Personal recollections by blog owner Curt Monash, plus notes on his family.

September 20, 2012

Three photos of Istanbul

Ayasofya seen through the Sultanahmet fountain

Hagia Sophia seen through the Sultan Ahmed fountain, by Linda Barlow. Read more

September 19, 2012


I’m in Istanbul, in the second part of a two-week vacation with Linda. Last week we stayed almost completely in the old city, with our hotel being just 3 blocks from the Gülhane tram stop. This week we’re in the new part, on a hillside between Taksim Square and Kabataş. For a variety of reasons, I haven’t been as diligent about email and so on as I usually am while on vacation, and I’ve been completely unavailable for any except the most utterly urgent phone calls, of which there thankfully have not been any. But this evening, while Linda watches Muhteşem Yüzyıl in the other room, I’m in the mood to write a bit of travelogue, and post it in what among other things has become the most personal of my blogs.

Linda lived in Turkey for a while with her first husband, and speaks excellent Turkish. (In general, the Barlow women have an amazing talent for languages.)

If you’ve never been to Istanbul, it must be seen to be believed. From a hills and water standpoint, imagine 10 San Franciscos, but with many of the buildings being 500+ years old. The whole thing is wrapped around the Bosphorus, in which at any moment you can see 2-3 tankers, a whole lot of commuter ferries, and generally more ship traffic than I imagine can be found in any other similar expanse of water in the world (the Panama Canal area perhaps excepted). And there are plenty of places from which to get awesome views, most notably on the water itself. If you’re ever in Istanbul, seize every pretext you can find to be out on the water.

When it comes to great religious buildings, Istanbul may be my favorite city in the world, ahead of Rome, Paris, and even Kyoto. Reasons include: Read more

November 9, 2010

For those who cared about the late Peter and Anita Monash

I have been writing a series of posts about my recently-deceased parents Peter and Anita Monash. A listing of them may be found below.

We now have details for their joint Celebration of Life, a better term than “Memorial Service,” or at least one less fraught with religious overtones. It will be Sunday, November 14, 4 pm, at Friendship Village of Dublin (address and directions below).

To quote a previous post:

Please make in-lieu-of-flowers donations to the Clinton Foundation, which is doing terrific work in Haiti relief, microfinance, tropical disease, HIV/AIDS, and much, much more.

Unfortunately the Clinton Foundation has no obvious “In Memory Of ____ ” option, so please feel free to make mention of a gift in the comments below, should you choose.

At this time I do not plan to blog at any length about my parents’ retirement years or final declines. More precisely, I do not plan to cover those subjects at length unless I am prepared to weave them into “lessons learned” kinds of posts. But to cover those in very abbreviated form:

Location details for Peter and Anita Monash’s Celebration of Life are:

And finally, I’m the executor of the wills of both Peter and Anita Monash — dated 2004 — and we have a glitch. There’s a bequest of some nice craft items to Robert Zwink, perhaps now or previously a resident of the Columbus, OH area, and I have no idea who Robert Zwink is. Mr. Zwink — if you discover this post, please contact me via the Contact link above. If you’re the wrong Robert Zwink, but have an idea of a namesake who might be the correct one, please help me out by putting us in touch.

The series so far

November 5, 2010

Anita Monash, marriage through retirement

My mother frequently said that the most important thing in life was health — if you had that, you could deal with the rest. Unfortunately, she often didn’t have it.  Read more

November 3, 2010

Anita Monash, the unmarried years

Anita Kaete Jonas was born June 23, 1928 in Dresden, Germany, to Kurt and Ilse “Ille” Jonas. She seems to have been quite the cute and spoiled little kid. She called her father “Kurtchen,” the diminutive of his given name; hence everybody else, including his patients, called him that as well. (They knew what she called him because she always insisted on answering the telephone.*) Her aunt (childless) and uncle evidently doted on her. Her father was a charmer, and my grandmother wasn’t so bad herself. It was one of those families.  Read more

November 3, 2010

Peter Monash, the third quarter-century

I’ve just written a long post about the general creative consulting endeavors my late father was involved in. Highlights specific to him included:

Along the way, he did serious work for major retailers around the world — Wal-Mart in the US, Migros in Switzerland, Tesco in the UK, Horten, Karstadt, and Kaufhof in Germany, Ito Yokado in Japan, COIN in Italy, and many others spanning the world, Brazil and South Africa not excepted. Read more

November 3, 2010

How bricks-and-mortar retailing got modern

When he got to Columbus, Ohio, my late father Peter Monash helped make retail industry history. So before I continue a more personal view of his life story, let me talk a bit about the broader industry dynamics. I am, on the whole, no expert on retailing.* But perhaps I know just enough to get the discussion kicked off.

*Well, there was that one time Duane Naccarato and I did strategic consulting for a Central American general merchant chain. But that only came about because their culture put strong emphasis on personal friendships, family connections, and the like. Also, one of the many things they needed to upgrade was their information systems …

Big stores were only made possible by technologies such as (fairly) modern transportation and, for that matter, electric lighting. Malls, well-stocked specialty stores, further depended on developments such as automobiles and suburbs. So as of the 1970s, the modern retail industry really wasn’t all that old.  Read more

November 1, 2010

Peter Monash, the second quarter-century

If you knew my late father Peter Monash, you knew him to be a very personable and social man.* Frankly, I don’t know any stories from his life in Germany or France that particularly bear that out, save perhaps in the immediate WW2 aftermath when — like everybody else — he was scrounging resources so that he and his family could survive. But it sure came into play as soon as he got to the US. He lived in poverty in New Haven, CT, working as a dishwasher. But he also fell in with a group of Yale students, who set about “Americanizing” him. He got progressively more decent jobs. He took one or the other Yale extension course, the basis for wild academic resume inflation later (in fact, he never actually graduated the equivalent of high school). He blew the covers off a prototype IQ test. He had an active social life. And he did his part to bring the rest of his family to the US to be with him.

*And if you didn’t know him, you may not care much about the narrative in this post.

Read more

November 1, 2010

Peter Ernest Monash, the European years

The man later known as Peter Ernest Monash was born Ernst Rainer Monasch, on August 16, 1924, in the German town of Rudolstadt, where his father Alfred Monasch had recently opened a factory that employed a couple hundred of workers. His life was probably not unlike that of an only child, in that his brother and sister were 10 and 11 years older respectively. He was smart, high-strung, fast, and short. From all I know he was basically a normal kid, leading what for that era and socioeconomic class was a normal life. I know from one story that he was lousy at Latin, but I’d guess that overall he did pretty well in school — and even that supposedly not-known Latin was, from time to time, quoted to me at the dinner table.

In 1933, the Nazis took power. Read more

November 1, 2010

Where I’m going with these obituaries

I have multiple motives or angles in writing about my late parents (and other deceased relatives).

That’s a lot. If it ever is completed, it will cover a lot of different blog posts. So please understand if any one post in particular feels a little bit sparse or incomplete — it’s just a piece of a larger whole.

The series so far

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