Steve’s Photos

“Mom and Dad met in the summer of 1938, out at Sunset Bay, a tiny triangle of a lakeshore spot [south of Buffalo] in Chautauqua County, framed by Lake Erie, some railroad tracks, and Cattaraugus Creek.”

“We have a picture of Mom in Acapulco. Just a snapshot quickly shuttered, but it captured her in near-perfect, pensive profile…”

“Dad was a quartermaster, a noncommissioned officer whose civilian work experience got put to at least some good use in the military.”
“Later [in 1945] Mom noticed on a bulletin board that Robert Jackson, the U.S. Supreme Court justice, was assembling a staff for Germany, where he was to serve as the lead American prosecutor at the coming Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. Mom may have had a sense of history, but more immediately she had a need for money. She had recently totaled her dad’s car.”

“They married on November 8, 1947, at St. John the Evangelist Church on Seneca Street, two blocks from Seneca Parkside, on a snowy weekend up from New York . Mom was nearly twenty-seven, Dad almost twenty-nine. Only now does it seem as certain as the water that thunders over Niagara Falls, where they honeymooned.”

“We McKees arrived in [York, Pennsylvania, in] February 1954. Mom and Dad had been living on Second Avenue downtown [in New York City] when Kathy was born in 1949. When I came along in 1952 they were in Paramus, New Jersey, in a tiny house of their own, Dad a soldier in the commuter army. John J. McKee, junior executive, was thrilled to be in York. He had to be. He wasn’t in New York. He had a great job at a great company with a great future. … They first rented a house on a peacock farm out in Dover.”

“Dad loved everything about camping. …
[M]ost especially he was enamored of his collapsible canvas water bucket. … The slow evaporation of the water, Dad announced each year … kept the rest of the water cool. … Once, with the bucket securely elevated, the water seeping through, we climbed into the car for an excursion. But as we were pulling out, Dad suddenly stopped the car. “Look at that bucket,” he exclaimed, pointing. “Cool water when we get back!”

Captions are excerpts from My Father’s Heart