Haynes Stories


"Love at first sight" is more than a cliche. Sometimes it's real.

In 1907 John saw Sarah for the first time and said, "There's the girl I'm going to marry." In 1939, soon after Ralph met Ruth, he announced to her mother, "I'm going to marry your daughter." Both proclamations came true.


There were seven children in Sarah's family of Norton, New Brunswick, Canada. Sarah was the youngest of the four girls. She grew up on the farm and attended the local schools. When she was 20 years old she visited her oldest sister who had married an American and was living in Hartford, Connecticut. She began looking for employment in the United States. She was soon hired by the wealthy Perkins family to care for their young daughter, Helen. Whenever the Perkins family traveled, Sarah went with them. That is how it happened that Sarah was at the Balsams Resort Hotel in northern New Hampshire in the summer of 1907. She was a baby-sitter, or a "Nanny."

John was the youngest of eight children. Born in Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, he was orphaned at 10 years of age when his parents died of tuberculosis. He was "farmed out" as a laborer on local farms for several years. His schooling was limited. As a young man, he went to Boston to study sign-painting and specialties such as artificial graining of wood. While in Boston, he contracted tuberculosis and became very ill. He nearly died, but an aunt in Colebrook, New Hampshire came to his rescue. She was a Christian Scientist. Believing that no doctors were necessary, she provided lots of rest and nourishing food for her patient. It was effective. In time, John returned to good health.

John tried many ways to make a living in Colebrook, New Hampshire. These included sign-painting, selling bread knives door-to-door, and operating a hardware business. When he was 30 years old, John operated his own Painting business, specializing in contracting large jobs such as resort hotels. That's how it happened the John was at the Balsams Resort Hotel in the summer ot 1907. He was supervising the painting of the hotel.

As soon as John met Sarah, he knew it was "love at first sight", and he wasted no time in trying to win her heart. Time was truly an important factor. John knew that Sarah's stay at the hotel was limited to summer vacation time, just as his painting project was only a summer job. John was already 33 years old and was anxious to marry and start his family. The whirlwind courtship was obviously successful, for they were married on Christmas Eve of 1907--just six months after that first meeting.

Soon, John landed a job as a salesman for the Sherwin Williams Paint Company. He moved his family to Lancaster, New Hampshire where he lived until his death in 1959.

John and Sarah had five children. The youngest of their children was Ruth.


Ruth was employed as the baby-sitter for the Lund's three small children. She lived very near the Lunds, and, for several years she had been their favorite baby-sitter. That's how it happened that she was at the Lund home in the summer of 1939 when Ralph came from New Jersey to visit his brother, Ted Lund, father of the three children. As soon as Ralph met Ruth, he knew it was "love at first sight." But, Ruth was only sixteen and she was thoroughly caught up in teen-age activities at high school. She was certainly not contemplating marriage. That was something far off in the future. Ralph, four years older than Ruth, had taken a year off from college to earn the money to complete his education as a chemical engineer at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He was currently employed at a chemical company in New Jersey. Ralph had decided that Ruth was the right girl for him and persisted in trying to win her heart. The courtship was hampered by distance. It was a long trip from New Jersey to northern New Hampshire. Ralph used the postal system to advantage and became a regular customer of the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroad. He made many all night train trips to New Hampshire while working in New Jersey. or attending college in New York.

In 1941, Ruth was off to college. Pearl Harbor thrust the nation into war. Ralph enlisted in the Air Corps and was sent overseas to England with the Intelligence force. The long-distance romance progressed slowly. The war changed the plans of many young couples. It was not until Ruth had completed college and was employed at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in Hartford, Connecticut that Ralph proposed . When Ralph returned home on his overseas leave, they were married on February 3, 1945. It had been six years since their first meeting.

So it was that mother and daughter met their mates in similar situations — while baby-sitting.

So it was that both mother and daughter were courted by men who proved "Love at first sight" is not just a cliche.


John= John Henry Haynes

Sarah= Sarah Merinda Wilson Haynes

John' Aunt= Emma Wiswell

Sarah's sister= Margaret Wilson Caldwell (Mrs. Gordon)

Ruth= Ruth Almeda Haynes Lund


Ruth= Ruth Almeda Haynes Lund, daughter of John and Sarah Haynes

Ralph=Ralph Arnold Lund

Ralph's brother=Theodore R. Lund


This story is recorded as I remember it being told by my brother, John Wilson Haynes (1911-1993).

I ran away from home once. I don't even remember the incident, but while I was growing up I heard about it often. My mother thought of it as a sweet story and loved to relate it. "Have you heard about the time Wilson ran away from home?" I hated to hear those words.

I was probably three or four years old. Like most youngsters that age, I insisted on getting my own way about everything. Occasionally, my way did not fit an acceptable pattern. When circumstances closed in on me, I resorted to temper tantrums. Several times, in the heat of my anger, I threatened to run away from home. The family got a bit tired of this behavior.

One day, after my declaration that I would run away, my parents decided to call my bluff. They agreed that it would be a good idea for me to leave, since I couldn't seem to live by the rules of the family. My mother proceeded to pack a small suitcase for me. She even made me a peanut-butter sandwich to take along She brought my jacket and hat. She opened the door and I stepped out. I was angry and I hurried out the door and down the front steps. As I got to the sidewalk my anger subsided and I walked slowly down the sidewalk, stopping frequently to contemplate the situation. When my mother told the story, she would say, "You should have seen little Wilson carrying his small valise in one hand and his lunch in the other, trudging down Burnside street. He was so precious." I hated this story.

I suppose my parents had alerted the neighbors to watch for me, because I walked all the way to the corner of Burnside and Elm Streets. I would have been within my parents' sight, but certainly not within their reach at this point. It must have given my family some anxiety when I ventured all the way to the intersection. However,, all of a sudden, I dropped the suitcase and the lunch and ran all the way back home. I was crying loudly. Between my sobs I screamed that from now on I would be a good boy. Everyone seemed pleased. I was welcomed into the bosom of my family and apparently I never again threatened to run away.

However, when I was about 13 years old, I had occasion to want to run away from home again. I was the oldest of the three Haynes boys, and I suspect that my father spoiled me a little. My father was teaching my how to drive the car. He allowed me to drive the car up and down the driveway occasionally. I loved to do this. However, I was a bit small for my age and it was difficult to reach the pedals. It was my chore to wash the car on weekends, but my father always backed it out of the garage for me. I was not yet proficient enough to maneuver the car in and out of the garage.

One day, after I had finished washing and polishing the car, I decided to surprise my father by driving the car back into the garage. The idea my have had value, but the execution proved difficult. I drove the car up and down the driveway several times before attempting to put it into the garage. Just as I was carefully easing the car toward the garage with my foot on the brake, my foot slipped off the brake and hit the accelerator. Crash! I slammed into the corner of the garage.

The left front fender of the car was badly dented, but the garage damage was more serious. The left door was splintered and the garage door frame was crushed. It looked awful. I was mortified. What should I do? Run away from home?

My father had a fiery temper. I could imagine his reaction when he saw the garage and the car. What should I do? Run away from home?

I decided to disappear for awhile. I ran to the attic. I stayed there until my father came home. When he discovered the damage, he stormed around angrily and repeatedly called, "Wilson, come here" or "Where is that boy? No one seemed to know where Wilson was. I, of course, was watching from the attic window. I couldn't hear much of what came out of my father's mouth, but I could imagine it. I decided to stay in the attic forever.

I heard my name called many times. Everyone was looking for me. It was meal time. I decided that I would miss the noon meal. Perhaps I would come down for supper.

No one thought to look in the attic. I was quite safe there. But, by nightfall, the whole family and some of the neighbors were hunting for me. My mother became very alarmed. My father, now anxious about my safety, ceased spouting about the garage. His concern was redirected to the search. "Where is that boy?"

At last, I decided to risk an appearance. I came down from the attic. My mother was so happy to see me that all else seemed forgotten. No one asked why I was hiding in the attic. No one seemed to care. What did it matter that the garage needed repairs. Wilson was home again.

Perhaps my father decided that the whole thing was his fault. After all, he had allowed me to drive up and down the driveway by myself. I was just a kid. The car and the garage were both repairable, and no one had been hurt. Whatever the reason, my father never punished me for the garage accident.

Once again I had run away from home, but not too far away. I had missed two meals! I had repented of my sins and vowed to be "good" many times throughout that long day. I had out-waited my father's wrath and allowed forgiveness to set in. I was saved.


