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Friday, May 13, 2016

Here it is, a Friday on the 13th!  My dear mother didn't like that combination.  She was born on October 13th, and of course had to put up with her birthday falling on Friday the 13th occasionally.  I don't recall that those days were ever really problematic for her, but in her mind, it was a day to beware. I never felt that way, but then, I didn't have a Christmas cactus plant that bloomed whenever someone close or in the family was about to die.  The cursed plant never missed, so after years of anxiety, mother reluctantly (because it had been in the family for many years) put it in our windowless cellar and let it die.  She did, however, take a few slips before "putting it down," and I have one of those still - but I'm lucky if the darned thing blooms for Christmas, let alone any other time of the year.  It's not beautiful anymore - it's showing it's decades and needs some sort of expert attention, I'm afraid.  However, I have taken a slip and have a healthy young plant growing, so the old family heirloom will be continued, whether or not my old plant makes it.  Unless it begins predicting deaths, that is.

Today is not as pretty as the last two, but it's mild - 65 degrees, a nice temperature to be outside, but the black flies have arrived.  It seems a bit early for them - I think they usually arrive about the time the cherry trees bloom, and I haven't seen any blossoms around here yet.  I'm a magnet for black flies, and they chew me ferociously.  I hate wearing insect repellent, but really can't go outside to work without it or I pay a dear price.

Speaking of price - we have a new page on the website where you can purchase Vermont books on line.  It's an experiment for us - we don't really have much to sell except the few books I've done, but if anyone is interested, that is now available.

I spent a couple of hours at the Danville Historical Society yesterday afternoon, searching through old town reports for any information about West Danville.  I had questioned a while back why Danville Green became the business center of the Town of Danville rather than West Danville, a community that seemed to have much more going for it early on with Leavenworth's mills and the large body of water as a resource.  Patty Conley, president of the DHS, told me it was because the Green was in the geographic center of the town.  That, of course, makes sense; Cabot did the same thing in the early years, but eventually the business of town moved a couple of miles down the hill from the Center to the Winooski River where the village is today, and where the water power was then.  

That didn't happen at Danville, but there were mills on brooks within a short distance of the Green - at North Danville, West Danville, Greenbanks Hollow, etc.  I think I have mentioned that my great, great grandfather, John Bolton, who was born in Shirley, Massachusetts in 1774, built mills in Danville, including the woolen mill that was later sold to Greenbank.  He was sort of the Jesse Leavenworth of that region, I guess.  John died in 1843, when his youngest son John, my great grandfather, was only 12 years old.  Young John grew up in Danville and eventually he and his younger son, my grandfather, Aaron Bolton, owned a large farm on what is now Cabot Plain.  His older son, John, became an industrialist in Massachusettes.

Back to my original thought:  I learned from the town reports that in about 1920 the State of Vermont passed new Health Laws that required quarantining for measles, mumps, chickenpox, whooping cough and German measles.  Children were not allowed to attend school if they were known to have been exposed to scarlet fever, diphtheria or "paralysis," and a fine of not less than $25 or more than $100 could be imposed for non-compliance.  

The state also initiated free medical inspection of all schools and examinations of students for "physical defects such as enlarged tonsils, spinal curvature, defective teeth, disease of the heart or of the lungs."  Each successive year's report included the total children examined and a breakdown of "defects" found.  Most were teeth and throat problems.  The incidence of serious illnesses decreased after 1922 when flush toilets were installed and drinking water was available at the West Danville school.  Until then, there had been outside privvies and drinking water was in a bucket carried from a nearby well or spring.  Most early schools had a single dipper that all the children drank from - easy transmission of diseases.  The health laws also stated that if children had "head lice or other infestations" they were not allowed to come to school until pronounced free of whatever they had.  

Before these regulations went into effect, whole communities went through serious bouts of disease and schools often had to close.  Life became easier after people learned how to contain these outbreaks with better hygiene and staying in quarantine; and of course doctors were being better educated, as well.

Upcoming Events at the Jaquith Public Library
For more info: 802-426-3581 jaquithpubliclibrary@gmail.com

Who’s There? Films about Identity: Wednesday, May 18 at 7 p.m.
 (1959) Jean Cocteau’s final film is a dream-like journey through the psyche of the poet. Who’s there? Sphinxes, man horses, game shows, characters from previous films unhappy with their fates, Pablo Picasso, and Yul Brynner.

Spring Bird Walk with Bob Popp:
Saturday, May 21 (Rain date May 22) from 7:30 a.m. -11 a.m.
Bob is a botanist for the State of Vermont and has been bird watching since he was a teenager. We will meet at the Stranahan Forest parking lot at the beginning of Thompson Road (right off of Hollister Hill Road).
Art & Author Night: Friday, May 27 at 6 p.m.
Stairs with artist Janet Van Fleet
My husband RD Eno and I have just come back from 6 weeks in New Orleans, where I took a lot of photographs of the fronts of houses and paired them with objects I found.  Stairs are literally and metaphorically a transition from the outside to the inside, from the public to the private, so there's a lot going on there!  The show runs from May 23 to July 16. 7 p.m. Reading with RD Eno

Friend’s Annual Plant Swap:
Saturday, May 28 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Bring plants to swap, make sure to label them,  
no invasive plants please.

Film and Discussion about Climate Change:  Thursday, June 2 at 7 p.m.
Filmed over 211 shoot days in nine countries and five continents over four years, this film, based on the book by Naomi Klein, is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change. A discussion will follow the film. Sponsored by the Marshfield Energy Committee.

Susan Green
Jaquith Public Library
122 School St. RM 2
Marshfield, VT 05658

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