Well, so much happened in September and October it's hard to know where to begin. Everything has been so exciting! Let's start with a look at the new window display in the IPHS museum. It's all about logging. Look at these antique tools! They may be old. But like us, they're still pretty sharp!
BOTTOM: A Pick-A-Roon tool. Used by men on the log drives. RIGHT: A Wood Peeler.
Morris McKenney's Secret River Gold Tips, Wrights Auctioneers Returns a Report, James Retrieves Antique Bottle Treasures From The Lake, Marilyn is Wrestled Away From the Last Slice of Cake, and Eric Dufour Saves the Day !
In September Morris McKenney began tempting us with his tales of secret gold-bearing rivers in the vicinity of Island Pond. Eventually, we IPHS volunteers gave in to temptation and ordered $20 worth of gold panning sieves off Ebay, a $10 black sand magnet, and with Morris's old map in hand set off on an expedition to the river of Morris's childhood memories. The river's name must remain secret - for it is very close to Island Pond and very rich in tiny flakes of 22k gold! Do not imagine it was all plain sailing. Gold was found, but many noble sacrifices were made. A brand new pair of training shoes size 10.5 got soaked and covered in mud. The president slipped on an algae covered rock and snapped a heel off her size 6.5 sandals and knocked a lens out of her Dollar Store spectacles. But it was so worth it! We are pleased to report the lens was glued back in to their frame, and the IPHS society and its 508 members now own two buckets of silt in which many thousands of miniscule flecks of 22k gold worth about $3 at current gold prices are embedded. Flour gold, as it is called, is notoriously difficult to separate from fine silt. At this point, we are down $27 and a pair of sandals.
Undeterred, IPHS volunteers next set off for the lake where similar success soon met their eager hands. Three 1950's whiskey bottles were dug out of the sand approx. 15 feet out front the shoreline at the point where the Goods Yard ends. Next out came a small Victorian bottle, a chubby bottle marked Polish, and an ancient (to us and to you) fragment of an Ingalls Bros. stoneware beer bottle. Thrilling! Thanks to these relics - which are worth between $6 and $30 each on Ebay we are now back in the black and have made good on our prior $27 loss. These photos - even if they do not show riches galore, prove our enthusiasm and sense of industry. The pearl divers of the mighty oceanic depths and Egyptologists of the Pyramids have nothing on us. Our eyes (and our hearts) were also set on researching (digging up) the old Carbonneau dump off Birch Street but during an early morning reconnaissance mission to the site we were put off and thwarted by the many Private - Keep Out signs nailed to bushes. Obviously put there by the owners who, we saw, appear to be living at the rear of the land in a very large luxury trailer. An appeal might be made to them later in the year, seeking permission for us to excavate John's old dump but, first, we shall need to find out their names and, to do this, we must first contact Teresa in the Town office who has been extremely busy of late, even more so than usual. Whether this is due to incomers moving in to Island Pond we are not sure but we have been told plenty of local homes and camps have sold online 'Sight Unseen' to folk from as far away as Colorado. If true,. then the IPHS may soon have the pleasure of adding many more new members to your historical society!
Other happy matters included the occasion of vice president Craig A Goulet's birthday on 13th September. When asked if there was any sort of gift his father would 'really love' Craig's son Christopher said "Well, dad loves cucumbers...." These photos show the magnificent cucumber presented to Craig in a gift box. Notice the little crown, too. On the worrying news front, Rita Stafford hasn't been very well and is recovering from a mastectomy. Ricky Martin's eyes are now failing and opticians are investigating 'black spots' in his vision. Joe Fournier passed away in September, his widow Janice was very courageous at the service in St. James where Terry, one of the twin sons of Joe and Janice, have a beautiful reading but, sadly, his twin Todd was trapped in London, unable to travel over due to covid restrictions. Sometimes,. I am not sure if we're locked in, or whether it is that the rest of the world has locked us out. Other news, Ray Joseph, seen here, is well.
Interestingly, Wright's Auctioneers came across a copy of the Brighton Town Report dated 1907 and with the words 'Island Pond Historical Society - Do Not Destroy' stamped on the back. We were so grateful Ron Wright donated the report back to the IPHS museum and also gave us a dozen or more other Town Reports from the 1930s to the 1970s. These are all now back in the museum and on display where, coincidentally, two photocopies of grant checks are also displayed. Giving those grants this year were Price Chopper Guleb International and Community National bank, while our Guardian Angels Barbara & Tom Bresse also donated to our Community Outreach program. Thanks too, must go to Nancy Keough who contacted us from her home in New York. A life member, Nancy donated a check, ordered a headstone cleaning service, and wrote us a wonderful letter, telling us how much the Newsletter means to her since it enables her to keep in touch with events here in Island Pond - both past and present events. And that's what the IPHS is - a society that keeps the history of this town alive while keeping members in touch with each other, with the past, and with their loved ones' lives and memories. Though they may have passed on long ago, we gently carry them on far into the future through displays and exhibitions, through the newsletter, and through the photographs and relics which are on show in the IPHS museum.
As promised, here is the photo of the very last slice of cake left standing after we wrestled it back off Marilyn Maxwell. Though always very ladylike and charming, Marilyn and a nice big creamy gateaux are rarely separated so we were lucky to retrieve this slice. The cake was served during the amazing family-only award presentation ceremony when the Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society came up with his colleague Eileen Corcoran to announce the wonderful news: Marilyn had been chosen as the winner of the Local Leagues of Historical Societies and Museums Individual Achievement award. Marilyn - who brought along a bison decorated Teepee to the ceremony - for some unknown reason, thoroughly deserves this wonderful acknowledgement of her efforts on behalf of the IPHS which, as Craig rightly points out, must be doing something right. Marilyn has brought this historical society great honor. No other historical society is as lucky as the IPHS to have someone of Marilyn's caliber. Her work ethic, her generosity, and her spirit does us proud, thank you Marilyn but - in future, step away from the cake!!
I want to end on our most recent - and perhaps most fabulous and most moving news. Our members are all over America, Canada, and the United Kingdom. One of those members is very special - his name is Eric Dufour, and he lives in California. His donation earlier this year of the beautiful Saint Anthony statue within a portrait box made shock waves here in Island Pond where it was displayed, for the first time in the many decades since the statue had left Vermont after being found among debris and rubble that was being thrown out from the old St. Mary's convent. Eric has now stunned us again with another wonderful, humanitarian, and generous act. He has offered - and we have accepted, to sponsor the cost of printing - and mailing out, cards to you and all your fellow 508 members this Thanksgiving. It is difficult to express how much this means to us, and difficult to explain how much it will mean to many of the more elderly members who - but for these small but vital cards of communication, may go for weeks without receiving a personal letter, any form of communication at all, or a card containing cheering words that let them know all will be well, that we are all in this together, that we are thinking of each other, and that these turbulent times will come to an end and peace will return. They - like all of us, have a human need to be reassured that health and happiness and this Nation's shining future will all be ours once more - one day, soon. Just so long as well all stick together, just so long as there are good people like Eric Dufour, and so long as we all hang in there and keep an eye out for each other. Eric is going to make it possible for the IPHS to contact everyone. He is the link, the emotional connection of human communication that sustains and helps keep us together - through this Thanksgiving, and through thick times and thin. Eric's husband Andrew; their friends and fellow IPHS members, and Eric's late parents John and Geraldine Powers Dufour would be so proud of him. The vice president Craig Goulet and I and all our members thank you Eric. You've done Island Pond proud!