This is a story that my father loved to tell. It probably happened in the early 1920's

My father and mother (John and Minda Haynes) were dressed in their very finest attire. John wore his Sunday suit and Minda wore her prettiest dress and her new hat. Minda asked John to fetch her gold necklace from the safe. It was a choker of gold beads with a one dollar gold piece attached to it. It had been John's wedding gift to Minda when they were married in 1907. She wore this only on very special occasions. She wanted to look her best at this family wedding (John's family) they were to attend. John was always pleased when Minda wore the special gold necklace. He definitely approved of her choice of jewelry on this day. The wedding was to take place in northern New Hampshire, near Pittsburg, which was about a 2 ½ hour 's drive from our home in Lancaster. They were going alone. None of the children had been invited. John and Minda seemed excited about the event.

It was a beautiful summer day and the mountains peaks stood out sharply against the blue sky. The route north was very scenic and they enjoyed the peaceful ride. They passed some small farms and went through a few towns. As they left the town of Colebrook, the countryside changed. There seemed to be fewer farms and more wooded areas. John explained to Minda that they were about to enter the thirteen-mile woods. This was a dense forest of trees, predominantly evergreens.

As they were journeying along this rural road, Minda announced that she really needed to "drop a tear." It was obvious that restroom facilities were not available on this road. The only solution was to stop and venture a ways into the woods. Minda was not happy about this, since she was wearing her dress shoes and her very best clothes, but she finally decided that she could wait no longer. She carefully picked her way into the woods. Being a very modest person, she she chose a spot well hidden from the road. She need not have worried about being seen, for they appeared to be the only travelers on the road at that time. She returned to the car, much relieved, and they proceeded on their way.

About ten minutes later, Minda screamed out, "My beads are gone. I've lost my lovely gold beads." She burst into tears.

John stopped the car and they searched the inside to be sure the beads had not dropped off in the car. No beads. It seemed most likely that the beads had slipped off Minda's neck while she was in the woods. And there were thirteen miles of woods that looked the same everywhere. They couldn't possible find the spot where they had stopped. Minda was bereft. She seemed inconsolable.

John decided that they did not have the time to return and look for the beads. They needed to be on time for the wedding. He persuaded Minda to dry her rears and try to enjoy the festivities. He promised to stop on their return trip to search for the beads.

Minda tried to control her sobs, but she couldn't help agonizing about her loss. She recalled how the beads bore the mark of Mary's teeth. (Mary was their first child). When Mary was a teething baby, she had managed to bite a bead while being held in her mother's arms. After that incident, Minda put the beads in the safe and wore them less often. Those gold beads had such sentimental value. How could she have let them slip off her neck? Why hadn't she checked the clasp thoroughly when she donned the necklace? Minda felt sure that she would never see that necklace again.

They arrived on time for the wedding. Minda tried to enter into the gaiety of the occasion. She did not mention the lost necklace to anyone.

On the way home, John tried to keep the conversation away from the lost beads. However, as they approached the thirteen-mile woods, he became very quiet. He drove very slowly over this stretch of road. Several times he seemed ready to stop, but changed his mind. Then, suddenly John stopped the car. He strolled into the woods as if measuring an exact distance. Coming to an abrupt stop, he bent over and picked up the gold beads!

Note: The clasp of the gold beads was repaired after this incident. When I was 18 years old, my parents gave me the gold necklace. I always think of this story when I wear the beads.

Ruth Haynes Lund
October 7, 1996


She was an angel. Everyone said so. How I wish I had known her. My sister, Mary Merinda Haynes died on November 29, 1923, just 10 days after her 15th birthday. I was only 6 months old. In her brief life, Mary made a significant mark on her family and her community.

Mary was adored by father. He had earnestly desired that his first child be a girl. The daughter he got was all and more than he could imagine. Father called her his angel.

Mary was very smart. When she entered school she seemed to be far ahead of other first graders, so she was pushed ahead. She continued to excel in school, so she skipped more grades. When she died at 15, she had almost finished high school. All her teachers called her an angel.

Mary was pretty. Blonde, blue-eyed with delicate features, she was very feminine in appearance. As she grew into young womanhood, many called her beautiful. She had the face of an angel.

Mary was a natural musician. She loved the piano and Father enjoyed playing his violin while Mary accompanied him. She developed sufficient skill on the piano by age 13 that she was offered a contract by the Chautauqua. Of course, our parents refused to allow her to leave home at such a tender age. However, Mary entertained many people with her music. She played like an angel.

Mary was skilled in handwork. Although very young, she had learned all the embroidery stitches and had developed expertise with the needle. She embroidered a large bedspread with an elaborate floral design. She knew how to knit, crochet and tat. An elderly neighbor had taught Mary to tat. Mary also sewed and was beginning to make her own clothes. Only an angel could accomplish so much so soon!

Mary loved outdoor sports, especially ice-skating. It was while skating that she fell on the ice and broke her leg. Two of her boyfriends carried her home. With their arms they made a chair lift and held Mary in a sitting position with the broken leg dangling while they walked the 2 miles to our home. Mary's leg was badly broken. Complications set in and she suffered much pain. Her recuperation was slow and she was confined to bed for a long time. Although poor health was new to her, Mary's spirits never flagged. The doctor called her an angel.

Mary's accident occurred during the winter of 1923. She missed school all that spring. By the end of summer she seemed fully recovered and returned to school. On the morning of November 29 she awoke with a severe headache. Within two hours the angel had returned to heaven.

How do angels die? Mary's sudden death gave rise to much speculation. The headache was presumed to be caused by a blood clot traveling from her leg to her brain. The fatal blood clot probably formed when Mary was carried home from the skating rink with her broken leg dangling. Also, the complications which developed kept her in bed too long. Doctors today advocate activity rather than the bed rest prescribed in 1923. Who knows how to treat an angel?

Mary's sudden death was a terrible shock to the Haynes family. The subject was too painful to discuss. The mention of Mary's name was so upsetting to mother and father that my three brothers soon learned to avoid speaking of her. Father grieved for years. He could never bear to touch his violin again. He had lost his angel.

The reluctance of the family to speak of Mary made it impossible for me to learn about her. All I know of her is what others have told me. I will always wonder if Mary liked having a baby sister.

As I grew up I gradually acquired some of Mary's possessions. I loved to look at her beautiful doll with its porcelain head, real hair and eyes that opened and closed. But, I never played with the doll. When I was old enough to have my own room, I inherited Mary's bedroom. The room was furnished with white furniture painted with tiny flowers. Father had decorated this furniture especially for Mary. The design on the bedspread which Mary had embroidered portrayed a flower girl strewing flowers from her basket. Flowers embroidered on the edges of the window curtains carried out this floral decor. It was a pretty room suitable for a little girl. I felt honored to receive all this, but it was never really mine. It had belonged to an angel. How I wish I had known her.


Everything about him was great. He was a very big man. He was 6'4" tall with a barrel-like chest, broad shoulders and a thick neck like a football player. He was heavy, about 250 pounds, but not fat. All of his weight seemed to be in his large muscles. His natural coloring was florid. His face always appeared to be wind-burned. Besides his great size, he had a great zest for life. When he entered a room, it was as if a strong fresh wind had blown in. His exuberance was catching. My mother's brother, James Wilson was a railroad man who lived in Bangor, Maine. Occasionally Uncle Jim would "blow in" unexpectedly to visit our family in Lancaster, New Hampshire. He always brought great joy to the Haynes household.

Uncle Jim was also a great giver. He brought wonderful presents--always extravagant and sometimes impractical.

One winter day Uncle Jim darkened our door with a gift for the three Haynes boys. It was an enormous traverse — a type of bobsled built for use on long, steep hills. The boys were delighted and could hardly wait to try it out.

Uncle Jim insisted that they find a very long hill to test the traverse. The boys thought that Corrigan Hill would be perfect.

Lancaster is a Connecticut River Valley town nestled in the mountains. Entering Lancaster from south and east means encountering long steep hills, but Corrigan Hill is the longest. It is about a three mile uphill climb from our home to the top of Corrigan Hill. The hill curves slightly and continues down a very steep incline into the center of town — about five miles total length. This would be the perfect hill for Uncle Jim's maiden traverse run.

Uncle Jim and the three boys (ages 10, 12, & 14) climbed Corrigan Hill dragging the heavy traverse. The hard-packed snow was perfect for the traverse ride into town. They were all very excited.

