My Uncle’s “Kompromat”

From 1946 to 1958, Joseph Alsop, my uncle,

and his younger brother Stewart, my father,

wrote a syndicated political column for the New York Herald Tribune. At its height, “Matter of Fact” appeared in more than 250 newspapers. Today, decades later, an incident involving Joe Alsop, Russian intelligence, and a so-called “honey trap” Read More…




Remembrance Sunday in England

Remembrance Sunday is always observed in England and the Commonwealth on the Sunday nearest to November 11th, Armistice Day. The First World War officially ended in 1918 on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

This year we were in the U.K. for that weekend,  and when I bought a paper Read More…




Sheep Farming

I was in England for a week this month and although, on a previous trip, I’d visited most of the places where my mother lived, I had one more pilgrimage to make. My mother’s cousin, Jane, and her daughter, Bets, live on a sheep farm near Ross on Wye. My mother loved to visit them, Read More…




A Roosevelt Relation

Like so many others in the last week, I’ve been watching the Ken Burns 7 part series on the Roosevelts.  I’m familiar with most of this material on one hand, because I’ve read a number of books about my esteemed ancestors, but also because I’ve heard many of the stories from my father, my uncle Read More…




Fetcham Park, my grandfather’s childhood home in Surrey

On May 20th, we took another train from Waterloo Station, this time to Leatherhead, Surrey to see Fetcham Park, the house where my grandfather, Arthur Barnard Hankey, spent his childhood.  We saw the famous ceilings and wall murals by Louis Laguerre (1663-1721) whose paintings can also be found at Blenheim Palace and Chatsworth among others.

Read More…




My father, the British Army and a Wedding

One day, we took the train from Waterloo Station to Winchester where Christopher Wallace met us and drove us the short distance to the Green Jackets Museum. Christopher is the official historian of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps (also known as the 60th Rifles and the Green Jackets). For the last four years, he’s been Read More…




My mother in London

So when we last saw my mother in early March of 1943, she’d just hopped on a train to London.

Standing in the queue at Harrods, her mother had learned from Rosie Tuffnall’s mother that Rosie was giving up her job to have her baby in the relative safety of the country. The job Read More…




War Memorials

As it’s Memorial Day in the United States, it seems the right time to describe our visit to one special cathedral in England.

When we went to Winchester last week to meet with Christopher Wallace, the historian of the Green Jackets Museum,(about which more in another post), he suggested at the end of our time Read More…




The Mysterious Photograph

When I went to Ampleforth Abbey and College last week to show the monks and teachers the photographs my Uncle Ian

took during his short life, there was one that nobody recognized. It shows the roof of a church damaged by some kind of fire and it looks like this.As I mentioned, when the Read More…




Uncle Ian at Ampleforth

For now, we shall leave my mother and father, separated by wartime England, my father besotted by his beguiling Catholic girl, and my mother,

thrilled that she’s caught the attention of a much older, handsome fellow in her brother’s own regiment, the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He’s an American, which she knows will prove Read More…