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…

I’ve found my inner rabble-rouser…

I’ve never been a confrontational person., but suddenly I can’t stand it anymore. I grew up in Washington, D.C. surrounded by politicians and newsmakers, but fled the city the moment I came of age because I wanted to write fiction. Inside the Beltway, truth is more often stranger than fiction so I felt I could Read More…

Familiarity Breeds Acceptance

Waiting to Vote on Election Day

This week more than any other time since 9/11, I’m so grateful that I live in New York where I am forced to rub up against people who are not like me. On the subway, I sit next to people of all ages and 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 Virtual Meeting

The Internet often drives me mad as it’s such a temptation to pull away from the sentence at hand and dive into the the wonderland of distractions it presents. But of course, there are other times when it proves to be an invaluable tool. Recently, as I was looking through some photographs of my father 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…

Decoding my mother: A Final Post from England

Our nineteen-day trip to England was all I wished it to be. We made remarkable connections, identified mysterious photographs,

met cousins we’d  “known” only through family lore and the Internet,

and corroborated so many details of my mother’s story. She had a remarkable memory.

I’ve toured the castle in Yorkshire where my parents 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…