It has been eight years since Heritage-New Hampshire was forced to close its doors for the last time due to a lack of sufficient patronage coming through those doors to help the privately-owned historical attraction pay its substantial operating costs. Despite the number of occasions I have had to drive past the now largely gutted inside building, I never fail to remember with fondness the many pleasant years I spent working there. For me, the days spent there were never work.
With Heritage-New Hampshire being right next door to Storyland, many a day found me driving over to Glen earlier than I needed to. It was the gardens in Storyland that drew me. They were lovingly attended to and beautiful in their arrangements. Guest after guest to Storyland would comment on the beauty of the gardens, comparing them quite favorably with those of Disney Land or Disney World. For me, spending an early morning hour among the gardens in Storyland set the tone for the rest of the day. Their beauty was always with me, reaching out to this human being in ways that refreshed the spirit and gave added purpose to the day.
When I finally took up the art of photography seriously, it was largely because I wanted to capture on film as much of the beauty of the world in which I lived as possible. It is nature photography to which I am inevitably drawn. Landscapes, seascapes, flowers, trees, and wildlife fill the major portion of my portfolio.
Those who read my articles for the Daily Sun with some degree of regularity will remember a recent column I wrote regarding a visit to Howe Caverns, in New York State. The photographs with which I came away now serve as a daily reminder that Nature is continually working her artistry in even the deepest and darkest places of our planet.
Another stop on our recent five-day vacation was at the Quabbin Reservoir in Western Massachusetts, where my wife and I used to live. For a time, we made our home in the Town of Ware. The Quabbin Reservoir recreation area is not far from there. Hikers, bicyclists, and picnickers are drawn to this place of quiet beauty. Many an hour was spent there when we lived nearby. The Quabbin was an oasis from the hurry-hurry-hurry of the day. If you ever find yourself in the Springfield, Massachusetts area, a visit to the Quabbin is highly recommended. It is well worth the drive.
Over this past weekend, I spent some time in a couple of oases of serenity of our own. Saturday morning was marked with a visit to the Laura Lee Viger Botanical Gardens. More and more I find myself pulling into the parking area of this little wayside place of rest and spending some time away from the over commercialization of the society we have created in the last half century or so. The Gardens are never quite the same each time I park, and so my camera is always at the ready.
Sunday morning found me wandering around the PSNH Smith Hydro Peninsula Park. For years I have neglected this historic place. That mistake will not be made again. I expect to return again someday this week for further exploration, bringing a couple of different lenses along with me. A return visit to Milan Hill State Park is also on this week's agenda.
Frequently, as I drive around, I see something that I had never before seen in quite the same way. That is one of the advantages of taking up photography. One's way of seeing is greatly heightened. There is a great deal of difference between just looking and truly seeing.
Finally, this coming Sunday is not only Father's Day, it is also Nature Photography Day. The North American Nature Photography Association, of which I am a member, is sponsoring a Nature Photography event in which each person who has a Facebook account and takes a nature photograph this Sunday, nearby to where they live, may upload their photograph to NANPA's Facebook page. This is not a contest and payment of any kind for entering your photograph is not required. There are certain requirements regarding the size of your upload, so check NANPA's website for details.
I certainly expect to be out there shooting scenes of beauty this Sunday. I hope that many of you will be also.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 00:38
Once upon a Berlin Time
Hello fellow Berlinites. By February of 1945, there were more Berlin boys killed in the war. Sometimes it took several months to get the word back home, but it did come.
Pfc. M.E. Lambert was killed in Belgium in late in January. Pfc. Leo A. Bisson of West Milan was killed in action in France during late January. Also killed in action in Luxembourg sometime during December 1944 was Pfc. Warren B. Quimby. As I cruise through the papers I see there are more that are listed later.
