Michael Kline: 00:00:00 Are you ready?
Fred Lovejoy: I'm ready.
MK: Okay. Today is September 26. We're in the Board of Trustees Room of the Concord Free Public Library, and I'm Michael Kline here with Carrie Kline. And would you please say, "My name is" and introduce yourself?
FL: My name is Fred Lovejoy.
MK: And your date of birth?
FL: My date of birth was June 3, 1937.
MK: And if you don't mind, maybe you could talk a little bit about your people and where you were raised.
FL: Sure, I'd be glad to. I was born in Boston at the then Boston Line Inn, and I was raised in Carlisle for the first five years of my life. We lived on a farm on River Road out in—out in Carlisle. And then when the War came, gasoline was so expensive, we moved into the center of Concord, specifically to Main Street, and right next to Concord Academy, and lived there for about five years. And then my parents moved us up to Nashawtuc Hill where we resided and they resided from about 1949 until 1971. And those were the years of my prep school, college, medical school, internship, residency years. So I wasn't here as much. And then finally they moved down to Simon Willard Road. By that time, I was married, living in Boston. So my greatest amount of time in the early years was up through age fourteen, and then I went off to school. So I wasn't here as much. And then finally I had the great joy of being able to return with my own family in 1990. And we moved back, my wife, daughter, and two sons, to Nashawtuc Hill and one house away from where I was born. And we reside there still. So I've been here a while.
MK: Great. Thoreau's diary often references the boys. He went to pick berries, but the boys had already been there. He went to the fire, but the boys were already at the fire. The boys were ubiquitous. They were everywhere. And so I'm wondering, for you, as a young boy, what—if you could give us a young boy's portrait of Concord—up to age fourteen, let's say.
FL: 00:03:31 Sure. My boy's experience probably had two phases. The first phase would have been when I lived in Carlisle up to age five. We lived on a farm, and we were a long ways from the center of Concord. So my boys in that era were imaginary boys, a Billy Brachet, if you will, who accompanied me everywhere and sat at the table, and we had a seat at the table for him. And that was about my exposure to boys. That's not to say I didn't have a few two—legged boy friends who were real as well, but it was a farm. It was a bit isolated. And the other boys in my life at that time were sled dogs, because my father, as an avocation, had sled dogs, fourteen of them. And he raced them in New Hampshire, and Vermont, and Canada on the weekends. And I, as a little boy, had my own dog and my own sled. And at about age five, they taught me to stand on the back of the sled, and this very obedient dog was trained to take me around the house by the hour. My mother always said, "the perfect babysitter." So that was my first experience with, if you will, the boys.
I guess my second experience would be when we came to Concord. And the boys would have been friends that I met at the public school, Peter Buckley, friends that I especially met at The Fenn School where I went from the Sixth Grade—sorry—from the Fifth Grade to the Eighth Grade. And those friends, those boys, I still get together with on a regular basis. Specifically, three of us meet every month—once a month—at the Colonial Inn for an hour and a half, and we have a breakfast together. Russ Robb and Tom Piper, both classmates, one a distinguished professor at the business school at Harvard, the other a tremendously accomplished businessman, both Concordians all their lives. And we discuss the issues of the world, and we think that we solve all the issues of the world, which of course we don't! Those are the boys.
MK: Great. Tell me more.
Carrie Kline: Of Concord and those years.
MK: Memories—those memories of those times.
FL: Those memories of those times. Well, I'll tell you a few, and I'll tell them to you divided up by where I lived, because that's a way to bracket them. The biggest memory—one of the biggest memories I have of Carlisle was a memory that was rooted in the past and is a reality today in my work in the last thirty years. My father—because he worked—he was a businessman. And his history is in the Library. I wrote this at the time of his death.
MK: Frederick H.—
FL: Frederick H. Lovejoy. And I wrote that at the time of his death, or shortly thereafter. Worked as a businessman during the day, and he had a man named Joe Booth who took care of the dogs for him, would feed the dogs during the week, would take care of them. And Joe Booth, in a sense, was one of the boys for me because he looked after me a bit as it related to getting to know the dogs and the sleds and all of that. Well, the tragedy of that was that, just before the end of the War, he developed poliomyelitis. Polio was rampant in those days. He was taken to the MGH. He was put on a respirator. And in 1945—'46, he died from polio. And that affected all of us.
