When Hurricane Irene struck, I’d been home about 10 days from a vacation partly spent in Vermont. In fact, I was just about to start posting some pieces on the Vermont I experienced on my first visit “home” in 5 years. There was, of course, the freshest, yummiest ice cream I’d had in years (thank’s Seward’s and Villiage Snack Bar!) and an indulgent breakfast at local landmark Sugar and Spice. And, there was some sadness—the town where I grew up has fallen on hard times, and it shows. But there was also the warm embrace of family and VERY dear friends. Some of these friends are people my parents met as newlyweds and new Vermonters—and whose generosity of spirit, funds, goods and services was so great that it is the stuff of true legend in my family. My parents awoke one night to a fire in their home and they escaped—with only their lives. They gained (for themselves and for my sister and me) a true home.
Everything I needed to know about mountain community living, I learned in Vermont. I’m proud to say I use those lessons daily in Park City.
Thankfully, Irene left my nearest-and-dearest relatively unscathed; there was no injury, no property damage. And my dad, in counting-blessings mode, would like to pay forward the generosity that made my family’s continued experience in Vermont both possible and wonderful.
Here is what he wrote as he shared an article from today’s Rutland Herald (the paper that gave me some of my very first bylines) about the disaster and relief management in Pittsfield, VT.
I (we) are touched by your concern. We ARE safe and unscathed — no wind, no damage. Our “neighbors” are not so fortunate. Pittsfield, VT is 30 minutes from here, beautiful area, great Italian Restaurant. To get to it you must go through Mendon, VT — five minutes east of Rutland –Rte. 4 runs east-west through Mendon and as you will read it is closed east of Rutland and there are road problems on it also in Bridgewater and Woodstock which are east of Killington. Rt. 4 is the major east-west artery (the only one) hereabouts.
The generosity of spirit, time and money locally is amazing. As you may recall I experienced it so many years ago when I woke up to a house on fire and escaped (with Brenda) in the nick of time. Help will be needed. If you have a spare $ or two, please send it to me. There is a group that is collecting food, diapers etc. and I will match your check, buy what they tell me they need and get it back to them. The grocery store is across the street from the relief HQ and two minutes from my office. I don’t care how many times I have to go there.
The are about 15 communities like Pittsfield– and while it might be a wonderful bonding experience (see article) today, its not going to be so wonderful when food, water run short.
If you would like to help this grassroots effort to get food and supplies to fill immediate needs (and the idea of making my dad schelp to the store entertains you), please email my dad at Norcoh at aol dot com, and he will send you the address at his law office. If he gets overwhelmed (and I expect that he will–my peeps are a generous lot!), he’ll send you the link to either redcross.org, or another nonprofit that’s getting aid to local victims of Hurricane Irene. This is simply a stopgap measure to get needed supplies into the right hands right away.
In a few days, I’ll try to share my experience of the bucolic surroundings that helped raise me, and what it has meant to show that to my kids—only to have to use it as an object lesson for my kids in disaster, living in the moment, and more…. Today, it’s about getting Vermonters back on their feet.