Help, Healing and Hope

Thirty-seven years ago, when Madison resident Mary Robinson was 14 and grieving the loss of her father, she received a compassionate letter from a neighbor. “I don’t know if this was the only sympathy card I received from an adult, but it is the only one I kept,” she says. “It gave me hope that something good could come out of something so incomprehensible and painful.”

In 2004, Robinson, along with board members Bob Anderson, Robin Bogan, Bill Hector, Fran Travisano, Amy Yin and Irene Weinberg, launched Good Grief, a nonprofit to help children and teens cope with loss. “Our commitment is to make sure that no other children lose years of their lives to unresolved grief like my brother and I did,” Robinson says.

The Summit-based organization hosts peer support groups for families who have lost loved ones. The meetings are facilitated by trained adult volunteers, who encourage the children to play and express their feelings. Since its founding, more than 500 children, teens and adults from 65 New Jersey towns have participated.

Good Grief is currently raising funds to relocate to an 8,000-square-foot building in 2012. “Having a larger facility will allow us to expand the scope and size of our programs, so that we don’t have to ever tell a grieving person they have to be on waiting list for the support they desperately need and deserve,” says executive director Marisa Bolognese. “A new center will also serve as a resource in the community for those who want to learn to help others through their grief.” For program information, or to make a donation, visit

High Tea Fit for a Queen

Fresh baked scones.

Fresh baked scones.

Feeling romantically inspired by Valentine’s Day or the upcoming royal nuptials? Why not partake in a traditional English indulgence—especially since you don’t have to cross the pond to do so.

Cosy Cupboard, which opened its doors in September, is an elegant Victorian tea room (4 Old Turnpike Road, Convent Station; 973-998-6676) that offers a scrumptious retreat into the 19th century, courtesy of proprietor James Howard. Here, Howard, a professor of architecture and design at the County College of Morris, and a member and docent at Acorn Hall, the headquarters of Morris County’s historical society, has combined his love for tea and history. (And he’s more than willing to share his knowledge of high tea’s origins with guests.)

Whether or not you opt for the history lesson, Cosy Cupboard’s scones, homemade clotted cream and finger sandwiches, prepared by chef and CIA grad Tom Szypiotko, are worth the trip.

“Making the perfect scone requires patience and plenty of experimenting,” says Howard, who is also eager to offer tips for enjoying the warm-baked treats. He recommends slicing your scone, then indulging in generous cream and preserves. “Nothing is more appealing to the eye than to see your scone halves slathered in this precious combination,” he says, after all, “…we do eat with our eyes.”

Fresh scones are always at hand, and takeout orders are welcome.
—Deborah Carter

A league of their own

“Shadowed Texture” by Charlee Swanson.

“Shadowed Texture” by Charlee Swanson.

Starting in February, the city of Newark pays tribute to a grassroots art movement with a multi-site exhibition titled “The Newark School.” City Without Walls (cWOW), a nonprofit gallery, joined forces with Newark’s Arts High School, Seton Hall University School of Law and William Paterson University to show that found-object artwork, inspired by artists like Chakaia Booker and Willie Cole, represents a school of work worthy of serious critical examination. “Everyone has heard of the New York School (abstract expressionism) from the ’50s, the group of largely white men who applied paint to canvas in new ways that changed the history of art and helped make NYC an art market,” says Ben Goldman, executive director of cWOW.

“Newark is kind of representative of the opposite school, which is largely works that are made from found objects and made by people of all colors, genders and sexual orientation. This is having a profound effect on the history of art that is not fully recognized yet.”

“Heart’s Desire” by Larry Dell.

“Heart’s Desire” by Larry Dell.

The exhibition features 16 artists at cWOW February 26-April 30, with large works at Seton Hall University School of Law January 10-April 29. Students at Newark’s Arts High School will display their works March 16-April 6 after being inspired by guest artists. On March 23, at a panel discussion at William Paterson University titled, “The New City: Urbanization and the Arts,” Newark Mayor Cory Booker will receive an award for his leadership in education and the arts. For more information, call 973-622-1188 or visit —Drew Scarantino

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