An Interesting Life From The Start

Advertisement

In spite of a multitude of problems that plagued her early on, Phillice Kinman of Payson has had an enviable life. She traveled widely and has been well acquainted with people of renown.

"I can't ever say I didn't have a good time," she said. "I have had a good life."

photo

Phillice Kinman of Payson crochets an edge on a lap robe as she tells the story of her life.

Her story begins the moment she was born.

Kinman was one of a set of conjoined twins born in Montreal, Canada on Dec. 24, 1927. Having been joined at the stomach, they were separated at two days of age. The other twin died immediately after the separation.

At the time of the birth, her parents had 13 other children -- seven girls and six boys.

"My mother thought I was going to be a lot of expense, so she just left me," Kinman said.

The abandoned Kinman weighed 2 pounds, 2 ounces at birth. (Her conjoined sister weighed 6 pounds.)

"I was in the hospital two years," she said, "and I weighed a little over 5 pounds when I left."

The woman who was in charge of the hospital's nursery department became attached to her, and when it was time for her to leave, the woman took Kinman to her home in Massachusetts.

"She wanted to adopt me," Kinman said, "but my mother wouldn't sign the (relinquishment) papers." Instead of becoming their legal daughter, she became the ward of her benefactor, Grace Phillice Coldville and her husband, Albert, who she came to know as Uncle Albert and Aunt Grace.

Her "uncle" had just been discharged from the military, and the couple returned to their native Cape Cod. Having been longtime friends of Joe and Rose Kennedy, parents of President Kennedy, the Coldvilles made their home in Hyannis Port, where they were neighbors of the Kennedys.

"I called him Grandpa Joe," Kinman said. She liked to sit on the lap of "Grandma Rose," she said, and listen as she read stories to her. It was a favorite place to go for cookies and milk.

When she was 5, Kinman moved to Laconia, N.H., but she always kept in touch with the Kennedys. "I called periodically and I talked with Grandpa Joe. I visited them at Hyannis Port through the years."

Rose Kennedy helped her obtain her birth certificate, she said. "I never knew my real name until I was 21." She had always been called "Patchy."

In providing a name for her, her benefactor, Grace Phillice Coldville, reversed her own given names, and created the name Phillice Grace Grover -- Grover having been the name of her birth parents.

In Laconia, N.H., they lived on a farm with vast acreages of asparagus, blueberries and other plantings. When she was 7, her uncle was struck by lightning. She was sent to the garden to get him, and found his body. She reported to her aunt, "He fell on the ground and he won't talk to me."

It was also at age 7 that she was stricken with polio. "I was in an iron lung for a year and a half, and I wore a (back) brace until I was 17."

Tragedy struck again at age 8, when her aunt died.

With no one to care for her, Kinman was taken in by Lt. Col. Carl Boliver and his wife Nadine, when he was stationed at Dover Air Force Base.

"They had two girls and a boy," Kinman said, "and they treated me like their own. They gave me everything. They were the sweetest people I ever met."

Life with the Bolivers provided memorable experiences in such places as Germany, Italy, Puerto Rico, Australia and Holland, and in Paris and London.

They were at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona when Kinman became acquainted with Payson.

"I had a sunstroke," she said, "and they brought me to Payson. I was 8."

When she was able to go to school, she attended the Rock School (now Julia Randall School). During their time in Payson, the colonel often made arduous automobile trips from Williams Air Force Base, over the steep mountain road of those days, to visit his family. They had a horse and buggy, and by that means the family sometimes made shopping trips to the Valley over the infamous road, camping along the way.

"Three days down and three days back," Kinman said.

As an adult, Kinman's life did not slow in adventure. Every year offered a new chapter. Over the years she worked on the TV set of "Bonanza" in California as a cook.

Kinman has lived in Payson off and on since 1972.

"It's home," she said. In Payson, she has cooked at El Rancho, the Senior Citizens' Center and Payson Care Center. Currently, she is manager of a 13-unit apartment complex. She devotes herself to sewing, quilting, crocheting and crafts.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.