Making headlines during the end of February 1945 was the Berlin Street Railway, as it had proved to be a going concern. Gratifying success had been attained by this business in its efforts to care for the traveling public, since taking over the former streetcar system and inaugurating in the present bus line. This was according to a statement made to the paper by General Manager E. Lloyd Budway on Thursday, February 15.
In 1939, the present company became owners of the Berlin Street Railway and operated the cars for a period of six months. Then, 10 buses were placed in operation with three routes being made. They were High St., Jericho and the East Side.
In 1943, two new buses were added and in 1944, two Ford transit buses were also put into commission. By the summer of 1945, it was expected that more new buses would be made available to this company.
Under an arrangement with the Market Service Incorporated, patrons traveling on the buses were protected at all times, accident and liability being covered by this accord. A complete record was kept by the company of all accidents and the good work of the various employees was kept on record also. Accidents were particularly low, while good work accomplished was high.
In 1943, the company inaugurated an insurance policy for all its employees and made available a complete uniform outfit for each member of staff without cost. At Christmas, each employee received at 20 pound turkey. "The aim of this company was to furnish adequate, efficient and courteous service to the traveling public", said Manager Budway. At some point, it sounded like this was a good company for which to work.
Mr. Budway became associated with the former Street Railway in 1920 as a conductor. Around 1932, when the company inaugurated the one man car system, he became an operator under this new plan. He then became General Manager in 1939 and was at first employed as a bus driver for the new owners. I remember this bus service when I was a kid, as it was still in operation.
In March of 1945, following one of the most quiet campaigns in many years, Berlin voters went to the polls and re-elected Mayor Carl E. Morin for a third term by a majority of 1,049 votes. Morin carried every Ward in the city in his victory over Street Railway Manager E. Lloyd Budway.
A well known name in Berlin's past made headlines in March of 1945. At a quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors of the Berlin Chapter of the American Red Cross, Mr. Robert J. Lowe, who was now in his mid 30s, was presented with a certificate of appreciation by the Committee of Awards in first aid and water safety.
It was in 1939, that Mr. Lowe started teaching at the Community Club swimming pool. By 1945, "Bob Lowe" had already taught hundreds of Berlin boys and girls how to swim and how to take care of themselves in the water, thus reducing the high death rate by drowning in this area.
Berlin was particularly fortunate to have Mr. Lowe and the Community Club pool, thus affording continuous opportunities for swimming instruction. During the year 1944, Mr. Lowe issued 110 certificates to beginners who learned to swim. In the lifesaving and water safety groups, he issued 24 junior and 11 senior certificates.
He also gave out two Functional Swimming Certificates. Functional swimming is the type of swimming that was taught to servicemen. It instructed people how to save themselves though fully clothed and carrying a rifle. Now that was interesting.
Of course, Bob Lowe continued his work as an instructor for many more years at the Community Club and taught hundreds of more youth how to swim. Mr. Lowe also became Berlin's Recreation Director later on in his life.
Finally, the Kilkenny Wildlife Management Center made headline news after it was announced that it was going to reopen to the public. This area had been closed to all forms of public use since the beginning of World War II, and had just been reopened according to an announcement made by District Ranger Ockers of Gorham.
The 30,000 acre area of National Forest land is located on the Upper Ammonoosuc River watershed in the towns of Berlin, Randolph, Milan and Kilkenny. The original closing came at the request of the War Department, State Board of Health and the Water Commission of the city of Berlin. This was done to prevent sabotage of this city's water supply.
The Godfrey Dam reservoir on the Berlin municipal water supply system utilized about 20,000 acres of National Forest land all within the wildlife management area. Hunting and trapping had been allowed under permit during the winter months when the danger of sabotage was at a minimum.
It was forest fires that presented the greatest hazard to the maximum sustained production of water, timber and wildlife on any forested area and because of this the public was requested to use extreme care with fire now that this land was reopened. No camp or lunch fires were permitted and smokers were cautioned to follow three simple rules: 1. Crush out your smokes. Put your ashes in the earth and use ashtrays when traveling by auto. 2. Break your burned matches, and then pinch them until the last spark was dead. 3. Remember that care and forethought will prevent 9 out of 10 forest fires.
