This is my uncle, John Barron, standing on the shore of the village of Equihen, France, where he and my father grew up.
John was a true sartorialist; when the other kids were running around in shorts and espadrilles, he would carefully craft an ensemble to wear to the beach. His cravatÂ here is probably one of my grandfather’s oversized handkerchiefs. One of John’s best friends was a Parisienne who came to Equihen for her summers; she scandalizedÂ the village by promenading down the main street in beach pajamas. It was the first time the village women had seen a lady wearing trousers.
John was killed in a torpedo attack during World II. A couple of years ago, I got to see his diary, which was filled with expressions of longing for hisÂ boyfriend, a British army officer serving in South Africa. It was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever read.