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Born on February 21, 1941, I am the oldest son of William and Joanna McGaughey. My brother, Andrew Durham McGaughey, was born on June 30, 1942. My brother, David Payson McGaughey, was born on June 26, 1944. My sister, Margaret Durham McGaughey (now Margaret McGaughey Isaacson) was born on May 29, 1948. So there were four children in the family. My two brothers have both died. My sister and I remain alive as of January 2011.
When I was born in Detroit in 1941, my family lived in an apartment at 999 Whitmore Street (near Palmer Park) in Detroit. I do not remember the neighborhood. In two or three years, my family moved to 2224 Seminole Avenue in the Indian Village neighborhood on the east side of Detroit. It was around five blocks from the Detroit river. I lived there until the age of 14. Then my family moved to Bloomfield Hills. First we lived in a rented house at 3501 Lahser Road for about a year while I was in 10th grade. Then my parents bought a house at 131 Guilford Road in Bloomfield Hills, a suburb northwest of Detroit, close to Woodward Avenue and Barden Road. We lived there from around 1957 to 1963 when my parents moved to New York City.
With respect to education, I attended kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades at Liggett School, a private school on Burns Avenue in Indian Village, which was about five blocks distant from my home. Then, I went to the John F. Nichols elementary school, a public school, on Burns avenue, which was a block north of Liggett. This I attended during 3rd and 4th grades. After continuing at Nichols for two weeks of 5th grade, my parents decided to put my brother Andy and me in a private school for boys in Grosse Pointe Woods called Detroit University School (DUS). I attended this school in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, from around 1950 to 1954. The school became coed and its name was changed to Grosse Pointe University School (GPUS) in 1955. I attended 9th grade at this school.
After my family moved to Bloomfield Hills, I attended 10th grade at Bloomfield Hills High School, west of Telegraph Avenue on Long Lake Road. Then, I finished up at Cranbrook School, a private boys school in Bloomfield Hills, for my 11th and 12th grades. I was a boarding student although my family lived nearby. After graduation from Cranbrook, I attended Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut.
I mention this history to suggest periods of time when I had contact with my siblings. The most contact was in the earlier period of time, before I attended Detroit University School in 1950. My brother Andy attended this school together; David did not, until later. I did not attend any school with my sister Margaret because she was younger and the private schools were gender specific. Also because I attended Cranbrook as a boarding rather than day student, I spent much of my time during 11th and 12th grades away from my family.
During my college years, between 1958 and 1964, I lived in New Haven, Connecticut, except for two years (1961-63) when I temporarily dropped of college. I then lived with my parents for about nine months; the remaining time was spent in West Germany. Following graduation from college in June 1964, I attended Rutgers School of Business in Newark, New Jersey, for six months, and then moved to Minnesota. I have lived in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota continuously since that time except for four months in the autumn of 1970 when I lived by myself in Milford, Pennsylvania.
As for the rest of my birth family, my parents first lived in Sutton Place, around 50th Street, in New York City for several years starting in 1963 after my father became employed at the National Association of Manufacturers. Then they moved to an apartment on the upper east side, 510 East 86th Street, in the Yorkville section of New York City, not far from the East River. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) moved its headquarters from New York City to Washington, D.C. in early 1970s. My parents bought a condominium at Harbor Square in southeast Washington, perhaps six blocks east of the U.S. Capitol. After my father retired from the NAM in 1976, he worked for BIPAC for several more years.
Then, after my father’s retirement from BIPAC, my parents moved to our ancestral home in Milford, Pennsylvania, where they lived by themselves for another two decades. My mother moved into the Milford Convalescence Center, between Milford and Port Jervis, from May 1999, when she had her colon removed, until she died at the Bon Secours hospital in Port Jervis, New York, in April 2001. My father lived at the Milford Convalescence Center and a nursing home near Andover, New Jersey from June 1999 until he died in Andover in November 2004, just before Thanksgiving Day.
During my first two years at Yale, my brother Andy was a student at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. After graduating from high school, he attended Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for one year. That summer - 1991 - he was taken into the mental health system following an incident of violence at my parents’ home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He went first to the Lafayette clinic in Detroit, from where he escaped, to the Menninger clinic in Topeka, Kansas. Andy lived both in mental institutions and other places for the rest of his life, including Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Israel, Czechoslovakia, New York City, Washington, D.C.
After attending Cranbrook, David spent two years (maybe more) as a high school student at the Putney School, a private school in Putney, Vermont. Then he attended college at the University of California - Berkeley for four years, majoring in political science. I attended his graduation in 1967. Then, David studied urban planning at Hunter College in New York City and obtained his MA degree. He was a vista volunteer in Lumberton, North Carolina, and in Atlanta, Georgia, and in Minneapolis, Minnesota, among other places.
Eventually David wound up as a grant writer with a firm in New York City and then as a tape librarian with Prodigy in White Plains, New York. He took a buy out from that job in 1990 so he would spend more time with Andy, then living in Washington, D.C. On January 1, 1991, He was struck by a car while crossing a highway in Gaithersburg, Maryland, sustaining brain damage. David spent the rest of his life in head-injury units: in Milford, Pennsylvania; Austin, Texas; Rochester, New York; and Kingston, New York.
Margaret attended high school at the Kingwood School in Bloomfield Hills, which was Cranbrook’s sister school. Then, following my parents’ move to New York City, she was enrolled at the Masters school in Dobbs Ferry, New York. I attended her graduation in 1964. Then, Margaret went to college at Stanford in Palo Alto, California, graduating in 1968. It was a turbulent period on college campuses. Next, she attended law school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She met her future husband, George Isaacson, there; they were on a debate team together.
After becoming a lawyer, Margaret worked in the Public Defender's office for several years in Boston, and then moved to Maine. She was hired by George Mitchell, then U.S. Attorney in Portland, and for the past several decades has been handling court appeals for the federal government in Portland, Maine. She and her family live in Brunswick, about thirty miles north of Portland.
