Olga and Bessy Marie do Montpeiler, Burlington, and Barre Vt. looking for a home. Part One.

Posted: May 22, 2017 in *Celebration*, From us to you, Ha Ha, HIGH queer art, Queer Thoughts, We remember, Workers Unite!, Yum Yum

Well us old gals are at it again. Traveling in search of a new home. This should be our last trip. We have contacts who have contacts who are in the know of where to live and where to go. Where to stay away from and where to check out.  Someone told us Vermont is full of cows, well we said even if we don’t drink milk, eat cheese or ice cream we love cows. Bonnie said with giggles, “you should see the place during rush hour, cows here, cows there, cows everywhere.” Yeah okay we will be in the city where we are sure there are very few cows. We’ll see some cows from the train give them a moo moo and be glad we don’t have to clean the barn. We love cows even if they do a job on the ozone. “I have to wonder,” said Bessy Marie, “do cows ever escape the field and come and stand on the train tracks?” I really hope they don’t as the train has no cow catcher in the front of it and if we hit such a creature it would be all over for the cow and cause delays. ( 1 ) Let’s hope not said Olga, lets hope the cows know where they at suppose to be and if they go anywhere else they will not hear the dinner bell. Here is a little song to start us on our way.

I am Cow, by Arrogant Worms.

Rush Hour In Vermont.


Lots of these on our trip. No worry the train is only 5 cars long. We were happy we weren’t waiting to cross the road or go on through to the other side of the tracks in Springfield as there was a freight train with almost 75 cars passing by.

The train route

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We know that by the time the train gets to us the bathrooms can be and usually are very smelly. Olga is the smart one in the bunch always brings a mask to wear when she is in the toilet. I just can’t sit there and smell that horrid smell, do my business and not have vomited all over the floor. Then the train folks would have another mess to clean up. So I get one of those masks fold it up keep in in my pocket along with a Lysol wipe or two. No telling what germs lurk around in the train. Germs are a funny thing can’t see them but if they get into you man can they do a job. Both of us gals are too old for that and thank our lucky stars we haven’t contracted anything this past winter on top of what either one of us have all ready. We take our Elderberry syrup each and every day. Getting old, now that is a whole other story. We don’t know too many old folks to sit around with and talk about getting old. I wish we did as then we would say, “Hey we don’t have it all that bad.” At the very least we would know what this getting old is all about and if this or that pain is worth complaining about. Maybe it will go away in a couple of days.

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Gals like us love the train. Having never learned to drive we take it all the time. You know the things you see on the train are much different than what you see in a car whizzing by at 60 miles per hour. These highways leave a lot to be desired as far as good scenery is concerned. Trees, cars, trees, cars. We love the train we get to see the backside of the cities, usually the older part, the graffiti along the tracks is always something to marvel at, an art show caught out of the corner of our eyes and then it retreats into the distant. Last time we were amazed at all of the mullein patches along the tracks. Huge Mullein plants, skunk cabbage, and ferns, ferns, ferns all along the tracks edge and into the woods. Something we very rarely see around these parts are white birch trees. The white lines among the green and brown, lovely. We came home last year in October and what a site to see out the windows of the trees changing colors. Never saw such beauty. What will we see in the spring time wondered Bessy Marie, of course we will be north and hopefully the gardens of tulips near the State Capitol will be in bloom.

A Large Mullein Patch ( the Mullein was just coming up, last years mullein stalks were still proudly standing)

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You know sometimes old Olga’s ears start acting up. She had had a condition since childhood. Well as the good witch Susan said, “Reach for some Mullein Oil, that should do the trick” Yeap never failed me once said Olga. Here is a little information about the oil. Mullein oil is an oil that is excellent for treating ear aches and ear infections. It is often combined with garlic to make garlic mullein oil. Actually, it is a herbal oil, created by infusing mullein flowers in a base oil, which is generally chosen to be olive oil. It will work wonders.

