Category Archives: History of Collington

Collingtonian Article on our “Pre-History” Raises Questions about Next Steps

Occasionally, this blog draws attention to articles in our sister publication, the Collingtonian. Peggy Latimer’s piece in the January 2018 issue is deserving of such focus. The piece, tells the history of slaves here at Collington, to the minimal extent that it can be reconstructed from wills and other documents. The story is particular present, because of the graves up on the hill, including one of Basil Warring, who had “inherited” ten slaves from his father.

slave

It is, of course, deeply shaming for a white person to read, and I think Peggy gets just the right combination of factual clarity and respectful perspective:

Marsham’s 1730 will listed them. All but one, however, were identified only by first name [spelling and punctuation through- out are as written in the original documents]: “One Negro Man named Caceour One Negro Man named Hercules one Negro Man named George One Negro Woman named Moll One Mulatto Boy named Charles One Mulatto boy called Robin One Negro Boy named Will Bulger One Mulatto Girl named Sarah One Mulatto Girl named Cate one Negro girl named Lucy and their Increase”

Peggy notes at the end, “With much research, we may be able to learn more of the history of these people. At the very least, shouldn’t we be honoring those enslaved persons who lived and labored on the land where we all now reside?” At the very minimum we should find public ways to recognize and honor that we enjoy the legacy of the labor of their forced and denied lives. Without in any way suggesting equivalence, the need to remember and honor reminds me that a few years ago, I went with my Polish Holocaust surviving aunt to a gymnasium (high school) in Mainz Germany, and for our visit, as part of a larger group, they had put up a mounted display of The Holocaust in Mainz, including a map showing locations.

maint4

Here is a photo of my aunt with some of the display. The kids were deeply respectful and attentive.

Surely we can try to do as much.

Indeed, there must be much else that we could do, that not only reminds of the past, but steers us for the future in these apparently anti-historical times.

Ainslie Embree, An Ultimate Collingtonian – Memorial Events Now Scheduled

ATE Portrait May 2009

On July 29 (Saturday) at 2 PM, there will be a traditional Episcopal Book of Common Prayer service in the chapel here at Collington to mark the death of Ainslie Embree.  At 3 PM there will be a reception in the Auditorium.  It is understood that some may wish to attend one of these events, and others both.

There seems indeed for me a special need to mark the death, after an astonishingly full life, of Ainslie Embree, perhaps the ultimate Collingtonian.

Ainslie brought a combination of dignity, warmth, intelligence and humility to Collington.  He and his wife Sue quickly became some of our earliest and closest friends.  As one of the internationalist generation, it turned out that we knew surprisingly many in common. His wide knowledge of the world, and of people in it, and his humane wisdom about everything, made every conversation an adventure, which also provided deep reassurance about humanity.

I can not resist sharing two stories.  Outside the dining room, there is a wall festooned with photographs of Collingtonians with heads of state.  (As our son remarked, if you are a head of state, and want to get on that wall, you have to get to know someone at Collington.)  One is of Ainslie talking to Indira Gandhi.  Ainslie pointed out the strange look that the person standing next to him is giving him, and told us that he had asked the man, a missionary, why he was looking at him that way.  According to Ainslie, the man replied, “Because you were being such a suck-up.”  (I wonder how many of that set of photos have similarly ambiguous and fascinating back-stories.)

On another occasion, we were having dinner with Sue and Ainslie and overheard someone at the next table ask, “Are you in Who’s Who?”  After appropriate quiet snickers, we all tried to come up with the perfect come-back.  Ainslie won, hands down with, “Isn’t everybody?” and an immediate return to the topic at hand.

When resident Doris Ball died, I asked Ainslie to use the occasion to draft an appreciation of Dorothy and her husband Robert.  His contribution, which because a much broader appreciation of several of other residents (including, with particular relevance to today, Elliot Richardson), appeared under the heading, Thoughts on Robert Ball, Social Security and Collington’s Unsung Heroes of American Governance.

Collington  has had the good fortune to be the home of many outstanding citizens, with many  of them entitled to belong to the category of what has been called  by  Professor Mashaw  of Yale Law School, “unsung  heroes of American governance.”  Four who come immediately to mind, without selective judgment, are Admiral Bill Crowe, Elliot Richardson, Senator Chuck Percy and Robert Ball.  Each of them, as Kipling put it, walked with kings, but did not lose the common touch, exemplified in their fondness for small parties with fellow residents in their own homes or in those of other residents.

As so often, the appreciation he wrote could have been a mirror held to Sue (a giant in her own right) and himself, although they would be the last to have realized it.  Ainslie’s Wikipedia entry, with all the details, is here. Please read it.  Here, also, is a Unniverity of California TV interview of Ainslie.

Video News on Beginning of Demolition for New Dining Space at Collington

Here is the breaking news update:

An Early Skipjack Regatta

Here is a 1995 Regatta video, with only one skipjack boat.

We’d love to hear of any memories of this event, and also wonder if anyone recognizes any of the faces,

Its also interesting to see how different the margin of the lake looked then.

Thanks to Mary Ann Pellerin for the archiving edit work.

A Few Short Scenes From the Open House For the New RA Office

The first actual move and opening from our space reorganization and rehab is now done.

Today, April 14, the Resident Association Office held an open house. Its a much larger and lighter office.

Here is a very short video.

By the way, the plate, now on the wall, is a commemorative from an early anniversary.