Now that the Kilkenny Wildlife Area was reopened to the public, the rangers wanted to make sure it did not get burned down.
World War II created a lot of hardships and closures locally and in one more month we were going to have VE (Victory in Europe), thus easing the many restrictions that citizens had faced during the last four years.
I will continue with the history of the year 1945 in my next writing.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 June 2014 12:40
This first week of June is chock full of anniversaries. What follows is a listing of some of them and the significant meaning each has for the writer of this article.
I was nine years old when the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy took place on 6 June 1944. This Friday will mark the 70th Anniversary of that fateful day in the history of the world. If the German forces had been successful in holding the beaches and driving the Allied forces back into the sea, who knows what the world would be like today?
No one that I knew was involved in the first few waves that rushed onto the bloody and body-filled beaches of Normandy. My uncle did not land until the second day, I believe, and he would survive his tour of duty. But he would come home a very changed man from the one who left in 1940. The three children that he would help bring into this world have told me that he never spoke a word to them about his wartime service. Nor did he ever say anything to the father, mother, sister and her son who welcomed him home at war's end. How do you really tell anyone who was not there of some of the unspeakable experiences of war?
From time to time, I have tried to imagine myself in one of those landing crafts heading to the Normandy shores, or to any of the beaches invaded by our forces during any of our wars. I do not know how I would feel, what thoughts would be in my mind. I am not a warrior. Nothing about war is glorious to me. I suppose I would just rush on shore with the others and just try to survive. What else could I do?
Turning to something much lighter, it was on the third of June 1888 that the world's most famous baseball poem first saw the light of day in William Randolph Hearst's "San Francisco Examiner." Written by Ernest L. Thayer, writing under the pen name Phin, "Casey at the Bat" received little attention at the time. But Fate had a different ending in mind for Thayer's poem.
The poem reached the hands of De Wolf Hopper, a noted performer of the day. In his audience one night were members of the two professional baseball teams playing in town. With such good reason to use the poem that very night, Hopper gave the first of what would become his widely acclaimed readings of "Casey at the Bat." The poem and Hopper's performance of it gave Thayer's whimsical work all the attention it would ever need. "Casey at the Bat" has now achieved an immortality far beyond anyone's imagination.
During our recent visit to New York State, my wife and I spent most of a morning touring the Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown. The Boston Red Sox were having a tough go of it while we were away. Much like the Mighty Casey, the few heavy hitters on this year's team were swinging their bats with all the farce they could muster and striking nothing but air. As with the baseball fans of Mudville, there was no joy in Beantown for days on end, as the Mighty Ortiz, Gomes, and Napoli failed to produce in the clutch. (Things are a bit better at the moment.)
My wife's interests were largely centered on the exhibits that featured the Boston Red Sox. (One of her highlights on a cruise we took last October was an opportunity to visit Fenway Park.She was there the day before the opening of the World Series, when all the preparations were going on. The timing could not have been more perfect.)
My interests were threefold: The Pittsburgh Pirates (Pittsburgh being the city where I grew up.), the Boston Red Sox, and the opportunity to once again watch one of the greatest comedy skits ever written – the Abbott and Costello "Who's on First? Routine. The wonderfully wacky lineup of Who, What, Where, Today, Tomorrow, etc., is surely one of the most cleverly conceived pieces of writing ever put together. Sheer comedic genius!
Last, but certainly far from least, Barrie and I will have been married for 51 years come this Thursday. We were married the evening of 5 June 1963. A while back, answering a challenge in a writing magazine to which I subscribe, I wrote s six sentence account of that night:
His right arm in a sling from a fall he had taken the day before, he stood proudly looking up the red-carpeted aisle. Coming down the aisle to the music of Wagner's "Wedding March" was the vision in white who would soon be his bride. The walk down the aisle was all hers, her moment, with all eyes following her every step. At last she stood beside him. The prescribed ritual passed more quickly that either had thought possible. From the organ burst forth the glorious music of Jeremiah Clarke's "Trumpet Voluntary," and the beaming bride and groom, heads held high, turned, and arm in arm strode confidently back up the chapel aisle and toward their future together.