I was closest to my brother Andrew (“Andy”) because we were closest in age and often did things together when we were boys. I also had the misfortune, much later in life, to discover Andy’s dead body on the floor of an apartment in a house that I owned. He died during the night of July 23-24, 1999, in Minneapolis during a heat wave. Andy was the first of my birth-family members to die; we had gone so many years without anyone dying though David had come close. It was a shock from which I have yet not fully recovered.
My childhood consciousness goes back to the time when I was five to ten years old Andy and I played with the neighborhood kids in the yard, or in the alley, or at school. There were friends like Roger and Ann Taylor (on the corner of Seminole and Vernor highway), or Dave and John Morse (across the alley). We walked to and from Nichols school each day. Andy and I slept in the same bedroom on the second floor overlooking the back yard. We dug holes in the ground (and might have found a meteorite) and played “duck-on-rocks” in the alley with empty beer cans. Softball was our favorite organized sport. I was the oldest among our group.
Andy was then a year behind me in school. (Some time around high school, my parents had Andy held back a year to give him more time to socialize.) I entered Detroit University School in the 5th grade; Andy, in the 4th. We were rather rambunctious city boys. We teamed up playing marbles, and soon assembled one of the largest marbles collections of any in the school. For the first time, we had homework to do. We both worked hard at our classroom assignments. We memorized many lines of poetry (especially by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow). During our first year, Andy was judged to be the most improved student in his class. In my second year (6th grade), I was first in my class academically. This pattern continued for the next several years. I was first in the 7th, 8th, and (tied for first) 9th grades; and I think Andy was the same in his class.
In the summer of 1951, my parents sent Andy and me to visit the Dallas family in England. Bill Dallas, the father, had owned a trucking company that had been nationalized by the Labour government. He now owned a jewelry store in London. Marjorie Dallas, the mother, was incredibly kind to Andy and me. We were closest in age to sons Robert and Michael. Another son, Gregor, and Caroline were much younger. The Dallas family owned an estate in Sussex, near Pulborough, living in what was called “Toat House”. There was also a stone tower on the property which was visible for miles around. We spent the first five weeks of our ten-week stay on this estate in Sussex and the remaining five weeks at the Dallas’ cottage on the English channel near Portsmouth.
I think this summer in England expanded my intellectual horizons. Andy and I collected butterflies, including the Peacock, cabbage white, red admiral, and Tiger swallow butterflies. We melted bee’s wax from the hives and once caught a rabbit barehanded. Marjorie Dallas arranged for us to visit interesting places like the Tower of London, the Cheddar Gorge, and ”Stoke Poges” where Thomas Gray wrote his famous elegy. We attended a Shakespearean play at Stratford-upon-Avon and were given a personal tour of the House of Commons and Blenheim Palace by Jo Sturdee, Winston Churchill’s secretary.
Andy and I experienced these things together. We learned to play cricket. We learned good table manners. Andy was somewhat shorter than I and had blond hair; my hair was reddish. I talked with Katherine Hepburn on the airplane returning to the United States and, of course, got her autograph.
Those years of the 5th and 6th grades were my formative years but at the same time some of the earlier energy and curiosity was being lost. I became a good student. I learned to memorize information. At the time, I may have had a greater aptitude for math than for reading or writing. Andy was more into the natural sciences. We both studied Latin under “coach” Francis J. McCann. However, we were in separate classes and each tended to go our own way.
In the summer of 1953, I went to a swimming camp in northern Ontario; I forget what Andy did that summer. In addition to swimming across the lake, I learned to play volleyball, lacrosse, and golf and won all thirteen “merit badges” at Camp Chickopee. However, in the following summer, I believe, Andy played Little League baseball in Milford, becoming his team’s top hitter. David, two years younger, played for the same team. Being out of the age group, I had to sit in the stands as a spectator. The summers spent in Milford had less appeal because I lacked friends of my own age.
Andy and I were not as close in the 11th and 12th grades because he was a day student, living at home, and I boarded in the dormitory. I took to chemistry and English, enrolling in Carl Wonnberger’s “special English” class. I was also a “regular prefect”, in charge of the first floor of my dormitory, Marquis Hall. Andy and I did team up once on the school’s debate team. We lost the debate for which we had prepared, and won the debate for which we were unprepared. I remember also playing doubles tennis together against a team of female champions (trained by Jean Hoxie) and beating them.
In the summer of 1956, Andy went to a camp in Wyoming and climbed the Grand Teton mountain. He was ready to tackle the cliff across the Sawkill creek with hooks and rope. That summer, along with Scott Romney, I studied welding and housewiring at Cass Technical High School in Detroit. In the following summer, I went to a study camp at Deep Springs, California, after winning a spot through a competition. Then, in the summer of 1959, I toured Europe with the Bunt family - Floyd Bunt had been my chemistry teacher at Cranbrook - while Andy lived with the Kilian family in Berlin, Germany. We were both having exciting personal experiences, but separately.
I entered Yale in the fall of 1958 as Andy became a junior at Phillips Exeter Academy. I think he blossomed during this time. He made lots of friends and had interesting stories to tell about his classmates - for instance, Tom Salmon who had grown up in Indonesia. He read Marco Polo’s adventures and made the honor roll. Exeter was one of the top prep schools in the United States. With such a record, he was admitted to Harvard after attending Exeter for two years.
In the summer of 1960, Andy and I both had summer jobs in New York City. He worked at Merrill Lynch, as I recall, and I was a copy boy at the Wall Street Journal. We roomed together, first at the Sloane House YMCA in central Manhattan and then at Margaret Fielding’s apartment in the Bronx. Ms. Fielding was the aunt of a young man, Michael Blechman, whom I had known at the study camp in California. We ran into him unexpectedly in the subway.