The three boys boarded the sled with Uncle Jim in the rear handling the steering ropes. The first part of the ride went beautifully. The sled was wonderful. Uncle Jim's weight added the necessary traction to build up speed and the sled was soon flying down the hill.

In 1925 automobiles were scarce and horses were still used for transportation in the countryside. Suddenly, the adventurers caught sight of a horse and buggy entering their sled path from a side road. The traverse riders panicked. If the horse and buggy continued into the road, there seemed no way to avoid a collision.

On each side of the road the snow was piled high due to the constant plowing. Thus high snow banks prevented the buggy driver from seeing the on-coming sled as he drove his horse into the road. The boys were terrified. They all screamed. Uncle Jim could not stop the sled, but he attempted to steer away from the horse. The noise of the boys' screaming spooked the horse which suddenly reared up on his hind legs just in time for the traverse to slip right under the horse.

This narrow escape so unnerved Uncle Jim that he lost control of the speeding sled. They flew off the road, over the high snow bank and crashed into a tree. Luckily none of the boys were hurt, but Uncle Jim injured his leg . He was unable to walk and they were at least three miles from town.

Somehow the boys managed to drag the traverse bearing Uncle Jim's heavy frame into town where a doctor set Uncle Jim's broken leg.

Uncle Jim regained his composure quickly and delighted in recounting the "great traverse adventure." With his leg in a cast and using crutches, Uncle Jim boarded the train to return to Bangor, Maine. He left the traverse with the boys, but they never again took it to Corrigan Hill.

Whatever happened to the horse and buggy remains a mystery.


My uncle Morty called me "Baby Ruth." Uncle Morty was my father's older brother. He was a carpenter and lived in the small town Canaan, Vermont. Uncle Morty and his wife Orma had two sons who both died in babyhood. So, my uncle, who loved children, took great pleasure in visiting our household of 5 children. Since I was the youngest in the family, it was natural for him to label me Baby Ruth.

Whenever Uncle Morty visited us in Lancaster, New Hampshire, he brought little gifts — mostly candy. I remember him emptying his pockets of lots of goodies which he would declare were just for Baby Ruth.

No one else ever called me Baby Ruth. I certainly didn't want to be called "Baby." I always yearned to be a big girl. But, Uncle Morty was such a sweet person and had such a gentle way of expressing himself that I never minded him calling me Baby Ruth. It was his term of endearment. I loved his visits and especially the treats he brought to me.

One of my earliest memories was the gift of a Baby Ruth candy bar. I was very young and couldn't read, so it meant nothing to me when he told me that this candy had been made especially for me. He showed me the wrapper which he said bore the label BABY RUTH. My parents laughed about it, and I took it to be the truth. It was my special treat and it was SO good! After that, whenever Uncle Morty visited, he always had a BABY RUTH candy bar in his pocket for me. He would rave about how very special I was to have a candy bar made just for me. Of course I gloried in this attention.

It never occurred to me to question the validity of my uncle's statement. I really thought that somehow, he had the power to produce my special candy bar and had named it for me. When I went to school and learned to read, I saw that the candy bar truly bore the words BABY RUTH.

As a first grader I walked to school with several friends who lived near me.We passed a store (Sam's) on our way to and from school every day. Occasionally we stopped to purchase something from the penny candy counter. Although I never looked beyond the penny counter, some students might even spend a nickel for a candy bar. One day I noticed a boy with a BABY RUTH candy bar in his hand. He had MY candy! I was outraged. How did he get MY candy? That candy was made for ME. No one else had a right to it. So I asked him where he got the candy. He said he had bought it for a nickel at the candy store. How could that be? I argued with him and told him I knew that candy was MINE and that he had no right to it. He laughed and declared vehemently, "Just because your name is Ruth doesn't make this candy yours. Anyone can buy a BABY RUTH bar for a nickel." He went off laughing and told everyone else what I had said. They all laughed. I was mortified. I couldn't believe that my uncle had lied to me. I truly had believed that it was my special candy.

Of course, I went to the candy store and asked if they sold BABY RUTH candy bars. The clerk showed me a shelf filled with BABY RUTH candy bars. What a shock? It was equivalent to my discovery that there was no Santa Claus. I was upset. I was also humiliated. How could I have been so stupid? I could hardly hold my head up among my friends. They must all be laughing at me. I felt deeply hurt. At 6 years of age, this was a traumatic situation.

As time went on, the importance of BABY RUTH candy bars diminished. I never told my Uncle Morty that I felt he had deceived me, because I feared I might hurt his feelings. He continued to visit often throughout my childhood and, of course, he always brought me a BABY RUTH candy bar.

Just recently I learned that the BABY RUTH candy had been named for President Cleveland's daughter Ruth. Well, I'm glad it was named for a baby called Ruth, even if it was not baby Ruth Haynes.

Ruth Haynes Lund
Written October 20, 1997


The Victorian house where I grew up had no family room. Instead it had a front porch. Most of the houses in the small New England town (Lancaster, New Hampshire) had porches. Some were very large and encircled the house. Our porch was not large, but it was unusual because the floor extended to one side providing an open area not covered by a roof. I remember this ell as a very special place.

The ell received sunshine from mid-morning throughout the afternoon, and it was a cozy, warm place to play. The porch railing provided protection, and the open dining-room window kept mother within calling range. As a very young child, I recall spending many happy hours there with my faithful collie dog. It could have been labeled "Ruth's Playpen".

My mother was a meticulous housekeeper, and it was part of her daily routine to "brush off" the porch. One of my earliest memories is helping mother sweep the porch. I even had a child-size broom for this chore. My mother used the ell when doing the spring house-cleaning. After washing the lace curtains, mother stretched them on large wooden curtain-stretchers and placed them on the porch to dry. She also brought dirty scatter rugs from the house, brushed and scrubbed them and hung them over the railing to dry in the sun. (Note the rug on the railing in the photo).

When I was a young school girl, I would invite my girlfriends to play with me on my porch. It was a perfect place for cutting paper dolls, playing cards or playing house. However, when I was about ten years old, the ell was eliminated. My father had become exasperated with the constant repairs required to keep this porch safe. Because it was so exposed to the elements, it was constantly rotting out. Father called a carpenter to rebuild the porch. The resulting symmetrical front porch was much admired by the neighbors, but I grieved for the loss of the ell, and to me the house had lost some of its charm.

Every spring a pair of robins nested on the front porch. The robins chose a spot near the porch ceiling on the top of the right porch pillar for their nest. It was our pleasure to watch the eggs hatch, and the baby birds grow. Of course, we thought that the same robins came each year to nest on our porch.

During my childhood the front porch was the center of neighborhood activities. The cement porch steps seemed a perfect place to rest from active games such as tag or hide-and-seek. The cement sidewalk was the hopscotch court and where we jumped rope. There were always kids on the porch and the steps. These steps proved to be especially popular for any child in the neighborhood who was learning to ride a bike. The steps served as the perfect take-off point.

In one corner of the porch there was a built-in wooden seat with a hinged cover. It looked like a wood box, and indeed, that may have been its original purpose. We used it to house balls, baseball mitts, skip ropes, roller skates and other play equipment. After the children left home, mother decorated this area of the porch with house plants during the summer months.

Our front porch faced west, and on summer evenings it was my father's delight to watch the sunset. After supper (we had our main meal at noon) he would take his newspaper and his pipe to the front porch where he sat in his large rocker and relaxed. My mother often joined him, but the mosquitoes always bothered her. My father, surrounded by the smoke from his pipe, was untouched by mosquitoes and claimed that there were none. This was maddening to my mother who spent her porch time slapping her legs with a portion of the newspaper and complaining that she was being "eaten alive".

On these summer evenings the neighbors would often join us and it was not unusual to bring extra chairs from the house. It was always a very pleasant part of the day.

Living in northern New Hampshire meant a great change in lifestyle as the winter came. This change of seasons affected the front porch drastically. The storm door used during my childhood was an ugly dark box-like structure built around the front door. It extended out from the door to a mid-point on the porch. I hated it because it blocked the light which usually streamed through the glass windows on either side of the door. However, it truly protected the doorway from the winter winds and heavy snows. The storm door space served as a perfect place to shed our snow boots. The front porch became cluttered with skis, ski poles, snowshoes, sleds and ice skates. Even in the dead of winter, our front porch was the hub of our activities.

