Long Island

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

I love it when women succeed in business. What triggered this column was Abigail Johnson being named CEO of Fidelity Investments. Granddaughter of the founder, she replaces her father who now serves as Chairman. Abby—as she is known—joined the firm in 1988 and worked her way up the ladder.

In September 1954, I spent four weeks at Brown's Business School in Rockville Centre, Long Island to learn touch-typing. My vehicle was a dowdy Remington office typewriter. Until the mid-1980s, in every office where I worked was the frenetic background clickity-clackity-ding! of myriad typewriters punctuated by ringing phones and the loud voices of busy workers.

I know about big airports. I grew up on Long Island exactly one mile from the touchdown point of the JFK Airport's main runway. Every two minutes a giant jet would pass directly over our house roughly 1,000 feet with an ear-splitting roar. When I lived in Stamford, Conn., I loved the 20-minute drive to the Westchester County Airport versus the 30-mile, three-hour schlep to and from LaGuardia.

Offices closed, subways shut down, streets fell quiet and marketers sprung into action, with some referencing Hurricane Sandy in messaging and others taking action around the storm, which could contend for the worst on record along the East Coast. As Sandy worked her way up the Eastern Seaboard toward New York City on Monday, many agencies and marketers across the Northeast kept staffers at home. Two of the ad shops in New York City most closely situated to mandatory evacuation zones

Hurricane Irene menaced the Eastern seaboard, pounding tens of millions of Americans with wind, rain and floods—but largely sparing New York after an unprecedented shutdown of the largest U.S. city ahead of the massive storm. In New Jersey, the ocean surge and rainfall caused severe inland flooding. Gov. Chris Christie said damages there would total at least $1 billion and could reach "tens of billions of dollars." Virginia's governor called the blackout in his state its second-largest ever and warned that electricity might not be restored for a week.

I grew up wearing blue serge.

In the autumns of my youngest years, my parents would drive me to Best & Co. in Garden City, Long Island, and outfit me in blue serge for church and birthday parties—short blue serge pants with matching Eton jacket (no lapels), white shirt with big Eton collar and red tie. In the spring, same kind of thing, but summer weight.

When it came time to get my first pair of long pants, I was driven to Brooks Brothers on Madison Ave. in New York City, where I have been doing business since 1942.

It was a big deal when I got my first pair of blue serge long pants. My mother cried.

When I started going to dances, I would get tuxedos at Brooks Brothers and white dinner jackets for summer.

When cash was tight because of Andover bills in 1949-1953 ($1,400 tuition, room and board), we sometimes shopped at Rogers Peet on E. 42nd St.

Both Best & Co. and Rogers Peet are kaput. Brooks Brothers is a survivor.

But it won’t survive much longer if it continues to spend vast sums of money sending out blue-serge letters.

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