Characters (Spoiler Alert!)

Mary Catherine (Fitz) Fitzsimmons Family Back Story

Charles Henry Haines (Chas) Family Back Story

James Geoffrey (Jamie) Edwards Family Back Story

Mary Catherine (Fitz) Fitzsimmons Family Back Story

Mary Catherine’s paternal great grandfather, Thomas Hugh Fitzsimmons, immigrated from Enniskellen Parish, Fermanagh County Ireland in 1864 when he was just 17. He had been the son of a potato farmer in Ireland. His parents and siblings died in the potato famine of 1850. He settled in Philadelphia and slowly built a green grocer business, delivering produce at first by horse drawn wagon. He bought real estate in Bucks County and in Philadelphia as his business grew. He married Sarah Alice Bailey, 20 years his junior, when he was 42. His only son, Thomas Hugh Fitzsimmons II, was born in 1895. He had four older sisters.

Thomas II earned a degree in business at Wharton. He worked closely with his father through the Depression. He only took over the family grocery and real estate business formally after his father’s death in 1950. In the 1960’s he sold the grocery business, establishing trusts for his family and the families of his four sisters. He served as trustee for all of these trusts until he died in 1981, at which point Thomas III took over as trustee and recruited Mary Catherine and Tommy to serve as trustees with him. The trusts held a combination of real estate and securities assets.

Thomas III did his undergraduate work at Harvard, majoring in history, and later earned a Master of Policy degree at the Harvard School of Government where he lectured until he started consulting in public policy for an international firm based in DC in 1963. He joined the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State under Nixon. He and his wife kept their home in Lincoln, MA but moved to a farm near Fairfax, VA where Mary Catherine was born and grew up with her brother Thomas, her sisters Laura and Margaret and Clara. Mary Catherine’s mother, Ann, died a year after the family moved to Virginia of an aneurism. Her older siblings were at boarding school and university during most of her childhood. She rode from a young age and competed fiercely as a jumper. She kept a horse at Choate and later at the family home in Lincoln while she was at Harvard.

Mary Catherine (Fitz) is 5’4” with freckles and reddish brown, wavy hair which she wears short. She has green eyes, ringed with gold and a slight mildly curvy build. She is strong and flexible, but not overtly muscular. Her fingers are thin with slightly large knuckles, her nails short and buffed. She owns a lot of jewelry she inherited from her mother which is kept in a bank vault. She rarely wears anything except one of her father’s watches, an old Piaget with a brown leather strap. Her ears are pierced just once and she usually wears the diamond studs her father gave her when she graduated Choate. She favors conservative grey, brown and black suits for work, wanting to be invisible. In the country, she likes casual, comfortable clothes that she wears until they’re worn out. She likes the occasional DC black tie event and favors designer evening gowns. Her weak point is shoes and matching handbags and her collection is large. At this point in her life she focuses her physical activities on riding, yoga and long walks over other physical activities. She drives a British racing green XKR convertible and keeps an old GMC truck and horse trailer at her father’s farm.

She’s good at cards, able to keep a poker face and bluff her way through good and bad bridge hands when the family has its holiday tournaments. Although not overly interested in cooking, she prefers to eat at home. Her housekeeper does most of the shopping and cooking but Fitz enjoys trying new recipes and trying them out when family visits. She favors organic produce, fish and hormone and antibiotic free meat.

At Choate Mary Catherine and a family friend, James Geoffrey Edwards, became good friends, though were never romantically involved. Two years her senior, he encouraged her to attend Harvard and introduced her to his friend Charles Haines. The three became inseparable, calling themselves the three musketeers. Mary Catherine and Charles fell in love, much to her father’s dismay. Charles was not Catholic, and came from a liberal, Midwestern middle class family with no financial means. Charles and Mary Catherine were secretly married a few days after their graduation from Harvard in 1985. Mary Catherine’s father bullied her into agreeing to an annulment which he managed to arrange in July of 1985.

