Saturday, September 17, 2005

Vermont

When I was a boy we took our summer vacations in New England. A few times we went to Cape Cod, but more often we went to Lake Champlain on the Vermont side. Both my parents were from Vermont and so there were relatives all over the place. My folks would rent a cottage on Hathaway’s Bay at St. Albans Bay.

One of the things I most liked to do while in Vermont was to visit Uncle Sant’s farm, also in St. Albans Bay. His name was Sanford and I don’t know how that morphed to Sant. He was a widower and while he had a fine old Vermont farm house, he had reduced the part in which he lived to two rooms. They were the sparsest, most livable and most efficient living quarters I’ve ever seen. He was a very intelligent man. He read every book and magazine he could get his hands on. His ability to hold his own in discussing sophisticated national and international politics was in breathtaking contrast to his farmer dress.

My folks took me to the Vermont State Fair one year to meet Uncle Sant’s son. He traveled with the fairs selling popcorn made in a small corn popper that he stood behind. To this day I can remember him pitching his corn calling out, “Hot, Freshly Popped Pop Corn! Made with Dairy-fresh Butter!” As we stood chatting with him behind his machine, I watched him pour Mazola oil into the machine. But have no fear, before I lost track he was a very successful man. He had a real corporation that sent large shiny trailers all over the country to set up at fairs and sell the whole gamut of fair fast foods.

I learned that horses are afraid of dead animals the day I stayed with Uncle Sant and he slaughtered a hog. None of today’s fancy “humane procedures”. He chased the terrified hog around a little pen with a sledge hammer until he hit it once on the head and then hit it again for good measure. He tied the rear legs to a rope that went through a pulley on a big tree limb. He backed two horses up and attached them to the other end of the rope in order to haul the dead hog up to hang from the limb. This was a major undertaking because the horses wanted to be out of the county. It appeared the remainder of the procedure was going to be even less fun to watch, so I went looking for eggs in the chicken house. It took me several years to enjoy bacon again.

There was an enormous French Canadian man that worked for Uncle Sant and lived in a house on the farm with his enormous family. His kids were big! I, on the other hand, was a skinny kid. The French man decided it was to be his mission to fatten me up. Whenever he caught me (I avoided him as much as possible.) he would lead me into the cooler room and hand me a quart of whole, raw milk. He would stand there insisting I chug-a-lug the entire bottle. This, without speaking a word of English.

We will be up in Vermont in a couple of weeks and I expect a lot more memories will come back.

2 comments:

Robert F. Hathaway, son said...

Several notes on your St. Albans Bay. 1. Hathaway Pt. was named for Silas Hathaway (first settler) not Frank. 2. Frank drowned in 1910 comming home from a sunday card playing day at the bay and was useing a two man sail skate and fell into a large crack. the bodies were recovered in the spring. 3. Bob hathaway (6th generation on the property did not sell the farm. 4. the property is still owned and operated as a family business by his three heirs. bob hathaway never considered nor tried "Flax Farming" I can rember sitting around Bertha's kitchen table talking to Uncle Sant and have several fond memories of him. Bertha Meigs Hathaway was my Grand mother. Should you be in the area again, I would be Happy to show you arround the family property and farm. The Heirs to the property have no desire to sell any of the 115 acres on Hathaway Point and are proud of living here. Please try to get your facts somewhat close when you write.

Hathaway Point said...

Hello sir,

Thank you for removing the unflattering description of my grandfather
Robert M. Hathaway from your website. You have many great insites
and stories on your pages, and are obviously a good wrighter.

My father Robert F. Hathaway was suprised to run into the eorneous
information while searching for something. I was disheartened. We
have always looked up to the memory of his late father, and were proud
that neither he, his ancestors, nor any of his descendants have ever
sold Hathaway Point. They probably never will. We have been there for
over 200 years since before Vermont was even a state, spanning eight
generations. Three generations of us live there now.

Although it is true that my grandfather inherited a great deal, he also
lived well within his means. He contributed to town matters over
the years, graduated college, owned a business in Burlington selling
tractor parts, served as town clerk for over a decade, was a fishing
guide for over 30 years, and was an all around nice guy. He never
cashed out by selling the point. He also maintained many other assets,
stocks, and other land that all remained unscathed. Many considered him quite
sensible about money.

He may not have a claim to fame, but I'm also not sure that was ever one
of his goals.

Anyway, we liked him just fine, and I for one feel better that his name
is no longer under a negative light. Thank you.

Respectfully,
Robert K Hathaway
KHathaway@UnFranchise.com
(802)872-0050

Am I right on how we are related sir?

Me: Robert K Hathaway, son of Robert F, son of Robert M, son of Frank M.
Hathaway who was married to Bertha Meigs who's father was Guy Bishop
Meigs.

You?: Your mom's grandfather or grandmother was also a child of Guy
Bishop Meigs and Philena Emily Scagel, and a brother or sister to Bertha
and Sanford "Sant." This makes your sir-name once or twice removed from
the Meigs sir-name; maybe once by your father's name and maybe once by
your grandfather if it was a female child of Guy that led to your mom.

I think they would call you and my father 2nd cousins?