Iris Carlson

Iris Carlson

Letter dated November 11, 2005. I received this from my mother and have transcribed as she wrote it.

My son Aulay Phillips Carlson, born in N.Y.C. on October 27, 1935 phoned me (or I him) and asked me to write about the time we spent at Manumit, a progressive camp for young children in Pawling N.Y.

I was hired as a head counselor of three groups, one of which was mine. Aulay aged 4 years and his brother Douglas Gilmore Carlson aged 3 years born in February 28, 1937 in N.Y.C. were in another group. Their counselor was Marguerite Rudolph. Her daughter Alicia was in my group.

Manumit was in an attractive country site, with fields, a brook and some trees, very suitable for a summer camp. The buildings were somewhat primitive, but freshly painted inside with vivid colors.

Aulay and Doug were happy and related well to the other young children and enjoyed the space and the freedom. The food was ample and simple and the staff well chosen. There were classes for art and games, walks to learn about nature and a few quite old horses to ride. Doug was enchanted with horses and loved to get a ride, but Aulay freaked out when he saw one and promptly disappeared. Classes came to a standstill while the staff looked for him. The was shallow and Aulay did not like to go in to it fortunately. He preferred to run around by himself rather than be in a group.

We spend a pleasant summer there. I divorced from their father Wallace Carlson and became engaged to the man in charge of the farm, Bertand M. Lewis. The camp owner Ben Fincke decided to continue in the fall and open a small winter school. I as a former Montessori Nursery School Teacher was hired as an aide for the fall term.

At the end of the term, I stayed in the unheated school but we were comfortable with an oil heater. At Xmas Bert brought a small Xmas tree for the boys and took us out for Xmas dinner.

The owner of Manumit decided suddenly to give his brother my position so Bert and I took the boys to Waterbury, Conn where he thought his uncle Adrian Malloy would help him to find work.