My father had given us a list of people to visit in New York. Andy followed through in making the contacts. Because of this, we were allowed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to see the place where American Motors stock was traded. We also had a private visit with the president of NBC, Robert Kintner, who had once peddled the Disneyland television show to my father while at ABC. I asked Kintner what struck Andy as a stupid question: Whether the networks tried to make certain types of people heroes and others villains. Kintner said “no”. We were also foolish to turn down Kintner’s offer of a pair of tickets to Jack Paar’s Tonight Show because we didn’t know anything about this show.
I stayed in New York for an extra two weeks in the late summer while Andy returned to Michigan before starting his studies at Harvard. During that time, I spent some time with other of Michael Blechman’s relatives and met his cousin, Gail Worthman, who was three years younger than me. We later dated. Meanwhile, in Bloomfield Hills, Andy had a major fight with my parents. I don’t think it involved violence.
In the fall of 1960, I decided to drop out of Yale to enter the U.S. Army. I thought a little nonacademic experience would help me make better use of the remaining opportunities I would have at such a college. My relatives might have regarded this as an indication of personal weakness or defeat. But I did it - even though the Army rejected my application. Andy, meanwhile, went on to Harvard. He spent his freshman year at Pennypacker House, making a new set of friends. He and I attended the 1960 Yale-Harvard football game in Cambridge before I dropped out of college.
I can’t remember much about Andy’s Harvard experience except that he took a course about war and peace. One of his professors might have been Timothy Leary - my mother later believed that Andy was introduced to psychedelic drugs in a course on thermonuclear war. I do remember that in the spring of 1961 Andy and some of his Harvard friends went on a “peace” study trip to Washington D.C., where we visited the State Department, the Russian embassy, the Supreme Court, Congressional offices, and other such institutions. Now a college drop, I joined the expedition for a time. I remember saying “goodbye” to Andy as I headed back to Michigan on the train. There was a look of sadness in his eyes.
Andy was then under a certain emotional strain. One of his college roommates had a girl friend named April who had sex with him in the dormitory. Neither Andy and I had done serious dating since we had mainly attended all-boy prep schools. We were unsure of relationships with women. Drug use might have been a factor in Andy’s growing emotional instability.
This came to a head in the summer of 1961 when I was living with my parents in Bloomfield Hills. Andy got into a heated argument with my parents; I was not present during this episode. On this way out the door, he picked up a rock and threw it through the glass window. The rock hit a pillar which then hit my mother in the face. My parents called the police. Eventually, it was decided to send Andy to the Lafayette clinic in Detroit for psychiatric evaluation.
Andy was at the Lafayette clinic for about a week. Then, with the help of a Harvard friend - it might have been Ron Epstein - he escaped. The news of Andy’s escape went out over the Detroit air waves. The Bunt family stopped by to offer their assistance. Eventually, my parents learned that Andy had gone to Cleveland, Ohio. My parents and I picked Andy up at a Cleveland police station.
One of Andy’s issues, he said, was the fear of thermonuclear war. He talked with his friends about going to Australia to escape the devastation. We visited a well-known Quaker and economist, Kenneth Boulding. Boulding asked my opinion. I said that I thought maybe Andy should go to Australia if that was his wish. However, Andy had no means of financial support. He said he might rob people if he needed money. My parents were now convinced that Andy belonged in a mental institution. Andy insisted that he was not mentally ill; he was more like a misunderstood genius. The so-called normal people were persecuting him because they could not understand his thought processes.
I was no longer Andy’s confidant but tended to side more with my parents. In truth, I was off in my own little world, memorizing poetry, writing philosophical tracts, and attending debutante parties. Andy seemed to be closer to his new sets of friends although he and I never argued. Eventually, my parents arranged for Andy to be a patient at the Menninger’s clinic in Topeka, Kansas. I drove to Topeka with my parents to visit the clinic shortly before I flew to Munich, Germany, in October.
My attitude then was that Andy did have mental illness and that Menninger’s clinic would have the staff to treat his problems successfully. Andy was now living in Kansas, and I in West Germany. I was interested in news that the clinic staff had discovered what was wrong with Andy and know how to treat him. Over time, it appeared that Andy was diagnosed with schizophrenia and that this illness might be treated with psychotropic drugs. I was a distant observer at that point.
The bottom line is that Andy was now in the mental-health system. There was no “cure” as such but only a succession of treatments. I have lost track of what Andy did in the 1960s except that he was in an out of mental-health facilities and also did some international traveling. I know that Andy lived at a facility near Hartford, Connecticut, called Institute for Living. A psychiatrist in New York gave him shock treatment. A dentist mistakenly pulled out his teeth so he lived with dentures the rest of his life. Eventually, the treatment involved various kinds of prescription drugs. Andy was on at least a dozen different kinds of medications for schizophrenia.
While I was in Germany, and then back to Yale, and finally in Minnesota, Andy was living in various places after being released from the Menninger’s clinic. I think he lived in Quebec for a time and might have been involved in using or selling drugs. He lived in Europe in the mid 1960s. He had a Swedish girl friend and another girl friend from Binghamton, New York. He lived a Auge Nielsen’s “world university” in Denmark for a time (and might later have convinced John Lennon in New York to go there). He visited Prague. He also spent time in Israel where some people made fun of his last name.
While in Jerusalem, he sent a postcard to President Lyndon Johnson with what was regarded as a threatening message. This put Andy on the FBI’s suspect list. Once, while my parents were living in New York City, the FBI visited their apartment to ask where Andy would be during President Johnson’s planned visit. They were satisfied by my father’s assurance that he would be in Milford on that day.
Later, in 1972, Andy was arrested by Secret Service agents while he was browsing through books at a store in the Waldorf Astoria where, unknown to him, President Nixon was staying. The news went out over the wire that a possible plot against the President had been foiled. (A girl friend in Minneapolis heard the news report and told me.) Andy was taken to a city jail in New York where he might have been sexually molested by another inmate.
