Interviewed December, 1998
We lived in the village, but we lived in the country. This was in New Hampshire, the town of
Londonderry, which is six or eight miles south of Manchester. My grandfather was a doctor. I
remember little things about that. I remember going with him and sitting in the carriage while he made
calls. I only went when he took the gentle horse. He could lead the horse to graze with it held there
by an iron…there guiding him.
A general practitioner… he was my mother’s father. They lived just up the road from us. They
were important to me as a very little girl. My sister never knew them. They were gone by the time
I was four years old. I remember them very vividly. I was their first granddaughter, and that made
some difference. They spoiled me I suppose. I remember their walking me home at night. Each one
would take a hand and I’d walk in the middle of them. I had to have been a toddler.
William Richardson, he was the doctor, but the farm was operated as a farm. Silage was
raised, and hired hands worked on the farm. It was a whole operation; they took in summer boarders.
All kinds of things were going on. I can’t really tell you. I don’t have any idea how big it was. The
house was a good size; it was a stone house. Not including the ell, downstairs there, where I can
recall a living room, two bedrooms, a big closet, which held the medicines. Of course they had the
medicines then, they didn’t give prescription. The doctor gave them what they were going to have.
I remember going out from the stone part of the house… was an extension. The dining room,
the regular daily dining room was there. I remember sitting up to the table in a high chair, and I had
a little child’s plate with a rim on it. I tucked my bread crust under the edge. Isn’t that a funny thing
to remember? I didn’t want to eat crusts. That was how I got rid of them, and out of sight. Of course
it didn’t take anyone time at all to discover it…. I’m sure they were indulgent upon me because I was
the only granddaughter, on my mother’s side as well as my father’s.
Her name was Florence Edna Richardson, and I’m Edna F., but not Florence, Frances for my
grandmother Dickey. George Lyman [Dickey]. I had two older brothers. I was the third child. After
almost four years my sister was born. She was the last one. William and George, and my sister is
Yes in a way, it wasn’t a self- supporting farm. My father was quite likely to be a cattle
dealer… and he also slaughtered and sold beef. He did all kinds of work. If there was work on the
road and they wanted roadwork he worked on the road for the town, the way a country person often
did in those days. They didn’t have a particular profession, of course some did like my grandfather.
She (grandmother] ran the house, and she did the cooking. She must have had a lot of people
to cook for. She had a flower garden. It was a fenced in plot. That must have been a great comfort
to her, She could go out there and leave the house behind. She had two daughters and a son who
survived. I think, I know there were one or two other infants who were lost. I don’t know all about
There was a hired man. Cause I remember a hired man’s room, but I don’t remember anybody
who was the hired man.
Yes, just a little, well, probably a five-minute walk, What I can remember is walking with my
grandfather on one side with my grandmother on the other side. Apparently I had been up there, and
they were walking me home for the night. They must have had to almost carry me, cause I was little
I just remember the Armistice signing in 1918. That was everywhere. That was [after] World
War 1. One member of the family, not up where we lived, but a nephew. He never left this country,
but he was in the service, and everybody was frequently so worried about Roy, and what might
happen to him.
I was born in 1912. That was a major event. I knew there was a war. I’m not sure if I knew
what a war was, except that all the grownups were awfully upset about this Roy having to be in the
service. In those days if you were in the service, gosh, you were far away, even if you were just down
at Camp Devens in Massachusetts. I really don’t know where he was, and I don’t know if I’ll ever
Well, this has to be after my grandparents. They are the earliest memories. There was a
neighbor that lived the other direction from our house, who knew everybody. She went to every
funeral. She knew a lot about other people. They were so good to us. We had a lot of sickness after
the period I’ve been telling you about. Maetta, I can remember living with them during six weeks at
a time, when there was sickness in my house.
My mother had, my father had the flu in that awful 1918 flu epidemic. And of course they
didn’t the have drugs… it was a real drag on people. My mother had the flu and pneumonia and was
in the hospital. They took my sister along with her because she was so little. With my mother … I
don’t know, but she was sick. There was no one to take care of her. The thing was in those days if
you went to the hospital, you were almost expected to die. I don’t know, I can remember of going
out. The house was here, the big barn here, and I can remember when someone came to take my
mother to the hospital. I went way out in back of the barn, and sat and waited until they had taken
them and gone, I was frightened. I didn’t know what was going to happen, I didn’t know what I
should be doing. I wasn’t too much bothered with, because they were concerned so much with my
mother and my sister. After they had gone, whoever had took her, my father couldn’t… because he
was so sick himself.
