Today’s Kidoinfo Interviewer: Nancy King
Kidoinfo: What neighborhood do you live in?
DR: I always tell people who ask this question: “I live in the 1950s.” But the real answer is Rumford, East Providence. It just reminds me of what I imagine it was like in the 1950s — small houses on small lots with people of various ages and occupations living right on top of each other. It’s a real neighborhood. My neighborhood throws a block party in the summer…
Kidoinfo: Where were you born?
DR: I was born in Springfield, Vermont, in the southeastern part of the state. Again I have a shopworn line about it, because everyone thinks growing up in Vermont must have been so beautiful! … It is a beautiful state, but my little corner is not the part you see on the postcards. I’ve always thought there was a Universal Law of Conservation of Charm that governed states. My part of Vermont is the part with the charm deficit that allows Woodstock, Burlington, and the like to be extra charming. Having said that — it was a great place to grow up. And I love going back to visit my family, all of whom live there now. I have a much greater appreciation for it now than I did when I was a teenager and all I could think about was leaving.
Kidoinfo: How long have you been in Rhode Island?
DR: We moved Providence from Rochester, N.Y., in 1993.
Kidoinfo: What is your current state of mind?
DR: Anxious. About most everything… Then again, it’s sort of my permanent state of mind, and I don’t find it debilitating; it’s more of a motivator.
Kidoinfo: Who’s in your family?
DR: My wife is named Tina Tryforos, and we have a son named Elias. We’re also fortunate to have three brothers, a sister, four (grand)parents, a (great)grandmother, and nine nephews and nieces between us. And there are cousins… Lots of cousins!
Kidoinfo: What trait do you most admire about your family?
DR: Creativity. Tina is a photographer and teacher. Her response to the world around her inspires me every day. Eli is cut from a similar mold — he’s a relentless innovator, always offering a suggestion about a new way to do something, a new use for an old tool, or a different perspective from which to view a problem. AND HE’S FIVE. Did I mention he’s five??
Kidoinfo: What is your favorite thing to do?
DR: It’s hard to pick one thing. Probably reading… I love to cook for other people. Although I rarely cook anymore during the week; it is something I look forward to on weekends. I love urban travel and exploration, whether it’s downtown Providence, or a new city near or far (probably a reaction to growing up in the country).
Kidoinfo: Where is your favorite place to hang out?
DR: I don’t think of myself as a “home body,” but we do have a cozy little place and I love hanging out there . . . I frequently have coffee in the morning at Blue State Coffee on Thayer Street, which I think would be a good hang-out if I had more time for coffee shops . . .
Kidoinfo: Where would you most like to live?
DR: When I was a kid I couldn’t wait to leave home. Since then I’ve made a point to try to enjoy the place I live. It is so easy to complain about one’s hometown. I admire people who make the most of where they live. One of the things I love about Kidoinfo is that it is so positive and so local. I guess I’m saying I’m happy right here for now.
Kidoinfo: What do you like to do when you are not with your kid(s)?
DR: Sleep. (Although I don’t do enough of it . . . ) And I see a lot of movies — all the dumbest ones. It’s my favorite form of escapism. I like to work, too, which is a great benefit because I do that a lot, but it’s a boring answer.
Kidoinfo: What is the most overrated thing about parenthood?
DR: The difficulty. I think people overrate how hard it is — of course it is hard! No kidding . . . But I think there can be a tendency to focus on that, especially when parents talk to each other — even worse, when we talk to prospective parents. It’s not easy, but it shouldn’t be scary. I feel similarly about tattoos — there are good reasons not to do it, but the pain isn’t one of them. Nevertheless, lots of people who have a tattoo will tell you it hurts getting it done.
Kidoinfo: What is your most treasured possession?
DR: I have a collection of artist’s books, postcards, and pictures Tina has made for me over the past fifteen years. Each one is a very special thing.
Kidoinfo: What superpower would you most like to have?
DR: C’mon… flying. You have to pick flying. Invisibility is for cowards!
Kidoinfo: Who is your favorite fictional mother or father?
DR: Darth Vader.
Kidoinfo: What are you going to do now that you have answered these questions?
DR: Go back to work. But I wish I didn’t have to. This has been a lot of fun.
In the interest of community building, we will periodically profile a parent from our Kidoinfo community. If you want to share your ideas or request a questionnaire so that you can be considered for a future “Meet a Parent” column, please contact us!
Photo Credit: Tina Tryforos