She Did It Her Way

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Paige’s husband called not long ago looking for anecdotes about her high school years that he could use in her eulogy. I wasn’t much help even though she and I were very close during high school. Her career in adventurous social activities blossomed more in college.

In high school we used to take long walks which we called Braeburning because we would wind up at an elementary school called Braeburn, where we’d sit on the swings and chat. On one of these walks we decided that we would not speak any English; unfortunately Paige was taking German and I was taking Spanish, so communication was challenging. Sometimes we’d fall back on our rudimentary Latin to try to be understood. At the end of this walk, Paige told me what she was trying to say. It was, “The paper boy is cute.”

I was disappointed in the banality of the thought that she’d worked so hard to communicate without English. But looking back at it now, I wonder if it was just a foreshadowing of things to come. Paige started serious dating before I did and once remarked that she would probably never get married because there were so many beautiful boys out there, she didn’t see how she could settle for just one.

She went off to Radcliffe College on a scholarship, and it was there that her more adventuresome side came to the fore. She rounded up a bunch of Cliffies and led them in a panty raid on the Harvard guys. “We don’t want your sockies; we just want your jockies,” they yelled beneath the windows of the male dorms. And “Fruit-of-the-Loom, va va boom!”

The attention drew the guys out of their dorms and they wound up in a big raucous party on the quad. This did not go unnoticed, and WDRC radio in Hartford called Paige’s mother to tell her that her daughter was going to be interviewed on the air that day.

The event was also noticed by the dean, who called Paige in and read her the riot act.

Paige’s 21st birthday party also garnered a little publicity. Held in a well-known dance hall in downtown Boston, the party was attended by the Harvard football team and reported in a local newspaper which had to be somewhat euphemistic in mentioning the gift she received from the guys.

In academics Paige also went her own way. She never bought any of the books required by her professors. Instead, every time there was a test, she went to the library and just read widely about the subjects to be covered.

In her senior year Paige finally settled down with just one guy whom she married about a year after they graduated from Harvard. Ultimately, they settled in Ipswich, Mass., in a home on an old farm originally owned by the Winthrop family. She had two children and became a master gardener with her own business, all the while making many contributions to her own community.

Ultimately Paige lost a brave battle against cancer and died leaving a legacy of a life uniquely lived.

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