Vermont Diary

 

Vermont
Diary

is written by 
Phil Innes



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Five Chill Words


About 39 years ago I found myself seated in a group of people from all over the world at an orientation to The Findhorn Foundation, in Morayshire, Northern Scotland. People were introducing themselves and where they came from, and then it came the turn of the woman sat beside me dressed all in black who had been knitting through the introductions.


“Anna from Auschwitz”, she said.


Following that, I adjusted by own introduction away from Cornwall, it’s world class beaches, air, palm trees and dolphins in the river, since that may have seemed a too-conscious levity, and mumbled something else.


I was reminded of this incident by two more recent ones; a review by Laura Stevenson of a title by Walter Hess — A Refugee's Journey: A Memoir; and with simultaneous news reports of increased Holocaust Denial in Europe and in the USA.


Though Anna’s chilly announcement before resuming her knitting is not the thing I remember as much as what happened a few days later. Again meeting at ‘The Park’ in a well-lit room with flowers and upon a mid-session break for tea I felt a claw like hand on my arm — a couple of young Dutch people were chatting with a young German one, discussing what sort of herb teas there were available? As innocent an anecdote as could be imagined, but Anna gasped to me, “(Phil) I cannot hear this language”, and I could see there was an immanent syncope, so I picked her up and carried her outside — then we walked around awhile until lunch, not mentioning the episode at all, not then not ever.


I will not remark on that more except to say, being a Celt, that one does not accept things as randomly happening, and there is always something pert, something important or significant to understand about encounters even of the noir-romance. Not about making something of this into a noble cause on behalf of others, promoting it as a subject for general conversation, or even undertaking a sort of psychic voyage into another’s dark. I wrestled with this for a month or so and eventually let it go, feeling that the response ‘better to light a candle than curse the darkness’ seemed a little too intellectual.


Then I chanced upon two children in the community playing with bricks and one telling the other how to stack them properly, but not succeeding until the knowledgable child demonstrated how to do it.



490 — a record!


Last Friday the local soup kitchen where I attend Loaves and Fishes served 490 meals, a record high! Included in this reckoning was food for 40 children at an adjacent  daycare center, plus meals for them and their families for the weekend. The rest was a larger than normal demand by walk-in clients  plus their own take-outs, for this early part of the month,


We also had to explain to those attending something not entirely made clear by the Feds or State of Vermont: that the State had anticipated the government shut-down and did a good thing to ensure food-stamps for February — which they drowned in burocratize about if you had signed up late, then to be sure of getting food you should call a certain toll-free number, where it turned out you could wait for 45 minutes or more to be so assured.

The second was even longer epistle about children’s food, some five pages, also intended as a good security notice, but producing the opposite.


The real problem is that there is enough food for all, all the time, and the guy you see pan-handling down at the bridge by the co-op ‘for food’ is collecting for some other reason. I have even seen people pan-handlng there during meal-times at the two food kitchens in Brattleboro, ourselves and Bridget’s.


It’s not ‘raising awareness’ of hunger that is the problem, but a lack of contribution to tending to the hungry by making food for them. That is to say, if you have skills to do so, good hygiene and safety, knife safe, and worth training since you will become actually useful beyond 2 or 3 weeks of training.


That is the big yawn at hunger ground-zero contrasted with what the chattering classes say about hunger.



Caravanserai


Hell yes.


We will take refugees appearing on the southern borders. We are one of the poorest states in the USA, and Windham is the poorest county thereof.


But Hell Yes, we will take double our per capita quota, or come to think of it, we will take the whole caravanserai, even if we have to stick them into attics and basements, and disreputable tenements of which we have many.


We are an aging community radically evaporating our own young people to other climes and happy to take an influx of 25 to 40 year olds.


Will the monetary quality of our lives be reduced if we do this? Hell yes! But Vermont has always been a leader in what is decent in human affairs and never countenanced the silver, as it were, and that is another seemingly lost quality entire.


Do we want people immigrating to our state fleeing drug infested situations and thug administrations, seeking something for themselves and their children, not the Great Dream, but something merely decent? Hell Yes!


Merely (or Nearly) Decent might be the state motto — it would contrast so well. So Hell Yes, bring it on.



