Ellen Morton Hamil

From Vientiane & West Berlin to N.Y.C. & Boston, but Taos & Rye win out

I was born February 6, 1941, in Concord, NH.  Five months later I was vacationing in Rye with my parents.  In 1945 they bought a house on Concord Point.  As a child I spent all my summers there, and as an adult, I returned whenever possible.  

I didn’t have much interest in school and was anxious to get out on my own.  After graduating from Bay Path Junior College in Longmeadow, MA, I joined the CIA as a secretary in the covert section.  My first overseas assignment was Vientiane, Laos, in 1963-1965, and from 1965-1967 I lived in West Berlin, Germany.  

I left the agency in the fall of 1967 and went to NYC.  After a year I tired of the “bigness” of New York and moved to Boston.  I went to work for a public relations firm.  This was a fun job as one of our clients was the “chicken man”, Frank Perdue.  One of my jobs was to escort about 18 butchers to Salisbury, Maryland, to tour his facility.  We flew out of Boston on chartered aircrafts with my serving coffee and my freshly baked blueberry muffins.  On the trip back I was transformed into a cocktail waitress.  I must have done this seven or eight times.  

In February of 1974, I decided to take a break from my employment and see the United States.  My itinerary was based on where friends and family lived.  By May, I found myself in Taos, New Mexico.  There was snow on the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the lilacs were in bloom, and the small town residents included artists, cowboys and Indians.  I was in heaven!  I decided to spend a summer there.  The summer extended into winter.  I met my husband here, and we lived in an adobe house that we built ourselves in 1976.  I never did finish my tour of the United States. Instead I went to work in the human resources office of a molybdenum mining company.  I retired in 1996 after 17 years with the company.

We return to Rye each summer.  We enjoy bicycling along Rte. 1A and walking Wallis Sands.  Our favorite event is the annual Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival held the last weekend in September.  


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