As a very young child the front porch was my playground. As a teenager, it was the place where I entertained my friends and where I greeted my dates. As a young mother returning home to visit, it was the place where I played with my three young sons. On special occasions, the family always gathered on the front porch. At my parents' 50th anniversary, everyone agreed that the group photo must be taken on the front steps. Throughout my life at home, the front porch was where the action was. I will always remember the front porch of the Haynes homestead.

Note: The home described is located at 14 Burnside Street, Lanccaster New Hampshire. This was the residence of the Haynes family from 1914 until approximately 1980.


It was a wonder to behold. It was a wonder that it existed in my mother's neat and tidy home. It was a wonder that it could hold one more thing. My father's desk was an unbelievable mess.

My father, John Henry Haynes, was a traveling salesman for the Sherwin-Williams Paint Company. His territory in northern New England covered Vermont, New Hampshire and parts of Maine. He left home Monday morning and returned home late Friday night. Weekends were spent at his desk completing the paperwork required by his job, as well as the household accounts. Dad's filing system was a mystery to all but him. Yet, he claimed that he knew exactly where everything was, and that he could find just what he needed at any time. Indeed, it seemed to be true. At least, if he ever had to hunt for something on his desk, no one ever heard about it. Of course, no one in the family was allowed to touch anything on or near Dad's desk.

At one end of our living room there was an alcove which was called the den. It was large enough to contain a Morris chair, a larger floor-standing ashtray, the radio, the telephone and Dad Haynes' desk. This area was Dad's sanctuary, although it was certainly not private. Rather, it was literally a part of the living room. As he sat in his Morris chair, smocking his pipe, Dad Haynes could survey all family activities. Unfortunately, the reverse was also true. Anyone in the living room could easily see the wonder--Dad Haynes' desk.

It was a large oak roll-top desk, but there was no way to tell this. The roll top had not been closed for years because stacks of paper blocked the way. Every inch of the desk was piled high with stacked envelopes or pieces of paper. The stacks on top of the desk extended up toward the ceiling. It looked as if all would topple if just one more envelope was added. Because there was no work space left on the desk, Dad wrote his letters on the small pull-out shelf over the drawer.

During my life at home, the clutter on the desk continued too grow. It spread to the floor space surrounding the desk and slowly extended to the ceiling. So, Dad's filing system occupied one entire wall from floor to ceiling.

My mother was known as an excellent housekeeper. Her home was always clean. She tried very hard to keep things "picked up." Everything had a place and clutter was not allowed--except for the "wonder." Everyone wondered how Minda Haynes could put up with John's cluttered desk.

Minda begged John to clean off his desk, but John saw no need. Actually he must have had a very delicate touch, because the piles of paper continued to grow, and nothing fell over.

To mother, the "wonder" was a "cross she had to bear." She cleaned around it with sighs and mutterings about the shame of this terrible eyesore. To visitors, mother apologized saying, "I know that you have never seen anything like this." Indeed, all who saw it for the first time marveled at the intricate balance maintained by Dad's creative arrangement of envelopes.

I wonder if Dad Haynes ever cleaned up his desk. Perhaps after he retired, he tackled this chore. Years after his death (he died in 1959) I saw his desk in my brother's home. I was amazed to see the many compartments and small drawers with tiny brass knobs on the desk front. The roll top could be closed and with the warm patina of the golden oak, the old desk was really a handsome piece of furniture.

While writing this anecdote at my own desk, I suddenly became aware of piles of notebooks, files, unanswered letters, stacks of unpaid bills etc. There are even some files piled on the floor beside the desk. Of course, I know exactly where everything is, and I can easily locate whatever I need at any time. However, my work space seems to be getting smaller and smaller and my desk has no pull-out shelf! Perhaps "cluttering" is an inherited trait. I wonder.


NOTE: This incident occurred about 1927 in Lancaster, New Hampshire. It is recorded as I remember it being told by my brother, Henry Arnold Haynes.

I always hated being the youngest of the three Haynes boys. We were about two years apart in age, but my brothers treated me as if I was much too young to participate in their activities. They palled around with the Blake boys, Howard and Ernest, who were a little older and quite adventuresome. When my brothers were teenagers and I was only twelve, they sometimes allowed me to tag along with them, but whenever they ganged up with the Blake boys to do something really exciting, I was always too young to go along.

One day the Blaake boys came to our home brimming over with excitement. All of us gathered to hear their news. While rummaging around in their barn, they had discovered an old 22 caliber pistol. What a find! Of course, they had no ammunition for the gun, but they were sure that if all of us searched, we could find some bullets. I was doubtful. Our father was not a hunter, and he owned no guns, so I couldn't believe that he would have any bullets laying around. However I never mentioned my doubts. I hunted for bullets. I was so glad to be with all the big boys.

There was a workbench at the rear of our garage, and small boxes of useful things were stored there. Searching through many boxes, we found a very old, torn-up box containing some bullets. Of course we did not know whether the bullets would fit the gun, but it was worth a try.

At this point, I was told to leave. I was certainly too young to participate in this great adventure. I was sent back to the house where I pouted in rage and disappointment at being left out of all the fun again.

Behind the homes on Burnside Street there was a wooded area approximately 400 yards wide which extended the full length of the street. A pretty brook ran through the woods and there were several paths made by neighborhood children who played there occasionally. Although this wooded area was unsuitable for building, there were houses built all around it.

The four boys (Elvin and Wilson Haynes, Ernest and Howard Blake) decided to go to the woods, as far away from the houses as possible to try out the gun. To make doubly sure that they were a safe distance away from the houses, they blazed a new trail down behind the Magoon house where no one ever went because it was somewhat swampy.

The boys forced the bullets into the pistol. I don't know who shot first or how many shots were fired, but one bullet traveled far.

Mrs. Magoon was sitting quietly in front of her window engrossed in her needlework, when a bullet crashed through the window, whizzed by her head and came to rest in her living room wall.

Mrs. Magoon, thoroughly frightened and very aware of having fortunately escaped injury, lost no time in calling the constable. She feared that dangerous outlaws were inhabiting the woods behind her house. She screamed into the phone. "They are trying to kill me."

The four boys, hearing the crack of the bullet hitting the window, made a hasty getaway. However, the woods were not thick enough too hide the culprits for very long. The miscreants were soon captured.

I was in my room, still angry at being excluded from all the fun, when I heard the front doorbell ring. Hearing strange voices, I crept to the stairwell to see what was happening. I caught a glimpse of my two brothers looking very scared. There was a strange man with them. A stern voice asked, "Mrs. Haynes, are these boys your sons?"

I crept quietly back to my room and, for once in my life, I was happy to be the youngest Haynes boy.


Dewey, our family dog was not a purebred, but he looked very much like a Border Collie. He had been a member of our family long before I arrived in 1923. While I was a small child, Dewey was my constant companion.

I have no idea how Dewey got his name. Perhaps, because he was a very brave dog, he was named for Admiral Dewey. He had one thing in common with the Admiral. Dewey was well known in our little town of Lancaster, New Hampshire.

Dewey had a very sweet nature. He loved everyone and everyone loved him. Dewey went everywhere with my three older brothers. If they were on foot, or on bikes, Dewey was with them. If they went to the woods on snowshoes, Dewey was also there. He wanted to be with the family all the time. He was a house-dog. He was a loyal member of the Haynes family.

Dewey was a very even-tempered dog. However, he did get upset when my three brothers started fighting with one another. He would quietly growl and show his disapproval of their behavior. Play-fighting was hard to distinguish from serious fighting. Dewey liked peace in the household.

Dewey was a wanderer. He would disappear for several days at a time, but he always returned home. Farmers who lived miles away in the countryside, reported seeing our Dewey on their farms. He had a reputation for chasing sheep. His ancestors were undoubtedly sheep dogs.

Dewey also wandered in the woods. One day he returned from the woods dragging a trap on his hind leg. Obviously he had been caught in a trap set by a trapper to catch a wild animal whose fur was valuable. It was apparent that Dewey had hobbled home from far away, for his leg was in terrible condition. Father rushed Dewey to the local veterinarian who said it was impossible to save Dewey's leg. He had to amputate the leg.

Everyone in the family was upset about Dewey's leg being amputated. How would the dog manage? Dewey, however, took the loss of his leg calmly. He recuperated from the operation quickly and was soon running about on his three legs and his stump. He was a wonder!