While I was in Minnesota leading a relatively conservative life, Andy was experiencing various aspects of the counterculture in Europe and New York City. When I saw him once in New York in the late 1960s, he was physically fit, mentally sharp, and relatively well groomed. He had a girl friend named Linda Rolnitzsky and friends in the visual and performing arts. Some of Andy’s friends in experimental television made a video of his birthday party at a Chinese restaurant in New York. He escaped from Bellview hospital, he said, with the help of Lui, owner of an electronics store CTL Electronics, and Lui’s daughter Jennifer. For a time, Andy was obsessed with the idea of marrying Jennifer.
Andy’s drug use was a matter of controversy. My mother thought that his mental problems began with drug experimentation at Harvard. The university denied this in an exchange of correspondence. Andy himself thought this was overblown. Yet, he did know Timothy Leary and had spent time at Leary’s drug community in New York state. I myself once smoked a joint of marijuana with Andy and some of his friends. I was not willing to become a “ground control”.
When my parents moved to Washington, D.C., Andy moved there as well. He spent time at St. Elizabeth’s hospital where he became involved in patient’s rights issues. Walter Mondale’s daughter Eleanor did a documentary, including some scenes with him. John Hinckley was a fellow inmate whom he met once. Andy also lived at Woodley House; a Pinchot relative, Quentin Meyer, was one of his friends.
By this time, I think the years of medication were beginning to take their toll. Andy had put on some weight and developed a more frightening appearance. He developed a more distinctive personality characterized by some of his enthusiasms, such as eating Moo Moo Gai Pan at at Chinese restaurant. He briefly had a job with Reed Irvine’s Accuracy in Media arranged by one of my father’s friends. In that capacity, Andy was asked to pass out newsletters at the Solidarity Day union rally in 1983. He was not a conscientious employee.
In Washington, Andy could not help pestering various dignitaries. Misrepresenting himself, he once arranged a personal meeting with U.S. Senator Pete Wilson of California who called the police once he realized what was happening. Andy also had a run-in with the South Korean embassy who interpreted one of his phone calls as terroristic. My assessment is that Andy’s behavior, while a nuisance, was essentially harmless. Andy wanted to participate in the Washington scene. He also sampled religions such as Eckankar and Scientology. He had a knack for making friends. Ken Showalter, who might have been employed by C-SPAN, was one. Brian Moore, a candidate for the DC city council, was another.
For some reason, Andy had a fixation with telephone numbers. He would often recite the person’s telephone number after mentioning someone by name. Andy also wrote the numbers down on pieces of paper along with geometric designs. His handwriting was large and strange-looking. Andy liked to attend events with free food, of which there were plenty in Washington, D.C. He made frequent telephone calls to persons who interested him. While he did not live with my parents in Washington, they had to deal with the occasional complaints about Andy’s bizarre behavior.
Andy liked Washington, being a center of important activities. Even so, he occasionally visited me in Minneapolis. The first time was in the late 1980s. David also visited then. More significantly, Andy came to visit in June 1993, this time to stay. Having lost touch with him since our college days, I now became responsible for his well being.
I’ll never forget the day that Andy arrived at the airport. We stopped at the Minneapolis convention center. There were two conventions of interest. First, the DFL city convention was in the process of nominating Sharon Sayles Belton for mayor. I was a delegate from my north Minneapolis precinct. Second, the religion of Eckankar, which is headquartered in the Twin Cities, was holding a large summer meeting. We attended both events in the same evening, one down the hall from the other. Several days later, I arranged for Andy and me to attend a Comedy Club event featuring female comedians, seated up in front. Andy was called on for some reason, and his remark made everyone laugh.
About the same time, Andy got sick. I thought it might have to do with cat hairs in the apartment from Toni the cat. He was having trouble breathing. Perhaps it was an asthma attack. I took Andy to north Memorial hospital. Soon he was in an intensive-care unit with tubes stuck in his nose. Later Andy had a severe attack of appendicitis and almost died. Andy was at north Memorial for about two weeks. Then he was transferred to the Queen Care nursing home on Glenwood and Queen avenue in my own neighborhood. I visited it beforehand. Andy’s Medicaid account was transferred from Washington, D.C. to Minneapolis. He was here to stay.
Andy was at Queen Care Center at least through the end of the year, perhaps longer. While I was still employed as an accountant at the Metropolitan Transit Commission, I also owned rental property. Andy went with me when I closed on a 9-unit apartment in August 1993. The local neighborhood association had pegged me as a slumlord even though I had owned property for only a short time. Unknown to me, some of its Crime and Safety Committees were meeting in a room at Queen Care Center. Andy attended some of those meetings. I was later told that he had tried to defend me. One evening, when I visited Andy, I found him at one of those meetings where my conduct was being discussed. I got into a heated argument with the committee members which included police officials. I caught them in a number of provable lies.
Even though the Queen Care Center helped Andy’s recovery, it produced another set of problems. Andy was a smoker but the center had a policy of restricting cigarette consumption. One day, Andy pestered the head nurse for cigarettes. She accused him of harassment, claiming that he was a danger to others. The county then tried to commit Andy to a mental health facility. He was involuntarily removed to the Anoka Regional Health facility, a psychiatric hospital, where he lived for several years.
Fortunately, the county was obligated to appoint an attorney to represent Andy’s interest. He was Kurt Anderson, from a downtown law firm. The first event was an appearance in District Court. The county trotted out its witnesses to show that Andy was a danger to others, presumably a violent one. In the course of the trial, the prosecutor huddled with the judge to present a note to the effect that, because I was a suspect in a criminal investigation involving my rental property, Andy should not be allowed to live with me as a less restrictive alternative to mental-health commitment. I knew nothing of any such police investigation. (Years later, after the “investigation” was presumably concluded, the records were lost.) Anderson called me on the stand to deny involvement in criminal activity. Even so, the judge ruled against Andy. He was committed to Anoka.