Newz and the perennial season


For those readers not in the immediate area of Brattleboro I thought I might bring you some local excitement which including on the front page of a weekly newspaper, ‘Dummerston Eyes Gravel Pit.’ This proved to be as much excitement as there was and might require a brief explanation that ‘Dummerston’ is a place, not a local eccentric, and was a local village previously called ‘Fulham’ as are the  surrounding villages also named after districts of London; Guil[d]ford, Putney, Westminster etc. Dummerston is from an early settlement here, Fort Dummer, now under water, named after an unfortunately named society colonel in Boston who never ventured further West than Boylston Street.


Despite it’s apparent Irish origin, the name derives from Boyton, and  is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire but as recent as 2001, it had a relatively small population of 179. In late Victorian times, the historic Boyton Manor, next to the Anglican parish church, became the home of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. Boyton is also a civil parish and village in Cornwall and Suffolk. The surname Boylston was first found in Suffolk where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor.


The confusion comes from Boyton’s who migrated to Ireland such that Thomas Boylston, who landed in New England in 1635 was from England, but Joseph Boylston, arrived in America from County Tipperary, in 1892.


In one Letter to the Editor of the same newspaper a letter writer was accused by another of spouting ‘liberal drivel’ [such terms being permitted in the paper, though it is uncertain if references to spittoons would be countenanced] and I admired the expression very much, though doubted if such true alliterative assonance was deliberated. 


I mailed some packages today from the Post Office where the clerk said that I might as well use express for them [books] since they were too heavy for first class, and that a delivery to Wilmington Vermont will get there in two days, so will a package to my son in SF take two days. A first class package to my daughter in DC will also take two days, he intoned.


On the way to the Post Office I saw on a sign outside a Crafts Fair reading, ‘hand-made wreaths’ which caused me to wonder what other kind there were? I made my own this year from falls in the woods. But also that the Post Office did not advertise ‘hand-delivered’ or even ‘artisanal delivery’ as a feature to their everywhere two day service.


Also in the newspaper was an article which mentioned the ‘fascist playbook’ as if Ayn Rand had used football terms to describe her want of care for other human beings discovered either in her native Russia or gained here in the USA — rather than her professed love of lucre for herself.


Talking of a bridge, National Public Radio announced that cars had plunged down from a bridge, rather than plunge in any other direction — and to be pedantic, they were plunged rather than any election to be plunged, but that is the literati for you, and also the state of public radio, which apparently is the only American news source which claims to be free of politics, and doesn’t even report international news any more, preferring to stream the BBC.


According to online independent references this audience is of about 14 million people per week, a third less than NPR’s own estimate. I wondered what sort of profile these readers had and found a survey from NPR which stated that I had to be a member to receive it. I had to research hard to learn from a report at The Washington Post that “Listening among “Morning Edition’s” audience, for example, has declined 20 percent among people under 55 in the past five years. Listening for “All Things Considered” has dropped about 25 percent among those in the 45-to-54 segment.”


Some of the other brand-name talent at NPR illustrates the situation: Talk-show host Diane Rehm is 79; senior national correspondent Linda Wertheimer is 72; legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg is 71, and “Weekend Edition Saturday” host Scott Simon is a relative youngster at 63.


There you have it, that’s the news. Fortunately there is more to life than the news and that is The Perennial, or that part of a natural cycle currently present. I have not read any natural metaphor on this basis in the newspapers, but do wish to assure readers that it has been noticed this past 10,000 years unto its psychology and anthropology, the Sun at its nadir, and only the very dream of renewal in prospect in a further season — meanwhile we have to look at gravel pits, like our friends in Dummerston are likely to be impartially considering, and then hopefully to assess what benefit a new one will have to We, The People, and then even more hopefully, to those entities on the planet which are not people, but also live here.


News rarely extends this far, but the season does, the completed inclusional season, which we are now called to observe and to be stewards thereof.



Has Bean Has Travelled


I am copying all Vermont Views Columnists, plus friends of the magazine, and issuing a challenge and invitation on behalf of the FOODISH column to write up your own favorite winter season dish — plus an anecdote of why you chose it.


Likely we will have a big Scandinavian contribution this year from friends of friends of family, and I wonder if we could all follow a format and tail your recipe with some anecdote, however long, of why you like this dish? Here is a sample entry for format reasons plus my own anecdote:—


Notes (Prep time plus cook time.)

