The Characters of Nellenby
Growing up in Boston
My animal characters are inspired by my life growing up in Boston in a large, extended family. My father's parents came over from the west coast of Ireland for work. They had six children and it multiplied from there. My mother's side was a blend of recent immigrants from Ireland and long ago immigrants from England in the 1600s.
I had the freedom from about age 14 to go into Boston by bus and train by myself to wander and exploring.
Here are some of the characters that I created who live in the fictional world of Nellenby.
Mr Frog's lesson is inspired by my time at Girls Latin School in Boston. We learned Latin and passed by Roman and Greek statues in the corridors. Wonderful school with creaky wooden floors and very good teachers.
The lion character is based on my late father, Edward Boyle, who started in the Boston police, studied at night, and became an attorney in Boston who wore hats and smoked cigars.
He had an office at 18 Tremont Street and I would stop by during my wandering around town and practice on his ancient typewriter. If I hit it right he would take me for a lunch of Boston baked scrod.
The Dinner Party is reminiscent of my family dinners growing up. A lot of chaos and talking - Boston politics a frequent subject as politics was everything to children of Irish immigrants.
In 'Nothing to Do', a sketch for a story, I had only to look around at the gang of friends, meeting at 'the wall' on Fairmont Hill in Hyde Park where I grew up.
We are still in touch, now meeting on the Facebook 'wall' a little different than the one we sat on at Leseur Rd and Fairmont Ave.
In this sketch for the story "The Elephants Day Off", coming to the blog soon, I idealize the family with one child who gets all the attention.
As one of five this kind of attention was rarely possible. I also love elephants who form strong family bonds.
Thank you for reading,