Monday, May 13, 2013

Jeaniegray and Bill Oleson and
yours truly photographing ourselves
at arm's length, circa 1980

Hansel and Gretel and the Witch ,
 Senior thesis at Yale Art School in egg tempera
Jeaniegray Schiebel (Johnson Stokes Oleson)

The Opera Singer
Poster of Hamden  historic homes
drawn by
Jeaniegray  Oleson
for the
Town of Hamden Historical Society

I visited Jeaniegray at a Hamden nursing home (Arden House?) a few weeks before she died as I drove from Vermont to Connecticut for Thanksgiving with family.  She was not awake but I stayed awhile and left a small plant with a note on it which her relatives  did not see.
I had placed it behind a curtain for sunlight .

 I wrote this tribute to her when I returned to Vermont.  I had promised her thirty years before that I would deliver her eulogy, but her children did not know that.
I wrote the tribute in such a way that it could simply be kept and read privately by the family.

They asked me to deliver it at her funeral, not knowing it fulfilled her wish and my promise.


Note to the text: To my child's mind, Jeaniegray was a "daughter of privilege" because her father, Otto Schiebel ---who lived around the corner from my childhood home and from Jeaniegray's----  sent her to Yale and drove a "Cadillac"  or "Pontiac" and once owned a "yacht", none of which I had experience of in my family---especially the  fancy cars!

Me, circa 2006,  wearing
Connecticut Governor's Footguard Uniform, which belonged to Jeaniegray's father, Otto Schiebel.

Edgerton, (left front) a "castle" of 80 rooms, a block past one end of  Hamden  where Mount Carmel lay

Edgerton, (right front) a "castle" of 80 rooms, a block past one end of  Hamden  where Mount Carmel lay.

The Sleeping Giant, at the other end of Hamden, where Mount Carmel proper sits.

Edgartown MASS  02539  August 19 1975

Dear Mr. Keane;

     Many thanks for your letter. I have tried to reach you by telephone [number?] 203-288-4873
four times during the day, hence my delay in replying. 

     Your request presents me difficulties.

     I have recently approached a number of my friends for donations to what I feel to be urgent and highly worthy causes. HOW CAN  I APPEAL to them [for]anything as vague and unnecessary as a MUSEUM for Hamden?  Hamden is contiguous to New Haven, notable for museums, cultural, scientific, and historical.

     Until your Commission finds a more laudable project (also excluding a horse trough and birdbath) 
I do not wish to be represented on your fund raising brochure.

     Sorry to disappoint you.

      As I shall probably spend a part of September in a Boston Hospital I shall not be able to reply promptly to correspondence.

                                            Sincerely yours

                                            Thornton Wilder

Isn't that Mt. Carmel Dickerman House the seat of as historical society in Hamden?---and a good one ---



For that story, go to