Prep

Cook

Plating notes


Anecdote

As a young man I found myself in a delightful old farmhouse in Sussex, England, one summer, one which had bagged figs in the tree in the garden, and over which there were contrails such as there were in WWII — and  which had a Rayburn stove, and for transport I had a pre WWI sit up and beg type one gear black bicycle, with which I could sport around, visit Blake's house nearby, also the Roman town of Chichester, and the castle town of Arundel.


This was my first experience of cooking for myself and for another, a titled older lady who I was 'keeping an eye on.'


Now and again visitors would appear — Lady Goodwood in her Bentley, with attendants, driver, et ca, a lady who owned substantial chunks of Africa at the time, to whom I served tea and to her question of 'who I was' I said 'Innes' which I think she took as being Viscount Innes, such as are responses this way in England, and which was received equitably without demurrer. 


Then came the wife of the Bishop of Puerto Rico — himself was at a conference in Canterbury, and she, bored, came to visit. To visit and incidentally to assess my cooking skills, including baked beans which I had made some from a can, which is the buried subject of this thread. 


She went off to town and bought all sorts of things, including beans which she cooked on the stove top for best part of the day, before immersing them into a large oven pan, and adding things I hardly know the names of, but including sweet peppers, chilies, considerable amounts of mustard, fresh tomatoes, bacon, 'exotic' herbs' and as I say, other things unknown to me by shape, name or previous contact thereof. This all went into the oven of the AGGA the next day to then emerge 6 hours later to the reprise, "those are baked beans."


And they were extraordinary, and probably sparked my interest in cooking things which didn't come in cans or from factories.


Twelve Good Men


I am not a big fan of Marshall McLuan and ‘the medium is the message’ which is more than a bit simplistic, but now and then, especially now, when 12 men sit on a jury and decide whether to admit to a lifetime position influencing the law for men and women…


O! There is that word. Where are women 100 years after the franchise, back in 1918?


It is hardly necessary to descend into the verities of whether this was a hard drinking college boy [though he never ‘passed out’] or if he was a bully, or even if some women found his attentions unwelcome.


Where actually are the women on the jury, or for the past 100 years? Here they are:—


1777: Women lose the right to vote in the state of New York.


1780: Women lose the right to vote in Massachusetts.


1784: Women lose the right to vote in New Hampshire.


1787: The U.S. Constitutional Convention places voting qualifications in the hands of the states. Women in all states except New Jersey lose the right to vote.


1790: The U.S. state of New Jersey grants the vote to "all free inhabitants," including women.


1807: Women lose the right to vote in New Jersey, the last state to revoke the right.


1838: Kentucky passes the first statewide woman suffrage law allowing female heads of household in rural areas to vote in elections deciding on taxes and local boards for the new county "common school" system.


1848: The Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, is held in Seneca Falls, New York. Women's suffrage is proposed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and agreed to after an impassioned argument from Frederick Douglass.


1850: The first national woman's rights convention, in Worcester, Massachusetts, attracts more than 1,000 participants from 11 states.


1853: On the occasion of the World's Fair in New York City, suffragists hold a meeting in the Broadway Tabernacle.


1861–1865: The American Civil War. Most suffragists focus on the war effort, and suffrage activity is minimal.


1866: The American Equal Rights Association, working for suffrage for both women and African Americans, is formed at the initiative of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.


1867: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone address a subcommittee of the New York State Constitutional Convention requesting that the revised constitution include woman suffrage. Their efforts fail.


1867: Kansas holds a state referendum on whether to enfranchise women and/or black males. Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton traverse the state speaking in favor of women's suffrage. Both women's and black male suffrage is voted down.


1868: The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, introducing the word "male" into the Constitution for the first time, in Section 2 of the amendment.


1869: The territory of Wyoming is the first to grant unrestricted suffrage to women.


1869: The suffrage movement splits into the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association. The NWSA is formed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony after their accusing abolitionist and Republican supporters of emphasizing black civil rights at the expense of women's rights. The AWSA is formed by Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and it protests the confrontational tactics of the NWSA and ties itself closely to the Republican Party while concentrating solely on securing the vote for women state by state.Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the first president of the National Woman Suffrage Association.Julia Ward Howe was the first president of the American Woman Suffrage Association.


1870: The Utah Territory grants suffrage to women.