Never in my life have I see so many patches of Marsh Marigold. We were on the bus coming through a parking lot at the mall when I spied out the window and down the banks yellowing flowering plants everywhere. I take those to be Marsh Marigold, a bit hesitant at first as I hadn’t really ever seen them before but it all added up to what I did know. I know that they are yellow and I know they grow in marshes and bloom in the spring so yes they have to be. I got off the bus and walked back to the area climbed down the steep banks just to see what these flowers were up close. Amazing is all I could say. So what can you tell us about Marsh Marigold.

Marsh marigold, perennial spring-blooming Old World and North American plant (Caltha palustris) of the family Ranunculaceae (buttercup family), found in wet places. It has rounded glossy leaves and large buttercuplike flowers of bright and shining yellow. The tops are reputed to be toxic but with boiling become edible and are often eaten as greens while young; the flower buds have been pickled and used as capers, and the flowers have been used for beverages. In the United States it is sometimes called cowslip. Other species of Caltha are also called marsh marigold. Marsh marigolds are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Ranunculales, family Ranunculaceae.

The name Marigold refers to the use in Church Festivals in the Middle Ages as one of the flowers dedicated to the virgin Mary. It was also used during May Day festivals. Shakespeare said about the plant, “Winking Mary Buds begin to ope their golden eyes.” Got a wart, do you have fits, Anemia or want to dye paper yellow? There is a poisonous character to this plant and it is not advisable to use it unless you are well schooled or are a sister crone living out in the woods and knows what she is doing with plants. Mary Elderson who lives on the farm where our dear old punkpink resides outside of St. Albans Vt. is well schooled in all herbs and herbal practices. I asked pink to ask Mary what she knew and she said this. “I agree as long as you know what you are doing Marsh Marigold is great. Bring some in the house as a spring bouquet. But I wouldn’t advise just anyone to go out and dig up its roots, cook them unless you know what you are doing. I say that again.” Here is a bit of info: Root – must be well cooked. The raw root should not be eaten.  Flower buds – raw, cooked or pickled and used as a caper substitute. Eating the raw flower buds can lead to intoxication. Young leaves – raw or cooked. The leaves are harvested in the spring as the plant is coming into flower and is used like spinach after cooking in two or more changes of water. Eating the raw leaves can lead to intoxication. The leaves remember must be well cooked.  Yeah, you need a granny who knows what she is doing to guide you. Folks use to eat these up in these parts during the depression. Many of the older folks knew what they were doing and my great grandpa showed me all about the Marsh Marigold. I go out with some of the younger members of our group, harvest the leaves and cook up a batch in May. No matter how many changes of water you use get the water boiling first. Thoroughly wash the leaves and immerse them in the water. Leave the leaves in the boiling water for at least 20 minutes, drain the leaves, discard the water. Season to taste. I use just a bit of butter and salt and pepper. I know Milly Albright down the road from here uses a bit of browned salt pork with hers. That can be tasty also.”

Every once in awhile we would spy a covered bridge here and there. Nice old ones and newer ones crossing over rivers and streams.

Montpelier was our home base or rather the town of Berlin. From Berlin it is just a hop skip and jump on the bus to Barre or into downtown Montpelier. That is one thing about us. We learn the bus systems of where-ever we travel. This is one way we judge if we could ever live in any town or city. How often do the buses run? How early in the morning do they start the runs? How late in the evening do they still operate? Any buses on a Sunday. That can be a long boring day if a person can’t get anywhere and they have an itch to go. We discovered a very simple way to get from Montpelier to Burlington and on Wednesday we did it. There is a commuter bus that runs back and forth to each city and for $4.00 or $2.00 midday one can get a very scenic ride and be in either city in under an hour. Where we stay in Berlin there is a bus stop right out in front of the hotel so us gals got it good. Olga is very good at research and in fact visitors to our home in Hartford from all sorts of places have remarked that she must have been a travel agent in the past life or maybe she should be one. Everything down, one two three. All i’s dotted and all t’s crossed. Photos of the areas that one needs to get around, and maps and schedules of the bus systems, cities, restaurants, cultural sites and anything else to make the trip work. Now please don’t think that we are not open to chance operation. Of course we are. If chance comes our way we shrug and go about our business on the new road that has popped up. Okay by us we can always get back to what we were going to do and do something else for a change. Chance and change old Olga was brought up on that in her classes with John Cage many years ago when she was young and full of it all.


