DICK and THUNDER …. 1971
This is my favorite picture of my husband. I have others that are more in focus and technically superior...but they don’t capture Dick’s spirit like this does.
Whereas my childhood was practically idyllic his reads like a Dickensian novel. His 34 year old Dad died of a brain aneurysm when he was a young boy so he never had the constant love of a father.
His mother was a very private and stoic woman. We knew that she had come from Ireland on a “potato boat" in the early 20th century but that was all she would admit. It wasn’t until years later, after both she and Dick had died, that I found out that she was actually a serving girl in a fancy home in Nyack, NY and that Dick’s father was the youngest son of that family.
All accounts seem to agree that it was a happy marriage until the death of his dad. At that point the family turned their back on Dick’s mother. A very wealthy woman in town took pity on Dick and his older brother and she paid to have them go to private schools. This left his mother on her own and she went to NY City, where she worked for many years as a clerk in one of the large department stores.
Dick did not have the temperament for private schools and was constantly getting into trouble. (He was caught in one escapade where he and his buddies had raided the ice box at night. When going back to his dorm room he had put a carton of milk in his pocket...except that it was upside down and the trail of milk drops led straight to him !) He was actually thrown out of Exeter and returned to NY City where he attended Stuyvesant High while living with his mom. This proved to be a good move for him since it was one of the most innovative schools in the nation at that time and he graduated with honors.
He had some college (NYU) but decided to jump into the fray and in 1954 he became an intern at “Life” magazine. He worked and traveled with such greats as Margaret Bourke-White, Eugene Smith, Eliot Elisofon and Alfred Eisenstadt. He was taught well and in 1958 (when we met) he had just left “Life” and was striking out on his own.
Dick had a special knack for photography and it was a sad day when he had to give it up due to poor health. He needed a more stable life style and we moved to the country where he opened a Real Estate office.
There had been many changes in his young life and there would be many more to come...but his indomitable spirit always triumphed. He wasn’t easy to live with. He had no tolerance for compromise and expected us all to be as hard on ourselves as he was on himself, but his love for our little family was total and he dedicated his life to us, until his death in 1990 at the young age of 59.