Tuesday, November 29, 2016
CHS Fall 2016 Newsletter
REMEMBERING CARMINE GUICA
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Carmine Guica on Nov.23, one of the founders and former president of the Cavendish Historical Society.
During WWII Carmine was in some of the highest attacked areas-Guam, Philippines, Okinawa and Iwo Jima. He described how they lived two to a Foxhole, taking turns staying up at night in his autobiography, “We were on the beaches where we set up our anti-air craft guns. Most of the fighting was back in the hills. The action we saw most was firing at the Jap planes. They never bombed us too much as their greatest target would be the ships. When we had an alert, all personal were called-cooks, clerks, and KPs. [Carmine was a cook.]. .... I did get very sick there for a few days. Just about every one was affected. They said it was Dengue Fever or something like that..”
The war played a prominent role in Carmine’s life, and it was through an Army buddy that he met his wife Carmela. They were married from 1948 until her passing in 2000.
Like many of the other veterans, he was in the reserves after the war. Carmine worked for Gay Brothers Woolen Mill, Kennwood Mills and eventually GE, where he retired from in 1984. I retired a little early as I figured Carmela was alone so much and we were going to enjoy ourselves, which we did.
Self-taught, Carmine spent many hours researching Cavendish history and genealogy, whether it was with a metal detector checking out cellar holes, or spending countless hours with Carmela in the library studying old newspapers, maps and records. He was adamant about the importance of history.
The list of organizations Carmine was involved with, in addition to CHS, was lengthy- The Grange and The Crown Point Road Association to name a few. He was chairman of the Cavendish Bicentennial, involved in reunions for his much loved Tarbell Hill School, and he served on the town’s Ancient Roads Committee. Well into his 80s, you could find Carmine with his friend Paul Kingsbury in the mountains as a hiking trail steward.
One of his favorite songs, which he listened on the jukebox during WWII, was When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold.
When my blue moon turns to gold again
When the rainbow turns the clouds away.
When my blue moon turns to gold again
You'll be back in my arms to stay.
In spite of a significant hearing loss and limited opportunities for formal education, Carmine’s passion for life long learning was astounding. Consequently, his contributions to Cavendish and its history, is enormous and many generations to come will benefit from his research and his generosity of spirit. He will be greatly missed.
CHS has Carmine’s autobiography in stock. To order, send a check to CHS for $15 plus $5 shipping and handling to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish VT 05142. The book is also available at the Town Office.
CAVENDISH GHOST STORIES: CHARLIE
The Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) has been collecting ghost stories since the summer. We’ve learned about Homer who has haunted the Proctorsville Fire Department for years, though he hasn’t been heard from recently. Supposedly there was a murder in this building, which was once a carriage barn.
Robert, so named because he looks like Robert Redford from an old western, still makes his presence known at the Golden Stage Inn along with a “ghost cat” and a strange mist that photographs quite well in one room. Lots of other eerie things-people who call your name and talk to you, but when you turn around no one is there. Clearly this Inn deserves its reputation as one of the most haunted places to stay in Vermont.
Lena is actually written into the deed of the house she occupies-she has full access to the front bedroom and parlor-though she hasn’t been alive for many years. In short, we have a very long list of ghosts and spirits who seem to like calling Cavendish home.
Of all the stories, the one we wanted to share because CHS plays a role in it.
In June 2014, CHS was contacted by a man looking for information about his ancestors and wanting to know if any possible relatives still lived in town. Though a descendant of the Dutton and Proctor union, he and his parents visited Proctorsville as a child to see aunts, uncles and cousins. Falling on hard times, the family ultimately moved to Florida, where both parents died in 1969.
A few questions about his Parker line confirmed that he was in fact part of the same family as CHS board member Gail Woods. When he tells Gail his mother's maiden name-Carmine June Cook, she replies, "I knew Carmine. She had a son Greg Roche." To which he excitedly pointed to himself repeating, "that's me, that’s me!"
As Greg asked about names from his childhood, Gail’s husband Woodie pieces together that “Aunt Adie’s” granddaughter-Janet Pipkin- lived in the old family home on Depot Street.
An e-mail and phone call, resulted in Janet posting the following to Facebook, What a night... Almost 50 years ago, my mom's cousin [Carmine June Cook] disappeared and cut ties with the family. So my mom never knew what happened to her and her son.
One of my strongest childhood memories is my mom always looking up their names in phone books whenever we were staying at a motel in another city. "You never know, they might be in here," she would say.
Today a man from California visited the Cavendish Historical Society to look up some family history, and thanks to Margo [Margo Caulfield is the coordinator of CHS] he not only got the history, he got the family! It is my mom's cousin's son. I got to meet him and we called my mom together.
Mom was so overjoyed to hear from him. She has wondered for so long how he was. And on Sunday, she will find out when she gets to see him again after all this time. Just amazing.
So now for the ghostly part, which is provided by Janet Pipkin
While driving in snow on Route 131, Charlie Cook (1882-1923) had an accident. He was taken to his home at 145 Depot Street in Proctorsville but, unfortunately, due to massive internal injuries, he died several days later in the presence of his wife and young daughter.
Janet took residence in the house in 1991, as she was the granddaughter of Adelaide Cook Brittain, Charlie’s sister. The house has always been in the family, primarily the residence of another sister, Grace Cook, who died in the 1980s.
