Patricia Ann (Windes) Berry
On August 22,1936, Bess delivered her third and final child, another girl named Patricia Ann Windes, who was called "Pat," or "Patti."
Patti's birth was responsible for releasing me from the oedipal relationship with my mother. I suspect my father resented at one or more levels of emotion my intensely close and romantic relationship with Bess, which lasted but a few years and was broken as my younger sister, Patti, demanded more and more of mother's attention.
Russel was accordingly left with the responsibility of running two stores at the same time. Bill Minnick assumed an important role in helping Russel manage, taking over responsibilities in Rogers when Russel was in Cassville, and spending weeks in Cassville, staying at Harry and Margaret's home there, when Russel needed to be in Rogers. Still, from the autumn of l940 until the autumn of l94l Russel and Bess were gone from Rogers quite frequently, always taking my younger sister Patti with them. That meant that Peggy and I were on our own much of the time.
Truth to tell, during that year and a half of physical changes, sexual awakening, romance, family absences, and business crises, I was happy that Bess and Russel and Patti, whom I disliked at the time, blaming her for the change in my relationship with Bess, were gone a great deal of the time. Their absence meant I could have my friends in after school, in the evenings, and all night, luxuries I could not have enjoyed had the parents and kid sister been in residence.
From l942 on Bess deservedly began to discover and enjoy her freedom. Conversely, Russel, Patti and I began to discover what life was like in the household of an emancipated woman. No longer did I come home to the big lunch and dinner, or the Bess who liked to play music and sing for me and take me to baseball games and to Henley's Cafe for an afternoon coke and smoke.
Later, during the spring of 1951, my senior year at Drury , after ten years in Neosho, my mother and father and sister Patti, moved from Neosho to Springfield and bought a new home at 862 South Kickapoo, not far from the Southwest Missouri State College campus. My father had resigned his position with the Great Southern Loan Company, d.b.a. The Citizens Loan Company, after he had opened and managed six offices for them in Missouri and Oklahoma.
I took a brief vacation after the Democratic Convention in August, l956. Mother Bess and sister Patti had taken the Wabash train from St. Louis to Chicago the Saturday the Democratic Convention ended, and they stayed a few days with me on the Northwestern campus before the three of us drove back to St. Louis. I was able to get them a room on my floor at Bobb Hall, so that they could experience a bit of the campus life I had so loved the preceding year. They met a number of my friends, and I took them on tours of that impressive campus. They were my guests for dinner at Sargent Hall, where the Chicago Bears dined nightly after working out at Dyche Stadium on the campus. And I took them to Evanston's own Fanny's Restaurant, which served wonderful Italian food. I also took them to Cooley's Cupboard. I escorted them through the Chicago Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry.
The report from Bess and Patti about "family life" in St. Louis was most depressing. Russel and Bess were once more on the edge of separation. And there was seemingly nothing about it I could do. By this point in time I think the two of them were irreparably angry with each other, so angry that neither could distinguish between love and hate, self and desire. Both were quite miserable in what they still called "our marriage."
I spent much of my brief vacation on family problems, rather than getting a needed rest. When Russel and Bess did indeed decide to separate, I drove Bess and Patti to Springfield, where we found them a home to lease on East Stanford, and I helped them pack and move a week later. I then helped Patti, who had just finished an unhappy two years at Southwest Missouri State College, to transfer to Drury College, rather than quitting college altogether to get a job doing something, which is what she had been determined to do. My intervention with my dear mentor, Dr. Benton, got her both easy admission to Drury that fall term, as well as an undeserved scholarship, undeserved in that her grades barely averaged a "C." She started at Drury that fall and completed her A.B. in June of l958, after which she enjoyed a six year teaching career at Pipkin Junior High in Springfield before her marriage in l964.
During the l956-l957 school year,
Bess and Patti were totally financially dependent on Russel for a place to live
and food to eat. And Russel behaved quite badly, "forgetting" rent payments and
monthly allowance checks. I recall sending many Western Union money orders to
Bess and Patti after learning the two of them didn't have money enough to buy
the next week's groceries. And I left so many messages of anger for my father,
he stopped paying attention to any of them.
It was not until my older sister Peggy arrived in Springfield in May of l957 to take a position as Director of Nursing Education at a local hospital that Bess and Patti could relax and free themselves from nine months of horrible stresses and anxieties. Peggy had finished her nursing degree in l955 at about the time I went to Northwestern, and had then moved to Toledo, Ohio, with her married friend, Ruth Price, her husband, George, and their two daughters. Don't ask, because I haven't the faintest idea why the arrangement. All I know is that George slept alone. Peggy and Ruth slept together, and the two daughters slept in a third bedroom. And everyone accepted the arrangement.
The summer of l960 was, fortunately, nothing like I had feared it might be. Bess, at long last not having to worry about the misbehaviors of her husband, was incredibly relaxed and pleasant the entire eight weeks of my visit. Peggy and Shirley, and Patti, were strangely charming, hospitable, generous and likewise pleasant. We had a lot of parties and picnics. All of us got along very well, surprisingly so.
