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Ellen Ehle Schaefer Class of 1962
15 November 2004
Namaste! I am one of those original 12 students in a one room American School mentioned in your History. One of the others lives just an hour away from me (Ron Loftus); he and I met again in Bangkok for our four years of high school there.
My mother, a diplomat with USIS, and I arrived in New Delhi in April, 1951. I was seven years old and can remember that night as though it were yesterday. We lived in the Cecil Hotel for seven months until the Embassy found us a house on Prithviraj Road. Since the American School was not yet open, I attended the Modern School for a year; our beloved cook me to school on the back of his bicycle every morning. (He followed us to Bangkok in 1959).
When the American School opened [in 1952], we 12 students were lead by Miss Jane Pearmine, one of the teachers in my life who remains an icon. She was single at the time, hunted Bengal tigers and knew 140 square-dance calls. She managed to teach us many of them and we put on 'exhibitions' for local civic groups. She patiently tutored me after school in arithmetic, a problem area for me to this day. I am sure that she in some way influenced me to eventually get my Master's in Education at George Washington University and proceed to teach, then become an educational therapist and consultant.
I was in India for a total of four years. It shaped me in ways I am still discovering at the tender age of 60. We traveled the breadth and length of the country as well as Kashmir, Nepal and Sri Lanka. I was present at the last Durbar in Mysore. We vacationed on houseboats on Dal Lake in Kashmir and in Simla. I had tea in Nehru's garden; he invited our entire class to attend.
My pet donkey and lamb were in the annual Christmas pageant on the terrace of Ambassador Bowles' beautiful home; that year, we had real herds of sheep and the Three Kings (my terrified classmates) arrived on very live camels. Mary was on my donkey.
My mother remarried in the Ambassador's garden and I have wonderful pictures of that event as well as hundreds of others to remind me that once upon a time, I lived in a land of wonder and gentle spirit.
I could go on and on, but just wanted you to know that at least two of the former students are alive and well, infused with wonderful memories of our days in India and our beloved one room school.
Ellen E. Schaefer (Formerly Ellen Ehle Krueger)