Saturday, August 2, 2008

a comment, a reply, another comment, and another

Blogger nickyskye said...
Dear Marjorie,
On one of those Google-nostalgia whims, I looked up Kathleen Hinni tonight and found your wonderfully written blog story.
Miss Hinni, as I knew her, was a gym teacher at Nightingale Bamford School, where I went from 1962 to 1969. I liked her and felt liked by her. She got me interested in gymnastics early on and is the reason I still sit with my back straight. I still love watching gymnastics and now the Olympics are coming up this month, look eagerly forward to that, which she inspired my interest in.
Perhaps I've completely misremembered but I think Miss Hinni briefly gave a class in sewing, embroidery, which seems so odd. In that class I made a little doll for my sister, who was in the hospital having her tonsils out and a little blue-green pillow with fish and seaweed embroidered on it. Funny, the old memories.
Her smoker's hack both amused and horrified me. It seemed so unlikely for someone teaching dance, gymnastics and exercise. But those were the days when everyone smoked.
I'm sorry about Cindy, her committing infanticide. It sounds like she suffered from severe depression and post-natal depression. Most emotional illness was not wisely treated in the 1960's and I can't imagine her being sent home would have made much difference at that time. Perhaps her parents were the cause of her depression and keeping her there was more wise? Who knows? But I'm sorry for her and for the infant, who was murdered.
I always felt Miss Hinni had a rebellious, brave spirit, which was, I think, part of why she associated with Isadora Duncan. She had a mischievous sense of humor too, which I liked, a twinkle and a joie de vivre. There was something inherently subversive about her, which I found comforting in contrast with the suffocating smugness, arthritic rigidity and materialism of the teachers and staff at Nightingale.
She could be stern too about girls in class behaving without focus, having lousy posture. Nothing any gym teacher or coach wouldn't say, I don't think. But I was aware that some of my classmates also didn't like her. I don't know why.
I'm curious why you felt so unhappy at the dance camp/school you went to. Why you and others "hated the place." It certainly sounds like a remarkable way to spend the summer, packed with educated, creative people, some of whom were global innovators.
In any case, I think fondly of Miss Hinni, miss her and wanted to thank you for sharing your own memories of her.
August 1, 2008 9:23 PM

Blogger Marjorie said...
Thank-you so much for your comment at my blog. This is so meaningful to me. In just the past few weeks, I have connected with two other SOCA alumni. It seems many of us are nostalgic with regard to the past.
Lana organized a SOCA reunion in 1999, and although I was enthusiastic about it, I was unable to attend because it was on Martha's Vineyard and it was a long trip at the time.
We were unhappy at camp because KT created a very very strict and rigid setting. We were deprived of many comforts. We were not allowed to shower regularly and we all felt food deprived. She monitored our behavior and interactions and subjected us to stern lectures. I can recall one night when we were so hungry we ate toothpaste. And we all emotionally longed for home.
It was wonderful having you leave a message here. If you would like to speak more, please E-mail me at the address provided in my profile.
August 1, 2008 10:58 PM

Blogger nickyskye said...
Hello again Marjorie,
A nice surprise to hear from you so soon.
It's one of the great joys of the internet connecting with others from the past, people one thought were long gone into the big unknown. Or finding out about people, like Kathleen Hinni. I was always curious about her and recently learned on the web about her connection with Anita Zahn, who was one of Isadora Duncan's adopted daughters.
Aww, I'm sorry she was so harsh to you and the other students. Strict and rigid are really not fun experiences and especially for a kid during the summer. Sad too that you were starved to the point of eating toothpaste. Miss Hinni was thin and smoked. Perhaps she projected her own lack on interest in food onto her students? Whatever, that sounds like her mistreatment of you in depriving you of food was near criminal. And it's an outrage you weren't allowed to shower more often. Yikes.
One year, in 1966, I went to a summer camp in Nova Scotia, called Camp Arcadie. It was pretty simple and rugged compared with what kids are used to now and the Bay of Fundy was incredibly cold for swimming, which was compulsory. Perhaps children in general were treated more harshly in those years?
Interestingly, with the painful home environment I grew up in, I so appreciated Miss Hinni's stern and intense guidance. I needed parenting and felt cared about by her.
Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts about Miss Hinni and your experiences with her.
August 1, 2008 11:03 PM

and this just in from "anonymous" Laurie...
thank you! I was probably living in the big house when you were in the cabin. I was looking for any informaton regarding the school and was so thrilled to find your blog.
I remember Margaret Bourke-White, her photographs lining the walls of the stair well...birds, shadows on the ocean from above, miners in South Africa.
I remember Burl Ives, Charles Weidman, Homesickness, the smell of Ben-Gay, dancing for hours, searching for my older handicapped sister one night on the beach, by moonlight, after Lana and Betty Sue came to get me to help them find her...I think I was ten.
Who was the blind pianist? Thanks again.
August 2, 2008 9:40 PM

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