Sometimes stories turn out even better than you expect, and this month’s cover story on Mike McCusker shows why.
Of course we knew that it would be interesting — you can’t be nominated for an Academy Award, as Mike McCusker was this past spring for editing the movie Walk the Line, and not have tales to tell. But the “backstory” had its own special moments as well.
It began when writer David Rosenberg flew to Los Angeles early in the summer. He had planned the trip to see his brother — then figured, why not meet up with McCusker in person, rather than relying on a phone interview. It was a fortuitous decision. Upon meeting face-to-face, the two realized that they actually knew each other. Back when Mike was a student at New Canaan High School, he had a minor role in one play — the musical Carousel — and Rosenberg was the director. That the event was special was obvious when McCusker easily produced a newspaper write-up about the production that included a picture of him as one of the roustabouts. Not surprising, what was to have been a few minutes of formal questions turned into several hours of enjoyable conversation.
And the walk down memory lane wasn’t finished. In August, when McCusker and his family visited New Canaan on vacation, we arranged for pictures to be taken at New Canaan High School. As photographer ChiChi Ubiña was setting up his camera, someone suggested calling Peter Kingsbury, an NCHS teacher who was instrumental in introducing Mike to film production when he was a student. Luckily, on that summer morning, Kingsbury happened to be home. Without hesitation he jumped into his car and within an hour arrived at the high school, bringing with him a reel of his protégé’s first film. The reunion between teacher and student was fun to witness — and is recorded in one the photos that accompanies Rosenberg’s story, “Walkin’ His Own Line.”
This month, too, we are fortunate to have a story about the ongoing legacy of baseball great Jackie Robinson, who lived in Stamford after his playing days ended. Everyone knows that Robinson was the first African American to play in the major leagues. But that sentence doesn’t begin to capture the courage required by Robinson, both on the baseball diamond and in his personal life.
That bravery is only part of the story his daughter, Sharon Robinson, shared with writer Leslie Chess Feller for this month’s feature, “Breaking Barriers.” And it is one of the topics Sharon includes in her books for youngsters ages nine to fourteen and in her work with children on behalf of Major League Baseball and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Rounding out our features this month, Tom Connor looks at the angst surrounding the college application process and, for you last-minute shoppers, we present part two of our annual holiday Gift Guide.
We wish all our readers a happy and healthy holiday season. See you again in the New Year!