SOME LIFELONG FRIENDS
Miss Edith had some lifelong friendships, a few of which began during her years at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington from 1907 to 1910.
She attended Miss Porter’s. She lived in NYC with her mother. After her mother’s death, she moved to Beach Bay, Mass., then later to Marblehead Mass. She would stay at Topsmead for about one week each summer, usually came around the time when Miss Porter’s School would be holding their annual reunions. Later in life, Miss Wetherald adopted a daughter and would also bring her to Topsmead. She was about the same age as my brother and Barbara Abramson, my future sister–in–law whose family rented the Buell cottage at the farm; she would be a playmate of ours during her stay.
Miss Edith, Miss Lucy, and Miss Mary would also travel to Massachusetts each summer to visit Miss Wetherald and tour the area.
She also attended Miss Porter’s and came from Helsinki, Finland. During their 1935 tour of Europe, the ladies stayed with her for about a week before they visited Russia and then again on their return to Helsinki. Miss Pohjala was interested in health care and social politics in Finland. She was called the mother of the Finish Health Insurance Act. She started out as a newspaper reporter but then received a nursing degree and served in the 1918 Finish Civil war and the Estonian war of independence of 1918-1920.
She returned to America to further her education and worked at New York hospitals for 5 years. She graduated as a nursing teacher from Columbia in 1927. Meanwhile, she also continued as a journalist.
In 1933 she launched her 30-year political career and became a member of the Finish Parliament to promote health care and social issues. Later she was a member of the Finish delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. She visited Topsmead several times and attended the Miss Porter’s reunions.
LEILA LIVINGSTONE MORSE
I don’t think that she attended Miss Porter’s, but I am not sure. She was a frequent visitor to both Topsmead and Church Street in Waterbury. She was the granddaughter of Samuel Morse, the inventor of the telegraph. She sang in public and the ladies attended her recitals. Dad said that she operated a tea room in Stockbridge, Mass. Miss Morse used to come to Topsmead and Church St. in Waterbury several times a year. The ladies also traveled to Stockbridge to visit her.
In the early 1930’s she developed a fondness for my brother John Robert, born in 1932. She gave my father a painting by her uncle, Edward Lind Morse, and mailed several first-day issued stamps of her grandfather to my brother when they were issued.
These conversations were conducted between Bob Orintas and Jenny Riggs.