. Three Magill sisters Lois, June, and Kate with their children and three husbands Rex Gatten (Lois), Peter Leavitt (June) and Charlie Cornbrooks (Kate) standing behind at Christmas in 1952. All sisters and families ended up living in Rowayton CT. June is in the center with four of five children Phoebe, Peter, David, and me standing. Kate is with one of two daughters, Susie, and Lois is with one of three children, Meg. 3. June with Tommy St. Claire Hardy in the 1980s. The Hardys ended up living in New Canaan near Rowayton CT. 4. June and cousin Barbara with Nancy Adamson Foster and sister Kate bundled up at Saranac Lake in the late 1980s. Nancy and family became June’s neighbors in Rowayton CT. 5. June with the Leavitt siblings and their father Arthur at Christmas in 1970. John’s wife Lilias and the Leavitt daughters Anne and Ruth are in front with June (left to right) and husbands Joe Blandin (Ruth), Peter Leavitt (June), John Leavitt (Lilias) and Roger Wilson (Anne) in the back. The Leavitt family lived at Milton Gardens for two years from 1927 to 1929 in the house on lot 7/8 on Dearborn. The Leavitts and the Magills were also neighbors on Old Dominion Drive in Mclean VA in the 1940s and 50s. Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off June 28th, 2010 Peter Pulman Leavitt – Literary Man and Artist, Feb 1913 – Dec 2010 By Admin See June Leavitt’s story Peter Leavitt, a 35-year resident of Woodstock CT, was born on January 22, 1913 in Constantinople, Turkey. He was the son of Arthur Howland Leavitt of Spencer MA and Englishwoman Elsie Baker. The Baker family members were prominent textile merchants in Constantinople and Arthur, who spoke many languages fluently, was in the Foreign Service stationed at the US embassy as a courier and translator. Peter is shown below at the age of five or six with sister, Ruth, younger brother John, and mother Elsie. In the second picture, a slightly older Peter is sitting on a launch at a dock on the Bosphorus between European and Asian Turkey in the early 1920s. Read the rest of this entry ? Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off June 23rd, 2010 Chronicles of My life By Admin By John C. Leavitt Leland Magill is where I came from. He is forever in my thoughts. This is a self-portrait taken in July 1966 in the Casbah of Tangiers, Morocco. This moment is a benchmark in my life. I spent that summer in Europe and North Africa. Then, a month later I embarked on a career as a molecular biologist by starting graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, a move that I do not regret. As Drover said in Australia “In the end the only thing you really own is your story …” so here it is! Table of Contents Where Did I Come From? About Milton Gardens and My Grandfather H. Leland Magill June Magill – First Daughter of Milton Gardens and Quentessential Rowayton Mom June Magill’s Artistry Leland and Helen Magill in McLean VA in the 1940s and 50s Growing Up in Rowayton – Chronicles of Cricky Our Packard Nursery School in 1948 Leavitt Kids Around 1953/54 Times with Grandfather in McLean Virginia My Backyard in 1953 The Magill Sisters Populate Rowayton My 2nd Grade Teacher Mrs. Golding Camp Mohawk 1953 My First Yankees Baseball Game The Day the Squirrels Fought Back Struggles in School Not My Birthday – Around 1955 My Dog Freckles The Parallel Lives of Rowayton Kids Trip to the Natural History Museum in 1955 My Sole Experience With Guns Delivering the Newspaper and Mail in Rowayton Sailing School Sailfish Racing An 8th Grade Incident Tennis at Bayley Beach School Bus Antics at the End of the School Year My Moment With Jackie Robinson Wilson Point Beach Life at the Bluff The Bayley Beach Stand Our Family Friend Jerry Beatty Voyaging to Nearby Planets in the 1950s Senior Year at NHS Paul Tebo Dick Willmott Letter to Grampa on February 19th, 1961 My Norwalk High School Graduation My Friends in the NHS Graduating Class The Spring of 1963 – My Sophomore Year at Bethany College Letter to Grampa on April 12th, 1963 The Day Kennedy Was Shot Stefan and Marion Schnabel Summer of 1966 Seeds for the Future Chronicles of My Life as a Molecular Biologist Salary History, Grad School to 2010 – No, I didn’t get rich Letter to Grampa on May 14th, 1967 The Garret Ihler Story – My Grad School Mentor Some Trials and Tribulations at Johns Hopkins My Escape from Johns Hopkins Later at the National Institutes of Health My Move to Palo Alto CA My Role in the Emergence on Proteomics How Dekalb Genetics Made Roundup Ready Corn Satisfaction with My Career My Views on Stem Cell Research Addendum: Some Minor Details My Life With Becki Becki and I Get Together Golden Gate Bridge Walk – 1987 My Most Satisfying April Fools Joke JD Sharing My Breakfast Our Special Day Our Drive Through Milton Gardens and Rowayton on June 28, 2010 Becki Shovelling Our Driveway So I Can Go to Work – Whenever I Bug Her Too Much She