Kurt Anderson appealed the decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and lost. Then he appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. This court ruled in Andy’s favor. He was released. I had been driving up to Anoka with some regularity to visit Andy. Again, he had friends and made the most of the situation.
In the meanwhile, I had developed a relationship with Sheila Foresta, a black woman who had originally been involved in drug activity in my building when I first acquired it. My parents were horrified, and so was Andy. Outspoken as always, he suggested at first that she was a prostitute as were many of her black sisters. This conversation took place on the way to an Eckankar service in Golden Valley. Sheila fought back.
Eventually, Andy and Sheila mellowed. I married Sheila in January 1995. She and her family moved into the downstairs unit of my fourplex. Andy and I occupied the two units above her on the second floor. Sheila had five young children - two boys and three girls. Andy liked children and enjoyed being around Sheila’s. For instance, he would sit on the sofa watching television with the kids.
On one such occasion, there was a show featuring monsters. The children squealed with delight. In Sheila’s hearing, Andy remarked that the kids seemed to “enjoy being raped by the bogeyman.” It was an unfortunate choice of words. Some interpreted it to mean that Andy was thinking of sexually molesting Sheila’s children. Indirectly, this resulted in the breakup of my marriage with Sheila.
I also remember once when we visited the Mall of America, Andy sat on a stone ledge next to Erika, then about four years old. A woman of Scandinavian descent in horror called this to Sheila’s attention. Sheila rightly brushed it off. Andy was a relative. Yes, Andy liked being around children but he was not a child molester, even if in some respects he looked the part. He had thick, bushy eyebrows and was overweight.
My mother arranged for Andy and me to tour China in May 1996 with a group of Exeter alumni including James Lilley, a former U.S. ambassador to China, and his wife. My role was to see that Andy regularly took his medications and otherwise managed the logistics of such a trip. I think Andy enjoyed this experience. The group gave him a special award at dinner on the final day. I kept in touch with the tour guide, Lily Dong, and through her met my future wife.
Upon returning home to Minneapolis, however, I soon discovered that Sheila and her children had moved out. To me, this signaled the end of our marriage. Sheila later explained that she told a psychotherapist at Pilot City about Andy and his “raped by the bogeyman” remark. The psychotherapist said that the children were in danger. He would have to report it to Child Protection if she and the children continued to live in the same house with Andy. I had made it clear to Sheila that Andy was not moving from my house. So Sheila felt she had no alternative but to move herself. Sheila was gone in June and our marriage ended in November, 1996.
Though I am unclear on the dates, I do remember that Andy lived at Oak Grove rehab center near downtown Minneapolis for the better part of a year. This must have been before the China trip. It was a good facility and Andy enjoyed the area, especially St. Mark’s Episcopalian cathedral. One of the church staff became a friend of his. Unfortunately, Andy became romantically attached to a female staff person at Oak Grove who felt uncomfortable when he called her “beloved”, and he had to leave.
Andy also later lived at the Oasis rehab center on Golden Valley road in Golden Valley. During that time, he developed a romantic relationship with a female resident named Virginia Gauger. Some time in 1997, they decided to get married. Andy was then occupying a unit in my fourplex across from my own, on the second story. Virginia moved in with Andy before they were married. She and Andy seemed to have compatible personalities. They enjoyed doing things together in the neighborhood.
Their wedding took place on Valentines day, February 14, 1998, at the Temple of Eck in Chanhassen. My parents came out from Milford, Pennsylvania, on the Amtrak train, which was quite a strain for them both. A woman named Nora Patrin, who was a long-time friend of Andy’s and recently a member of the Eck clergy, presided at the wedding. She also arranged for Andy’s and Ginny’s reception and for Ginny’s wedding dress. While Ginny and Nora were shopping, my parents, Andy, and I went to see a newly released film at Knollwood Plaza called “Titanic”. Andy had spoken for so long about getting married, and it had finally come to pass.
The religion of Eckankar was a bond between Andy, Ginny, and me. Andy had first encountered this religion at a conference in Washington, D.C. Then, when Andy came to Minnesota, we started attending the monthly services at the Temple of Eck and the worldwide events at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Andy, with his outgoing personality, became known to many in Eckankar circles. He used to call people in the office.
Another one of our rituals was shopping for groceries at Cub Foods near Highway 100 and 36th street in Robbinsdale. At first I bought the groceries but Andy wanted more freedom in choosing what to buy. He loved the sardines in small tins.
Wearing uncomfortable dentures, he had to be careful what to eat. I bought an expensive blender thinking that we could turn fruits and vegetables into a healthy soup. It was never used. Likewise, we abandoned a disk satellite cable system for wired cable because it was hard to switch between the cable and local channels.
Andy and Ginny also become involved in my landlord-group activities to a certain extent. They both took part, for instance, when the group shut down a meeting of the Minneapolis City Council in early November, 1998, just before the state elections. Andy tended to go with the Democrats. He favored Skip Humphrey for Governor of Minnesota in 1998, and Al Gore for President in 2000. I favored the maverick, Jesse Ventura, and wound up voting for Ralph Nader in 2000.
Ginny and Andy liked to sit on the bench outside my 9-unit apartment building, holding hands. At other times, they took walks through the Harrison park. Neither of them drove an automobile. Ginny cooked meals for Andy, and I think at times he enjoyed giving her orders. I was unmarried at the time. Mainly, I sat in my office in the adjoining apartment unit writing my world-history book, Five Epochs of Civilization.
