I was born in Boston during a February blizzard. I am the daughter of Wells G. Ruggles, a prominent attorney in Quincy, Massachusetts, and Dolly ElHatton Ruggles, who, in 1934, with her friend Gertrude Harmon, started the Josiah Quincy Nursing Home in the Josiah Quincy Mansion, in Quincy, Massachusetts, which is now owned by the Historic New England Society, and open to the public.
By 1936 they needed more room and moved to Braintree where they settled in the Hollingsworth Estate, naming the nursing home, Braintree Manor. It was in these nursing homes that I grew up from age 8 in 1934, until I married in 1948. Read the story in my memoir/biography, Dolly: Her Story.
Throughout my growing years, while my parents were working their way through the depression, they managed to send me to Thayer Academy, a fine preparatory school in Braintree, where I met my future husband, Roland Pinel. After graduating I was accepted at Cornell University and graduated in 1947 with a degree in Psychology. Many years later I returned to school at the University of New Hampshire, earning an MEd in Counseling.
We married after the war. My husband finished college on the GI BilI and started working at Stanley Tool in Connecticut, where we built our house after our first daughter was born.
I was always interested in being creative; drawing, painting, making pottery, sewing, and writing. Also I had a great interest in the human mind and how it works. Added to that was a sense of adventure. My husband shared my sense of adventure which led us to sell the house we had built, buy a Spartan trailer in 1953 and travel across the country to California with our 3 year old and 9 month old daughters and our Cocker Spaniel, looking for new opportunities. After 6 months on the road we returned to build a house and live in Massachusetts, happy to be back in New England.
By 1959 I was divorced and needing to support my two children and myself. I studied ceramics at the Museum School in Boston. After working several years as an assistant to William Wyman, an internationally known potter, I sold my house and took my mother and my two daughters, now 12 and 15 years old, to Europe.
I had ordered a Volkswagen to be delivered in London. Over the next four months we drove 10,000 miles through all the countries of Europe as I interviewed famous potters with the idea of publishing a book about them. Upon our return I taught pottery students and produced pottery in my studio. Clarkson N. Potter; Inc./Publisher expressed interest in publishing the book about the potters I had interviewed, but it never happened.
As my girls were approaching college age I turned to teaching Special Education and pottery at a regional school in Kingston, Massachusetts. Four years later I resigned to take advantage of a fellowship that paid for my graduate work at the University of New Hampshire where I earned an MEd. My daughters were in college at the same time.
It was one of those “difficult to get a job” periods so a friend and I started a restaurant while restoring an antique house in New Hampshire. After we sold the restaurant we moved to Florida. From our restaurant experience came my first book, The Picnic Basket, offering advice on many different kinds of picnics. It sold well and was even featured with samples of recipes from the book on TV news during the SuperBowl game in Tampa in 1983. Ivy’s Department store bought 1000 copies and sent me on a book signing tour all over Florida. Book stores sold many more.
Florida Years: 1983 – 1995
However, the project that gave me the greatest satisfaction was my publication, Wellspring Magazine. Using my maiden name I formed Ruggles Publishing Company. Wellspring Magazine used all my experience as educator, counselor, businesswoman and parent. My connections established an Advisory Board for each subject covered. Wellspring Magazine offered, in each issue, information addressing the needs of children for professionals who work with children; teachers, psychiatrists, doctors and recreational specialists. Some of the subjects covered were Literacy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Emotionally Challenged Children, and the Importance of the Arts in Education. It was distributed in 46 states and three foreign countries.
In 1991 the magazine sponsored a fund raiser for Very Special Arts at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, Florida, featuring Itzhak Perlman who not only performed but also presented the Arts award to a Down Syndrome boy who played the marimba beautifully at the event. Jean Kennedy Smith, founder of Very Special Arts, attended the concert.
Along with Wellspring Magazine I also published The Women’s Source Book, filled with information and resources for women, and a private publication titled, Sinclair Lewis at Thorvale Farm.
In 2001 I married Robert Lint after a 42 year spell of independence. We now own and operate The Gallery of Well Sweep in Hillsborough Center, New Hampshire. Recently, with the support of my husband, I finally finished a lifelong quest to write the story of my mother’s life which involved all the trauma of the twentieth century, World War l, the Spanish Flu Epidemic, the crash of 1929, World War ll, and women’s strides in the workplace.
The book, Dolly: Her Story, was published on February 14, 2014.
Now, each day, writing, running the gallery, occasionally throwing a pot or two, and enjoying our children and grandchildren, we enjoy our later years.