Says “Go to work!” Mariah Gets Married Marriottsville Years – 1974 through 1999 (unfinished) Palo Alto Years (to be added) – 1982 through 1995 Woodstock Years – 1996 to the present (unfinished) Years 2009 through 2011 – Our life described in Letters to Daughter Elizabeth My Feelings About the Origin of Life on Earth ******************************************************** Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off June 22nd, 2010 Chronicles of Cricky – September 1943 to August 1966 By Admin I was born John Cristopher Leavitt on September 8, 1943. Where did the name “Cricky” come from? This all started in 1945 when I was almost two years old. My parents and I shared a house with the Frasers on Leroy Avenue in Darien. Alan and Scud Fraser’s daughter, Gail, was my age but couldn’t say “Christopher” which is what my mother called me. Instead she said “Cricky” which unfortunately stuck. But she got the worst of it because I called her “Wudgie” . Growing Up in Rowayton Our Packard This was our car in 1946 – a dark red convertable Packard and one of the earliest images I recall. That’s my mother in the driver’s seat. We lived on Harstrom Place in Rowayton CT at the time. Nursery School in 1948 The picture below shows Caroline Hoyt (second from left) and Margo Baumgarten (center) and me (furthest to the right) at Thomas Nursery School on Highland Ave across from the Beattys. Times with Grandfather in McLean Virginia – Howdy Pardner This is when I rode with the James Gang. Just Kidding . Read the rest of this entry ? Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off June 21st, 2010 Chronicles of My Life as a Molecular Biologist – 1966 to present By Admin My career journey from 1961 – No, I didn’t get rich. Letter to Grampa on May 14, 1967 Dear Grampa, I would like to take this time to congradualate you on your 60th Reunion of the Dartmouth Class of ’07. You must be quite looking forward to getting together with a few of your classmates who you haven’t seen for 60 years or so. I know that I will always be looking forward to getting together with my old college buddies in the years to come because it brings back fond memories of some of the happiest and moulding experiences of my life. I don’t mean to sound cliché-ish, but perhaps it is because I am very sentimental about my friendships made at Bethany. We are so close that I am sure that we will follow the developments of each of our respective lives as though we were a member of the same family. We are spread out between the Gulf of Tonkin and IRAN, but we (a few) managed to get together for New Years and for a weekend in April and, I imagine we will continue to do this as long as there are any of us left. I have been thinking of writing for the last couple of months. However, I wanted to have something definite to tell you about my work. I am very inspired about my field which is DNA and RNA (the field of Biochemical Genetics). However, I am going to stop right here until June when I will know definitely who I am working under and exactly what I will be working on. I have restrained myself from talking about this with even Mom and Dad because this is a very important step in my life, and I don’t want to jump the gun by saying that I have made the grade until I have actually started my work. Early in June I hope to be able to say that this is what I am doing and what it is that I hope my work will ultimately lead to. It has been hard staying here in Pittsburgh especially after that Summer in Europe, but this period has been a period of incubation for me to develop some more definite ideas, mainly about how I want to live. You can be sure that if it is at all possible I will be writing you before you leave for Europe. Sincerely, John C. Leavitt (Crick) The Garret Ihler Story – My Grad School Mentor Who was the first to isolate a gene? It was Garret Ihler in Charlie Thomas’ lab at Harvard in 1968-69 before the advent of recombinant DNA. The paper, appropriately titled “Isolation of Pure lac Operon DNA”, was published in Nature (vol. 224 pages 768-774) in 1969. This paper, certainly, was fresh in the minds of Dan Nathans and Hamilton Smith a few years later as they developed restriction enzymes to cut and paste defined DNA fragments (Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1978). Ihler’s work started molecular biologists thinking of the benefits of molecular cloning of recombinant genes. Although lac is an E. coli (lactose) operon consisting of three structural genes (encoding the enzymes required for metabolism of lactose), lac is a single transcriptional unit with one promoter and two regulatory domains (for the repressor and operator). Ihler’s paper points out that purification of individual genes would permit investigation of their mechanisms of transcriptional control and expression (the subject of my Ph.D. Thesis). To put this event in perspective, the hottest