George our driver will be waiting for us when we debark the train. He always is. We call Tim up and say, “Hey Tim we will be coming up to Vermont on this day and leaving again on that day and will you have someone pick us up at the train station and then on our going home day pick us up again.” Of course as everyone who doesn’t know us loves us. If only for the tip. Now we believe in giving a good tip to other working class folks no matter what. Someone said, “now girls you even give a tip to the waitress who isn’t all that friendly do you?” Why yes we reply. Who knows maybe and of course 9 times out of 10 her boss is a big asshole, maybe her back and feet hurt, trouble at home, the last customers were rather nasty to her or she like millions of us just want to get the fuck out of where she is at. So be nice, smile, thank her, engage her in a little conversation and most of all thank her for her service and leave a nice tip. Its as simple as that. Olga even says thank you to the bus driver as she is getting off the bus. Yes, yes I know I just paid for the ride but so what. The driver gave me a ride, I got to where I was going and I am in one piece. If we are ever going to change anything than we have to feel for each other and act on it. A side note here: Vermont will raise its minimum wage in three steps, first to $9.60 in 2016, to $10 in 2017 and finally to $10.50 in 2018. Meanwhile residents in Burlington Vt. voted on an advisory ballot to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. A step in the right direction but hardly enough considering the cost of living now-a-days. We have always believed that the wage should start at $20.00 per hour and work up from there. At least with that there is a chance a person would be able to make it with the “leftovers” after taxes, etc. but of course that all depends. See here for more info. ( 2 )

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The Tulip beds at the state Capitol.


Corner of Main and State Street. Cool Jewels where we buy beads, also carries crystals, carved animals, window glass hanging, trinkets, rocks, and beads and beads and more beads.

Main Street

From one end of Main to the other we find everything we would need. Shaw’s supermarket, a laundry mat, Rite Aid, a Hardware Store, The Savory Theater, City Hall, Stationary Shop, Bookstore, Gift Shop, Antique Store, Public Library, down State Street are other stores as needed. So why would we need to leave the downtown? Really no reason. We noticed that there are lots of apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the downtown buildings, made contact with the real estate agent who deals with most of downtown and we are on our way. Some looking good some not so hot. Through the rental agency, we got some pointers on moving to downtown Montpelier VT. and how to do such a things from a base in Connecticut.

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Two springs are better than one.

Spring was in full swing. We noticed it right away the hills were alive with shades of greens of spring. With red, yellow and white splashed here and there. The daffodils, tulips, grape hyacinth, were in full bloom. How wonderful we get to live 2 springs this year. Do we need to do anything over so we get it right this time around? Are we getting a second chance at it all. Going back in time. Maybe we should stick around here and fill out the year from here. My goodness what a tulip garden at the State Capitol. Dandelions’ I have never in all my 70 years seen so many dandelions’. Fields and fields of them. All yellow everywhere. Does anyone pick them and make some good homemade dandelion wine? A person sure could make gallons.

 ( 3 )
Train Station for Montpelier Junction Vt.
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The last time we were here the station was getting a make over. Can’t wait to see the new station.
(The new station is now an accessible station. Of course all of the old time charm was left, the wainscoting, the wood work, benches. The station mistress even told us they researched and used the exact colors that were used when the station was built. A really beautiful red like the out side. Most of the out side of the building looked the same except there is a ramp going up to the new wide door. You know said Bessy Marie, If I was the station mistress I would plant some nice flowers around this station. Maybe a couple of window boxes where folks wait for the train and give the outside a nice spruce up. Couldn’t hurt one bit and even if folks only wait for the one train a day that comes by the station it would be pretty and say, welcome. Judging by the Station Mistress office she does have the run of the place.
The cab company we use in front of the State Capitol Building. Its so Vermont to ride in a cow cab not once but twice. Always on time, always there when needed.
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Meet me in Barre for a great lunch, some good art and a history of some really good people.
To start us off let us hear a great song, sung by the Socialist Victory Choir. A song that was most likely sung in Barre by our comrades so many years ago. ( 4 )