Fast forward, I went to the Children's Hospital. And I came to know a man named John Enders who was one of my professors. John Enders, in 1949 grew the polio virus in tissue culture at the Children's Hospital. That's four years after Joe Booth died. In 1954 he received the Nobel Prize——not Salk and Sabin, but Enders, who did the basic work on polio. And there is an Enders Lecture, and every year when I introduce Grand Rounds at the Enders Lecture, I tell the story of Joe Booth.
So, you know, if he'd gotten the disease ten years later, he would have lived, because by then the Salk and Sabin vaccine were operational. So that's one story. What are some other stories? Stories sort of interesting about Main Street. We moved into this house, as I say, in the mid—1940s. I began going to Peter Buckley School—
MK: 00:11:18 Bokely—?
MK: Oh, Buckley?
FL: Peter Buckley School—
FL: —C—K—L—E—Y. And it ran from grades one to four and then went on to Junior High and then the High School as it exists today. And the story they always tell is my first day at school. It was a short walk from there over to the school. I went to school and then suddenly appeared at—an hour later. And when mother said, "Why are back so soon? Why aren't you at school? Didn't you enjoy it?" And I said, "Well, school got out. They had recess. So I came home." (laughs) So I learned that school went longer than that.
We—other stories I remember about living on—in that house. My father and mother were both very, very active in the Trinity Church in Concord, Massachusetts, an Episcopal Church. And my mother served on the Altar guild, and my father was on the Vestry. And that church became a big part of our lives, as witnessed today. My sister is an Episcopal priest, and we're very active in the Trinity Church in Boston. And all of that, I'm sure, emanated from those early influences. But the story about our home in Concord on Main Street relates to the fact that every year they would have the Trinity Church Fair at our house. And I remember as a kid, this great big wooden replica of Pinocchio placed outside of the house, under it the Trinity Church Fair, and on a Saturday everybody in Concord would turn up at the house and go to the fair. So that was a nice sort of community—oriented activity.
MK: It didn't matter whether they were members of the church or not?
FL: No. They welcomed anybody. Money was important (laughs) to support the church. (laughs) But we always loved that. I'll tell you another story I think that you'll enjoy. When I went to Fenn, the first couple of years we were living on Main Street, and the boys said, "We'd like to come to your house to play football after school." And I said, "I'd love that." And I thought, "Ah, the beginning of popularity." And they all came. But my mother sleuthed it out, because we always played on the front lawn. And she finally sleuthed it out that they weren't really there to play football. They were there to watch all the Concord Academy girls walking around Nashawtuc Hill. So she relegated us to the back lawn, rather than the front lawn.
Other stories—more on a—more serious note—we were very fortunate to have some means, my parents did. And that was an era of maids and servants. And both in Carlisle and in Concord, my mother and father had four maids. And there was a maid in the—I guess there were four people—a maid in the kitchen, a maid in the downstairs, the upstairs, and a man who took care of the property. And I, as a young guy, became very, very close to the cook who was with my father probably for thirty years. She was French—Canadian, came from the Maritimes, was a—and she worked full—time with my father and saw her husband and kids only occasionally on the weekend, the reason for this being that her husband had been crippled and couldn't work. So she had to work to support the family.
She was a lovely woman. And I would go down early in the morning to work. Those were the days of learning to get up very early and study, which is important if you're going to be a doctor. And she would be down there preparing in the kitchen at six o'clock in the morning. And over that period of time, she began to teach me. And she began to teach me about her heroes, FDR, and how we got out of the Depression, and how he looked after the disadvantaged. And she began to teach me about Catholicism and the Catholic Church. And this, if you will, was juxtaposed to being a Republican family. And I remember quite well in 1945—I guess it was April or May—when FDR died. She was really shook up. And she said to me, "Do you realize that you have known no other President than President Franklin Delano Roosevelt?" I always remember that. I remember this today.
And as I went on in my—talking about influences—as I went on in my medical career after graduation from medical school, you determine where you're going to go for an internship. And I applied to three institutions, one in the South, UNC, which was close to the University of Virginia—Charlottesville, where I'd gone to medical school, and the other two were Boston City Hospital and Bellevue Hospital in New York. I went to Bellevue Hospital in New York, an immense general hospital, six city blocks, that takes care of the disadvantaged. And I'm pretty sure, as I think back and reflect on life, it was that influence of those maids and specifically that cook that was—
CK: 00:19:03 What was her name?