area of genetics at that time was transcriptional control in the E. coli bacterium with the discovery of sigma factor and investigations into the mechanism by which RNA polymerase transcribed genes. A few years later we would be able to cut genes with restriction enzymes and paste these genes with a ligase into vectors that could be used to transfer genes into cells. Nathans and Smith’s work allowed Paul Berg to put the E. coli gene gpt (encoding guanine phosphoribosyltransferase) next to the SV40 promoter to correct the genetic defect for Lesh-Nyan Syndrome (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1980). I benefited from all four of these developments because through their work I had the incentive and was able to clone the human beta-actin gene in December of 1982 and characterize its function in recipient cells using Paul Berg’s vector. Garret Ihler’s work and his mentoring instilled in my mind the goal and benefits of purifying a gene. There is more to the story of Garret Ihler’s accomplishment. If you look at the 1969 Nature paper, you will find that it has 6 authors – Shapiro, MacHattie, Eron, Ihler, Ippen, and Beckwith. If you look at the acknowledgement at the end of the paper, you will see that Garret Ihler was actually a postdoctoral fellow in Charlie Thomas’ lab and that Thomas’ grant supported the work. In fact, the lac operon was isolated and purified in Charlie Thomas’ lab (noted for DNA replication research) by Garret Ihler. Picture the group in Beckwith’s lab pondering the prospect of isolating a pure gene but not knowing how. Shortly afterwards Karin Ippen takes a stroll across campus with Ihler describing to him the issue of the day in the Beckwith lab. Picture Ihler enamored with Karin Ippen (the feeling turned out to be mutual). He was also clever especially with lambda transducing phages – these phages with the transduced lac operon from E. coli had been isolated in the mid-1960’s. In fact Ihler could take these phage strains “off the shelf” at a moment’s notice with the lac operon inserted into the lambda genome in opposite directions. Shortly Ihler had thought of the solution for the Beckwith lab with Ippen as his audience. He had the tools at his fingertips – the strains of transduced lac, a reliable exonuclease, and a method of separating and purifying each DNA strand from the lambda double helix. Nevertheless, he offered the idea to Ippen who took it back to the Beckwith lab; subsequently, she was pushed aside by the aggressive members of the group. So Ihler decided to act quickly. He grew up two transducing phages each with the lac operon in opposite orientations, he separated the DNA strands using poly-UG, and then hybridized the two opposite strands. He isolated the “heavy” DNA lambda phage strands (higher poly-UG binding strands) from two different phages each with the opposite lac orientation. When preparations of the two heavy strands were allowed to hybridize only the lac operon sequences could hybridize – the two strands were complimentary only in this part of the phage genome because the flanking lambda DNA sequences of the hybrid DNA were from the same heavy strand of the lambda genome and thus homologous, not complimentary sequences. Ihler nibbled away the lambda DNA “tails” with an exonuclease and precipitated the remaining DNA to yield a pure DNA fragment encoding the lac operon. Today this seems quite a simple experiment (if you are a molecular biologist), but in the context of the late 1960’s it was a clever experiment with a conceptual pay-off. What happened next poisoned the environment for molecular geneticists especially in the Boston area. Beckwith took this work and euphorically ran with it. Four co-authors from the Beckwith lab were added with trivial contributions and the paper was published. Beckwith scheduled a news conference basically to take credit for the work much to the embarrassment of Ihler. He used this news conference to belittle the accomplishment and used this media platform to express his personal political agenda which had no connection to Ihler’s work. Surprisingly, the tone of this press conference is preserved in a paper by Beckwith published a year later (Bacteriological Reviews 34:222-227, 1970) where he underplays the role of Ihler – he contributed “a critical idea”. When I read the final section of this paper I could only conclude that Beckwith was deluded by his perception of self-importance. This paper can be found on the Internet for anyone wishing to read it along with Ihler’s recounting of the story at http://mbch.tamu.edu/ihler/ . Luckily for me, Ihler took a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, and earned his M.D. at the same time. He and Karin married while I was finishing up my Ph.D. He later became an esteemed Professor at Texas A&M noted and especially appreciated by medical students for his stimulating lectures. Karin also