'Brooklyn-ese Proverbs and Cartoons' speaks universal language

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:28

SPARTA — For Dr. Lawrence Harte, being a modern-day Benjamin Franklin is more than just a wistful aspiration, it is the realization of a dream dating back to his “latchkey” kid days that began with a fascination with Franklin. The publication of his book “Brooklyn-ese Proverbs and Cartoons,” which came out in August, are quips of wit and wisdom mirroring the days of the past. The book is filled with universal witticisms about life, but with an East Coast swing. No matter where you hail from, the book speaks to everyone from the Bay Area to Bay Ridge. “There were a few inspirations for this book,” Harte said. “The first one was back when I was trying to get into Columbia... I told the interviewer about the Junto Society - a group of people in 1727 that came together to talk about politics and business, which Franklin founded. With that the interviewer said 'welcome to Columbia.’” After attending Columbia and a stint as a Captain in the Air Force, he studied orthodontics at the Eastman Dental Institute in Rochester, graduating in 1957. The knowledge he had accumulated about Franklin helped him get into school and has aided him throughout his life. This book is a nod of sorts to the tidbits of life that he holds most dear. His love of poetry and doodles, all forms of artistic imagination, are an integral part of the book that brings humor and insight to family, life, politics and the general idea of you are what you think. Born in Brooklyn, he has been a longtime resident of Sparta after his education and residency and has two orthodontic practices, one in Sparta and one in Livingston. “The other inspiration came after 9/11, when I was talking to my friend from college who had moved to Silicon Valley,” he said. “He said 'Remember back at Columbia, when we used to talk about all that Franklin stuff? You should do something with that.’” His friend happened to be Physics Nobel Prize winner in 1988, Mel Schwartz. It’s the kind of friend’s advice you don’t ignore. This shot of electricity and imagination has thus spawned the book “Brooklyn-ese Proverbs and Cartoons.” “The money I make on this book all goes to charity,” Harte said. “The main cause is the Susan G. Komen for Breast Cancer. But if - let’s just say the public library in Sparta wanted to hold a signing - I would donate all that money to the library, so I am open to donating (to different causes).” He has also published the book “Journey with Grandchildren,” that will be available soon. But this time around he is doing a book signing for “Brooklyn-ese Proverbs and Cartoons” at the Lake Mohawk Country Club Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. Here are a few tidbits from the book: “God gave us one mouth to ask a question and two ears to listen.” “The greatest failure is the failure of imagination.” “You can’t move the mountain, but you can climb it.” “You can get on the train of life or you can watch it go by.”