FL: Her name was Annie Paquet, P—A—Q—U—E—T, French—Canadian, the Maritimes, New Brunswick, a lovely, lovely woman. The other thing I—
MK: How did you deal with these disparate teachings that were coming out of the kitchen? Didn't you think, well, this doesn't line up with what my parents are talking about? Or did your parents not discuss those things with you?
FL: Yeah, my—I dealt with it in a number of different ways. One way I know I dealt with was periodically it would be raining. I always rode my bike to school. Periodically it would be raining or bad weather, and my parents would say, "You need to have Dan drive you to school." And we would drive to school, and I'd say, "Dan," when we were about an eighth of a mile away from the school, "I think I need some exercise. I think I'll get out of the car and walk to school." And subconsciously I didn't want to go to school being driven by somebody who worked for my parents. So sort of—that was one way I dealt with it.
I admired my parents incredibly, and though they both came from business backgrounds—my mother's family had been in business—a family business—for 125 years. And my father had been in business for 125 years, again a family company, the first Ensign—Bickford Company in Hartford, the second Wheelock—Lovejoy Steel Company in Cambridge and throughout the country. But, though Republicans, they were very liberal-leaning Republicans. And they were, if you will, in the Eisenhower mode, not in the Taft mode. They were in the—they were middle of the road and Independents if anything, and we used to talk about it, etc. But in the early days I think I was a little bit embarrassed by it. But as the time went on, I came to realize how—what wonderful things you can do if you have some means. And I learned that from my parents, because when I was in my early twenties, they started a foundation. And that foundation was called the Concordia Foundation.
CK: 00:22:21 Concordia?
FL: Concordia. So after Concord with an I—A on it, Concordia Foundation. And they and my—my mother and my father, and a lawyer, and a banker, and then they brought me on as the young guy to study the applications for funding that they would give out twice a year. And through that experience of considering applications, determining their worth, I came to realize what wonderful good things could be done if you had some money. So I evolved from somebody who was perhaps a little bit embarrassed by it to somebody who came to respect greatly what you could do having some financial means and have tried to do that all my life.
FL: Interesting. So those were some thoughts about Main Street. Then we moved up to Nashawtuc Hill. There were a couple of things I might bring up there that would be useful, or interesting. Fenn School became very impactful for me.
MK: Now that's spelled—?
FL: It's F—E—N—N. It's a wonderful boys' school in Concord, established by Mr. Fenn in 1929. And at that time, in— from about 1947 through '51, I was there. And it was very impactful for young boys. It was educationally very sound. It taught—it was wonderful for sports. But most important of all, it taught us Concord values. And it taught us values of respecting and supporting your community. And each year, we had to do Concord projects of one variety or another. I worked at the Jenny Gas Station. I worked as a volunteer at the Emerson Hospital pushing people around—stretchers around.
CK: Jenny Gas Station—spelling?
CK: And the hospital you worked at?
FL: And then the—Emerson Hospital, which is our hospital here in Concord. And it was a very impactful school. Give you one more example. They taught you how to stand on your feet. They had a speaking contest, and every boy had to learn a poem. And then the best poems were presented, and awards were given. And to this day, I can remember doing the Gettysburg address in the Sixth Grade and Gunga Din in the Seventh Grade. And to this day, I can still say both of them from beginning to end. It was a very, very impactful school, great friends, etc.
I've mentioned the church. I guess the one other thing I would mention is, coming, again, from a family with means with maids, you didn't go out for meals like we do today. You ate at home. And there were—they were prepared, and you sat down, and you were served. And I've often thought about from that—of that—from the standpoint of how it knitted a closeness of my brother and sister and I and my parents together, because we would have meals. We always had breakfast together, and we always had dinner together. And that's when we talked. And my father would come home, and he would tell us about his work. Or he would talk about the people that he related to and worked with in Boston in some of his volunteer activities.