It must have overlapped some, and then he was so weak. My gosh he couldn’t walk from here
to the kitchen. He would be drenched in perspiration. This was during the big flu epidemic. A lot of
people died. I’ve almost spanned a century. 1912 1 was born, and we are in 1998, almost 1999. Surely
I’ll get to ’99. January 8th, my next birthday, but I won’t be 100 on that.
Right, I think I was [afraid). And maybe, people didn’t talk to people the way that they do
now. People didn’t explain things to children, the way I think now people are pretty likely to sit down
and explain what’s going on. And to either reassure or explain why or say something about it. But
nobody talked to me. I just knew it was not good.
There were awful fires on my road. One of them was my grandfather’s stone house. I can
remember the loud whistle, she ran up to see what she could do to get the animals. I was in the
kitchen on the other side, from the side that was toward that house, with my face in the comer,
because all she said to me was, “you stay here, and I’ll be back.” I suspect that’s what she said, I don’t
know exactly. I must have been… to be left alone with a big thing like that going on was kind of
scary. Well, gosh, you know when you begin to think of things like that, then all of a sudden they are
gone. You don’t think about them unless something like this comes up.
I’m trying to think which happened first. He did the best he could, poor man. He must have
wondered what to do too. But I think while she was in the hospital that this Maetta that I was
speaking of, took me up there, and just kept me right there, Just me, and Dad went it alone. The
younger of the two boys would have been just two years old than I. But we were, there was two. The
oldest, and then George two years between and then I came. I was two years between them. But then
it was almost four years before Barbara came. I forgot about these things for a long time.
Maetta Webster. Yup, she was with her husband, but now let’s see, had Sidney died yet? I
don’t think so, but I don’t seem to remember much about him. Sidney was Maetta’s husband. They
had a daughter Jessie. Jessie was my first grade teacher at No. 7 School. She [Maetta] was like my
No, when I first started all eight grades were there. By the time I was in the second or third
grade I think they had built what they called a junior high school. The junior high school had grades
6, 7, and 8, and they took from other sections of the town too. And they took the 6, 7, and 8 out of
the school where I was. Yes high school, I was in Londonderry, and all of us went to Deny for high
school. I went to Deny for just one year. We moved… we were in Salem, New Hampshire, and then
I went to [inaudible] high school.
That was pretty uprooting, because our roots were very deep right there in Londonderry. I
was recently thinking of this. I wonder what life must have been … or if my… he [father] thought
there were more business opportunities, cause he didn’t have a particular trade. He was a cattle dealer
The tragedy to me, I think, was the grandparents. Barbara, my sister has never really known
the grandparents. So two or three years in there must have been a lot of passing on. I don’t seem to
remember a lot of it. Probably they kept me from it cause I was so young. That was bad, it’s all inside
me. No one talked about it, Worse thing that happened was that my mother… TB. She had been sick
about a year, before she died. Everyone knew that would be the ultimate end because in those days
they didn’t have the know-how. Now, back then your mother would still be living. He didn’t sit down
with me and talk about it. Just the way I did, each of us in silence in our own little world. And I guess
we went on to something else just as fast as we could. So we wouldn’t be dwelling on it you know.
I think that it might have been meaningful to have somebody have sat down with me and talked about
losing a mother and so forth you know.
I was right upstairs the night that she died, you know. It would have helped me that that was
going to happen that night. I don’t know that I knew that it was going to, but I went to bed you
know, but of course I went to bed, and the boys were home and they went to bed. The boys weren’t
very old either cause I was 13 and they would be 15, and… I haven’t thought about all those years for
a long time. It is and of course, you don’t realize it except year by year, you realize it more and more,
as the years go by and we’re grown adults, if you’re a child … [inaudible].
I think she was, she must have been a very good mom. I can remember her for instance, I was
so thrilled when she said to me one night, we’d gotten up from the dinner table, and she … (inaudible]
that was a great thing I could wipe the dishes you know. If I had someone all along the way to talk
with me about things like that, to do things that way gee, I think life might have been a lot easier.
Because I was really puffed up over the fact that she thought I was grown up enough to do that, you
know, so I … [inaudible]. But the summer after she died, I can remember, how did we get into all this
anyway? Great to remember stuff, well anyway, I can remember that summer of going down into
what we called the second pasture, and picking all the blueberries, coming home, and making a
blueberry pie for supper. It took me all day. I was 13, 1 think, and of course we didn’t have any
electric stoves. We had a wood stove. We cooked with a wood stove in the summertime. Well
anyway, I don’t know … I remember some time much later he did many my mother’s sister. She [my
mother] had to have been his first love because he said if we had … [inaudible] … awful.
