Random Bits and Pieces from Gladys Dutton

Gladys Dutton Born 1917 – currently living in US Florida

-International Border Student 1936 - 1938

Interviewed Gladys Dutton this evening I use the term "interview" very loosely in that an elderly lady close to age 98 will say what she wishes to say, sans any format of questions & answers. Below are her comments...

She does recall having taken walks on many trails EVERY day. When I asked if that was normal, Gladys said that the girls were encouraged to exercise by walking/hiking the countryside, occasionally with staff joining them and more often than not the girls would just go in groups of 5 to 10 out on their own. Other than all girls playing field hockey and horseback riding, walking the countryside was considered quite the standard for exercise. Gladys recalled that on a particularly beautiful day, around 5 of the girls were walking a trail (with no staff present) and decided to go swimming in a lake. She smiled and recalled how they took off all their clothes and swam 'a natural' (using the Yank term... "went skinny dipping").

Gladys recalled having two very good friends, Morfudd Rhys Clark and Kay Singleton. Morffudd died fairly recently as reported to Gladys by Morfudd's daughter Allison. Kay Singleton and Gladys had exchanged cards & letters over the years and Kay has not been heard from recently, so her current status is not known. Betty Powell was another friend at school, although around 3 years younger. Betty and Gladys still exchange letters up to the present.

"Around a dozen girls and I would go horseback riding once every week, We rode at a riding school where we learned to be fairly proficient at riding and jumping. Our parents had to pay extra and many girls could not afford to ride. I was fortunate in this regard. I was thrown from a horse on two occasions while jumping and did not do too badly, was not hurt much from being thrown. One time a few of us had a hard time controlling our horses when one horse bolted forward on a trail and the rest of our horses took off after the other. We had a difficult time bringing them all to a halt. My parents thought it would be a good thing to have me learn how to property ride. I really enjoyed the experience.”

“My parents gave authority for me to spend holiday with any girl's family where I would be welcomed. The school always knew where I would be. Of course, I had to go somewhere given my parents were in the Yucatan in Mexico. Miss Nightingale was basically my guardian in that she assured my parents that I would be taken care of, having given them her personal assurance. She was one of the most wonderful ladies I had ever known. Her adopted son was Alexis Aladin a Russian boy who died in WWII (Ms. Nightingale was very much affected by the loss). One of the ways Ms. Nightingale spoiled Gladys was by allowing her to have a dog. The dog gave Gladys company when she had no place to go during breaks. It lived a wonderful life in the kitchen eating extremely well! She would often have me to her cabin on holidays. The cabin was located by Snowdon just before going up the mountain. What beautiful countryside! Alexis and I would go 'hunting' sheep. He has a BB gun and would go off shooting it at sheep, scattering the animals. I don't think the poor sheep got hurt but I did think it somewhat cruel. One time I ran away from the cabin. I must have been angry at something and just ran away and was gone for some time well into dark. People were looking for me and I was scared during the night and was calling out and eventually was found. I thought that I was really in for it and would be severely punished. Miss Nightingale instead made tea and had me sit with her. She told me how disappointed my parents would be with me and in very calm voice talked with me for a long while. That was the end of it! Nothing more was ever said of the incident. What an amazing woman she was and I learned so much from her that helped me in life.

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