(Note: no pause here)
00:27:34 A great friend of his was Brad Washburn who started the Science Museum in Boston. He would tell us about the great celebration in Concord. I can't tell you what year it was on the 19th of April when they invited (pause for sip of beverage) President Truman to come and speak at the Old North Bridge. The—President Truman was unable to come, and the committee decided, "Well, if we can't invite the President, we will invite the General of the Army, Omar Bradley." So they did. Omar Bradley came. Dad got to know him a bit in that time, and he would talk about those sorts of things at the dinner table.
So I think in an important way that sitting around as a family before dinner, while they had a drink, after dinner, over coffee, talking as a family was very important, and we carried it on to—as long as my parents were alive. And we'd all come back for holidays. And my brother and sister got married before I did. But we'd all come back and sit around the table. And I always tell the story jokingly that they—my sister used to tell this story—Freddy would come home from the hospital, and he would fall asleep at the dinner table. And I—my brother would say, "Mum, why can't he do his own laundry?" And my father would say, "Why does he fall asleep at the dinner table?" And my mother would say, "Oh, the poor boy. He's working so hard." And I'd wake up, and I'd say, "Right! Mum, you're absolutely right!" (laughs) So, sort of a funny reflection.
I think those are some of the major things. My parents loved this town. They had wonderful friends. They had about six or seven other couples that we grew up with and saw constantly at the house for dinner parties, or at Christmas parties. And all of their sons and daughters we got to know very well. So there was—it was a very close-knit opportunity up through the Eighth Grade. Then I moved off to St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, an Episcopal school, and only was home for vacations.
Then I moved on to Yale University where all of my family had sort of gone, and it was in our roots if we were able to go there. And those were the days where it was a little easier to get into those colleges. I went and enjoyed immensely, but I wasn't in Concord a lot. Then I went to the University of Virginia, because I wanted to get out of New England because I was pretty sure I was going to end up back in New England. So I was up here even less.
Then I moved to Bellevue Hospital for two years and was working every other night, every other weekend, so it was not a lot of Concord exposure. I went off during the Vietnam War as a physician to Morocco, and some interesting stories there, but less pertinent to Concord. So I was away, and it was only when I moved back to Children's Hospital and became the Chief Resident for four years at the Children's Hospital that I really returned to Concord and saw more of it, because I'd come out before I was married practically every weekend to visit my parents. They were then living, not on Nashawtuc Hill. They'd moved down to Simon Willard Road, to a small deck house. So I saw a lot of them during that period of time, and then the great joy to move back here.
MK: Did the town—did you see changes in those, what must have been ten years or so that you were away?
FL: 00:32:33 I did see changes. I particularly saw changes when we moved back here in 1990. But reflecting on that question, I've thought a lot about, what a lovely town to grow up in, a rich sense of its place in history and the Revolutionary War, its place with remarkable writers in the mid—nineteen—the eighteen hundreds, its important role in the Civil War, the writers even of today who live here, so many of them, who are very distinguished. What a remarkable historical place to grow up. And then what, as a small—relatively small—community where people knew each other, and you walked to the Mill Dam, and you knew everybody at the Mill Dam—what a remarkably wonderful place to grow up.
But then I ran into one thing that struck me, and that was, when I entered medicine, and when I entered Bellevue Hospital, or even when I was at the University of Virginia, I suddenly realized that—the degree that I'd had a sheltered existence. I had never known an Afro—American, or worked with an Afro—American. The number of people from other religions, other than being Protestants, were extremely limited in my growing up time in Concord. And so—I wouldn't trade it for the world—but I went through a period of working very, very hard to understand the diversity and the importance of diversity in America, and especially the importance of appreciating diversity in my business of academic medicine.
When I started out in medicine as a resident, there were—in a class—in a group of thirteen senior residents—there was one or maybe two women. There were no Afro—Americans. There were no Spanish. And there—it was a male white. And watching that today in a class of forty interns, you suddenly have every denomination, every nationality, because that's needed to take care of all of the sick of any—of the inner city, etc.
So an interesting juxtaposition of the glories of wonderfully important traditions and values that this town espouses, but also a little bit of a ov—protectionist, privileged sort of existence as a young person that I feel blessed that I've been able to move forward in—with the times and appreciate the wonderful things that this country has to offer in terms of its diversity.
