Along with his wife Rita and daughter Elena, Steve has been a member of Mount Zion for nearly a dozen years, joining almost immediately after they moved to the Twin Cities from Brooklyn, New York. Elena was in the 2nd grade when they arrived, and she began college last fall. Steve works in IT at the University of Minnesota, and the family lives in a restored Victorian home in St. Paul’s Merriam Park neighborhood.
What brought you to the Twin Cities?
Well we had no family here, but we were looking for a good place to have a life style change. We did some research on all sorts of different places, and settled on Minnesota. We came out here without jobs, but we took a look, and we liked it.
What did you like about it?
Everything … except the weather.
Aside from marriage or births, what’s been the happiest moment in life so far?
That’s hard, there are several (long pause). My daughter’s bat mitzvah. My daughter’s adoption.
Meeting my wife.
You snuck that one in.
We met at the company that we had both worked for. McGraw Hill. She had run an ad that I responded to in the company paper advertising for people that might want to join a health club – she needed ten people to join the health club – and I suggested we get together.
Can you describe your neighborhood growing up?
I grew up in the 50s and 60s in a suburban neighborhood on Long Island, much like the original Levittown; in fact my cousin did live in the original Levittown. And it was all single family houses, in a new suburban development. Brand new lawns and trees, and every nationality you could think of was on our block.
From people with English or Welsh backgrounds, to Italians on one side, the Polish across the street. There were Irish down the block, and another Jew a block away. So it was a really big mix of people with different ethnic backgrounds.
Shrimpie was the English family, Mr. and Mrs. Shrimpie. And Dr. Zeto was to the right, they were the Welsh. Mr. and Mrs. Monza were to the left, they were the Italians. The Marcunis’s diagonally across the street were the Poles.
It’s funny how you remember. I don’t know the last names of my neighbors now, but I could tell you everybody who lived on that block.
What traits did you get from your father, and from your mother?
Well obviously my good looks. From both. I think my intellectual side probably from my mother and my love of reading, well actually that was from both. And my pragmatism from my father. He was a dentist. My mother was a homemaker and she was very, very smart.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t talk to men trying to interview you, especially if they have a microphone.
Actually, it’s hard, but one of my father’s sayings that I used to draw upon… no, actually from both of them – you have to love yourself. Feel good about yourself when you look in the mirror. Nothing else matters.