Wednesday, November 14, 2018

CHS Fall 2018 Newsletter

Please note that on Nov. 15 (Thursday) at noon Margo Caulfield will be speaking in Burlington on Solzhenitsyn’s Life in Cavendish. The talk will be at University Heights South (2&3), Rm 133. However, the talk is being videoed and will be streaming at the VHS Facebook page  and you will be able to ask questions during the talk. It will then be available to watch at other times via their Facebook page.


With Cavendish already having its first snow, it may seem a little late for the fall edition of the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) newsletter. Technically we have until Dec. 21 when winter officially begins. However, we were holding off so we could include some excerpts from Between Two Millstone: Sketches of Exile 1974-1978 Book 1 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, which was published on October 30 in English. It covers the first two years of Solzhenitsyn’s life in Cavendish and provides answers to questions about why he ended up here and how he spent his time. Copies of the book are available from Amazon.

On December 2 (Sunday) at 4 pm, CHS will be hosting a celebration of Solzhenitsyn’s 100th birthday (Dec. 11, 1918), which will include the showing the video of Solzhenitsyn’s farewell address to Cavendish in 1994. Following the screening there will be a discussion and potluck supper. CHS will be providing the ice cream and cake. This event will take place at the Cavendish Baptist Church, 2258 Main St. The snow date is December 9 (Sunday), same time and place.

Bob Naess working on the doors

The wet fall made it very difficult for Dave Stern and Bob Naess to complete the installation of the new doors to the Museum. While they are up, they are boarded for the winter. Look forward to the big reveal Memorial Day 2019. In the mean time, here’s a sneak peak of what’s behind the wooden panels. Thank you Dave and Bob for all your hard work.


Clyde Bailey
Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11th to mark the end of World War I that took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

Cavendish had 57 men and one woman serve in the war. A few families had two members of their family serving but the Pollards had four sons and one daughter, Mary, who was a dietician in an Army Hospital on Ellis Island. Of those serving, four died: George Dixon, Winthrop Hoyle, Truman McNulty and Francis Wallace. Hoyle was only 16 and died of nephritis in Rhode Island, while the other three died from what was known as the “Spanish Flu.”

Killing between 50-100 million people around the world, this flu was more deadly than WWI where nine million men were killed in combat and another twenty one million wounded, many left without arms, legs, noses, and even genitals, while others suffered the remainder of their lives from mustard gas.

 Clyde Bailey, who is pictured in this article, was a WWI vet and quite well known in Cavendish. He painted the Grange Hall Curtain.

Joe Allen posing with his sign

 It is with sadness that we report the passing of Joe Allen, former owner of the Cavendish General Store and known the world over for his sign, "No restrooms, No Bare Feet, No Directions to the Solzhenitsyns’ Home!" Having had the sign stolen so many times, he made it out of wood and nailed it to the store. Joe retired in 1996 and moved to Chester, VT. Our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.


Serialized between 1998 and 2003, Between Two Millstones:  has finally been published in English. While appearing in Russian, French and German in one volume, the English version is being divided into two books, the first covering Solzhenitsyn’s time in Switzerland and his move to Cavendish, VT-1974-19978. The second book projected publication date is fall 2019. Edit: Since the newsletter was published, CHS has learned that the book appeared in both French and German in two books-similar to how it is being published in English. In Russia, though it was serialized it's not slated for publication until 2019, where it will appear in one book as intended.

The title references Solzhenitsyn’s status as an irritant (the grain) between the “millstones” of the Soviet Union and the USA, the latter being alienated with his infamous 1978 Harvard address, where he denounced western materialistic culture. Before my Harvard speech, I naively believed that I had found myself in a society where one can say what one thinks, without having to flatter that society. It turns out that democracy expects to be flattered. When I called out “live not by lies!” in the Soviet Union, that was fair enough, but when I called out “live not by lies!” in the United States, I was told to go take a hike.

While many English-speaking scholars have waited for the publication of Between Two Millstones, the people of Cavendish and Vermont will now have their answer as to how Solzhenitsyn spent his time living in their town and state.

