Excerpt: 'Losing Mum & Pup'

There was a storm moving in from the west, rain coming down harder and harder. Right, I thought, the objective correlative: the outward aspect mirroring the inner aspect. (Once an English major, always an English major.) I phoned Lucy back. The airports were shutting down. There was no point in trying to fly. I could make Washington in four hours and catch an Acela train to Stamford, but that wouldn't get me in until late. At this point the driver, whose card gave his name as Shuja Qureshi, overhearing my fraught negotiations, piped up in an Indian accent: "Sir? I can drive you to Stam-ford, Conneck-ti-cut." Okay, I said. Let's go. He stabbed the buttons on his dash-mounted GPS and reported that it would take eight hours. I sat back, mind reeling. Industry is the enemy of melancholy. So I opened my laptop and composed an obituary that could be sent out to the newspapers to help them with the details. PATRICIA TAYLOR BUCKLEY

At the Stamford (Conn.) Hospital, of a [[TK]], following a long illness. [[TK time]]* Born Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, July 1, 1926. Father: Austin Cotterell Taylor. Mother: Kathleen Elliott Taylor. Her father was a self-made industrialist whose racehorses Indian Broom and Wychcee competed against Seabiscuit. Mr. Taylor died in 1965.† Her mother, a civic leader in Vancouver, died in 1972. Mrs. Buckley's maternal grandfather was chief of police of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Mrs. Buckley's brother, financier Austin G. E. Taylor of Vancouver, died in 1996. Her sister Kathleen Finucane, of Vancouver, died in March. Patricia Aldyen Austin Taylor was educated at Crofton House School, Vancouver. She attended Vassar College, where she met her future husband through her roommate Patricia Buckley. She and her roommate's older brother, William F. Buckley Jr., were married in Vancouver on July 6, 1950, in what was then the largest wedding in the city's history.

*TK is journalist shorthand for information "to come."

†On Election Day, when my father ran for mayor of New York.

Mrs. Buckley went from the life of a debutante to a vacuum cleaner–wielding wife of a junior faculty member of Yale. She and Mr. Buckley lived in Hamden, Connecticut, while he wrote his first book, God and Man at Yale, while working as a junior instructor in the Spanish Department. After Mr. Buckley served a brief stint in Mexico City with the Central Intelligence Agency—his superior was E. Howard Hunt, later of Watergate break-in fame—he and his wife settled in Stamford, Connecticut, their home ever since. Their only child, Christopher Taylor Buckley, was born in 1952. Mrs. Buckley became a leading member of New York society and was active in numerous charities and civic causes. She raised money for various hospitals, including St. Vincent's. She served on many boards and was an honorary director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For many years, she chaired the annual dinner of the Museum's Costume Institute.

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