Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Haven Attic Discovery-Postcard from Nancy Boldt 1955

Postcard from Ames Hill, Vermont 1954

This is an actual postcard written by Nancy Boldt in 1955 as found in an attic in New Haven recently. The spellings and grammar have been left as is---without corrections. This postcard will be up for auction with other important Nancy items at Sotheby's in the summer of 2008. Please contact Sotheby's for information and a catalogue. For explanations of people, places, and incidents, see editor's notes in the afterword--editor.

Dear everyone back home

We are having fun. very HOT today Uncle Will drives us to Mt Washington sundy for a cog railway ride which I dont ever like it goes so high and theres no side rails. I will sing jacobs ladder loud to myself and close my eyes this year. I swear not to cry. Mommy got bit by a horse at the lake 2 days ago when she went there alone with Philip and then she got real sick and had to have a big shot that made her go to a hospital way down the hill in a real fast car. we got a and w root beer that day.Philip is a mama's boy says mommy after we saw them kissing in the field. Mommy says his mother will not let him be with her anymore.and we made birch and sassafras tea with alex and Tommy out front on the bench under the shade tree. Tommy has been not so very mean this summer but made Diana bite some batry wires to light up her fillings and made me cry.Diana had to go down the hill fast too the barn hay made her cough too much. A cow had twins and we had to go get them at night in Mr Moore's jeep. The babies were bloody and mess-YUCK. The mommy cow walked back to the barn real slow but we had her twins warm in the jeep.One sucked me hard so strong on my hand. Mrs Moore says the babies will soon be going away from the farm without their mommys. Will the mommys miss them we saw naked lady pictures in the barn when we went to play with the chickens and the new kittens. I ate some chicken feed and I like it YUM.We slid down the cider ramp and then went up the hill for supper. I picked a big bunch of black eye daisys for the table and its so hot my top was soaked and my sisters face was as red as a beet..Michael still has not said a word even though I tell him he can have a cookie if he just says one word. His mom was killed last year by a axe on livingston Strett and I was at school. Now Aunt Janet has to take care of her kids and the father had to go far away to jail and never come back again. He hid behind the door too and scared her. I wonder if Michael saw and that's why he wont talk. We light a big fire at night and make popcorn and our faces get so hot and red. One night we went out to the cabin to sleep but Tommy scared us and said there was a bear outside but he ran inside before we did. Alex said a big thunderstorm is coming. Theres a rifel over the fireplace in case a bad man comes to get us that we do not know that is mean. One year all the ladies brought down the rifel cause there was a stranger there. a bat flew down the stairs and Aunt Janet tried to hit it with a broom. Upstairs it smells funny of wood but good. tonight maybe I sleep out on the porch waiting rain. the rain will kill the heat and bring new air. pancakes or will's cottage cheese eggs tomorrow early for breakfast. promise to send you some birch bark i picked. i can write on it next card but am waiting til it dries somemore.
Miss you nana and siggy see you soon. is Blanche still to sick to iron?how's the country club? any holes in one nana.wish we were home.
xxooxx love to everyone (pet Inky for me and give pinky a kiss on her pink beak too)
your vermont summer girl Nanci
{little drawing of flower under name and over letter "i" in Nanci}
Editor's notes. The postcard is in excellent condition, is graded B1, with no stains or wear. This postcard was hand written, both in blue pen and pencil. Author
had to curl up into the addressee side at the top for last few sentences.

Written in pen, all caps, in another hand :"NB, 1954, Ames Hill Vermont " under address. Stamp upper right was canceled. Stamp is first class stamp (blue Statue of Liberty) for 3 cents. The card was addressed to Mrs. Edna White, 239 Everit St, New Haven,Conn.with obvious help from an adult writer.
Nancy Boldt (who was calling herself "Nanci" at the time as she stated--"Just to be different") was 8 1/2 when she wrote this very long postcard.