Last Updated on Monday, 02 June 2014 13:34
Once upon a Berlin Time
Hello fellow Berlinites. During the beginning of the year 69 years ago in Berlin and the United States there was a great loss of soldiers, as the Battle of the Bulge continued.
A January paper listed three Berlin soldiers dying because of wounds received in action during the past month. Pfc. Joseph Anctil died from wounds that he received in action in France. Lieut. George A. Compagne was reported killed in action in New Guinea, after being missing in action and for a period of time. He was a pilot. Finally on the same page, Cpl. Sylvio Therriault was killed in action in Germany during the Battle of the Bulge.
These three young men were just the start of a list that grew in the final months of this tragic war and touched many family members here in Berlin.
In the political arena, during the beginning of January 1945, Alonzo LaBonte was the first Democrat to hold the office of Sheriff in Coos County since 1892. From Berlin the deputies were Alex Dumoulin and all of the Brown Company guards. I did not know that the Brown Company guards were part of the Coos County Sheriff's Department back then. That was quite interesting to find out.
Another political move in the North Country was the first woman to be elected register of deeds in Coos County. Mrs. Thelma Morse Murphy was sworn in on Monday, January 1, 1945. She was a resident of Lancaster, New Hampshire.
It was announced in a late January 1945 local paper that the Berlin Fire Department was going to soon receive a brand-new American LaFrance aerial truck. This truck had a 65 foot all steel ladder together with booster equipment, making possible the raising of the ladder in 40 seconds.
This new aerial truck would also be equipped with the following items: 1. A demonstrable ladder pipe. 2. A 19 foot life net. 3. Four all service masks. 4. An acetylene cutting outfit. 5. A battering ram. 6. A 12 volt 50 watt lighting system with two flood lights and one spotlight. 7. 200 feet of cable and one junction box for same.
It had many more accessories complete with fire tool equipment. The truck was operated by hydraulic pressure and could be managed by one man. It must have been a great addition for Chief Bergquist and his firefighters back then.
By February 1945, there were two candidates in quest of this city's mayoral position. One was Carl E. Morin, who was completing his second term as Mayor of Berlin and the other was E. Lloyd Budway.
Morin had issued a statement on Tuesday, February 6, to the effect that he would again be a candidate for nomination to run for a third term at the Republican caucus that was held in the four wards on February 19. Mayor Morin was elected Mayor in 1943 and 1944.
Following closely on the heels of Mayor Morin's announcement, came the word on the same day of Mr. Budway declaring his intention of seeking the nomination for the Democratic caucus.
Mr. Budway had been associated with the Berlin Street Railway since 1920 and since 1940 had been the manager of the company since the inauguration of the bus line.
The major news item for Berlin in early February of 1945 was the closing of the famous Brown Company "Store". The article stated that Berlin was going to witness the passing of its oldest institution by March 1, 1945, when this legendary store would close its doors. The doors of this place had been opened to the buying employees and general public of the Winslow Company, the Berlin Mills Company and then the Brown Company since 1852.
According to a released statement by the Brown Company, the closing of the "Store" was due to a series of reasons among which several were mentioned. They were the difficulty of securing necessary merchandise, the lack of manpower due to the taking of men into the armed forces and the added difficulties with reference to deliveries on account of rationing during the war.
In addition, it was stated that with the growth of modern stores everywhere available, there existed no longer the demand for the "Store" to meet the needs of Brown Company employees. It was further asserted that the primary business of the company, namely the manufacture of pulp and paper, called for this company's undivided attention.
