Harriet Fulton Dwyer ’61
Saying ‘thank you’ to the places that had the biggest impact on her
Harriet Fulton Dwyer ’61 is alone in her Bristol, Rhode Island, kitchen when we come to visit; yet, she is surrounded by family: her husband, children and grandchild, her seven siblings, her Wheeler classmates, former campmates and most recently her 10,000 bees. All of them occupy a place in her heart and mind as she happily explains why each has played a role in "making me the person I am."
The worn gold Wheeler Class ring on her right hand speaks to her continued connection to her alma mater. Once on Martha's Vineyard, a summer store clerk recognized it as similar to her own Wheeler ring. She takes it off to show us a younger sister's initials inside, noting a "hand-me-down" she has worn the longest, and most faithfully.
Wheeler is a tradition for all the women in her family. Her mother was Mary Howe DeWolf Fulton Sheperd, Class of 1934, a devoted alumna who sent all her daughters to Wheeler. She and two of her daughters all took Latin with beloved teacher Mrs. Church.
Harriet smiles, also remembering "little Mrs. Worth who had all six of us girls for history class" and Headmaster Rowly Morgan who told her, "I wish you could swing a pencil like you do that (field) hockey stick."
She has even more fondness and for the legendary physical education teacher Peg Howe, who drove her home from school after sports practices the few times her busy paretns were late picking up one of their many children; a teacher who personally told the admission officer at the Bouve Boston School (then part of Tufts), "You are going to take this student," despite her SAT scores. In turns out, Harriet would later discover that she had a learning difference, something that Wheeler teachers weren't educated about in the 1950s.
Over the years, Harriet remained connected to Wheeler through letters to classmates, visits with former teachers at Reunion events and even an unsuccessful bowling date with Mrs. Howe's son.
It is now, through a bequest in her will, that Harriet wants to continue her Wheeler connection and family legacy.
"I just want to say ‘thank you’ and honor the places which had the biggest impact on me. For me, that was summer camp and Wheeler," says Harriet. "I often look back and realize (Wheeler) is what I draw off today. It's very simple, but very true."
"It's all about connections," says Harriet; through family, through Wheeler friends, and now through future Wheeler students and faculty.