In August of 1985, Mary Catherine learned that she was pregnant. She told no one but her brother Tommy, who served as her trustee and was the only one in the family she trusted to help her. She disappeared to England. Although she’d never even boiled water, she learned some basics of cooking from the housekeeper who came twice a week and also discovered a love of gardening which would last her whole life. She stayed in a cottage at a secluded horse farm in West Sussex near Hampshire, refusing to see anyone in the family except Tommy who visited her twice, ostensibly to handle trust business, once while she was in England and once in Arizona.

She found an ob/gyn in London. Mary Catherine rode and jumped until her doctor told her to stop. After that she taught riding to young children from the neighboring town. She also started walking rain or shine, in the English tradition, and learned how to read maps showing walking paths through farms all over the region.

Mary Catherine decided to put the baby up for adoption in the US and at her doctor’s urging, she moved back to the US, living anonymously for the last three months of her pregnancy in Tucson, AZ. Her brother suggested that he and his wife adopt the baby. They had suffered two miscarriages after their first son was born and wanted a larger family. Her brother Tommy arranged for the adoption through Catholic Welfare Guild with a large donation to Saint Vincent DePaul which they had been supporting as a family since the Great Depression, thus ensuring that the birth certificate would be issued as Jane Doe. Only Tommy and Mary Catherine knew about this. They agreed to never tell anyone who Chloe’s birth mother was.

After Chloe’s birth, Mary Catherine remained in Tucson. She spent a month in a cottage at Canyon Ranch, hiking at dawn and eating the healthiest diet she’d ever imagined. In May she flew to Barcelona, rented a flat and car in Sitges, and found a stable where she could ride every day. She stayed there until the first of September, after which she returned to Cambridge. She did not tell her sister Clara, who lives in Madrid, that she was in Spain.

She suffered through a lingering post-partum depression during that whole year and after graduation took a year off ostensibly to travel. In fact, she rented an apartment in Barcelona, improved her Spanish and started learning Catalan, studied yoga and found an ex-pat therapist who helped her start to work through the grief and anger she felt regarding both the loss of her husband and that of her daughter. She also worked through her guilt regarding her decision not to tell Charles about their child. She spent holidays with Clara and her family in Madrid and at their home in Mallorca.

At the end of that year, she returned to the US to pursue a doctorate in accounting at Wharton, specializing in securities and forensic accounting. Although the sadness and sense of loss never really left her, she focused her formidable attention on learning and on preparing for her future. She has nearly total recall so she retains huge amounts of IRS code and tax case detail, which would serve her well eventually at the SEC. While in Philadelphia, she spent weekends in Bucks County at her sister Laura’s country estate where she was able to ride and be distracted by the constant mayhem of life with six young children.

After graduation from Wharton, Mary Catherine took a job as a bank examiner in New York, where she worked for two years. She was bored with the work and still struggled with a low grade lingering depression, but was close to her brother and his family. Tommy works as an M&A attorney in New York. She went back into therapy to deal with her depression. She became increasingly interested in securities accounting and finally secured a position with the SEC with help from her brother.

She moved to DC, and bought an historical home in Georgetown. She often spends weekends at the farm in Fairfax where she keeps her horse, and where the greenhouse and gardens offer her physical relief from the hours she spends glued to computers at work. Her sister Margaret lives close by so there was a constant stream of siblings and their families, especially during the holidays, when Laura, Tommy and their sister Jane descend on masse with their families.

Although she has dated occasionally, she prefers to focus on her work. She is reserved at work, has made no real friends there, and spends most of her free time with family – which had grown to include 20 nieces and nephews – or her friend Jamie Edwards.

She sees her birth daughter Chloe often, but makes an effort to treat her like all of her other nieces and nephews. She feels enormously proud of Chloe and is excited that she has decided to join Thomas Sr.’s law firm as an associate.

