Tag: eccentricity

His Own World: The Mystery of My Uncle Steve


salvador1st+picture University of Baltimore MFA student Mary Walters describes her eccentric uncle’s life, death — and legacy.

The brown paper bag.

A few days after my Uncle Steve died, my dad brought home a brown paper bag from the apartment where single, childless Steve had lived for 17 years. It was soggy and heavy with coins. He dropped the bag on the coffee table mumbling “your inheritance.” My cousins, siblings, and I paid it no attention until the conclusion of whatever television show we were watching, and then my brother, Andy, peeked inside and wondered how many dollar bills those pennies would add up to—pennies could add up to anything. He drove to the Weis with the coin machine in Damascus and I came along. They added up to $38.00, $3.80 per niece and nephew.

Poppa Tyler…or The Secret Writings of Sigmund Freud


chaplinUniversity of Baltimore MFA student Tyler Mendelsohn’s grandfather Poppa, the analyst patriarch in a family full of psychoanalysts, is “exploding with ideas,” a good thing — sometimes, though, he’s a very, very close talker, which proves more challenging.

The person whose company I most prefer at family functions, my grandpa—or Poppa, as we call him—has halitosis. And he’s become an increasingly close talker, as his hearing goes. Every family event, I face a strange dilemma: I can choose to have my brain tickled, while my nose suffers in olfactory agony, or I can ignore Poppa. My fondest memories, needless to say, are of conversations we had while sitting across very large tables.

Author John Glassie Discusses Misunderstood 17th Century Eccentric at The Ivy Bookshop, Jan. 24


glassie man misconceptions_0

Seventeenth century German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher’s interests knew no bounds. From optics to music to magnetism to medicine, his inventions and theories for everything made him famous across Europe. His museum in Rome featured magic lanterns, speaking statues, the tail of a mermaid, a brick from the Tower of Babel and more. Holy Roman Emperors were his patrons, popes were his friends, and in his spare time he collaborated with the Baroque master Bernini.

In A Man of Misconceptions author John Glassie traces the rise, success and eventual fall of this fascinating character. With humor and insight, John Glassie returns Kircher to his rightful place as one of history’s most unforgettable figures. Join Glassie on Thursday, January 24 when he comes to The Ivy Bookshop at 7 p.m. for a book signing and discussion of the controversial polymath.