Dreams of a Family True
The wise lord once came to me,
A proposition, he said, I have for thee:
Wee things a toddlin', a wife so faire
To this, replied, do I dare?
If so, he said, then make a choice--
For wife: a beauty? a wit? a maiden's voice?
My child, some children? Speak up! Behold!
In return, a mind, a heart in ye mold.
No swift reply? The lord queried of me.
So rare your silence...[a pause]...let me see...
And then unto me he did impart, a perfect wife, with a perfect heart.
And with both hands he did give twice, a daughter, a son—both sugar and spice.
A few final words, he whispered, soft wisdom, do take heed and set:
The family we ne’er dreamed to hope for is the one we are meant to get.
— by Neil Edward St. Clair (2015)
Family Comes First
No matter what, family does indeed come first. I'm tremendously proud of them. My wife since 2012, Melissa (née Dixon), is senior in the HR department for a Fortune 100 financial services firm, with a focus on Diversity & Inclusion. She was named one of the "21 Leaders for the 21st Century" by Women's eNews and also serves on several nonprofit boards and advisory councils, including the Women's Council of Make-a-Wish, The Steering Committee of Lincoln Center Kids, and the Board of The Rise Fund by Sundara. She came to New York more than a decade ago with very little money and even fewer contacts. I'm in awe of her and her journey. This is her LinkedIn.
My two children are my greatest joys. Ella, my daughter, is in grammar school, and Pierce, my son, is still mastering walking and talking.
Some fun facts: On Mom's side, I'm cousins with Shark Tank star and billionaire Mark Cuban (haven't met him yet, but remain friendly with his brother, Brian). I'm also the great-nephew of legendary comedian Marty Allen. On Dad's side, we go way back to the earliest European roots of America (and back to Charlemagne in the old Holy Roman Empire). Interestingly (to me at least), a branch of the family helped invent the first-ever automated shrimp peeling machine. Here's a link to my Ancestry tree.
And while I find interest in where I come from, I remain focused on how I can be the best husband and father, right here, today. To that end, (and with tongue only slightly in cheek), I post for my kids on Instagram to document their growth and experiences—my daughter's managed nearly 1000 followers!
Are You Ready for Some St. Dix Fun?
I live in Manhattan now, earned a few coins, and did a few interesting things. But, at my core, I'm Just a High-Class Jersey Boy—born in North Plainfield, raised in the Martinsville section of Bridgewater (yes, there's a picture of me in my frosted tips and Timbs from the 2000s; no, you can't see it).
Family, Faith, & Privilege
I recognize my privilege as a kid from the cul-de-sac, while at the same time recognizing the struggles my Jewish mother and Episcopal father faced (even in the early 1970s) getting their interfaith marriage accepted by their families and parts of society. I'm particularly proud of my Mom and Dad—my father, William "Bill" St. Clair, was an Army Officer and Cleo Award-winning advertising executive with deep Scottish ancestry, and roots in America going back before the Revolution. My mother, Marjorie (née Robin), was a public school special education teacher for more than four decades (national teacher of the year in 1986). Her family was Jewish and fled the pogroms of Tsarist Russia and Lithuania, making her just was a second-generation-born American, and the first generation to go to college.
My folks are both from Pittsburgh, but met at Kent State University in Ohio (they were there on May 4th, 1970), before settling in Central New Jersey. My parents' lived experiences led them to the twinned values of voicing up for inclusivity and acting out against ignorance. This passed-down ethos led me to explore my own interfaith roots (e.g. I was Baptized in Trinity Church on Wall Street and Bar Mitzvahed at the Kotel in Jerusalem—both as an adult), while also beginning a deeper personal exploration of anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, wealth inequality, and other hateful intolerances and inequities. I'm still learning, and will always try.
He takes care of me and gives me toys, said Ella.
That’s something we can take away from his legacy, his legend, was that he was a good father to an amazing daughter, said father, Neil St. Clair.
The mathematics of life are a tricky thing...
For some, subtraction can make them sing;
But I prefer the life our plus (+) sign lends...
The one which the stork often sends.
Two lines, a gasp! a clasp of hands
My God! a son? a daughter? One more in the band...
Another tiny player to trot upon the stage;
One more little friend to help us turn the page.
And so, Archimedes, I tip my cap to you:
After all, you taught us one plus one equals two.
But sir, like Newton underneath the tree
I like the higher math of me...add three.
Nine months the calculus 'till trio becomes quartet,
And for that, my love, I am eternally in your mathematical debt.
—by N. E. St. Clair (2017)
A CREATIVE FAMILY
A Maiden History
Oh Maiden at the door! So unexpected behind the Wall
On court we courted, spellbound in citied fall
A headwater to affection, sprung forth in amity
Uncorrupted patience, void all calamity
Time stopped. A frozen winter as we be young
Too long and wasted — love a feat far-flung
Then? Expulsion of the Demented Past
Entreaty? Accepted. Risen at the last!
On genuflected knee, Paris rain abides
No doubts, nor hesitation, all else subsides
Soft words of truth: Query? Reply of love affirmed!
Two star-crossed arcs completed, coupled and confirmed
A question: Everlasting in your vow?
An answer: Ten. Twenty. Eternity. And now!
—by Neil E. St. Clair (2016)