Dewey was a three-legged dog when I knew him. Dewey and I played constantly together. Somewhere in the family photo album there is a snapshot labeled "Ruth and Dewey." It shows me sitting in a small wagon being pulled by Dewey. I was told that Dewey loved to be hitched to my wagon so that he could pull me around the neighborhood. The photo was taken by a neighbor. Since I was only about three years old, I have no memory of this, but I have seen the photo.

Dewey loved to go everywhere with the family. He was especially fond of my father, and during the weekends when father was at home, Dewey never left his side. When my father drove the car downtown on errands, Dewey would go along. Dewey did not ride inside the car, he rode on the running board! The running boards of the cars made in the 1920's were much wider than today's cars, yet it was quite a feat for Dewey to position himself on the running-board and maintain that position throughout the ride. But he did it, over and over again. Dewey was a wonder.

Having only three legs did not stop Dewey's wanderings. One day my father got a call from an irate farmer who claimed that Dewey had killed one of his lambs. My father laughed at this accusation, saying, "It couldn't be my dog. My dog has only three legs."

"That's right", said the farmer. "That's how I knew it was your dog. This dog had only three legs." My father had to pay for the lamb. Dewey was a wonder. Three legs did not hamper him in any way.

Dewey was not only my playmate, he was my protector. Whenever I was outside playing, Dewey was put in charge. He was my guardian and he took his job seriously. Noone was allowed to come near me while he was on watch.

When I was a pre-schooler there were very few children my age in the immediate neighborhood with whom I could play. Occasionally, my mother would invite a playmate from another neighborhood. Dewey was always a bit nervous about this. He stayed closer than ever and watched the visitor warily. Dewey had a very sweet nature and my playmates never objected to his presence. However, one day, while a little boy from across town was there to play, we had a slight altercation. Our angry voices alarmed Dewey. Then, suddenly, the boy hit me. Dewey reacted immediately. He bit the child on the leg.

It was a serious wound. The child was taken to the doctor who stitched up the leg. Although apologies were made, they were not accepted. The little boy's parents were furious and demanded that our vicious dog be destroyed.

The whole Haynes family was distraught. To our knowledge, this was the very first time that Dewey had ever bitten anyone. We all knew that Dewey had just been doing his job. However, he was getting old, and perhaps he was over-reacting to situations. We couldn't take the chance that this might happen again.

Dewey was taken to the veterinarian to be put to sleep.

I lost my very best friend. Dewey died because he was too good at his job. He used his only weapon, his teeth, to retaliate for the blow I had taken in a simple fight. Hadn't he always been told to protect me?. It seemed so unjust.

It was 1928 when Dewey was put to sleep. I have no idea how old he was. He probably had been our family pet for about 10 years. In dog years he would have been 70 years old. He added a special dimension to our family life and he was beloved. He was a wonder dog.

Ruth Haynes Lund, October 1996


Directly across from the Haynes home on Burnside Street in Lancaster, New Hampshire , stood the Parker home. Dr. Chester Parker was our dentist. He and his family were fellow parishioners of St Paul's Episcopal Church and the Hayneses and the Parkers were good friends as well as neighbors.

John Henry Haynes and Chester Parker shared a failing. Each failed to check behind himself when backing his car out of the driveway.

The Haynes driveway sloped downhill to the garage. Backing out of the garage and up the driveway was a straight shot. John Henry Haynes never turned the wheel or his head as he backed to the street. Dr. Parker's driveway was level and a bit shorter in length than the Haynes driveway. Thus, if both men left their garages at the same time, Dr. Parker would barely reach the street first. The long driveways were exactly opposite one another and very often the two men would just miss colliding. There was very little traffic on a side street of this small town in the 1930's, so each driver assumed he could back safely into the street.

Many times, Haynes family members gathered on the front porch, would gasp as the two men backed into the street almost simultaneously. "Someday, it is going to happen." "Someday they will crash." It became a family joke.

Years passed. The two neighbors never changed their driving habits and time after time they barely missed a collision. It became a neighborhood joke.

Our father, John Henry Haynes, considered himself an excellent driver. He was a traveling salesman, an experienced driver . He did not take kindly any criticism of his driving habits. Passing remarks such as "Dad, you almost hit Dr. Parker today." or "Traffic seems to be getting heavier on Burnside Street, you really ought to look before you back into the street", had no effect.

It was a miracle that year after year the pattern continued with no mishaps. Increased age did not bring safer driving practices to either man. For instance, John Henry Haynes refused to stop at the stop sign at the end of Burnside Street. It had never been there before 1938, and he saw no need for it at all. Both of these experienced drivers were convinced that they were capable of handling any situation. Both continued to back out of their long driveways a bit too fast without turning their heads.

Their luck ran out. One day they crashed! The long awaited collision occurred in the middle of Burnside Street,, but no one was there to witness the event. Through the years so many people had gasped in horror as the two cars almost collided, it seemed impossible that when the collision actually occurred, no one saw it. Luckily neither man was hurt. Two cars were damaged and two egos badly bruised.

Late in the 1940's, Dr. Parker, the younger of the two men, died of a heart attack. John Henry Haynes lived about ten years longer, dying in 1959 at age 85. Life on Burnisde Street became less exciting with the passing of these two dauntless drivers.


"Let's have some biscuits for supper." suggested my father.

I immediately had visions of light fluffy biscuits dripping with honey, and my mouth started watering. Mother made wonderful biscuits, but mother was in the hospital.

"But, I don't know how to make biscuits," I said apologetically.

Mother was very ill. While tending her roses she had pricked her thumb with a rose thorn which became imbedded in the thumb. The resulting infection led to blood poisoning. In 1935 the wonder drugs were not yet on the market. Blood poisoning was very serious and it was feared that mother would lose her arm. Fortunately, the arm was saved and only the thumb had to be amputated.

I was about twelve years old at the time and the only child left at home. My older brothers were away at college or working, so my father and I were trying to keep hearth and home together while mother was hospitalized.

I think my father assumed that all females were born with the necessary skills to bake, clean, sew etc. It never occurred to him that these skills were learned. Because I was a girl,I was born to bake biscuits. Knowing this fact made it especially difficult for me to admit that I didn't know how to bake biscuits.

My father was of the old school. He believed in roles. His male role was master and provider for the family while my mother was manager of the household, cook, cleaning woman, seamstress, laundress, and nurturer of the children. My father never crossed roles--he was a stranger to the kitchen. If he crossed the kitchen threshold, it was only to get a drink of water. Therefore, I was not greatly encouraged when he said, "Biscuits can't be hard to make. I'll help you."

I was a tomboy. I love outdoor sports and was happy to let mother do the cooking. She never pushed me into kitchen work. My chores involved set-up and clean-up of meals, but never food preparation. It wasn't that mother wouldn't teach me, it was that I had shown no interest in learning. I believe mother was waiting for this interest to appear. So, I was helpless in the kitchen, but my father couldn't believe that.

"Let's go", he said.

I found mother's recipe. I found a bowl and measuring spoons. I found the ingredients, except for "shortening." I didn't understand that word. My father proudly announced that shortening meant butter. He brought the butter from the refrigerator.

We measured carefully and dumped all the ingredients into the bowl. We stirred and stirred. We took turns stirring. That was bound to be the appropriate thing to do.

The dough was a very sticky mess. It occurred to me that it probably required kneading. I had seen mother knead bread, so I felt I could master that. My father dumped more flour on the bread board and I tried my hand at kneading the dough. My father was impressed.

We finally were able to roll the dough and were ready to cut the biscuits. We couldn't find the biscuit cutter. Again, my father came to the rescue. We used a small glass tumbler to cut the biscuits.

The stove was our next hurdle. Our old cast iron stove had been replaced by a modern electric Hotpoint range. It was my mother's pride and joy, but to my father and me, it was an enigma. We experimented a bit until we found the right switches for the oven. We placed our perfectly shaped biscuits on pie pans (the only thing I could find) and put them into the oven. We waited impatiently for them to bake.

At last the biscuits were done. They were in the exact shape as before baking. That was surprising. They were nicely browned, but they were not light and fluffy. They were, instead, heavy and hard as bullets. No human teeth could possible break their crust. They were awful. They might have been used successfully as hockey pucks, but as biscuits, they were hopeless failures.

I cried. My father sighed sadly. His daughter was not "born too bake"

Needless to say, mother was welcomed heartily when she recovered and returned to her station in the kitchen.

Eventually I discovered the difference between yeast bread which requires kneading and biscuits which do not. I learned that in order to be light and fluffy, biscuits must be handled gently. "The less they are handled, the lighter they'll be."

