Nancy Boyd

Nancy Andal Recalls Peace Corps Service With Nancy Boyd

By Harriett Burt

(This article was orignally published in the Martinez, CA Gazette, February 28, 2013)

They were known in Mabini as Nancy One and Nancy Two recalls Nancy Andal. Paired with Nancy Ann Boyd in training at San Jose State and on assignment as teachers in a village on the Philippine island of Mindanao, Nancy Ann Foral Andal looks back fondly on the six months she shared a house and a Peace Corps experience with the Martinez resident.

The numeral designation arose from the fact that Andal was 22 while Boyd was only 20 but both had been galvanized enough by President John F. Kennedy’s call to service to take a break from college to go serve the world. In June, 1962, Andal arrived at San Jose State from her hometown, Doylestown, Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia. She and Boyd and the rest of Peace Corps Philippines Group 7 entered an intensive 600 hour training program – 10 hours a day, 6 days a week with only Sunday afternoons off.

When the pair arrived in Mabini, near Davao on September 1, 1962, they were the first Americans many of the villagers had seen since the war. They settled into a small house made out of Philippine mahogany, a luxury in the United States, but ordinary construction material there.

In a letter quoted in the Contra Costa Gazette after her death, Boyd wrote about her new home:

“I live in a small wooden house (16 x 16) with another PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer) who is named Nancy and comes from Pennsylvania. We have no electricity, no running water, a kerosene stove (which we have to pump and forever has something wrong with it) and of course no glass in the windows.

“We do, however, have screens on the windows to keep some of the bugs out, but they aren’t much help in keeping out the cockroaches, the biggest and ugliest spiders I’ve ever seen, ants of all sizes and other odds and ends I try not to get close enough to for identification.”

Andal adds that at their request, villagers installed plywood across the roof beams to keep the rats out at night. There was also a “closed system toilet” a short walk away from the house that wasn’t just a hole in the ground but was shared with neighbors who gathered each morning to watch the teachers take their “morning walk”.

As one of the earliest groups of PCVs sent on assignment, the training and preparation for their living and work conditions was sparse, Andal notes.

“Training was at San Jose State with air conditioning and a salad bar. Later they sent trainees to Hawaii that was more similar in climate,” Andal says wryly.

“They (Peace Corps officials) didn’t give us the right medicines; they didn’t tell us how to eat. When we first arrived, we were eating dried chicken soup and canned cheese.” Then a local family whose father had been to the United States in the 1920s took the pair under its wing and the mother showed them what they could safely eat and how to prepare it.

Another challenge was that they had been taught the wrong dialect for Mabini as Peace Corps officials weren’t apparently aware that there are 87 different dialects.

Also, Andal recalls “we were the first Americans to settle in the area other than missionaries. It was such a novelty to have two such young Americans in their village. They were stunned that we would go there by ourselves without a companion… to think that our parents would let us go there to begin with.”

The early experiences by PCVs such as Andal and Boyd caused the Peace Corps to change much of its training and to assign volunteers to a host family at their posting for a short period to become acclimated to the location, the culture and, of course, food preparation.

But before long, the volunteers had established their routine and more importantly their relationship to villagers and to their students. They also appreciated their surroundings. Boyd taught at the Mabini General Elementary School next door to their quarters. Andal taught in a school three miles outside of the village.

Boyd’s enthusiasm and love of children won over the hearts of the villagers, Andal writes in a letter to be read on Saturday. So the shock of her death struck deeply into the village as well as Andal.

“The Peace Corps gave me absolutely no support,” she remembers. In fact, her own parents in Pennsylvania did not know for 48 hours which of the two Nancys had died when the DC3 crashed into a mountain during a thunder storm. Andal herself was expected to take the same flight a month later. Besides the emotional effect of that, the pilots knew who she was and kept inviting her up to the cockpit during the trip to talk about Boyd when all she wanted them to do was to pay attention to flying the DC-3.

