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Win Betty Joel

My parents

They met on November 10, 1923, at a Harvard-Princeton football game that Joel had gone to with a married girlfriend of his (about whom I know nothing) and with Stuart Rose and his fiancee Pat Bogart -- whose younger brother, Humphrey, was just trying to break into the acting business. Stuart Rose, who was later to reject many of Joel's stories (and accept three of them) as an editor of the Saturday Evening Post, was Joel's assistant at Brentano's Book Chat, I believe. (Neither of their names was on the masthead yet, but a year later Rose was listed as art director.) On their way to the Princeton stadium they stopped at the Book Chat office, where -- this being the Prohibition era -- Joel had a case of King George II whisky. They went through the first bottle on the way to the game and the second during the course of it.

At half-time, Joel carried the remaining bottle with him up the stands to see his Harvard roommate Norman Brazer, who had come to the game with his adored new girlfriend, Winnie Whitehouse. Joel offered Norman a swig, which he primly refused, but Winnie accepted and took a healthy swig from the bottle.

Three and a half months later Joel and Win were married.

The start of a long story, which I will not try to recapitulate here. But they lived together for more than sixty years and produced 5 children, 14 grandchildren, and, so far, approximately 23 great-grandchildren.

Perhaps that is recapitulation enough.

Joel at 26.

I believe this photo shows Joel at 26 -- maybe not too long before he met Win for the first time. It's not a posed shot, but was taken by a friend who'd given Joel a manuscript to read.

      Win at 33?

I think this photo of Win was taken when she was 33, the mother of three little blond girls.

Win, Betty, Joel

      Many years later, probably around 1975 or 1976 -- before Win's brain surgery or Joel's strokes. Win and Joel are flanking Maureen's mother, Betty McEvoy, in front of my parents' little apartment at 225 O street in southwest DC.

The apartment on O street was the cheapest place Win and Joel could find after they had to leave their apartment at 2431 E street NW -- across from the CIA building before it moved to Langley. The E street building, where I lived with my parents while attending George Washington University a few blocks away, had had a view up the river to Georgetown, and Win painted two or three pictures of the scene. The building was torn down in the early sixties to put in highways and the Kennedy Center and the Watergate complex.

The apartment on O street was tiny, but it was long and thin so Joel could be in one end, at his typewriter in the livingroom that smelled of pipe tobacco, while Win was at the other end, nibbling cheese and crackers and listening to the Saturday afternoon operas in the kitchen. They liked the place because it was only a few blocks from the renovated waterfront that looked across to Hains Point.

Joel, March 1984

      This is one of the last photos taken of Joel. He's sitting on the yellow swivel chair in his corner of the livingroom -- the corner where he had his typewriter. The insulated coffee cup is one he and Win got in the sixties, and it's sitting on the big oak trestle table that the whole family used to sit around when we were children in Dobbs Ferry and Hastings.
      I took the photo in March 1984 when I came for a visit with my son Joel. When I showed it to Maureen -- who hadn't seen my father since his strokes and remembered him, as we all did, as a man of great vigor and vitality -- she thought I should not have taken it.
      She's probably right. But I don't have any other photos of my father with me out here at the edge of the continent, and this -- well, if nothing else it is a part of the historical record.
      My hope is that you will not see a man who is moribund but one who still has an intense spark of life and who does not want to give up ever.

Win and me.  [16 kb]

Win had been living with Julie ever since Joel went into the nursing home. When I drove east with Joel and Unity at spring break 1988 Julie took this photo of Win and me. A hideous photo, I think, but here it is in any case.

      This one, taken only a few weeks earlier, is certainly much nicer. Joey's sister-in-law, Jane Wingate, too the photo at Beth's wedding to Mike Zangwill on February 15, 1988, in Rockville, Maryland.
      The two marble-sized depressions in Win's forehead were left from the brain surgery she had done in the fall of 1977. The surgeon removed a tumor the size of a baseball from her skull. It was benign, and the surgery gave her a dozen more years.

Win

From Win in 1988:

      This is my heritage to you as to all my children, to assure you that you have been my joy and Joel's all these years. And now after 60 yrs. together surely our spirits are melded and continue together. And since there is no death we will be with you always when you are needing us, and help you over the rough places.
      ....Life flies by so swiftly but as Joel said "Our brief linkage in the chain of life isn't the beginning, nor does it seem to me the end. I sometimes sit and hear voices of ancestors long gone from this life, including some I never knew. I expect to be in touch with you and your children after I have gone from this life, though not so wordily."... Life is a learning experience and I should have helped Joel to overcome his failings instead of the adversarial attitude I maintained. Well belatedly I have learned too as we all must, and sometimes pain is needed to point us in the direction we should go. My words to live by I pass on: Epilog to Asolando by Robert Browning
      "One who never turned his back but marched breast forward, never doubted clouds would break, never dreamed the right wre worsted, wrong would triumph, held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake." ... There is no death as some noted person some years ago concluded ... since nothing becomes nothing but only changes, our spirits continue to bless and spread tenderness and love. As I do ... now + forever.


[Nota bene: This page, like all the others in this site, is in progress. The text is in progress, and the photos are simply what I happen to have on hand. Please let me know if you find anything false, misleading, offensive, or intrusive to your privacy. Let me know too if there's a photo or something in the text that should be removed or something that should be added. I have not set up this site primarily for my own sake but for my family and friends -- and I welcome all corrections, additions, and suggestions about how to improve it!]


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Copyright 1999 T. N. R. Rogers. All rights reserved. Last revised 31 oct 99.