She had studied with voice, as well as piano in Boston, but of course I don’t know who she
studied with. She had graduated from Pinkham Academy, and then she… she was a musician and she
and a cousin of hers was also a musician… would have the best times. They’d get together, not too
often, but every once in a while and play duets all afternoon. And they just, on the piano, and had just
the best time, at our house. Œ I don’t remember her giving piano lessons. I do remember her teaching some music at school.
I don’t remember how many schools she may have gone to, to do a little teaching. I know she taught
where I was. I don’t do well, my sister does better than I do. She has that more. I never, and I can’t
type either. And I can’t play the piano. I tried but I can’t.
No, most of the family was right around there, you see. [Nobody] ever left. We lived, as I told
you on a country road, a quarter mile from the village. Well one morning young women, wanted to
get out, it had been so pretty they couldn’t help themselves, they just came, walked up the car track.
Came to our road and got off the car tracks, called at our house and visited with my mother. She
knew them, they weren’t married. Well Barbara, while they were visiting, Barbara, she was such a
little scamp went out into the kitchen. We had a bureau out in the kitchen. We didn’t have a bath and
running water and so forth, so we had this bureau everybody combed their hair and so forth there.
There was mirror over it, well, there was hand mirror there too, and she picked up that hand mirror.
She was awful cute, and she went up one of the young woman and she said … [inaudible]. I’m telling
you I was horrified. My gosh, what a terrible thing that child did, and I don’t remember anyone saying
anything about it. I think my mother knew it was a child’s thing, and would been doing it with her of
course, and of course she did. I don’t know why I happened to think of that just the other day. I did.
He was a, everybody liked, he was a comfortable… (inaudible]. He got along with everybody.
He didn’t have, he was very conscious of this fact. He did not have good speech. I think that I didn’t
realize this until many many years later. How they met I don’t really know…. [inaudible].
They expected us to do this and we did it. I don’t think it was ever a question or problem you
know … who was behaving or not. I think she just said, as I recall, “don’t forget to say thank you.”
The boys had more than I did, because there were barn chores, pigs to feed, and they had to
help with those things. One of them wanted a project of his own so he decided to raise chickens, and
he built a little chicken house, and he had an incubator in it. But somehow I don’t know how, Billy
died, he didn’t die, but he had [infantile paralysis] it, and it weakened him. His lungs were weaker and
of course my mother died of .. maybe it would have been advantageous [inaudible] had him go up to
a [inaudible] in fact she did in Pembroke, NH. But then he had a ruptured appendix, and he didn’t
know it. We all depended upon Billy. I don’t think of myself.. Barbara doesn’t either … so he couldn’t
have. My other brother was two years younger than the brother that died, Billy then George.
I think it was of the times, but I don’t really know. I don’t really know how much other
families may have talked. We didn’t you know. Oh uh, she was really a half sister, but we loved her
to death. She was a maiden lady for most of her life but not for last. .., we didn’t talk about these
things but… Oh yes, half sister… oh, that grandfather I didn’t know. I think he must have died before
I was yet born. I don’t know. He didn’t live near us the way we lived the…
Scotch, Irish, and British you know… Richardson. Newbury, Massachusetts that would not
have been my father, that would have been [inaudible]. My father used to talk about… I never quite…
seven brothers coming to the Boston area, and fanning out over the country, but there could have
been of course, Dickey, there are Dickeys in Texas. And then I heard something else about his
ancestors had been mostly in Vermont, but I don’t really know. I don’t know whether he did or if it
is just hearsay.
We went to the nearest church, Before we moved from Londonderry of course there was only
one church. It was a Baptist Church. We were not strongly tied to the Church, but it was the only
social center of the Londonderry community. Suppers would be there, and of course we went to
church suppers. Once there was someone who used to be the entertainment. She stood up to recite
something to the audience, the entertainment of the evening, and of course people get nervous, and
somebody giggled, and she said, “if you think you can do any better just get up here and try!” That
was that, dead in its tracks. Oh dear. Isn’t that a funny thing to remember, memorable all right.
