old country house blog


My father was a Preppie before it was a style…raised in Winchester Massachusetts he attended Loomis boarding school and went to Amherst College. His best friend at college was a guy named Dick Leavitt Jr…the eldest son on a Hospital Administrator who came from a large family in Rye New York. One Christmas, Dick took my Dad, Trevor SMITH, home with him…or maybe it was Thanksgiving…but at any rate, on that visit he met Dick’s older sister, Bonnie Jean. Now, my Mother’s side of the story was a bit different….she used to tell me “My brother Dick would come home…and go on and on saying; ‘.Trevor Smith this and Trevor  Smith THAT! ‘…”So I told him…. Why don’t you bring this Trevor Smith HERO home with you sometime!!” So he did…and my Mom met Trevor Smith the Hero and in a little over a year…they were married .

My Mom and her siblings..Uncle Dick is far left

I wrote to my Uncle Dick last Fall and told him that I guess I needed to thank him for my entire existence as it was he who was the link that brought the two people together that made me…back when a link was a human…once upon a time.

The caption next to the photo read "Dickie, his pal Dale, and Jean...
The caption next to the photo read “Dickie, his pal Dale, and Jean…”

My Uncle Dick passed away yesterday. He fought an incredible fight and some may say he lost…but I will always think of him as a winner. He was the kind of guy that looked you in the eye when you were speaking…a gentleman…he loved my Mother dearly and was such a strong force in her life until she died. He was always there for me, though I did not see him nearly as much as I wish…but each time we did cross paths…I left stronger and with a smile on my face.

My Mom (the oldest) and her siblings
My Mom (the oldest) and her siblings – Avery, Russell, Susie and Bill

We live in a weird time, when I can tell you, people whom I may never meet….about someone you probably never met…someone who meant so much to me…and then we carry on. I have experienced a number of great losses in my family over the last 3 months and I have learned so much about who I am…in relation to the world…who I want to be and what it means to be ALIVE.


My Uncle Dick made the most out of every inch of his life…EVERY INCH…and it is not as important how and what he did but that whatever he DID do whether it was to collect stamps or be a Commander in the Navy or love his dog Lucy or  be an incredible father to my cousin Vicki or a loving husband to my Aunt Vivian or a protective brother to my Mom…a best friend to my Dad, a golf partner to anyone who had clubs…an Uncle to me…he approached life as an exercise in integrity and grace and anyone who spent time with him…was better for it.

DICKIE 3 1/2

I know…in YOUR lives…you have people like my Uncle Dick…and I hope that you will honor my Uncle’s memory by letting these people know...in person...with a hug or high-five or  if they are at a distance..not a text..but a hand written letter…or a card…LET THEM KNOW that they mean something to you. Or tell them about something fun you did…or saw….People do not live forever. No one escapes…and NOW is the time to Love the ones you LOVE…in person…not with a “like” on Facebook…for while I do believe that has some value it is NEVER EVER as good as an IN PERSON handshake or a voice across the miles on the good old fashion phone. THIS is what my Uncle Dick Taught me. And THIS is what I have learned…in losing those I love…WHAT you will miss IS their voice…their hugs…their laughter…even their hand writing…the notes on the refrigerator….you miss THEM.



Thank for introducing my Mom to my Dad and Thank you of teaching me what it means to be a REALLY GOOD PERSON.

Love, Lesli

25 thoughts on “FAREWELL to a GENTLEMAN

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. You are right, we miss a person’s voice, their smiles, hugs, even their handwriting.
    My prayers are with you for this season of loss and my heart goes out to you.

  2. beautiful……sorry for your loss…a wonderful reminder to go tell a person that means so much to you face to face if you can or to call and tell them how much they mean to you….thank you for sharing

  3. Such a beautifully worded and intended post! Dickie sounds like just the sort of man one would cherish, as you do!
    Sorry that you will live without his voice … but it will always be there in your heart.

  4. Beautifully said, thank you for sharing. I am so sorry for your loss, your family has truly been going through a rough patch. Please know your family is in my prayers.

  5. Lesli, I am so sorry to hear of all your recent losses. Reading your blog has made me feel as if I am an old friend of yours and thus my heart breaks for you and your family. I too experienced a season of sadness where it often felt like my life was going by in a fog. Try to embrace your feelings and emotions, which I know are strong right now, and dont fight them. Time will heal, I promise you that!

  6. p.s. my season of sadness occurred ten years ago yesterday, which also happens to be my birthday. At the time I thought Id never be able to celebrate my bday again. But of course life moves along, with or without you so you must jump back in when you are ready:)

  7. hi lesli. such a touching tribute to my father. he was a great man of course, to me. a little secret-he hated being called dickie- it drove him crazy but I think he tolerated it maybe from your mother. yes. he loved golf and just gave his clubs away about 4 months ago although he hasn’t been able to golf for the last 2 years, which has been so sad, but true to form he never complained and took joy in watching his friends go by daily. He retired as a Commander and would tell me now it is impolite to correct someone but I feel like in my eyes he was theCommander in Chief so I have to distinguish 🙂 I love you for sharing this. I know each day will get better and I thank you for honoring his memory. I bet he and your Mom are having a grand time right now.

    1. He was a Great GREAT man. And he meant so much to me. You would have loved the page where I found the photos… all hand written with little quotes and I imagined our grandmother, way back then, putting it together…photos of her perfect little boy and perfect little girl…they were always so close and yes I am certain they have been catching up on old times…I miss them both and thinking of them together brings me great comfort.

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss, but I thank you for sharing this lovely tribute to your uncle, and reminding us to tell people what they mean to us. Another important message I’m getting is to strive to BE that person in other people’s lives, so I thank you for that as well.

  9. Oh Lesli , so sorry for your loss. I too lost a uncle this week.When my daddy was in the last years of his life , my uncle and his wife were the only ones who called to check on both of us. I was so grateful just to have someone to share my feelings with. He was the last of the boys from their family and the baby. In the last few years , he suffered from dementia, just like my daddy so I know the loss was bittersweet for his family , as it was for me. Now that I have lost both of my parents and my little sister recently, this loss just hits hard. You know, I guess this is just part of growing older but it really sucks! I remember you said we would get through these times together ,and it so weird our losses coincide. I tell you and myself , it will get better. I read that you took your daughter to NY . I took my daughter there for her 16th birthday 16 years ago, by the way her name is Leslie too, named after my paternal grandfather . Anyway , I ramble. I believe we will get through these tough times stronger than before. Praying for you and your family. Hang in there.

    1. BETH, I am so sorry you lost your Uncle too. I feel as if we are connected in some larger than life kind of way. I thank you for sharing your heart with me. It is hard, when you have not been there..to venture into the murky waters where I am swimming right now…I guess it is just too dark and unknown.But I know, having been in this pool before, I know that I will make my way out, with painting, and connections like the amazing ones you have shown me and the ones that surround me…all the best to you…I LOVE that your daughter and I share a name!!!

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