I'd make one other comment about my upbringing that I came to appreciate as I entered college, maybe even in high school at St. Paul's, but definitely in Yale and thereafter. I—As I've indicated to you, I admired my parents greatly. And they were tremendously civic—minded. They were civic—minded in Concord. My father was the senior warden of Trinity Church, and he was very active in town affairs. And he was extremely active in Boston, serving on the boards of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. My mother served on the Board of the Joslin Clinic. My mother served on the Boston Symphony Overseers Board. They were very, very active, and they taught me the importance of that. They were very supportive of this Library. And I suppose the rock doesn't—or the leaf doesn't fall far from the tree. Along with my medicine, I serve as a Trustee of the Science Museum in Boston and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I serve as a Trustee of the Concord Free Public Library for the last twenty years. I've served as a Trustee of the Fenn School for—on two separate occasions. So I was blessed with parents that set a very good example. And that's why I wrote this book. The one other thing I—
MK: About your father.
FL: About my father. The other thing I might comment, and maybe others that you've interviewed have talked about the Social Circle of Concord. The Social Circle of Concord is an incredible organization. It has existed since the late 1700s. It has twenty—five members. You must live in Concord to be a member. If you move from Concord, you lose your membership. Once you're voted into the Social Circle of Concord, you're in it until you die. When you die, they put together a memoir, and these memoirs—seven volumes of them—are in the Special Collections of the Concord Free Public Library. And the story of each individual is written up in here by a member.
They meet approximately twelve times a year over dinner, and since 1789 the program hasn't changed. You have light libations from 7:00 to 8:00. You have a dinner from 8:00 to 9:00. And then the host picks the subject to be discussed by the members for one hour. It's generally a Concord subject, but it can be a national subject as well. And when the bell tolls at 10:00, it doesn't matter who is speaking or where they stand in the subject, everybody stands up and says, "It has been a grand meeting," and they depart.
So, as a youngster, my father was in the Social Circle of Concord, and when we had the dinner at our house, which occurred every other year, my mother would announce to us, "Tonight we go to Howard Johnson's." And we would depart the house for the requisite three hours while the Social Circle met. And initially we would say, "Oh, Mum, let us just sit at the top of the stairs, and we can hear them talking." And she said, "No, no. We're going to Howard Johnson's." So we would depart.
I remember going down to the living room in the morning, and things hadn't been picked up. And there would be cigars—because in those days they smoked cigars—left over from the night before, etc. I subsequently joined the Social Circle when I moved back to Concord. It's been one of the most meaningful things for me because I exist perhaps in two world, worlds, the Boston world with medicine, which has been very occupying, as well as the Concord world. And to hear the wonderful things that those members do for the Town of Concord has been a real privilege. A bit of rambling on.
MK: 00:42:20 No, no. The Social Circle is fascinating.
MK: And we have heard one or two other references to it. I don't know that we've heard it described by any members, but—fascinating. That—
MK: That much continuity.
FL: Tremendous continuity. Twenty—five members. In the early days, the members worked and lived in Concord and so did not leave very often. In the current times, people clearly work outside of Boston—outside of Concord, so that that is one difference. The other—it's interesting that the traditions have been held to and kept, in terms of how each of the evenings go. It's interesting to me that even though there have been attempts to include women and to include—to include women—that has never occurred. The argument has been, there is a similar group—I think it's called the Ladies' Tuesday Club—which is comparable, but in an era where most organizations have men and women, it's a bit—both of them—are a bit of holdout, if you will, in terms of today's functioning.
MK: Well, so your brother, as a Lovejoy, is he also eligible for membership in this? Or—
MK: Or did you flip a coin with him? Or how did you decide?
FL: Yeah, that's a wonderful question. I have a brother and a sister. I might describe them briefly. First, my sister lived in Carlisle her whole life. She is a wonderful loyalist to both Concord and Carlisle. She became a social worker and then at the age of fifty went to the Episcopal Divinity School and became a priest. And she is a priest today, I think a big influence of my mother and my father in that regard. She is now in her early eighties and in a retirement community in Bedford. My brother, to come to your question, is three years younger than I, and he elected to go into business. And he became Chairman of the Board of my—of my mother's family company, Ensign—Bickford. And for his whole life—which is in Hartford, Connecticut—his whole—a good part of his working life he served in that capacity. He did not live in Concord, so consequently he could not become a member of the circle. If we had both lived in Concord, I'm not sure exactly what would have happened.