Soon after moving in, Janet noticed pennies around the house. She thought nothing of it; loose change did not seem like a big deal, until things became weirder. Having vacuumed one of the bedrooms, Janet left the room to put the vacuum away. Returning to the freshly vacuumed room she discovered pennies right in the middle of the rug. While cleaning a window, a penny fell from above, landing on the floor by her feet. Not being a real believer of spirits, it struck her as odd and curious, but defying any logical explanation.
While driving to Manchester, she remembered in a panic that she had put a potato in the oven to bake over an hour ago. Fearing fire, she turned around and went home. By now it had been two hours since she put the potato in the oven. Rushing into the kitchen, she found the stove turned off and a perfectly cooked potato. This was illogical. She had only put it in 20 minutes before she left. If she had shut off the oven, how could it possibly have been fully cooked? And if she didn’t, why was the oven shut off and the potato not burnt?
The final incident that pushed Janet from non-believer to believer was breaking glass. Having just gone to bed, she heard the distinctive sound of breaking glass. Figuring it was one of the cats breaking something, she ran downstairs and saw her roommate also rapidly descending the stairs. Searching the house from top to bottom, neither saw any signs of broken glass.
Janet called her mother, Ann (Adelaide’s daughter, Charlie’s niece) and told her what happened. Ann wasn’t surprised. Soon after Grace had died Ann had come to the Depot Street house to do some packing and cleaning. It was the first night when she heard the sound of breaking glass. Like Janet, she searched and found no explanation of the noise.
In discussing the situation with her Mom, Janet wondered it if could possible be a ghost. Ann related the story of Charlie’s death. He died in the front bedroom of the house, and sadly, his wife and young daughter were never the same again. The daughter ended up living her own tragic life wrapped up in drug and alcohol abuse and had disappeared in the 1960s.
Janet became use to the pennies showing up everywhere. She even spoke to Charlie trying to explain that a penny doesn’t have a lot of value and quarters would be more appreciated, but no luck. “Off” events or incidents just were attributed to “that Charlie.”
After twenty years of living in the house, Janet met her long lost cousin Greg, as related above. Not only did this bring closure to the many years of searching by Janet’s Mom, but there was another member of the family that needed “closure.” Since Greg was Charlie’s grandson- Greg’s mother Carmine, was the daughter of Charlie- he agreed to go to Janet’s house and have a chat.
Greg told Janet (as well as Charlie) about his life’s successes as well as what had happened to his mother. He talked about his wife and children and how content he was with his life in California as a leather artist.
Since then, Janet doesn’t see many pennies anymore. She runs across one every now and then and wonders it is still Charlie. There seem to be no more noises or strange incidents. Janet wants to believe that Charlie finally managed to get the news he needed to be at peace. But she still keeps listening for that possible sound of broken glass.
SOLZHENITSYN BOOK OFFER FOR HOLIDAY GIVING
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Writer Who Changed History is the perfect gift for anyone who loves Cavendish. A biography of the Soviet dissident and Nobel Laureate who lived here almost 18 years of his 20 years in exile, it contains many pictures thanks to the generosity of the writer’s family.
Just in time for the holidays, order by December 15, and the book will be gift wrapped, autographed, and mailed with a gift card anywhere in the continental USA in time for Christmas. To order, send a check for $17.50 ($15 for the book plus $2:50 for shipping and handling) to Cavendish Historical Society, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142. The book is available locally and on-line (www.createspace.com or amazon.com). For more information, please contact CHS-802-226-7807, firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds from the book go towards the CHS Solzhenitsyn Project.
PRESERVATION PROJECTS UPDATE
We’ve been calling them “Mike’s doors,” since former board member Mike Pember has been anxious that the Museum doors be replaced. No they aren’t in yet Mike, but they are in the Museum acclimating. Thanks to the incredible generosity of wood worker and volunteer Dave Stern, the replacement doors-dating from the 1800s-have been stripped, repaired, painted and awaiting spring installation.
After many years of discussion, the Cavendish Civil War Memorial has been cleaned. Many thanks to Bruce McEnaney for his dedication to making this happen. Thank you to Al Glidden for the use of the lift, to Bill Jansak who used the town’s low velocity pressure washer to do the cleaning and to Kem and Svetlana Philips who also assisted.
The orange mold in the Cavendish Village Cemetery continues to be a problem, but we are making headway thanks to the Phelps and other volunteers. Cleaning and righting of gravestones have taken place through out the summer in all of the Cavendish cemeteries.
After considerable searching for someone who could do the work, the belfry repair of the Cavendish Stone Church is now underway. The funds for this repair have been made possible by a grant from the Jeld-Wen Foundation.
Please note that CHS uses the National Park Service guidelines for the cleaning and preservation of monuments, headstones and memorials. While very low pressure washing is used on monuments, it is not recommended for headstones. We do not use bleach, consequently stones will not appear bright white.
For a small historical society, this is an incredible amount of preservation that was undertaken in a year. Thank you to all who volunteered time and support to make this possible. The one remaining item on our “to do list,” is the stone wall extension in the Twenty Mile Stream Cemetery. Definitely on the 2017 list.
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