The other thing I remember for social life was the Larkin Company, the Larkin Club. Uni, the
Larkin Club was one of those clubs there, you held a party and people ordered things, and the hostess
could order extra things or got benefits from it. Then the next one or somebody else held one. It was
usually held on a Saturday night, and it was the social activity of the community. Well, it could be
furnishings for the home. I suppose things like bedspreads or, uh I can’t remember anything else now.
Some people got their only pillow cases in that way, by doing the Larkin order thing, however it
worked. I don’t remember, and when they had these parties the whole family went. I don’t know if
I can tell you, my whole family went. I believe enough to make a house full.
Well, we didn’t buy much. I remember my mother struggling to make things. With the aid of
the Church, they must have had a room of gray flannel left, bloomers and under bloomers.
Yes it was. It’s cruet you know, it’s really cruel. Later on there were some little girls. I don’t
know what they remember, if their mother died. I tried to do a little to make it different for them. I
don’t know, but they grew up without a mother too, pretty much. It isn’t the easiest road. When
there’s an opportunity, yes. You know, [inaudible] talking to them either. I do think though of course,
nowadays people are talking a lot more about things than they ever used to. They don’t just say that’s
where babies come from… really concrete material.
I don’t think I would have known what you meant by being nurtured. No I think … it was
typical of our family because of the situation we were in. I don’t necessarily think it was typical of
other little girls. Because I had enough contact with them to hear or see some things their mothers
were doing, you know. There was a girl not to far from where I lived, about a year older than I, cause
that didn’t make real good companionship between her and me, but on the other hand, I could see a
little bit about… remember, now such a thing I remember. She was supposed to do the dishes, and
she wanted to do (inaudible] put them all in the dishpan, but put the dishpan under the sink. The day
of reckoning of course, I was there when her mother discovered that they were under the sink. So,
I heard that episode, and felt guilty too, you know. I felt uncomfortable.
Well, I couldn’t tell because my mother was gone, and so I don’t know. But certainly she was
different from what my [inaudible]. She [my stepmother] would have blurted right out that you…
what she thought you know… five years. She was divorced. Somebody said to me that it was a
marriage of convenience. When I were more nearly of an age then he and my brothers, besides he was
kind of a sissy. It was hard to get along with brothers, my gosh, my brothers were not sissys! I’m
telling you. They were men.
I thought I can remember of writing to them I was working that summer at Mere Inn on Lake
Sunapee, New Hampshire, waiting tables. I can remember writing, and I hadn’t even thought much
about them getting married. Probably that’s as good as it ought to be you know, and so, I thought
well, that’s good. Then one time late late he said to me one day, she was gone, he said, ‘you know,
if we had the medication and the [inaudible] all these years, probably your mother would be alive
A woman came to our little community there, and she was a city lady. She was going to
[inaudible] for us, and by George. She … there was a little dance hall there, and she got somebody
to come and teach us to dance. Nobody else on our whole road would have ever done that, but Ella
did. It was good for us. We were country kids, all of us, you know. Well, we did the foxtrot, and
couple dancing. She’d pair me with Lee, and Lee was her stepson. Lee didn’t have any more interest
in being paired with me then the man in the moon, you know. I knew it. Lee knew it, but it had to be
done. So when they had a little recital, Lee needed a partner, and she got me, and got me up there.
No and I knew I wasn’t [good dancer], you know. No well, but it was as my mother would say, a
good experience for you Edna.
Death was a struggle, that kind of thing, I don’t think I was a complete extrovert either. My
mother’s [death] next to my brother’s. It was hardest. I was older then. I was wondering if this was
going to go on, you know. I think I must have… to go on.
They were in the village. They [Dorothy Smith and William Moody] grew up in the village.
They came over to the swimming hole. The hole was near our house, and the village kids came over
to swim. When we moved away from Londonderry I didn’t know… not from those early years. I had
ties with people … I don’t.
In Londonderry, we had a… this little place. I’d go off. Ross Hall, and he liked young people,
you know, and he would do a lot of things with them. He spent a lot of time at the swimming hole.
And I can’t quite recall how the village kids got this little place where they could go after dark. And
oh, just be by themselves and talk. And most of them, I went if I was over there visiting. But I had
to be over there, you see in order to be included. Well, nobody drove over to my house to pick me
up or anything, And uh, that I remember, because that was so kind of secretive, but there was nothing
secret. At the same time it was secretive. And uh, the kids over there liked to go there. Right in the
heart of the village, there was a group of kids. And if I were staying overnight I could stay too. I
guess you just showed up. I can’t for the life of me remember what we did while we were there or
what we talked about. It was kids with kids, and no adults anywhere. I can’t believe there could have
been more than ten or a dozen.