MK: 00:45:50 Are there some brothers who—?
FL: To my knowledge, there are no brothers in the Social Circle.
MK: Or father-son?
FL: There are father-sons. And there is, literally as we speak, Jared— 00:46:09 Cayes,the Cayeses—an old Concord family—father and son were members of the Social Circle together. He then moved to New York, had to give up his membership temporarily, and he will come back in when he moves back to Concord.
MK: They're saving a place for him.
FL: Well, yeah, they'll save—they'll—they're only allowed twenty—five, so there'd be a slight waiting period to allow for that to occur, but he's an honorary member and he'll come back in.
CK: So you're sitting around a table in a home with twenty—five people?
FL: It—the meals are served buffet. And then we sit in—whatever works for the host. And it's generally sitting in living rooms and studies, in little groups, but then we all come together for that last hour to discuss a subject. And we generally bring in extra chairs and that sort of thing. It's a wonderful organization.
CK: What's an example of a topic that you would broach? Is that okay to talk about?
FL: Oh, sure. It's the—is it okay to talk about? In fact, the memoirs of the Social Circle are in the Special Collections downstairs. And every member is required to have a database that they add to during their lifetime. And every member has got a folder downstairs of what—of data—formal data that everybody has to fill out but anything else they want to add to their database. And then that is used to write the memoir. So, the topics, if you will, are in the public domain. And some of the great historical writers who write about Concord say some of the richest cultural history resides in these books. So it's an important record, if you will, of the town.
The topics will vary. They can be about conservation land in Concord, too much, too little. They can be about the high schools and the education system. They can be about the major issues that the selectmen are considering in the Town of Concord. They can be political, the Governor's race. They can move outside of Concord in that regard. They can be—they can be more introspective, thinking about what books I read during the summer and why were they important to me, or, thinking about issues that go a bit more deeply, and more personally. So that they are rich discussions, they are never monologues, and they are—they encourage full participation of everybody who's there. The attendance is truly remarkable. Out of twenty—five members, the average attendance is twenty to twenty—one, every single time. People realize when they join the circle, this is a very meaningful thing and they honor that.
MK: 00:50:10 Wonderful to hear more detail about that. Can you comment—you've been talking about the Library and the Special Collections—can you comment in more detail about—you've been—did you tell me twenty years on the Library Board?—
MK: About the kinds of changes that you've seen or particular issues that you have become invested in?
FL: Thank you. Thank you for that. I was very privileged to be invited to join the Library Board I think it was in 1995. And the Library, as you see it, is very central to this town. I mean, it's on Main Street and Sudbury Road and right near the Mill Dam. And in many ways, it becomes an important cultural center, an important cultural place for young and old to come. I came here as a youngster, and Mrs. Miller in the Reading Room would give me my books I needed to read and then check off in the summer.
The high school students come here to study for their examinations. The older retired people come here and go to the Reading Room. It becomes a marvelous place for the citizens of Concord.
At any rate, it has got a very complex organizational structure that I won't go into, but the Trustees are responsible for the building and grounds of the Library and of the West Concord Library. They are responsible for their upkeep. They're responsible for any building campaigns. But they're not—and they're also responsible for the Special Collections. But the books and the people that work in the Library are the fiscal—financial—responsibility of the town. So, in my time, twenty years of being—sitting on it, I've been impressed by several things. The first thing I've been impressed with is, in contrast to immense boards who sit and listen, this board has eight or nine members, and that is all. And it meets once a month, and it meets religiously once a month, and everybody is there. The attendance is remarkable. It takes its responsibility tremendously seriously.
It's had three campaigns since I've been on the Board. The first one was in the West Concord Library. I called it the UNICEF campaign because it raised small amounts of money from everybody and did some wonderful things. Then they moved into really revamping internally this Library in a big campaign that they succeeded and were wonderfully successful on. And then they went back to the West Concord Library and improved it in a big campaign. And then finally, in the last year, we've purchased a very wonderful building right next door that will become part of this library in ways that are still being worked out in the future.
MK: An annex of sorts.
FL: It's an annex, but they're going to connect it probably with a major connector to it, and it may be the home for the children's program. It may be the home for decompressing space requirements here and putting the Development Office and things like that over there. It's a wonderful board. It's a wonderful library and institution. I feel privileged to be part of it.
