Les UDs live in Munro Leaf’s house (Leaf’s NYT obituary was written by another Garrett Parker, Ben Franklin, with whose daughter UD went to school); they bought it from his sons. Leaf wrote The Story of Ferdinand, which is about to be released as a major motion picture — and may even be an Oscar contender.

Having grown up just down the street in Garrett Park from the Leafs, UD knew Margaret Leaf a little (Munro had died by the time our families got to know one another). Margaret also wrote children’s books.

Faithful readers know that Les UDs have various memorials to Ferdinand in and around the house – most famously, two topiary bulls in the front yard that children love and dogs love to bark at.

Anyway, what with the film coming out and all, UD has now received two media inquiries about her house from journalists preparing stories about the new film. If anything comes of these inquiries, she will of course link you to it.

************

UD has deep Ocean City roots. Her grandfather, Joseph Rapoport, in partnership with one of his brothers, Nathan, owned several boardwalk businesses and concessions. UD‘s father graduated from Ocean City High School.

Rapoports started buying property in Ocean City in 1905.

Joe and Nathan had a falling out of some kind, and Joe moved (in the ‘thirties? ‘forties?) to Port Deposit, an odd, amazing little town at the foot of bluffs overlooking the wide Susquehanna River, where he bought a department store that did insanely well because not long after he bought it, Roosevelt built a naval training facility a short walk away, and suddenly tens of thousands of people needed a department store. UD has vivid memories of visiting her grandfather at his store in Port Deposit. It’s a successful restaurant now.

Back in Ocean City, Joe’s brother Nathan was becoming legendary – “Mr Nathan,” a local celebrity and benefactor who continued to own property and run concessions for decades.

The boardwalk building Nathan retired to and died in – he lived on the top floor, and the bottom was – is – an ice cream parlor – is now all over the local news. The city has informed Nathan’s granddaughter, who has been leasing it to the parlor for forty years, that it owns the land it sits on, and it wants the Rapoports out of there and the building demolished. The Rapoports don’t really own it (it’s all very complicated: here) and after over a hundred years they need to disappear so the city can take it.

There’s a petition, natch.

I’ll be updating events about the Ocean City Rapoports here.

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