My younger sister, Patti, had just signed a contract to teach her first year out of college at Jarrett Junior High School in Springfield. She was broke and desperately needed transportation. I gave her my 90,000 mile trustworthy old Buick, "Wiloughby," which I did not want to drive back to California anyway, and arranged with Gloria and Tom to drive back with them to San Francisco.
That summer of '62 Bob and Molly devoted almost a week to my mother, Bess, and my two sisters, Peggy and Patti, when they came to San Francisco to visit. They took them to dinner. Molly took them on sightseeing and shopping tours, and showed them the North Beach night scene. My family fell in love with both of them, and I deeply appreciated their concern and warmth.
All of us saw Phyllis Diller at the Purple Onion; we sang along at the Red Garter and, at my insistence, all of us listened to an evening of the touring Thelonious Monk ("Straight No Chaser").
On the Fourth of July, Molly and I
decided to do a picnic in Marin, on the beach north of Stinson somewhere. The
six of us left in that tiny Volkswagen about two in the afternoon headed north
across the bridge, food and drink in the trunk.
The picnic was ruined, and it took us two plus hours to return the short distance to San Francisco. We finally ate in my living room on Westgate. So much for San Francisco summer weather!
Sister Patti had married Richard Berry, of Galveston, Texas, in June and had moved to Galveston. Richard worked for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the Department of the Interior, as the administrator of their laboratory there, conducting ongoing research in underwater food sources, especially shrimp, which interested him.
In July of l966 my sister, Patti,
her husband of two years, Richard Berry, and their eight month old first born,
Andrew, or "Androoooo" as we pronounced it, moved to Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Richard was employed by the federal government's National Oceanographic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at its Galveston, Texas, laboratory.
One weekend in mid-September, R and I, and Howard and Lynne, drove to Rhode Island to spend Friday and Saturday with Patti and Dick. We stayed at the Larchwood Inn in Wakefield, a lovely, quintessential New England inn, with a lovely old English pub bar and a handsome and spacious dining room with large garden windows and a huge and inviting fireplace.
Patti and Dick had found a new, cute and small three bedroom cottage, just half a block from the ocean. On Saturday we took the ferry across the Bay to Newport, toured the grand and older homes of the rich and famous, like the Vanderbilt home, the Breakers, and had lunch at the dining room at the Newport Inn, which had a serene view of the ocean. We drove back through Bristol and Providence. That afternoon, R and I and Howard and Lynne did an extensive walking tour of the area of Point Judith near Fort Greene. We were all impressed by the beauty of the coast and beaches and ocean, and Howard said, half-jokingly, that we should rent a furnished house in the complex to use as a weekend change of pace from Manhattan. At almost that moment we saw a realtor putting up a "For Rent Furnished" sign on a two-story wood shingled Salt Box house just a block from Patti and Dick, virtually steps from the twenty-foot bluff rising above the ocean.
That autumn and early winter Howard and Lynne and R and I shared the place on a few weekends, including Thanksgiving, and R and I were there alone on others. Sister Patti was unusually gracious, for her, and generous of time and food, regularly hosting Saturday night dinners for us and any guests we brought from the city. After dinner Patti and Dick and R and I played bridge, usually until very late.
On Thanksgiving Patti and Lynne prepared a traditional New England dinner, complete with pumpkin and mince pies and Indian pudding. Several of Richard's relatives came for the occasion. He had been raised in Vermont and Connecticut, and his brother, Bob, was a thoractic surgeon who lived in Easton, Connecticut.
In early December my Mother Bess came to spend a week with us in New York and two weeks with Patti and Dick at our house in Rhode Island. In New York we took her to see Mary Martin and Robert Preston in I Do, I Do, and Channing in Hello Dolly, which she loved. We took her to the Walforf Astoria for dinner and an evening dancing to the music of her favorite, Guy Lombardo. She even got to dance with the great Lombardo, who also signed her menu.
On the Eve of Christmas, R and I drove into Wakefield for our last minute shopping, gift buying at Kenyon's Department Store and the very strange and early Home Depot type of store called The Wakefield Branch. At about five that afternoon, when we started back to Point Judith, a beautiful snow began falling and blanketing the ground, giving us a touch of the Christmas Eve traditions of Dickensonian and Victorian England.
That evening we exchanged gifts. Mother Bess played the many music albums we had given her--Winchester Cathedral, Andy Williams, Herb Alpert, Louis Armstrong--over and over again. Patti served a wonderful dinner. And at the beginning of dinner, with the family all seated around the big table, I told them I wanted a few minutes to talk about Granny.
In early January, 1966, Patti and Dick and Andy left Rhode Island to return to Galveston, Texas. Dick had all but finished his dissertation on shrimp, and he received his Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island that June, becoming the Director of the NOOA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Laboratory in Galveston, Texas, that summer. Both R and I regretted very much the end of this rare moment in my relations with my younger sister, a moment of happiness, love, and concern. We had all enjoyed a very close and delightful four months together.
For the remainder of our adult lives, we exchanged occasional visits with Patti and Richard. We enjoyed seeing her children, Andy, Mike, and Robert. Two of my nephews are M.D.'s and one will soon receive his doctorate in linguistics.
Patti and Richard continue to live in Sun City West near Phoenix.