Dahris Clair was born in
the city of Gloversville, NY, and spent her early childhood on a farm in
Sacandaga. One of her fondest memories of that time is of a gentle cow
named Spotty, who allowed her astride. Spotty would then head from the
pasture to the barn, the other cows following. When Dahris
was six-years-old, her mother relocated the family to New Jersey.
Although she adapted to city life, Dahris has never outgrown her love
for the country. She attended schools in New York, New Jersey, and
Colorado. She studied journalism and creative writing. Dreaming of being
a reporter, her first job was with the Paterson Evening News. Her
initiation into the newspaper business was when a superior sent her for a
“galley stretcher.” She accepted the guffaws with good humor.
Fascinated with the written word from the time she could read, she wrote
little stories and compositions, fostering a lifelong love of writing. A
passionate reader of childhood books, she devoured the works of Louisa
May Alcott and Margaret Sidney, reading them many times over. She has
said that she learned about family life from those and other books.
Envious of big families, she mourned the absence of siblings.
Dahris spent a large portion of her life pursuing a career in music and community theater. Her proudest achievement was being chosen the official songbird for the Veterans of WWI in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Her favorite theater roll was playing the zany, lovable MAME for the Opus XXX Theater. The idea for The House on Slocum Road, was conceived, outlined and shelved for over twenty years. “I thought it was too far out. Then came Somewhere In Time, Back to the Future and others. I decided to plunge in and do my thing.”
Dahris passed away in March 2012, leaving her four children, five grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as a devoted following of writers including members of the Pasco/New Port Richey chapter of the Florida Writer's Group. Her residence was on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Her words to live by: It’s Never Too Late.
With her passing, a beautiful light has been extinguished, leaving all who knew and loved her deeply feeling the enormity of that loss. She was one of God's gentler creatures and deeply compassionate about Animal Welfare causes.
Please note: " We, who love animals, respectfully request your help in saving their lives. The North Shore Animal Rescue League is a NO-KILL animal shelter. Please take a moment to visit their site. Then click on the purple box. Each (FREE) click on the site is counted and the sponsors of the Animal League donate food in accordance with the visits to the site. Please Help. It's only a 'CLICK." North Shore Animal League
Interview with Lottie Slocum Winslow for THE INFINITE WRITER. By D. H. Clair
When I first received the assignment I knew only a little about the woman from Scarsdale. Wife of Scarsdale Memorial’s chief of orthopaedics, her name splashed across the front page of the Scarsdale Sentinel a few years ago. She was the central figure in the rescue of a small child missing from the daycare center. The paper played up the fact that she had “a gift.” I decided to do a little research. What I came up with piqued my interest and I called to request an interview. Ms. Winslow was very gracious and agreed to meet with me.
My appointment was for 1:30 p.m. I’m rather used to waiting for the well-known interviewees, so it was a nice surprise to have Ms. Winslow answer the door herself. A rather large, shaggy-haired dog, with a greying muzzle, stood by her side. I assumed he was the famous “Teddy.” His manners were impeccable in that he didn’t jump all over me, but his demeanor was one of an animal who would protect his mistress at any cost. Ms Winslow managed to look elegant in an understated outfit of belted taupe slacks and an emerald green silk shirt that emphasized the green of her eyes. Her only jewelry was a gold bracelet watch and gold hoop earrings. She wore her short red hair in a casual style, devoid of the obvious look of a beauty salon.
She led me through the oversized foyer to the traditionally furnished living room, seated me and excused herself for a moment. I took the opportunity to look around the spacious, but comfortable room. I recognized a John Singer Sargent portrait. I was taking a closer look when Ms. Winslow returned with a tray of coffee and miniature Danish. She set the tray on the table.
“Are you interested in art, Ms. Clair?"
Call me Dahris, please. I enjoy art, but am no expert. The signature looks authentic.
“Yes. It’s an original that my father bought many years ago. Mrs. Fiske Warren and her daughter, Emily.” She walked back to the table, lifted the silver coffee pot and poured into two delicate China cups. :Do you take cream and sugar?”
A little of each, please. You have a lovely home, Ms Winslow.
“Thank you. And please return the favor by calling me Lottie.” She sat next to me on the flowered Chippendale sofa, handed me a dainty white linen napkin and placed one across her lap. She raised her cup to her lips. “Where do we start?”
I’ve read the newspaper story about the rescue of the little girl at the daycare center several years ago. They made much of the fact of psychic intervention. Is this “gift” something you’ve always had, or is it more recent?
She set her cup and saucer on the table and looked at me with those intense green eyes. “It’s both.”
I must have looked puzzled because she went on to explain.
