For us this was the week that was – Monday through Thursday we went to Flanders, N.J., for grandson Aston’s graduation from Mount Olive High School. Over 350 students in his class; 1,600 guests, faculty and dignitaries; seven various honor societies were listed in the program; lots of noise from the crowd and the air in the gym was filled with text messages sailing back and forth.
Driving down and back was very smooth – usual bottlenecks occur on I-80 after 4p.m. and going through Hartford at 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. We missed all bottle necks.
Signs of the Times
Our project for the last couple of weeks has been making temporary wooden signs (Bethel’s sign ordinance says wooden temporary signs are preferred) for the Shy, Novice and Closeted art show. After this project got under way, we talked about what is a good logo or avatar for an art show? Artist logo images seemed to come in three forms: a beard, a beret or a painter’s pallet. Ruling out beards and berets we experimented with pallets; so the evolution of signs over two weeks went from a rectangular sign to pallet shaped ones.
At the Rotary Auction
A Sunday report from Auctioneer Murphy: “We made approximately $6,500 at the yard sale yesterday and another $4,500 at the auction last night. In addition we're hoping to make another $500 to $600 at today's second yard sale day. All in all, this would be one of our most successful auction/yard sale events.”
There was a good, healthy crowd at Saturday’s auction in spite of some really heavy thundershowers. When I arrived before the big event got under way, Dave Murphy asked me to look at a “painting” in the front row of auction-able goods that was signed “D Bennett”. I did it; it was a pastel of Artist Bridge I had done in 1978. Have no idea who had brought it in for this year’s auction. In the late seventies and early eighties reasonably good covered bridge paintings were in demand – this applied especially to NLT participants. The auction ended at 10:30 p.m. – I don’t know if I could ever last that long.
Some of the items I photographed for online news included a collection of bean baking pots, a stack of 33-and-one-third phonograph records, a collection of stainless pots and pans, a rolled top desk, an “antique” slide projector and in the continued Sunday tent sale – a toy train set.
In Other Newspapers
The Maine Sunday Telegram’s Bob Keyes had an article in the “Audience” section about the exhibition of “old school (Hudson River) revisited” art opening at the Bethel Historical Society this coming Saturday. And as a special supplement, the same paper’s 40 pages of “Exploring Maine” has two pages (16 and 17) with Bethel ads and Bethel Area/Calendar of Events. Two new items in this list are: a BIG Car and Bike show at BIG Adventure Center on Saturday July 20 and a Bethel Homebrew and Beer Festival and Fireworks as part of the Bethel Inn’s 100th year celebration.
Actually this coming Saturday, July 6, there are four separate art shows to see – the plain air art at BHS, Shy, Novice and Closeted exhibits at 18 High Street, Mahoosuc Art Council’s Bethel Art Fair on the Common, and a showing of Mary Isham’s work at Artistic Endeavor, 171 Main Street. 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
The History Club
The main battles were fought on July 1, 2 and 3, 1863. Fifty years ago this September, I had a free day at Fort Holabird in Baltimore so I drove out to see the Gettysburg battlefield – never realized at the time that it was the 100th anniversary of THE battle. When I got there Gettysburg looked like a western town after rodeo week – posters on all the buildings and tourist litter still around. Could not have picked a better time to visit – it reminded me of the lines from Kipling’s classic poem, Recessional: “The tumult and shouting dies; the Captains and the Kings depart: Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice, An humble and a contrite heart. Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget – lest we forget!” The crowds had gone but there were a few people like me who had come to see the battlefield and monuments.
I had been in the Army nine years but it was difficult for me to visualize how many thousands of men had been crammed into a relatively small area. After looking at some of the battle fields, I found a visitor center that held the Civil War cyclorama painting, world famous I learned, but I had never heard of it. The most interesting part of the center was an animated demonstration of how the battle unfolded.
We think of the Union holding the north and the Confederates holding the south. Actually, the Confederates held the west and the Union regiments were pouring in from the east. After the presentation I walked over the ground where Pickett’s Charge occurred, actually Pickett was one-third, I believe, of the attacking force. Seeing the field and the Union’s defensive positions, I wondered who would be stupid enough to make a frontal attack like that across wide open terrain. Two other key positions that I remember visiting were the rocky Devil’s Den and the view from Little Round Top.
Pickett was Major General George Pickett. Five years (1968) later while I was in a personnel management assignment dispensing career counseling and assigning jobs to captains and lieutenants, I looked up to see my next visitor who was, you might guess now, Captain George Pickett. So we both talked about Pickett’s Charge for a few minutes before getting down to business.
For more reading about Maine at Gettysburg, you should see “Maine at Gettysburg, Report of the Maine Gettysburg Commission” dated 1898. This very detailed report of battles, causalities, units and assigned men is available as a PDF document from www.maine.gov/civilwar/books/Maine_at_Gettysburg.pdf‎. Find all the Bethel, Gilead, Newry men in these units.