When my mother became a widow, I was 12 years old, living in Tallahassee, Florida. The morning of April 20, 1960, I walked into the kitchen just as my mother was hanging up the phone. “Daddy’s had a heart attack,” she said. I assumed she meant her father, Clough. No, it was my father who’d had the heart attack.
The day before, my father had gone to a conference in Chicago. Mother told me she’d be flying to Chicago to be with Dad while our elderly and rather taciturn neighbor, Mr. Yant, would take me and my 16-year-old brother Chuck to school.
Mid-morning, Mr. Yant appeared at the door of my classroom. We drove home in silence, and I arrived home to be greeted by three anxious neighbor ladies, one of whom still had on pin curls. I said hi to them and walked into the living room to sit by myself. (More…)