My Parents Meet

On this day, what would have been my father’s 100th birthday, I think it’s time to bring him on the scene. My mother

is visiting her best friend, Bee Stourton, the daughter of Lord and Lady Mowbray at Allerton Park in Yorkshire

and my father

is with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, training in Read More…

Allerton Castle

When my mother graduated from the Poles Convent School at the age of sixteen, she was invited to spend the second summer in a row in Yorkshire with her best friend, Bee. Bee’s mother, Lady Mowbray, knew it would be a comfort to my grandmother to have Tish out of wartime London. Even though the Read More…

Whiteshoots Cottage

I’m sitting in our bedroom in Whiteshoots Cottage  in Bourton-on-the-Water which I thought until this morning was my great-grandmother’s house from the mid-1920s until her death in 1946.  But when I showed Verian, our lovely proprietor, the photographs of my great-grandmother’s house, she said, “oh, that’s just up the hill. I’ll ring the owners and Read More…

Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day in the States, but not, it turns out, in England. They had theirs about a month ago. It’s called Mothering Sunday and always falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent.

My mother was very dismissive of what she called, “another Hallmark holiday.”  “Every day should be mother’s day,” she’d remark with a Read More…

My mother’s convent school, Part 2

Angela and Lynda, who work in the shop at the Marriott Hanbury, were very helpful. They gave me a long historical report on the house and directed me to the nuns’ cemetery where I found the headstone of the Reverend Mother, to whom my mother must have curtsied many a time.  Philomena of all names, Read More…

My mother’s convent school

My mother was not surprised when, in 1939, her parents decided to take her out of the simple day school in Gibraltar in order to send her to Poles, a Catholic boarding school in Hertfordshire, England, but she always remained mystified by the timing. Why in April? she wondered out loud to me years later. Read More…

Following in My Mother’s Footsteps: A Trip to England

As many of my readers know, I’ve been researching my mother’s childhood in Gibraltar and England for a number of years. While she was still alive I traveled to Gib, as she always called it, to see firsthand what it was like to grow up on the Rock on the edge of the Mediterranean where Read More…

Waiting to Hear #2

I heard.

I received an intelligent, thoughtful, incisive first read on my new book, a memoir about my mother’s early life and her meeting my father in England during World War II.

Here’s what my first reader said.

I read this with great pleasure.

Hooray.

I would like more of you in the book, more Read More…

Waiting to hear…

So I’m waiting for my first reader to get back to me about my new manuscript. This is the book I’ve been working on for years. I didn’t weigh it when I turned it in to her, but it’s 312 pages, about 90,000 words. That’s a lot of words. Does anybody care as much as Read More…

Don’t Knock Unless You’re Bleeding: Growing Up in Cold War Washington

At the height of their fame, Joseph and Stewart Alsop were household names. Syndicated columnists who reached 25 million readers at a time, they dined with the power brokers in Cold War Washington, from Presidents to spies, all the while cranking out columns, investigative stories, books, speeches and hundreds of letters. In Washington, information is Read More…