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  1. Leslie Spencer

    Dear Kate, Sarah, Charlotte, Lizzie, Susie and Robert,
    I just got off the phone with my mother Louisa (Clark) Spencer, now 87, who was a close friend of Kitty and who told me of her death. What followed was a long, raucously funny conversation as stories of Kitty and the Jay family emerged from my mother’s memory. We agreed that Kitty would have approved of our laughter.
    I thought I would distill a couple of her reminiscences, for your enjoyment and for a shoebox for your children.
    1) Christmas on Long Island: My mother’s father Grenville Clark and your grandfather “Mr. Jay”, were best of friends, and they lived not far from each other on Long Island. A routine on Christmas day was for the Clark family to pay an afternoon visit to the Jay house. “We had great fun those Christmas afternoons. As a child I always marveled at how the presents would still be unopened under the tree when we arrived — such restraint the Jays had.” Laughing all the while my mother recalled, “Mrs. Jay had all these little dogs running around. Mr. Jay was less enthusiastic about the little dogs. As we got in the car to depart my father would warn Mr. Jay to clear the dogs out of the driveway, and Mr. Jay would lean in the car window, ‘I wish you would run a few of them over!’ he would whisper to my father.”
    Then on the drive home my mother remembers her parents “laughing out loud about those wild and woolly Morgan boys, Mrs. Jay’s brothers. They were such charming playboys, and so good looking.”
    2) A Vision in Dublin NH: According to my mother, your grandparents used to visit my grandparents in Dublin NH, where we still all spend summers. My mother recalled this story I’ve heard many times before. “One afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Jay went down to the point for a swim. The local clergyman was in the habit, with my father’s permission, of walking through the field by the point. On this particular afternoon’s walk, there emerged from the woods Mr. and Mrs. Jay, stark naked after their swim. The Jays were very beautiful people, and the clergyman thought he had seen a divine vision! He escaped unnoticed by the Jays and at some point recounted this ‘vision’ to my parents.”
    My mother is at a stage in her life where short term memory is fading, but the past can spring back vividly. Kitty’s death inspired these memories (and I’m sure more are lying in wait), bringing to life vignettes of a bygone era.
    Remembering Kitty is a source of pure joy for my mother. As we ended our conversation she said, this time laughing to relieve the burdens of old age, “One thing is for sure, she wasn’t supposed to die before me.”
    She wishes she could be there this Saturday, but doesn’t have the energy to travel from New York. I’m sure however, she would love for any of you to call or visit her.
    Fast forward to Brattle Street. I lived on the third floor of the Brattle Street house one summer during or just after college. Kitty was already a favorite person of mine and I will never forget her generosity and helpfulness to me that summer. I can only hope to play such a role for children of my friends, or friends of my children. Invaluable. Truly a role model.
    I would get on a plane from Portland, Oregon to be there on Saturday but for the fact that my children are all home for spring break. I am truly sorry to miss it, to see you all and the entire family, and to honor Kitty’s life.
    Much love to you all.
    Leslie Spencer
    5340 SW Hewett Blvd
    Portland OR
    503 203-1583

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