When the story of this store became history, room was given for those who had been in charge of affairs at this place. Among those found were Emil Oleson, W. E. Churchill, J. W. Cooper and J. J. Tellington. The president manager, Mr. Tellington had been in charge of this facility since 1929.
Those who were acquainted with the "Store" in 1945 were interested to learn that the original "Store" was not like the present business. The original one was well equipped to meet the needs of prospective buyers from the beginning.
On sale at the beginning were groceries, hardware and commodities which the present store carried in stock, but there was a clothing and dry goods department and a gristmill, in addition to a barbershop, a library and a kindergarten that the store in 1945 did not have.
Also, the main company offices were in this store and continued to be there until the administration building (New Court House today) was built in 1929.
The plan that was followed in the old days was based on a purchase and carry situation and the only deliveries that were made with those at Thanksgiving time when a free turkey was brought to the home of each of the company's employees. There were three carts which traveled from house to house to make available purchases of the great cuts of meat that graced the tables of the employees, and there were no meatless days being scheduled in those far-off and very good old days.
Not only did the kindergarten and library have their inception at the "Store", but with sitting places available, employees circled the outside of the premises or crowded the space provided on the inside and formed the first "hot stove" league where all questions of the day we discussed and political issues were brought before the assembled group and doubtlessly promptly settled.
With the aid of a Norwegian group, music was frequently on the scheduled programs and the band concerts of those days were still remembered by old timers living in 1945. Huge dances were also held here, with the populace enjoying this means of recreation. Many more things took place at the "Store" from 1852 to 1945.
On Saturday, February 10, 1945, the sale of merchandise got started and this sale continued each day after until the complete stock was disposed. It was one of those sad times for the city of Berlin, which has since seen many since then.
I will continue with the history of Berlin in 1945 with my next story.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 May 2014 12:06
Written by Barbara Tetreault
By Charlie Cotton
At a recent presentation, I asked people to raise their hands if they had experienced a mental illness, either personally or in someone close to them. Almost everyone in the room responded. It occurred to me that when I used to ask the same question 30 years ago, no more than ¼ of the audience would ever raise their hands. Something has changed.
Mental illnesses are medical conditions that can disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental disorders are medical conditions impacting parts of the brain. One in four of us will personally experience mental illness. This has not changed (www.nami.org).
We have learned that the incidence of mental or physical illness is heavily influenced by genetics, lifestyle and the environment. Healthy development in children can be derailed by what we call "toxic stressors" (e.g. mental illness, abuse, neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse, incarceration of parent, etc.) in their environment. As a child is exposed to more stressors, the risks for a variety of health and behavioral problems increase over the child's lifetime. These problems include heart disease, substance abuse, suicide, mental illness, etc. (www.acestudy.org).
We know that children are the foundation of our future and that prevention is the best treatment. I have yet to meet a parent who didn't want to be a more effective parent. A child who has a positive relationship with their caregiver is less likely to become depressed later in life, or to become physically ill. If they do become ill, they are more likely to cope successfully and recover. That same child will then be more likely to develop a positive relationship with their own child. That is how we build for the future (www.developingchild.harvard.edu).
We now know far more about effective treatments than in past years. As with heart disease, mental illness cannot always be "cured". However, 70 - 90% of individuals receiving mental health treatment report decreased symptoms. People with mental illness can successfully cope and contribute, especially with timely supports and services. Unfortunately @ 2/3 of individuals who need treatment do not get help (www.samhsa.gov).
So, what does it tell me when I ask about personal experiences with mental illness and far more people raise their hands than what I saw 30 years ago? It tells me we are now more likely to seek mental health treatment if we need help. It tells we are less likely to judge someone as defective or dangerous if they or we have a mental illness. It tells me that we are more likely to provide support and not judge. It tells me we may be learning what works and what doesn't work. It tells me we are making progress.
Last Updated on Monday, 26 May 2014 20:11