Charlotte appears in the author’s life almost as if in disguise: a stylish old lady who danced with F. Scott Fitzgerald, smokes Camels, and wears a Venetian gondolier’s hat. Peter, a young struggling artist, doesn’t even like Charlotte at first. Then there is a transformative kiss on a couch, the start of an inevitable and unlikely love. She is in her eighties, he in his thirties.
What they have in common, love for art and a healthy skepticism about society’s mores, helps them quietly defy social norms for over fifteen years together. The geography of their shared life moves from New York’s Upper East Side, to famous Woodstock, and Venice, and to a saltbox farmhouse in rural Connecticut, where even their bedroom life flourishes until Charlotte is nearly one hundred.
Peter Nichols, writer and artist, lives in Kent, Connecticut.