Who is Peter Graves?
Both my wife Linda and I are small town New Englanders who grew up in Clinton, Connecticut, and Foxboro, Massachusetts, respectively, she starting in 1948 and me in 1942 (you do the math). And weve pretty much spent all of our lives in the northeast, including the college years. If someone had told me during the quiet years of the 50s that I would one day live and work in New York I would have thought they were, well, crazy. New York was never in my remotest thoughts, and may as well have been on another planet. What I loved the most was being outdoors - exploring, hiking, fishing, doing the simple things that kids in that era found totally satisfying. No video games, TV, cell phones, or computers to distract from those simple pleasures. It seemed a very stable environment. The biggest move we ever made was from one house to another in the same town, and the fact that it was closer to the fishing hole, which was also the swimming hole, suited me just fine. Dad was an engineer who worked right in town at the Foxboro Company and could even come home for lunch. How many people do that today? So many things have changed. Mom stayed at home raising me (the oldest) and my twin brother and sister (one year younger). A few years later a second brother came along.
My interest in the out of doors and all creatures who lived there was the impetus for choosing to major in Biology in college and then pursuing Masters and Doctoral degrees in the same subject. This was in an era when Biology was becoming more "molecular", so my Ph.D. from Wesleyan University was in Molecular Biology and my thesis involved protein synthesis in sea urchin eggs and embryos. My social life in college, and even into the early years of grad school, if summarized in a single word, could be called "nonexistent."
Strangely, I didnt seem to mind. I guess my rather solitary early years had prepared me quite well for this. I dont recall ever having gone to a party at college, though I guess there were a couple of dates. If youre not asleep by now, prepare yourself for the good stuff.
The good stuff began when I met Linda Phelps one summer on the Wesleyan campus. Not far from the campus was the Long Lane School for Delinquent Girls (no, she wasnt one of them). Linda, being interested in social work, had a summer job on the staff. The Wesleyan campus was pretty dead during the summer, with the undergraduates away, and apparently some grad students invited the Long Lane staff over one evening for a little get-together. One of my fellow grad students even let me know about it! And I even went!! And when I walked into the dorm where the party was, there was Linda sitting right in front of me!!!
Clearly a miracle. The sweetest, prettiest, nicest girl on the staff just sitting there waiting for me. There really is a God. She was between her third and fourth years at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Now, 38 years after that night, she remains my closest friend, a wonderful mother, and the nicest person I know. She is a Social Worker at a very large nursing home/hospital in the Bronx.
My science training and degree resulted in a career in biomedical research and teaching. Following postdoctoral work at the Roche Institute in New Jersey, I took a position at the Rutgers Medical School, also in New Jersey, as an Instructor then Assistant Professor. In 1980 I joined the Microbiology Department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. I was there for more than 20 years, conducting research on influenza viruses and, starting in 1987, on autoimmune thyroid disease. The latter work was done in the Department of Medicine. When I started at Sinai, we moved from New Jersey to New Rochelle, New York, about 15 miles north of the city. A year after we moved, our daughter Erin was born. And three years ago she graduated from Syracuse University. How time flies! She was an Arts major and is now living and working in Brooklyn. We also had a son, Andrew, but we had the great misfortune of losing him in an accident, at age 17, in 1994, one week before his High School graduation.
I left Mount Sinai in 2002 but continued to consult there while picking up an M.A.T. degree at Manhattanville College so as to qualify for teaching in the New York school system, something Id wanted to do when the research career wound down. However, my experiences in the classroom during the training made me question that decision. Though I love teaching and the ability to bring my research background into it, I felt I might be a bit too old to throw myself into the daily warfare of the high school classroom. What Ive found I enjoy more, and am more effective at, is one-on-one situations. So, for the past three years Ive been working for a private tutoring agency in a neighboring town. I meet with high school students who are out of school for a variety of reasons. My favorite is still Biology, but on occasion I do other science subjects as well.
Peter enjoys a bit of gardening. Nothing extensive, but growing a few vegetables and
herbs. He has been particularly successful with tomatoes, a sample of which he is
proudly exhibiting in this picture, taken in the Summer of 2010.
Peter and Annettes Collaboration
I, Annette, had never heard of Peter when one day, a friend sent me a few of his poems. I liked them, asked for more and was soon addicted. After corresponding with Peter for a little while and playfully adding a picture to his creations here and there, the project of a slide show insinuated itself into my thoughts and soon became another addiction. This page is the result of the lot of fun that went into researching, among Google images, suitable illustrations for Peters lovely poetry. Emphasizing the poems and making them available for public viewing was the goal and I can only hope that you enjoy(ed) reading them as much as I did.
AND A FEW YEARS LATER ....
Daughter Erin at her jewels farm
Peter and Linda at Christmas 2011
Here is Peter 's Volunteer Project to teach kids about AQUATIC BUGS