By Lynne Bronstein

She called herself the Harpy, Essie LaYenta, and numerous other soubriquets. She was also known as Carol Berman via a former husband’s surname. When one of her Beachhead articles appeared with the byline Carol Berman, she wrote the paper two letters, one from Carol Berman and one from Carol Fondiller. In the former, she denied having written the article and wanted to make sure she wasn’t confused with her alter ego. “Carol what’s her name is a silly punk rocker with mangled syntax,” she explained.

This was Carol Fondiller (the name I knew her by), a woman who lived by her own rules and didn’t give a good flying you-know-what about what anyone thought of her. If someone insulted her, she could give back with a great retort. She never censored her thoughts.

The paper you are reading is what it is to a great extent because of Carol. She was there at its founding and she was writing for it for most of its 41-year existence. She wrote many of her articles by hand, leaving it up to others to “transcribe” them. But nobody minded that task because it provided an opportunity to read Carol’s words before almost anyone else (except for the other collective members). At editorial meetings, everyone begged to be the one to read Carol’s latest article out loud. Although probably no one could read her work with the elan that she herself provided.

Ancient Athens had Euripides and Aristophanes; Elizabethan England had Shakespeare, and Venice had Carol Fondiller. Venice will be singing her song parodies and quoting her observations for a long long time.


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