This post originated in a recent exchange on Facebook. Certain Northampton School for Girls alumnae were reminiscing about favorite ‘Hamp meals — perhaps with an emphasis on ‘Hamp desserts. Happily, some of these delights were collected in Anna’s Cookbook, compiled by Ruth Jeffers Wellington ’41 in 1967 to honor cook Anna Kowalski on the occasion of her retirement, after 40 years managing Northampton School’s kitchen.
Anna’s assistant, Ceil Desmarais, succeeded her, so the transition was seamless. And Ceil made the not-entirely-seamless pilgrimage to Easthampton when ‘Hamp and Williston joined forces in 1971.
A personal note. I was a Williston Academy student with the unique privilege — and privilege it was — of having a parent on the Northampton School for Girls faculty. Among the perks of being a faculty brat was the ability to show up at the Montgomery House dining room and get fed. Now I’m not going to insult anyone’s intelligence by suggesting that having lunch with Mom was a major incentive in bicycling six miles after Saturday class. There were other attractions. Only one of them was the food.
[The opinions expressed here are the author’s own. Special thanks to Charles D. Cohen and Patrick Brough for their contributions to this post.]
The story has been around for years. Supposedly the Town (now City) of Easthampton and Mount Tom were Dr. Seuss’s inspiration for Whoville and Mt. Crumpit in the classic children’s book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Back in 2009, a surge in the currency of this suburban legend prompted me to ask a friend, Charles D. Cohen, whether there was any legitimacy to the story. It was not an idle question; Dr. Cohen is Theodor Geisel’s biographer (The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss:A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel, Random House, 2004) and possibly the leading authority on All Things Seuss. Dr. Cohen responded,
The first thing I should point out is that whether you have the Grinch atop Mt. Crumpit, or King Derwin on his mountain looking down into the valley where Bartholomew Cubbins lived, or Yertle sitting on top of a skyscraper of turtles, there are plenty of similar images in Ted Geisel’s work. However, I’m not familiar with the notion that the Grinch story was based on something involving Mt. Tom specifically.