Because PCVs were not allowed to live alone it appeared that Andal would be transferred out of Mabini after the tragedy. But love intervened. She had fallen in love with the local doctor, Andres Andal and they were planning to marry at the end of her posting in March, 1964. But with her parents’ permission, they married June 1, 1963 at his alma mater, Santo Tomas University in Manila. So she continued her teaching assignment and also served as his assistant in the clinic helping to persuade the villagers to come to the trained doctor instead of the local magicians and medicine men.

Boyd’s parents, Paul and Dorothy, came to the Philippines during that time as the guests of the Philippine government. Nancy’s father gave a touching speech at the opening of a memorial lending library established in their daughter’s honor in Mabini. The library, however, no longer exists because, Andal explains, there is no cultural concept of ‘borrowing’ or ‘lending’. If something is offered to you, it is seen by both parties as a gift. Consequently, villagers each took a book to remember Nancy Boyd by, which effectively closed the library. That seems fitting somehow.

Nancy Andal returned to America in March, 1964 with a new husband and a baby on the way. They stopped in Martinez for a brief visit with the Boyds. Nancy One was offered Nancy Two’s bedroom in which to sleep. When the door was opened, she was amazed to see that her Peace Corps friend had exactly the same Sears and Roebuck bedspread and curtain set as she had had growing up across the continent.

Dr. Andal took the required examinations and internships to qualify as an anesthesiologist in the Philadelphia area where he practiced until retirement. They have two sons.

Andal raised their boys and went back to college graduating with a political science degree. She has a varied career owning an antique shop, taught for awhile and worked for a radio station besides volunteering as a Head Start, organizing a day care in Providence, Rhode Island and her current job, volunteering at Fonthill Museum in Doylestown. She says her husband remarks to this day about all the volunteering she does to which she retorts “what was I doing when you met me?”

Asked how the Peace Corps experience impacted her, Andal replies, “the Peace Corps changed your life. Like many people, you felt like you got more out of it than you gave. It raised our cultural awareness. I don’t know how many presentations I’ve given in schools, especially right after I got back, sharing the Peace Corps experience.”

She is especially proud of the fact that the John F. Kennedy Library, seeking letters from early PCVs because the Corps had destroyed most of the early records because of lack of room to store them, was thrilled to receive her 160 letters from Mabini to her parents and grandparents.

The last word on the Mabini adventure comes from one of Boyd’s letter home that Contra Costa Gazette editor Bill Sharkey used in Column One on the Monday after her death:

“When the moon is full and it rises over the mountains and it shines down through the cocoanut trees, I can’t believe it is real; I feel I must be dreaming. And no mere human can describe the feel of a warm tropical evening. One must live it to truly know the calm and peace of it.”

Although Nancy One was not able to attend Saturday’s event at Nancy Boyd Park, she sent a short letter to be read in Nancy Two’s honor. Letters from Will Newman were also read and Alhambra Class of 1960 classmate Sally Sullenger who joined the Peace Corps before Boyd spoke as well as Mayor Rob Schroder. Classmate and close friend Sally Snook DiLipkau read from Boyd’s letters home. Rob Goldstein, a returned PCV also spoke along with Peace Corps representatives.


Friends gather to remember Nancy Boyd

Nancy Boyd

Nancy Boyd, second from left, with three residents of the Philippine village she lived in from September 1962, until her death in a plane crash in March 1963. Boyd graduated from Alhambra High School in 1960 where she had been editor of the Torch, Student Body Treasurer and a cheerleader, as well as a member of the Hi Times Horizon Club. (NANCY FORAL ANDAL / Courtesy)

When members of the Alhambra Class of 1960’s Hi Times Horizon Club said goodbye to their lifelong friend Nancy Boyd in spring of 1962, they had no idea they would never see her again. But the following spring, they were joined by leaders of the Peace Corps at her funeral in Martinez following her death in an airplane crash on a mountain in Mindanao, where she had just completed six months of a two-year assignment as a science teacher in a small village.

