in my bedroom at The Dump. Anyone, I told
her, could look in and see me while I was dressing or undressing.
"Why would anyone want to look in the window at you?"
Nellie snapped. "Just what do you think you've got that's so unusual?"
Nothing ever fazed her. If five or ten extra people suddenly showed
up for a meal she would not be upset, and as this situa- tion occurred
frequently, she kept a reserve supply of food on hand. Most remarkable,
perhaps, was the way she managed at our place in Townshend,
Vermont where a group of family and friends often gathered for
weekends in the spring and fall; she not
only cooked for eighteen or twenty people but did house- work and
dishes besides, and all under quite primitive condi- tions.
She flatly refused any assistance — to bring another helper
in would have been an insult — and she managed to serve a hot meal even
when we'd been off on an expedition and arrived back at the house
two or three hours late.
When the United States entered
World War I the government built an airplane base across the bay from
The Dump, and planes flew past our house to patrol the coast. One Sunday
afternoon, returning from a fishing trip, we could hear explosions above
the roar of the Evinrude. Soon we noticed an unusual number of
planes flying into the base and flying out again almost imme-
diately. As they flew down the bay we could see splashes in the water
from machine gun bullets. The mysterious explosions persisted and we
realized that something out of the ordinary
was happening. Apparently the patrol planes had been unarmed, and now
that they suddenly needed weapons they had to go