1951

My father, Oliver, finished law school at Columbia, and he and Anne and my sister, Julia, and I moved to Pennsylvania, which for both Anne and Oliver meant moving close to their parents. They rented an old, small, stone house with low ceilings, halfway between Newtown Square and Westchester. It was not more than a mile from my father’s father’s house, where he was living with his second wife and their son, and not more than six miles from my mother’s father’s house, Boxmead Farm, where older siblings Constance and Sydney had married. Constance, with a very young daughter and divorced from Sydney after only a couple of years of marriage, was then living back at Boxmead, with her father.

My father was studying for the Pennsylvania Bar exams. It was too hard to work with two little children underfoot in the small rental house. Anne’s Grandmother Biddle, Alfred’s mother, had recently died, and her house in downtown Philadelphia was empty and not yet sold. Oliver began going there to study, including staying overnight. This arrangement ended when it was discovered that he was having an affair in the house; that was the end of his marriage to my mother, Anne, too. Anne moved back home to Boxmead Farm with her two young children, my sister and me.

In summary, two of Alfred Biddle’s daughters married two Biddle brothers, and both daughters came home to live with him when their marriages ended. Alfred now lived with his two divorced daughters and their three children. The household was, respectively, sixty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-six, three, two, and one (me).

 
They rented an old, small, stone house with low ceilings, halfway between Newtown Square and Westchester.
Kelly Nowels