“Keep Your Mind and Your Body Going”

Hazen and Dorothy “Dot” Lea Spaulding were married for 57 years before her death in 2008.

Good advice from Danville’s Oldest Man, Hazen Spaulding

By Sharon Lakey, Danville Historical Society

At 92 years of age, Hazen Spaulding is a picture of health. At his home on Jamieson Road in North Danville, he offered me a seat in his late wife’s recliner, and he took the matching one on the right. A large bay window beside him allows unimpeded views of an expansive pasture, hills and mountains. A farm sits atop a hill in the distance, the barn holding prominence. “The old Machell place,” explains Hazen. “They don’t farm it anymore.” The silhouette of an ancient maple tree frames the scene at the roadside. Like many pastoral images in North Danville, it hearkens back to old Vermont.

A watercolor of the Spaulding house, designed by Dot. The bay window on the right looks over the view.

It is a comfortable, cozy house. “My wife built it,” he said. “She found the land in 1980, drew up the plans and everything. She knew exactly what she wanted.” It sits on 23 acres. He is speaking of Dorothy “Dot” (Lea) Spaulding, his wife of 57 years before her passing in 2008 from Alzheimer’s disease. According to Hazen, nothing’s been moved in the house since she died.

Though Hazen has only lived in Danville for 37 years, he a native Vermonter. He was born in Stockbridge where his dad worked in a garage. When the family farm became available, his father moved the family to North Sherburne, near Killington. “I went to a one-room schoolhouse and was both the smartest and dumbest kid in the eighth grade,” he said, laughing. He looks over to see if I get it. “I was the only one in the class,” he adds, just in case I didn’t . Hazen remembers Mrs. Powers was his teacher and that they had a co-ed outhouse. “It was the depression, you know, but on the farm we had food: milk, meat and the garden. It was a good life.” He does have one negative memory, though, that has stuck with him. “The kids used to call my brother and me ‘Audie and Podie’ because we were a little heavy.” He didn’t like that, and he has made it a mission his whole life to keep his weight under control.

Hazen can’t imagine how his father managed it, but he drove his children to Rutland for high school, a daily road trip of about 30 miles. “He didn’t graduate from high school himself, but he made sure we did,” said Hazen. In March of his senior year, he turned 18 and was immediately drafted to serve in WWII with a deferral until graduation in June. He entered the Navy on September 24, 1943, and began service to his country that lasted until April, 1945.

The barracks which housed American GIs on Attu, AK island

Stationed in Alaska at Attu, he experienced some scary times. “The Japanese bombed us in our Quonset hut, and I would scurry out to the foxhole I had dug outside the building.” Hazen showed me photos of the barracks and two graveyards taken by him at that time. Though the photos only show a few crosses designating rows for the Japanese, there are many crosses for the Americans. The Battle for Attu, located in the Aleutian Islands, was the only battle fought on United States soil during the war. By the time Hazen arrived, the big battle was over, but evidently, the Japanese continued to carry on bombing attacks. Over 1,000 American casualties occurred there and over 2,000 Japanese troops, many of them dying by the suicidal Bushido code, forbidding surrender as dishonor. It was in Attu that Hazen practiced his newly learned skill as a lineman. It was a skill he would practice throughout his career with Central Vermont Public Service, either as a lineman or a supervisor.

Hazen learned to be a lineman in the service. Here he is pictured on the right of the pole. This was to be his career for many years.

Life sometimes takes unusual and unexpected turns. Upon his return to civilian life, he moved for his new job to Bradford, Vermont, and married a young woman, Priscilla (Stannard) Spaulding. Things were going well, and the young couple welcomed a beautiful baby girl. One day, Priscilla wasn’t feeling well and Hazen took her for a doctor’s visit. “I was sitting in the waiting room, and the nurse came out to see me. She told me I’d better come in; my wife had just died!” Priscilla was only 24 years old and had an undetected heart problem. She is buried in Bradford in the cemetery on the Upper Plain. “Luckily, the nicest family took us in, Alzada and Walt ‘Zip’ Osgood,” said, Hazen speaking with warmth about the love and care the Osgoods shared with the young father and daughter.

