Getting Married

Lucy describes two of the most important relationships in her life: Fitz and Carl.

Getting Married

  • I have a few letters from my mother. Before I married a Catholic, she wrote me a long letter - so that I would have my eyes wide open. Nothing negative about it. Just the fact that did I realize that, you know. It’s a wonderful letter. Letters were the way people corresponded, and she wrote long detailed letters - describing clothes and what they cost and what they had for dinner. I think she bought me a Joy of Cooking when I got married. What you did in those days, you bought your daughter a white damask tablecloth and sheets and matching napkins for the tablecloth and a set of china and a set of silver. Then you put that on your register when you registered.

  • I used to go to the Episcopal Sunday School when I was a teenager because my best friend went there, and I liked going to it. But I never was confirmed or anything. I took a course at St. Patrick’s in New York with the Jesuit fathers. I think it was sort of required that I do that before I marry a Catholic and at the end of it, I said, “Thanks a lot but no thanks. I can’t do this.” But I had to sign something saying that I wouldn’t use any birth control, and I would bring up my children as Catholics, and I would maybe serve fish on Friday. I can’t remember but those were the two life changing things. And, after 4 children in 6 years, “I said sorry, I can’t do this every year. I can’t have a baby.” So, that was fine with Fitz. He said, “Just do what you have to do and don’t tell anybody.” Then I used birth control.


Manchester VT, 1953

Hugh Francis Fitzpatrick (Fitz)

  • Fitz’s father died when he was 9. His mother had a big house, and she took in medical students and boarded them in Omaha Nebraska. He went to Creighton. He was the only boy, and he had three sisters. Anne was the oldest in the family. Then Fitz (he was always called Fitz) and then Katie who was married to John Hardigan who was such a wonderful man. And then Gebby, who was his younger sister (Genevieve) who married and lived in Texas.

  • Anyway, he (Fitz) was a great student and a great athlete. He went to Creighton Prep School on scholarship. He went to Creighton College on scholarship. And he went to Creighton Medical School. He went to Creighton College courtesy of the World - whatever the Omaha paper is. His mother didn’t have any money. And he went to medical school and then he went to the University of Pennsylvania and did a residency (in surgery) and then he came to Columbia and that’s where I met him. He did the first open heart surgery in New York City. And he was very Catholic. Very Irish. And very funny. Very smart.

  • He (Fitz) was really a wonderful guy but I couldn’t stay with him. I was the one that instigated the divorce, and it took a long time and I went back to work. I never had the courage to do it. Nobody had ever gotten a divorce in my family. Ever. Ever. And then my sister ended up doing the same thing. So, I went back to work. I sold a big house and moved into a little house, and I took a refresher course in nursing. I had graduated from Columbia Presbyterian School of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science and an RN, but I hadn’t worked for I don’t know how many years while I was bringing up kids. I took a refresher course at Bergen Community College, and I went back to work at Englewood Hospital. No, I worked in a doctor’s office as one of the nurses – drew blood and did stress tests.

  • Well, then Fitz died. He died. Very suddenly. He had colon cancer, and he didn’t know it. At Hugh’s graduation from Hobart, I was with him, and he had to go up 3 flights of stairs to help him bring gear down. I remember he was so short of breath. I knew as a nurse that something was going on. That was in June. In August of that year, he ruptured his colon, and he was taken – you know it was a horrible emergency. St. Luke’s Hospital operated on him. And about 3 days later, he shot a clot to his leg, and they removed that clot. And a few hours later, he got a clot to the other leg, and then he got a clot to his brain. So, he died maybe five post-op days after this operation. It was August. Tracy was off on a summer job. Nobody was home. They were all doing summer jobs somewhere. Timmy was at Shelter Island, I think. That was in 1980. Hugh Fitzpatrick had a sister who lived in Omaha – wonderful woman. She had 9 children, and her husband John was a close friend of Hugh’s. They had been in medical school and college and everything together, and John came out. He was a pillar. He helped me get through that funeral. Helped me make the arrangements. It was very, very traumatic. Very traumatic. He was 60. He was just 60. He was 10 years older than I was.


Hugh Francis Fitzpatrick

Carl Wierum

  • At one point while I was still married, I went to work as a school nurse in a private school (Elisabeth Morrow School). I split the job with Jane Crawford. There was a child there who fell and hit his head on the concrete - hard - so I took him to Englewood Hospital. He was 12 years old or something, and they said we can’t touch him without parental permissions. I tried to call the parents. I knew his parents, and I tried to call them and there was nobody home. And this is in the day before cell phones. I called the father who was a surgeon at Roosevelt Hospital in New York Hospital, and they couldn’t get ahold of him. Meanwhile this child is showing signs of intracranial pressure. He is projectile vomiting. I’m scared. And I see Carl who I had met at a party. I knew him two ways – I knew him by reputation because I had some friends who were patients of his who had raved about this fabulous internist they go to. So, I know him by reputation. And, I met him at a party with his first wife at Joan Kuhn’s house. So, I knew who he was, and I saw him walking down the hall, and I said, “Carl Wierum, come. You have got to help me.” He came and he expedited everything. And I was able to find the parents. He ordered x-rays. He ordered everything. They put this kid in the hospital. The kid was alright. I sat down on with my Elisabeth Morrow stationary and I wrote Carl this very formal little, thank you letter.

  • And then some months later or maybe years - I am not divorced, but I am separated for a long time - I go to work at Englewood Hospital, and I see Carl sitting in the utility room one Sunday afternoon. The nurses station had desks, and doctors were sitting in all the chairs and nurses. He was in the utility room sitting on a closed commode writing in a chart. I walked in with a bed pan full of urine, and we got in a conversation. I flushed the bedpan, and we started talking. It seemed that he was single at that time having left Betty. And I was single. We knew each other vaguely so he called me up. I said to her later on, “Were you surprised I called you?” She said, “no,” she said, “it was just a matter of going home and waiting for the phone to ring.”

  • He was living in an apartment. He saw his children every weekend and once during the middle of the week. He had a one-bedroom apartment, and Chris would sleep in a chair like that and a chair like that put together. Anne would sleep on a sleeping bag. I don’t know how they did it. But, anyway, they loved…. You know, he would take them out to dinner. They adored their father. With good reason. He was a great daddy. He would help them with homework.

  • We did get married finally in 1983 and I moved to his house in Demarest. We had vacations. We went away on vacations a number of times while we were courting. He took a house in Shelter Island during the summers, and I would come out and see him. We went to Cayman Islands. We went to St. Martens I think twice because the ophthalmologist that I had worked for lent us his condo. It’s so hard to remember the details. CARL: I do remember taking you out on our first date at a restaurant overlooking the Hudson. Remember that? LUCY: I remember that. And the sun was setting on the river. It was beautiful.


Carl and Lucy on vacation in the Caribbean

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