I like all right to be alone. It was not a problem to me, because I was a great hand to wonder
around in the woods, and along by the brook. I knew the different plants that grew that I discovered,
and had to find out what kinds of plants they were, like the pitcher plant. I found those, and they were
most intriguing to me. One day I was walking up the road and there were these two or three women.
I know they came down from the city. Cause they had picked a little bouquet of bluets, you know
those delicate little things. Of course you know what we called them? We called them piss-a-beds,
and I don’t know why or where we ever got that term. But to see these women admiring, was almost
more than we could bare, without laughing, you know. And of course, when you stop and examine
them they are. They are a beautiful little tiny flower, but it was…
Yup, I did. I would go down by the brook, and walk up and down the side of it. The brook
I am talking about is a fairly big brook. It’s not just a little field brook. One time the road, there was
a bridge over it. One time I stood there, and the boys were nearby, scuffing and all. My feet went out
from under me and I fell, Tight down onto the brook. Well, it scared me about to death. It didn’t hurt
me, but it did frighten me. The boys were frightened. They put be up on their sleds and got me home
to Mamma as fast as their little feet could carry them. Yes and I was all right. I fell and I let myself
go, I could have been hurt, but I really don’t know how high it was, but of course it seemed awfully
high then. Oh dear. We ice skated on little spots where we… the boys poured water. The wasn’t really
any good place to, but down in the meadow we ice skated, yes. That was great fun, and in the
evening, the children in the village, and probably Ross Hall, this man who did good with us, built a
bonfire on the edge. And people skated around there and had a wonderful time. We might as a family
on a Sunday afternoon. And the rest of times or these other times it might be just the kids and friends.
Just our immediate family that was six, and that made for a good size family. We hung up our
stockings. We could have our stockings as soon as we got up. We’d go downstairs, and see what was
in those. We couldn’t have other presents until after breakfast. (Inaudible] pie for breakfast, so you
know, for Christmas. We could get up as early as we wanted to, but we couldn’t have the things on
the tree, until after breakfast.
That must have been when I went to school [left home for the first time]. When I went to
college, the University of New Hampshire in Durham. That would have been for any length of time.
I studied history, general history. Fine,, I lived in a professor’s family, and earned my room and board.
[Inaudible] Smith, they were both professors. I was fortunate. Some of the girls who earned their
room and board lived in families where there were a lot of children. You can imagine. Their time was
seldom as free as mine was. I felt very lucky, and when I stayed there I lived there four years, And
then my sister lived there three years, with the same couple. They didn’t have any children. They were
both professors. He in chemistry, she in the English Department.
Well I did all the dishes, whatever dishes, whenever and however. And I dusted, and I
remember vacuuming, but, dry mopped and that sort of thing. And, got and helped with meals, and
got some of the meals, depending, like, uh if she had an 11 o’clock class or not. We arranged a
schedule. I arranged my schedule to be there to get lunch. Um, she had a class at 11 o’clock, and
um… there were students earning their room and board doing the same thing. Some of them didn’t
have as easy of a situation as I did. As I say they had families. They lived in families, When there’s a
lot of children around,- you know you don’t have time for yourself, the way you do when there aren’t
small children. And uh, there were quite a few of us girls who did that.
By that time one brother had died. The other brother didn’t finish high school. Just did
whatever job he could find. To work, he worked at one point he worked on a farm. They needed a
lot of help, you know. There was a wood heel shop. I don’t know if he worked in that or not. He
worked the way others did who didn’t get educated, who didn’t get an education. Yup, and probably
by that time my father was remarried.
I got my Masters there too. I did… was a graduate assistant in the history department. I
worked two years on my Masters degree, and completed that at UNH. And uh, I had gone to other…
I’ve got a lot of odds and ends of credits from summer schools that I went to take courses that I
hadn’t, that I thought would help me, which was a good thing for me, but a foolish to do for anybody
trying to do… get on a salary schedule, you know.
Probably the chairman of the Department was so… he was a wonderful man. And uh, yup…
Donald C. Babcock. He nurtured me. He really did. He spent time talking to me. Not just about
history or school, you know … but life etc. etc. He and his wife were always very very good to me,
and good friends. Their daughter now was in Concord, New Hampshire. I got to know the whole
You see, I graduated right in the depths of the depression 1933. You couldn’t get a job for
love nor money. And that first year I went and couldn’t find any work. My poor father, it hurt his
pride awfully to think that I might go and be a maid in a house somewhere after I’d worked so hard
to get through college. And uh, I would’ve, but in the meantime an uncle of mine who always so good
to us… urn, suggested that I go to Florida with him for the winter. And if I could find any work ok,
and if I didn’t ok, you know. And uh, so that’s what I did. I went to Florida with him, and I helped
drive down. And spent the winter of ’33 and ’34 in the Orlando, Florida… and don’t know whether
it was February or March that his sister-in-law, who was up in North Carolina needed some help.
They had operated a big hotel up there, but her parents were not well, and she needed personal help.
My uncle shipped me up to help her, with a days train. And I finally got there, all day long. Southern
Pines, North Carolina, until they came north. And uh, I came north through them. And uh, I went
home with them and helped her all that summer. And then I went back as a graduate assistant in the
history department, working on … must have gone my degree in ’36-’37.
Well, let me see. I joined teacher’s agencies. An agency was one that tried to help teachers find
jobs. If you joined a teacher’s agency, and of course you paid them a percentage for the help. I got
this job in Hingham, Massachusetts through that agency. Teach in Hingham High School, english I
did both history and english. I minored in english anyway. And uh, I taught school in Hingham for
seven years. Maine State Teacher’s College, I had a little experience as a graduate student at the
University of New Hampshire.
And uh, when I came up here I uh, first of all had to live in the dorm. Resident Dean, they
called me. And uh, so I lived in the dorm… I taught three to… I didn’t teach a full schedule. Most of
full time faculty don’t teach more than l2 to l5,uh I did that. And I didn’t want to live in the dorm
forever. After five years, I thought what am I going to do? I don’t want to live here anymore. Why,
I decided I would try to find a job, just what or just how, but I got to let the President know that I
really didn’t want to do that anymore. Dr. Bailey, so I told him that, uh. I went in about January to
tell him I would not be here after June, because I didn’t want to live in the dorm.
Some did. They called them sort of Resident Deans. And if you were a Resident Dean you
did Resident duties and you also did teaching.
So I had decided, and I didn’t expect him to change the job for me. I just didn’t want to do that
anymore. And uh so I thought, I didn’t quite know how I’d make out, but people, there was not a
surplus of teachers. So I thought I could probably find a job somewhere. Cause I had to work, And
uh, when I told him that, he said, “well if you didn’t have to live in the dorm would you stay”? Right
off the top of his head, you know, I was so stunned. I hadn’t expected to change the job. Yeah, yes
I would. So I moved out of the dorm and we had house directors. And so we mostly had had resident
faculty, and me you see, used to uh … like um some of the ones who taught in the campus school
were assistants in the dormitory. So they had, you know it wasn’t an easy thing to do. Course now
they’re so much freer anyway. That uh, we had rules, We had regular living strict rules, for the
I moved, yup. I had a little apartment down on Preble St…. um, Church St. first. Uni, I ate,
I agreed to eat in the dormitory. I did do that. Which meant that I… in the dining room, you know.
But I didn’t mind that. I didn’t ever go up for breakfast. And uh, I had to eat somewhere anyway. I’m
not good cooking and keeping house, and so that worked out well.
I was in charge of the dorms. And uh, so that’s why I was living there was like being a house
director. Really they hadn’t called them that yet, but I was the one who began to call them that. I went
to Columbia, and uh Dr. [inaudible] Jones was my mentor. I don’t know if she knew that she was. She
was a leading person in student personnel. And she was a wonderful woman. And I went to Columbia
University. I went the very next year after I had come up here, which was in 1947. 1 went more than
one year, and I also went another place, Syracuse University, because there was another leading
person in student personnel. I can’t think of her name. But she would say, plus two and two plus…
two plus two equals four, You got some idea how to do things. You know, to be up to date in
administrative work in student personnel. And I thought, I’m going to be in student personnel I’m
going to know what I am doing. And be with the current kind. I kind of resented it when I heard
someone talk about so and so was the first… cause they never had trained in student personnel. And
he was such a pain in the neck. I thought, oh my gosh. Well, I got trained because I was determined
to be properly qualified, you know. Not just a house mother for example…regular professionally
trained personnel worker. No, this was my own. I went summers. People would say to me, gee I wish
I could have every summers off I’d say, well why don’t you get yourself a teaching job. Cause that
was the typical thing to say to a teacher, cause they have such an easy road.