Hazen and Dot Lea Spaulding wedding w/little Susan looking on

Hazen met Dot through his CVPS truck partner, Bob Lea. “Dot was his sister and she worked at the cleaners in Bradford. I remember her waving at us in the truck when we drove through town.” It was a good match, and when they married, two more children followed: Jeff and Laurie. The family moved where the company needed Hazen, from Bradford to Mendon as a lineman and then finishing his career in St. Johnsbury as a superintendent of the line crew.

It was his line of work that emphasized the necessity of keeping the health of his body in mind. “Climbing poles is hard work,” he said, “and I was always aware of keeping my weight down. Every morning, I jogged two miles as well as giving up drinking or smoking.

After retirement, the couple was able to travel to Alaska and England, where they visited the town of Spaulding. They spent winters in Florida, and it was there that Dot was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2003 after an illness. “We tried all kinds of medicine, even some from England, but eventually we realized the diagnoses was unmistakable.” They came home to Danville and Dot lived in a private home run by Debbie Baldwin in Lyndonville. “I visited her every morning for five years,” said Hazen. “She died in my arms on June 8, 2008.” She is buried in the same group of plots Hazen bought when Priscilla died so many years ago; it is his planned resting place, too.

A heart attack and accompanying surgery in 2012 got him into the Physical Therapy program at NVRH in St. Johnsbury. “I think that rehab is necessary,” he said. “I have only good things to say about that process. So I continue to buy time there, three mornings a week. The nurses take good care of us down there.”

And when asked what he does to keep his mind sharp, Hazen is quick to answer. He points to a well-worn Bible lying on the table between us. “I memorize verses,” he said. “Every week I drive to church services in Orange. ‘Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and redeemer,’” he said, proving the point. “I read and memorize verses three times a day.” He feels the memorization keeps his mind sharp and flexible.

Living in Danville suits him. “I like how it’s spread out,” he said. “Jake Langmaid brings me wood for the fire and Teddy Legendre plows me out.” He visits the North Danville Library consistently to enjoy coffee with the librarians. He remembers fondly his service there as President of the Library. And, wonderfully, every morning at exactly 6:26 am, his son Jeff calls him on his trip from Chittenden to his work at a bank. His daughters check in, too, weekly. Susan is  Town Manager in Rockingham and Laurie is a surgeon.

“Living alone is not fun,” he admits. “I really miss Dot. But, if I’m ever bored, I can always dust!”

Hazen Spaulding, Danville’s Oldest Man, and Patty Conly, President, April 2017

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Greenbank’s Hollow Event on May 6, 2017

Joe’s Brook as it comes tumbling down just below the bridge.

If you have never had the official historical tour of Greenbank’s Hollow Historic Park, this could be the event for you. Dave Houston and Hollis Prior will lead a two-hour tour through the park, explaining the historical significance and workings of the Forgotten Village. Hosting the event will be Atlas Obscura. Check out the link; tickets must be ordered through them. There is a 20 ticket limit for the event, so the tour will be a personal experience. Click the link below for details.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/events/the-forgotten-village-at-greenbanks-hollow

 

 

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Danville’s Lovely Miss Whittier

A glass plate photo by Stephen Waterman. He identifies the young ladies as Misses Weeks, Whittier and Bacon. The young ladies are posing on Danville Green.

A glass plate photo by Stephen Waterman. He identifies the young ladies as Misses Weeks, Whittier and Bacon. The young ladies are seated on Danville Green.

By Sharon Lakey, Danville Historical Society

Whenever we plan our Annual Meeting Program, I am always looking for Danville connections. This year, a speaker listed in the Vermont Humanities Speaker’s Bureau caught my eye: Linda Radtke performing a program entitled Vermont’s Musical Ladies. The photograph of her in her hoop skirt impressed me, because Danville had one such fine lady. I contacted Linda, and she is now our presenter on Sunday, March 26 at 1 pm. When I told her about Harriet, she began working to find a song she sang in her repertoire.

