July 4, 2021
A perfect, blue sky, white fleecy clouds day over my swimming pool here in Beverly Hills. My wife is lying in her bed, fast asleep. I am remembering a day 56 years ago in Washington, D.C.
On that morning, when I was getting dressed for an apple-gathering picnic at the immense farm of Sen. Harry Byrd, my girlfriend was already making a slow-cooked apple pie in the kitchen of our home on Capitol Hill. We got it for free for a couple of weeks through our dear pals from Yale Law School, Duncan and Mopsy Kennedy. He had been a close pal of Mrs. Agnes Meyer, social and media queen of D.C.
The apple picnic was fine. Then there was a black-tie dinner dance for us summer interns at the State Department. The locus of the party was the roof of the State Department. From there we had an unobstructed view of the mighty fireworks over the Washington Monument. They were overwhelming. My date was beautiful. The appetizers were tasty.
And then my life began. About 20 feet away from me was a young man whom I knew slightly through a very close pal from Columbia College. With him was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. She had auburn hair, long, shapely legs, and a beguiling smile.
She looked like a perfect Southern Belle, and she was. Her name was (and is) Alexandra Denman (Stein). Her family were from Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. I fell in love madly, in just seconds. I guessed she was from “Ole Miss.” No! She was from Vassar, and she was my dream girl.
Charming. Polite. Self-confident without being a crypt-keeper. Five foot ten. (At that time I was a trim six feet.) She was an intern at the Foreign Service Lounge. I began to go visit her several times each day. By the end of the summer, we were in love.
I entered YLS in September 1966. I came down with devastating chronic colitis. I had to drop out because the meds they wrongly gave me prevented me from sleeping or staying awake. My new love urged me to drop out, have psychotherapy, and rest. I did so, and it stayed with me. Rest and a great shrink named Bob Butler saved my life.
When I went back to New Haven in September 1967, I was a new man. My college girlfriend was still in my life offering me encouragement, but Alex was the goddess of my recovery. I who had dropped out racked with pain in the fall of 1966 graduated in June of 1970 as valedictorian, although by acclamation, not by grades.
Today will mark 56 years that Alex and I have been together. She is still beautiful. Still kind. Still forgiving. Still patient. She is a living, breathing saint. She is God’s gift to me.
Now, we are both old. But we pray for our glorious America and our son and our granddaughter and the USA. My wife is a saint. A divinity. A follower of the Lord. Forgiving. Loving. Brilliantly insightful. Witty. The actually finest person on the planet — and I have her as my wife. The goddess of goddesses and she is mine.
We pray every night that God will allow us to be together for all eternity.
I met her on Independence Day.