Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Matchmaking from Louise Robbins

The Robbins family has many special ties to Jane and her family. If
not for Jane’s father, Jim Gamble, Sorrento would never have become
the Robbins’s summer retreat. Dr. Gamble was one of Fred Robbins’s
favorite professors at Children’s Hospital in Boston, and in the
summer of 1949, he generously offered Fred and his new wife, Alice,
the opportunity to take a belated honeymoon on Calf Island. Mom and
Dad treasured the memory of that glorious summer when they fell in
love with Sorrento. They returned every year, later with their
children, who grew up to become avid members of Jane’s trail crew. But
if another of Dr. Gamble’s introductions had turned out as well, that
honeymoon on Calf Island might never have happened! One of Dad’s
oft-told stories (and one that Jane especially enjoyed) recounted his
first meeting with Jane, probably in 1947, some months before he met
Alice. Dr. Gamble had invited Dad to come out to his family’s farm in
Taunton one Sunday for lunch and to meet his daughter Jane, who was
just a year younger than Dad. A matchmaking attempt, no doubt about
it. Here’s Dad: “I was in the sitting room holding my drink, and Dr.
Gamble said that his daughter would be in shortly. Suddenly a young
woman in blue jeans strode into the room, shook my hand vigorously,
and started talking about baseball and batting averages. I was taken
aback because I hadn’t seen many women wearing blue jeans, and I
didn’t know the first thing about baseball. When she realized that
conversation wasn’t going anywhere, she asked me what I knew about
cattle. I knew nothing at all! Well, that was the end of that. It was
apparent that she found me a most unimpressive fellow.” The match
wasn’t a complete failure, though; many years later, when the crowds
that used to set off from the Red Barn had mostly drifted away, Dad
remained Jane’s stalwart trail-mate.

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