Oral History Project: Property of the Oral History Project,
Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library,
Salisbury, CT 06068
Interviewee: Rose Milmine Wolf
Interviewer: Robert Hawkins
Place of Interview: his home, 69 Indian Mountain Road, Lakeville, Ct.
Tape No.: 93A
Transcribed by: Lisa A. Wardell, 3/13/13
Rose Milmine Wolf
N:I am recording an interview with Rose Milmine Wolf on tape.
RM: Can I hear it before you go home with it?
RM: Well, the victim who is talking was born in December 9, 1905. You can do the arithmetic.
N:Good for you Rose, go ahead.
RM: I grew up half in NYC and the other half, the longer half, here in Lakeville. I think the reason for the long stays in this section of the country was because of my regrettably poor health which must have been a problem to everybody. But I overcame and managed to live quite a while. I remember my mother. She was short.
N:And very pretty as I remember
RM: I think she was pretty.
N:She was a very pretty old lady.
RM: Yes, of course I didn’t know her when she was young. She made a contribution to everything. She started the Welfare in Lakeville by hiring I think it was Ms. Frink I think it was around 1910 perhaps I’m not too sure and that has grown into what is known now as the Salisbury Health Association is that
right? What is it?
RM: Another person in my relatives my aunt Mrs. Parsons, Joseph Parson. Her name was Rose and therefore, I inherited it. She also made a contribution and started the Nursing Association with, you got me there, I can’t quite remember her first name. Mrs. Parsons and Mr. Milmine, my father and aunt were brother and sister. My mother and uncle were also brother and sister. I’ve always regretted the fact they were unable to have children. Because of the similar inheritance, it would have been interesting to see what the different upbringings can produce.
RM: I’m sorry about that. My early recollection say about ten was that the community in this section was definitely “town and gown”. The gown was those related to the Hotchkiss School and the town was Lakeville. Salisbury was a distinct town which was very social. The town of Lakeville was with which I was familiar was mostly related to masters at Hotchkiss. Do you want them?
N:Yes I do.
RM: Mr. Estel who kept calling me “hon” and he was very nice to me. Doc Rob tried to teach me Latin and finally gave up. He said, “Use your ? Rose.” He got so discouraged trying to teach me Latin that he diverted in giving me a course in the Wagner? which I enjoyed and that stayed with me.
N:Did you know the Buehlers?
RM:Oh yes. Barbara Beuhler and I became very close friends, not close but delighted with each other
when she returned from Santa Fe and lived here two or three years. Mrs. Buehler well she had a tragic end, let’s put it that way. Should we drop it at that?
N:Yes, I know what it was.
RM: And so do I. What else, oh, Dr. Beuhler, Mr. Estel and Mr. Monihan used to come down to Wildwood and play Scat.*Those four men played together. As you may recall, Dr. Beuhler was rather pompous. *It was a card frame.
N:So I have been told.
RM: Yes, Well anyway, he was walking home one night and came head on into a skunk with regrettable results. So I am told. I was not there to smell or see it. What else? I think one of the things I remember most vividly was the separation between the town and the school. My family in the village knew only the Halls and Spurrs. Of course Mr. Hall was peanut and parsnip Hotchkiss, yes, I don’t think anybody meant to be snobbish, it was just that we were here only as summer residents and Daddy was more interested in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew than he was in the other more mundane subjects. Would you like to ask me some questions? I wish you would.
N:I would like to ask you life at Wildwood because I remember
N:Because I remember your mother. You had a large staff and you obviously lived fashionably.
Yes, but not as dressy as Mrs. Buehler. I never felt we were snobbish. The house was big, quite big. It held five maids, and as far as I could see, they had a good time in the kitchen. They had a kitchen. Then they had their own dining room. There were five maids. They had one bathroom. We had seven bedrooms and two baths. So the proportions remain somewhat similar. Do you want to know what they did?
R:One was a cook, a very good cook- delicious pie and coffee. Then there was a laundress, Jenny,
who helped in the kitchen when she was not ironing as far as I could see, and a chamber maid, and a waitress. Does that make four? Then there was a nurse. They all seemed to have come from Ireland. They were all Catholic excepting the chambermaid who came from the north of Ireland. She went to church with my mother. They started off almost sworn enemies. I called her Pui. I don’t know why.
We all did, the three of us. She stayed with mother 50 years.
N:Oh, for heaven’s sake, isn’t that wonderful.
R:Yes. Then mother died, and we set her up in a retirement home run by the church on 90th St.
and 5th Avenue. Which one was that? I’m not too sure. They have new building, and it is just beautiful opposite the Carnegie.
N:Is it Heavenly Rest?
R:Yes. They took her in. They invited me to stay for lunch so I did just that. There a good many
almost socially elite people. We sat down. There was somebody who had an apartment on 5th Avenue ? So Pui not to be outdone said, “Yes, I used to live on 5th Avenue.” I commend her. She made one very nice black friend. In those days, it was very good of her. Well that’s Pui. We were great friends, lean remember… I really must have been a terrible child. I remember her coming downstairs. In the city, the maids were on the third floor and I was on the second or the third, and fourth. I stood at the bottom of the stairs. I was only 7 or 8. I looked at her and said, “Is it only now you are coming to work?” I really must have been a holy terror. Pui should have taken me over her knee and spanked me, but she didn’t.
N:I wish you would talk about one of the most delightful people I have known and that’s your
R:Oh, she was wonderful.
N:You know, I resent what has happened to the word “gay” because she was a gay person.
R:I agree with you.
N:You always had fun with Charlotte. There was never a gloomy moment that in my experience.
Well, it wasn’t extensive. Would you talk a little bit about Charlotte?
R:Yes, I would love to. We grew up as children naturally, Charlotte in one room, George in the
middle, and I in one end. We’d play together. My brother wouldn’t speak to me, but Charlotte would play with me when she wasn’t playing with George. We had a good time together. We did lots of things. She went to boarding school. Miss Walkers, and graduated, and went to Vassar. Then my father died and Charlotte came home to stay with mother. I went to college for 2 years and came back to get married. Charlotte had a very gay approach to life, but she met with a ghastly tragedy. Her husband died of blood poisoning from a minor elbow operation. At that point, he was headmaster of Salisbury School? He loved to play tennis and he got a bursar in the elbow and he was told it was nothing to operate on.
Charlotte didn’t even come down with him. He didn’t seem to be doing very well, and he died in five days.
R:Did you know that?
N:I knew that it was an elbow operation that was considered almost perfunctory.
N:That he did die.
R:From blood poisoning.
N:I understand he was a big rugged athlete.
R:Yes. Well then Charlotte had a really tough time for a year or so. Then she pulled herself
N:She was a delightful person.
R:She and my father really knew each other. My father had died before I had grown up so I didn’t
Know him the way she did- any other hints?
N:I knew George wellbecause I taught with him.
R:You didn’t teach him.
N:Taught with him.
R:Well George shut this off. If that thing fails to register, I’m not going to do it over again.
The End. It must have failed to register.