My father lived long enough to taste my fluffy light biscuits and to enjoy my delicious yeast breads. He seemed to have forgotten my beginning failure. But I never forgot the hockey-puck biscuits. The hockey pucks became my symbol for success or failure. Remembering that humiliating experience caused me to seek background knowledge, obtain practical experience and sufficient practice whenever attempting to master n new skill. No more hockey pucks! Perhaps experience is the best teacher.


My grandsons are coming of age--the age when the acquisition of a Driver's License is the most important goal of their young lives. The long, involved process of (1) obtaining a Learning Permit, (2) scheduling Drivers' Education at school followed by (3) personal driving lessons from parents or professionals, seems enormously complicated to me. It was so simple when I was young.

My father was a traveling salesman. He was on the road driving somewhere in northern New England every working day. Driving a car was a skill which he valued highly and which he felt important for each of his children to master. When I was quite young my father would let me sit on his lap and pretend to drive while he, of course, was in control of the car. However, as I grew older, I often accompanied my father on his short trips--ones which allowed us to return home on the same day. On these trips, he would occasionally ask me if I would like to "take the wheel." I was always eager to do this. He made me feel as if I was really driving, but I knew that my father was maintaining control. As I entered teenage, my father taught me about the gear shift and allowed me to practice shifting the gears while the car sat in the driveway. Gradually he taught me about using the clutch. To master this I practiced driving the car up and down our driveway.

One day, after my father had watched me drive back and forth in the driveway endlessly, he suggested, " Why don't you back out of the driveway, drive up Burnside street to the Amadons' house (only about 2 houses up the street) turn in their driveway and return home." I could hardly believe that he would let me do this. It meant that I would be driving right out on the street where there might be other cars! It was really scary. After that, every weekend when my father was at home, I would practice moving the car up and down the driveway, then out into the street, up the street to the Amadons' driveway, turn around and drive back home. I did this over and over again. It made me feel very powerful to handle the car all by myself.

After a while this routine became a bit boring and I yearned for more opportunities. My girlfriend, Harriet, lived on Winter street--directly across Elm street from Burnside Street. I begged my father to allow me to drive to Harriet's house. This meant crossing the intersection of Elm and Burnside streets. I thought he would never allow this. He would consider it too dangerous. I reasoned that my father would make me wait until I was 16 years old and could qualify for a license. But, my father checked with Harriet's father to find out if he had any objections about my using his driveway and when he learned that Mr. C didn't mind, he told me to go ahead and practice going from our house to Harriet's house. I loved this. Sometimes Harriet would ride along with me. She was a year older that me and had already obtained her license. However, her father drove a big Packard, and would not allow Harriet to drive it alone. I felt so superior, even though our car was only a Chevrolet.

In 1939, on the morning of my 16th birthday, my father announced that I could get my license. It would be my birthday present. I was ecstatic. I assumed that my father would drive me downtown and be with me while I took the driving test. I had no idea what the test would be like. I was very excited.

Instead, my father said, "Go ahead, drive the car down to the sheriff's office and pick up your license." I had never driven downtown. I had never driven alone anywhere except to Harriet's house and back. I was petrified. I protested that I couldn't drive downtown without a license, but my father told me that he had phoned Sheriff Jones and the sheriff was expecting me.

So it came about. I was very frightened, but somehow, all by myself, without a legal right to do so, I managed to drive to the sheriff's office. Sheriff Jones met me at the door. " So, this is John Haynes' daughter. Do come in." I expected to take a test to prove that I was a competent driver, but Sheriff Jones never mentioned such a necessity. Instead, he asked me to sign the necessary papers and presented me with a valid driver's license. He shook my hand, congratulated me and sent me home. I could hardly believe it. I had become a legally licensed driver of the state of Mew Hampshire in approximately 15 minutes.

Of course, Sheriff Jones was not only a family friend but also a member of the Masonic Lodge where my father held a prominent office. He would never question my father about his daughter's driving skills. Instead, he would proclaim, "If John Henry Haynes sends his daughter down to this office for a license, she's ready for a license."

That's the way it works in a small town. In 1939 in Lancaster, New Hampshire, getting a driver's license was not complicated at all.

Ruth H. Lund
written September 29, 1997


NOTE: This incident occurred about 1927 in Lancaster, New Hampshire. It is recorded as I remember it being told by my brother, Henry Arnold Haynes.

I always hated being the youngest of the three Haynes boys. We were about two years apart in age, but my brothers treated me as if I was much too young to participate in their activities. They palled around with the Blake boys, Howard and Ernest, who were a little older and quite adventuresome. When my brothers were teenagers and I was only twelve, they sometimes allowed me to tag along with them, but whenever they ganged up with the Blake boys to do something really exciting, I was always too young to go along.

One day the Blaake boys came to our home brimming over with excitement. All of us gathered to hear their news. While rummaging around in their barn, they had discovered an old 22 caliber pistol. What a find! Of course, they had no ammunition for the gun, but they were sure that if all of us searched, we could find some bullets. I was doubtful. Our father was not a hunter, and he owned no guns, so I couldn't believe that he would have any bullets laying around. However I never mentioned my doubts. I hunted for bullets. I was so glad to be with all the big boys.

There was a workbench at the rear of our garage, and small boxes of useful things were stored there. Searching through many boxes, we found a very old, torn-up box containing some bullets. Of course we did not know whether the bullets would fit the gun, but it was worth a try.

At this point, I was told to leave. I was certainly too young to participate in this great adventure. I was sent back to the house where I pouted in rage and disappointment at being left out of all the fun again.

Behind the homes on Burnside Street there was a wooded area approximately 400 yards wide which extended the full length of the street. A pretty brook ran through the woods and there were several paths made by neighborhood children who played there occasionally. Although this wooded area was unsuitable for building, there were houses built all around it.

The four boys (Elvin and Wilson Haynes, Ernest and Howard Blake) decided to go to the woods, as far away from the houses as possible to try out the gun. To make doubly sure that they were a safe distance away from the houses, they blazed a new trail down behind the Magoon house where no one ever went because it was somewhat swampy.

The boys forced the bullets into the pistol. I don't know who shot first or how many shots were fired, but one bullet traveled far.

Mrs. Magoon was sitting quietly in front of her window engrossed in her needlework, when a bullet crashed through the window, whizzed by her head and came to rest in her living room wall.

Mrs. Magoon, thoroughly frightened and very aware of having fortunately escaped injury, lost no time in calling the constable. She feared that dangerous outlaws were inhabiting the woods behind her house. She screamed into the phone. "They are trying to kill me."

The four boys, hearing the crack of the bullet hitting the window, made a hasty getaway. However, the woods were not thick enough too hide the culprits for very long. The miscreants were soon captured.

I was in my room, still angry at being excluded from all the fun, when I heard the front doorbell ring. Hearing strange voices, I crept to the stairwell to see what was happening. I caught a glimpse of my two brothers looking very scared. There was a strange man with them. A stern voice asked, "Mrs. Haynes, are these boys your sons?"

I crept quietly back to my room and, for once in my life, I was happy to be the youngest Haynes boy.


I have never considered myself an active participant in the feminist movement. However, perhaps I did, in a small way, contribute to the acceptance of women in a field previously occupied only by men.

The War truly affected my college life. I went off to the University of New Hampshire in September 1941. Pearl Harbor occurred in December of that year. After that incident, normal college life ceased. Many of the men enlisted immediately, although some waited until the end of our first year. By our sophomore year a military training program was in place on campus, and soldiers paraded through the campus regularly. We were very aware that a war was going on.

By the end of my sophomore year, I was still undecided about my major. I was interested in science, but unsure of whether to pursue zoology or chemistry. I became aware of a new program available to women on campus. Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Corporation was suffering from the lack of engineers. Many of their engineers had entered military service. Yet the company was in full production of the much needed aircraft engines, so they sought to fill their engineering positions by training women. The company offered a scholarship program to college women who were willing to subject themselves to a rigorous engineering program and contract to work for the company in Hartford Conn. for at least one year.

I learned that I qualified for the program. I was an up-coming junior, with a science background and my grades were good. I was a bit apprehensive about an engineering program but I figured I would give it a try. The scholarship paid full tuition, room and board and even provided spending money. During my first two years of college I had been on scholarship and had held a job in the University Library. If I was accepted in the P & W Program, I would no longer have any financial worries. It also solved my dilemma regarding a major. I would become an engineering major with a job waiting for me following graduation. Therefore, I was delighted to learn that I was accepted into the program.

