Lunch with Marion Ault

One day I was reading Lulu Hayman’s obituary. Often an obituary is a great source of information. Lulu died at the age of 96 in 1977. She was a native of Sacramento (she was adopted by Luther and Sarah Hayman). She went to school in Napa and was a member of the first graduation class of Napa High School. She took care of her parents all her life. Lulu was an accountant in San Francisco and later in 1920 worked at the Napa State Hospital as a bookkeeper until 1931 when she retired. She lived in the family home on Division (this is the brown shingled apartment building around the corner built by her uncle) until she could no longer take care of herself. Then she moved to a rest home. She was survived by a close friend, Marion Ault.  It was this part about her friend that prompted me to do some research into who is Marion Ault. So I googled her. Her name appeared in an article from January 2015 about a house that was on the market on Franklin Street that was once owned by Marion Ault. The article mentioned the current owners had Marion over to the newly remodeled home in 2011. That wasn’t that long ago so maybe I had a good chance of finding her. I called the real estate agent named in the article and she put me in touch with the sellers. In no time I was on the phone with Marion! She is delightful, sharp, young 92 years old and remembers much about the history of Napa and of course Lulu! Marion met Lulu when she came to Napa with her family (her father was newly assigned to the Napa area by Gilmore Oil) in 1930. She didn’t recall being in the house much as she said mostly people stopped and talked to each other on their front porches. Marion said her mother would have Birthday Breakfasts and Lulu would come over to her house on these special days. She said Lulu would rent rooms out in the house to school teachers. Marion said Lulu was a kind, thoughtful and quiet person and a wonderful friend. Marion said she remembers Lulu referring to the house her family built at 608 Randolph Street (Lauren Ackerman’s Queen Anne) and in fact Marion had been in that house when the Gifford and Murphy families owned that home. Marion also has the dining table that the Hayman’s had in that house that her mother had purchased from Lulu. It seemed only natural that lunch with Marion, Lauren Ackerman, Tom Spaulding (he has been researching the history of Lauren’s home) and myself get together and have lunch. It was a delightful lunch and Marion presented Lauren and I with a sterling silver tablespoon from the Hayman family! It is engraved with the letter “H”. I did some research on the pattern and it is by Gorham and called Lancaster. It was made in 1897 and that was the same year Luther married his second wife, Eva Stewart. So most likely this was their wedding silver. Marion also presented me, as conservator, Lulu’s graduation announcement from the first class at Napa High school; newspaper articles, original family photos; a Special Order letter for her father, Luther, from the Civil War (1862); a book from her uncle given to Lulu on Christmas 1897 and photos of Marion’s husband’s family home on 1st and Seminary where the City of Napa Building Division is today (the Queen Anne was torn down in the 1950’s to build a Safeway- what a loss!). These items are so precious and I feel very fortunate to have them. Meeting Marion has brought to life and given such a personal touch to the Hayman family that lived in my house for 52 years. What a delightful encounter! Click here to see the items from Marion.

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One thought on “Lunch with Marion Ault

  1. Hi Karen, My name is Kelly Darter and I’m 6th generation Napan – our family name is Levinson. I am currently restoring my family’s home on First St., as it was severely damaged in the quake. I was doing some research on the Ault family, who’s home was across the street, and came across your blog. I wonder if you would like to chat and compare notes on Napa history.

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