In This Place: February 18, 2015

Down on the Farm

In This Place readers are in for a real treat this week, as I feature some columns written by Emmeline Scudder, a multi-faceted woman who chronicled her family’s life on the farm for the News for a few years in the 1950s. Mother, wife, homemaker, teacher and writer, “Maggie” was a force to be reckoned with. Her daughter Sally Scudder Fair­bairn, who inherited her mother’s “writing gene,” graciously said of her mom: “Let’s let Maggie tell her stories. That voice, combining the matter-of-fact with the hint of marvel behind it, was what I remember as a kid. As I grew up, of course, I came to rec­ognize that behind that ‘isn't life jolly’ facade was a worrywart who recognized the need to do the college and start a new career at age 45.”

Like Clarke Sanford and Lincoln R. Long, Maggie’s contributions to the News paint a vivid portrait of life “in this place,” in her case 60 years ago. You can expect that I will dig out more “Feminine Furrows” as the seasons come and go, for her inimitable voice and unforgettable rendering of family farm life truly deserve to be read and enjoyed by later generations.

In This Place: February 11, 2015

Of Thee I Sing

Time to celebrate presidents and sweethearts, and we start with a Valentine’s boy who grew up to be a fine civic leader in Roxbury, Rudolph Gorsch. Many editions around Valentine’s would have tales of his birthday parties.

February 19, 1904 — Charles’ Valentine
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gorsch of Locust street were presented with a bouncing boy Sunday, February 14. Charles says he is certain he received the finest valentine in town. — Roxbury Times.

Rudolph Gorsch eventually became the town’s undertaker, like his father, and sadly, died on September 12, 1955, just 51 years old. He fell from a truck while return­ing furniture that did not sell at a Roxbury Rotary auction, an organization of which he was the president.

The next incident has absolutely no bearing on Presidents or Val­entine’s but was just too bizarre to exclude:

In This Place: February 4, 2015

Mid-Winter Whimsies & Wonder

These paeans to the Groundhog need no explanation, although one thing I did learn this week is that February 2 on the religious calendar is Candlemas Day, marking the mid-point of winter, when traditionally farmers and families would take stock and hope that they still had half of their fuel and food to see out the last weeks of winter. By this time, almost everyone can find a complaint about the weather — either too much winter or not enough — except of course Clarke Sanford, who found something magical even in the dead of winter.
From the issue of January 31, 1936From the issue of January 31, 1936

In This Place: January 28, 2015

Risky Business

As we all work ourselves into a football frenzy, I thought we could take a look back at the serious dangers the game posed especially to high school players. One would say “back in the day” but as it turns out there were at least three high school football fatalities just last year. Our mountain villages did not maintain football teams for most of their histories — often the game was only play­ed as an intramural sport, and even then serious injuries were known to happen.

In This Place: January 21, 2015

The Other Side of the Mountain

Since we focused last week on Belleayre exclusively, I thought it would be fun this week to look back at our other local ski slopes and their beginnings. Not all of them are still with us, but all played a vital role in providing excellent skiing, often helping to alleviate overcrowding at the larger ski centers.