Nancy and her clan (above).
“Like many other well and truly married couples, the Bauers of Fredericton possess a
joint identity, Bill-and-Nancy.”
Atlantic Insight, 1981
We came to New Brunswick in 1965 because my husband had fallen in love with the province even though he had never been here and knew very little about it. Bill was an exceptionally intelligent man—some even called him a genius—but he also had an eerie sixth sense that meant he was always ahead of his time. Something about the province had taken up residence in his imagination, but I never could figure out what or why and now that he has died, I never will. We were to come here on our honeymoon, but it turned out that he had only three days between our wedding and the deadline for fulfilling his ROTC contract with the US Air Force. Nine years later when it came time for him to apply for jobs, his first thought was New Brunswick. Does it have a university? Yes. Wonderful.
The decision where to go had to be mine, he said. I knew that he longed to come here, but my mother wanted us to stay in New England. I agonized over the decision. Bill’s gut feeling did indeed turn out to be prescient. Fredericton was the perfect place for him, for me and for our three children.
A year and a half after we arrived, I began to write a novel. Since that evening in March of 1967, I have written many—I’ve lost count, maybe 15—and have had five published. Bill told Kent
Thompson I was writing and he asked me to join the McCord Hall writers’ group. Because I was having such a good time there, Bill started to write so that he too could attend. My joining led to my meeting Mary Lund, which led to our starting the Maritime Writers’ Workshop, which led to some of its students and my forming the Writers’ Federation of NB. Kent and Bob Gibbs came up with the idea that McCord Hall publish some poetry chapbooks and decided that I should be the editor.
Among the 23 chapbooks we published was one by Joe Sherman, who became editor of ArtsAtlantic and asked me to write for the magazine. That led to my being asked by George Fry to introduce his book The Landscape of Crafts which led to my being asked to write a weekly profile of craftspeople for the Telegraph Journal, which eventually led to my being asked to write a weekly column on the arts for that paper. Along the way I met Peter Thomas of Goose Lane Editions and Michael Macklem of Oberon Press who asked me to send them manuscripts.
My taking the road less traveled by, then following the way that leads on to way, has resulted—in the closing stages of my journey—to my contentedly having arrived at the way station that Bill and I created on a quiet street in our beloved New Brunswick.
Nancy Bauer holds a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and immigrated to Fredericton in 1965. She was married to Bill Bauer, writer and retired professor, who died in 2010. Nancy was the publisher of 25 New Brunswick Chapbooks, founded the Maritime Writers' Workshop and was a founding member of the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick. She was writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick and Bemidji State University and for short times at several other venues. She has written over 80 articles about craftspeople, visual artists, and writers for various Maritime magazines and since 2007 has written a weekly column on the arts for the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. She has three children and four grandchildren. more...
Nancy (Luke) Bauer was born in Chelmsford, Massachusetts (near Boston), in 1934. Her parents were Grace Luke, a housewife and kindergarten teacher, and Wendell Luke, a commercial artist. Nancy Bauer's interest in writing began in high school and blossomed during her post-secondary years, when she excelled in her English composition program. She received her BA from Mount Holyoke College in 1956.