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Lee and the GW baby boom

- December 23, 2009

Since Lee wasn’t exactly a demonstrative person, I thought I might share how much the GW political science department’s recent baby boom meant to him. Now, one might not have expected him to greet the arrival of children among his junior colleagues (and former junior colleagues, like myself) with unmitigated delight. After all, it might have led us to pay less attention to our cats and to slow down our research agendas. (Note: how Lee would have ranked these two obligations is not obvious to me.)

But in some recent e-mail exchanges with me, Lee wrote in his own inimitable fashion about becoming a “quasi-grandfather” — yes, his words — to the GW brood. Though he did express “wonderment” at the fact that his “junior colleagues continue to spit out babies like watermelon seeds,” he obviously took great pleasure in the relationships he had with the faculty he had built and with their families.

It is true that Lee had a nurturing side. Any colleague who lost a pet was the object of Lee’s warmest sympathy, and he was delighted when someone adopted a new one, especially from a shelter. He was actively involved with the Washington Animal Rescue League — someone will be able to fill in the details there, no doubt. And his junior colleagues’ professional accomplishments brought out a sweet paternal dimension as well: he literally patted me on the head when I had a paper accepted by the APSR under his editorship.

But babies — I wouldn’t necessarily have expected Lee to be a zayde, but I love imagining him as one, and I wish I could have seen it.

My heart is with all my friends at GW, and with their children and their pets.