1870: The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is adopted. The amendment holds that neither the United States nor any State can deny the right to vote "on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude," leaving open the right of States to deny the right to vote on account of sex. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton oppose the amendment. Many of their former allies in the abolitionist movement, including Lucy Stone, support the amendment.


1871: Victoria Woodhull speaks to the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, arguing that women have the right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but the committee does not agree.


1871: The Anti-Suffrage Society is formed.


1872: A suffrage proposal before the Dakota Territory legislature loses by one vote.


1872: Susan B. Anthony registers and votes in Rochester, New York, arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives her that right. However, she is arrested a few days later. Victoria Woodhull was the first female to run for President of the United States, nominated by the Equal Rights Party, with a platform supporting women's suffrage and equal rights.


1873: The trial of Susan B. Anthony is held. She is denied a trial by jury and loses her case. She never pays the $100 fine for voting.


1873: There is a suffrage demonstration at the Centennial of the Boston Tea Party.


1874: In the case of Minor v. Happersett, the Supreme Court rules that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not grant women the right to vote.


1874: There is a referendum in Michigan on women's suffrage, but women's suffrage loses.


1875: Women in Michigan and Minnesota win the right to vote in school elections.


1878: A federal amendment to grant women the right to vote is introduced for the first time by Senator A.A. Sargeant of California.


1880: New York state grants school suffrage to women.


1882: The U.S. House and Senate both appoint committees on women's suffrage, which both report favorably.


1883: Women in the Washington territory are granted full voting rights.


1884: The U.S. House of Representatives debates women's suffrage.


1886: The suffrage amendment is defeated two to one in the U.S. Senate.


1887: The Edmunds-Tucker act takes the vote away from women in Utah in order to suppress the Mormon vote in the Utah territory.


1887: The Supreme Court strikes down the law that enfranchised women in the Washington territory.


1887: In Kansas, women win the right to vote in municipal elections.


1887: Rhode Island becomes the first eastern state to vote on a women's suffrage referendum, but it does not pass.


1888–1889: Wyoming had already granted women voting and suffrage since 1869-70; now they insist that they maintain suffrage if Wyoming joins the Union.


1890: The National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Its first president is Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The focus turns to working at the state level. Wyoming renewed general women's suffrage, becoming the first state to allow women to vote.


1890: A suffrage campaign loses in South Dakota.


1893: After a campaign led by Carrie Chapman Catt, Colorado men vote for women's suffrage.


1894: Despite 600,000 signatures, a petition for women's suffrage is ignored in New York.


1895: The New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage begins.


1895: The National American Woman Suffrage Association dissociates itself from Elizabeth Cady Stanton's The Woman's Bible, a critique of Christianity.


1896: Women's suffrage returns to Utah upon gaining statehood.


1896: The National American Woman Suffrage Association hires Ida Husted Harper to launch an expensive suffrage campaign in California, which ultimately fails.


1896: Idaho grants women suffrage.


1897: The National American Woman Suffrage Association begins publishing the National Suffrage Bulletin, edited by Carrie Chapman Catt.


1900: Carrie Chapman Catt becomes the new leader of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.


1902: Women from 10 nations meet in Washington, D.C. to plan an international effort for suffrage. Clara Barton is among the speakers.


1902: The men of New Hampshire vote down a women's suffrage referendum.


1904: The National American Woman Suffrage Association adopts a Declaration of Principles.


1904: Because Carrie Chapman Catt must attend to her dying husband, Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw takes over as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.


1906: Elizabeth Cady Stanton's daughter, Harriot Stanton Blatch, returns from England and forms the Equality League of Self Supporting Women with a membership based on professional and industrial working women. It initiates the practice of holding suffrage parades.


1910: Emma Smith DeVoe organizes a grassroots campaign in Washington State, where women win suffrage.


1910: Harriet Stanton Blatch's Equality League changes its name to the Women's Political Union.


1910: Emulating the grassroots tactics of labor activists, the Women's Political Union organizes America's first large-scale suffrage parade, which is held in New York City.


1910: Washington grants women the right to vote.


1911: California grants women suffrage.


1911: In New York City, 3,000 people march for women's suffrage.


1912: Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party includes women's suffrage in its platform.


1912: Abigail Scott Duniway dissuades members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from involving themselves in Oregon's grassroots suffrage campaign; Oregon women win the vote.