developed a productive research program as a Full Professor of Microbiology and Genetics at A&M. Sadly Karin died of breast cancer in 1995 with Garret at her side. Her presence and work has been memorialized through the annual Karin Ippen-Ihler Lecture Series at A&M. Ihler was probably correct in his belief that Beckwith’s press conference led to misplaced fears and “widespread attempts to regulate cloning and gene transfer”. It did not help that Michael Crichton published “Andromeda Strain” in the same year. Fortunately, all of this concern had fallen by the wayside 13 years later when I was doing this type of work. But now we are experiencing the same hysteria over stem cell research. Some Trials and Tribulations at Johns Hopkins I was reminded of the following experiences during my six and a half years at Johns Hopkins by the news in 2006 of fraud by the Korean stem cell scientists who made worldwide news in May of 2005 for their published cloning of human stem cell lines corresponding to afflicted human individuals. Although it seems certain that the Koreans’ work will be disproved and retracted, I prefer to wait for the dust to settle before commenting further on this fiasco. However, in this context I thought that I could discuss my own brushes with overzealous ambition and fraud that occurred during my 30 year career as a bench scientist and researcher. Here is part 1 which relates to events of the 1970’s at Johns Hopkins. In part 2, I follow-up with some more bizarre examples that occurred in the 1980’s while I was at NIH and then at the Pauling Institute. Read the rest of this entry ? Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off June 20th, 2010 My Life with Becki – 1986 to the present By Admin Becki and I Get Together This picture of me and Becki was taken at a Pauling Institute party at the Stanford Court on Nob Hill San Francisco in November 1986. Our 1987 Golden Gate Bridge Walk The best fireworks display we ever saw. Becki is in the Bay Area for the week. One of our favorite activities in San Francisco was, and still is, walking the Golden Gate Bridge. Whenever my kids who lived in Odessa TX would visit, we would make a point of spending a day in San Francisco and having a date with the Bridge. (click to enlarge the small pictures) In May of 1987, I noticed that the 50th anniversary of the bridge was going to be celebrated in the evening with a spectacular fireworks display and a concert at Chrissey Field (near the Presidio) with the bridge lit up in full view for the ocassion. So Becki and I reserved a room at the Stanford Court on Nob Hill (our favorite hotel in SF) for the nights before and after the event. Six months earlier we had spent 5 days at the Court as the guest of Ryoichi Sasakawa, a billionaire Japanese industrialist who was visiting Linus Pauling. Read the rest of this entry ? Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off June 19th, 2010 Marriottsville Years – 1974 Through 1999 By Admin In the summer of 1974 after Jean and I bought 5.6 acres of secluded land in Marriottsville Maryland, I took a loan from Maryland National Bank for $7700 and installed the pool shown below. Why start this story with this picture? Because there was no house or electricity – just a pool in the middle of nowhere, just an inground pool in the wilderness with no neighbors for miles around. My mindset was if we were going to live through the humid/hot summers in the Baltimore area, we needed a pool. In February of 1971, Jean and I moved from Pittsburgh to the Brookview Apartments at the northwestern edge of Baltimore City, not far from the Pimilco Race Track where the Preakness was held. It was there that we purchased our first color TV and I watched the World Series between the Oakland As and the Cincinatti Reds in 1972. I had earned my Ph.D. in Biochemistry and had taken a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health to work under Paul Ts’o in the Department of Biochemistry at the School of Hygiene and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. My building in the medical center was located on the eastern side of downtown Baltimore on Wolfe Street across from the back door of Hopkins Hospital and next to the Medical School. This section of Baltimore had not shown much evidence of recovering from the riots of 1968 when most of this side of Baltimore was burned down. Hopkins was sort of an oasis where intense medical research was conducted. As evidence of this, in 1977 Dan Nathans and Hamilton Smith at the Medical School received the Nobel Prize for their discovery and application of restriction enzymes for splicing genes into replicating DNA vectors – the beginning of recombinant DNA research. A few years earlier I had been invited to give a seminar to Nathans and Smith’s labs. In late 1973 or early 1974, friends who had also moved to the Baltimore area from Pittsburgh, Becky and Frank