Thursday, September 22, 2011

Janice's Parents

Janice's parents were both professionals.
Janice's father was raised in an educational family. His father was Merritt L. Fernald, the famous botanist who taught at Harvard University. Henry Grant Fernald graduated from college with a major in Mathematic. I do not know if that had anything to do with Janice's major in college. Mathematics definitely had a hold on her family. After a short stay during the second world war at Holston Defense in Kingsport, Tennessee, he worked for quite a while for American Optics until his retirement. (During the time he was in Tennessee, Janice's mother brought baby Janice to Johnson City, Tennessee, for a visit with her father. This was in 1942.) American Optical Company was located in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Therefore, Mr. Fernald  rented an room there where he stayed during week days. He commuted every weekend back home to Winchester, Massachusetts, for more than thirty years. It's quite a record! He was an avid photographer. He also liked very much to putter around the house, doing whatever chore needed his attention. Weekends did not allow him enough time!
Janice's mother had a degree in Latin. After a brief stint as a teacher in Martha's Vineyard (which ended sadly when one of her students committed suicide), she worked in the Physics Department at Harvard as an executive assistant for 19 years. She eventually returned to teaching and found  her niche in high school Latin classes. She was very good at teaching. Students literally flocked to her class. They were proud to be able to "speak" the ancient language. They sometimes had to get special permission to get enrolled. She was very strict, demanding, and well liked by her students. She created quite a following in her school and she was definitely a model teacher for anyone who wanted to teach! Margaret Rita Wyler Fernald was born to a Boston street car driver and her mother was illegal immigrant(just walked crossed the border) from Nova Scotia, Canada.
The picture below was taken when I first met both of them.

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