It was the tradition in the combination White/Boldt family that Nanci's mother, Emily White, would take Nanci and her sister Diana ---3 years younger than Nanci-- away for a month or longer every summer.Usually they alternated Vermont with Martha's Vineyard. This was probably done to get them out of hot New Haven. There was no air conditioning then. On Ames hill they stayed with the Miner family-Will, Janet, Tommy and Alex in their family's old saltbox summer house built 1790. It is also suggested that "Nana" Edna White might have paid for these vacations to have her big house to herself for a while. The Ogden Watson White's were an upper middle class family living in the most sought after part of New Haven-right below East Rock on Everit Street. Their house was at 239 Everit Street and was purchased by Grandfather White where he died before 50 after being bedridden. Emily White moved back into the house with her mother in 1950 and soon after Emily's young husband passed away of rheumatic heart disease. Nana White had a large estate and Emily a big trust fund enabling them to have a live in maid, Siggy, many day helpers including the ironer Blanche, and a governess for the girls. Nanci was attending public school when when she wrote this card.

Speaking recently with Uncle Will, who is 95, says "Ames Hill was fun for all of us and Nancy was a real joy to have around. The kids all seemed to get along but we grownups were just sitting around drinking beer most of the time because it was so hot and we did not see them much except when we went to the lake or into town or at meals. Nancy could run free through the hills and I remember she liked going to watch the beavers build their dam near Fern Valley and pick wild violets. Those were happier times!"

To date: Nancy lives in Central California with her family and has a daughter in Orange County, Alex Miner is living in upstate New York with his family near Uncle Will. Aunt Janet passed away two years ago.Tommy was recently living on Ames Hill and was a known arsonist. Michael was mute and autistic and was sent to a school for the rest of his life and his sister Sandy (also low IQ and autistic) killed herself. Nancy never gave up trying to teach Michael to talk.For the record, the Miners were friends of Emily and not blood relatives--it was common for the time to call best friends of parents uncle or aunt. Nancy's sister Diana died of ALS in 2007 and their mother also died of ALS fifteen years before her.
Addenda: Nana White died of heart disease at 78 and played golf at least twice a week until her death, Inky, the black and white cat, is long gone and Pinky, Nancy's Java Temple Bird, was found dead in Nancy's bathroom by Nancy when she returned home from this stay on Ames Hill---there was no water in the cage and she tried to forgive Nana for that oversight, but never got another bird.
239 Everit was sold after Edna White died and a Yale family is enjoying its many rooms and view of East Rock.The Vermont farmers-the Moores-both died young from cancer. Yes, Nancy's Aunt Janet's sister was killed by her husband wielding an ax who had hidden behind the door. This incident traumatized all the kids including Nancy, but went unnoticed and untreated at the time. Philip--the mama's boy Emily went out with a few times that summer-did get married right after his "mama" died and that shocked everyone, especially Nancy's mother!

For additional details on the various medical emergencies and use of the rifle and Tommy's convictions for arson, please consult "Nanci: Early Life of a New Haven Girl" Vol 1 1950-1962, an in depth account of Nancy from 1950-1962 written by Marjorie Smith describing the life of an upper middle class girl in the 50's living in New Haven. Subsequent works cover her years of separation from New Haven society and her family and how she ended up hanging out with famous folksingers in the 60's in Cambridge.Vol. II also covers how she--and her family---coped with Nancy's years at an alternative co-ed boarding school and her adventures in the 60's (Volume II). Vols. III and IV concentrate on her later productive years in California. Published by Red Abalone Press, Stinson Beach, CA.

Ames Hill is still there and remains unspoiled---and the saltbox house awaits another group of summer families and kids.

In an email from Central California last month where she has been on an extensive book tour with her newest award winning novel about the lives of Alaskan pipeliners, Nancy said she was thrilled to have the postcard found after so many years. and that the times on Ames Hill were some of the happiest of her life. She will be signing copies of "Frozen Beer, Warm Igloos & Other Pipeliner Tales" (published by Randown House) at Sotheby's before the auction of her extensive ephemera and original items owned by this infuential, groundbreaking American author.

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