Moving to Cavendish: Over a hundred press vehicles now converged on the tiny town of Cavendish from Boston, from New York, quizzing the townspeople to get information, journalists crowding in front of our gate, scurrying along our fence—they even arranged for a helicopter to fly over our property and take pictures. .... To make things worse, our light chain-link fence had a single strand of barbed wire on top where the fence ran along the side of the road, to hook the pants of snoopers trying to climb over. This single strand of barbed wire the media now magnified into a “barbed-wire fence surrounding the entire property,” and that it was if I were willing myself up in a new prison, a “self-imposed gulag.” I did intend to sequester myself, not in a prison but in a tranquil refuge, the kind necessary for creativity in this mad, whirling world. But the press also picked up details from the locals about us having a pond, setting off the legend about my “swimming pool,” which immediately turned our supposed life within a prison into a “bourgeois lifestyle” in which the Solzhenitsyn family now intended to indulge. Ah, wretches, they were writing not about us but about themselves, revealing what mattered to them. We have been expelled from our country, our hearts are constricted, my wife’s eyes are never dry of tears, only work can save us—and that is our so-called “bourgeois lifestyle.”
Solzhenitsyn speaking at Town Mtg 1977

The American public, friendly and childishly hankering for the sensational, of course immediately deluged us with an avalanche of letters, telegrams, invitations and congratulations, wishing us well with much kindness, but it was an avalanche that would have killed a novice. I, however, had experienced such a deluge at least twice before in my life, and was no novice. Even once the deluge subsided, the flow continued invitations to speak, to greet someone, requests to write forewords, directive as to what topics I ought to speak on, whom I should defend with all due haste; requests from Slavists for additional information about this or that place in this or that book of mine; people inquiring whether I knew this or that relative of theirs in the Archipelago; requests from cancer patients concerning information on cures, where to get and how to use the Issyk-Kul root and birch mushroom. (I always replied to cancer patients immediately.)

There was also the threat of complications arising from another quarter, the locals. Putting up a fence around one’s land, even a fence that was see-through, was an unusual and provocative action. What’s more, it cut off one of the paths used by snowmobiles, which people enjoyed riding through the forests and mountains. Governor Snelling, whom I went to meet, gave me the good advice to attend the annual town meeting and talk to the locals. The meeting took place in February, at the end of our first winter in Vermont, and I went, sat with the others and then talked. Immediately the tension in the town eased and a staunch neighborliness was established.

Gradually another America began unfolding before my eyes, one that was small-town and robust, the heartland, the America I had envisioned as I was writing my speech, [his address at the 1977 Cavendish Town Meeting] and to which my speech was addressed, I now felt a glimmer of hope that I could connect with this America, warn it of what we had experienced, and perhaps even it to change direction. But how many years would that take, and how much strength?

Then there was the matter of the language. To resurrect and develop my English would have taken time, time that I was loath to spare when there were still tens of thousands of pages connected to the history of the Revolution languishing unread, when so many accounts written down by the aged witnesses of those years were still waiting-not to mention that I needed time to write. It made no sense to take time away from my Russian work, and anyway the texts of my talks would have had to be thought out and homed in Russian.

In the even landscape, the landscape here in Vermont, the woods, and even the changes in the weather, the play of sun, sky and clouds: here I cannot take them in with the same intensity and specificity as in Russia. It all seems to me as if it were in another language, as if something stands between us.

The Magic Stone
As Father and Teacher: In the meantime, our sons were growing. During the warmer half of the year, from April to October, I lived in the cottage by the pond, and early in the morning the boys would make their way in single down the steep path through the majestic sanctuary of the woods to pray with me. We knelt on a bed of pine needles by the bushes, and they repeated after me short prayers and our own special prayer that I had composed: “Grant us, O Lord, to live in health and strength, our minds bright, until the day when you will open our path home to Russia, to labor and to sacrifice ourselves so that she may recover and flourish.” A few steps behind us was a rock that looked very much like a horse, its legs tucked under, a winged horse that have been turned to stone. I told the children, and they believed me, that the horse breathes lightly at night and when Russia will rise again the spell shall be broken, the winged horse will breathe in deep and carry us on its back, through the air, across the North, all the way to Russia...(At bedtime the boys would ask me: You’ll go to the horse tonight, wont you, to check if it’s breathing?)
Several times a day one of the boys would come running down the steep path, brings a number of pages his mother typed out in an initial draft along with her editorial suggestions. Then a little while later, another son, would come to take back the results.
            I now began giving the two older boys lessons in mathematics. ....We also had a blackboard nailed to the wall of the cottage, chalk, notebooks, and tests, everything that was necessary. I would never have thought I’d ever teach mathematics again, though this was definitely going to be the last time. What a wonderful experience, how exquisite our traditional arithmetic, problems are in developing the logic of the questions...
            Immediately after the lesson we would go swimming. The pond is in some places shallow, in other places very deep, and I taught the boys swimming at my side. Water flowing from the mountain is very cold. The older boys would eagerly shout, “Papa, can we swim to the waterfall, can we?”...
            Further up the creek there was a real waterfall that was some fifty feet high, the boys in single file making their way to it and staring at it in awe. It was impressive, even for grown-ups. Two or three years later the older boys, beginning with Yermolai, would start sawing and splitting firewood with me.

