A letter about Lawrence
October 22, 2001
As I read last week about the incoming Class of 05, I could not help but think: "Hey, thats my dads class," but then I realized that his was 1905, not 2005.
It seems almost impossible that 100 years have passed since Lawrence L. Tweedy entered Princeton in 1901, but those are the inerasable facts laid down by the calendars of time. He was one of a very much smaller class (I do not know the number), he came all the way from Texas, but what I do know is that his Cadet Sergeant at West Texas Military Academy in San Antonio where he prepared was another slightly older young man named Douglas McArthur.
My dad and his brand new wife was assigned to go to London to open a new office for his Wall Street firm that he had joined following graduation. It was a last minute decision and they hurriedly married and honeymooned on the liner Berengaria as they sailed east to Britain. This was in June of 1912, two months after the Titanic had failed to complete her maiden voyage that April.
My dad, a gentle and thoughtful man, had a successful career in England, no doubt highlighted by serving for a number of years as president of the American Chamber of Commerce of London. He died while so serving in 1943. His wife, however, my mother, stayed on in London, remaining there throughout the war including, of course, the "Blitz." Few things ever fazed her very much ... although, if they ever did, she let the world know about it.
I, the youngest of four children, had already returned to the U.S. in 1940, six months after the war had broken out. I entered Princeton that fall, following the example of an older brother, Bronson, who had graduated in 1937. Unfortunately I was unable to graduate on schedule because of the war. I ended up spending 7 weeks in the hedgerows of Normandy before a mortar shell put an end to my campaigning just outside St. Lo.
Hospitalized for eight months, I finally returned to limited duty and was discharged in December 1945. The next year I returned to Princeton and received my degree in 1947.
Since that time I have fathered five wonderful daughters through a lovely wife, sadly long gone, run historic forts, acted and sung in numerous plays and musicals, including helping found a now successful theater group in western Pennsylvania, taught history for 25 years, owned and run a motel for another 20, and now fully retired, am still having fun with numerous area activities in far West Texas. My most recent activity was completing a desert survival course that involved a final challenge of surviving for three days and nights in the Chihuahua desert of cactus, lechiguilla, catclaw, and creosote brush. I hiked 15 miles through that terrain and slept mountain lions. javelinas, snakos, and red ants permitting under the stars.
It must be in the blood.
Malcolm Tweedy, 44
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