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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 […]

Left in Andover: Correspondence with mother

Left in Andover: Correspondence with mother

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC From the late 1930s when she left home through her years as a 1950s housewife in Andover, my mother showered her mother with chatty, revelatory letters and postcards. At times, the correspondence was almost daily. Grandma saved it all. When my parents bought Popplewood Farm in 1950, Grandma […]

Left in Andover: The singular steps of Martha Hennessy

Left in Andover: The singular steps of Martha Hennessy

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., honoring his call to action against “the triple evils of militarism, racism and materialism,” Martha Hennessy along with nine other non-violent Catholic activists, the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, entered the premises of the […]

Left in Andover: The unbearable lumpish oatmeal

Left in Andover: The unbearable lumpish oatmeal

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC In his poem Oatmeal, Galway Kinnell, Vermont poet laureate from 1989 to 1993, enlivens his solitary morning bowl by inviting “imaginary companions“ to share it with him. The Pulitzer Prize winner’s Rolodex includes some persons of note: “Keats said I was absolutely right to invite him: due to […]

Left in Andover: Communing with commune life

Left in Andover: Communing with commune life

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC Blame it on my father that I ended up joining a commune. I was sitting on the porch at Popplewood when he tossed me the New York Times open to the family/style section. (To see the article, click here.) “Where Craftsmen Pursue Philosophy and an Almost Monastic Life” […]

Left in Andover: Joe Gould kills his own pig

Left in Andover: Joe Gould kills his own pig

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC Joe Gould’s Teeth, by Harvard historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore, explores the life and times of renowned Greenwich Village graphomaniac Joe Gould. In the 1920s, this Harvard educated artist/madman bursting with noblesse oblige, proposed to write an “Oral History of Our Time:” “Apart from literary merit […]

Left in Andover: Long before Amazon, there was Alvin Adams

Left in Andover: Long before Amazon, there was Alvin Adams

By Susan Leader ©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC Days after the holiday, Joe Gould’s Teeth, a book by historian by Jill Lepore, finally arrived in Andover, three weeks after I placed my order. “little joe gould has lost his teeth and doesn’t know where to find them,”  wrote the poet E.E. Cummings. The sentiment was mine […]

Left in Andover: Susan takes well-deserved break

Left in Andover: Susan takes well-deserved break

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC I will be on break from “Left in Andover” for the remainder of the year to collect my ideas going forward. I wish to thank The Chester Telegraph and our readers for the opportunity to write this weekly column. It has caused me to look inward, providing motivation […]

Left in Andover: Taking the week off

Left in Andover: Taking the week off

Susan Leader will be taking the week off from her Left in Andover column, which will return next week.

Left in Andover: The sword, and the stones of the Bennington Battle Monument

Left in Andover: The sword, and the stones of the Bennington Battle Monument

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC In late June of this year, the bronze sword attached to the statue of General John Stark at the Bennington Battle Monument site went missing, but was found within a matter of hours. Was removing Stark’s sword a political act, a copy cat action related to the dismantling […]

Left in Andover: Some heroes don't wear capes

Left in Andover: Some heroes don’t wear capes

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC When I was little, my family made frequent trips to Bennington from Andover to visit our aunts. We developed various rituals coming into town including who could catch sight first of the Bennington Battle Monument. Then, yelling “keppel” (Yiddish for head), we ducked our heads in unison as […]

Left in Andover: The mouth of the Williams River

Left in Andover: The mouth of the Williams River

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC During my childhood in the 1950s, I almost never went to the doctor. My mother nursed us through earaches, measles, mumps and chicken pox with hot water bottles and rest on the living room couch. She dismissed fluoride as rat poison. tetanus shots were resorted to only for […]

Left in Andover: A woodland Rosh Hashanah

Left in Andover: A woodland Rosh Hashanah

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC On Nov. 6, 1950, shortly after closing on Popplewood Farm in Andover, Mom wrote Grandma: “We were in Rutland on Sunday night with the express purpose of meeting the Jewish community. We went to the Jewish Community Center and Modern Orthodox Synagogue housed together in one beautiful building. […]

Left in Andover: Treasures within the thrift shops

Left in Andover: Treasures within the thrift shops

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC The boxes of hand-me-downs mailed to us every fall by Mom’s cousins in Cincinnati were a high point of my young life growing up in Andover. We kids had never met these cousins in person but, like clockwork, one of them seemed to have always just outgrown my […]

Left in Andover: Peru Fair pottery sales & parades

Left in Andover: Peru Fair pottery sales & parades

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC Ever since 1984, when I got serious about earning a living as a potter, I have looked forward to my annual Peru Fair “seconds sale” as a chance to clear away the old, to make space for the new — my pottery New Year’s celebration of sorts. In […]

Left in Andover: Ancient cellar holes a window to the past and future

Left in Andover: Ancient cellar holes a window to the past and future

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC A hundred feet off my front doorstep lies the original cellar hole to the “West Place, so-called,” as my property is referred to on the deed. Lucy Jones West bought her eponymous homestead in 1866, a year after her husband Henry West was mustered out of the Union […]

Left in Andover: Drawing strength from the roots

Left in Andover: Drawing strength from the roots

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC When we moved into a cabin on my family’s land in Andover in 1979, one of the first things my partner John Specker did was plant trees. Following in the footsteps of his great grandfather at his farm in the Catskills, John dug up evergreen seedlings in early […]

Left in Andover: A wider world, a wider vision

Left in Andover: A wider world, a wider vision

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC When I sent my tender firstborn off to kindergarten in Chester in 1989 I fretted she would eat white sugar, discover Twinkies and Barbies, celebrate Christmas, take the DARE program literally and go steady by third grade. Although my daughter did most of the above, I discovered it […]

Left in Andover: Treasures in the stones

Left in Andover: Treasures in the stones

By Susan Leader ©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC According to The Local History of Andover, Vt, written by H.H. Gutterson and published in 1886, the earliest settlers of this area “could have had any part of the Connecticut valley they came through, at the same price they paid for their farms here; but the early settlers […]