Margaret Colman

My grandmother, Margaret Colman (now deceased) who was a concert pianist from Hungary who immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1920s used to teach piano and also, I believe, cooked at Manumit School years ago. Does anyone remember her and have any memories to share? Also, my father Cyril Carty (also deceased) worked as a kind of handyman and caretaker at Manumit for a time. One of his children, James Carty, my half-brother, lived there for a time with him, I understand, and maybe attended Manumit as well. Does anyone have any memory of any of these people? Lucy Blue

I remember Margaret oh so well. I, my sister, my father&mother all were Manumitters in the early 40’s. We had immigrated (escaped Hitler) in Dec. ’38. Father was the unofficial Dr.while studying for his US Med. certification (Many fond memories for these years). Margaret did some cooking, taught piano-wonderful person-her lovely daughter Lillian also there. Later on she came to Goddard College where she also cooked and gave private piano lessons. Remember being enchanted listening to Margaret playing Chopin Polonaise while lying on the floor in the Mill’s (since burned down which precipitated the move to PA) dark meeting room. She called me Klaussy. Ha. Klause Breitbarth

Dear Klaus and Lucy Blue, I was only at Manumit – Bristol (Langhorn), Penna. but had family at both Manumits – and visited Pawling and my cousins there when I was little. You might be interested in checking out our new website: which has info and pictures of both or contacting me at: – for further “webmaps” to Manumit information. All this Manumit reunion activity has taken place since John’s unfortunate death. I will forward your listing on to others who may have known you or your family. We have a large extended “family”. Welcome to it. Hildreth (Hildy), Class of ’55

Thank you so much, Klaus, for your post. What a delight to read about memories of my grandmother. I had the grace to have private lessons with her for about 5-1/2 years, as I was growing up in Plainfield, VT. For many years, my family lived in the same building as she did, after she moved from Kilpatrick House, then Greatwood Cottage, to the old Plainfield Inn in Plainfield. I have fond memories of her bringing her fresh-baked Hungarian pastries up the stairs to our apartment on a Sunday(?) morning. I had a dream about her recently, where she was walking away from me, her back turned towards me. I didn’t know what it meant at first (although I was really glad to dream about her at all). Then something unexpected happened and I found a job locally teaching piano. That’s when I realized I was supposed to follow her – at least, so I like to interpret it. Goddard students used to rave about her home-baked bread, and some of her piano students would come back to visit her years later, she was so well loved. Thanks again for sharing your memories with me; they really touched my heart. I have forwarded your post to relatives who I think will also cherish your words. Lucy Blue

Thank you so much for the gift of the website. It was really fun to look at the old photos and read a bit of the stories. Even though I am just the granddaughter of and daughter of relatives who worked there, I feel a connection to Manumit in my heart. What a wonderful place it must have been to go to school. The spirit of it seems to be living on strongly in all of you. Peace and love to all
Lucy Blue

I remember Margaret very well. She cooked for the upper school, called Broad Meadows, that was about a mile from the main school in Pawling, N.Y. She was quiet and even tempered – very patient with us and rather private. Wonderful food we had! which included dessert crepes which we were allowed to help her make when we were on kitchen squad. I remember her graciously playing for us on a miserable old piano. Billy Fincke, director of the school, said she would have had a grand career as a pianist but for a severe case of stage fright. True? Billy had an active imagination. I remember your father and your lovely looking mother, too. And, of course, Lillian who was a great dancer – really danced a Lindy Hop. We were at Broad Meadows together. Bright and mature, too. Where is she now? And your mother? Nice memories for me
Barbara Duton Dretzin

Hi Aulay and Lucy:

Yes, so many thanks for the website, Aulay etal – it is wonderful to hear all your young voices from the other (new) Manumit.  Could you get this to Lucy Blue?  Is she Lillian’s child, do you know?

I remember Margaret.  That poised and elegant woman was incredibly the cook at Broad Meadows. Those of us who were at the July reunion (listed above)lived, learned, loved and above all – ate – at Broad Meadows.

(Klausy, thank you for your glorious Margaret comments. – And, I don’t seem to have Dale’s email anymore – so would someone forward this to him and give me his email?  Have others of you sent memories of Margaret which I’ve missed?)

Margaret was quiet and put up with a lot from us. We were forced, kicking and screaming to spend a lot of time in the kitchen doing KP, peeling potatoes, ie, cutting ourselves, spilling garbage and shoddily scraping plates.  I don’t remember one cross word from her.  Maybe other kids helped cook – but if so, I was not one of them.  It was peeling and scraping for me.

I never knew that Margaret was a pianist until she appeared at the Mill one “assembly” evening and gave us a knock-out concert. Klaus said in his leter that the piano was horrible, which makes sense, but I would never have known that – being tone deaf.  However, in spite of that debility, I love music and was enraptured.  From then on Margaret was a whole new being for me.

All my life I have tried to play the piano. I bought a spinet just after Gwil and I moved into an apartment with an extra wall to accommodate it, forced it on my kids, took it to London in the late 60’s. (My son has turned into a magnificent jazz pianist; talent courtesy of Pa not Ma. Gwil Brown was a grand singer – always right on key..could sing anything once he’d heard it.)

Margaret was, most importantly to me, the mother of Lillian;  Lillian Colman, great athelete, great piano player, great dancer and beloved friend.  I’ve thought and wondered about her, lo these many years.

Lillian not only bested me musically, she also beat me at ping pong, jacks and hearts – and later at Goddard, bridge.  She was wonderfully competitive as am I.  It was the game we loved. Whatever it happened to be.  We loved winning, of course, but as I was usually beaten I learned, through Lillian, to take losing with a stiff(ish) upper lip.  Lillian had wonderful physical as well as mental skills – I wonder what she did with them.

And, as Klaus mentions, what a dancer!  When there wasn’t a boy to be had for the lindy – all of us extra girls would try and grab her – if some durn boy hadn’t got there first, as was usually the case.

We were at Broad Meadows and then Goddard together. I doggedly took piano at Goddard.  I think Lillian will remember my struggles with The Moonlight Sonata (all 3 movements were subjected to my hamfists.)  She would play the tarantella for me whenever asked. I will always love her.

Where are you, Lillian?
Joyce Skeyhill Crosbie Brown Scheffey (so many fathers, husbands, etc.)