Shower the People by
(113 Stories)

Prompted By Babies

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First, apologies/kudos to Suzy for my stealing her idea of using a song title as my title.  It just worked.  And thanks, JT!

"...apologies to all for my being guilty of a veritable hat trick of semi-venal sins in this piece: bragging, name dropping and laziness."

Second, further apologies to all for my being guilty of a veritable hat trick of semi-venal sins in this piece: bragging, name dropping and laziness.   But, really, how cool is it that your first child’s baby shower was written up in The New York Times — and by Anna Quindlen?

(Students of feminist journalism will also note that, back in 1981, the Times still used “Miss”” rather than “Ms.” when referencing a woman’s maiden name.  For the record, “Miss Futter” and I had been married seven years at the time.)

By way of some atonement for these sins, and though I once introduced Anna at an event as having “only one more Pulitzer than I have,” let me note that she is a helluva better writer than I am.  So hopefully everyone can open the link above and enjoy her charming piece.

For the further record (and here is more bragging), baby Annie is now the beautiful, brilliant young woman below:

And, for the further, further record – -since I love both of my beautiful, brilliant daughters equally — here is a photo of Annie with her younger (though much taller) sister Libby and their mother, the former Miss Ellen Futter.

OK, bragging over.  Back to my humble self.

Profile photo of John Shutkin John Shutkin

Characterizations: funny, right on!, well written


  1. Suzy says:

    I applaud your use of the song title, you can steal ideas from me any time. I would not be astonished if you told me that James Taylor wrote it especially for you and Ellen! I do remember reading this Anna Quindlen piece when it was published. Fun to read it again now. I don’t blame you a bit for letting her do the heavy lifting in your story. Also, thanks for the reminder about the Times’ refusal to switch from Miss to Ms. for the longest time. And great pix of your daughters and your ex.

    • John Shutkin says:

      Thanks, Suzy; I will take your “applaud” to constitute legal consent. Honesty compels me to admit that JT did not write the song for us.
      Of course, my cynical daughter Annie views Anna’s story from the exact opposite side of the telescope: “I’m three weeks old and Anna Quindlen writes about me for the Times; it’s been downhill ever since.”

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    John, truly I was thinking the other day how much I miss Anna Quindlen’s op-ed pieces in the Times. Now you’ve provided me with your own personal one. How cool is that? Your whole story is done with wit and charm, and so what if Anna does the heavy lifting; she gets the job done. Also, love the accompanying photos. Thanks so much.

  3. John Shutkin says:

    Thanks so much, Betsy. And I truly miss Anna’s op-ed’s too. I understood, but regretted, her move to writing books. Incidentally, she has a new one just out: “Alternate Side.” I have not read it yet, but it had gotten excellent reviews (duh). And the title refers to the alternate side parking rules in NY, something all NYers (and former NYers) with cars can relate to. I may write my own piece on it some day, probably sub-titled “The single most important element in my law school study habits.”

  4. John Zussman says:

    I loved reading both your story and Anna Quindlen’s. As you say, it’s not every baby shower that’s documented by a Pulitzer winner (and I love your line about that, BTW), but then it’s not every baby shower that marks a historical milestone. , I also applaud your giving equal time to all your daughters. Of course, you’d probably catch hell if you hadn’t.

  5. John Shutkin says:

    You bet, John. The “bigger little sister,” once she finally was able to get in a word edgewise, has been quite vociferous in her equal rights.

  6. Sweet! Surely your daughter is the only one I’ll ever know of whose birth was celebrated in print by Anna Quindlen!

    And so impressive that your ex was Barnard prez at such a young age! I wonder if Ellen can relate to Woodrow Wilson who was asked to compare his tenure as president of Princeton
    to his time in the White House.
    He preferred the national job, he supposedly said, because the college job was too political!

    • John Shutkin says:

      I’ve heard the Wilson quote; pretty accurate. Also it is said that the reason being a college president is so political is because there is so little at stake. Without doubt, the most contentious issues I witnessed involved spaces in the Barnard parking garage.

  7. Wow , I can believe it.
    When I was on the faculty of a high school with a small parking lot, and word got out that some old-timer was retiring, the newer teachers ran to the principal’s secretary to see where they were on the parking space seniority list.

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