Super Senior: David Putter

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 3:49 PM EDT
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PANTON, Vt. (WCAX) - David Putter grew up in a typical middle-class family just outside of Syracuse. “Yeah, I had a lot of good guidance, a lot of support, a lot of good direction,” Putter said.

David -- Putter -- for short, was around eight-years-old when he found out that he was adopted. It wasn’t something that he thought much of until just last year. More about that in a moment, but first a life in pictures.

“I recruited him to be the captain of our touch football team,” Putter said. Yes, that’s Joe Biden, a fellow classmate at Syracuse University. “He and I were in law school class together.”

After college, Putter came to Vermont. "I was traveling and playing music and meeting musicians, " he said. “For a whole long time I’ve been twisted about playing music and doing the law.”

A rolling stone who eventually decided to “hang out a shingle” in Arlington. “I was the public defender of Bennington County,” Putter said.

The 76-year-old had a long and successful career. One night he was watching the news with his partner, Judy. “Well, you had this thing about people who found their relatives,” Putter said.

Super Senior Sue Alenick is also adopted. She was in the process of finding out who her mother was thanks to New York, opening up adoption records. “If you haven’t lived through it, I don’t think you can really grasp what that means,” Sue Alenick said in her December 2012 Super Senior interview.

That tweaked Putter’s interest. “So, we tried Ancestry and it came back with a match, and it was a second cousin,” Putter said.

From there, it led to a first cousin who had some shocking news about Putter’s mother. “They said to me, ‘You better sit down when we tell you this,’” Putter recalled. “A woman vampire named Vampira.”

Vampira, whose real name is Maila Nurmi, was best known for her role as a vampire in the movie “Plan 9 From Outer Space.”

Reporter Joe Carroll: It’s so bad it’s good.

David Putter: That’s exactly right, yeah.

Panned when it came out in 1959, the film is now a cult classic.

Reporter Joe Carroll: So, there’s no doubt that Vampira is your mother?

David Putter: No. There’s no doubt about that.

A DNA test sealed the deal.

“My partner here is always accusing me a blood-sucking lawyer now. She didn’t use to use that term, now she does,” Putter said. “This is a Christmas present that I got from my first cousin,” he said, holding up a Vampira statue. “And it looks just like her.”

Reporter Joe Carroll: I see the resemblance.

David Putter: Oh, do you.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Oh, she’s got better hair.

Not only did Putter gain a mother, but a cousin in Oregon, Sandra Nimei. “Never thought this would happen, I was so happy,” Nimei said. She says her aunt hung out with the likes of James Dean and Orson Wells. But after the fame, there was a steep decline. “And for the rest of her life, she lived in abject poverty.”

Vampira’s life will be out in a new book by Nimei called “Glamour Ghoul.” She says she struggled to finish the book for the past 12 years. “And David had to be included in the book about his mother’s life.”

Nurmi died in 2008, but in death her spirit lives on with a rebirth of a family.

Sandra Nimei: Anytime I get to talk to you is a good time.

David Putter: Oh my goodness.

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