Oral History Cover Sheet
Interviewee: Adelaide G. Fitts
Place of Interview: Noble Horizons
Date of Interview: June 16, 1982
Summary: Birth place and date, education, employment as a teacher, Salisbury High School, Regional High School until 1947, Dean of Girls, pupils of interest: Japanese children, the Harding family; civic duties, church activities: Sunday School, United Methodist Women, Rotary Club lunches; bird watching, parents and siblings, Fitts family.
Property of the Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library, Salisbury Conn. 06068
This is Evelyn Bellini speaking on June 16, 1982, for the oral history program sponsored by the Scoville Memorial Library and the Salisbury Association. I will be talking with Mrs. Charles A. Fitts Jr.
EB:Mrs. Fitts where were you born and in what year?
AF:I was born in New Hampton, New Hampshire, November 20, 1903.
EB:Where did you attend school?
AF:I attended elementary school in Westbrook, Maine. I also attended high school in Westbrook,
Maine. I attended Colby College in Waterbury, Maine. I did some work toward a graduate degree at the University of New Hampshire in Dover, New Hampshire. I did one summer at the University of Maine at Orono, Maine.
EB:Where was your first employment?
AF:The first two years of my teaching I was at the Academy at Newcastle, Maine. I taught there two
years. Then I taught one year in Lisbon, New Hampshire. Then I decided I should do something different as a place of employment. In my home city of Portland, Maine, there was a teacher’s agency and to that teacher’s agency in the summer where various superintendents of schools would come to find new teachers. It so happened that William Teague was at that time the superintendent of these five towns which are now the regional. I made an appointment with him. I went in to see him, and he employed me to come down here in the fall of 1931.1 was not teaching then; I was making up my mind.
DB:You came down here through that channel to Lakeville and Salisbury area.
AF:I was in the Salisbury High School; the new building which is now the Lower Building of Salisbury
EB:The regional high school was not built yet?
EB:You taught inthat high school building?
EB:What did youteach?
AF:My subjects were social studies and history.
EB:From there you went to the regional high school when that was built?
AF:That’s right. It was not fully completed, but it was open and everything was ready to make do,
so to speak. I taught there until 1947.1 didn’t retire, I just stopped teaching.
EB:You just stopped teaching.
EB:When did you marryCharlesFitts?
EB:While you were still teaching?
AF:Yes, August, 1940
EB:Were you ever Dean of Girls)?
AF:Yes, I had been teaching one year at the regional high school. I remember that I was asked to
come into the office. This was in 1939 before I was married but I knew that I was going to be married in 1940. Mr. Stoddard, who was not then Dr. Stoddard but Mr. Stoddard, said,” Miss Gordon-, how would you like to be Dean of Girls?” I said, “I would like to very much, Mr. Stoddard. Would it make any difference that I expect to be married next year in 1940?” He smiled and said no.
EB:So you worked as Dean of Girls.
AF:I would like to tell you something rather amusing. After my summer at home and where I was
married at my church at home, we had our first teachers’ meeting. That same summer Mr. Dorsett who was a member of the faculty was married. Mr. Stoddard said to the others, “I would like to introduce to you our new member of the faculty Mrs. Fitts and Mr. Dorsett is our new man.”
EB:That’s quite amusing.
AF:As you know Dr. Stoddard…
EB:I do know Dr. Stoddard, or I did know him very well and Mr. Dorsett, too. I didn’t think he would
ever make a booboo.
AF:I’ll always remember that.
EB:That’s worth remembering. That’s quite amusing. Mrs. Fitts, were there any interesting pupils
with whom you had contact that you would like to tell us about?
AF:I recall during the war years 1940-1945 there were two American born Japanese children born in
California of Japanese parents, natural born American citizens. They had been interned here and in Michigan. Someone sponsored them to come to the Regional, and they did very, very well, Peggy and Peter Suzuki. There were two other pupils at the Regional as I remember during the war. The Harding family, who had relatives at the North Wales Farm, came to this country: 2boys hair-raising heathens and an older girl Margaret who enrolled as a junior. Taking into consideration the things she had learned in her English education, we managed to make a good course of study for her. The one thing that was most difficult for her, in England she had studies the Greg system of shorthand; it was the Pitman system here, but she managed. Her younger sister enrolled as a freshman, and her courses were easily taken care of. There is another matter of interest in connection with the Harding family; the
father, mother and the 2 girls. They wished to register as Americans and get their citizenship papers here so I was asked to go to Hartford with them as witness. I don’t remember one thing that I had to witness, but I do remember this. We all went to a Chinese restaurant and how we enjoyed the chicken chow mien. This may be of interest in this age of computers. When the Regional school opened, each schedule for each individual was made out with great care and effort by each individual teacher, before I stopped teaching all that was done by computers.
EB:And it still is. Did you have any civic involvement in the years that you lived in this town?
AF:I was Republican Registrar of voters for 6 years. I remember in 1960 when John F. Kennedy was
nominated and elected that was the last year of my serving as registrar. I well remember all the excitement there was when he was elected.
