Sunday, February 06, 2011

A tribute to Dick … 04/03/30 to 09/22/90

This is my favorite picture of my husband, taken in 1971. I have others that are more in focus and technically superior...but they don’t capture Dick’s spirit as this does.

My childhood was practically idyllic compared to Dick’s. His reads like a Dickensian novel. His 34 year old Dad died of a brain aneurysm when he was a young boy. His mother came from Ireland on a “potato boat" in the early 20th century and it wasn’t until years later, after both she and Dick had died, that we 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.

It seemed to be 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 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 Eugene Smith, Eliot Elisofon, Alfred Eisenstadt and Margaret Bourke-White. This is the portrait that he took of her and she actually wrote to thank him, declaring it was her all-time favorite.

In 1958 (when we met) Dick had decided to leave “Life” and to try his luck as a free lancer. He had a special knack for photography and did well for the first few years that we were married but it was not to last. It was a sad day when he had to give it up due to poor health, (type 1 diabetes). 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 he 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 60.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

He passed at the tender age of 60? That's really too bad as he seems to have been a very special person, being able to reinvent himself like that etc.

5:46 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Your husband sounded like a real go getter Ginnie! I'll bet you miss him.
Love Di ♥

7:49 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

It is interesting to know a bit of his history, Ginnie. His mom sounds like an interesting person too. I wonder why the family rejected her after his dad's death. Could it be because of her humble beginnings?
How nice it was to have someone fund his schooling - even for a while. My neighbor went to Exeter, but he was older than your husband, I think.

10:24 AM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Aw, Ginnie--this is very sweet. None of us knows where the path of our own lives will lead us.
Dick's path certainly ended too soon. I know you have written before about some of his story.
It is wonderful that you have this way of telling it.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks GInnie for sharing more of your life and letting us know about Dick. He would doubtless have enjoyed reading your comments about himself. Such a pity he died at a relatively young age.

6:14 PM  
Blogger possum said...

My! What a handsome man!
Nice story about him... interesting the twists and turns so many lives have.
Leaving at 60 was much too young.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

His temperament reminds me of my dad. I am glad that you have and share these memories of him.

7:30 AM  

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