Not really, I got what they call 60 credits beyond your Masters. If you had uh … but what
would have been better would have been 40 credits with a planned program. I just took courses that
would be helpful to me, you see. Uh so, it didn’t um, necessarily improve my financial status. It did
of course in the long run. Gosh, I haven’t thought about all this junk for years.
At this University, well, there were five or six [female faculty]. They weren’t called professors.
They would have been categorized somehow, but I’m not sure how each one was categorized. Really,
whether they were, um, they had to be… you had to be on the salary schedule you had to be
something. You had to be a professor or an assistant professor, or associate professor, or something
like that. Uh, you had to fall into one of those categories. And uh, of course a lot of people did a lot
of uptraining on their backgrounds, their educations. And were constantly doing it. So when people
talked about the easy job of the teacher, you know, it wasn’t always easy, Course they didn’t promise
us a rose garden.
I don’t think so. They called me Dean of Women. And uh, officially I guess it did change, yes.
From A I became an Associate Professor when I had, uh, 25 credits of planned programming, I think.
Well, I stopped being Dean of women. I asked if I could just teach the last few years. Finally, he let
me just teach. For the last four years I was just an Associate Professor, in 1974.
Well, you see resident women had a lot of rules. You know, it meant supervision of their lives.
And of course these were diminishing anyway, rules and regulations -of housing women. They were
made much freer. Yes, a general development of recognition that women students were really adults,
that they were responsible to take charge of their own lives. They didn’t have to have any rules to be
guided by all the time. And in the end, the end of my working with them they were pretty free to
make their own decisions, which they should be. By the time they are in college they are at least 18
or 19 years old, and if they are ever going to be capable of making decisions for themselves, they
ought to begin to be by that time. And uh, that had not always been the case. You see, up until this
time you had to follow this rule, whether you were 18 or 85.
No rules for the males, nope, they didn’t think men needed it. They didn’t need to protect the
men the way they needed to protect the women. I guess. It’s pretty hard to realize now what was
behind it, you know. Except that women had always been taken care of more than men had. Uni, the
boys might ask the same question, gosh, why am I so free to do as I please, when women can’t? They
were in operation when I came, you see. It had been. And mostly of course the male population
gradually increased. There were only probably 40 men students on campus when I came. I’m guessing
now, maybe 200. The GI bill, you know, a lot of them, growth, as far as men were concerned, came
from the GI bill. That made it possible them to go to school at all.
I think, I’m just trying to think when I left there, I think girls still signed out and in. So that
you knew if the girls were there or not. Urn, I don’t know if the girls still do that now. It didn’t make
any difference whether they were or not. I felt that I was responsible to their parents. If their parents
should call and wanted to know where their daughter was I ought to know. I pursued that with all
my heart. And I proceeded on one or two occasions beyond the call of duty, I think.
One girl I didn’t know where she was and I got into my car, and I went… I know the name
of the town. I can’t say it right this is minute, out towards Kezar Falls. And I had gotten directions
somehow, somewhere off the beaten path, a farmhouse, and there she was. Well, I picked her up and
back, and she explained to me what she was doing, and when I could count on her doing what. I think
that, I don’t think I embarrassed her. I didn’t ever intend to embarrass her, but I did intend them to
do what I thought they were supposed to do. The most, the closest I came to uh… it was, and
emotional consuming too. How much responsibility can you take or be expected to take for a person
at least 18 years old. If they were in college they were pretty likely to be 18 years old, you know.
I’d been teaching in Hingham, Massachusetts and I came directly up here from
Hingham. School had already begun in Hingham. And I had this, I had my name in a number…. I had
a practice of answering all of them notices if they came. Usually I never heard anything from any of
them, you know. And this one I did hear something from. And I was back in Hingham they already
started high school. [inaudible] I went to the faculty meeting the next day, I can’t remember the days
now, and my golly there was a call… from Dr. Bailey, who was here. And uh, come up to see him,
when I could come. Could I come the next afternoon, which would be Thursday afternoon, which
was a Thursday. Right after school down there, came up… I came and I came. I left Route 1, and I
came and I came. What wilderness am I getting into anyway! And uh, I finally got to Dr. Baileys.
Mrs. Bailey had saved dinner for me, fortunately; by that time it was about 7 o’clock. Then I was
going to my car, about to leave Saturday afternoon… and Dr. Bailey, do you want me to come or not!
I had to have the answer. I didn’t see any prospect of getting one. And I had to get home after, fast.