Ginny, Andy, and I took a bus to Milford, Pennsylvania, to visit my parents for Christmas, 1998. There was tension between Ginny and a woman hired to help my parents. My sister Margaret had refused to be at family events involving Andy because of an allegedly anti-Semitic remark that Andy had made at the breakfast table in 1983. Margaret had converted to Judaism when she married George Isaacson, who was Jewish. There was some discussion, which I discouraged, that Andy and Ginny should get divorced. But this was just the talk of an aging family. It was our last Christmas together.
My mother had a relapse of colon cancer in May 1999. After a painful operation, she decided against aggressive measures to prolong her life. Andy and I drove out to see our mother in the late spring or early summer, just the two of us in the car. We were refused entrance to Canada because Andy did not have proper ID. I remember Andy asking for permission to smoke in the car. He also recalled the name of a long-forgotten girl in Liggett School, and I was amazed by his memory. The conversation between Andy and my mother was sweet. I recorded some of it on videotape but cannot locate the tape without difficulty.
On day in early July, 1999, I received a call from Andy’s case worker, Kathy Fitzinger, that Andy had collapsed on the sidewalk on a hot afternoon. His condition was being evaluated at HCMC (Hennepin County Medical Center). When Ginny and I picked Andy up on the following day, we were told that he had a disorienting salt imbalance as a result of sweating too much and drinking water to stay cool. The doctor told us that this condition could be fatal, if extreme. Ginny later repeated this, and I received a call from someone at Eckankar asking if Andy had died. But Andy himself had spoken of his own possible death in the near future.
On Friday, July 23, 1999, I went to my weekly “Sufi” singing group at Robert Bly’s house. I was then working on the index for my book, “Five Epochs of Civilization”, and we talked of concepts in this book. I went promptly to bed after returning home and fell asleep. I was vaguely aware of Andy coming into my room during the night complaining of the heat. I did nothing. Then, perhaps an hour later, I heard a loud noise in the adjoining room. I found Andy, with his clothing removed, lying on the floor. I brought him a glass of water; he took a sip, but no more. Then I tried to lift him back onto the sofa where he had been sleeping. He was too heavy. I opened the windows to let cooler air into the room. I placed sofa cushions on the floor and rolled Andy onto the cushions. I brought a small fan from my room, turned it on, and blew air at Andy. Then I summoned Ginny from the interior bedroom. Then, I went back to my own room.
On the next morning, Saturday, July 24th, I read the newspaper for half an hour or so when I first awoke. Then I decided to check on Andy. After opening the door, I found him face down on the floor. His face was strangely swollen. Suddenly, it struck me that Andy might be dead. I think I may have tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Andy’s body was still warm. I called 911 and then my sister in Maine. Andy’s remains would go to Milford. Through the Milford funeral home, she located a place in Eagan, Minnesota, to take the body. While I was on the telephone, some paramedics took Andy’s body away on a stretcher down the steps.
Evidently tests were done at HCMC to see whether the medications had anything to do with Andy’s death. Even if they did, I was partly to blame in failing to take the warning signs seriously enough. I have often thought how easy it might have been simply to put Andy in a tub of cold water. But I was half asleep on that fateful night and not attentive enough.
Ginny and I viewed Andy’s body at the funeral home in Eagan. He was cremated, partly out of shipping convenience and partly because Andy had spoken favorably of cremation when John F. Kennedy, Jr. had died in a plane crash the week before. I ordered a bronze container for his ashes. Funeral services for Andy were held at the Temple of Eck and also at the St. Olaf’s Catholic church in downtown Minneapolis. Ginny and I then drove to Milford to attend a small ceremony in Andy’s honor at Milford Convalescence Center, driving through Detroit. My father presided, my mother attended in a wheel chair, and David was also there.
The urn and ashes then sat for five years in a cardboard box kept in the Milford house until buried in the Milford cemetery in July 2005. On that day, David and Andy were buried in the same family plot under a marble obelisk. My father was buried next to my mother in another grave plot in the Milford cemetery. My sister Margaret and several of her family members also attended the simple ceremony in honor of the three McGaughey men.
Andy’s widow, Ginny, has continued to live in my neighborhood. Not long after Andy died, she found a new boy friend, Tim Lewandowsky, who lives several blocks away. She has become a tenant in my apartment though she seldom stays there. She has retained the name Ginny McGaughey.
Note: Andy died on July 24, 1999. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Andrew E. Durham, who died in Greencastle, Indiana, on July 24, 1954 - exactly 45 years earlier. Both were found lifeless on the floor. Andrew Durham was a former Indiana state senator.
My brother David was three and a half years younger than I, and for that reason I was not as close to him in the early years as I was to Andy. I think he slept in a different room at 2224 Seminole in Detroit. David, too, went to Grosse Pointe University School, public school in Bloomfield Hills, and then to Cranbrook. He had a different set of friends.
While I was at Yale, David also attended private school at the Putney School in Putney, Vermont. This was a place where he found himself. Persons of the liberal political persuasion such as as James Tobin and Walter Reuther sent their children there. Putney’s founder, Ms. Hinton, had lived in “Red China” for several years. David had a black roommate from the south. Exposure to manual labor was part of the program. I don’t know if that made David a leftist activist but he enjoyed the environment. He also kept active in Putney alumni activities.
David’s college years were spent at the University of California at Berkeley, not far from my mother’s sister, Ann Weinrichter, and her family. David majored in political science. He attended the American University in Beirut for a year and might also have experienced the “Free Speech” movement at Berkley. By that time, I was living in Minnesota.
I did attend David’s graduation in 1967. It was the “summer of love” and San Francisco was the epicenter of the counterculture. I drove from St. Paul to San Francisco in four days in a 1956 Chevrolet. The car broke down in the Bonneville salt flats and had to be towed to Wendover in Nevada. The graduation ceremony itself included a graduate dressed up in a cape as “Captain America”. The San Francisco scene that year was unlike any other that I have experienced. Those concert posters were something else!
I believe that David moved back to New York City after graduating from college. He might have taken courses at Columbia University. He did obtain his master’s degree in city planning from Hunter College but never had a planning position in city government. Instead, he became a Vista volunteer.