Adjusting to the west It was July 1977. I was feeling smothered, bewildered: how were we to live in the West? The millstone of the KGB had never tired of crushing me, I was used to that, but now a second millstone, the millstone of the West, was descending upon me to grind me all over again (and not for the first time). How were we to live here? In every business, financial, and organizational matter in the West, I always find myself blundering, backed into a corner pulling the short straw, everything in utter confusion, so that there are moments when I simply despair; it is as if I had lost all reason, no longer knew how to act, invariably misstepped! As sharp-eyed as my actions had been in the East, so blind where they in the West. How was I to find my way through this tangle of rules and laws? (Would not a Westerner suddenly dropped into the Soviet Union be just as helpless?) ....
How humiliating and crushing is my realization that over these last years I’ve been nothing but a weakling, an ass, despite all my skill at countering the evils of Soviet society. What confidence I once had with my few kopecks and rubles! Not hundreds of thousands! Things were so different, everything fit into one little wallet. Among the ideas that life has sent me there now comes another, the ordeal of the Western financial system. And I must admit that I am struggling in the face of it; it has been sent down upon me for some reason, but I’m having a hard time bearing up. I wouldn’t care one whit if I could free my mind and soul so I could work. What is degrading is that I’m drowning in a puddle, not in stormy seas (then again, that’s how it always works. I was strong and at times even cheerful in the camps and in prison; cancer didn’t break me, I suffered painful family tribulations, endured years of fear that my clandestine work would fail, but I always lived easily in poverty, got used to it, was adapted only to privation, and now feel perturbed in the face of poverty-free affluence, where no one appreciates anything, where everyone thoughtlessly squanders and allows everything to spill. But on the other hand affluence, and my being freed for many years from having to earn a living to support a large family, have given me the opportunity to move away from the accursed cities into quiet and clean surroundings, freeing up space and time for my main task.


If you have not joined the Cavendish Historical Society, need to renew your membership, and/or would like to be a volunteer, please complete the form below and sending a check, payable to CHS, to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142. All contributions are tax deductible.

Name: _______________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________

Phone Number: _____________________    E-Mail: ____________________________
Membership Level
__ Individual Member $10  ___ Senior Member 65+ $5  ___ Sustaining Member $500
__ Household Member $15  ___ Contributing Member $250                            

___ I would be interested in serving, as a volunteer .I would be interested in serving on the following committee(s):__ Program Planning  __ Fundraising    __ Building (Museum)
__Archives                       _ Budget           ­­–– Cemetery    __ Carmine Guica Young Historians

Donations are always welcome and can be designated as follows:
__ For general purposes                   __ Young Historians                  __Publications
__ Archeological Activities                _ Museum & Archival             __ Special Events
__ Rankin Fund                             __  Williams Fund                             __ Solzhenitsyn Project
__ Other (please specify)                __ Cemetery Restoration           __ Preservation Projects

Saturday, November 10, 2018


Cavendish resident and WWI veteran, Clyde Bailey
Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11th to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France. It took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Armistice.

Cavendish had 57 men and one woman serve in the war. A few families had two members of their family serving but the Pollards had four sons and one daughter, Mary, who was a dietician in an Army Hospital on Ellis Island. 

Of those serving, four died: George Dixon, Winthrop Hoyle, Truman McNulty and Francis Wallace. Hoyle was only 16 and died of nephritis in Rhode Island, while the other three died from what was known as the “Spanish Flu.”

Killing between 50-100 million people around the world, this flu was more deadly than WWI where nine million men were killed in combat and another twenty one million wounded, many of whom were left without arms, legs, noses, and even genitals, while others suffered the remainder of their lives from mustard gas.

As history was to show, the seeds for WWII were laid in the Armistice, which in effect was a surrender. German civilians, due to what we would call today “fake news,”  were not aware that their military had been defeated and were outraged to learn of the Armistice terms and to see British, French and American occupation troops in their homeland. It isn’t surprising that Hitler could pedal his message that the Army was robbed of its victory by socialists, pacifists and Jews.

