Who of you could describe your mother?
In my case, the task is complicated by the rich variety of a life already crowded before I was born and still colorful in the early years of my life. When she went to France on a Fulbright and met my French father, she was still a beautiful young woman, already married (to a much older man) while she was at Barnard, a mother and a widow by 26, her own ambitions as a writer competing with a steady flow of male attentions - attentions no doubt proffered by the usual run of handsome, well-off "swells", but of most interest to my mother when the suitor was a promising professor or other person of demonstrated intellectual accomplishment.
The one thread which held steady through a life tugged between passion and intellect was journalism. From editing her school paper to working at the Daily News and Vogue to the articles on antiques she wrote almost until the end, my mother was above all a journalist and an editor. So rigorous was she in these crafts that even the most subjective outpourings in her diaries include enough objective material to allow a more measured reading of events.
It would take a novel to tell the often dramatic facts of my mother's life - and such a novel may in fact be buried among her voluminous papers. This page and its links make no attempt to be that. Rather it is a scrapbook, and a scattered one at that, giving some impressions by those who knew her as the ageing mother of six and some (regretfully meager) source material on her friendships with the early beatniks and with the sculptor Louise Nevelson.And, as I make my way through them, samples of her own writing, her greatest passion - except, of course, for Love itself.
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My mother smoked for 50 years. Having survived lung cancer twice, she succumbed in merciful peace to the after-effects of her second operation. But she'd been weakened and out of breath for years.
Many people say they'd do anything for their children. How about staying alive? If you love your children,