It’s Tuesday: Where is Jane Brody?
Tuesday’s Science Times is missing something that’s been in it for 46 years: Jane Brody’s column on Personal Health.
Last week, without fanfare, introduction, drama, or even an explanation, Brody wrote her last column for the Times: Farewell, Readers, It’s Been a Remarkable Ride
A couple of days later, Tara Parker Pope wrote an ode to Brody’s retirement—Nudging Us to Be Better—which ended with statement:
For more than five decades, Jane’s wisdom, wit and writing have lifted us up, motivated us and nudged us to be just a little better than we were before.
Her article was illustrated with this wonderful portrait: I was a New York Times reader when I lived in Boston in the late 1960s. Brody’s articles about nutrition got me interested in the topic and when the Brandeis Biology department, where I was teaching botany, zoology, and cell biology, offered me the chance to teach a nutrition class I jumped right in, changed careers, and never looked back.
While I was teaching at UCSF, I reviewed Jane Brody’s Nutrition Book for the San Francisco Chronicle. But I didn’t meet her until I moved to New York University in the late 1980s.
By then, she had been writing the weekly Personal Health column since 1976.
I can’t fathom how she did it. That’s more than 2000 columns over the years, on an enormous range of health topics.
I have some understanding of what’s involved because I wrote a monthly—not weekly—column for the San Francisco Chronicle from 2008 to 2013, more than 50 altogether. It was never easy dreaming up topics to write about and the writing took me many hours to do.
How did she do it? And at that level of breadth and quality?
Science Times has a big hole in it. That column has been part of my life for decades. I will miss it.