Charles Henry Haines (Chas) Family Back Story

Charles was born in 1963 in West Lafayette Indiana, the son of two professors at Purdue University. His father taught in the engineering department, and his mother was a home economics extension instructor. His paternal grandfather was raised in Gary Indiana where his father was employed at the U.S. Steel Gary Works. His father spent his teen years tinkering with motors and cars and eventually developed and patented an improvement to automobile brakes which he sold to the Deusenburg Company for a great deal of money in 1926. He invested his fortune in the stock market and after living very well for a year on his own met and married Sarah Clayton.

They lost their fortune when it evaporated in the stock market crash of 1929. They moved to live on a farm owned by her relatives near Warsaw Indiana. They had a son, Henry Edward Haines, in 1932 and a daughter Mary Elizabeth in 1934. They struggled during the depression as he was not disposed to farming life and went from odd job to odd job using his engineering and tinkering skills until he finally landed a job as a Chrysler factory foreman a few years before WWII. Ineligible for military service due to an eye injury the result of a metal fragment puncturing his eye while working on a metal lathe, he served his country well by managing a heavy aircraft gun assembly facility for Chrysler in New Castle Indiana. They brought up their children to value education and self improvement.

Henry Edward worked hard in high school and eventually received a scholarship to attend Purdue where he majored in engineering. Mary Elizabeth attended Anderson College, the state’s first junior college, gained her associate’s degree and then went to work in the New Castle library. Henry Edward excelled at Purdue in his engineering studies and graduated with honors in 1954. Henry Edward worked for Chrysler in New Castle the summer of 1954 and returned to Purdue in the Fall to begin his graduate studies.

In January of 1955 he was offered a stipend to serve as an associate instructor, a position he enjoyed immensely. He decided that teaching others was his passion and he decided to continue his education through the doctorate level. His doctorate was conferred in 1960 and he began teaching electro-mechanical engineering.

In 1961 he met Lorraine Abbott at a faculty mixer. Originally from Indianapolis, she was serving as a home economics extension teacher and enjoyed working with young women in the area’s high schools. They dated for several months and were married in the Fall. Their son, Charles, was born in 1963. The recent Cuban missile crisis was fresh in their minds and in fact Charles, born one month prematurely, could be considered part of the missile crisis’ mini baby boom. Henry’s concern regarding the escalating intercontinental ballistic missile race was a factor in his decision to serve as a special consultant to NASA in 1996, assigned to the nation’s moon landing project.

In 1965 they had a daughter Elizabeth named for Henry’s librarian sister. The family soon called her Betsy. They lived the solid Midwestern middle class lifestyle of the industrial 60’s in a nice northern Indiana college town. They enjoyed football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and endured the long wait until Memorial Day and the weekend trips to the lake region near Warsaw where his father and mother had lived and where some of his relatives still farmed.

The Viet Nam war intruded into their evening television time but Henry and Lorraine kept busy teaching and working with campus student groups while young Charles and Betsy were busy as Cub Scouts, Brownies, then Webelos and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Charles played basketball as a point guard for the high school team, was elected class president his junior and senior years and graduated as class valedictorian. Betsy was an accomplished student but lived deep in the long shadow cast by her over-achieving brother. His wonderfulness was confirmed with the offer of a full scholarship to Harvard University.

Charles is 5’10” and weighs 190 lbs. He is sandy-haired with clear dark blue eyes, warm lips and a ready smile. He runs, swims, dives, plays racket ball and works out regularly on weights in his home gym and pool to maintain his weight, being an enthusiastic gourmet cook and wine aficionado who loves to entertain and has a very well-stocked wine cellar. He favors shorts, jeans, chinos and Birkenstocks whenever possible, but has a closet filled with custom tailored suits and shirts. He prefers Alan Edwards shoes when he has to wear shoes. As an active philanthropist and opera lover, he wears a tuxedo with elan. He drives an Audi A8 with a red leather interior and rides a custom-built carbon fiber bicycle as often as possible when he is at home in California.