We love the history of the town of Barre Vt. Probably because we tend to love our Socialist/Anarchist comrades the best. The Vermont Historical Society building and the old Socialist Labor Hall are always our drawing points when we visit Barre.
 The Italian-American Stonecutter, Dente Park, Barre Vt.
The memorial is dedicated to sculptor Carlo Abate who came from Italy to Barre at the turn-of-the-century and established the first art school in which students could learn drafting, design and other skills associated with the granite industry. (5)
The names march before us, Emma Goldman, Luigi Galleani, Eugene V. Debs, “Mother Jones,” Anne Bulak, Carlo Abate, The Lawrence Textile Strike, Elia Corti, “Big Bill” Haywood, Camilo Ciantarra, Arturo Giovannitti, Natale Cardini, Angelo Savinelli, all involved in the radical history of the Socialists and Anarchists movement in Barre. We learn from the article on the hall this, The Socialist Labor Party Hall, also known as the” Old Labor Hall”, was built in 1900 by Italian immigrants. The hall served as a venue for agitation, education, entertainment, and even shopping.
The children of the men and women involved in the Bread and Roses Strike, Lawrence Mass. These children were sent to Barre Vt. for their safety during the strike.
Photo: Barre Historical Society. ( 6 )

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Freaks, Radicals, Hippies: Counterculture in 1970 Vermont, Vermont Heritage Galleries Barre Vt.
What a show! One thing let us say here is there are some very good curators in Vermont. The societies page has this to say. “The 1970s in Vermont were a time of radical change. Many of the features that are today considered quintessentially Vermont–its politics, its local food movements, and its offbeat culture–have their origins in this period. Explore the results of our multi-year research project focused on this influential decade in Vermont. From communes to organic agriculture, progressive politics to healthcare reform, alternative energy to women’s and gay rights, no aspect of Vermont life remained the same after the dramatic changes that occurred during the 1970s. This dynamic and thoughtful exhibit offers a look back into this influential time in Vermont’s recent past.” And what a show it was.
PEACE Hand Puppet from Vermont’s Bread & Puppet Theater
Peace Hand Puppet, Bread and Puppet Theater
 Part of the show. The video playing inside the dome is of one of the back to the land commune leaders. All around on the upper walls were posters from back in the day.
Part of the exhibition. Demonstration at the Pentagon 1967. Olga is very proud to have been there.
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Olga began protesting the war in Vietnam in the spring of 1965 and continued until it was over. ( 7 )
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Studio Place Arts, North Main Street Barre Vt.
Art Today
Both Olga and Bessy Marie were excited. The had stopped off at Studio Place Arts a large 3 floor non-profit community arts center featuring gallery space, classes and studios. Well after viewing so much ho-hum art here and there on our trip, you know the kind the kind you see every where. We are artists, this is what we learned in art school, see we are very technically good but you know what, fuck these pictures and other artifacts have no soul. They do nothing to point us in any new direction. They just are there looking good at expensive prices to hang in your houses and to love art. Well what a nice surprise we had in the 3rd floor gallery. Roger Goldenberg was displaying his art. This is what Mr. Goldenberg has to say: “My paintings reflect my love for music-especially jazz and improvisation. Their temp, tone and color correlate perfectly to this music. Color shape, texture, movement and rhythm build by artistic voice. My art work are improvisations consisting of layered imagery, bold cutouts and compelling shapes. I call this style Visual Jazz.” What a painter Mr. Goldenberg is. Mr. Goldenberg work is a visual evocation of the music that he so enjoys. In many cases many colors do not work but in this case they are in beautiful arrangements, work well and certainly move us to see and feel music. Now Bessy Marie being the practical one would only consider owning one of these works if she could afford a maid to dust and keep the work alive with color. ( 8 )
Big Izmo, Roger Goldenberg
Collosabossa, 2008
Food Food We Love Food
We are on vacation and off our diet. We were eating this past week 3 times as much as we usually do for breakfast, what the heck it was a excellent free breakfast at the hotel. Not your regular coffee, muffins, doughnut fare, put eggs, bacon, sausage, freshly made waffles, fruit salad, breads, muffins, pastries. Yummy in every bite. One thing we didn’t do is go back for 2nds. Controlling ourselves to one serving and one serving only no matter how tasty it is must be our new goal.
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Soup and Greens
No we don’t eat twigs and berries for lunch. We wondered about a restaurant with a name like Soup and Greens. What would be ever get in such a place? You know all of this health food is okay and we eat and have eaten our share but come on. One can not always be oh so good and we would never expect ourselves to be no matter what. The last time we were here at Soup and Greens we had a very delicious lunch and couldn’t wait to go back again for some more.
 One reason we were drawn to this restaurant was its reputation for homemade pies and being one of the few decent restaurants in town well what can one do when the luncheon bell rings but go and eat. Well lets just say the coconut cream pie  was tasty even if there was too much shredded coconut in every bite. Olga wouldn’t even begin to remark on the shoe leather hamburger with overly done mushrooms and hard ass coleslaw sitting on the plate as lonely as could be with no bun.  Bessy Marie remarked that the haddock she had was tasty and the raspberry pie delicious.
( 1 ) Cows Catcher: Image result for cow catcher on a train  A V-Shaped device on the front of a trains engine to  move objects out of the way and off the track.

