Some Things Don’t Change. In A Very Good Way.

Hell. It’s been years since I submitted anything to iBrattleboro. I do look at it every once in awhile, mostly to see that things are okay in one of my favorite places to live. But, I haven’t been there since 2004. I sense everything is okay. And I do hope all my friends there are happy, or at least struggling towards a worthwhile goal.

When I lived in Brattleboro I always thought, “this would be a good place to stay.” Yeah, I know. It has its quirks. But I’ll never forget my first day there when a postal worker spent ten minutes helping a homeless person get their mail straightened out. And I thought, “if I’m ever poor, this is where I want to live.”

Anyway, I just returned to Chicago after spending the past seven years on the California coast. What I call Oprah-Land. Or Nirvana Land. Or a host of other names. I do like California. Mostly the geography, ocean, desert, weather, and it still has a faint memory of the Beach Boys. And old silver screen movies. The Westerns. James Dean. And a lot of dreaming.

I want to say hi to my friends. Yes-am still alive. And I have no idea what anyone is doing back there. But I wish you all well.

And if you get a chance, download/listen to “I Remember” by Kaskade. Beautiful vocal and great dance beat. Kinda’ goes with spending Fri/Sat night in Brattleboro.But I have to run. There is a local wine bar that I want to check out…


Comments | 15

  • Well Hello there!

    How great to hear from you! Not even three days ago I was wondering whatever happened to you. I hope you’re doing well. I guess you have heard by now that Yankee, err Entergy, is closing.

    • 1

      Yeah. Heard it through the atomic grapevine awhile back. I’ve always felt that a community should make choices, and then live with it. What I hope not to see is pleading for the same entity to come in and pay for the solution. Is like dating someone who makes choices and sends me the bill 😉 I prefer to think that one can be in the empire, but not of the empire. It’s so damn interconnected. Which is good, when the constructs fade away… Nice hearing from you Stevil. John

  • Darq!

    I was just thinking of you a couple days ago. I’m okay, still the same old. Hoping you’re well and happy. Come visit when you can! Happy holidays! <3

    • 2

      Hi Annikee! Good to hear from you. Of course, if I get within 500 miles of Brat I will stop by. The brews there are very independent 😉

  • Greetings

    Greetings D,

    Very nice to hear from you again. We think of you often and hope to see you passing through at some point.

    Much has changed since 2004, and much hasn’t. You’d recognize the place, but probably wonder where a few stores and people went, and who some of the new faces are.

    Aside from climate change, a terrible economy, NSA spying, and a rise in cancers, things are great!

    Probably the noticeable project at the moment is the rebuilding of the Brooks House, which had a rather bad fire a couple years back. Lots of construction activity. Also the tearing down of the I-91 bridge between exit 2 and 3… much activity there, too.

    The Latchis has new seats and has restored the ceiling as part of the renovations. The theatre is looking really good – almost like when it opened.

    Old buildings by the train station have been taken down, downtown road was paved, ugly lights and a weird traffic system was installed. Most of the kinks have been worked out, but for a while it was a disaster. The flooding from the hurricane took our collective attention away from the ugly poles and oversized lights.

    The Coop has a new, super-efficient building in roughly the same location as the old store. Lights were added to Malfunction Junction as part of the upgrade project. It’s still a mess. Yesterday I saw someone just parked in the middle of it all, staring and wondering what to do.

    A kid named Marble went missing about the time of the Irene floods. No one seems to know where he ended up.

    We’ve lost a few notables – you might remember Homey (Michael Marantz) and Larry Bloch as regular participants here.

    In the personal category, I’m doing more animation. Also just finished up a complete alphabet with cats hanging around each letter. I’m going to make it into a poster, and possibly a book. Also got much better at baking since you left, so if we know you are coming we can bake a cake.

    iBrattleboro-wise, we’re finishing up our 10th year. You might like that we added a philosophy section… feel free to partake.