James Geoffrey (Jamie) Edwards Family Back Story

The only son of a wealthy industrialist, Geoffrey Stanton Edwards bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange for $75,000 during one of the expansions in 1921 right after they established their centralized clearing system for delivering and clearing securities among members, banks and trust companies. His firm managed accounts for friends of his parents who wanted to have money in the stock market but didn’t know whom to trust. In 1922 he moved into the new 23-story office tower next to the original Exchange. In 1929 the Exchange issued a dividend of ¼ chair which members could sell. Geoffrey sold that ¼ chair for $125,000 months before the crash, recouping twice his original investment in his Exchange chair. He profited enormously from his work as a trader. He invested some of those profits in the hard coal mines near Phillipsburg, PA at the suggestion of one of his Choate roommates. After the crash, he kept his seat on the Exchange and a single office in the tower. He let everyone go except one clerk and his secretary. They used the office almost as a private trust company to manage the family’s investments and to keep records.

His wife’s family, the Scotts, emigrated to the US from Britain’s Yorkshire Dales, when she was a small child. The Scotts lived on a large estate near Florham Park, New Jersey. When the market crashed, Geoffrey lost a lot of their fortune, but survived in part because of his coal investments and their ability to move to Susan’s family’s estate where life was still comfortable. Their two older children attended the local day school and the older boy, Geoffrey Alan, graduated from high school there and went to Princeton where he studied classics. The second son, David Stanton, attended Wharton, graduating with a degree in finance. Fraternal twins were born on the estate. Only the girl, Joan Francine, survived. She was raised as a pampered princess. Geoffrey and Susan lived on the estate for many years, eventually buying the neighboring estate. Geoffrey traveled once a month to the mines in Pennsylvania and explored other business opportunities that surfaced because of the Great Depression. He also spent several days a month in New York where he bought a condominium on Park Avenue in the early 1950s.

One of the companies Geoffrey bought was a bankrupt small power tool manufacturing company in Newark which he bought for pennies on the dollar. In the early 40’s, Geoffrey reconfigured that business to manufacture subassemblies for naval aircraft. They benefited tremendously during WWII partly because, unlike Brewster Aeronautical Corporation, they had a terrific record for producing online deliveries.

Geoffrey James Edwards came to work for his father after graduating from Princeton. He married Gillian Grace Brady whose family owned a well-known insurance company in Hartford. Though the factory was in Newark, they lived in Princeton. Gillian was a well-respected water colorist who showed her work throughout the Northeast. Gillian’s family sold the insurance company for $500 million in the early 1980’s. Shortly thereafter, Geoffrey Sr. and his son Geoffrey James – known as James – had a falling out over control of the company. James resigned as CEO and, at Gillian’s father’s request, set up their family office in Princeton which he continues to run.

Geoffrey Sr. sold his company to a private company in the 1950s. He created a private foundation with one quarter of the proceeds and put another quarter into generation skipping trusts for his grandchildren. His son David managed the investments for his father and mother, the foundation and the trusts. David and his brother served as trustees for their children’s trusts. At age 21 each of the grandchildren was invited to join the board of the foundation. To date only Marjorie and Jamie have done so. Geoffrey’s family started their own family foundation and his children serve on that board. When Geoffrey Sr. died in 2001, his estate was divided evenly between the foundation and his grandchildren’s trusts except for the homes which Jamie and Marjorie bought from his estate.

Geoffrey’s second son, David Stanton, took up his father’s seat on Wall Street and gradually built the firm back up, focusing on hedge funds until his death in 1995. He moved to Greenwich with his wife Angela, a Brit from old family money he met while working in London, and their two children, Marjorie and Jamie. Marjorie studied design at the Rhode Island School of Design and has a small, loyal and extremely wealthy clientele for whom she designs custom jewelry. Marjorie’s husband Peter McDormant spent two decades as a corporate attorney at an old Manhattan law firm before he was recruited to join the private banking division of Chase. Marjorie is very involved in philanthropy through the family’s foundation.

