Saturday, January 16, 2016

Voices From Home: Two Weeks in Tuscany, a Year Germany, and a Great Dane Named Ivan

Addison in Cologne, Germany.
For several years now, I’ve had this crazy notion that involves arm-twisting folks from my hometown—as many as possible—into writing down their stories. My dream is a library of personal histories by, for, and about the people of Randolph, Vermont. I began working on the project a few years ago, and the upshot was Korongo, the publishing company that Patrick and I started in the back of his art gallery on Merchant’s Row. Then we closed the gallery and moved to France, and I set the dream aside. But dreams die hard, so recently—while enjoying another balmy winter in France but missing my hometown—I invited some friends with Randolph roots to write up a few stories for Sadie & Company. Daryl Grout wrote about Two Weeks in Tuscany that marked 32 years of marriage for him and his high-school sweetheart. Joann Farnham Magee responded to my request by sitting down and writing Ivan’s Story, a moving account of the months she spent trying to win the trust of an abandoned Great Dane—all last year I followed their encounters on Facebook. Sixteen-year-old Addison Blanchard-Rooney sent me a Letter From Germany, where he is spending his junior year. His letter was, by sheer coincidence, just what I needed—funny and inspiring, a reminder that discomfort can lead to surprise and even awe. For some reason, Randolph produces a lot of good writers. Iceland and Norway, too—must have something to do with long, dark winters. I am grateful to Daryl, Joann, and Addison for their contributions to Sadie & Company, and for helping to get my “Randolph story project” back on track.

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