This unfinished, draft biography was written by Lois in 2002, with a small editorial comment added at that time by one of her children — probably Steve. It is included verbatim, even though many parts are only rough notes.
I was born 6-14-22 in Epping, NH in my parent’s bed. At age 5 we moved to North
Andover Massachusetts, where I went through grades 1-12 going through grades 1 and 2 in one year. (That was frequently done at the time.) I became anti-war after studying about World War I in high school. I remember looking at WWI photographs in the library. My older sister Alison was also interested in peace, which may have influenced me.
I went to Antioch College, where I joined a college peace group. While at Antioch, I was also strongly influenced by the ideas of the value of small community put forth by Arthur Morgan, who was president of Antioch at the time. I actually took a class from Arthur Morgan on small community living, which inspired my interest. I was drawn to Antioch by the adventure offered by their work-study program. I read books including Richard Gregg’s The Power of Non-Violence) about the the power of nonviolent action in combating injustice, as part of inward searching as to whether to support military action against Hitler. I decided for pacifism.
After graduating from Antioch, I worked as a helper in the home of Monroe & Isabel Smith, the directors of the American Youth Hostels at that time. I met Donald Booth through our mutual interest in youth hostelling. We didn’t have much time together, because Don was working in Maryland on a CPS assignment, and I was with the Smiths in Northfield, MA. We had met one weekend, but he had another woman with him. He came back up for one week in the summer, and we fell in love. We spent spent a couple more weekends together – once at an FOR conference in NYC, and once when I went to visit him in Maryland. We announced our engagement that New Year’s Eve. (***please add something about rumor of dad being concerned when he saw your handwriting?)
We were married March 9 th , 1946, and had six children over the following twelve years. The family took part in several experiments in intentional community living, but became firmly rooted in Canterbury, NH. (first in Tanguy Homesteads in Cheney, PA, when Heather was under two years old. We were in Tanguy about two years, but really wanted to be nearer our families. It was at that time that Bill Meeh & Dave Curtis, who found the brick house on Shaker Road. We built the lower floor of our house on Shaker Road before moving to the Bruderhoff. I began falling asleep in worship while pregnant with Barb, they thought we weren’t sufficiently interested in their religious experience – which was a mutual feeling. Bruderhoff for about nine months (following a three week visit). We decided we want to be part of a place that wasn’t quite so fundamentalist religiously oriented. We joined up with several other families who were looking for the same thing, one of whom owned a farm in Kansas. at Meadowlark Farm in 1958-59 in Kansas.) It turned out the owner was more interested in help with her farm and nursing home, not community, so we returned to Canterbury with two of the Kansas families.
We became part of Concord Quaker Meeting in 1951 – just a worship group at the time. Concord Friends Meeting has continued to be a very important part of our social and spiritual lives. Over the years I have played some role in regional Friend’s committee work. In the 1960’s, when Community Builders was building houses for sale, I decided I could help by becoming a real estate broker myself, so money deducted for sale commissions would stay in the family. I studied for the NH Real Estate Broker’s exam, and began doing business part-time as Canterbury Realty. Through my Realtor exposure to interesting Canterbury properties as they entered the market, we began to occasionally invest in land ourselves. Initially, this gave us the possibility of offering year round work for our employees by building spec houses, but it led into developing a series of properties. Perhaps our most significant purchase was 165 acres near Exit 17 in Canterbury, including Merrimack River frontage. I helped arrange the matching donation/sale of a large portion of the river frontage, which Canterbury has developed into a town conservation and recreation area.
After the children were grown, my major activities have been family, gardening, and helping to build a peace movement in New Hampshire. I helped establish a NH office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which spawned NH Peace Action, which I have remained very active with. Besides humdrum labors such as mailing parties, I have helped with newsletter writing, fundraising, and organizing special events and guest speakers. I have served on the national Peace Action board for years.