My elegaic remarks about my books elicited a lovely array of responses. Clearly, as I would have suspected, I am not alone. When I retired and moved from a house to an apartment, I went through something of the thinning out process that David Auerbach describes. I was about to get rid of one book until I noticed that it was a presentation copy from the author. Whoops! I hung on to it.
Carl, my son, Tobias Barrington Wolff, was indeed named for Barrington Moore. Barry was his godfather, a fact that led to one of my favorite stories about Tobias when he was very little and still Toby. His mother and I took him and his big brother, Patrick, to see Barry and Betty Moore at their Cambridge home. When we got there, we discovered that Barry's closest friend, Herbert Marcuse, was staying with them. Herbert had recently lost his wife and was rather lonely. Barry had no idea at all what to do with a three year old [he had no children.] All he could think to do by way of play was to talk German to to little Toby! But Herbert was in his element. He sat down on the floor, took a globe off a desk, and spun it around, pointing to one country after another. Little Toby was enthralled. When it came time to leave, we took the children out to the big old Chevy wagon parked at the curb. Barry and Herbert came out to say goodbye. As he was climbing into the back seat to be put in his car seat, Toby turned, looked up, waved his hand, and said "Bye, Herbie." Marcuse was charmed.