I still wince when someone at the shooting end of a camera asks me to smile. But my dad is never far from my mind. He was the wisest and gentlest of men, a trait he probably picked up from his exquisitely polite father, who always stood and bowed when a woman entered or left the room. I knew my grandfather only from my father’s reports of him; he died before I was born.
My mother was a governess for a family in Suffield when she was very young, only fourteen. She met my father in Windsor Locks, and instantly was stuck on him. He was, she said, the best catch in town.
While she was working in Suffield, my father visited her many times. They dated, got to know each other well, fell in love. My father asked my mother to marry him four or five times, but she kept putting him off. One day, he visited her with a calendar in hand and said, “Rose, I want you to pick a day on this calendar when we can be married. I’ll leave it with you. If a day is not marked on it when I come again, this will have been the last time I will have asked you.”