Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.



It is said that the embers were removed from the fire place in the Stamford, Connecticut, house that burned to the ground early Christmas morning because the three young girls worried that Santa Claus would not be able to come down the chimney. Every child has that thought, and yet Santa always comes. Except last week in Stamford, when those embers caused a searing, tragic fire that engulfed the house in minutes and snuffed out the lives of the three sisters and their grandparents. For a parent the death of a child is an unimaginable horror, one that defies the accepted order of the world and leaves a hole in your heart that can never be filled. You bring children into the world to give them life, to love them as you have never loved anyone before – without measure and without expectation – and to give your own life purpose and continuity. To lose them is to lose a part of yourself forever. Santa did come that Christmas. The girls’ grandfather, Lomer Johnson, spent his retirement playing Santa Claus to all kinds of children. It was, he said, the best job he had ever had. “If you want to talk about a good time,” he wrote, “try listening to and talking with kids at Christmas.” Mr. Johnson died on the roof, trying desperately to rescue his granddaughters.


The American Dream