Lindburgh, found some 5 acre lots for sale in a remote undeveloped section of northern Howard County due west of Baltimore a couple of miles north of Route 70 that headed due west to Grand Junction Colorado. Later on, I discovered that it took me about 35 minutes to commute to work from Marriottsville and it took Jean about 25 minutes to get to the University of Maryland Medical Center on the west side of downtown Baltimore where she worked as a nurse. Read the rest of this entry ? Posted in Marriottsville MD Leavitts | Comments Off June 17th, 2009 Woodstock Years By Admin 2005 This was our year of ‘the unusual’ tempered by the national debate on the Iraq war, stem cells, Katrina, and a sweltering summer. Nevertheless there was the joy of Peter and Janette’s visit, two visits by Andy, Julie, Emily & Peter, Becki and Mariah’s three-week stay in the San Francisco Bay Area, Elizabeth & Kyle’s 6 week stay, a visit by old friends, the Latters, our publishing on the internet, Becki in the thick of it with local politics… After a quiet winter and spring our pace was unrelenting. In late May, Theron Parlin asked if he could interview John on the subject of stem cell research for his nationally popular blog site, Thought Mechanics. Theron wanted to cover this subject because it had developed into a national debate after the sensational Korean cloning of human embryonic stem cells autologous to adult human beings. The interview can be found in the archives of www.thoughtmechanics.com . This experience and the responses to the article awoke John from a long dormancy in creative writing and stimulated him to publish 14 political and scientific essays, partly autobiographical, at three different Internet sites (blog archives of www.nerac.com, and the two others mentioned here). In the fall, Becki and John set up www.woodstockctcafe.com to express views on local political issues for the upcoming elections, school activities, and topical science. The fun has been in expressing views – perhaps venting a bit – and receiving commentary from others locally, nationally, and even internationally. In late June after Mariah finished her junior year at Woodstock Academy, Becki and Mariah flew off to the SF Bay Area for three weeks of unrestrained partying and visiting with Becki’s extended family of 4 brothers, sister, mother, spouses, 6 cousins, and old Palo Alto friends. John stayed at home to work extra hard to fund the vacation. He was able to track their activities through Bank of America and the Calkin’s website that posted uncountable pictures of the daily events. Becki and Mariah took Stephanie, Mariah’s high school buddy, with them for her first trip west. Stephanie was the star pitcher of the Academy softball team whose games John faithfully attended. Tne highpoint of the summer was when John’s brother, Peter, and friend, Janette, visited from western North Carolina at the same time that John’s other brother, Andy, visited with wife, Julie, daughter, Emily, and son, Peter, from Gaithersburg, Maryland. John’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, also arrived from Maine, soon to be followed by husband Kyle as they made their transition in jobs. We all congregated on the Leavitt-built deck and barbecued into the night discussing important events of the recent past like, Peter’s, hole-in-one. Golfing partner, Janette, actually witnessed the immaculate shot and testified to it actually happening. A second highpoint was the visit from longtime Palo Alto friends, Jerry and Liddy Latter. Jerry and John worked together at the Pauling Institute during the 1980’s. Jerry put together an elegant demonstration of our emerging proteomic technology that was presented at the Argonne Labs in Chicago in the early 1980’s and later at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, catching the attention of people like James Watson. Their visit, in effect, was a celebration of ‘the good old days’ in Palo Alto and Jerry’s recent appointment as VP of Information Technology at Rockefeller University. A third highpoint was a visit by John’s son, Drew, from the Dallas area. Drew is well on his way to financial success as a CPA and financial auditor for companies around the southwestern states. We had a very pleasant visit and day-jaunt to Newport Island before Drew flew back to Dallas. We also enjoyed the presence of Mariah’s cousin, Danielle Frate, who lived with us for her senior year at Woodstock Academy. In September, Danielle, went off to college at Eastern Connecticut State Univ. about 40 minute drive south from our home. College is going smoothly and happily for Danielle who likes her three roommates and share a bedroom suite on campus. Danielle is majoring in graphic arts and is already a talented photographic artist. We see her almost every weekend when she visits her boyfriend, Seth. With horse, Dancer, safely ensconced at a local stable