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24The Nobel Prize:My Mother Expected It

The curtain is lifting. We can have triumph or tragedy, for we are the playwrights, the actors, and the audience. Let us book our seats for triumph. The world is sickened of tragedy.—JOHN MACAULEY

MANY OF THE ACTIVITIES I have described would have been unsustainable without a respite, a break in the high tension of unflagging deadlines and looming crises. Every year Louise and I and our children and grandchildren took an August break. We escaped to a family retreat on Lake Sebago in Maine. For harried urban dwellers this was a New England version of Shangri-la, still untouched by malls and shopping kiosks. Humanity had made a perch but had not yet forced nature into submission.

We were surrounded ...

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