Get to know… Mr. Steinberg!

Keith Ford Dearborn-Cain, Reporter

Edward Steinberg was born in Montgomery, Alabama. He enjoyed living there and had a wonderful childhood. He played a lot of sports: in particular, he helped to organize a basketball team, was the YMCA junior ping pong champion of Alabama, and in high school, became a part of the tennis team. He was even on a radio station called The Junior Sports Forum, “Once a week […] listeners would send in questions, and if we couldn’t answer them, they would get a free hamburger at Joe’s.” Overall, Mr. Steinberg recalls that as a child growing up in Alabama, he was free, and in fact, Mr. Steinberg believes that there used to be “a lot more freedom for kids to run around in a small town.” However, he says that from historical perspective, it was not a good area, as there was still a lot of racial segregation, and he remembers witnessing it a lot. Mr. Steinberg recalls that as a child, he never gave it much thought, but as he became a teenager, he began to realize just what it meant. As a graduate student, he taught at an all-black college in the South, during the Civil Rights movement.

Mr. Steinberg lived in Alabama until he was 15 years old, enjoying school, when “after a series of accidents,” he got a scholarship to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. As a child, Mr. Steinberg did not know what he wanted to be when he grew up. Both of his brothers were scientists, so he thought that he wanted to go into science, which is where he started out, but around freshman year in college (at Harvard), he decided that ne no longer wanted to be one. He then studied “everything else,” including philosophy, history, and literature, even though he admits that he still liked science.

The first time Mr. Steinberg visited Europe, he took a ship, and despite the fact that the journey took 6 days, Mr. Steinberg recalls that it was a very positive experience. He began teaching at St. Stephen’s around 5 years after it first opened in 1964, but then stopped teaching at the school for around 25 years, and resumed in the late 1990s. Mr. Steinberg admits that he really likes Rome, and that he has lived here longer than he has lived in any other country. In fact, he came to Rome because of the Finnish woman who is now his wife. At the time, Mr. Steinberg did not want to live in his then-future wife’s country, and his future wife did not want to live in the United States, so they decided to live in Rome, a place that they both liked a lot. Mr. Steinberg met his wife at an “event”, where he was doing research for his thesis, and she was a musician, who had come to Italy to study with an Italian flutist for a year.

When asked how many foreign languages he can speak, Mr. Steinberg says that in addition to English, he can fluently speak French, Italian, Finnish, and, to a certain extent, German, but says that he can read it much better than he can speak it. In his spare time, Mr. Steinberg enjoys cooking “all kinds of things.” Besides, in the late 1980s / early 1990s, Mr. Steinberg became very interested in wine, did a lot of wine tasting and even wrote a book about wine after writing his first article about wine for the magazine “Newsweek”! The book follows a vineyard throughout the entire winemaking process and has been translated into Italian, and some other languages. A fun fact – Mr. Steinberg is occasionally asked if he is related to the author John Steinbeck, but he is not. Apparently, he is often questions like that: he has even been asked whether he was related to Woody Allen!

If he could talk to his younger self, Mr. Steinberg says that he would tell himself that he is going to be very lucky in life, living in a city he likes with a wonderful wife and kids. He has two children, who are 50 and 34 years old, and two grandchildren. Mr. Steinberg likes animals: the last pet that he had was a rabbit, and although he has never had a dog, Mr. Steinberg considers himself a dog person. When asked about some words of wisdom, Mr. Steinberg says that he believes that people should be more grateful: after all, it was not until recently that we did not have to worry about not having food or shelter, and, hence, we should not take the basic pleasures of life for granted. Other than that, Mr. Steinberg advises us all to eat healthy and get enough sleep

Thanks to Mr. Steinberg and Daisy Halliwell!