David lived in Lumberton, North Carolina, for several years; and also in Atlanta, Georgia. I know he participated in outdoors activities like hiking with people his age. One who knew him from that period was John Wells, who later lived in St. Paul. I have been in contact with several people who remembered David fondly from the late 1960s and 1970s.
David also spent six months or so in Minneapolis as a Vista volunteer, working out of the old federal office building on 4th street. I was married to Carol at the time and working at American Hoist & Derrick Co. We did take a trip together to the south shore of Lake Superior, scouting real estate to buy. Carol and I wound up buying a lot on Lake Superior and 40 acres plus a log cabin near Port Wing. We also bought a house in White Bear township with frontage on the lake. David and my parents loaned us some money to help with the down payment.
After his Vista years, David lived in Albany, New York, where he worked for New York state government. An attractive co-worker, Maureen McNamara, visited our family in Milford. Then David returned to New York City. He became a professional grant writer.
David bought a condo unit at 554 Riverside Drive in Harlem, not far from Grant’s tomb. He spent time and money fixing up the place. Then he traded one unit for a larger one and again worked at improving his property. I remember once taking a walk through this neighborhood near Columbia University. David was a tour guide pointing out interesting sites to me.
In the late 1980s, David took a job at Prodigy in White Plains, New York, which was one of several pioneering firms that introduced personal computers to the public. He would up being a tape librarian. A colleague at work was writing software for a mail-order operation, which interested me somewhat. Eventually, in 1990, David decided to leave Prodigy so he could spend more time with Andy.
David never married. I know he was interested in Linda Rolnitzsky whom he had met through Andy. He kept in touch with Lucy Yang from his Putney years. As an older brother, I probably could have helped him more in that area but I did not. I was off in my own world. Though both college graduates, we were both marginally employed and never raised children.
In the years before his accident, my brother David was physically trim. He had few personal hang-ups but had sensible opinions. He was a cheerful person. Often David was a source of information of possible use to me. For instance, when I bought land in northern Wisconsin, David told me about a cheap drill for digging a well that was available through the Whole Earth catalog. He was always available to help family members.
Just before his accident, David took an active part in a political campaign to maintain the water-quality designation for the Sawkill creek, behind our Milford home, which was needed to stave off development farther up the creek. My parents were also involved. Along with Matthew Brennan, David became co-director of Pike Environmental Defenders (PED). He worked closely with Nancy Pittman and Peter Pinchot in this environmental project. They were grandchildren of Gifford Pinchot, founder of the U.S. Forestry service.
David’s accident occurred on New Years Day, 1991. I received a phone call from my mother that something serious had happened to him. After leaving Prodigy, David had rented an apartment in Gaithersburg, Maryland, so he could help find activities for Andy, who lived in nearby Washington, D.C.
One evening, David was struck by a car as he attempted to cross a highway. The skid marks indicated that the car was traveling at a high rate of speed. David was flown by helicopter to a Washington, D.C., hospital where he remained in a coma for three weeks. He was severely brain injured and also had some leg injuries that eventually healed.
David’s remaining fourteen years were spent in head-injury recovery units around the country. The first, by coincidence, was a facility in Milford, Pennsylvania. David went through an angry phase while living there. He knew that my parents lived several blocks away in Milford. Occasionally, he would wander away from the nursing home and make his way to their house. He was angry not to be living there.
My parents eventually took him out of the Milford facility. David went to another, more highly regarded facility in Austin, Texas, with the help of Congressman Charles Rangel. There he lived in the “Alamo” unit. I never visited him there. I’m not sure what kind of treatment David received; there was not much that could be done about patients injured so severely.
David’s apartment and most of his other assets were promptly sold to pay for his medical care. Perhaps because David’s treatment was now being paid by New York Medicaid, it was necessary now to move him to a facility in New York state. He was moved first to a facility near Rochester, New York. I would drop him off at the facility to or from trips between Minnesota and Milford. Often we would visit the Mormon sites near Palmyra such as the Hill Cumorah where my cat, Toni, once got lost in the woods.
Later, David was transferred to another facility at Lake Katrine near Kingston, New York. My sister was then David’s financial conservator. I assumed this duty around 2000 along with a court-appointed attorney. The court order required me to visit David at least four times a year but also allowed me to charge reasonable traveling expenses - $400 per round trip. I often drove the 70 miles or so between Milford and Lake Katrine following the course of the old Delaware and Hudson canal.
David was generally placid. He could understand more than he could speak. When I tried to carry on a conversation, he answered in short phrases such as “yes” or “no”. Once when we passed through the New York town of Hugenot, I asked David if he knew who the Hugeunots were. “French Protestants”, he replied. Occasionally, David would try to engage in longer conversations but he was often frustrated. After Andy’s death in 1999, he once asked where Andy was. I had to tell him.
During the first five years of the 21st Century, I would drive to Milford three or four times a year. My routine was to visit my mother, my father, and my brother David, who were in separate facilities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. I would drive my brother and father to see my mother, who could not be moved. Once or twice, my father and I drove to Kingston, New York, to visit David. Alternatively, I would bring David back to Milford for a visit.
When my wife Lian and daughter Celia arrived in the United States in late July, we visited David in Lake Katrine on the 2nd or 3rd day. We ate ice cream cones together at a nearby stand. Then I brought David back to Milford to spend the night in the house which I now owned. I’m sure David was wondering who these Chinese women were. During the night, he wandered into the room where Lian and Celia were sleeping, which frightened them.
David’s health grew worse in his later years. First he developed colon cancer and then experienced kidney failure. He had been given so many antibiotics that the germs had become drug-resistant. I took him back to Milford less often. On one of my last trips, I visited David in the Kingston hospital. He was still lucid and seemed glad to see me.
