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Left in Andover: Walden ideal of enough as plenty

Left in Andover: Walden ideal of enough as plenty

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC Each of my siblings was named after a special hero of my dad. These included Rosa Luxembourg, the Polish socialist, the brothers Gracchi, who were agrarian land reformers of ancient Rome, and the Irish patriot Robert Emmett. I was the exception to this rule. My parents’ lame excuse […]

Left in Andover: In tune with my musical side

Left in Andover: In tune with my musical side

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC As both the wife and mother of accomplished musicians, I am often asked if I play an instrument. My response is always a vigorous no. This is not, however, strictly accurate. I actually participated in grade school and junior high band as a flautist. But I never progressed […]

Left in Andover: The other side of Terrible Mtn.

Left in Andover: The other side of Terrible Mtn.

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC I was born and still live at the sunny southern foot of Terrible Mountain. At 2,900 feet altitude, our mountain is neither exceptionally tall, nor harsh, ranking  No. 214 in the state. The accepted explanation for its ominous name is the obstacle it presented to through-traffic between Andover […]

Left in Andover: Post WWII's seagoing cowboys and the milk of kindness

Left in Andover: Post WWII’s seagoing cowboys and the milk of kindness

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC One of the very first relief operations undertaken by the fledging United Nations, from its inception in 1945 through 1947, was to send several hundred boatloads of cows and horses to resupply war ravaged eastern Europe with livestock. This was a cooperative initiative with the Brethren Service Committee […]

Left in Andover: A short history of hitting the road

Left in Andover: A short history of hitting the road

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC The only thing I really miss about my hitchhiking days in the late ‘60s and ‘70s was the space it offered to interact constantly with people of all different walks of life. Swapping stories face to face with the people who stopped to give me rides established a […]

Left in Andover: The end of single-party politics

Left in Andover: The end of single-party politics

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC Dad’s enormous wooden roll-top desk filled the northwest quadrant of the den at Popplewood Farm. He rescued it one winter in the late 1950s from the former Verd Mont Mills Co. factory in Ludlow. To get it into the house, we had to drag it on an old […]

Left in Andover: Hope in the Book of Job

Left in Andover: Hope in the Book of Job

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC In the biblical Book of Job, Satan bets that Job, the archetypal “billionaire” of his time, will not remain true to God in the face of misfortune. God gives Satan permission to visit any tribulation except death upon Job, to test him. Against all odds, in the face […]

Left in Andover: The carrot and the bun

Left in Andover: The carrot and the bun

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC March 2012, a historically warm month, I floor my gas pedal to climb the steep mountain road. High atop Finn Hill in Andover, my daughter, who is in her early 20s, has set up housekeeping in a rented apartment. I am on assignment, delivering a first batch of […]

Left in Andover: Living simply in Gandhi's shadow

Left in Andover: Living simply in Gandhi’s shadow

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC While Dad had always managed to stash a certain amount of “junk” in the breezeway, in the tractor sheds and in our hayloft, when we got rid of our farm animals there was no holding him back from filling up the whole barn. As a by-product of our […]

Left in Andover: Tragic end to search for home

Left in Andover: Tragic end to search for home

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC Dad loved reciting his story about hawking apples in Springfield in 1950. After personally picking them each morning, he knocked door to door at Southview Housing District, reasoning that housewives stuck at home with young kids and no transportation would be likely buyers. Sales, even at his very […]

Left in Andover: A search for an ideal home

Left in Andover: A search for an ideal home

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC I lusted after the mug, coveting it for my very own. Henry Little, our hired man in 1956 and ‘57, brought it back to Andover for us from one of his many sojourns south of the border.Each side was more brilliantly glazed than the other. A wave of […]

Left in Andover: Keys to the past, and the future

Left in Andover: Keys to the past, and the future

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC Last summer, relatives who were about to purchase Popplewood requested I play the role of “inspector” during the final walk-through of the premises before the sale was finalized. Never having bought or sold a house myself, I had to ask for clarification as to the nature of my […]

Left in Andover: Building a utopia from 'abandoned' Vermont lands

Left in Andover: Building a utopia from ‘abandoned’ Vermont lands

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC In 1941, Alfred and Norma Jacob, Quaker Relief Service volunteers during the Spanish Civil War, purchased the last standing farmhouse on West Hill in Jamaica, Vt. During the post-American Civil War era, a mere 70 years earlier, an astounding 28 farms had thrived on that very same hill. […]

Left in Andover: A potter turns toward reality

Left in Andover: A potter turns toward reality

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC This is Part II of a two-part story on my journeys with pottery. Last week: Pottery as a spiritual pursuit My original plan to take the Hippie Trail home across India through Afghanistan to the Middle East and thence back to the USA lost its appeal after my […]

Left in Andover: Pottery as a spiritual pursuit

Left in Andover: Pottery as a spiritual pursuit

By Susan Leader ©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC I divide my 51 years as a potter into several different stages. What started out as a spiritual experience for me at age 17 morphed into a much more mundane, “of this earth-ly world” career. This is Part I of a two-part story. Next week, Part II: On […]

Left in Andover: The canopy over his head

Left in Andover: The canopy over his head

By Susan Leader ©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC The box containing Dad’s cremated remains sat under the eaves at Popplewood for two whole years before we figured out what to do with them His instructions to “dump me on the compost pile” seemed crude if not illegal. But Dad’s opposition to the funeral industry left few […]

Left in Andover: Steering toward the good life

Left in Andover: Steering toward the good life

By Susan Leader ©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC I treasure Simple Food for the Good Life, the 1982 non-cookbook by Helen Nearing (1904-1995), not for its recipes, but as a reminder of how fortunate I am to live in an era when women have the freedom to choose how much of their lives to invest in […]

Left in Andover: A whipping to end whippings

Left in Andover: A whipping to end whippings

 By Susan Leader ©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC Compiling her “Vermont Historical Gazetteer,” Abby Maria Hemenway (1828-1890) enlisted the elders of each Vermont town and city to provide historical material, which she then edited and published from 1861 until her death. The section titled “The Local History of ANDOVER, VT.” (1886) includes a primary source contribution […]

Left in Andover: A long Thanksgiving walk

Left in Andover: A long Thanksgiving walk

By Susan Leader ©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC The Sunday before Thanksgiving, 1975, my dad and I set out for an adventure hitchhiking from Andover to Bennington, then onwards to Albany, N.Y., to visit Cousin Frances who had invited us to stay at her house overnight. The weather was mild for that time of year, and […]

Left in Andover: Martha's life of faith and family

Left in Andover: Martha’s life of faith and family

By Susan Leader ©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC Eight-year-old Martha Hennessy learned of the assassination of JFK standing in line at Perkinsville Elementary School. Fifty-seven years later, the Vermont native and grandmother of eight recalls: “That same year, 1963, we were still having duck-and-cover air raid drills because of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the perceived […]