December 2010: Living in Acworth| Notes Archive


Some of you may be familiar with my NHADA monthly column in MAD. I have decided to include a more personal collection of notes here on my website. I am so grateful for browsers who check out this site. I'd like to give you some special tidbits of news from here at home in Acworth.

When you read this, I will have passed the gavel of President of the NHADA to our friend, Rich Bojko, and what a pleasure that is for me. Rich and his partner John Mullen own and operate the two Parker/French galleries on Rte. 4 in Northwood , NH -- Antique Alley to antiquers familiar with our state. This represents a really exciting change for the NHADA. Rich is a brilliant guy, and he is steeped in the day-to-day business of antiques, a full-timer in every sense of the phrase. He is unbiased, does not exhibit in the August show, and will bring a completely pragmatic and fresh outlook to NHADA. And as for me? I have loved my job, but am happy to be a worker bee again. I am going to continue to write the MAD column and organize the Bee Section

In this space I want to give you a taste of life in a tiny, rural hill town in southern New Hampshire. I'll be snapping photos of Acworth's beauty and its unique characters. People, that is. We have all the flavor of country living here, the foibles and fancies, the ins and outs, and it makes for lively stories. You might be able to give up Garrison Keeler and Lake Wobegone. I've got scoops. This month, you see autumnal wonder -- Mt. Monadnock from the Post Office field; Elbert Kniceley, our Fire Chief; the allee of maples keeping the grave dwellers company; and the sign for our friend Peter Barth's tiny produce stand, in the center of the village.

Peter has kept us in basil and parsley, green beans, tomatoes, etc., all summer. And, Elbert keeps us safe. And honest. A man of few words, but listen carefully for the wisdom. When I first came to Acworth, Eno and I divided our time between NY and NH , and I spent a good deal of time in Acworth by myself (with Meggie, my beloved Aussie). The table in the Kniceley kitchen by the wood stove, with a coffee pot always at the ready, was my second home. Elbert and Fay took me in like the stray flatlander I was -- and am -- and taught me (or tried to teach me) the ropes. Moving from the NY suburbs, my home for almost 60 years, I had alot to learn. Still do.

My biggest flaw, according to another Acworth native, now a good friend, was "gushing." Understatement is the norm in northern New England. I feel "tolerated" after 10 years, but, let me tell you, your great-great-great-grandparents have to have been born here to be considered a real Acworthian. This has been a deep learning experience, and very humbling. We don't want to be to Acworth what the faux farmers were to us in NY State. That's why we're here!!

I try to walk to the PO a few times a week. On that walk, one can catch a glimpse of "Maddie," our treasured Mt. Monadnock -- "mountain standing alone" to the native people -- the first REAL residents of NH. That mountain has been a talisman for most of my adult life. This region was my destination on antiquing trips starting in 1971. It was then that I discovered the writer, May Sarton, a profound influence. Poet, writer of stunning memoirs and novels, her work lured me to see this area, and I was hooked. Her memoir of moving from busy Cambridge, MA, to the tiny town of Nelson, NH, Plant Dreaming Deep, was a turning point for me. Living in New Canaan, CT, with two small children, it seemed impossible, but here we are almost 40 years later.

We have even climbed Monadnock -- well, almost -- which I think is the most climbed mountain in New England, if not America. That precious pile of rock watches over us and we catch surprising peeks at it often in our travels in this area. It always makes us catch our breath.

That's the thing. We can be doing a mundane errand, and it will take us on the "road less travelled", and we will be astonished at the beauty around us. We always say "We live where so many come to visit."

In a few weeks, I'll give you a taste of the holidays in Acworth. the OTL group, the dollmaker down the road, my many artist friends, death in small town NH, and so much more.