(I graduated from North Country Union High School Newport, Vermont 50 years ago this June. The following is a letter to my old classmates. In March I called my old school to see if a 50th reunion was planned and the school secretary told me that due to lack of interest the reunion committee had been discontinued some time ago. “People don’t seem to care about their 40th and 50th reunions so much these days”.)
Growing Up in Vermont
Growing up in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s was an exhilarating experience! Being born only six years post World War II, I found that life in America was a special privilege. We had been ushered into the greatest generation imaginable! In reality rural Vermont of the North East Kingdom was my home but America of the 50’s was booming and moving. Moving fast away from old traditional values.
I was looking though old Brattleboro newspapers for mentions of slavery. Most of the articles are op-eds on slavery in the South, but I came across this mention of Brattleboro’s “only living ex-slave” – Mr. Jake Cartlidge. He was a Brattleboro resident for over 40 years, and this story is about trying to help him get some extra pension funds. (A warning that the newspaper used the n-word discussing his time as a slave, while quoting a slave buyer.)
From the Vermont Phoenix, Dec 6, 1912
“Town’s Ex-Slave In Need Of Funds
Efforts to Secure More Pension for “Jake” Cartlidge
Born in Slavery, Sold on the Block, Beaten by Cruel Taskmaskers – Served Pennsylvania Regiment
(The following story was written last year to share with many that were remembering the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock. Niflaah and I went to the 30th anniversary held at the Griffiths Air Force base in Rome, NY. The 30th ended in a riot as prices were very high, numbers of portable toilets were unsufficient, hot shade and no shade on an airforce base. Today the search continues as we all want to escape the crumbling societies of today 2020.)
75 Years ago (May, 1945) the United States, Great Britton, The USSR, and Allies emerged victorious over Fascism in Europe; Nazi Germany surrendered. While the price was high (hundreds-of-thousands of American soldiers dead, tens-of-millions more around the world), no one can rationally argue that the sacrifice was not needed. This was, after all, a Just War; one of the few which lacked any moral ambiguity. We were on the side of right, engaged in a historic battle against evil incarnate. Fascism had to be crushed if we were to not enter a new dark age of barbarism equipped with ledgers and death camps. The drum beat of war had to be answered as no other response was capable of overcoming this existential threat to liberty.
Coming out of the Great Depression, my Grandfathers and Great Uncles, like countless others, served in the U.S. Army during the war. The Greatest Generation did their part and are owed a debt that can never be repaid. With victory we won a reprieve from the horrors of Fascism for generations to come. But the ghosts of Nazism were never completely exorcized from our consciousness – this hatred, born out of social alienation, fear, and economic pressures, still persists. Charlottesville reminds us that the twisted vision of Nazism still lurks in dark places, waiting to emerge if our collective will grows weak and if not beaten back through physical force. The xenophobia proclaimed, at times, from the White House, and the camps on our southern border, where even children are caged, also gives form to real concerns that Fascism can again infest the highest halls of state power (and will grow if left unchecked).
“The people in Building 27 are scared!”
OK, let’s calm down, let’s relax. Let us put aside fear, as we have nothing to fear, anyway.
For here is a story from grandpa’s owns memories:
My family lived in Beach Haven Apartments from when I was five until we moved out from there to our own, 3-bedroom, semi-attached, cookie-cutter home located at 46-05 216th Street, Bayside 61 – Queens, NYC, NYS.
Here’s a bit of historical news from the Brattleboro Phoenix, January 3, 1919. Most of the print space around this time was spent on news of the war in Europe, but this tidbit highlights a local issue. It’s a story that suggests the influenza epidemic was winding down a bit in Brattleboro, but also gives some numbers and information for how it had progressed.
I recently had the honor of hosting BCTV Open Studio with Lenny Derby, Vermont Chapter president of Vietnam Veterans of America. Lenny is spearheading an effort to bring the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall to Brattleboro in September. This is a very important undertaking and deserves the support of the community. Please watch the show and find a way to support this worthy endeavor. Thank you.
On Thursday, October 17th, at 11 a.m., the West Brattleboro Association, in conjunction with the Brattleboro Words Project and Brattleboro Literary Festival, are unveiling a Historic Marker commemorating four historic schools that stood near the current site of today’s Academy School, and acclaimed local author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman.