Over the years, the close-knit group developed a pattern of frequent reunions with the memory of their friend kept alive by the existence of Nancy Boyd Park, which has been a favorite of Martinez children and their families for nearly 50 years. When the 50th anniversary of her death came last March, a former Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) who had recently moved to Martinez and had never heard of her before suggested that the anniversary be marked with a PCV reunion and community celebration of her life.

As a result of that, Boyd’s roommate and fellow PCV in Mamiti, Penn., Nancy Foral Andal, was found. She could not attend but wrote a brief tribute which was read at the event.

Andal, who had married the village doctor after Boyd’s death and now lives in Pennsylvania and Florida, scheduled a brief stop in San Francisco this month in order to meet Boyd’s friends en route to a tour of Japan. Coincidentally, the Measure H funded improvements to the Nancy Boyd Park facilities were completed as she and her husband arrived in town, so they could see them and some of their story could be shared at the ribbon cutting for the updated park two days later.

Eighteen friends gathered on Feb. 16 at the home of Carol and Jim Hatch for a luncheon and shared memories. Andal brought pictures she had taken of Boyd in training and on Mindanao with stories of their lives in the tropical village, including the woefully inadequate Peace Corps training: they were taught the wrong dialect for their area, given the wrong medicine to combat malaria and had air conditioned dorm rooms at San Jose State during training for their remote tropical village weather preparation.

But there were very rewarding times with the children and the villagers. Boyd loved the children she taught and was very adept at doing the Twist, which was always called for at the weekly village dances. Even though she confessed to Andal that she was tired of performing it every Friday, she never let anyone else know that.

It was also hard to be away from home during events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and to receive letters from home about stocking up on water, Coca-Cola and cigarettes, and building a bomb shelter and not knowing for a month what had actually happened.

When Boyd died, Andal remembers the village was broken hearted. When Boyd’s parents, Paul and Dorothy Boyd, subsequently came to the village to dedicate the memorial library raised with contributions from our community, “they were treated royally,” according to Andal.

Friends shared their memories of Boyd after lunch. Sally Snook deLipkau remembered being Boyd’s campaign manager for junior high treasurer and developing a clever song and dance that garnered enough votes for victory.

“She was very active politically,” deLipkau recalls. “If she had lived, we would have heard of her in Washington.”

Of course, today she would probably not want to have it known that she and Sally had smoked their first cigarettes together while still in high school.

As the stories were shared, Sharon Sacchi Viano observed to Nancy Andal, “it sounds like you guys had a good time.”

“We did,” Andal replied. “We had a lot of fun and adventures!”

“Wonderful” was the main description of the afternoon that day and throughout this week. “It was sad, too,” said lifelong friend Lois Quantamatteo Hart, to her friends’ nods of agreement. There was a strong sense of regret for the loss of their friend and the life she would have had.

Andal was very grateful for the chance to meet Boyd’s friends and to share stories about her. As she left, she clutched a small scrapbook of pictures and mementos made for her to take home. Andy smiled as his vibrant wife talked about the adventure that changed his life as well as hers. They had fallen in love while Boyd was still alive, but after her death the Peace Corps planned to send her home because they didn’t want her to live alone in a remote village. Marrying Andy would solve that problem, and her parents agreed. Their wedding was performed in June 1964, at the University of San Marcos in Manila where Andy had trained, with a priest brought from the village. The reason was the college chaplain refused to perform the ceremony because the bride was “an old woman.” She was 23.

Andy and Nancy’s two sons had a wonderful time playing at Nancy Boyd Park on a visit in the mid-‘70s when they were youngsters. Nancy Andal has always treasured that memory and recalls thinking at the time about how glad Boyd would have been to think of the Andals and other children playing there. The Andals had stopped a policeman for directions but he didn’t know. So they stopped a boy on a bicycle. When asked if he knew how to get there, his immediate reply was, “Nancy Boyd Park? Sure I know! Follow me,” and he led them there on his bicycle. Nancy Boyd would have loved that story, too.