Pratt & Whitney set up Engineering-Aide programs at The University of North Carolina, The University of Wisconsin and the University of New Hampshire. Girls from Maine, Connecticut and New York came to UNH to participate. There were about 20 P & W girls at UNH.

My best friend, Carolyn Cleasby (Carney), also entered the program. We chose to room together. Although we grew up together in Lancaster, New Hampshire, when we entered UNH we decided to go separate ways. We hardly saw each other during the first two years of college. Now, we were back together again.

The UNH group soon became known on campus as " The P & W Girls." Our academic courses were all prescribed by Pratt & Whitney. However, most of the courses were the same as the Mechanical Engineering program at UNH. We did not take our classes with the men, but we had the same professors and we used the same facilities in the engineering school. This meant that we became the first women to ever set foot in the engineering laboratories. We found the labs to be incredibly dirty. One lab, in particular was grimy. It offended our sensibilities to have to work in such a messy environment. Naturally, as we worked in our assigned spaces in the lab, we managed to clean them up a bit. Gradually we cleaned the adjacent spaces until the entire lab was quite presentable. However, this did not make us popular with the men who also used these facilities. For some reason the male engineers seemed to resent our presence on their turf. Perhaps they also disliked having the competition, for the P & W Girls soon showed their aability to handle the academic challenges of the engineering school.

We started the program in the summer of 1943. With our accelerated program we graduated from UNH in June 1944. After graduation we traveled to Hartford, Connecticut where our training continued. We had to attend Engine School and Machine School before we received our assigned positions in the company.

At Hartford, the P & W girls from the University of North Carolina and the University of Wisconsin joined us. There were probably 40 of us in all.
The company appointed counselor for the engineering aides (Fran) located suitable housing for us in the city. The UNH group was housed in a boarding house on Farmington Avenue run by Miss Wheeler. The UNC and UNW groups had similar accommodations nearby.

At Engine School we learned to take apart and put back together a B-24 airplane engine. Of course we had excellent supervision throughout this project.
We also had to go to Propeller school. It was more theoretical than hands on, consisting of days of boring lectures.

After all this we attended Machine School. Here we learned to use lathes and milling machines. We had to machine small airplane parts down to ten thousandths of an inch. Our instructors were very patient with us.It was all quite new and fascinating.

For this summer training we were issued overalls, shirts and bandannas. The overalls had a patch on the back denoting their manufacturer. BUILT-WELL was the brand name which we carried on our backs. Boarding the public buses in downtown Hartford in our BUILT-WELL overalls always brought comments from amused on-lookers.

Machine School was held during the 3 P.M. to 11 P.M. shift and was at a mid-town location. We found that biking to and from home was the ideal form of transportation. We felt completely safe biking home at 11;30 P.M. through the city streets. We were always filthy from working on the lathes or the milling machines and there was a race to get home first to get the first bath. With so many baths, the boarding house water heater was over-taxed. Those getting the last baths often had cold water.

At the end of our summer training period, we were assigned positions within the main factory in East Hartford. This was a tense time, for each of us had areas which we wished to avoid if possible. For me it was drafting. I had not liked the mechanical drawing courses required, and dreaded the thought that I might be assigned a job in the drafting department. The jobs would be assigned according to the company's current needs. We had no way of knowing how choices were made

I was fortunate. I was assigned to the metallurgy department. Jane Morris, a P&W girl from Wisconsin and I became Engineering Aides in the metallurgy laboratory. We worked for two engineers, both young and very personable. They allowed us to call them by their first names--Ross and Vern. Our tasks involved determining whether aircraft engine failure was due to metallurgical failure. To do this, we examined various parts from downed airplanes. We learned to cast minute fragments of airplane parts in bakelite so that we could examine them under a microscope. Our department was called "Investigation" because we investigate causes for engine failure. I remember one job that Janie was assigned--the entire nose section of a 2800 engine. Janie is a very petite person--about 4 feet tall, and she drew the biggest job we had ever had. Of course, Janie got one of the machinists to cut out the defective portion for her so that she did not have to drag that whole thing around. Much of the time we farmed work out--for machining, x-ray, chemical testing, spectroanalysis etc. We would get the results from all these tests, do a hardness test and the microscopic exam ourselves and finally draw our conclusions as to the cause of the engine failure. I enjoyed the work and Janie and I became good friends.

Most of the girls were satisfied with their assignments. We settled into the life of working girls. Hartford was a pleasant city to live in and we enjoyed our free time biking around the area, visiting the beautiful city parks and shopping in the big department stores.

Social life was limited because most of the young men were serving in the armed forces. We rarely saw a male person in our age category. The men we met at work were all married or 4-F. It was a bit discouraging for girls who were hoping to meet eligible men.

Many of the P & W girls had boyfriends overseas fighting in the war. War was never far from our minds. We all lived for the mail which brought news from the front. I recall one week when 3 girls from the same boarding house received word of brothers or boyfriends missing in action. My own roommate, Carney Cleasby learned that her fiance, Andy Haldane had been killed on a Pacific island. It was a very sad time.

Some of us decided to change our living arrangements. We felt we could live less expensively in other quarters where we could cook for ourselves. Carney and I teamed up with two other P & W girls to rent 2 large rooms with an adjoining bath. Here we had kitchen privileges, and we began taking turns cooking dinner. Our menus were simple. I remember very little creative cooking. Casseroles became the mainstay of our diet. Ever since that time I have been unable to eat a casserole made of tuna, potato chips and mushroom soup. Due to the rationing of sugar, we had few desserts. However, we had lots of fun at this rooming house and I have good memories of life there.

I stayed at this place until my contract with Pratt & Whitney was completed. I took a leave of absence for the month of February, 1945 when Ralph and I were married. (This story is recorded in "Shotgun Wedding"). Being a P & W Girl was a wonderful experience. We proved that we could do the work previously assigned only to men.

Resentment lasts a long time. In 1995 at our 50th UNH reunion I was seated at a luncheon opposite a man I did not know. In attempting to find some common ground for conversation, I asked what school he had attended. When he told me that he was in the Engineering school, I was delighted, thinking that we might have known some of the same professors or have taken the same courses. So I declared proudly, "I took some engineering courses too. I was a Pratt & Whitney Girl." There was dead silence from across the table. It was quite obvious that our conversation was over. Could it be that the resentment of the male engineers still existed after 50 years? It is hard to believe. Women still have a long way to go to overcome male chauvinism.

Ruth Haynes Lund, October 1996


"What a lovely fern!" "You really know how to care for ferns,Ruth."

I hear this from almost everyone who enters my living room. They all admire my large Boston fern which sits in front of the living room window. I always feel guilty when I hear these remarks because I really know nothing about house plants. The fact that this fern continues to thrive is quite a mystery.

My mother loved house plants. In the large Victorian house where I grew up in Lancaster, New Hampshire, there were house plants at almost every window. In the living room , a tall ornate brass plant stand with a marble shelf supported a porcelain jardiniere which always held a Boston Fern. This was my mother's pride and joy. It was always lush and beautiful. She seemed to have the right touch for ferns.

After my father's death, my mother came to Richmond, Virginia to live with us. The Victorian plant stand was probably sold to the antique dealer when mother broke up her home, but she brought the antique porcelain jardiniere with her. I found a small table to support the jardiniere and bought a Boston Fern to place in it. We placed the fern in the living room window which had a southern exposure. Mother Haynes took very good care of the fern and it flourished in this position. Mother was delighted. The fern made her feel at home.

The Virginia summer climate proved to be too hot and humid for mother. We arranged for her to return to New Hampshire and live with my brother during the summer months. As time for her departure neared, mother would start advising me about caring for her fern while she was away. I promised to do my best to keep the fern healthy.

But, I did not inherit my mother's green thumb. As a matter of fact, most plants which I have tried to raise have died. I really did try to take good care of the fern, but somehow, it drooped and died before the summer was over. In the fall when it was time for mother Haynes to return to us, I was forced to purchase a new Boston Fern for the jardiniere. When mother exclaimed with pleasure, "Oh Ruth, you DID take good care of my fern. It looks lovely", I felt a twinge of guilt, but it passed quickly. I really didn't make a habit of lying to my mother, and this was just a tiny lie, wasn't it?

