‘Of Course It Was Fran’

Fran was one of the founders of Met Council and the literary agent for a huge swath of the country’s left-wing writers. I’m a left-wing writer and was for decades an activist in, among other endeavors, the tenants’ movement, and in the early ’90s, I was the editor of Tenant/Inquilino and served on the Met Council board. For me Fran was both a leading light in a movement in which I also toiled and the agent I turned to for advice on my own book projects.

But I knew her best in yet another context, as a family friend. She was the matron of honor at the 1994 wedding of my cousin Ruth Baharis and left-wing civil-rights lawyer Ira Gollobin. When Ruth and Ira died within weeks of each other in 2008, Fran gave a eulogy at their joint memorial service.

At the informal reception after the service, I was sitting at a table when behind me a voice started singing the “Internationale.” Of course it was Fran, on her feet, singing, fist in the air. Also of course, I joined her.

Thanks for being with us for so long, Fran. It wasn’t long enough, but your literary and activist legacies will be here while the Goldin Agency, Met Council, and (what there is of) Lower Manhattan affordable housing endure.

Judith Mahoney Pasternak is a former editor of Tenant/Inquilino.