Re: Mary Conover Lines
My grandparents worked for Mr. and Mrs. Wellman on their estate in Topsfield in the 1950s-early 60s. My grandfather was the estate manager and my grandmother worked in the house. They lived in a small Cape Cod house across from the Wellman's house. My great-aunt provided nursing care to Mrs. Wellman.
The Wellmans were classic New England Brahmins, old money with no need to be splashy about it. They were decent employers, according to my Italian immigrant family. I remember stories of their generosity and indifference to material things. Mrs. Wellman gave my great-aunt a Tiffany lamp that she no longer liked. Mrs. Wellman, ever practical, gave my parents a Mission desk and a Victorian claw-foot mahogany library table for their wedding. One of the Wellmans had "customized" the antique table by cutting the claw feet in half to make the table shorter. More stories posted on other messages.
We kids knew that Mrs. Wellman had survived the Titanic and that there was an aura of tragedy and mystery around the whole family. Mrs. Wellman had severe headaches and nightmares her whole life. She never talked about her experiences. The quotes from her NY Times obituary may have come from one of the only interviews she gave on the subject, which was published in the Tri-Town Transcript, the local weekly.
She had another tragedy in her life besides the Titanic. Her sister-in-law, Katherine Wellman, who also lived in Topsfield, died in a riding accident. She was an experienced equestrienne and went out for a hack from her neighboring estate. When her horse came back without her a search went out. They found her dead from a broken neck. Mr. Wellman shot the horse.
A funny story about Mrs. Wellman: She and my stubborn, macho Italian grandfather sometimes butted heads. He had "issues" with taking orders from a woman--so what if she was his boss. Following one severe snowstorm, my grandfather told Mrs. Wellman that he couldn't drive her to her charity committee meeting. She insisted, but he flat-out refused. Well. that wouldn't do. Soon my aunt said she saw my grandfather chugging down the driveway on the tractor, with Mrs. Wellman standing behind him holding on, wrapped in a huge fur coat, pocketbook over her arm. You didn't say no to Mrs. Wellman.