The Grandfather

My grandfather, William Emerson, went softly into the light last week. He was one of the last true New England gentleman; charming and thoughtful, brilliant and handsome, honest and strong, respected and humble.

With some of the most inspiring and beautiful handwriting I've seen, he wrote hundreds of letters a year to friends and family. It was always such a treat to see a big manila envelope in the mail, which would contain the latest New York Times Style Magazine.

He'd frequently go through and post-it photos he liked with comments like "You'd look pretty in this dress" or "Your grandmother would have liked this" and he'd always sign the attached note the grandfather.

He drove his jaguar e-type complete with driving cap, glasses and gloves until the very end. He was a stylish dresser, too; only classic, well made, quality clothes.

He wore J. Peterman from head to toe and some of my earliest memories of going to visit him are looking through the catalog, wondering why they only had drawings and no pictures. A few years ago I signed up to get it here in Brooklyn, it's like taking a vacation back in time whenever I get me little hands on it.

A few picks for Grandpa, most of which he already had....

(I rarely ever saw him not wearing these pants and as a result, I've been in love with wide wale cord my whole life.)

And because I'm helplessly selfish, some picks for me......

So irreverently cute.

So grandpa, you can rest easy knowing that you passed on your love of life, traveling, letters, classic cars, liberal candidates, old homes, New England, great clothes (the list could go on and on) to your loving granddaughter.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for being such a kind and thoughtful soul.


  1. Such a lovely post, dear.
    Your grandfather seemed like such an amazing person!

    Hope your Halloween was fun.

  2. Oh dear, so sorry to hear that. Sounds like we've lost one of the few remaining authentically cool and effortlessly dapper people left in the world (they're harder to find these days).

  3. Hello! I am a spanish girl and I've been reading your blog. I'm curious: is Ralph Waldo Emerson your great-great-grandfather or something like that? I can't help thinking of him (and Thoreau, and Walden) reading your blog and watching the pictures of your beautiful home in New England. Cheers!

  4. Wow, you're such a lucky girl! I am imagining you up a tree, eating apples and reading a manuscript of you great-great-great-great granfather!

  5. Your grandfather and your ode to him ring of grace and warmth, with a dose of bittersweet humor: an honor to read.

  6. Family trees: the old boughs die and fall off, while new branches poke out at the top towards the sun, or, like the aspens, sprout up through the earth all around us. Peace.

  7. oh amy. you made me cry, this was so beautiful and special. what a beautiful writer you are.

  8. i am so sorry for your loss.
    this post is beautiful though. it is one of my favorites.

  9. You really are your Grand Father's girl in many ways. You have his strong willed determination. His natural sense of style and fabric. A shared love of life and skill with green growing things. You both blessed with wit, charm, brilliant brains and best buddies. You learned to be the listening, gracious, thoughtful host that He always was. The best of him lives on in you.

    Thank you for your tribute to this remarkable man.
    It made me cry.

  10. Thank you all sincerely for your sweet sweet sweet thoughts. They mean more than I can say.