MORE RESPONSES TO STRANGERS IN A STRANGE PAST

Friends,

As promised,  here’s the second batch of responses to my blog of July 23, STRANGERS IN A STRANGE PAST.

I don’t know where Kristine Johnson Ingram lives. I wish I did

Kristine Johnson Ingram  We have seen the changes in the children in our classrooms as well: teaching in Vermont is a whole different ballgame than it was in the 70’s and 80’s. I took 6th graders to a farm for conservation day in June and they actually asked if the bulls gave milk: a far cry from teaching in the 70’s when basketball practice was at 7pm so the kids could get home and milk and do chores first…

Janet LeBeau Hill lives in Chicago and on or near Deer Isle, Maine

Janet LeBeau Hill I think a lot of the areas here in coastal Maine still have that old feel to them. Of course the contrasts are visible between places like Stonington with it lobstermen, quarrymen, craftsmen and artists and The ever-genteel Castine with its 1700’s Georgian homes, yacht club and country club. While we’ve been up here I’ve been to galleries, concerts, art studios, farms, hymn sings, historical museums, the tiny E.B. White library, community dinners, steel drums on the green, farmers’ markets….the stuff residents of small communities do together. I’ve spoken with several small business owners about the challenges of relocating to places like Brooklin that has 982 winter residents. I hate to have to return to real life hustle and bustle of my life in Chicago with its have/have-nots culture. I think people up here have it all.

Patrick Wood lives somewhere in Rhode Island. I wish I knew where

Patrick Wood Well put! I see the same stuff here in R.I. It’s not the same place as it was when I got here 25 or so years ago. Except there are still plenty of starving artists. Affordable housing for artists here is a 900 sq. ft. Condo for $200,000. And the rich kid got a grant to do it.

Bruce Farr, lives in Ludlow, Vermont.

Bruce Farr Always thought provoking, David. It’s given me pause to consider my own migration here five years ago, and the reasons for it. I certainly wasn’t laboring under the illusion that I was moving back to the Vermont I became fascinated with in the late 1960s, when, in college in western Mass., I would make frequent trips northward across the border. I then was seeking exposure to the sort of people and way of living that Helen and Scott Nearing had so enthusiastically described in their little bible, “Living the Good Life.”

But my illusion five years ago was to remove myself and my wife to a place that–while no longer pristinely “old Vermont,”–was at least still a refuge of sorts against the onslaught of unchecked development and unbridled acquisitiveness. It was, as I determined, a last bastion against encroaching mindlessness. That illusion, although a bit chipped and cracked at the edges, still sustains me.

More this coming Monday, maybe, or maybe not. I’m going to take some time off one of these days.

Sincerely, David