In December 1986 Barbara called and invited me to visit her parents’ new home in Manchester. Chuck and Ann had bought a yellow Greek Revival house to be closer to Ann’s family.
Just as they had in West Willow, the family and their friends crammed around the oak table in the kitchen adjacent to the parlor, savoring Chuck’s home-roasted coffee and fruit flan. I’ve visited them at Christmas and joined them for the Chicken Broil ever since. To this day, Chuck insists on greeting every female who visits with big bear hugs that lift us off our feet. “Gee, Chuck,” I still tell him, “I’ll know you’re getting old when you no longer pick up girls.”
The house at Main and Washington had a history worthy of its new occupants. The Manchester Historic District Study Committee calculates the date of its initial construction as 1836 but has yet to ascertain who built it or who lived in it during the rest of the nineteenth century. William and Mary Cash lived there from 1906 to 1954 with their son and a daughter who later became a Carmelite nun. Thomas Armstrong bought and made extensive repairs to the house in 1972, adding a garage and rear wing. In 1979 he eventually sold it to Mr. and Mrs. David Cooper. Its rich history and romantic setting on the village green made it the ideal showcase for the Lees’ plentiful antiques. Lying on blankets looking at the fireworks, watching Barbara’s sons run in the sprinkler, listening to the concerts at the gazebo on the village green, the Lees and I deepened our relationship.