My Family

  The River of Life flowing on....

My marriage of 32 years to Sue (née Heinrich/Sachs) is over, but lovingly, caringly over.  We graduated honorably and are each building new lives.

I am a man who wants a partner, so in 2014, I went looking for a woman from deep memory of my youth in Lousiville, KY: Carol Francisco, a smart, gorgeous, spirited, even fierce, young woman....she had persisted in my memory and imagination down through the years.  Back then, 50 years ago, we had both been green and wildly different: she, the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher and theologian at the Southern Baptist Seminary, me, the son of a free-thinking agnostic eye doctor....but there had been sparks.

And, thank God, I found her in mid-2014.  We all accumulate miles and wrinkles and scars; the trick is learning from them, gaining wisdom and center.  She was in Colorado, an hour north of Denver, in Fort Collins, near the Rockies (large format pictures here)...still beautiful, but with the badges of honor time endows all, still passionate and now a writer and imagist.  She takes stunning images as easily as a fish swims through water; it is part of her existence.  And after a difficult young life in the South and in the Southern Baptist faith, she is still profoundly a Christian, if at odds with its instantions.She has written some wonderful books on Christ and the beginnings of Christianity, and her connection to the numen often humbles me and my busy obsession with the insanities of wordly events.

Carol as a teenager...and in motherhood, with her son David and daughter Genevieve (who, in this wonderful picture, seems to be clutching her fists together as if to say,
'How did I ever get so lucky as to get this wonderful mother smiling at me with such joyous love!?'

All growed up...

We've hit it off fantastically...our lives had taken different paths, but we'd ended up in very similar and congruent places, in mind, heart and spirit.
I went out for a week in December and by April was spending most of the month with her. 
Now in May she is coming to visit me in Kingston (along with a 45th reunion at Mt. Holyoke) and, Deo vult, will marry me in the fulness of time!
Joy and fireworks. 

>>>> But first...those who came before and have passed on <<<<

Attend.  See these souls. I hope to make them real in your mind as they are in mine;
for in the realm of matter, they live now only in memory.

(Free paraphrade of the words of Lois McMasters Bujold, from her Paladin of Souls)

I look back
at my family...
I see...
the centrality,
the endurance of love...
and the shortness,
the fragility of life
...and how spirit can transcend everything.

My Mother Molly and Her Family                          My Father Wynant and His Family

As teenagers


My Parents Together

My parents met at Yale, in graduate school, she in the nursing school, Dad in the medical school.  Here they are at a pool party.  They married in '42.   God, they loved each other fiercely...through all the trials that came, I never saw their absolute devotion to each other ever faulter.

Then Dad was off to WWII. Here he is with Molly, her brother Jack (an Annapolis grad who commanded a Destroyer Escort, DE-166, the Barron in the Pacific) and her older sister Ruth.  Dad and Molly had time enough to start my older brother Bill who was born while Dad was gone.

He was an Army doctor in the African and Italian campaigns, where the image below was taken.   When brother Bill and I took Dad to see MASH, when the movie first came out, he emerged shaking his head and saying, "You know, that's just the way it was...if anything, it was crazier". His Evacuation Hospital (not actually a MASH, as them came later in Korea, somewhat closer to the front line, thus the M for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) consisted of Yale professors and recent graduates from the Med and Nursing schools.  Very smart, very dedicated self starters.  For a while they had no CO, and the unit, of course, ran fine.  Then they had the misfortune to get a non-medical red-neck lifer CO who determined to crack the whip over the eggheads and young whipper-snappers. At this point they were on the beach at Anzio and just barely within range of the German 88 artillery...and the CO had them get up every morning (after they had been up until the early hours of the morning the night before putting the soldiers back together) and do calisthenics...which was so petty and pissy.  So, when the CO never showed, they would like up and do finger-pushups while grunting for verisimilitude.  One morning the rotten SOB actually got up to lord over the troops and discovered the ruse and was livid.  Life was merry Hell for a month or so until the poor SOB came down with an enlarged prostate, the only treatment for which then was a finger wave every day or so, finger massage with a finger stuck up you-know-where....being a red-neck, he was utterly mortified, retired to his tent and the unit ran itself again.

Dad visted the souks of Africa and the bazaars of Italy; he was endlessly fascinated by artisanry.  He designed and had made a pair of gold (frog) earrings for Molly and after the neighborhood tradition of his childhood, wrote and illustraed (in watercolor) a children's book for the son he'd not yet seen, who'd been born after he was in the war in Italy.  He had it beautifully bound in leather and colorful cloth and entitled it The Story of Oliver Clock. The dedication read:
To a little boy who will one day show his father how to play
...and signed it with his little sigil, a bear or dog....and dated it Italy 1944.

Molly visited and charmed her new in-laws

...and bore my older brother Bill in '43.  They didn't see Dad until he came back at the end of '45, war's end.  The family then moved to Philadelphia where Dad did further medical study in ophthalmology under Francis Adler. I came along about a year later. Here are all on at our home in Germantown, a carriage house apartment, on the "porch".  That's me reading the newspaper along with my 4 year older brother Bill. Molly and Dad loved the Philly milieu...the culture and sharp minds there.

