The Way of All Flesh

There he is that “gallus old codger” (thank you, Damon Runyon), front and center at his daughter’s wedding, circa 1934.  Shortly before his death, Edward West “Daddy” Browning made a fool of himself one last time as he escorted Dorothy “Sunshine” Browning out of the church doors with her new husband Clarence Hood, a laundry operator from Dunn, NC.  A few months later they stood around his deathbed in a gigantic rented mansion in Scarsdale, NY as poor Daddy passed on to his eternal reward at only 60 years of age.

At least Dorothy obviously waited a bit to wed; her step-mom, the infamous Peaches Browning was all of 15 years old when she tied the knot with the old gas bag, himself a mere 52 winters gone by.  Dorothy was 10 when her new mom showed up, her sister Marjorie all of 12.  Here are the sisters, in a photo from Daddy’s divorce case file in his first marriage to Adele Lowen.  She was 23, he already 41 in 1915 when they wed.  It lasted 8 years, but the couple had no biological children of their own.  Each adopted a daughter, separately, with Daddy Browning taking sole custody of little Dorothy (right, brunette) and Adele taking Marjorie (left, blonde).

Mr. Hood might have known that his new father-in-law was a wealthy man.  But rather than leave Mrs. Hood any money in his estate, Daddy Browning left his fortune to a newly created foundation that imitated the Nobel Prizes, and years of litigation followed before Dorothy was able to obtain some money for herself.  She and her husband lived modest, hard-working lives, and he unfortunately died an early death, according to his daughter’s private correspondence with me.

Pity her poor upbringing, Dorothy’s had to be gruesome.  But when I get married, I want a gown just like THAT:-)

Wedding photo courtesy of the Green-Wood Historic Fund

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