    And yes, as Stevil pointed out, Entergy said they were going to close VY. There is a good deal of concern for how this will impact the local economy, what former employees will decide to do, and how quickly/slowly the site will be decommissioned. More information is needed and there seems to be a bunch of behind the scenes negotiating, planning, and such. Entergy is, of course, balancing what happens with this plant while thinking about other plants they plan to close soon, too, and likely coming up with a business plan for the complete portfolio of nuclear plants. I’m surprised they haven’t proposed building a new thorium reactor, or something along those lines.

    Still lots of nature to enjoy. I saw a huge possum waddling down the driveway the other night with long, gorgeous fur.

    Let’s see, what else? WVEW sounds better than ever. BCTV has upgraded, too. Our trio of citizen-created media opportunities (radio, TV, web) is alive and well here.

    See you soon…

    • 3

      Wow, Chris. Lots going on. I had to chuckle at your comment about the driver just parked in the middle of the junction. Funny. You could probably work the traffic thingy into your animations. I always like your animation work. Very professional and creative.

      And, of course the new site design Lise has completed. Very-very nice. I like it.

      On VY, not sure how that will play out. They will need to keep a skeleton crew onsite as long as fuel is stored there. Mostly security and some maintenance, chemistry, rad-protection folks. It really depends on the timeframe of dismantlement. Whether it gets moth-balled for awhile or dismantling begins right away–which will mean jobs for the locals.I spent a few months at Zion station (two years ago) setting up their training program for all the construction workers coming onsite to dismantle it. Return it to farm land. Maybe house prices will come down to where the average person can afford one?

      What I saw at Zion when they shutdown was a slow loss of city services. From the public library, firemen, etc.. The town still looks -okay- ten years later. But they definitely took a tax base hit, and they lost a lot of consumer spending. The other thing I noticed that as Mom/Pops closed or moved out, the Big Boxes were able to come in and acquire prime locations.

      So, I don’t know. Good and bad. Or just plain life, eh. The thing is, no industry/manufacturing lasts forever. Heck, Brattleboro used to manufacture organs, right? And they used to have soldiers stationed there (read that letter you posted). Some things are not designed to be backward-scalable. And some things do well.

      Anyway, need to end this before it becomes a tome.


      • Tome away...

        I miss your tomes… : )

        It is tough, that plain old life thing. It would be nice to cherry pick from history to assemble something new that had say, the prices of 100 years ago, the wealth of post WWII, the fun of Dreamland at Coney Island, etc. If only we could just keep the good things (and agree on what those good things are).

  • Howdy

    Hey, darqmatr! Thanks for stopping in! We think of you every now and again and wonder where you are, how life is treating you. Glad to know you’re well.

    I agree with Chris that some things have changed, some remain the same. My big worry is the effect the economy is having on regular people and small towns and cities. Brattleboro seems to have some real money problems now, which is going to ‘trickle down’ onto the rest of us. It seems like a lot of it has to do with big loans we took out to pay for infrastructure improvements and since those loans have long terms, it looks like our money problems will too. Alas.

    But hey, the holidays are upon us. This weekend was the big weekend for holiday bazaars and craft fairs. Chris made it to the Kids’ Craft Fair at the River Garden on Friday night and yesterday we both went to the Guilford Church Bazaar and the Cherry Street Arts mini festival which were both really nice with lots of great people selling their wares. Then last night we went to the amazing Christmas lights display in Chesterfield, which was dazzling to say the least. Joe Bushey filmed it last year, and if I can find the link I’ll post it.

    Probably the biggest thing for me was finally launching the new, improved iBrattleboro in February of this year. It was a long and arduous process that has filled my to do lists for the last two years. It was a relief to make that happen and so far, I think it’s been a successful transition.

    McNeills is still here so if you ever make it back to town I will buy you a beer and we can talk about old times…. Have a good one!

    • 4

      Lise, you did an excellent job on the site. I really like the layout and user friendliness. And the damn interesting stories.

      The River Garden… had forgotten about it. Is like a time tunnel with nature on one side and the city on the other.