Our Danville Mezzo-Soprano (a female voice pitched between soprano and contralto) was named Harriet, but I see her named on bills as Miss Hattie Whittier. She lived in a little cape house on Route 2, on the school side of the road. We know exactly which house. There are two capes on that side, and this one is the first you see as you near the school on your way out of town. The former principal and his wife, the Manning’s, lived there when they lived in Danville.

A music program found in Miss Whittier's scrapbook

A music program found in Miss Whittier’s scrapbook

According to our town history, Village in the Hills, Harriet Whittier was a direct descendant of General Israel Putnam and John Greenleaf Whittier. Quoting from the book, “She came to Danville as a sick child to live with her great uncle and credited Danville’s climate with her subsequent health until her death at 94. She studied voice in Europe, traveled widely, and was soloist with the Boston Symphony and many choral groups.”

We have some of the Harriet’s artifacts: the square grand piano (that needs a lot of work) that sits in the Historical Room in North Danville; a large scrapbook containing page after page of recitals and places she visited, including Europe;  an advertisement for Negundo Tea House that she ran in Danville for visitors at her home; and several glass plate photographs of her and two young friends on Danville Green taken by Stephen Waterman (a relative). There is even an oil portrait of her hanging in Molly (Waterman) Newell’s former home in North Danville that we are planning to borrow for the event.

Linda will sing a song that Miss Whittier sang in Boston.

Linda will sing a song that Miss Whittier sang in Boston.

We hope you will join us for our Annual Meeting Program. It is free and open to the public. And, Ms. Radthke’s investigation has paid off. She will sing one of the songs our lovely Miss Hattie performed in Boston so many years ago!

 

 

 

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Join the celebration!

2016-holiday-on-green

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On her 80th birthday, a Danville Artist Shares her Story

By Sharon Lakey

“I’ve been kind of a maverick. I feel as if I’ve washed along, fitting in here and there…”

Robin Rothman

 

Robin at home in her living room in Danville.

Robin at home in her living room in Danville.

Robin Rothman has always been a bit of an enigma. She is a lone walker on the streets and roads around Danville; she is that small woman standing among the few at the St. Johnsbury post office, holding signs promoting world peace; she is the woman who draws our attention to the details in our surroundings through the thread of a fine-line ink drawing. Continue reading

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AMERICAN PICKERS To Film In Vermont this Fall

pickers

 

Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and their team are excited to return to Vermont! They plan to film episodes of the hit series AMERICAN PICKERS throughout the region this fall.

AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique ‘picking’ on History. The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, Mike and Frank are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items.  The pair hopes to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way.

Mike and Frank have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them. AMERICAN PICKERS is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to:

americanpickers@cineflix.com or call 855-old-rust.

 

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A few tickets left!

bean-hole-extra-tickets-ad

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An unusual way to cook beans!

A fund raising and delicious old-timey way of cooking beans is being enacted at the Greenbank’s Hollow Historic Park this coming Sunday. Please join us. Call for tickets.

bean hole supper 2016

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You’re invited to a mini-bioblitz

This Saturday, June 11—and the weather looks promising!

Leader: Dave Houston

Dave Houston speaking to a group at Greenbank's Hollow.

Dave Houston speaking to a group at Greenbank’s Hollow.

On Saturday, June 11, 2016, all interested naturalists are invited to the Historic Park to gather by the covered bridge in Greenbank’s Hollow and then venture out into nearby forests, fields, wetlands, ponds and streams to discover and document the plants, birds, mammals, insects, spiders, herbs, and other life forms that exist in these ecosites.

About 16 folks have indicated that they plan to be there—that’s great, but of course, more would be welcome. If you know of anyone with special interests in fungi, mosses, liverworts, bryophytes, or lichens give them a call and invite them along. We have some good botanists coming, and some experts in butterflies and dragonflies, but other plant and insect lovers would be welcome also, as there are lots of interesting sites to check out. You generalists may have an opportunity to team up with someone if you wish.

mini bio blitz greenbank's hollow june 11 29016

A map of the four quadrants that will be part of the bioblitz. The center is the covered bridge.

