a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


My grandfather and life on the farm in New Hampshire


Childhood and tensions between the two sides of the family
Donald Hall Poet
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

I was rather reclusive as a child, didn't have many... many friends at school. I played the games with them and so on, but gradually... I... I began to spend a lot of time at home reading, and away from others. I didn't really feel at home with my own age group, my own generation until I went to college, and then I did with a... with a vengeance, and it was lovely.  But all the time there was the tension between the New Hampshire part of my family and the Connecticut part. The suburbs were sophisticated. They drank cocktails. This was teetotal up here, totally. And they had bridge clubs. Cards were forbidden up here. In this house and in this neighborhood by and large people did not dance, play cards, swear, smoke or drink. And she went down there and she tried to adapt, and she adapted fairly well. She played cards, she drank, she smoked cigarettes. She died at 90 of congestive heart, probably because of her cigarette habit. Her mother, Kate, who had never smoked, lived to be 97, always in this house until the last couple of years. But when we drove up when I was a little kid, I used to be told in the car remember not to speak about Bridge Club, not to say anything about drinking. My father would sneak off and smoke and they knew he smoked, but there was a... a secrecy and I knew that, but my grandparents here... I called the society puritan but they were wonderful people and I just adored them.

The 14th US Poet Laureate Donald Hall (1928-2018) was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, then earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1951 and a BLitt, from Oxford in 1953. He published many essays and anthologies of both poetry and prose including String too Short to be Saved: Recollections of Summers on a New England Farm, White Apples and the Taste of Stone, Without: Poems, and Ox-Cart Man, a children's book which won the Caldecott Medal. Hall was editor of the magazine Oxford Poetry, literary editor of Isis, editor of New Poems, and poetry editor of The Paris Review. He won many awards, including two Guggenheim Fellowships and a Robert Frost Medal. At the end of his first Oxford year, he also won the university's Newdigate Prize, awarded for his poem Exile.

Listeners: Kendel Currier

Kendel Currier started working for Donald Hall in August of 1994 as his correspondence typist. Later she took on his manuscript typing as well, and in October of 1998 moved 100 meters down the road from Donald and became his personal assistant, adding many various new tasks to her work. As well as working for Donald for the last 10 and-a-half years, Donald Hall and Kendel Currier share a set of great (or for Kendel great-great) grandparents, making them distant cousins and part of a similar New Hampshire heritage.

Tags: New Hampshire, Connecticut

Duration: 2 minutes

Date story recorded: January 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008