Hot Springs, AR (PressExposure) November 12, 2009 -- Poetess, author, and activist Emma Lazarus was receiving a mentorship from Ralph Waldo Emerson about 100 years before her direct descendant, cartoonist/writer/entrepreneur Rick London was born.
When she died at age thirty-eight she hadn't a clue that the last verse in her poem "The New Colossus" would be engraved into the entrance of the Statue Of Liberty.
The last sentence in the poem is the best known: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Thanks to one of her best friends, Georgina Schuyler, it would be installed six years after Emma's death due to persistence, patience and love.
Emma's other best friend, Rose Hawthorne, daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne built the first hospice in Emma's memory in Ct., due to the fact that Emma died very young, alone, at home, and was a bit of a black sheep of the family and basically left to die at age thirty-eight. Emerson visited when he could but lived about three hundred miles away from her home in New York City, and that was not often; though the two were known to be inseparable in their twenties and thirties (with Emerson being several years older). Scholars have debated about their relationship for years.
On July 16, 1954, Richard Stetelman was born to Mike and Dorothy Stetelman at Forrest General Hospital. The parents had great hopes of his growing up to become a Realtor to run the now thriving forty year old business started by Richard's maternal grandfather Marcus London who died young in an auto accident in 1960.
After a turbulent childhood and just as turbulent an adulthood, Stetelman changed his last name to London (his mother's maiden name) and used it feeling it would be more easily remembered in the world of "muse". He felt he had spent half his life spelling it for people and was sick of that.
Rick London did not fulfill his parents dreams or anyone else' for that matter except his own. He said more than once that he took Shakespeare's "To thine own self be true" way too literally. He was not exactly sure what that "self be true" was, but he knew what it wasn't. It wasn't real estate, law, medicine, and all the other socially acceptable occupations of which he had full access and opportunity.
After a series of owning entrepreneurial businesses and a myriad of jobs, I launched my current single panel cartoon in 1997. By 2005, I had over 4500 original color offbeat cartoon images on in my site inventory which surprisingly lured 8.5 million visitors since 2005.
Upon reaching a stage of burnout (after opening two cartoon gift shops featuring over 100,000 products, London tried his had at shoe designing and founded Shoes That Amuse. He designs the shoes with a graphic of a famous writer, author, poet, or philosopher on the top panel and on the side panel he showcases one of their most famous love quotes about love. Some of these masters include Shakespeare, Thoreau, Jesus, Emerson, Wordsworth, Helen Keller, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Victor Hugo, his great great etc Aunt (or cousin he's not positive), and many others, all on Keds Champion womens shoes, printed and shipped by Zazzle.com.
The only way I discovered found out of his relation to Lazarus, and Supreme Court Judge Benjamin Cardoza was when an author named Steven Birmingham contacted his maternal grandmother Ruth Gomez London in Hattiesburg for a short phone interview for a new book he was writing around 1985 titled "The Grandees" and that his maternal family had just bought back their 300 year old home near Scarsdale, N.Y and converted it into a museum called "Gomez Mill House" (www.Gomez.Org, which makes mention of Lazarus and Cardozo being direct ancestors to London. The Gomez home is the oldest standing Jewish residence in all of North America, built around 1629.
In late 2008, I reached my goal which was to create 500 pair of slip on and lace up shoes featuring the masters and their love quotes, and he was only able to locate one of his ancestor Emma Lazarus so he quickly designed several pair for the store including a matching bag. London's bags are organic and/or susainable canvas.
I love America and its capitalistic nature giving one the chance to start over at any age, I'm fifty five, and love working from my studio near Hot Springs, Arkansas in the beautiful Ouichata Mountains with his fiance' Lee Hiller who Google ranks #1 America's Favorite Love Columnist and creates her own line of designer gifts, tees, and collectibles as well as giving love and relationshpi advice worldwide.