Looking at them now, 55 years later, in the black and white photos of many sizes which they posed for and kept, and reading the numerous missives to family and friends left behind in dusty boxes, they seem Fitzgeraldian - slender, elegant, articulate - and full of energy, good looks, and hope for a better political future. In these faded moments trapped on camera and old notepaper, they are forever pausing somewhere on the arc of motion between beginning to move and coming to rest.

They were born in small towns within 300 miles of each other - my mother in Crystal Lake, Illinois just northwest of Chicago near the Wisconsin border; my father in Peru, north central Indiana. In all these years, I am only now looking for these places in a road atlas where I find the two states bordering each other both geographically and alphabetically.

My father's numbered two brothers and three sisters, all with Scottish given names to match their heritage. He was fourth in line in what several of them have told me was "dour" family, a word I have never in my life heard anyone else but them speak aloud. It has the Scottish meaning of "barren, rocky, infertile, or otherwise difficult or impossible to cultivate" according to my father's huge Random House Dictionary of the English language which rests on a stool in my study.

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