A lightning bolt of fortune, of misfortune

Molly had polio when I was a year old.  I recently found a letter she wrote a year after she had 'recovered'.  She had been a vivacious, atheletic fox of a woman.  Much was taken from her, but her spirit and love never faltered.  Physically, she could move her head, and while she could not lift her arms, she could crawl her hands to some degree.  With aids, she could barely write and dial a phone.  But.  She was a towering flame of spirit, the vital heart of our family, and has always been my criterion of courage.  Here is a picture taken of the two of them after she had recovered as much as she ever would of her physical abilities and taken in a way that hid her paralysis.

Molly and Dad had planned to join a group medical practice in Santa Barbara, California and have more kids.  Polio changed all that: Dad joined his father's medical practice in Louisville, Kentucky and bought a house a block from his parents, in the Highlands inurb.  That's where I grew up,

Louisville and 1629 Cowling. 

Here's Molly and Dad in the back yard.

Also here, of course, is Dubout, the first of a wondrous string of full-sized poodles

Here's Dad with Yum-Yum and more on the poodles

Here's two images of the way I remember my parents: thoughtful, heartfelt. engaged. In my mother's picture, at the bottom left, you can see the feeder, a metal tray with ball bearing supports that held her arms and allowed her some agency.

For all that Molly's partial paralysis trimmed their wings, my parents made fantastic lemonade from what they had.  They hosted parties and a sort of salon that brought the free thought, spirit and culture they'd loved so much in Philadelphia to Louisville.

A final image of Dad.  This was taken by a family friend, Dr. Howard Eskind out at Dad's country house....a place that was a culmination of a life-time dream of his. He was searching for country land as far back as I can remember and I would sometimes go with him as he tramped the woods and country land....for Dad, the looking was as much joy as finally finding it...which took him at least ten years....out southwest of Louisville on the upstream side of an oxbow bend on the Ohio.  Here he is at ease and content with one of his poodles...
My thanks to Andy Eskind for the image and to Carol for some Photoshop cleanup.

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself he always seems to be doing both. Enough for him that he does it well.

“Education through Recreation” by Lawrence Pearsall Jacks.

Ave atque vale

My Parents' Legendary Parties

They were legendary, what can I say...a free-wheeling, intellectual,blithe and independent spirited bunch of people living wide
in a time and place that worshipped conformity and complaisance

The Bugattis

What we did, we did at home; we didn't get out much....but that never cramped Dad's style; he turned his Renaissance man interests to things he could do there.  Among other things, we collected, restored and drove some wonderful cars, two Bugattis (the Ferraris of the '20s and '30's) and a Maserati

Ring Down the Curtain on Act I

Molly died of throat cancer (she smoked, and it killed her, as it had her older sister Ruth) in the early '70's. Her indomitable courage in facing cancer's claws was beyond belief.
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

My father tended her faithfully in the terminal phase, put his practice on hold for months and was with her, the light and love of his life.  One afternoon he opened the front door, let the dogs out to "do their business" in the front yard and stood on the stoop, not 20' from his beloved in bed in the master bedroom.  Not more than five minutes was he gone....but when he returned Molly was artery weakened by the cancer had burst in her throat and she had exsanguinated in moments.  When I think of that end to a live of love, I can't but imagine it to the wrenching conclusion of La Boheme.

Not all courage is the stuff of sword and gunfire battle, there's an even deeper courage of just going on when you are trapped. It is the weakest who are the most courageous.

Dad and Bill and I had an enormous hole in our lives.  She had been our warm, fiercely vital and loving center.

My parents had such a fierce love for each other.  The affliction of paralysis made their love all the stronger. 

You could warm your hands by holding them up before the two of them. 

I always thought Marvell's poem To His Coy Mistress summed their love in its ending:

And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

They did.


But after a few years, some old friends from Philadephia thought of a woman they knew that Dad had to meet: Helen LeBlond, Biddy.  They struck it off famously; Dad had a second time with love.  And finally, he had a partner he could get out and do with.  They were both avid naturalists, and their honeymoon was a white-water raft trip in British Columbia.

At the left is Dad and Biddy in '81 at our wedding; right is taken the summer of '98 at the Cape.  Here are separate pictures of them that do them justice.

My father died in the early days of '99; Biddy, ten years later in May, wrapped in the toils of Alzeheimer's.  She had been a loving, cheerful, competent, smart and capable woman, but all that was taken away from her over some 10 years. Her daughter Hannie Bannister wrote this obituary .

My Brother Bill, the handsome one

Bill's caption: "1976: Me at Mara's christening doing a watch ad."
He lived the life Edna St Vincent Millay spoke of:
“My candle burns at both ends;  It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends — It gives a lovely light!”

