Letters & Memories


Dear Nick,

Many thanks for your letter of September 27th. It's taken me so long to answer because the affairs of the wildlife conservation effort on which I spend my retirement dotage have taken a bit of time. If it's not an unreasonable request, could you copy the following letter not only to Lot Sutcliffe but to anyone else born in 1934-36 for whom you have addresses? If it results in an unreasonable amount of postage, I'll be delighted to reimburse the cost. In another email I will, after scanning, send you a letter recently received from Sean Foley who was at Dartington from 1940 to 1947. Have emailed Maria Elena Schiffrin for a copy of the book she edited. Incidentally, as I recall her father - refugee from the Spanish Civil War - not only taught what little French I learned [with a Spanish accent] but also did an outstanding job of teaching me Geography. Have also enjoyed reading Charles Bazalgette's reminiscenses, which are more interesting than mine - perhaps because he was a little older than I - or perhaps he was simply more creative. Will have to try to gather my memories together when I get time. Would definitely be interested in an email list of those born between 34 & 36. Do you have any idea if anyone is doing anything at all to organise the 4/1/2000 informal reunion? I might be interested in attending if I knew some people who will attend, but am reluctant to play an April Fool's Joke on myself by flying over and finding no one there. I can find all the pigeons I need in Charleston, without going to an otherwise empty Trafalgar Square! Di Hern mentioned that John Prynne died in a plane accident in 1958 - sad; he understood that he was the last to bear that name, which I recall was an old Devonshire name and that there was a Prynne involved in the Civil War [UK, not US. Heard 30 years ago that Neal O'Casey had died. Michael Rosenberg was an artist, with great talent but, at least when I last saw him in 1967, had had no commercial success. The only other Dartonian I have seen since 1950 was Judy Crabtree, whom I saw a couple of times in London before emigrating. Thanks again for your help -- maybe we'll get a chance to meet next April.

Regards Dave.


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October 31, 1999 To Auld Acquaintance---, This letter, I am sure, will seem like something from the distant past - if not a different life! In mid-August I paid my first visit to Dartington in several years, indeed only the third since leaving the school abruptly and unexpectedly in 1950. One reason was to see what has happened at the school since it closed in 1987 and my last visit in 1985. I was glad to see that after a bleak period Foxhole is being used for a "conglomerate" of educational ventures, and with sufficient success that they are able to fund sorely needed renovations. The other reason was to find out whatever I could about the lives of the people I went to school with for so much of my childhood, but with whom I have had virtually no contact for almost 50 years. We were an interesting and diverse group and were educated in a unique and beautiful environment; there must be a whole range of interesting stories about the different things we have done with our lives. I was fascinated to learn that there was a reunion at the school two or three years ago, and the office at Foxhole has agreed to look at their files and see what they can tell me about whoever was there and how I can try to contact them. This in turn led to Nick Price and his website, which added to my memories of those with whom I spent so many years. Enclosed, if it is of any interest, is a summary of what I have done with my life since leaving Dartington [on re-reading it, it looks like a business memo, but at least it covers a lot of ground in relatively few words]. If you could let me have something similar, which you would be willing to let me share with anyone else from era with whom I can make contact, it would be much appreciated. If you are interested, I will pass on anything that I receive from others. Hope this finds you in good health and enjoying a very pleasant and rewarding life.

Very sincerely Dave.

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David J. Elliott David John Elliott, Dartington Hall School, September 1940-July 1950

Following an unexpected departure from the School at age 15 at the close of the summer term, I drifted around a bit - including several weeks working in a garage - and then went to a school in Holland Park, passed 5 "O" levels in two different stages and worked as an Audit Clerk for a firm of Chartered Accountants in the City. In December 1952 I emigrated to the United States, living for a few months in Louisville, Kentucky and then moving to Hartford Connecticut. There I attended Trinity College, graduating with a BA in History in 1957. While working at a local bank to pay for college, I met Sallie Johnson (who had completed her degree) and we got married in 1958. We have two children. Gwen, who was born in 1962, is married to Don Farwick of Cincinnati, Ohio and has two sons; she graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati and works for a medium-sized business as a sales executive. Jeffrey, who was born in 1966, is married to Susannah Rolfs of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; he has a degree in History from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and did his work for a Master's in landscape architecture at Louisiana State University and now works for a land use and planning firm in Charleston, South Carolina. Following graduation, I started working for The Procter & Gamble Company, where I spent my career. Following five years at its factory in Quincy, Massachusetts, we were transferred to Cincinnati, Ohio, where the company was founded in 1837 by two immigrants from the British Isles and still has its headquarters. The first decade there was spent purchasing all of the raw materials used to make the perfumes in its products - which fascinating, since they come from all over the world and range from the products of exotic flowers and plants to the latest developments in organic chemistry. This was followed by an assignment to prevent any recurrence of problems the company had encountered with the US Customs Service. This included successful efforts to modernize US Customs laws, some of which had not been amended since the Revolutionary War, with the most deficient being a still-retained Civil War emergency measure. This led to my becoming Deputy Assistant Secretary for the US Department of Commerce in 1980-81 on a leave of absence in both the Carter and Reagan Administrations. Returning to P&G, I became increasingly involved in removing government-imposed barriers to the company's ability to do business around the world. This involved major trade agreements, (such as the Uruguay Round, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Central European Free Trade Agreement), as well less lofty stuff, such as six visits to Budapest to solve problems with an import quota which, on my first visit I had been assured would never be permitted to become a problem. Following retirement in 1994, we moved to the semitropical coast of South Carolina, near the historic and beautiful city of Charleston. Most of my time is now spent developing the Kiawah Island Natural Habitat Conservancy, which works to ensure that we do not lose the incredible diversity of wildlife we have here at Kiawah Island as it continues to be developed.