Every once in a while my colleague Laura Meader will look up from her computer monitor and say, "Here's another one we should have written about."
Laura writes the obituaries that appear in the magazine and some of those "stories" touch her and us in certain ways. Often it's an older alum who led a remarkable life but one that, for some reason, slipped by us here at Colby magazine. We're left wishing we had met this person, had the opportunity to chat.
Alice Bocquel Hartwell ’36 is one of those people. Born in Quebec, relocated to Waterville as a young girl with her pastor father, Hartwell majored in French and taught the subject in schools from rural Maine to LIttle Rock, Arkansas. A gifted soprano, she married a choir director, and eventually returned to Waterville to teach high school. In her obituary in the Morning Sentinel the list of professional groups in which she served goes on and on.
The photo with the obituary shows a white-haired woman with a hint of adventuress. Which she was. After retiring from the classroom, she took up "freightering," traveling the world as a passenger on non-passenger ships. Both coasts of Africa, Australia, the Falklands—Hartwell logged 47 countries, most by herself. "She was an intrepid woman," her obituary said.
And one of many in the Colby alumni body, I know. We can't write about all of them here at Colby but still it give us a twinge of regret when we meet them only after the fact of their remarkable lives.
Back in Waterville, she was sometimes greeted by a former student singing "La Marseilles," a requirement for her fourth-year French students.