      And McNeills. Yes. Am almost ready to cry when I think about the loss of good beer.

      Nice hearing from you, Lise. John

      • 5

        Sorry to just write a short response to you, Lise. You know that I consider both Chris and you dear to me. Just saying.


  • Backatcha

    We think of you the same — you’re a current and ongoing pal, no matter where you are. Surely, one of these days, you’ll be back in town if only for a visit.

    Glad you like the site. It was much harder rebuilding it in a new CMS then just making it up as we went along the first time. We started out with like 14 users. The relaunch was with a group of over 2000 registered users and we had to do it right so we wouldn’t upset people. It wasn’t a perfect transition but hey, we’re here. 😉

    So thinking of you in Chicago, how are the public schools doing? We’ve been trying to understand and write about public schools this year, our own for the most part, and have discovered that modern education is a veritable minefield of issues right now. Chicago has had a fairly loud discussion about theirs, and given the connection to the Obama administration through Rahm Emanuel, it’s been kind of surprising just how rancorous it’s been.

    As for VY closing, I hope we don’t lose all our local businesses because they are a huge part of what makes Brattleboro unique. My take is that we’ll figure out a way to maintain our identity which has more to do with the people who live here than with the tax base. Brattleboro is relatively low income, as is most of Windham County. I’m hoping that we’ll be more resourceful and imaginative with our future town. I guess we’ll see. Perhaps we’ll have some new opportunities not possibe with VY in the picture. Holding out for the silver lining as you can see.

    Thanks again for dropping in. Enjoy the windy city….

    • Backatcha 2

      You know, I always wondered how Rahm Emanuel got to be mayor. But I will keep my mouth shut (after a few sentences). I mean, I respect someone who works their way from the bottom up. And has earned respect along the way. But to win an an office because they hob-knobbed with a famous person? Okay. Am shut up.

      Don’t know that much about the Public Schools as my kids (3) are all done with college and on their own. But the gist I get is that during times of plenty benefits and retirement structures were generous. And probably fair if you had to do the work these people do. I don’t envy them one bit. But we were living on a windfall. And now, well… there’s no wind. Simply put.

      I’d say we’re in the Horse Latitudes. If you get my drift (dear friend). Which is off the coast of Africa where the wind would disappear and they’d throw the horses overboard due to lack of water/rain for weeks.

      I can’t say it enough, Lise. You’ve done an outstanding job on the site. It’s a substantial contribution to community.

  • Greetings, O wanderer ..

    & many merry happies to you. Like everyone else, I had been wondering where you were, doing what – thanks for dropping in!

    I haven’t lived in town since late in ’04, when I moved into a little house built by friends on a nice patch of mountain woods. Much of the house (& a fair chunk of my heat) comes from my own trees, though I’m getting a bit old & feeble for much cutting. Lyme disese has made it up to my altitude (though it’s not as bad as down in Bratt). Happy to report I am one of the lucky folks whose doctor believes in testing & for whom the antibiotics worked.

    Here’s a snapshot:

    Woods in September for Robin & Larisa:

    Out cutting deadfall for winter heat,
    careful not to crush the caterpillar,
    a moving froth of airy white spines …
    see moths fly up in sleepy startlement
    when their roosting places vanish …
    watch the small frog swimming
    in the pool by the spring.

    Have a great winter – m.

    • M

      Well, you know what they say… first the body and then the mind 😉 I feel like I’m getting perma-frosted back here in Chicago with the temp being 3deg last eve. But, at least it’s civilized somewhat and am not out in the desert somewhere. I miss our little chats 😉

      If I keep coming back here I’m gonna’ have to post one of my stories. Since you closed with some nice lines of your own. But first, I should visit one of the local diners, and have a glass or two of wine. Then will write stuff I will surely regret the next day…

      Am glad you are doing well, friend.


      • Regrets

        ” Then will write stuff I will surely regret the next day…”

        Don’t worry. I’m pretty sure no one is keeping track of anything anyone writes on the internet.

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