Catherine Dwyer (CD) and Meggan Dwyer (MD)
CD: My father grew up in New York and didn’t translate well in Newport, Rhode Island, which was really very conservative. He would call any women that he met ”Toots” or ”Babe,” which was always embarrassing. And he was a bad dresser. He always had on these skinny white socks with suits. And, he was old. When I was 10, he was 62. He was like my grandfather. You know, he could play gin rummy with me, and we would drive around at the jazz festival and look at beatniks. And if he found a beatnik, he’d invite them home. Somebody would knock on the door, and he would say, ”I met this man and he said to come to this address,” and they’d have a little piece of paper. And my mother would be furious, it’s like–”oh, I didn’t know we were having people for dinner.” You know, so, he was just incredibly generous. If he saw anybody in need, he would give them money. If somebody wanted to start a business, he’d give them money. He got in a car accident with a guy one time and he was furious with the guy — he had a terrible temper — and by the end of the argument and whose fault was it anyway, he had loaned the guy $10,000 to start a restaurant. And a big bone of contention between my mom and him was how much money he gave away. So when he came home from working, he’d take all the money — he always had it in cash that he made — and he put it on the table and he’d let me count it. But it was more for my mother, so that she could see that he hadn’t given any away yet. And I’d always hear about this money, ”Did so and so ever pay you back?” ”Well, not yet.” And when he died, people started mailing back the money that they owed him, and letters starting coming in from everywhere about how my dad had helped them at this time in their lives. You know, I remember reading them when I was still in high school. And, you know, I think I learned how important it is to connect with people.