Married Life

Both Barbara and Larry went to Lawrence but they didn’t date until after a Lawrence reunion in New York City. Barbara had taken a job with the Journal of Clinical Investigation at Columbia University and Larry had started law school at NYU as a Root Tilden Scholar. After getting married, they lived in NYC, Ardsley and then Scarsdale. After the kids left the house, they moved back to NYC - living at 923 Fifth Avenue.

Talk about the time before you got married

  • Dad was a big deal at college and I was zero. I had been away my junior year and I wasn’t sorority. Dad was the opposite. He was a very big deal on campus and everything. Just that you are – with sports. If you’re big with sports and he was with the most significant fraternity. I had been away my junior year that really made a tremendous difference. It didn’t bother me. I liked it and I liked coming back and being totally removed but I was very removed at college. I wasn’t involved at all. Everybody was sorority but I really deliberately didn’t like the idea. I thought they were very biased - no blacks. That was the big thing - it was an issue to me. And I was in a position that I was able to take a stand because I had been to Europe. I know I came in feeling very sure of myself. That year in Europe. I had an incredible roommate who was very popular but also wouldn’t join a sorority. I had her with me.

  • I lived on 11st street (between 5th and 6th). It was a basement apartment but it was great. I just loved living in the neighborhood. That neighborhood was just perfect. From the Square, up to 11th was all the Village. We were right off 5th so we were right in the center. It was incredible. All the bars – everything – was right around there. So you had tons to do. Every night you just went out. That was a great life at that period. Just incredible.

  • Dad was at NYU. Seems to me that he had a very restricted life. Maybe just because they worked very hard and it was very male-oriented. He was a Root-Tilden. He couldn’t get married and keep the scholarship. But isn’t that funny that they had that rule? Well, they wanted you to live there – that was the idea – that you lived there in that dorm and that you had all your meals and everything. So that’s why. I guess it wasn’t that crazy. I think we had been figuring out what to do because it was hard to think of your whole law school that you couldn’t get married. You know, his family didn’t have anything.


Letter describing Barb and Larry’s life in NYC, 1955

What was it like having 5 children?

  • I mean I had them because I wanted to but I don’t know if ahead of time you think "Oh, I am going to have 5 childen". I think that as you’re having children you start to think about it - that sort of thing. And it happened to work out that both of us wanted the same thing. And the fact that we could afford it made a lot of difference. We wouldn’t have done it if we couldn’t have afforded it.

  • Think about it. All of you. Just incredible. There was never any problems and most people have such negative things. I don’t remember any problems. You know, I would remember if we had problems. I don’t remember any with teachers or school things. Like Johnny, the oldest boy, you would think that he would have problems but he didn’t. And certainly not Jimmy. It’s amazing. I don’t remember competition between them. And they are very different, aren’t they? And different in terms of kinds of friends. That helps a lot if they have different personalities and I think they really did. Karen and Diana - I don’t remember any competition between them. Maybe they were just enough removed that they didn’t feel it?

  • It’s like, two isn’t two times harder than one - it goes the other way. The more, the easier. Each one takes a little bit off the strain. It’s because they have each other. Everything becomes much easier. It’s like ten is no problem at all. That’s probably the way it is!

5 children but a very big extended family, 1997

What stands out about your marriage now?

  • He was a very easy person. Isn’t that funny? I think it was because he was very happy. He really was very happy - because of you kids. His kids meant so much to him – more than I did to him. His kids meant everything to him. It must have been something about the way he was brought up or what he didn’t have in his own life that made him feel that way. His family was vital and the fact that he had a happy family life just, you know.

  • His family meant everything. Don’t you think? I feel that for dad, his family meant so much. Which was surprising. But I think it was because he didn’t have it. He had nothing. He had zero. He had Helen. She was his mother and his sister. So he really didn’t have much.

  • Personality. All of that. What we expected of each other. I think that was just lucky. But I think Millbank was very good for him in a positive way.

Barbara and Larry, 1991