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March 13, 2007

London: lawyers, bloggers and The Stones--and Anne's chestnut tree.

Department of Broken Molds: I had lunch today near his Crown Office Row chambers with the infamous, celebrated and talented barrister and mediator Dr. Cyril Chern, an American lawyer and ex-Los Angeles judge, who I've known for 6 years. His mother is British--and he is here in London to stay. We met in Budapest, or was it Vienna, in 2001--and it was like the shock of recognition when two "similarly" unusual pain-in-the-ass people meet. Cyril, in the words of Dr. Thompson, is "not like the others". And then, walking down Fleet to Cannon Street, not far from Tower Bridge, I visited the London Stone, a day early. This quick trip to London is on my way to meetings in Austria. Today it was an honor and privilege to spend some time with the busy Cyril Chern. Tomorrow, I have the honor of meeting UK lawyer-bloggers Justin Patten and Charon QC. And it will be a privilege to spend some time with each of them.

Anne Frank would have been 78 this year, on June 12.

In 1992, I first visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam and was moved (that's understating it) to discover that Anne, who died at the Bergen-Belsen camp in 1945 at 15, had pinned up on the walls of her attic room photos of the exact same American film stars of the 1930s and 1940s my mother had also worshipped as a teenage girl. My own vibrant, youthful and outgoing mother, and Anne Frank, are about the same age. On the plane on the way over here, I read a piece in The Times, the London paper, that the comforting chestnut tree (now 150 years old) she wrote that she could see from her attic while her family was in hiding is now going to be chopped down, despite efforts to save it. The tree, now 27 tons, is in danger of falling over--but cuttings of the original are being nurtured in hopes of replanting a healthy tree.

Posted by JD Hull at March 13, 2007 02:32 PM


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