Issue 153, Winter 1999
The following passages have been excerpted from the pref ace to a compilation of letters that Edmund Wilson and Mary McCarthy wrote to their son, Reuel, during his childhood and adolescence. He refers to them throughout as EW and MM.
My earliest memories revolve around a handsome white house in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, built by a sea captain toward the middle of the nineteenth century. It rests midway down a low-lying rise called Money Hill. Perhaps money had once been buried there; in any event its illustrious owner, EW, never had enough of it-due to financially irresponsible habits that included not paying income taxes, the lavish use of taxis (he never learned to drive) and the long-distance telephone.
We had two dogs, both male, a big one, Rex (Reekie), half German shepherd and half English sheepdog, and a little one, Bambi, a reddish-brown cocker spaniel. It was pan of the summer ritual for EW to detick the dogs. He did this, as he did almost everything else, within the recesse…