Dr. Patterson was also a self-made man, from England who was a great model for dad since dad was just working his way up. A measure of the status that Dr. Patterson obtained is the fact that he was one of the founders of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
I have pondered this relationship over the years Iíveb een researching this biography and cannot get a hold on it. I donít understand it at all, indeed, I donít even know whether there was a relationship. Dad didnít generally talk much at home about work and personalities at work, but during my comings and goings at the Paleo Lab and elsewhere in the MCZ, and listening to conversations dad had with Arnie Lewis, Dr. ROmer, Nelda Wright and so on. I came to know the people he liked and felt comfortable with. They became personal acquaintances to me.
But in the case of Dr. patterson, I am not sure I would even recognize him if I met him today. I would likely recognize a photograph taken in the 1960ís but that is about all. I donít even remember seeing him at picnics at the Romerís summer home in Pelham, at Nobsca Point, Woods Hole for clam bakes and so on. Nothing, simply nothing
Dad did not talk about ďPattĒ although I did learn that ďPattĒ was the accepted shorthand for Dr. Patterson. In view of the fact that both men were self made, I would sort of expect that the two of them would hit it off, that one would greet the other as a particular sort of peer. They were. But it never happened. Even during the monthís long expeditions to the foothill of the Andes, Patterson came home as a group of funny anecdotes, but nothing of the man. I donít remember the anecdotes well except that there was one involving braking a jeep so quickly that people were thrown out of seats so that the driver could jump out an capture a tinamou, another involving chasing an insect through the mashed potatoes at the dinner table. Iím not even positive he was involved with these two incidents but I think he was. Whether or not he was, they exemplify the sort of information I had in those days about Patt. He was not a person.
I speculate, and thatís all it is, speculation, that dad felt insecure around Patt. Patt had an impressive list of accomplishments by the time dad appeared on the scene, even being one of the charter members of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. His acute insecurity may have interferred in his relaxing and getting to know dad. One other speculation involves Patt more than dad. Could it be that dadís exuberance was too much for a quieter, Englishman? Dad was exuberant and did play pranks and do exaggerated thing. Perhaps there was a real personality conflict based on the extreme difference in personalities. Whatever, Patt played a role in dadís early paleo life and I am sure that it was a positive thing for dad.