Editor’s Page

Spring 2014

Dear Readers,

We sent out a call for pieces on politics and activism; you responded, it seemed, in minutes. Fiction, non-fiction and poetry poured in. So many stories, such busy lives. The Persimmon Tree team has stories, too. Here are two of mine, both about the police:

Once upon a time (and only for a short time), the police in New York were usually courteous and professional, so long as we obtained permits for our marches. Even civil disobedience was handled respectfully. In the `80s we were protesting the Reagan administration’s obvious attempt to bring down the Sandinista government (while supporting dictators and death squads in the rest of Central America). A group of us visited the office of our Republican senator, Alphonse D’Amato; when he refused to meet with us, we sat in. The constabulary were called to clear us out and I heard one young female cop wail, “I can’t arrest a nun!

Another time a large group of us were arrested in front of the South African Embassy to the United Nations. We were hustled (politely) into a large police bus and on our way to the jail, a policewoman walked through taking down our names and vital information. When the third or fourth person (that would have been me) told her she had left her identification at home and could not remember her Social Security number, the young woman said, impatiently, “just give me three numbers, two numbers, four numbers!”

Ah, those were the days.


In peace,
Sue Leonard


For 45 years, Sue Leonard taught every variety of history except American mostly at independent high schools for girls — with a brief stint in a poverty program school for pregnant teens in Bedford Stuyvesant. In the mid-nineties she and her late husband John Leonard were co-editors of the Books and Arts section of the Nation Magazine. Once retired, Sue filled up her days with reading, needlework, family, friends and long walks.