Meet Foundation Board Member Linda C. May: Linda May’s childhood years were spent in Westfield, New Jersey, where her father commuted to Wall Street and her mother shepherded children and volunteered. Many memorable summers were spent at her aunt and uncle’s summer farm, with no TV or telephone, but shelves of books and the whole outdoors for exploring. She loved rural life from an early age and decided to become a farmer, heading to the University of Vermont to fulfill those dreams. Sidetracked after volunteering tutoring disadvantaged children, she went to the School of Social Service Administration of the University of Chicago and received a master’s degree. It was then on to Boston to work for what was at the time called the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Later she taught graduate students at Boston University School of Social Work. Along the way she met and married Jim May, then a surgical resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and they lived on Beacon Hill. Jim’s early interest in microvascular surgery precluded their moving to rural northern New England, which was still in her long range plan. He settled into a long career at the MGH and Harvard Medical School and they moved to Lincoln, MA, where they bought an old house with a barn and fields and ponds. They raised their children, had golden retrievers, grew fruit trees and traveled widely. Linda taught classes in Colonial History at the Concord Antiquarian Museum, volunteered locally and in Boston, including serving on a number of Boards, Family Service of Greater Boston, the Lincoln Public Library and Concord Academy among them. She went back into teaching, primarily fourth grade. They bought an old place on the Down East coast of Maine where they spent our summers, and now spend five months of the year. Jim surprised her with two cows and finally she is able to live her early farm-y dream, at least when in Maine. When Jim (mostly) retired in 2013 they bought our house in Boca Grande, where Jim remembered coming as a child, and where they had vacationed with our children.
“As I have been a bookworm since I could read, ‘Favorite Book?’ — this is a not a question that yields an easy answer. I could say an early copy of The Collected Poems of Robert Frost, found on a shelf in our summer house. Only a child, I was nevertheless awed by the beauty and grace and power of the language. I wanted to explore the works of other poets. My love of poetry started then. It has never failed to open doors for me. For example, my later interest in modern history, in particular World War I, began by reading the poetry that came out of the battlefields.”