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Winter 2001 Home







Finding focus
Alan Lupo’s funny,
touching take on life

Alan Lupo

STREET SMART: Alan Lupo ’59, meeting us for lunch in Brookline but still a Winthrop guy.

The first thing that impresses you about Alan Lupo ’59 is his ability to recall details from four decades ago – the clothes his friends wore, where they grew up, even where their parents emigrated from. Over lunch at Zaftig’s deli in Brookline with a visitor from Amherst, Lupo weaves vivid memories into funny, touching, and captivating stories. Noshing on chicken salad on marbled rye, he becomes again the Jewish kid from Winthrop spending “three beautiful years” in the Alpha Epsilon Pi house on Sunset Avenue, cavorting with pledge-class brothers Irv Labovitz and Milty Lebowitz.

"The Messiah Comes Tomorrow"     Lupo’s fourth book, The Messiah Comes Tomorrow, is subtitled Tales from the American Shtetl. Memories of his youth in a working-class Jewish neighborhood south of Revere Beach are interwoven with stories of marriage to fellow journalist Caryl Rivers – with whom he still lives in Winthrop – and the fruits of 40 years of writing for the Boston Globe and other periodicals. The result is a lively portrait of “working-stiff Jews,” a charming and
close-knit community, and the author’s own humorous and proletarian take on life.

     Lupo sees Messiah as documenting lives that have meaning but are in danger of being forgotten. “I think people should know where they came from and who their parents and grandparents and ancestors were,” he says. He bemoans modern materialism and extravagance and the loss of what he calls “street smarts.”

     “I’m not a Luddite,” says Lupo. “I’m not saying we have to go back to a simple life. But I hope we find our focus again. I hope this not only for Jewish people but for all groups.”

– Ben Barnhart

Resonant titles

Jewish American LiteratureJewish American Literature: A Norton Anthology, edited by Professor Emeritus JULES CHAMETZKY, John Felstiner, Hilene Flanzbaum, and Kathryn Hellerstein; W.W. Norton, New York. A hefty anthology of prose, poetry, essays, comedy, music, letters, and diaries from 145 writers spanning almost 350 years, this collection addresses the complexity of being both Jewish and American.

The Port of GloucesterThe Port of Gloucester by JOSH REYNOLDS ’93; Commonwealth Editions, Beverly. This portfolio of 45 color photographs, many made during the former Collegian photographer’s stint with the Gloucester Daily Times, explores life in the nation’s oldest fishing port, a working waterfront pressured by a declining fishery and by tourism and development.

Land of the CommonwealthLand of the Commonwealth, photographs by Richard Cheek, foreword by JOHN UPDIKE ’93H; UMass Press, Amherst. If our long-settled and populous state is yet so liveable, writes Updike, much credit is due a group of citizens dedicated for a century “to the acquisition of ‘bits of scenery’ as ‘country parks’ for the growing and crowded masses of greater Boston.” Acquisitions by the Trustees of Reservations from the Berkshires to Martha’s Vineyard are showcased in this handsome collection.

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