Other Voices


Inga Boudreau — From the Hilltowns to publishing

Inga Boudreau grew up on a farm in Westerlo, the daughter of German artisans. Her mother, a sculptress, could recreate a Chanel outfit by looking at a picture and she told stories that came from the heart. Her father heeded Will Rogers’ words — “Buy land; they’re not making it anymore — and in 1932, sight unseen, bought a 200-acre farm in Westerlo for about $300. Inga and her sister attended the grade school in Westerlo and then went on to graduate from Berne-Knox High School. Boudreau fondly remembers two of her English teachers: in eighth grade, John O’Leary taught her respect for the English language; in high school, Nancy Hayden told her, “Never stop writing because you gave me chills.” Boudreau never did stop. With master’s degrees from New York University and Columbia, she launched a career in children’s book publishing. In this week’s podcast, she talks about some of the authors she worked with whom she grew to know and love: Maurice Sendak, E.B. White, Madeleine L’Engle, and Tomie dePaola. She describes her author friends as kind, egalitarian, and nonjudgmental and treasures their cards and letters. She has always liked the ending of E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web.” Wilbur, the pig rescued at the start of the book by 8-year-old Fern, is missing his friend, the spider Charlotte, and he thinks, “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”

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Bonnie Kohl-Laub — a life of change, from Westerlo to France

“I tilt at windmills a lot,” says Bonnie Kohl-Laub.When she and her husband, Leonard Laub, moved to Westerlo, they immersed themselves in local issues and made a difference.Now they have sold their historic farmhouse and are packing to move to southern France.“We saw a wonderful community with wonderful people,” says Kohl-Laub of their move to Westerlo. “In this community, basically, it doesn’t matter what you have as long as you’re good. If you’re good folk, they like you. And it’s been wonderful living here.”Among other commitments, Kohl-Laub chaired the first Republican committee in town in modern times, founded in 2008. Now, for the first time in decades, Westerlo has a Republican-dominated town board.Kohl-Laub was also instrumental in securing a doctor for the rural Heldeberg Hilltown after the legendary Dr. Anna Perkins died.Leonard Laub, worried that the town wasn’t protected from a developer’s land grab, his wife said, chaired Westerlo’s planning board. Laub said in 2007, when 160 of Albany county’s 400 farms were in Westerlo, “We are agricultural here.”Laub also said then that agriculture was the economic, cultural, and aesthetic base for the town and would be the “keystone” for Westerlo’s first comprehensive land-use plan. A plan was, after several twists and turns, finally adopted last year by the current town board.More recently, Laub served on a committee that secured $1.7 million from the federal government to lay down fiber-optic cable and greatly expand broadband access in Westerlo. He had seen all the cars parked at night near the Westerlo library, his wife said, realizing parents were there so their children could use the library’s internet to do their schoolwork.In this week’s Enterprise podcast, Kohl-Laub said some people had wanted her husband to run for supervisor. “We could make a mistake and not know it because our bones aren’t here,” she said.Read the full story here: https://altamontenterprise.com/05142022/she-packs-france-kohl-laub-reflects-life-change