I’ve worked up some maps outlining the geographic area of interest and some data sheets to help record your finds. If you can bring pencils, clipboards (I have a few), bugdope, raingear, lunch and water that would be good. Photos can often be very helpful in identifying or documenting what you find out there.

Logistics:

WHERE: Gather on the south side of Joes Brook near the covered bridge. Parking is along Brook Road, in the few designated parking spaces, and on the grassy area. Look for the small pop-up tent there with table for check in, and to pick up maps, data sheets, directions, etc.

WHEN: I will be there by 7:30 am. You can come whenever you can get there. Some of you may want to spend all day, some of you might not be able to—and that’s OK, for whatever you discover and document will add to our database.

DURING: I suggest that those not too far away, or not too engrossed in what that are finding, check back in at noon for a lunch break, discussion of the morning’s venture, and perhaps select a different venue for the afternoon.

AFTER: As I mentioned in my earlier memo, for those of you still around at the end of the day, there will be a wrap-up at my house (within the zone of interest!). Timing will depend on how things work out, but in any case, there will be beer, wine, snacks, etc., and the grill can go on for those who wish to bring something more substantial.

If you have any questions, suggestions, etc. please let me know. I hope to see you all for a fun day at the

Hollow

Directions: From the Danville Green, take the Peacham road south to Harvey’s Hollow (2 miles), turn left onto Brook Rd and go to its end—by the covered bridge,

-or- from the Green, take Brainerd Street south, and where it swings left, go straight onto Greenbank’s Hollow Rd- continue to the Hollow and the bridge.

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This postmark neophyte learned something

By Sharon Lakey, Director of the Danville Vermont Historical Society

Sharon Lakey, Lindi Pronto and Don Gallagher finishing up postmarking for Thaddeus Stevens

Sharon Lakey, Lindi Pronto and Don Gallagher finishing up postmarking for Thaddeus Stevens

Okay, I admit it; I am a postmark neophyte. When I received an email lately from Ross Hetrick, the president of the Thaddeus Stevens Society, sharing with me that someone was coming to Danville for a postmark cancellation honoring the 224th birthday of Thaddeus Stevens, I was more than a bit foggy about the whole thing. He also suggested I might want to have some items canceled at the event. Having never been a stamp or postmark collector, I had no idea what I should have canceled. Thank goodness for Google.

The idea of a special cancellation was generated by the postmaster in Danville, Lindi Pronto, who was familiar with the process as she had completed one nearly 20 years ago. She had spoken with Don Gallagher at the 2015 renaming of the Danville Post Office to the Thaddeus Stevens Post Office. Don has been on a mission for the last few years to have an actual postage stamp printed by the United States Postal Service in honor of Stevens.

For those readers who may not know, Thaddeus Stevens was born in Danville, educated in Peacham, graduated from Dartmouth and went on to become a brilliant lawyer in Pennsylvania where he became an ardent abolitionist and Congressman. He is recognized as the father of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Definitely, Stevens is a worthy subject for a postage stamp. However, it is no easy task to convince the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee of this.

As Gallagher explains it, the process of getting an actual stamp made is a long one. It requires many steps and proof of the viability of the subject. As millions of stamps will be printed, the question is, will customers really buy the stamp? There must be broad support for the individual.

To that end, Gallagher is attempting to spread the word and actually get people–yes, you reader–to do something. He would like you to write to the Stamp Committee telling them you support the effort and give your personal feelings about how important your civil rights are to you in a democracy.

Here, dear reader, is the address, and we hope you will consider sending a personal note. Your signature and date are required.

Thaddeus Stevens Stamp
Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza S.W., Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-3501

The postmark cancellation used in Danville on April 4, 2016. In this case, it was used on a postcard created for the event. These are available at the Danville Historical Society.

The postmark cancellation used in Danville on April 4, 2016. In this case, it was used on a postcard created for the event. These are available at the Danville Historical Society.

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