MK: And then I suppose that we could ask the same sort of question about the hospital, too. I mean, in your time at the hospital, what major breakthroughs have there been in the field of pediatrics?
FL: 00:55:14 My career in medicine has been one of those—I don't know if I'm going on too long—
MK: No, you're fine.
FL: Has been one of those true absolute joys in my life. I have—I'm seventy—six years old. I still every day go into the office at seven o'clock in the morning, and I work all day. And I love it. I hold the William—the Distinguished William Berenberg Chair at the Harvard Medical School. And I've been the Associate Physician—in—Chief and a Chief of the Children's Hospital. So I've—I started as a young pup, worked my up through the ranks, and have absolutely loved the hospital. I've seen immense—I can't tell you—immense changes in pediatrics over the forty plus years of time I've been—
MK: Pre—computer to the present—
FL: Yeah. Yeah, pre—computer, where we wrote all of our notes, to now everything being dictated. I've seen children with leukemia at Bellevue and Children's whose life expectancy was six to nine months. Now eighty percent of them have—or higher—having five—year survival for—and many, many totally cured. I've seen death from cystic fibrosis occurring at a very young age, to now patients living into adulthood.
I've seen new diseases come along that are now the challenges of today—obesity, asthma—being two major problems that are having to be addressed today. I've seen the whole genome revolution come into place, such that gene therapy will be done ultimately for a number of different genetically determined diseases. So it's been—it's been a remarkably rapid, positive change in pediatric medicine that I've been able to be part of and witness.
My major job has been training. Actually, my first job was running the Poison Center for the State of Massachusetts in the time of the Governorship of Michael Dukakis. I did it out of the Children's Hospital. They put the Center there. That was my academic focus. Then I moved over to running first the student programs—the students coming out of Harvard in pediatrics at the Children's Hospital—and then for twenty—seven years ran the residency at the Children's Hospital in Boston. When I started, the residency was about sixty residents in total each year. Now it's 140. Over my twenty—seven years of running it, I trained well over a thousand pediatricians, eighty percent of whom went into academic medicine and are all over the United States.
MK: Teaching, in other words.
FL: Teaching, running departments, teaching. They do care as well, but teaching and importantly doing major research. One Concord story that I think I would love to come back to. When my wife and I got married in 1972, six years later I took over the residency program. And we were pretty young at that point in time, and I said, "Hon, I think we should have a Christmas party for the house staff, and we'll invite the senior faculty and all the house staff." And that was when we were living in Weston. We began to do that, this Christmas party, and we would have close to a hundred people that would come. So when we moved—and we had a good—sized house in Weston—when we moved to Concord, I said, "Hon, this is my town. I'm not picking the house. You're picking the house so you'll be happy with it." And she promptly came home, after literally twenty—four hours of looking, and she said, "I found the house. There are two things about this house. One, it's right next to where you grew up, and, two, it's big enough so we continue to have the Christmas party every year."
So we had the Christmas party for twenty—seven years. All of a sudden, we were the elders. The residents were now bringing their children to the Christmas party. But it was one of those joys that you have when you've got a house where you can entertain in a meaningful way for people that are working extremely hard. And you can imagine very bright, intelligent people who come from India, or China, or Japan, or the cornfields of Kansas, or Texas, etc., being able to come to Concord and the beautiful town lit up and coming to the house. It was a rare and wonderful opportunity to do that.
CK: 01:01:40 Your wife's name? I don't think I caught her name.
FL: My—I should—my wife is Jill Elizabeth—Jill. She came from West Hartford, Connecticut, and it's a wonderful story about how we met, if I could quickly say.
MK: Please do.
CK: Her first name is Jill and—?
FL: Her first name is Jill. Her formal name is Elizabeth Britton Lovejoy, but everybody calls her Jill. When I was Chief Resident, I was asked to take care of the Poison Center in an interim basis while the Director went to London on sabbatical. Part of that responsibility—with it came a Secretary. And I would meet with that Secretary. And one day she said to me, "I have a blind date for you." And I said, "I don't do blind dates." I was thirty—four. "I don't do blind dates." She said, "Don't worry. It's six months off." Six months goes by and on my card is, "Pick up Jill at 6:30 for this dance that we're going to." And she had a date. So we went.
