Mrs. Edwin Standish of Shaker Heights Ohio
“She is not know for being a terribly "giving" human.”
Mrs. Edwin Standish, of Shaker Heights Ohio, is a housewife and the mother of five children. Known as Martha to her closest friends, “Mrs S.” to her housemaid Gussie and Mrs. Standish to everyone else including her grandchildren. She is a calm and measured woman, who enjoys making a home for her husband, retired investment bank Edwin Standish III, and her club work. On occasion she will play bridge with her friends, or she will volunteer with the Junior League where she helps to mentor the next generation of young housewives on the finer points to civic involvement and running an efficient home.
"Everything in its place and a place for everything," according to her decorator, Mr. Andre, of Hunting Valley.
Mrs. Standish is famous for never having her name in the newspaper, except to promote charity fundraising for the Red Cross, or as the mother of one of her five honor roll achieving children William, Paige, Melissa and twins Charles and Bruce.
An enchanted childhood
Martha Anne Sayres is the eldest of four daughters born to General and Mrs. Lowell Sayers in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. General Sayers retired from the military following his decorated career, culminating in single handedly saving the people of the Republic of Vera Hueruba Ralston from Japanese invaders during the pacific campaign.
Mrs. Standish’s mother, Elizabeth Chowning Sayres, is "a dear woman, loved by everyone who met her, and an inspiration to those lacking in that quality of life." So ill was she, that the girls never saw her, with the exception being when she would open the door to her sick room and cry out for "salt water". After having many buckets of salt water delivered to their mothers room - with no idea why - that was the extent of mother/daughter relationship. So instead the girls were raised by the family retainer, the elderly Mrs. Danvers.
Along with her sisters Nancy, Mary and Mildred, Mrs. Standish attended private schools near the family home until the onset of physical womanhood. Thereafter, she attended to the remaining portion of her pre-college education in Zurich Switzerland.
Away to College
After graduating from school, young Martha Sayres thought it prudent to attend Westchester Junior College. She would be able to get back into the swing of American life, while deciding on her major and which school would be the best advised for the course of study.
Within the year – and we dare not tell you when because a lady never reveals her age – it was decided that she would attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and that she would pledge Sigma Sigma Sigma.
Upon graduating with a degree in Art History, she accepted a position (arranged by her father) at the Cleveland Museum of Art in their Education department. The work was exhausting, yet fulfilling, especially when the underprivileged negro youths from the ghetto would take school trips through the museum.
"I like to think that when they went home to humble dwellings, dogging the rodentia and heroin addicts in the tenement halls, that Matisse, or maybe a Vermeer had spoken to them and inspired themselves to make something of their lives other than what it was. I'm sure that as they drifted off to sleep that visions of Serrat would dance in their heads."
Invited by a young friend (the older sister of her TriSig best friend Bubbles DeVere) to a party at the Shaker Heights Country Club, she met a dashing young investment banker by the name of Edwin Standish "Harvard, Class of 1960, and darn glad to meet you Miss Sayer."
The two took to one and other as vanilla takes to ice cream, and the following Spring the couple made the trip back to Wellesley where they announced their engagement.
Following the marriage, the couple settled down in a two story co-op owned by the Standish family near Shaker Square that the family then deeded over to the young marrieds. As a wedding present, the Sayers’ bought the couple one thousand shares of AT&T and a Buick LeSabre.
It was a gay life until the day that Mrs. Edwin Standish developed inner sight, and knowing: she was with child! Happily, the baby was a boy and perfect in all respects. Two more children followed before the family was stuck with a quandary: Twins!
Thank goodness that they bought a seven-bedroom house with a three car garage!
What followed were years of supervising the house staff, planning meals and making sure that driver knew which Young Standish was at which friends house after school. Tennis club, swimming for exercise and marketing, along with making sure that the house staff was paid and not taking the Standish family’s Paul Revere forged silver was a full time job!
And then there were the dark years, the years in which Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton ran the nation. This, and other tragedies only steeled her, hardening her resolve not to expect anything but complete control from those around her.
Still busy after all these years
But if you ask Mrs. Edwin Standish what her most prized possession is, its not the vacation compound on Martha’s Vineyard, nor is it the family’s west coast get-a-way near Big Sur, nor is it her husband’s investment portfolio, but its her children Bill, Paige, Sissy and Chip. Each of them has attained great success in life and that is the best that any parent can do.
But what about Bruce, one may ask. What about the youngest Standish? “Bruce,” she will tell people who ask if he has died or something that he “is a free spirit, one that is drawn to artistic endeavors. A man who has discovered the potenial of other men, but has yet to discover himself.”
While Mr. Standish continues to make all the family decisions, Mrs. Standish begrudgingly has delagated the food shopping for the family to their faithful employee Gussie Robinson, age 83. "She has her own car, and can stop at the grocery before opening the kitchen at 6AM. And I have found that just this simple routine in the day really has made life easier."
Mrs. Stanidsh, however, will tell you that she does all of her own clothes shopping locally. "Travelling to New York for clothing is not unheard of - the better stores are located there. But I prefer to patronize our local merchants. And thank goodness for Talbots - they ship, you know. For the children I prefer L.L. Bean, they ship as well and the return policy is fair."
"And of course we are looking forward to our grandchildren becoming adults. It will be nice to get to know them, and then we can have conversations with them about without all that silly childishness nonsense getting in the way."
Mrs. Standish:Quotable Quotes
- "A lady's name only appeares in the newspapers when she is noted for her good works for the less fortunate, her wedding day and in her death notice. To appear in any other fashion, such as a personality profile for the Society Page is a sign of poor upbringing and bad taste or scandal."
- "What are emotions but the sign of young person who has yet to gain control over themselves."
- "I’m sorry, but there for a moment I thought that you said that you were from West Virginia?"
- "Gussie, I don’t know how much clearer I can be about this but Mr. Standish likes his shirts boxed from cleaners, not on wire hangers."
- "Bruce, for the life of me I'll never understand your fixation on the pool man. What is it about a half dressed, sweaty, gym rat with a smile, white teeth and perfect head of hair that you find remotly interesting? If only you were as excited to see that nice Sylvia Gooding as you are that 30-something half-dressed man, why you'd be married by now!"
- "Paige, I am so terribly sorry that your young man has given his life to our country in this War. But you have to pull yourself together; this emotional outburst is making our military officers who told us Gary's death very uncomfortable, isn't it young man?"
- "What do you mean Dr. Wasserman - you think that I should be able to weep for my deceased father? I do not weep, nor will I. Emotional discharges are not my vocation and I abhore such behavior in others."
- "Gwendolyn, all I am saying is that your Grandmother, that is I, does not think that a Jamaican is the best choice of a man to date, let alone marry."