Leaves Turning – and My Return

  • Post published:09/20/2010
  • Post comments:7 Comments

All last week I watched the leaves turn, more brilliant, more gold, every day. But this Monday Record is late, not only because my husband and I returned to Vermont to the scenes of my youth, and to help my aunt and uncle celebrate his 85th birthday and their 30th wedding anniversary, but because I had to return to Bellows Falls again today.  I left my purse with my camera at Fat Franks, The Wurst Place in Bellows Falls where we had great hot dogs on the way home.

The first return was to meet up with my cousin Walt and his wife Peggy, and Cousin Dick. We had a delicious country breakfast at the Dutch Mill. I lived for a couple of years at The Farm where Walt and his siblings grew up, but Dick only got to visit in summers.

Walt and I posed in front of the building that served at our two room school house in 1948-49.  We had electricity, but no plumbing. Miss Stewart the teacher for grades 1-2-3 down stairs (grades 4-5-6 were upstairs) brought a giant crock with drinking water with her every day. The mothers took turns making soup or chili con carne and bringing it to school so we could have a hot lunch during the winter.  I think Dick was really sad he never got to go to this school. In the fall of 1949 Walt didn’t go here any more either.  A new Consolodated School opened  up. More kids. More teachers. Running water and indoor plumbing.

The Farm is right on the shore of Lake Champlain. This is the main cove where we swam, and where Walt’s family built a kind of pavilion and camp site for people to use when they visited.  Skinny dipping, family picnics and reunions.  Years and years of memories.

Along with all the ‘Remember whens’ we went to visit family gravesites – and consider our own mortality. This stone is for my parents. My father died in 1979 and my mother in 1990. I am now older than either of them was when they died.

Mike and Doris Claflin

But the main reason for this visit to Vermont was a celebration.  My mother’s sister, Doris, had a sweetheart, Mike Claflin, when they lived in high school in Charlotte. After graduation Doris moved to New York City with her parents and later married and had two daughters, Carole and Karen. When she was widowed, Mike got in touch and the result is 30 years of very happy married life together.   There were too many cousins in attendance to get them all together at once and too much celebrating all over the place to get a group photo.

Just pretend you are on the deck looking down at the land that belonged to the Claflin Farm before a good chunk of it was sold off, with Lake Champlain in the distance.

Fat Franks in Bellows Falls

We finally had to leave the celebration and wend our way home. I thought it would be fun to stop in Bellows Falls, where we had never been for a snack supper. We found the fabulous Fat Franks, the wurst place to eat in BF – and they have all kinds of wurst, all kinds of local mustard, great sauerkraut, the best home made hand cut local russet potatoes for French fries. Everything is just what we locavores could wish. And they were really nice to let us in because they were just about to lock the door. If you are in Bellows Falls, stop at Fat Franks.

Today I had to return to Bellows Falls and Fat Franks to retrieve my purse and camera. I took this photo of a police car in honor of Archer Mayor, author of the Joe Gunther  mysteries which I enjoy so much. Joe was stationed in Brattleboro until he became a member of the newly formed Vermont Bureau of Investigation, but he’d have to drive up to Bellows Falls every now and then.  They have a great book shop there, an Opera House and a lot of very nice people.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Carol

    Hi Pat, The leaves are turning with our cooler nights and I guess tonight will be really chilly. Looks like a fun reunion and celebration with your family. What a great place to grow up… The view of the land leading down toward the lake is stunning. What fun you must have had there! ;>)

  2. Pat

    Carol – Happily there is still no frost. I’ve got a lot to do in the garden. The trip was wonderful. This area is very dear to me.

  3. Layanee

    I love ‘wursts’ but then there are few foods I do not love. Did you eat on the second trip to Fat Franks? I love the scenic photo and did pretend I was on the porch looking over the valley. It is always fun to return to past pastures although they always seem to look so small.

  4. Pat

    Layanee – Of course I ate another Everyday Frank at Fat Franks! We spent a lot of time remembering all the time we spent as kids in the woods along the shoreline – and the shore – without supervision. Might not happen with modern kids.

  5. Lisa at Greenbow

    Fat Franks sounds like my kind of place. It looks like you had the best time.

  6. Gail

    Pat, What a wonderful time you had~ and Fat Franks sounds delicious~gail

  7. Pat

    Lisa and Gail – You both would have loved Fat Franks I am sure. Lots of wurst choices.

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