I hope no one minds if I use this forum to make a personal
announcement. Beginning March 13, I will no longer be Tom's assistant.
I am taking a new position at the Garden as Web Content Developer for
the Research Division. I have been interested in web design for a while,
but was reluctant to leave the Garden. So, when this position became
available in November, I spoke to our HRM guy and told him I would be
interested in applying. At first they were going to go with someone in
the computer field and not worry if they were a botanist, biologist, etc.
But after a short time, they realized that they needed someone with a
botany background and they could just train them in the web stuff. My
I have made numerous friends in the past 2 years, especially as a result
of being involved in the Aroid Conference last year. They include, but
are not limited to: Lynn Hannon, who has become a very good friend as
a result of sharing the Lita 'experience'. If not for her distracting me from
missing my daughter during this trip, I would have been on a bus back to
Quito (then the US) after 3 days; Dick Mansell, an intense, extremely
lovable, humorous, and very caring person who held my hand as I tried
not to vomit on his shoes as a result of our 'bad soup' in Lita; Peter
Boyce, one of the most brilliant, yet humble botanists I have had the
honor of corresponding with and who kept it hush from Tom when I told
him I wanted to work on the 'more interesting' Asian aroids; Dewey, of
course, one of the nicest, most unassuming characters I have had the
pleasure of meeting; and finally, my best friend, Cheryl Neuman, my co-
conspirator at the garden and sole caretaker of one of the largest aroid
collections in the world.
Other friends I have made during this time period include Simon Mayo,
Donna Atwood, Dorothy Bay, Danny Beath, Tricia Frank, Thomas Mottl,
Jane Whitehill, Guanghua Zhu, Julius Boos, and some of the many
students who have worked in the herbarium here including Gladys
Benevides, Felipe Cardona, Sari Ropenen, Michael Kessler and Jorge
Oh, the stories I could tell you all about Tom Croat. Like the time when
he chased the barking dog through downtown Lita at 2 in the morning
with his machete while in his pajamas. But we all have our stories about
Tom, and that's what makes him so unique. Working in the same office
as his assistant was sometimes difficult. We are both stubborn and
opinionated, and we often butted heads about politics, the merits of
computers and the value (or disvalue) of Rush Limbaugh to our society!
But he never failed to share with me his enthusiasm and knowledge of
the plants he worked on, and I will always respect him for this. Thanks,
Tom, for sharing so much with me and especially for giving me the
opportunity to become a part of the aroid world.
I have always looked forward to coming to work and learning more about
these beautiful and unique aroids. And I hope, by being able to
influence the material on the MoBot web page, that more people will
learn about aroids, and grow to admire them as we do.
My e-mail will remain the same, and I will continue to work with Tom on
an interim basis until a replacement is found.