1912: Arizona grants women suffrage.


1912: Kansas grants women suffrage.


1912: Alaska's territorial legislature grants women suffrage.


1913: Alice Paul becomes the leader of the Congressional Union (CU), a militant branch of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.


1913: Alice Paul organizes the Woman's Suffrage Procession, a parade in Washington, D.C. on the eve of Woodrow Wilson's inauguration. It is the largest suffrage parade to date. The parade is attacked by a mob, and hundreds of women are injured but no arrests are made.


1913: The Alaskan Territory grants women suffrage.


1913: Illinois grants municipal and presidential but not state suffrage to women.


1913: Kate Gordon organizes the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference, where suffragists plan to lobby state legislatures for laws that will enfranchise white women only.


1913: The Senate votes on a women's suffrage amendment, but it does not pass.


1914: Nevada grants women suffrage.


1914: Montana grants women suffrage.


1914: The Congressional Union alienates leaders of the National American Woman Suffrage Association by campaigning against pro-suffrage Democrats in the congressional elections.


1915: Carrie Chapman Catt replaces Anna Howard Shaw as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, partly due to the constant turmoil on the National Board caused by Shaw's lack of administrative expertise.


1916: Alice Paul and others break away from the National American Woman Suffrage Association and form the National Woman's Party.


1916: Woodrow Wilson promises that the Democratic Party Platform will endorse women's suffrage.


1916: Montana elects suffragist Jeannette Rankin to the House of Representatives.[2] She is the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.


1917: Beginning in January, the National Woman's Party posts silent "Sentinels of Liberty," also known as the Silent Sentinels, at the White House. The National Woman's Party is the first group to picket the White House. In June, the arrests begin. Nearly 500 women are arrested, and 168 serve jail time.


November 14, 1917: The "Night of Terror" occurs at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia, in which suffragist prisoners are beaten and abused.


1917: The U.S. enters W.W.I. Under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, the National American Woman Suffrage Association aligns itself with the war effort in order to gain support for women's suffrage.


1917: Arkansas grants women the right to vote in primary, but not general elections.


1917: Rhode Island grants women presidential suffrage.


1917: The New York state constitution grants women suffrage. New York is the first Eastern state to fully enfranchise women.


1917: The Oklahoma state constitution grants women suffrage.


1917: The South Dakota state constitution grants women suffrage.


1918: The jailed suffragists are released from prison. An appellate court rules all the arrests were illegal.


1918: The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which eventually granted women suffrage, passes the U.S. House with exactly a two-thirds vote but loses by two votes in the Senate. Jeannette Rankin opens debate on it in the House, and President Wilson addresses the Senate in support of it.


1918: President Wilson declares his support for women's suffrage.


1919: Michigan grants women full suffrage.


1919: Oklahoma grants women full suffrage.


1919: South Dakota grants women full suffrage.


1919: The National American Woman Suffrage Association holds its convention in St. Louis, where Carrie Chapman Catt rallies to transform the association into the League of Women Voters.


1919: In January, the National Women's Party lights and guards a "Watchfire for Freedom." It is maintained until the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passes the U.S. Senate on June 4.


1920: The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, stating, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.


1920: In the case of Hawke v. Smith, anti-suffragists file suit against the Ohio legislature, but the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of Ohio's ratification process.


1924: Native American women played a vital role in this change, but are still unable to reap the benefits until four years later on June 24, 1924 when the American government grants citizenship to Native Americans through the Indian Citizenship Act. However, many states nonetheless make laws and policies which prohibit Native Americans from voting, and many are effectively barred from voting until 1948.


1952: The race restrictions of the 1790 Naturalization Law are repealed by the McCarran-Walter Act, giving first generation Japanese Americans, including women, citizenship and voting rights.


1964: The Twenty-fourth Amendment is ratified by two-thirds of the states, formally abolishing poll taxes and literacy tests which were heavily used against African-American and poor white women and men.


1965: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 strenuously prohibits racial discrimination in voting, resulting in greatly-increased voting by African American women and men.


1966: Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections strikes down poll taxes at all levels of government.


1984: Mississippi becomes the last state in the union to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.


2018: A group of 12 men hear stories of drunkeness, bullying and debauched sexist behavior about a Supreme Court nominee, apparently without a qualm.