Childhood friends of Nancy Boyd and her family gathered recently at the home of Carol (Pistochini) Hatch to welcome Nancy Foral Andal of Pennsylvania, who was Boyd’s roommate and fellow Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines where Boyd was killed in an airplane crash in March 1963. Seated, from left: Jackie (Silva) Bobrosky, Sharon (Sacchi) Viano, Nancy Andal, Carol (Pistochini) Hatch, Mary (Breshears) Perez and Diane (Locke) Heitkam. Standing, from left: Lois (Quantomatteo) Hart, Geri (Billecci) McKillop, Sally (Snook) deLipkau, Donnaleen (Esani) DiBetta, Irene (Romero) Katsuleres, Dorothy (Pedrotti) Plummer, Sharon (Schneider) Trebino, Susie (DiBetta) Stewart, Marylee Taylor and Harriett Burt. Most of the guests were members of the Hi Time Horizon Club (Campfire Girls affiliate) and active in Alhambra Union High student activities until they graduated in 1960 with their classmate and friend, Nancy Boyd. (JIM HATCH / Courtesy)

Nancy Boyd Friends Gathering

Childhood friends of Nancy Boyd and her family gathered recently at the home of Carol (Pistochini) Hatch to welcome Nancy Foral Andal of Pennsylvania, who was Boyd’s roommate and fellow Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines where Boyd was killed in an airplane crash in March 1963. Seated, from left: Jackie (Silva) Bobrosky, Sharon (Sacchi) Viano, Nancy Andal, Carol (Pistochini) Hatch, Mary (Breshears) Perez and Diane (Locke) Heitkam. Standing, from left: Lois (Quantomatteo) Hart, Geri (Billecci) McKillop, Sally (Snook) deLipkau, Donnaleen (Esani) DiBetta, Irene (Romero) Katsuleres, Dorothy (Pedrotti) Plummer, Sharon (Schneider) Trebino, Susie (DiBetta) Stewart, Marylee Taylor and Harriett Burt. Most of the guests were members of the Hi Time Horizon Club (Campfire Girls affiliate) and active in Alhambra Union High student activities until they graduated in 1960 with their classmate and friend, Nancy Boyd. (JIM HATCH / Courtesy)

 

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One Response to Nancy Boyd

  1. Hi, my name is Cita Guna Maignes, I was born and raised in a Mansaka village of Cadunan, about 10 miles from Mabini, where late Nancy Boyd was a Peace Corps volunteer during the 60’s. I was in grade three when I meet Nancy at one of Friday night’s social dance in Cadunan. I have lived in MN, USA for 35 years. Three years ago, I return to live permanently in Cadunan. To take care of my mother who is 92 years old and suffering from dementia. I obtained a dual citizen. While I am here, I am creating a self -sustainable farm that creates job for locals. I also have established a beach resort about 10 minutes from Mabini.
    I happened to be invited at the Araw ng Mabini last week as a guest speaker at opening ceremony pf their 64th county fair ” Araw ng Mabini”. It was my first time to see that the Nancy Boyd Library in Mabini is no longer there. I asked one of the government officials who invited me on what happened to the Nancy Boyd Library. They said it was torn down. I told them I wanted to restore that library as a memento of the past.
    This caused me to google the whereabouts of Nancy Boyd. And I am happy I found this article. Nancy , was the life of the our village when I was growing up. I admire her ability to mingle and be immersed with our culture, so naive and no fear in executing her desire she caught from President Kennedy, “To represent America”. I love to see her dance the twists. When I watched her energy at that time, as a little girl, I also wished I could volunteer for the Peace Corps like Nancy. The Peace Corps is such a wonderful idea by President Kennedy. I am now 60 years old, but I never stop to wish that I could volunteer for the Peace Corps and this is still on my bucket list.
    My prayer is that in spite of the current world turmoil and leadership we are currently dealing with, that Peace Corps will continue into the future. And that those Peace Corps organizers, will continue to think of ways on how volunteers can be safe while on their volunteering fields. Thank you, Nancy #1 and Nancy #2 for all that you have contributed to our world!