Cause I had to get to school the next day. And straighten out my affairs in Hingham.
So … didn’t know I’d reveal my life, story,.,
So he said, I’d like to have you come, and so the faculty meeting is Saturday afternoon. And
I kind of pulled in, wondering really if he wanted me or not, you know. 1, but L nobody, my folks
didn’t know where I was, of course. They, hadn’t been home or anything, I just been between
Hingham and here. Hingham, you know is a town just south of Boston.
But I’d been so glad to be away from Boston. Bad enough here, but oh boy, I don’t have to
go north. Yes, I came up that Saturday. And I stayed, uni, I can’t quite remember a few things. I went
and got my things from Hingharn, which I … yup… the superintendent there was very nice. He said,
if this is an improvement or forward or something [inaudible]. He was a nice man. And uh, he would
get a substitute, you see to take until…
In the dorms? I had two rooms. I had an inner room, which was my bedroom, and another
room, which was my sitting room. And went off, the room, to the girls. And the private bath but it
was in the regular bathroom. But it was private. You had to go across the hall, of course.
Um, did you ever run across Mrs. Gross, Cecilia Gross? She’s not living now. She was very
supportive and helpful to me, a big friend. She was the manager of the dormitory, Upton Hastings.
And uh… managed the girls that cleaned, and always supportive of me. Dr. Bailey, he’d dominate you.
He didn’t know me very well yet. I don’t let anyone dominate me. Oh dear… yes, and she lived in the
other end of the complex. I lived in the Robie end, and she lived in the Andrews end. But then there
were assistants to me. And they were known as Assistant Deans. Both lived on the second floor, one
in the second floor of Robie and one [inaudible].
Gosh, around, over 200. 1 can’t uh… quite remember what the numbers would have been. I
didn’t have any [outside of school activities]! I didn’t have time for any either! My life was right there
on the hill!
Well, I’ve always gone to church. And urn, I was a member of a little church in Hingham, from
which I had just moved. And uh, I uh, nearly started going to Congregational Church. Yes, [attending
a Baptist Church] that was before we moved to Salem, New Hampshire. My family moved to Salem,
New Hampshire. I graduated high school in Salem, and I was a sophomore. That’s what I was. Yes,
that was a Methodist Church. It was the nearest one to us. When we first came they’d already lived
next door to the Congregational Church, but we were already affiliated with the little Methodist
Church. Stayed there in that church until my letter came. I just don’t know how it really happened.
I went to church right away, and I went to the Congregational Church. I didn’t join for several years.
They asked me if I’d like to. I wasn’t anyone to go up and say, “I’d like to come to the Church, you
know.” So… it must have been Mr. Dubbs [inaudible], The Church change? No I don’t. I was not
active at all because I didn’t have time. I went to church but I did not participate in anything at the
Church. I had too much participation on the hill, and so I just went to church. And I didn’t really
know too much about the activities of the Church at that point. Yeah, after I had retired, and then
had time to do a lot of things I hadn’t before. I had always wanted to be active in the Church, but I
was right into my work.
Gee, I’ve been retired so long I can’t remember. It was… I was glad to be retired. Course I
could do almost anything I wanted to because I could drive, and you know. I was well and all that.
But I… oh yes, yes, and gradually over the years. And I am not as involved as I was. I was Lay
Assistant for a while. That’s a good question. I never did find out. It could almost be anything you
might be helpful at. And um if anything is wrong with the minister. Well I did do, substitute a couple
of times when the minister was so stricken… Sunday morning, you know, Yeah, I had to have a
sermon in reserve. Yup, I think I just did it once. When he was… had a heart attack, lack Perkins. He
said to someone there, “call Edna and have her come over here.” I went over. And to bring her
sermon or something, I don’t remember what. But anyway, I went right over. And uh, course, they
were taking him to the hospital. Well, I think it began at his house. He didn’t recognize it as a heart
attack. He went up to the Church, and when I saw him he was in the parish house, you see. I
remember it [sermon] was much too long, and everyone was thinking about him not me. And, but I
can’t remember it now. Probably have it in preservation somewhere… oh sure, Oh dear. Well, I don’t
think so. I don’t really think I was [nervous]. But it is a little shaking suddenly finding yourself in the
pulpit. And wondering what to do next, you know. And I remember Nathan Acker, telling me
something. Oh he came down to tell me that they had decided it was a heart attack. But I said,
“should I tell them?” He said, ” I would.” So I said to the Congregation, “we understand that