Part I -- 1899 to 1908
Part II -- 1909to 1926
Dena stayed with her aging parents in Dunstable until 1920 and made her living as a seamstress to fashionable ladies. Both Ida Rachel and Walter went to Boston to complete their educations, at Bryant & Stratton and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT or Tech) respectively, and met at a Boston church group while working in Boston about 1897. Married in 1899, they were young professionals, she a secretary at the William E. Putnam Shoe Company and he teaching at MIT.
Still valuing their country roots, they, like many who now live in or near the cities, made trips to the woods and mountains for recreation and spiritual nourishment, though their recreational vehicle was a horse and buggy, and their backpacks were, at first, unwieldy blanket-rolls and later simple A.M.C. bags.
Ben : For as long as I can remember, I have been aware
of, and in tune with, the spirit of Nature. My grandmother was
most influential in helping with bird identification, and she
started me on my Life List of Birds. Even before "real mountain"
hikes, I often took short walks and observed trees, rocks, terrain
features, and vegetation.
Jane: I climbed my first mountain, Mt. Cardigan, in
1947 when I was 5. Participating in the A.M.C.'s second Mountain
Leadership Training in 1961 led me to spend several summers leading
hiking trips at girls summer camps. After earning a Ph.D. in
physics at the University of Wisconsin, I instead became a photographer,
living in various mountainous places, including at the foot of
Pikes Peak in Colorado and of Mount Shasta in California.
This photo was made at Ida Rachel and Walter's 50th wedding anniversary in Topsfield, Massachusetts on June 20th in 1949.
In the front row, left to right, are Jane English - age 7, Walter H. James - age 75, Ida Rachel James - age 74, Ben English, Jr. - age 9 and Ruth James English - age 41.
The tent tied to the apple tree behind the rose trellis is Ida Rachel and Walter's old A-tent that had seen many a camping trip. Jane had been given the use of it for playing in the back yard.
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