EB:Mrs. Fitts, would you tell us something about your experience as a Sunday school teacher or any
other experiences with Sunday school?
AF:First as a Sunday school teacher the class was held in Fellowship Hall (Lakeville Methodist
Church). We sat around a table with no more than 5-6 pupils in a class. It was very interesting to teach them. Then after the Methodist Church took possession of the Parish House, team teaching came in. Then I was asked to be a team leader. The man I was working with was interested in computers. I remember that he told me that what is put into the computer is what comes out. (This part is so soft and indistinct it was impossible to hear.)
EB:Very true. You also had connections with the United Methodist women’s Society. Would you
tell us something about that?
AF:It was a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience. Irene Snell, the Minister’s wife and Mrs.
Milo Martin came walking up in a snowstorm to our house on Wells Hill to ask me to . If they can walk up here in this snowstorm, I can too.
AF:I had very many interesting years in that position. I do remember that my experience at the
school as Dean of Women was to help find speakers for the school assemblies. One speaker that I asked to come to the Women’s Society was Mrs. Dr. Robert Spears. —YMCA groupthey traveled to
China and various places. That is one example of the type of speaker we had. I had the advantage of having done this while at the Regional, (again soft and indistinct)
EB:That’s very good. We should have people now who can do that sort of thing.
AF:I am sure they are available.
EB:Yes, they are, and they will do it, but some won’t.
That is true.
EB:What else did you do in the church? I know you were connected with the Rotary Club luncheons
for many years.
AF:Yes. Mrs. Edmonds was in charge when we first started serving luncheons every Tuesday in
Fellowship Hall at the church. Mrs. Percy Jacobs? worked with her. Luncheon was first served at 1:00. Mr. Fitts would come home from the office in the car. I would take the car and go to the church. I would help in the kitchen. I did not serve in the dining room, but I could observe and help where needed. It was a very time consuming process. Mrs. Edmonds and Mrs. Jacobs? should be commended for starting this. It is still going on.
EB:Who started it?
AF:Mrs. Edmonds andMrs. Jacobs?
EB:After that Ann Chase took over, did you work with her?
AF:and now EmmaPollock.
EB:Now Emma Pollock. Did you work with Ann Chase?
AF:Yes, I am sure I did. Mrs. Chase was so busy doing things here and there that I don’t have any
EB:But you did work for many years at the Rotary Club Luncheons, and you were always in church
on Sunday, I remember that even if I wasn’t. I also understand that you are an avid bird watcher and have been for many years. Would you tell us a little about that?
AF:It has meant a great deal to me to know the birds and to hear and identify their song. The bird
interest started when my husband Mr. Fitts and I went in February on our first month’s vacation in Florida. On the way down we stopped the first night at Mr. Fitts’ sister in Camden, New Jersey. He was an avid bird watcher with a capital A for both, and he encouraged us to try to learn to identify song birds. We found that it was exceedingly interesting. When we came home, we continued and even right to this day, I can lie in my bed in the morning and hear the Mourning doves, and know instantly what they are.
EB:And you can still identify them from here.
AF:You should know that in winter Noble Horizons puts a bird feeder on the dining room patio. I
have seen juncos, nuthatches, chickadees, wrens, sparrows and robins. Robins are not feeders, but they are attracted to the feeder as they are everywhere.
EB:Mrs. Fitts, may we have a little of your background history?
AF:My father was born in Pittsburg, New Hampshire (?) My mother was born in New Hampton,
New Hampshire. She was a preacher. My older sister Dorothy, two years older than I, and myself were
born in New Hampton, New Hampshire. After moving to Maine, my three brothers were born. The oldest of the three boys was seven years younger than I, Theodore, who is now deceased. The next oldest is Richard ten years younger than I. He graduated from the University of Maine and was chosen as State Representative to go to Edgewood Arsenal during the war. He received his commission during the war and was in the Pacific area. When he came back, he continued in the Army until he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel a few years ago. Before he had gone overseas, he had married a Richmond girl. He had a great many connections in the Richmond area, so he and his wife have a lovely home in Richmond, Virginia. At this moment stating on Monday the 14th he and his wife are on a two week tour of Scandinavia, but he is retired. Then the youngest in our family is David Prichard Godden is now at the home place in Huntsville on the home property in Wentworth, Maine. He and my oldest brother ran my father’s dairy farm for quite some time. The youngest of the three, David, is still connected with the dairy business.
EB:Is there anything you would like to add?
AF:I think I should say in my husband’s family, the Fitts family, that they were a real second family
to me. After I married Mr. Fitts, I knew Mother Fitts. She came to live with us for eleven years. After my husband died my oldest sister-in-law Frieda Fitts was in a position to come and live with me for quite a few years. We carried on the Wells Hill groups with the help of Jack Baldwin. Daily life became difficult for both Frieda and me perhaps it would be on interest to know Mr. Fitts youngest sister, Esther was connected with “Yankee” Magazine for a number of years.
EB:That’s it? Thank you very much.
AF:You are very welcome.