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman was repeatedly voted the most popular female author during the 19th century. Best known for her short stories, she published over 250 in her lifetime. Freeman spent a significant part of her life in Brattleboro, and credited Brattleboro for its influence on her writing and success. During her time here, Mary attended the Glenwood Ladies Seminary, one of the four schools being commemorated with the historic marker.
“A fine Estey organ was sent last week to Wagner, the musical composer of Baireuth, Prussia.”
On Wednesday, June 19, 2019 the public is invited to explore historic preservation with the Brattleboro Planning Services Department and members of local boards and commissions. Devin Colman, State Architectural Historian, will make a presentation about Vermont’s Certified Local Government program. Then he will lead a walking tour of two neighborhoods listed as historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places. Come for either or both parts of the evening!
Quote: I would build a wall of steel, a wall as high as Heaven, against the admission of a single one of those Southern Europeans who never thought the thoughts or spoke the language of a democracy in their lives.”
Clifford Walker (Governor of Georgia, addressing the “Second Imperial Klonvokation, September 1924)
On Friday, March 8th at 6 pm, join us at Brooks Memorial Library, as Brattleboro Solidarity shows a FREE screening of the documentary “Why We Fight.” This film describes the rise and maintenance of the United States military–industrial complex and its 50-year involvement with the wars led by the United States to date, especially its 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
Yesterday I popped in the River Garden to see the Brattleboro exhibit we helped design with BHS, and was met with a surprise. The historical society has been given a treasure trove of old Brattleboro films.
This is a new project for them and they are just getting started. Bill Holiday explained to me that they had been given a big box of family films, and are currently in the process of having them digitized. The goal is to get 4k transfers for high-quality digital use. A few test reels were on display and they were amazing.
There is a fabulous exhibit about Brattleboro in the Vermont Historical Society Museum in Montpelier. The exhibit, titled Brattleboro-The Defining Decades, 1870-1920, has been produced by the Brattleboro Historical Society , the Estey Organ Museum, with installation design by Chris Grotke.
Join us at 6 pm on Thursday, November 15th for a Roundtable Discussion, as Brattleboro Words Project Director Lisa Weinmann discusses ways in which the greater Brattleboro community can participate in helping the project to discover new aspects of Brattleboro’s past.
In observance of the Veterans Day Holiday, Brooks Memorial Library will be CLOSED on Saturday, November 1oth, and Monday, November 12th. We will open as usual on Tuesday morning, November 13th at 10 am!
Originally known as Armistice Day, in honor of the end of WWI , and the treaty that was signed on on 11/11/18 at 11 am, the holiday was renamed Veteran’s Day in 1954.
On Wednesday, September 26, 2018 the public is invited to explore historic preservation with the Brattleboro Planning Services Department and members of local boards and commissions. Devin Colman, State Architectural Historian, will lead a walking tour of two neighborhoods listed as historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places. He will then make a presentation about Vermont’s Certified Local Government program.
Lies have always been used to sell war to a public that would otherwise be leery about sending their sons off to fight and die.
That is why every major conflict is now accompanied by its own particular bodyguard of lies. From false flag attacks to dehumanization of the “enemy,” here are some facts to help debunk a century of war lies.
I enjoy reading the ‘Today in Brattleboro History’ feature. I especially enjoy seeing articles that indicate that the same ol’ same ol’ is going on in our town.
For example, from today’s:
1874 Fisk Finger Filched
The Wong family plot is easy to find in Brattleboro’s Locust Ridge Cemetery on Black Mountain Road next to I-91. It’s the only gravestone facing south, consistent with Feng Shui. Lily, Stephen, and Emerson died 60 years ago on July 19, 1958, ages 29, 5, and 2. Two members of the family survived the terrible collision near the dangerous old Route 1 bridge in Belfast, Maine. Their spots are reserved and their birth dates already engraved. Arthur had just finished first grade at the Green Street School and was still in a coma when the stone was erected. The father, P. Lawrence Wong (also known as Paul or Laurence), was likely the only family member at the burial.