( 3 ) Dandelion Wine RecipeEarly in the morning when the dew is on the flowers, pick one gallon of perfect, open dandelion blossoms.

Put the flowers in a two gallon or larger open crock and pour boiling water over them. Cover the crock with cheesecloth and let it sit at room temperature for three days. Then squeeze all the juice outta the flowers, throw them away and save the liquid.

Put the liquid into a big pot and add:

3 lbs. sugar (we used brown raw sugar for healthiness but next time we’ll try honey for healthierness. The nice lady used white (ugh) sugar.)
3 or 4 lemons, juice, skin, seeds, etc., all chopped up.

3 or 4 oranges, choppedBoil mixture for 30 minutes with top on pot, cool to lukewarm, pour into crock and add 1 1/2 or 2 packages or tablespoons of yeast. Cover with cheesecloth and let brew sit for two or three weeks ’til the bubbling stops and — whammy!

Filter through cheesecloth to strain out chunks and save vitamins. Bottle.

( 4  )  The Red Flag, written by Jim Connell a Irish Socialist and political activist in 1889 In 1920 in How I Wrote “The Red Flag” he commented: “Did I think that the song would live? Yes, the last line shows I did: “This song shall be our parting hymn”. I hesitated a considerable time over this last line.  I asked myself whether I was not assuming too much. I reflected, however, that in writing the song I gave expression to not only my own best thoughts and feelings, but the best thoughts and feelings of every genuine socialist I knew… I decided that the last line should stand.” For more on Jim Connell see “The Irish Socialist Who Gave the World The Red Flag written by Theo Russell and published in the New Worker.
( 6 )  For more info on the Socialists and Anarchists of Barre see HERE.
( 7 ) Ed Felien has written an interesting piece on the march in Washington DC in 1965. It was a turning point in my life also. See HERE.
( 8 ) Roger Goldenberg see HERE, and HERE
This is Part One of our story. In Part Two we will explore Skunk Cabbage, unfolding ferns, Burlington Vt., politicks, lunch with a bunch of Vermont Legislators, (wait until you read about that one), tea with a bunch of left wing radicals in a great tea shop, and other things of remembrance past.

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