for the winter, Mariah has been in the thick of Academy athletics managing the successful inaugural football team at the Academy. John posted an article about the first football team in 50 years at the Academy (see www.woodstockctcafe.com archives). We enjoyed watching her on the sidelines standing next to the coach and barking orders to the players. She is now preparing the basketball team for a promising season. Mariah is thinking of also attending Eastern Connecticut State next year. In September through December 3rd we entertained ourselves on Saturdays by going to UConn football games and we have also attended one UConn women’s basketball game thus far. We are excited about the prospect of both the men’s and women’s teams going far in the NCAA tournament, if not winning it all this year. Read the rest of this entry ? Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off June 17th, 2009 Woodstock Years 2009 Through 2011 – My Parents Final Years By Admin Letter to Elizabeth in June 2009 Hi Honey, Thanks for your invitation to visit. There’s nothing I’d like more than to take some time off for a leisurely drive down to see you and the grandkids. It’s not a question of money or vacation time. Thirteen months ago I moved my Nerac office to a loft over the kitchen at mom and dad’s house because Becki was going to be away for the summer. I felt I had to do this because we had had too many emergencies and Becki would not be around to step in. By the fall I learned how fragile my parents existence had become. Every week there were problems that I had to address … the furnaces, squirrels in the house, needed groceries and pills, and innumerable other problems. My mother actually lost the ability to walk for a month or so and needed constant attention such as trips to the doctor, trips to the market, etc. Between her doctor’s appointments in late October and April, she lost 7 lbs and has become very weak. Over the last 6 months dad has become more senile and very confused about things like ‘what day it is’ even though they have the newspaper right next to them. He also has delusions about something that happen a day or week ago that actually did not happen. I have to make sure that all the bills are paid and I pay most of them. I have had to guard mom and dad’s money from my brother David who has been demanding money to pay for his financial mistakes. When he visited several times in April and May, I had to remove the check book and credit card from the house. In May, I felt that it was necessary to freeze dad’s checking and savings accounts to block David from getting access to dad’s savings. Keeping an eye on the money situation is absolutely necessary because dad has limited savings left even though I cashed in his life insurance policies. There has to be enough savings to pay $10,000 property tax for the next 2 years and fix a lot of things so we can sell the house and land. It’s like having 2 full time jobs, not just one. Read the rest of this entry ? Posted in Woodstock Leavitts | Comments Off June 16th, 2009 My Feelings About the Origin of Life By Admin July 8, 2012 As a member of the 15% (according to the poll) who believe that God played no part in the origin and evolution of life (a member of the 97% if I am a scientist), I have thought a lot about the difference between believers and non-believers. In my childhood I was well aware that my best friend, Paul, went to Sunday School where his mother taught. I have very fond memories of Paul’s mother who was very supportive of me while Paul and I did sports and everything else together except for going to Sunday School. In high school many of Paul’s and my close friends were from practicing Jewish families and the subject of our faiths never came up between us except when practicing their religion interfered with our plans for the day. This is a picture of me and Paul at Norwalk High School graduation rehersal in June 1961 with close friends, Alan Green now Chairman of the psychiatric department of a noted university, Gary Goldstein a dentist associated with Harvard, Bob Swan a violinist at the Chicago Symphony, Ed Steinlauf a dentist in Branford (deceased), and Pete Blank a business executive. We all got together in Branford in July before 9/11. Paul’s career was at Dupont as a chemical engineer, now a retired VP. Paul and wife Pam became devoted Christians, helped build the local church, and on their last trip to the Galapagos Islands proclaimed the Galapagos as God’s creation in their last Christmas letter. It came across to me as sort of a swipe at Darwin’s noted visit in 1835 which resulted in powerful observations about natural selection by other naturalists who examined Darwin’s plant, bird and other animal specimens. Read the rest of this entry ? 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miltongardens.com Whois

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