Monday, November 18, 2013

Hiding Under a Rock

The rock I've been hiding under.

It's already November 18?

I had every intention of being useful this month. Honestly. But first there was this amazing trip back East. And then I had to recover from that trip. And then I had to prep for teaching some poetry. And then I had to help a small group of the students put together and edit their very own 4th Grade comes out this week, by the way. We're excited.

More than anything, I planned on participating in Nanowrimo this month, but it didn't happen.  I always start Nano...for the past five years. Granted, I've only finished once, but I've ALWAYS started. Oh well. There's always Camp Nano this summer if I'm super motivated.

In other news, I'm making like my blog friend Misty and indulging in Hallmark Channel holiday movie sweetness. I'm surprised I haven't put on 20 pounds with this sappy, ooeey, schloppy stuff, but man it's fun. It's also fun watching my kids grimace at all the mistletoe smooching and hugging. Ha!

I also broke my beloved camera last night. Knocked it right off the counter onto the ceramic tile floor, complete with a sickening crack. I almost puked. Then I cried. A lot. My poor husband didn't know what to do. Photos might be harder to come by the next few months, so just bear with me.

Other than that, I started up a genealogy blog (genealogy snoop), mostly for me to document a couple of research projects and to stay connected with some other family history bloggers. Like I needed a new obsession, right?

...happy happy happy...

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Five Days in Vermont

Earlier this month, my mom flew my boys and I out to Vermont to attend her 60th birthday bash. (Thanks, mom!) It was a lot of fun traveling with my sons now that they're bigger and (I'll admit it) braver than I am about air travel.

We landed in Boston where my mom and my uncle were waiting for us with the most tricked out of tricked-out minivans for the two-hour trek north.

I'll just say it now: five days wasn't even close to enough time there.  I haven't been back to visit family in ten and a half years....haven't seen the places from my childhood that are just now starting to seem interesting and beautiful and unusual, so leaving was tough. Coming home to my husband and my little girls righted the melancholy, but still. I wanted more time to seek out the places I wanted to revisit and more time with the family members I haven't seen in a decade.

My hope is to take my entire family (brace yourself, Green Mountain State) next fall in time for the color we can be those obnoxious slow-driving freaks that drive my brother insane each year. Leaf peepers, they're called.

...happy happy happy....

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1. Andover, Vermont. This is  the Congregational Church in Andover. I spent time when I was reallllly young at a farm a few hundred yards from this church.

My recent obsession with genealogy has unearthed that I have had TWO sets of ancestors get married in this church. One couple in 1802 and one couple in 1844.

I also found out that while I thought Congregational churches were fairly liberal (I have NO idea why I thought this...seriously), they were very, very, very strict and would spend much of their time up in your business if you were a parishioner, even going so far as to fine attendees who decided to imbibe alcoholic beverages in the privacy of their own homes. Yowza.

Still a beautiful church, though...right?

2. Andover, Vermont. The town sign.

 I know the sign wasn't made in 1761, but the town was.

Vermont has such a fascinating history in the Revolutionary War and Civil War. They even sent a lot of men to "seek revenge" on the French and their Native American allies after the massacre at Fort William Henry during the French and Indian War. (Remember that scene in "Last of the Mohicans" where Cora loses her father to Magwa and the ambush after the retreat? That was based on the massacre at Fort William Henry in 1757.)

3. Springfield, Vermont. The view from Uncle Bob's place.

I spent two summers hanging around that pond and I was lucky enough to meet the granddaughter of the nice man who owned the farm you're looking at. Christina and I would ride horses all over the property and she'd show me the sugar trees her grandfather used when he made maple syrup each spring.

4. Chester, Vermont. The First Baptist Church. I can't say "Chester, Vermont" without thinking about this big red church in the middle of town.

Never been inside, though.

When I was a teenager a friend and I tried to open the doors one evening just to peek inside (I was 17, maybe?) But it was locked down.

5. Chester, Vermont. A little creek at the back of town. I'm standing on a suspension footbridge.

 My kids are off to the left, on solid ground, yelling at me to stop being so immature. I would jump up and down on the bridge to freak them out.

6. Chester, Vermont. I was a former inmate at this elementary school.

Kindergarten and first grade right there, folks. And yes, that's a gravestone in the forefront of the picture. It's not technically in the school yard so much as I'm taking the picture from the colonial-era graveyard that's situated a few yards from the school yard.

Graveyards are fascinating to me now. To my kids? Notsomuch.

7.  Chester, Vermont.  Brookside Cemetery.

I have an ancestor named Philomen Parker buried in this graveyard. After serving in Lexington in the Revolutionary War (his father was the first recorded casualty of that conflict...bummer), he moved to Chester with his wife and six children. A decade or so later, typhus would come through the town and wipe out his wife and three of his oldest children.

This grave is obviously not Philomen's. My children got grumpy after about twenty minutes of searching and decided that graveyards were NOT where they wanted to spend their Vermont vacations.