The Vanishing Vermonter…The Loss of a Rural Culture

We have nailed the title for my new book. At least my advisors say this title is much better than one I don’t want to mention. I must have been in a morbid mood!

Publication of the new book is expected about May 1, 2017. In it will be  an essay in the front about the fragility of our rural culture being homogenized and not with Vermont milk!

There will be at least 20 interviews with Vermonters, the independent, self-employed rural Vermonter—the type  that has wrought the sterling reputation of  the Green Mountains. They are honest, common sense folk, tolerant to all  new comers (but don’t mess with their property lines), supportive of a frugality with themselves, their community and a common sense legislature. They are more than helpful to their neighbors in time of need, and like to visit. The love their mountains and rolling ridge lines. They don’t like to see their taxes burdened by a state government that, to them, no longer seems to care about the average rural Vermonter. I have completed nine interviews and will be posting on my blog and Facebook  photos and synopsis of what these Vermonters have to say.

The interviews will be in their words. I am taping them and it will be accompanied with a tight photograph that says who they are, like Kim Crady-Smith, owner of the Green Mountain Books in Lydonville. Guess why she is holding the egg…she lives off the grid, raises chickens and sells a dozen or so every week in her store which is browser heaven for new and used books.  Kim was the first one to alert me to how the loss of our culture  is changing the soul and character of Vermont, something so obvious I missed it.

_DSC4361

Kim Crady-Smith, owner of Green Mountain Books in Lyndonville, NEK.

Interspersed with these photos will be icon photographs of Vermont. A tractor seat, shiny as silver, rubbed fine by the seat of the pants over a couple dozen years, an old barn foundation, a sign, a tree, landscape, a couple of animals. Yes, and probably some sprawl, a wind turbine or 20, solar panels bare in a field. All will be in black and white.

I have had discussions with people from out of state who drop by my gallery and tell me horror stories of what happened to their town in threescore of  years they have lived there. I heard this from people from New Hampshire, Maine,Georgia, and Colorado and it makes me wonder if the homogenization of America is replacing our regionalism. Perhaps I should have a chapter about what these out of staters have to say about their hometown problems. Or maybe I should include stories about people who have left Vermont and what they miss, and don’t miss about the Green Mountains. .

I was hoping to end the book  with what can be done to save our country soul. “Nothing Much,” say some, or their shrug their  shoulders. They think it is too late but maybe not. The book and the people speaking from the pages will give us a focal point to confront this loss and change it, or make the homogenized Vermonter realize what the Vermont Way is.

I wrote a long commentary in www. VtDigger.org called I am Vermont Broke. What was so interesting to me was the commentary from readers. I just might include much of their commentary.

The upshot of the VtDigger story is  that readers bought 14 books. That gives me, after taxes and mailing, $700! So important for it goes towards my loan to partially pay the first half of my property tax—$3,800— which I borrowed from my credit union. Thanks to all of you!  And I have another $3,100 to pay off!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment