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About Me

I grew up in an affluent suburb of Boston and in some respects I had a very sheltered childhood.  At the time, Dover was said to be the wealthiest town in the state, based, I think, on per capita income.  If not the wealthiest town, it was the second wealthiest and would have been the wealthiest if it had not been necessary to count my family.


My parents decided when I was very young that it would be a good idea to place me into the class a year ahead of the one which my birth date would have suggested, making me always the youngest person by far in every class I was in. This was a tremendous mistake that has haunted me ever since. The youngest kids in the class, starting out at huge social, cognitive, and physical disadvantages and usually being bullied and otherwise tormented, are almost never the ones who succeed. Several recent studies indicate that the youngest kids in the class are, in fact, most likely to become ax murderers and end up behind bars.  I understand that there are some who argue that the youngest in the class actually come out ahead because of the motivation and self-discipline they are forced to develop - to that I say "bull crap".


While I become less concerned about the possibility of turning into a criminal as time goes by, I do carry an ax with me at all times, just in case. In any event, It should be understood that my various failures in life are not my fault and are instead the result of a very consequential, erroneous, and unfortunate decision made on my behalf when I was too young to exert any control. Thank goodness for my wonderful friends who have supported me at all points in my little life.  


My father was a lawyer and my mother was an educator. They were both extremely talented and they worked very hard to give my brother and me everything they thought we should have. What I learned at too young an age was that they tried too hard. In my early childhood the family was living way beyond my parents' means and the whole precarious arrangement was always on the verge of crashing down around us, which added a layer of excitement to my childhood. Fortunately, things improved as time went on.  


Truthfully, both of my parents did their very best and I am deeply grateful for everything they made happen.  My father passed away in 2015.  My mother, now 91, is living in Chatham.


I knew from a very young age that I wanted to write. And so I did. Writing, even more than reading, takes me to another world and never fails to bring calm and peace. [See links]  I have always been writing stories, and for much of my life I have kept a journal. I have also always been interested in family history, an interest which only my grandmother, who suffered the same affliction, could understand. Writing a novel based upon family history was practically my destiny. 


I attended Haverford College, earning a B.A. in Economics.  After college I went to Northeastern University School of Law. During my law school years I had two internships at premier Boston law firms, choosing to begin my legal career in the Tax Department of Sullivan & Worcester. While there I began the Graduate Tax Program at Boston University School of Law, ultimately earning the Graduate Tax Alumni Achievement Award for finishing the program with the highest grade point average in the class. An extraordinary stroke of luck that was - I can't imagine any other credible explanation for it.  


The large Boston law firm, though it afforded a superb introduction to the practice of law, was not the right fit for me. I quit the firm less than two years into my tenure there.  Since the early 1990s I've had my own practice.  


As I was finishing up law school, I met the amazing person who would become my spouse, and we have been together since. We left Massachusetts in 1999 after deciding that our lives were running us and not the other way around. Since then we have enjoyed our time in the Green Mountain State, except for the winters. We hate the winters. We get away to Florida as much as we can during those dark months.  


My primary work is now property management, something I fell into quite accidentally. I continue to do some legal work for some long-term clients.  And I never stop exploring history and writing.

Chatham Harbor, 1964

This is a photograph of me (facing the camera, of course) in our family's rowboat just south of Lighthouse Beach at Chatham, Massachusetts.  Behind it is my father's fishing boat which was named "Monsoon", and tied to the Monsoon's stern is a wooden Sunfish which my parents built from a kit.  I spent all of my childhood summers at the Cape, first in Chatham and later in Harwich at the ancient home of my Nickerson ancestors.  I'm sure it would appear from the outside that I had a magical and privileged childhood, and in some ways I suppose I did.  In other ways, not so much.  Note that there are no life jackets.  Were my parents trying to kill us?

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Me and Abby

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The author with his mother, Constance Walker Haddleton, sailing at Harwich on the very best kind of boat -- someone else's.

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Me and my parents, Connie and Russ, 1970