Sunday, August 16, 2015


Some Historical Society volunteers:left to right, Karen Lewis-President, me-Rare-Book Sale Researcher, Diana Senturia-Archives Manager, Jerry Senturia-Computer Whiz, Vol. Fireman and EMT.

Dearest Readers,

I’m moving to Portland Oregon in October to live with my daughter, Ayla and her family. I’m excited about this imminent adventure, but also caught at the moment between belonging and letting go. I imagine myself poised on a diving board, simultaneously anxious and thrilled.  During my year plus in Peacham, VermontI’ve become a part of this rural community, pop. 700-ish, and its shockingly wild natural beauty.
In the early months last year, I painted in my makeshift studio, walked the dirt roads
My turquoise sneaker toe on Hapenny Rd., Peacham

and watched the full four seasons evolve around me. I found a place within it. I’ve met stalwart, funny, creative and thoughtful community-builders as I reached out beyond my first months of “hermeting”.  
Friday Coffee Hour-(actually 2 hours)
My favorite group is the Friday morning Coffee Hour at the Peacham Library. I’m the third Friday of the month host and pastry provider. I clear my calendar for this lively impromptu gathering of young and old, (mostly old), women and men (mostly women). No agenda, we all just start talking, drinking and eating the home-baked treats. 

Here I’ve learned the history of residents and buildings, Lorna Quimby, far left rear in the picture, explained what it was like to have a block of 100 lb. ice delivered to a cool place, and cover it in sawdust when there is no ice box. Last Friday she explained the difference between spoiled and soured milk which is very important in making cottage cheese. Joanne Churchill on the right in the turquoise jacket remembered the joy of waiting as a kid for buttermilk on churning day. The young folks listen and sometimes speak of their stressful lives, like Rachel and her mother Laura did (lower front left in photo) preparing for college in a world of AP classes and extra credit courses to put on your application for admission. I’ve learned about Kat’s summer internship in anthropology (or maybe it was archaeology), and her teaching adventure for over a year in S. Korea. She's in the red sweatshirt on the right.

I now have a Vermont license plate on my little Scion, 
Selfie with Scion and VT License Plate

and I took theVermont Freeman’s Oath in front of the Town Clerk, at the Peacham Town Hall in order to register to vote.
(That's my VT Drivers License on the counter)

Even Etta James sports a Peacham dog tag.
Etta James lazily displays her Peacham dog license

I occasionally attend the Peacham Knitters and Puzzlers who meet evenings at the Library (of course) on alternate Monday evenings. I bring my portrait family hankies to quilt, bead, and embroider while chatting. Last Monday Joanne Goss Churchill on the left told us her ancestors arrived in Peacham to farm in the late 1700's!
Peacham puzzler Joanne on the left and knitter Sandra on right_Peacham VT Library 6:30-8:30 pm

I joined the Shambhala Meditation Center of St. Johnsbury VT (about 30 miles away) and met a group of thoughtful meditators and learned American Buddhists.
Madeline left, me in the center, and Carol on the right, at the entrance to the St. Johnsbury Shambhala Med. Center above the movie theater 
Last Fall, I exhibited my portrait drawings at the Gilmore Gallery inside the library, and will show my quilted, beaded and embroidered portrait hankies there this October just before I take off.  When I meet townspeople who try to figure out who I am, I just mention my show last year and an amazing number will exclaim recognition and acceptance.  Wow!
Show poster the Gallery Coordinator provided 

Finally, some of my pictures documenting Peacham’s first annual Winter Carnival were used for a post-carnival poster pinned to the Town Hall bulletin board. I just discovered it yesterday (Makes me feel proud).

Author, psychotherapist and philosopher Piero Ferrucci in his book The Power of Kindness   declares, “I belong, therefore I am.” We may live in a world of individualism and standing up on our own two feet" he says, but “the urge to belong comes first”. From this primal place of security and protection sprouts caring and cooperation. 

Mysteriously, I’ve absorbed the ethos of the D.I.Y. progressive, earthy culture of N.E.K. (The North East Kingdom of Vermont). Perhaps it’s in the genes from my maternal Irish ancestors who settled in central Vermont in the mid 19th century, escaping the Potato Famine for a better life. 

Great-great uncle (I think) Peter Fagan 16th Vermont Infantry-Civil War_Rutland Vermont