The Edwards spend summers in South Hampton where Angela lived from May through October until last year and spent late spring and early fall in New York, living with Marjorie and her family. She had wintered in the Caymans, staying with her in-laws until their deaths and then with Jamie after he bought his grandparents’ Cayman home from the estate after his grandfather’s death. Marjorie and Peter bought the Park Avenue apartment from the grandfather’s estate. She and Jamie jointly own the South Hampton estate, though Jamie visits there rarely and has appropriated the carriage house as his own, leaving the main house to Marjorie, Peter and their four children. He has kept his mother’s flat in London, and has just completed a substantial remodel of it. He stays in touch with two of his English cousins, one of whom is in the ambassador corps of the British government.

Jamie is the family rebel, brilliant, but not very interested in social convention. He is an introvert and trusts very few people. He attended Choate, where he met Mary Catherine Fitzsimmons. Although Jamie had been in love with Mary Catherine since their shared years at Harvard, he never told her, fearing that he would lose even her friendship. Initially he felt some resentment toward Charles but it didn’t last. After watching both his friends go through so much pain after their brief marriage, he decided he was better off with good friends for life. Instead, he had a series of relationships, but never married and has no children. He periodically wishes he could meet the perfect woman, but he makes no effort to do so.

After his father’s death in 2001, Jamie moved back to Greenwich to oversee his family’s investments and foundation. He juggled his friendships with Charles and Mary Catherine, managing to spend quality time with both.

He refused to attend either Princeton or Wharton. Instead he went to Harvard where he studied philosophy. He got really involved in building his own computers and inventing gadgets, and spent time with his best friends Charles and Mary Catherine. He started a Ph.D. at MIT in electrical engineering and computer science. The last two years of that program he spent in Menlo Park working for a start-up high tech company. He never finished his dissertation.

Jamie is 6’2” and has an angular, rangy build. He answers to Jamie, finding James too formal and Jim or Jimmy absurd. He has straight dark brown hair which is already starting to recede across the brow and to thin at the crown, brown eyes, sharp, high cheekbones, a patrician nose and a pale complexion that rarely gets exposed to the sun. He favors chinos, jeans or tailor-made gabardine slacks, starched, button-down custom shirts and hand-made loafers which he wears without socks. He is equally comfortable in a tux, a tailor made suit or casual dress, but prefers his version of casual. His eye sight is poor so he either wears bifocal contact lenses or round tortoise shell glasses with transition lenses. His teeth are orthodonically straight with a slight yellow tint. His lips are thin. There are slight smile lines next to his eyes and lips but his usual demeanor is detached and aloof unless he is with people he knows well. He drives a Jaguar XJL.

He runs and crewed at Harvard. He grew up sailing and keeps his grandfather’s custom-built teak sailboat at his sister’s club in South Hampton, though currently he doesn’t use it often. He is an avid skier and owns a condo in Sun Valley, Idaho where he visits several times a winter.   He likes fly fishing so he tries to spend a couple of weeks in Sun Valley in the summer to enjoy the pleasures of Silver Creek. He keeps an old Suburban and a BMW motorcycle in Sun Valley. He is an avid diver, and owns a house in Georgetown, Grand Cayman which he bought from his grandfather’s estate. He also keeps a flat in London.

When his grandfather died in 2001, Jamie returned to London to manage the family foundation which is one of the primary beneficiaries of his grandfather’s estate. An off-the-charts techie, he remodelsed the home in Belgravia where the foundation has its headquarters to give him room for every electronic gadget and system available, including pieces of technology not yet released to the public that companies give him to beta test. Intensely private, he works alone in his lab. He spends a couple of days a week at the Foundation. With his sister Marjorie’s consent, he asked his friend Charles to sit on the foundation board to oversee the management of the foundation’s investments and Jamie’s own, which grew considerably after his mother’s death. After his mother’s death, at Marjorie’s suggestion, he assumed the position of the Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. The Foundation is still struggling to clarify its vision and mission. His father and mother’s jet was left to the Foundation after her death.