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Marsha Gordon Image

Dear Nancy,

Ursula Parrott was born (as Katherine Ursula Towle) and raised in Boston, went to school there (Boston Latin Girls' School and Radcliffe College), gave birth to her son there, and is buried there. And I’m headed there next week for the final three “Becoming the Ex-Wife” book events of 2023, which seems like a fitting way to wrap up my year of Ursula.

In the fall of 2022, I visited Ursula’s gravesite at Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline, MA. I crunched through the leaves on a crisp fall day and lingered graveside before heading to beautiful Walden Pond for the first time. I spent that day thinking about time passing and change, life and death, and the many twists and turns of history.

When she looked back on her teenage years, Parrott fondly recalled “week ends on father’s farm in Northeastern [Massachusetts] ever so long ago—when I put on awful old clothes and went splashing happily along muddy lanes—meditating on the extraordinary things I would do when I grew up—and sitting in the lee of some storm wall or other to smoke a cigarette because it tasted so good in the rain, and getting my face all scratched climbing trees for cherries.”

I have all of these things on my mind—youth and age, ambition and nostalgia—as I prepare my Boston talks. I am thrilled that I have three special events lined up in Ursula’s hometown!

On Wednesday Nov 29 at 6pm I’ll be giving a talk followed by a book signing and reception at the Boston Athanaeum.

On Thursday Nov 30 at 6pm I’ll be at the Harvard Club for a talk, preceded and followed by receptions and a book signing. Because this is a private club, please send me an email to reserve a seat and I will pass along your information.

On Friday December 1 at 6pm I will introduce a gorgeous 35mm print of Douglas Sirk’s There's Always Tomorrow (1956), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, at The Brattle Theater in Cambridge. Harvard Book Store will have books on hand for a signing following the screening.

Boston folks, please come say hello! If you are reading this and know people in the Boston area, I would be grateful if you forwarded this email to them.

Now I just have to hope that any potential Nor’easters are kept at bay for the duration of this trip!


Marsha Gordon

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