Security Questions: A Sense of Place

As part of account verification, the site asks for evidence of actual awareness of a physical aspect of Brattleboro. It’s a unique way to prove not only that a would-be contributor is not a robot, but there is in fact some identification with the town that is the locus of the site. 

[What can you tell us about Brattleboro? (required) ~~ Can you tell us something that only someone with a genuine connection to our area would know?]

When I signed up, kicking the question around in mind, it was interesting how many instances presented itself to memory as characteristics of living here. I’d venture to say a list would be pretty much infinite, if you account for personal signposts and geographical nooks and crannies. I’m going to include my entry as well as a few others that came to mind. I’d be curious to hear from other people in this vein. Idiosyncratic observations of the hometown.

-Backing out of Vermont Country Deli when sandwiched between cars, there’s a very particular subtle inching involved, and then a choice whether to go completely around the building or make a more adventuresome move (Conversely, when driving by there, one must always anticipate a car rolling blindly and blithely into the flow)

-When stepping onto Retreat meadows in the window of early ice skating, usually there is a board in place, a makeshift bridge to avoid the pooling of water before solid ice.

-At a certain time each year the flowers grow too tall on the island on Western Ave, blocking the vision of eastbound drivers of westbound traffic, for those- not in trucks- attempting to turn left onto the highway heading north.

-Askew steps to the Municipal Center- (at least they used to be, not sure current condition)

-The five way check-in (or in some cases, game of chicken) at the bottom of Union Hill

Comments | 3

  • To Infinity and beyond

    One of my favorite things to do is read what local folks decide to fill in that box… it’s great! Much better than clicking on squares with traffic lights in them.

    Correct mentions of locations and buildings, a topic the person wants to discuss, inside jokes, bits of town history such as the name of a business and where it used to be located, events in the local news, and other things such as the ones you’ve mentioned above…. people are fiercely local and creative.

    It is also very obvious when someone cannot answer the question. We get short, one or two word guesses with no context, some random text, or a something vague like “nice site”.

    I’ve never had to answer it, since I trust that I’m a real person who lives here. If I had to right now, I might mention the muddy state road leading out of town to the northeast that is currently under construction, the idea our current town manager had for the selectboard regarding goals and planning, or the award the town just won.

  • Downstreet

    Fran’s old column in the Reformer by that ^ name.
    Also “Speak Out”, ibid.
    The Elliot Grocer, The Natural Apothecary, Boston Barn, Mort’s.
    “Donut Park”.
    Blue Dog Video (I still have the card).
    Pillow Fights in the Harmony…

  • Crossroads

    Noting my appreciation and apprehension for a few sticky spots in town, where encounters can resolve or knot up in a flash.

    -Equidistant between registers at Brown and Roberts, which way to go pay?

    -Near peak of Living Memorial Hill, T-Bar line reaches stretch where people can either let go- not hitting or running into those crossing over into terrain park- then bail to the left, avoiding a concrete footing and steel support tower… or hang on and ride it out until atop and at the drop sign

    -Corner of Elm Street and Canal. Turbulence into and from downtown, triple crosswalks above, obtuse, and acute angle turns onto or off the hill. Expect roily.

    -Paddling from the docks at the Marina, up the West River, in certain places, especially the island just upstream at drier times of the year, it’s easy to get stuck.

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