Mother lived with us for many years. I am ashamed to say that every year the same procedure occurred. I never quite managed to keep that fern alive during the summer months. Each fall, upon her return to Richmond, Mother was so pleased to see the Boston Fern in good health that I felt justified in telling my little lie,

During her last few years of life, mother was quite ill. She stayed upstairs all the time, mostly in bed. However, she was able to get up and walk to the bathroom. During this time we moved the plant to the upstairs hall window so that Mother could still care for her fern. Unfortunately, she often forgot when she had last watered the plant. She began to add water to it every time she passed it in the hall. The fern nearly drowned under this excess. When I noticed an overflow of water, I would rescue the fern. Yet, somehow, the fern survived this harsh treatment.

Mother moved back to New Hampshire into a nursing home for the last few months of her life. She died in May of 1974, just after her 91st birthday. At that time her fern was back in its place in our living room window. Much to our surprise, the fern did not die during the summer months after mother's departure. Instead it thrived. During the 23 years since mother's death, we periodically divide the large fern because it becomes too crowded for the jardiniere, but, incredible as it may be, we have never had to replace the Boston fern. It continues to flourish. I like to think that Mother Haynes is still caring for her fern.

Ruth H. Lund
Written September 1, 1997


This story is recorded as I remember it being told by my brother, Elvin B. Haynes.

The winter of 1968 was memorable. My mother, age 85, came to live with us. Since the death of my father in 1959, mother had lived with my sister Ruth in Richmond, Virginia. Because the heat and humidity of Richmond summers proved too uncomfortable for mother, she returned to Lancaster, N.H. to stay with brother Arnold during the summer. This arrangement worked very well for many years. However, due to some family problems, Ruth asked that we change plans that winter. So, mother Haynes joined my wife and me in Nashua, N.H. for a few months.

We were worried about this arrangement because we lived in an old house which had a very narrow, steep stairway. All the bedrooms were on the second floor, so mother was forced to use these stairs. We were afraid that she would fall. We cautioned her not to go up or down the stairs unless one of us was around to help her negotiate the steep steps. However, we wasted our breath. Mother was not accustomed to being restricted in her movements. She went up and down the stairs at will.

Besides the stairs, mother had difficulty adjusting to our routines. She woke very early in the morning when no one else was up. She wanted her breakfast as soon as she was up and dressed. My wife, Fritzi, liked to sleep late in the morning. We asked mother to wait until Fritzi was up and about before descending the stairs for breakfast. Mother tried hard to comply with this rule, but habits are difficult to break.

I liked to get up early. I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the early morning when the rest of the household was still asleep. I usually fixed myself a big breakfast which I could eat without interruption. I sipped my coffee and read my newspaper leisurely before heading for my busy optometry office. It was the best part of the day.

One morning just as I was placing on the table a plate of bacon, sunny-side-up eggs and toast, Mother Haynes appeared in the kitchen. I was alarmed to see her there. She obviously had forgotten our admonitions concerning the stairs. I wondered what I should do. Should I take her back upstairs? While I was contemplating my next move, mother noticed my plate of bacon, eggs and toast. She immediately sat down at that place saying, "Why, Elvin, how wonderful of you to fix my favorite breakfast. It looks delicious." And she ate the whole thing!

I realized that mother Haynes was not the only one who had to make adjustments. From that time on I cooked two breakfasts.

Written February 14, 1997
Ruth Haynes Lund


Mother Haynes had a unique way of phrasing things. Among the many memories we have of her, her "sayings" stand out.

Mother was a prim and proper New England lady. She had grown up in New Brunswick, Canada, of Scotch and English ancestry. Perhaps this background accounted for her quaint expressions. For example, she would refuse second helpings at dinner saying, "I've had a gracious plenty, thank you."

Mother was a very modest person. While riding in the car, if she needed a rest stop she quietly asked the driver to stop so that she could "drop a tear".

Because of her many English ways, she was often offered a cup of tea. She always declined, saying that her preferred drink was Cambric tea. She was surprised when people had to be told that Cambric tea is hot water with a little milk added.

After my father's death in l959, mother, at age 76, came to live with our family. How difficult it must have been for her to adjust to our busy household with three active boys. Although she had raised three sons who often fought with one another, she seemed to have forgotten those days. The frequent scuffles typical of small boys bothered her. Her grandsons shouldn't behave this way. I recall one particular episode when a fight suddenly broke out in the kitchen and ended with one of the boys being pushed against the back door with such force that his hand went through the glass and was badly cut. After we returned from the emergency room, Mother quietly remarked, "Why did he have to put his hand through that glass door?" Why, indeed.

As the boys entered teenage and were involved with sports, she had more trouble understanding our hectic schedule and the boys' activities. Meals had to be adjusted around practice times for basketball team, track team, or orchestra rehearsals. It was hard to schedule sit-down dinners with the whole family around the table. Mother liked meals to be at regular times, and before coming to our home she and my father had eaten dinner about 5 pm. So, when 5 pm arrived, mother was really ready for her dinner. Therefore, it was easy to understand that she was annoyed when I fed my dog at 5 pm. She could be heard to mutter under her breath, "Ruth never forgets that dog".

Track and Field,as a sport, was an enigma to mother Haynes. When our son Haynes rushed off for a track meet, mother would question, "Why does he have to run? Does he get paid to run?' Then, when Haynes arrived home bearing a beautiful trophy, mother would say with great surprise, "They gave you that for running?

Our eldest son, JP, played the piano and spent many hours practicing. After listening to JP playing Bach or Chopin, mother would ask, "Why doesn't JP ever play hymns?" With this attitude toward music, it seemed strange to us that when JP brought his Rock band to the house to practice, mother watched in fascination and never complained of the loud noise.

In many ways mother Haynes seemed naive. She disliked the newspaper because it was filled with tales of tragedy and violent crime. She would throw the paper down with disgust saying, "With all the beautiful churches in this city, I do not understand why there is so much crime."

My friends were often amused at mother's unique phrasing. When mother heard of our friend JM thumbing his way home from UVA for a weekend, she was disturbed. I think she was concerned about the boy's safety. However, when she mentioned this, she said, "Isn't it awful about JM fingering his way down the road?"

Even the changes in fashion shocked mother, especially the advent of pant suits for women. Women should wear skirts. After a social evening at our home when my friend DL arrived in a very stylish pant suit, mother held her tongue until the party was over. She then remarked disapprovingly, "Well, I never thought I'd see Mrs. L in a panty suit!"

Sometimes mother became brave enough to speak her mind, She was a wonderful cook, and she enjoyed cooking. She kept our cookie jars full and made delicious cakes and pies. She also fried old-fashioned New England doughnuts. They were so different from southern doughnuts, that I called all my friends to come for coffee on the day mother made doughnuts. Of course my friends had to bring their children along. Some of the little ones would pick up a doughnut, take one bite and throw the doughnut down. This annoyed mother since she spent hours preparing these treats. She followed the children around, trying to pick up after them. Finally, she became so upset that she blurted out, "Well, I think I've salvaged enough doughnuts for breakfast." I was a bit embarrassed, but my friends were greatly amused.

At other times, when mother expressed her feelings, her remarks seemed very appropriate. Whenever we rode in the car, either for a long trip or a short run to the corner store, she was always happy to arrive back home. She would remark, "It's so good to get back home again safely."

Recalling my childhood years reminds me of mother's admonitions. She would remind us that "Patience is a virtue." Sometimes she would finish this rhyme with "Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can. It's often found in women, but rarely found in men." She often advised "moderation in all things", or "honesty is the best policy." I even recall her advice when I was first allowed to bathe myself. She said, "Wash up as far as possible, down as far as possible, and don't forget possible."

Mother Haynes was very fond of our family doctor. Even though house calls were a thing of the past, this man made many house calls to take care of mother. At one point , late in her life, Dr. G. hospitalized mother. Of course he checked on her progress daily, but when he got to her room she was either asleep or unaware of his presence due to her medication. Finally, when he found her awake and alert one day, she lashed out at him. "You have put me into this place just to abandon me." Dr. G never forgot this accusation. We still laugh about it.

Mother Haynes lived to be 91 years of age. Many of the Haynes family members quote mother often. "A gracious plenty" and "Back home again, safely" are among the favorites. I believe she would feel honored to be remembered in this way.

Whenever mother Haynes told an anecdote she always ended with, "How's that?" or "What about that?" Sometimes she clapped her hands as she said it.

How about that?

Written February 18, 1997
Ruth Haynes Lund
© 2005 Ruth Haynes Lund