“When I was a child of seven, I was injured in a very tragic accident.” She looked away, but not before I glimpsed the sadness that came over her lovely face. “I suffered head trauma and was in a coma for several weeks. A residual of the trauma was loss of memory. They called it retrograde amnesia. The doctors said my memory might return in a short time, or it might never return. They felt that what I experienced was so traumatic that my brain was protecting me from further harm.”
Did your memory ever return?
“Not until twenty-five years later under bizarre circumstances that triggered flashes of memory. It came in bits and pieces. You see, I’d been experiencing visions or dreams in which I saw an event that had not yet happened. I didn’t understand it and found it very difficult to cope with. Then, when an event actually occurred in real time, I was able to alter the outcome to avert a tragedy.”
That’s mind-blowing, to say the least. What memories came back to you?
“The time before the accident. I’d experienced these dreams in my early childhood. It posed quite a problem for my parents, particularly my mother. My father was more sympathetic, but she prevailed. I was forbidden to talk about the dreams. Mother was fearful of the stigma of my being labeled different.”
Has this “gift” ever surfaced in any other family members?
“From what I read in her diaries, I believe my great-great grandmother, the first Lottie Slocum, had the gift also. I was named after her, you know. We also shared the same birthday—except for the year.”
I understand that the police have enlisted your aid in solving a cold case. Where does that stand?
“Yes, it was Detective Gordon who worked on the Harrison child’s disappearance, who asked if I’d be interested in working with him. I agreed to try.”
How is that progressing?
“I’m really not at liberty to discuss it.”
I wasn’t quite sure how to approach the subject which had intrigued me ever since I first heard whispers. Stories hinting at reincarnation, past lives.
There have been rumors that something very strange happened to you and your husband at your home upstate. Can you tell me about that?
“We were isolated up there for a while during an early winter storm. Our communication with the outside world was cut off, but I wouldn’t say that was so strange. Other than that, I’m not sure what you mean.”
She seemed a bit uncomfortable. I decided not to pursue that line of questioning. Maybe that’s all it was—rumors. Just then a little girl ran into the room and threw her arms around the dog who’d stood up at first sound of her. The dog obviously adored her. She looked exactly like her mother from the green eyes to the curly red hair.
“Linny, this is Ms. Clair. She’s come to talk to Mommy. Say hello.”
The child looked up, came over to me and took my hand in her tiny one. She gave me a big smile. “How do you do? I’m Caroline.”
I was taken aback at her precociousness.
“Can Teddy come out in the yard with me, Mommy?”
“Yes.” The child ran out of the room with the dog in hot pursuit.
She’s adorable. Then I ventured into uncharted waters. Is there any indication that she’s inherited your “gift, or do you think it skips generations as in your case?”
“We haven’t seen any evidence of it. Frankly, I hope she is spared.”
Why do you say that?
“Because it carries a lot of responsibility and can be a burden sometimes, more than a gift. I hope she can enjoy a normal childhood.”
You have been recognized by the city for your work with charities. Do you have a project at present?
She smiled, obviously happy to discuss a subject close to her heart.
“Yes. My committee and I are sponsoring a fund-raising event to benefit the Scarsdale Library’s program to promote literacy. We’re also involved in working with the disadvantaged to improve their reading skills, which will enable them to lead more fulfilled lives. And of course, the 2011 Sweetheart Ball for the benefit of the Diabetes Association.”
And Dr. Winslow. His Good Samaritan Clinic seems to be doing quite well. How does he have time for his practice, the hospital and the clinic, and still enjoy a family life?
“Paul is a very special breed. The clinic is running smoothly with its staff and volunteers, and his involvement now is mainly as consult and surgeon for extreme cases. His practice sometimes keeps him later than usual, but since our daughter was born, he has spent more time at home with his family.”
Dr. Winslow is credited with conceiving the idea for the clinic and campaigning to bring it to fruition. I heard that you had a hand in that as well.
“The idea was all Paul’s. He was concerned about the lack of medical care for those without insurance or no means to pay. He worked unceasingly to convince his associates and colleagues to join with him. I was instrumental only in that I applied for grants. I appealed to private investors and coordinated fund-raising events.”
I checked my watch and suddenly realized I’d overstayed my leave. I reached for my briefcase and stood.
I’d like to thank you for giving so much of your time to this interview. I’ll send a few copies of the magazine to you when it’s published.
She stood and led me to the door. Reaching for my hand, she shook it and said,
“Thank you. It was a pleasure.”
As I drove away I couldn’t help wondering about those “rumors. Lottie said they’d lost communication with the outside world. That could mean almost anything. Was there anything to them, do you suppose? Guess I’ll never know.