Alas, Bill is no longer with us; he died on AIDS in October of '84.  He was gay....which he had about as much choice about as he had of the color of his skin. 
He was a man of rare wit and taste, well loved by his friends and respected in international banking.  I miss my brother. 
Here is is on a mountainside in Montana (at the working ranch of a college class mate); what a Marlboro stud!

He was dealt a difficult hand of cards, but he played them with grace; everyone that knew him misses him.

Mark Halperin wrote:

... for soldiers who have been blooded are soldiers forever... That they cannot forget, that they do not forget,
that they will never allow themselves to heal completely, is their way of expressing their love for friends who have perished.
And they will not change because they have become what they have become to keep the fallen alive.

The Path to the Door

A dream recalled

In my dream,
I read the story
of a woman
and her dream...

A dream within a story within a dream

I was a woman

....the eldest daughter

Head of house,
all untimely
made so
by her parents' early death

She awakes from her dream..

I dream of her awakening..



she finds the Wise Woman
on the threshold.

Stumbling, she speaks:

"I dreamt my childhood home.
I was beyond the gate
with the path long and confusing...

I could not find my way to the door."

"But my dear, that path is short
and straight. Had you gone there to stay?

"No, I only wanted to visit,
to see them again and visit."

"Ah!  Well then...
when you come to go in earnest,
the way will be short and straight."

Other family at the table of memory

On my mother's side, her brother & his family

At left is my mother's brother, Jack Stewart and his wife, Ruth Rhinehart. He commanded a destroyer escort in the South Pacific in WWI, her father was a lead architect of Rockefeller Center.  Middle are my cousins, Nancy and David in 1955. At right Nancy is being sucked into some madness with my father at the dining table

On my father's side, his sister & her family


At left, my father's sister Martha Ann (now gone) and her husband A.J. Widmer (who remans).  A.J. was wearing the pride oan joy of my father's hat collection, a gen-u-wine Metropolitan Opera Wagnerian Rhine Maiden helmet.  At right, one of my cousins, Walter, getting a kiss from his wife Lynn.  Not shown is cousin Susan.

Our Help, Queen Esther Williams and Willy Mae Fuqua

Not to be forgotten, the two wonderful black women who made our lives in Louisville work, who gave of their heart and were there for us and for me, who held me sometimes when my mother could not. "The help", who were so much more than that.  Now let us praise famous women.  The humblest life can be a witness to great spirit.

Finally, friends!

The moveable feast of the vital, brilliant and brilliantly alive circle of my parent's friends in Louisville in the '50's & '60's...and some of my own

The quick.....but of the past

Of the past, but still loved and peripherally in each other's world...

My ex-wife Sue, with whom I had 32 good years and raised 3 kids

Here we are......

Me, the big fathead on the left, Stewart (my mother's maiden name)
My lovely and sweet and smart daughter Mara (by my first marriage to Patti, now Patti Rust) next to me
My kind and sweet and smart son Aaron
and Sue on the right
Aaron is holding grandson Dion whom Mara gave birth to on Mayday at sunrise

We are at Aaron's graduation from Oakwood, a Quaker private school, summer 2006
Not here are:
Stephen Cardile, Mara's amazing, thoughtful and spiritual husband
Ari Larissa Heinrich, from Sue's first marriage to Michael Heinrich (in Australia at the time)


On the left: Getting married back in '81; my nose isn't that red and, yes, Sue is beautiful.  She also has an exceedingly warm heart.  Also from the marriage, Bill (God he was handsome and dressed with flair), Biddy and Mara

More recently......11/7/2011, 30 years down the road, at our anniversary dinner.

        Anniversary Sue and Stewart

  We have separated after 323 years, still with much love and fellow feeling (we have shared so much, seen so much together.  Who can understand you like a partner of 32 years?  Even if you can't stand them any more..).  She nows lives her dream life in dry warm southern AZ (which is good for her arthritis) and rides her horse daily (is a cowgirl!!) and lives by herself in a quiet small house (to finally sort herself out...without the mess and hoorah of job and family and a big house....a separate peace) with a faithful loving little dog (which is good for her soul).

I remain in NY, making music and imagery, making life and spirit with Carol and trying to sort out the Hazerai  (Yiddish for mess, a hazzer is a pig) of a lifetime

The Children of Sue and I

Click on the highlighted names for more photographs of our children
Aaron (ours together, now 24, this taken a few years ago) Mara (mine, from my marriage to Patti Rogers Rust) with her husband, Stephen Cardile

Ris, Ari. La (from Sue's marriage to Michael Heinrich) what a super person who's gone out and made a wide vital life on the West Coast and Australia  Sean (my stepson from my first marriage to Patty Rogers),
 here discussing the finer GameBoy points with Aaron


Bujold has said that parenting is a race without a finish line.  And like our lives, it comes without a manual; you learn it by stumbling around in the dark.  One does what one can.

© COPYRIGHT 2002,2008, 2013, 2016 Stewart Dean. All of my web pages, photographs and images  included, are copyrighted material! You may NOT copy or use the text, photographs or images without my express permission.

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