In Memoriam

Claude Polin: A Remembrance

My wife and I shall visit Paris again this fall, as we have done for years, but the city will be an empty place for us following the death of our dear friend and my revered colleague, Claude Polin, on July 23.  Mercifully, Claude was spared the horrors of modern death in a nursing home or a hospital.  He died in the early morning with his wife, Nancy, at his side and in the presence of a nurse—in his own bed, at home.

It was, in fact, at home that we usually met him and Nancy for Sunday dinner with the family.  Claude preferred to eat his big meal at noon, and Sunday was the convenient day for their daughter Jenny, her husband, Yvon, and their daughters, Marie and Manon, to visit their parents and grandparents.  (Tessa, the second daughter, and her family live in Massachusetts, not far from Squam Lake in New Hampshire and the 20-acre island Nancy and her family inherited from her parents, where the Polins spent part of every summer.)  We would sit first in the sitting room of the penthouse flat in Rue Rollin, on the Left Bank only a short distance behind the Panthéon, beneath oil portraits of Claude’s ancestors and surrounded by the family antiques to eat hors d’oeuvres before going in to lunch.  Early on Sunday mornings Claude would walk to the neighborhood market near Rue Rollin and home again bearing a quantity of the fresh oysters shipped overnight from the northwest coast...

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