Since working social media like crazy, I'm getting requests to post my speaking schedule. For those of you who are here for that, scroll down. For those of you who weren't alive in 1980, I'm posting a few newspaper clippings to give you the flavor of who I was, and still am. Basically...looking for truth, justice and the American way, as the Superman slogan used to go. Since my aunt died of breast cancer in our home when I was 5, I have been trying to figure out the truth about food and how to dodge genetic/environmental bullets.
I was born with a "try to save the world" head, as a few others in my family were. It's a gene that doesn't die easily, even though Mama told me early on, "You can't change the world." I didn't believe her then, and I'm still trying to prove her wrong. So it goes with kids.
More importantly, I am thrilled to be doing book signings at 5 Whole Foods in South Florida.
The stores are doing cooking demos with recipes from my book, I get to do my slide show and talk in most stores that have the space, but for sure the talk. It is really an honor to even have my book sold at Whole Foods. I "auditioned" for the speaker circuit at the Tampa store, and the marketing director there was kind enough to send out blast e-mails to other stores saying that the book sold well and attracted shoppers.
My slide show has a picture of a newspaper article from 1983 when my sister got breast cancer and I almost died of a colon blockage.
That was my wake-up call. In that interview, I jokingly said to the reporter, "My dream in life is to start a fast food health food chain and call it Tofu Tico." Never joke with a reporter unless you want it quoted. Secretly, I guess I did. The headline for the story was, "Reporter Dreams of Opening Own Cafe Serving Natural Foods." Point being, dreaming, wishing with all your heart, is so important in life. Good things do happen.
I wish I'd thought of the name "Whole Foods." But I love telling the world how much a plant-based diet can save you money at the store and by avoiding expensive diseases and doctors. I am not as one Miami TV reporter recently and justifiably suggested, a flack for Whole Foods or anyone. I do these talks for free because I have 3 daughters. The odds are, one of us may get cancer. My parents were so sick and diseased by the time I had kids, they couldn't lift my kids, let alone babysit them. My mom, aunt & both sisters had breast cancer. My best friend died of it. Preventable disease are not sustainable, no matter who pays for it.
A recent news story talks about how young kids now have high blood pressure which requires multiple emergency room visits and drugs. Can't our docs please take just one nutrition class in medical school and recommend that vegan diet for 3 weeks and see how it goes? Pretty please...with kale on top?
My Whole Foods speaking/book signing schedule is:
6/20 Coral Gables, 7 p.m. 6701 Red Road, Coral Gables 305-421-9435
6/21 Wellington, 7 p.m. 2635 State Road 7, Wellington 561-904-4000
6/22 Plantation, 7 p.m. 7720 Peters Road, Plantation 954-236-0600
6/23 Boca Raton, noon 1400 Glades Road, Boca Raton 561-447-0000
6/23 Coral Springs, 4 p.m. 810 North University Drive Coral Springs, 954-753-8000
As of this writing (6/19), the Wellington and Coral Gables stores have told me they are all booked with waiting lists of 30+. But I know there are last minute cancellations, so see if you can get on a waiting list. If you don't get in, I will stay late to talk to any one of you who comes by.
I found a few newspaper clippings from my 2 memorable years in Miami. I had done a story on a mom who's daughter flunked Florida's standardized test in the third grade. As a result, the daughter flunked third grade. Mom was not happy and called our station. I got the what was called a "throw-away story." 6 months later, Mom, who worked at Bond Plumbing Supply, saw a purchase order signed by the school superintendent Johnny Jones for $9000 worth of gold plated plumbing. She remembered me and I met her in a dark stairwell of the company. She passed me the purchase order and catalogue and said only, "Do what you can." I never saw or spoke to her again. I'm hoping she is in the Federal Witness Protection Program and not dead.
The purchase order was also signed by a principal of a technical high school for disadvantaged kids. When I went in cameras rolling to Jones, and the principal, Solomon Barnes, they both alibied, "It was to help underpriviledged kids learn plumbing repairs." In the days that followed, as the Miami Herald kindly reported, I had solid scoops for 3 days before anyone else could pick up the story. I had the plumbing company owner on camera saying, "We tried to talk them into cheap $25 white porcelain bathtubs we had in the back, but they weren't interested." And the builder of the summer home in Naples, after I found him, gave me a guided tour of the home, including places dug in the foundation where the jacuzzi, bidet and other plumbing fixtures were to be installed. He also showed me a copy of the same purchase order I'd received from the plumbing company employee. As I tore back into the newsroom after arriving back from Naples via helicopter, legendary news director Dave Choate said, "Don't convict him on the air. Just the facts."
The rest, as they say, is literally history. Johnny Jones blew his career at the 5th largest school district in the country and his chance to be the undersecretary of US Department of Education. It was tip of the iceburg.
Coincidentally, the day I broke the story was the same day I had turned in my resignation to return to my home town, St. Louis. I would double my salary and get the official title of "Investigative/Consumer Reporter," which I hadn't been able to do in Miami, even though I was getting well-established. More importantly, in St. Louis, I would have a staff of researchers and work for a news director who had a great reputation in the business. I had death threats. 200 people picketed the station my last day on the job. I've had mixed feelings about leaving and shutting the door on a career that could have led to bigger and better things as I defined them then. But I knew that a life at "60 Minutes" would not be conducive to marriage and family. It was probably a good time to leave town.
My replacement on the air was Donna Hanover. Johnny Jones unfortunately, was convicted by an all white jury. So the US Justice Department retried the case and sent a young prosecutor to Miami, Rudi Giuliani. Newsroom legend has it that Donna told everyone, and even posted notes on her desk saying, "I will marry Rudi." She did...if you remember that wild and crazy divorce in NYC a few years ago. So my real claim to fame, as I like to joke is, I could have married Rudi Giuliani. I think I got the better deal.
My husband, Clarence Jones, who was an investigative reporter at a competing TV station in Miami at the time, WPLG, came up to me at a Janet Reno news conference as she announced her investigation of my story and said, "Great story. I should have had it." He claims to not remember that. But given that I would have paid him to speak to me during my previously invisible years in Miami, his words were etched into my heart and memory. It took us 20 years to get married, but that's a story for another movie.
The school superintendent eventually went to jail.
All for now. Gotta run. And pack.