And immediately my Bellboy began to go off with hospital issues. Then I was taking care very actively of a lot of really sick patients at the hospital and overseeing that as Chief Resident. It went off all night, and this woman sat there—Jill—in a chair, never danced with anybody, just patiently waited. And I said, "Wow. This is incredible. This is a wonderful woman." The long and the short of it is we—this was the end of April. We were engaged—I called up my mother, and I said, "Mum, I think—I know—I've found the woman I want to marry." And this was about a week later. And my mother who had been telling everybody, "Oh, my son is married to medicine," said, "Oh, don't rush into anything." (laughs) Long and the short of it was we were engaged in June and we were married in September. And forty—four years later it's been—forty—three years later—it's been magical.
MK: Oh, wow. What a great story.
FL: Yeah. Yeah.
CK: What's the secret to keeping the magic?
FL: Um, the—many ways to answer that I think. The wife of a doctor isn't an easy life. You've got to have incredible patience. You've got to believe in what your spouse, be you a male or a female, is doing. And you've got to have real talent for bringing children up when a husband isn't around a lot. When I was Chief Resident, I would go to work at six in the morning, and I wouldn't come home until nine o'clock at night. And to this day, my kids will sometimes say, "We didn't see you, Dad, as much as we would have liked to." And Jill did all of that, so wonderfully. I think the secret to it is talking constantly, being flexible, being understanding, learning to give when you need to give, being good at listening and compromising. And that's a talent my wife has, and I hope I have, and I think that's made for a wonderful marriage.
MK: 01:05:58 Great. So what are your retirement plans? You don't have any.
FL: I don't have any. (laughs) No, my friend, Russ Robb and Tom Piper, we—our last breakfast, which was about two weeks ago, the subject was retirement. And Tom Piper, a distinguished Harvard Business School professor retired first, because at the Business School, at a certain point, you have to leave. And so he has had a little more experience in doing this. And he has become, as a business person, a majorly important person for committees in Concord involving fiscal and organizational issues. And he also works for—with the prison—prisoners—at the Concord Reformatory and helps them. Russ Robb about three weeks ago entered his retirement, stopped working at seventy—six, and we talked about what was he going to do. And then we became—and they said, "How about you?" And I said—
MK: All eyes were on you—
FL: Yeah, all eyes are on me. And I said, "At least for now, I'm loving my work,"—and I'll come back to one thing on my work that I'd like to mention—"I'm loving my work, and so I'm going to stick with it for a while." But out of that discussion came two very important concepts. We changed the word from retirement to transitions in life, that there are multiple transitions in life, and when you stop your formal work, you transition into something else. And then we got quite reflective about the importance of having purpose in your life, as an important driver in it. So, those are some of the thoughts.
My career in pediatrics—this is the one thing I wanted to talk about—early on was very, very much involved with taking care of very sick patients. Then it became a career of doing research. Then it became a career of doing education and administration. And in the last—I began to—I certainly did a lot of scientific writing, because that's the coin of the realm at Harvard. You've got to publish, you've got to do research, etc. But I also began to do history writing. And I wrote a book on my great mentor, Charles Janeway, who was in—who was the Chief at Children's, and that book is in this library. I wrote this book on my father, which is in this library. I edited a book published by Arcadia Publishing, The History of the Children's Hospital. And for the last five years, I've been working on a book called The Making of a Physician, Mind and Soul. And it's the story of the residency at the Children's Hospital from its first resident in 1982 up until the present. And it traces the influences on training young physicians well, and the faculty influences, the department chair, the hospital influences, the national influences on this single training program, which is, humbly said, a very, very distinguished training program in the United States. So it's been a joy. I've just completed it. I'm now looking for the right publisher. And we'll see what happens from there.
MK: Well, I hope it works out for you.
FL: Thank you so much.
MK: This has been a great, great pleasure to hear your testimonial here.
FL: Oh, well, thank you. I've enjoyed doing it so much. Thank you.
CK: Thank you.
MK: Anything else you want to ask him?
CK: No, I'm just thinking how well named you are. (laughter)
MK: Loving your joy.
FL: Oh, thank you. Well, I've had a blessed time and lucky time.
01:11:01 (end of audio)