Chapter Four: All About Harold - Aspen Real Life
Chapter Four: All About Harold

Chapter Four: All About Harold

Chapter Four: All About Harold

My father, Harold Melvin Wernick, was born in 1917 and lived through two wars, as well as the great depression. A tall and sporty man with a shark grin and a mischievous twinkle in his baby blues, he was single into his forties and had a treasure chest filled with photographs telling tales of his bachelor life. From skiing in Switzerland with one gorgeous woman, and sailing in the Netherlands with another, he was quite the eligible playboy. But romancing multiple women at a time came to a dead stop when he met our mother, Nicolette Atlas.

At the age of nineteen, Nicolette, nicknamed Nicky, had just flown from her life in England to work for a division of Brevitt Shoes in the Empire State Building in New York City. A huge departure from the elegant American women that Harold had been showering with affection, Nicky was different from the others. There were no pretensions with this one. Very young and naive from her sequestered childhood, and deeply homesick for Gerta who was still back in England, she was his biggest challenge. For Nicky, Harold, with his American charm, adoration, grace and adventurous spirit, was unlike anybody she had ever encountered before and he awakened her to a luxurious and vital world of adventure and travel, but he was not the only man after her affections and he had to work hard on Arthur and Gerta to win her over.

Gerta, who was also a strong and positive force in my mother’s life, when she was well, was the one who convinced Nicky that marrying Harold was the right path to take. Not only did he have beautiful long black silky eyelashes which would make for beautiful children, and grandchildren (which of course was most important), he was a strong, funny and confident man. He was also the antithesis of my mother; grounded, solid, straightforward and charging through life with a purpose. On a rainy day in June they wed and my mother wept, begging to spend the first two days of their honeymoon with Gerta. My father, love-struck and confused by her behavior, consented.

Then we came, the three daughters, and it didn’t take Harold long to recognize that he was deeply in over his head with a young wife half his age and three baby girls that his traditional upbringing would never allow him to relate to.

My sisters and I as well as our mother, consistently pushed him over his threshold with our rambunctiousness tomboy behaviors, always finding the noisiest activity to engage with, from singing from the album Jesus Christ Superstar at the top of our lungs, to parading through the house as a marching band, smashing together the largest and noisiest pots and pans, or wrestling and tumbling throughout the house, and throughout the upscale resorts of Europe that we visited in our travels.

My mother never wanted to leave her daughters behind at camp and so summers were spent traveling all together on luxurious vacations planned by our father. We stayed at the “poshest” (Harold’s favorite expression) resorts in Europe; The Waldhaus in Sils-Maria in Switzerland, Marbella, Capri, St. Tropez, Zermatt, Barcelona, Ramatouelle, we lived the lives of princesses in an enchanted, but also often tempestuous world.

I believe now that Harold felt like an outsider in a young female world, and it would sometimes get the best of him, tipping him over the edge when we least expected it from something innocent that we were doing like wrestling a bit too much and spilling our Tortellini Soup, or not finishing our Strawberry Shortcake. The female harmony would be broken by his unleashing his temper upon us, standing up and waving his arms as he shouted at the ridiculousness of our behavior, usually embarrassing us to tears as the patrons of the upscale restaurants stared in pity and disbelief. But every fairy-tale has its dark side, or it wouldn’t be a fairy-tale.

As teens, we didn’t tolerate his turbulent intrusions, and were either adding fuel to his fire by shouting back, or escaping from his tirades with our friends, and our pints of blackberry brandy, into our coveted woods to drink away the pain and seek comfort from the bottle … and our male friends who were there to support us.

With time came the understanding that our father’s frustrations lay not only with us but also with our mother who lived for her children, and her friends. At times, we pitied him for living on his own island amidst a sea of women. At other times, he reeled those of us of whom he had pushed away back in by making us laugh until we cried with his charm and witty humor. If only my mother had slipped him that little blue pill earlier on in life, he would have been better equipped to make light of the frustrations that he endured being a father of three girls and a husband to a wife who forever remained an enigma to him.
harold

 

Oblivious to the fact that we all shut his noise out as best we could by escaping to other worlds, or leaving the house, he’d lecture us for not being serious about life. “Life is not about having fun,” he’d bellow animatedly with his hands. This advice coming from a man who did not settle down until his forties, was very hard to take seriously. If life wasn’t all about fun than why did he marry a women twenty-one years his junior?

 

 

 

Sharing is Caring 💙

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

Leave a Comment

Check us Out on Instagram

Check us Out on Facebook

8 hours ago

Aspen Real Life
Happening Pop-Ups in Aspen: Our Can’t-Be-Missed-List!Aspen's seasonal pop-up's have upped their game this winter, even more-so in the time of Covid-19. Check out our top picks that can't be missed.Aspen Snowmass Shop_BRIKA Pitkin Projects Giorgio Armani Nakazawa Aspen Aspen Art Museum Aspen Chamber Resort Associationwww.aspenreallife.com/happening-pop-ups-in-aspen-our-cant-be-missed-list/ ...
View on Facebook

18 hours ago

Aspen Real Life
Big Mountain skiing in Silverton Mountain Ski with Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club 🎥 The One and Only Tucker Livingston #bigmountainskiing #teamavsc#aspenreallife#mountainboys ...
View on Facebook

19 hours ago

Aspen Real Life
Last night we hiked up Smuggler Mountain. It was 19 degrees but we were layered and we had our sleds on our backs for a speedy descent. Between the lights from the X-Games and the Wolf Moon shining as bright as the sun we never needed to turn on our headlamps. It was an incredibly magical evening, as spots of light from the moon filtered through the forest the snow twinkled as brightly as the stars above, also igniting a light within us that will stay shining for as long as the memory lasts, which hopefully will be forever. 📸 @cathyjmiller #mountainstories#aspenreallife#aspenlife#mountainlife#wolfmoon2021 ...
View on Facebook

2 days ago

Aspen Real Life
#4 ASPEN BUSINESS CONNECT REAL PROFILES WITH LEX LUCIUS, Artist, Designer. www.instagram.com/tv/CKfp_c0lwjl/From our blog: "For the past decade, I have been the sole fabricator of the Herbert Bayer estate sculptures....The resulting works that I created have been placed in private collections and corporate locations throughout the country, including two monumental works recently installed across from The Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN. The work of bringing Bayer’s models to the public continues in my new location in Basalt, where I am working on midsize versions that may one day be realized on a monumental scale. I am also working on my own painting and sculpture and would enjoy fabricating for other valley artists. My studio is open to visitors by appointment. Lex Lucius Design 1712 Willits Lane Building 5A Basalt, CO 81621 lexlucius@gmail.com www.lexlucius.com 505-603-7161LEARN MORE ABOUT LEX: www.aspenreallife.com/fabricating-the-sculpture-of-a-treasured-aspen-artist/ Lex Lucius Aimée Dale-Lucius ...
View on Facebook