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Left in Andover: When Middletown was a lively village center

Left in Andover: When Middletown was a lively village center

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC Middletown Road and Middletown Cemetery are vestiges of a once vibrant village center within the greater town of Andover. Over the course of history, Middletown boasted a substantial meeting house, a store and Post Office, a schoolhouse, several blacksmith shops and a tavern. I was born into this […]

Left in Andover: The miracle of farmers markets

Left in Andover: The miracle of farmers markets

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC I first experienced the magic of a traditional farmers market on a trip to Morocco’s Ourika Mountains in 1978. Farmers, potters and camel dealers converged upon a desolate high mountain plain. In an age old ritual of trade and sociability, a public square formed. Then poof, a few […]

Left in Andover: Wiggle room for college grads

Left in Andover: Wiggle room for college grads

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC My grade school history textbooks featured scary descriptions of indentured servitude in early America. But in our times, bankruptcy protection is available and we no longer risk jail for non-payment of financial obligations. Nevertheless, 43 million young Americans are hamstrung by a whopping one and a half trillion […]

Left in Andover: A jumpstart on a year of renewal

Left in Andover: A jumpstart on a year of renewal

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC While Covid-19 has devastated us humans, it has proved modestly beneficial for the environment and wildlife. Estimates are that greenhouse gas emissions were down almost 10 percent worldwide over the past year, the result of decreases in travel and manufacturing. The pandemic has handed us an unwilling jumpstart […]

Left in Andover: A love for 'Park-a-Lene' food

Left in Andover: A love for ‘Park-a-Lene’ food

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC In a world gone mad for pets, I am a proud but cat-free “cat person.” I got my cat Park-a-Lene in the early 1980s when we were living in our cabin in Andover. She was from a friend’s long line of fine-tempered tortoise shell beauties. Park-a-Lene was my […]

Left in Andover: A devout vegetarian savors Andover farm wives' doughnuts

Left in Andover: A devout vegetarian savors Andover farm wives’ doughnuts

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC My dad’s zeitgeist was not an easy fit with the culture of 1950s Andover. But one local custom that he was bullish on was doughnuts. Doughnuts may have qualified as his favorite food. Andover’s farm wives were famous for them. My mother’s refusal to bake with white sugar […]

Left in Andover: After my father's death, Mom became Young@Heart

Left in Andover: After my father’s death, Mom became Young@Heart

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC My mother became a widow at age 69. It has taken my reaching that same age to appreciate the energy and creativity she then summoned, making her the last chapter in her life one of her best. By the time my father died in 1988, he had been […]

Left in Andover: The wonders of the cookstove and the very hungry granddaughter

Left in Andover: The wonders of the cookstove and the very hungry granddaughter

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC On a sizzling hot day last week, I was still able to enjoy a fire in the wood cookstove first thing in the morning. My husband staged the fire box for me the night before. His homemade bomb of birch bark, twigs and paper towel impregnated with used […]

Left in Andover: A recipe for meatless living

Left in Andover: A recipe for meatless living

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC When I was growing up, my family kept barrels of whole wheat berries and soybeans for ourselves and kibble for our dog in the “honey room,” a sort of shed attached to the house at Popplewood Farm. The wheat and beans were sourced from a local feed store. […]

Left in Andover: Tofu and the love of lasagna

Left in Andover: Tofu and the love of lasagna

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC In 1970, my fellow communards and I subsisted for weeks at a time on homemade tortillas, beans and pokeweed in our remote eastern Kentucky “holler.” It was cause for rejoicing when Phyllis and Vernon Cannon, parents of Jerry, the legal owner of our commune’s land, arrived for the […]

Left in Andover: Taking a little break

Left in Andover: Taking a little break

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC Editor’s Note: Susan Leader is taking a little time off.  

Left in Andover: The universe in a pocketbook

Left in Andover: The universe in a pocketbook

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC According to my smart phone, I now carry 7,282 photos with me everywhere I go. They comprise an impenetrable mishmash of videos of grandchildren, photos of trees, as well as documents and reminders to self. I get lost in them, unable to distinguish which are of value. I […]

Left in Andover: Perfectly ordinary beauty

Left in Andover: Perfectly ordinary beauty

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC I spent most of my year and a half in Japan, from late 1972 to early 1974, bent over a potters wheel. But I did take a monthlong break between apprenticeships to hitchhike around the country. I managed to visit every single one of the six ancient kiln […]

Left in Andover: A personal Passover celebration

Left in Andover: A personal Passover celebration

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC The eight days of Passover celebrate the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Especially at this latitude, it is also a festive welcoming of spring, symbolizing rebirth and hope in the Jewish context. The Passover ritual, held around the dinner table, is called a Seder, meaning […]

Left in Andover: A Latin lover lives in Vermont

Left in Andover: A Latin lover lives in Vermont

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC I was the beneficiary of my father’s unfulfilled ambition to be a high school Latin teacher. An insatiable lifelong learner, he sprinkled his every day speech with Latin phrases and aphorisms. Of course, more than 60 percent of the English language has roots in Latin and Greek. In […]

Left in Andover: The many paths to becoming <br> an independent woman

Left in Andover: The many paths to becoming
an independent woman

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC I was 14 years old when Lydia Ratcliff bought Lovejoy Brook Farm on East Hill. It was 1965, and back then, single female farm owners were not a thing. Like everyone else in Andover, I wondered how long she would last. By that age I was on the […]

Left in Andover: Found in translation

Left in Andover: Found in translation

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC Growing up, I never suspected my extended family of any deep secrets. Boy was I mistaken. Now I yearn to recreate the kitchen and Popplewood porch gatherings of my childhood, to sift for evidence. At that age, I was focused on my aunts’ cooking rather than on their […]

Left in Andover: Wrestling with electrical power

Left in Andover: Wrestling with electrical power

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC Project Independence, President Richard Nixon’s response to the energy crisis created by OPEC’s 1973 oil embargo, called for blanketing America with 1,000 nuclear power plants by the end of the 20th century. Although the theoretical advantages of nuclear power were great, NIMBY-style resistance proved even greater. Communities across […]

Left in Andover: Home Dem meetings were <br> a lifeline for rural women in the 1950s

Left in Andover: Home Dem meetings were
a lifeline for rural women in the 1950s

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC When I was a child, my mother looked forward to Andover “Home Dem,”or Friendly Club meetings. Open to all, they were held at a different member’s home each month. Each meeting included a practical educational topic of discussion as well as time to socialize. The Home Demonstration movement […]

Left in Andover: Grandma Freda's determined life

Left in Andover: Grandma Freda’s determined life

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC After Mom died in 2012, I inherited my maternal grandmother Freda Freund Bergman’s intimate diary in a box of mementos I brought back to Vermont. The fraying, soft-leather five-year journal holds Grandma’s unexpurgated entries from when she and the 20th century were both in their 40s. I doubt […]