While much is made of the 11th hour, the 11th day of the 11th month, the final six hours after the signing of the Armistice, which occurred at 5 am,  was a blood bath. On that date, twenty-seven hundred and thirty-eight men from both sides were killed, and eighty-two hundred and six were left wounded or missing, with the vast majority of these casualties happening after the Armistice had been signed, where there was no political or military gain. The day’s toll was greater than both sides suffered on D Day in 1944.

Among the many victims were troops of the American 92nd Division, part of Bullard’s Second Army. The U.S. military was rigidly segregated, and the men of the 92nd were black. All their higher-ranking officers, however, were white, often Southerners resentful of being given such commands. “Poor Negroes!” Bullard, an Alabaman, wrote. “They are hopelessly inferior.” After already enduring discrimination and fear at home—sixty black Americans were lynched in 1918 alone—and being treated as second-class citizens in the Army, these troops found themselves, after the Armistice had been signed, advancing into German machine-gun fire and mustard gas. They were ordered to make their last attack at 10:30 A.M. The 92nd Division officially recorded seventeen deaths and three hundred and two wounded or missing on November 11th; one general declared that the real toll was even higher. A Hundred Years After the Armistice

Thursday, November 1, 2018

CHS Briefs November 1, 2018

Please check the Cavendish VT Facebook page for photo albums of various CHS activities.

Miles Glidden talking about Homer who visits PVFD
Carmine Guica Young Historians: Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) spends a lot of time working with youth, not only to teach them town history but to also instill good citizenship through stewardship. We are pleased to report that Cavendish has almost no vandalism of town property and starting with this fall’s RiverSweep, we can see that the beach area along the Black River is much cleaner and in better condition than ever before. 
The Blacksmith Shop at Sturbridge is popular with studens

October has been a very busy month. We had the first ever Foliage/History Tour on the Green Mountain Railroad for the Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES) 4th grade and students from Green Mountain Union High School (GMUHS). The 6th graders once again visited Fitton Mill, as well as Sturbridge Village. Rounding out the month was the 5th graders annual Proctorsville Ghost Walk.

 Nov. 1 the 5th graders will take part in a Dia de los Meurtos (Day of the Dead) celebration and on Nov. 9 will learn more about first peoples in Vermont by making pottery, using stone tools and traditional story telling.

In December, the entire school will take part in a daylong series of workshops pertaining to Scandinavia. Included will be a “taste of Sweden, Norway and Denmark.” This annual tradition is one way students learn about the people who helped found Cavendish and gain a better understanding of their culture and traditions.

While many Scandinavians were recruited to work in the mills, the Swedes were also recruited to set up farms in Vermont. The latter was not considered a successful venture as many moved to other parts of the country. Interestingly, a second wave of Nordic immigrants came to the area because of the developing snow sports industry.

Thank you to our incredible volunteers this month including Bruce and Timothy McEnneny. Special thanks to Julie and Mike of the Golden Stage Inn, who once again amazed the students with stories of hauntings at the Inn. Our trips are made possible by contributions from Stein van Schaik and the McEnneny’s Blueberry Fund.

Vermont Native American Timeline: If you missed the last talk of the season, honoring Indigenous Peoples Day, check out the CHS blog post VT NativeAmerican Timeline Included on the timeline is a video of state archeologist Jess Robinson discussing Vermont pre European contact.

Solzhenitsyn: We are thrilled that the long awaited Aleksandar Solzhenitsyn book Between Two Millstones: Sketches of Exile, 1974-1977, which covers the first two years of his life in Cavendish, is now available in English.

We know that many are interested in how Cavendish will be celebrating Solzhenitsyn’s 100th birthday. We are finalizing plans and will be posting more information in the next few weeks in the CHS newsletter as well as in the newspaper, on-line etc. In the meantime, on Nov. 15, Margo Caulfield of CHS will speak on Solzhenitsyn’s Life in Cavendish as part of the third Thursday series of the VT Historical Society (VHS).

The talk will take place at noon at University Heights South (2&3), University of Vermont in Burlington. Directions are available on-line. If you are unable to attend, you can watch and ask questions via the VHS Facebook page

If you have questions or wish to volunteer with CHS, please call 802-226-7807, e-mail or mail PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142