The last visit was in February, 2005, not long after our father had died. By then, David was entirely bed-ridden. He could hardly speak. I brought my new York terrier dog, Do Do, to help cheer David up. Do Do needed a rabies vaccination before hospital staff would allow him into the room. David hardly responded. He had bed sores and was in pain, despite the medications.
I was in Beijing, China, with my wife when I received a phone call from my sister saying that David had died in the Kingston hospital. His body had been kept in cold storage for a time, but the hospital was anxious to have it removed. David had a burial fund. I decided not to cremate him as my parents and Andy were but have him buried in a full casket. The stone monuments were already in place. Stroyan funeral home in Milford also arranged to bury Andy’s ashes in an adjoining grave. The ceremony took place, as I said, in July, 2005.
David was a kind, gentle person who experienced extreme hardship at the end of his life. There was some discussion as to whether we should “just let nature take its course” and let David die. I could not bring myself to make that decision, but it might merely have prolonged the agony.
In 2010, I learned that David had taken out a life insurance policy for Andy’s benefit, making me a secondary beneficiary. Since Andy had previously died, I was entitled to the proceeds. David’s kindness had extended beyond the grave. I was then scraping against the limits of my personal credit. The insurance money gave me additional financial breathing space.
Margaret, or “Margy”, was the youngest child in the family and my only sister. Again, the age difference was such that I barely recall her younger years. I know that my mother wanted a daughter and took great delight in Margaret. While in elementary school, she took ballet lessons. My mother would occasionally take her out to lunch. Margaret had a close association with some of our cousins on my mother’s side during the summers spent in Milford.
After my parents moved to New York City in 1963, Margaret was my parents’ closest companion. She attended the Master’s school in Dobbs Ferry, New York. My mother had once been a reporter with the Tarrytown newspaper. Before I moved to Minnesota, I attended several events involving Margaret and her high-school friends. Randy Paar visited Milford one weekend when my college roommate visited; we all went tubing on the Delaware river.
So, unlike the McGaughey boys, Margaret was developing a more conventional social life. She also did well academically. She attended Stanford University, again near Aunt Ann Weinrichter, and then decided to go to law school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I visited her once.
Margaret met her future husband at the law school when they were on a debate team together. She had previously dated Geoff Parker of Janesville, Wisconsin, who later married the daughter of Dave Bon, one of my father’s closest friends. I think David was named after him. David’s middle name, Payson, came from my great-grandfather. Margaret herself was named for my mother’s sister. Andy was named for our maternal grandfather. I was named for my father.
Margaret attended the 1968 Republican National Convention as a reporter for a news organization related to the United Nations. I could not get near the convention although I had a great interest in politics that year. It shows that when an attractive, intelligent woman comes of age, opportunities come her way. I, the once high-riding older brother, was marginalized as Margaret connected with an attractive husband and career.
Margaret’s first years as a lawyer were spent in Boston. She might have worked in the Public Defender’s office or for Legal Aid. Then in 1979 she married her boy friend George Isaacson, who was living in Maine, after George’s father died. She moved to Brunswick, Maine, and converted to Judaism. Our whole family went to the wedding.
George and Margaret once visited me in Minnesota when I was married to Carol. Already partner in his law firm, George was representing a client, L.L. Bean, who had been accused of falsely claiming that its garments contained down. He later became an authority in issues related to payment of the state sales tax in interstate commerce. Around 1978, Margaret gave me legal advice on how to deal with a gravel contractor in northern Wisconsin with whom I had a dispute regarding the contract price.
Margaret, as I said, went to work for the federal government in Portland, Maine. She taught legal writing for a college course. Some of her cases with the U.S. Attorney’s Office involved drug-smuggling cases; Maine has a coastline that is difficult to police. In later years, she specialized in appeals, and once argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. She has also handled asset-forfeiture cases. Her professional name has remained Margaret D. McGaughey. She is currently serving as Appellate Chief for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Portland.
Margaret and George Isaacson have three children - Emily, Abigail, and Nathan. Emily was born in 1982, Abigail, in 1985; and Nathan, in 1988. The family lived near the Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick, Maine. All the Isaacson children have taken music lessons. Emily, the oldest, has performed in dramatic performances with theater companies in Maine. I attended Abigail’s bat mitzvah in the late 1980s, and Emily’s wedding in June, 2010.
In later years, a certain tension developed between Margaret and me after my mother’s colon cancer returned in 1999 and she decided not to treat it. Evidently, Margaret and Aunt Ann Weinrichter thought I was doing too little about my parents’ care. Margaret was given power of attorney regarding my parent’s personal affairs. I had some disagreements about a trust fund that I administered for Andy jointly with my mother and about certain personal belongings in a safety-deposit box.
The main disagreement, however, was about my father. I wanted him to come to Minnesota to live in an assisted-living facility or nursing home. Margaret and Aunt Ann wanted him to remain in the Milford area in a nursing facility. My father thought that health professionals had “kidnapped” him when he was removed from his home.
Previously, Margaret had decided to have nothing to do with Andy after he made an “anti-Semitic” remark during a breakfast in my parents’ Washington, D.C., condominium in 1983 at which Margaret and George were present. Thereafter, Margaret refused to attend any family event at which Andy might be present. I chided her for her narrow-mindedness. While Andy’s schizophrenia did not completely excuse his behavior, I felt that the offense was being blown out of proportion.
I wish I were closer to Margaret, George, and their children, who are now young adults. I had a brief opportunity to see them last summer at Emily’s wedding in Bristol, Maine. Unfortunately, I had to cut my attendance short to catch a plane back to Minnesota. Margaret and George have both had successful careers in the field of law. They have three intelligent, attractive children, now largely grown.
So this is my youngest sibling, together with me the surviving contingent of the McGaughey family. Perhaps some day we can meet together again in a more leisurely fashion in Milford, Minnesota, or Maine.
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