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   Family Time & Brattleboro, VT

Like most things when your young, in this case, two and a half, life is simple. First, wrap Daddy around your little finger and keep Mommy at your beck and call. Cry, get fed, whine, and get attention, all normal. In this case, she is deviously smart, but mom and Dad don’t play the game by the rules, all the time.


Turning tables on her, Mom is caring and yet offers instructional guidance in the real world. How many pieces of hotdog are there to eat? How many did you eat? Meanwhile, Dad is not his father’s stereotypical Dad, no he is actually better at the gig than I ever thought of being.

On the upside, the girl can maneuver around an IPad like it’s a pile of mash potatoes, ripe for slinging across the room. The peacekeeping instructional videos for toddlers are pretty cool.


In my day, we were plopped in front of the iconic Roadrunner and Wiley E. Coyote with a bowl of Captain Crunch and told to be quiet. They were instructional too, right?  We learned that dynamite doesn’t hurt, and a blunderbuss won’t kill a rabbit. Now, a wall safe from ACME when dropped off a cliff, is a different matter. Of course, we were told not to sit to close, you’ll burn your eyes out.

The girl knows how to eat, listens when told, and pretty much plays on her own. Of course, staying busy puts every toy on the floor. And when she bores with one, wanting to move on, she is asked to pick things up first. As parents go, my son and daughter in law are doing a pretty damn good job. Far more than I ever did in my day. Things were different, I suppose. I am called Happy for Pappy, and Marlene is Mi-Mi.


We took a drive, “let’s go to IKEA,” they said. “It’s a destination, not just a place to go shopping,” they said. We were early, people were lined up to get in at the opening time. Looked more like a premiere of Ghost Busters.


Now, I ask myself why?

 Personally, we go in a store knowing how to get out, look behind you, those most comforting checkout aisles are always there. It’s way different in IKEA, Marlene, and I finally asked where the heck is the damn checkout and exit. Mind you, we did ask an employee. We got in return, a strage calm came over the woman, “are you done shopping, anything we can help you with?” This was so eerie as she laced her fingers in front of her like a church choir member.


“Lady, where do I go to get the hell out of here?”


My wife knew I was PO’d, I walked away. Finally, the woman relinquished the answer to the six-hour corn maze, pointing to where we had just been. I am reasonably sure that sickle wielding orphans of the corn roam the halls of IKEA at night. Who would know, right?

Personally, I’m not too sure what the big deal is.  Walmart carries foreign junk, so does IKEA. Just a different country of origin.


A shout out goes to a place called Wrights Dairy Farm. They are doing something very Wright. That was a play on words in case you missed it. Even with COVID, they are fast and have some amazing cakes, pies, and danish. Understand its all made with their own dairy cows milk products, right on the farm. If you are ever in Massachusetts, visit

I sat down, back in the motor home, to a real French pastry, a light custard Éclair. Probably in the top ten of foods I remember. Life is good.


So what went wrong on our trip to my sons? A total of a week in their driveway, what could go wrong? What no sewer hook-up at this establishment?

No big deal, that’s what the Black and Gray tanks are for, right? On or about day three, we noticed an odor in the rear of the coach. Sniffing it out, it was emanating from the back, outside, a cabinet. Looking inside the self-contained cabinet was a UH-OH. You are a maladjusted miscreant believing shit don’t stink.

The rear Black tank drain handle was open. Still unsure how this happened, I suppose somehow I managed to leave it open. With the 3” drain hose attached, it slowly filled the tube itself until it leaked into the cabinet. So if you are not an RV’er, the Black tank is raw Sewage; the only thing going in the tank is from the toilet. Understand now? Finding the end caps, I solved the immediate problem. It should be fun figuring out at the next stop how to uncap it and get things flowing to the sewer without making a mess. Full-time RV’ing is fun …right?

I had added kitchen sprayers to each bathroom; you may recall the water surprise in the last Blog. They help to rinse the gravity flush toilets and other more personal parts.  I’ll leave it at that—a good friend of my son and daughter in law is a real plumber.  In less than an hour, he fixed both. I am officially now out of the plumbing trade. I spent more on this effort than getting someone to do it in the first place. Life, I guess. My body can no longer contort into a Philadelphia Soft Pretzel to get into some of the tight spaces.

After a tear-jerking exit, the young one, not me, we headed for I-91 and a short distance into Southern Vermont. We had booked an RV park in Dummerston, VT. An excellent place. Check it out for a New England retreat, pool, miniature golf, clean and quiet. Even exclusive tent sites for those wanting to experience the outdoors. I don’t feel guilty sneering at the ones roughing it in tents.  Tenting seems to be a thing in the North Country. There are as many tenter’s in some of the Parks as RV’s.  

We got to visit an old and dear friend of Marlene’s. Another surprise was my older brother visiting. As some times happens, siblings whose separate lives are busy, have lots to catch up on. We were done in talking in twenty minutes. Yep, our parents are still dead and buried. Well spread on the 9th street beach of Ocean City New Jersey is always a realistic possibility. i'm mptsayingit happened, but it might have. Check it out if you get the opportunity.


Facts to amaze your friends with:


  1. In 1777, Vermont was an independent republic caught between two possessive territories laying claim to it for years before the War for Independence. The citizens battled Indians, New York, and New Hampshire in the early 1700s. They had their own money and postal system back then.

  2. Did you know all boroughs in all of New England were condensed to “-boro” by the Post office?

  3. Question: How did they clear snow before trucks and plows?

      Answer: Farm life made it simple, no one bothered, you walked from house to barn to Privy. It was all you              needed. Now in the town, it was different, did you know the first snowplows were 15-foot in diameter. 

      Weighted wooden rollers drawn by horses to flatten the surface, not plow it?

  1. Did you know the very first English settlement in Vermont was built here in Brattleboro in 1724? (That’s 52 years before the revolution. It was named after the British Commander, a Capt. Dummer. We are staying in an RV park in the town of Dummerston.

  2. Understand the British had no fear of the civilian population; they were all British. The fort was for protection from the Abenaki Indians and in time, the French, along the Connecticut River. They incorporated first in the state as well, in 1777.

  3. The entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, the earliest structures would have been wooden and succumbed to decay and fire: The buildings in downtown all date from the 1800s.

  4. Estey Organ Company, the world’s largest reed organ manufacturer, operated in Brattleboro for nearly a century.


We went picture taking on a cloudy day, typical in the mountains. Trying to capture the essence of life on Mainstreet in a hamlet in Vermont and New Hampshire as well. Small narrow bridges to cross, narrow winding mountainous roads to explore. Hiking trail entrances straight up the side of the mountain, if you know where to find them. Buildings of brick and mortar that date back to the civil war era are fascinating to walk by on the sidewalks.

Sidewalk coffee shops in the COVID era, open with conditions, everyone in a mask. Life goes on here, no different than a mere hundred years ago. Back then, masks were worn by the train robbers. Restaurants and shops closed then too.

Along came the rain: Overnight one night. For most of the next afternoon, water leaked in around the large window of the dinette. Leaks are a problem. I will admit it rattled me for a while. Then I started to analyze things. The slide outs are self-contained. It has its separate roof, and the leak is either the window itself or under the awning that covers the slide when it’s extended.

Hopefully, with my son’s help, we resolved the leak. Even the neighbors are friendly at this oasis. Clapping when we leave and shuttering themselves in when we arrive in the BEAST. It does look like the proprietors still welcome us here, though. For now anyway.


The old Black and White Photos are :  "Courtesy of the Brattleboro Historical Society, Brattleboro, Vermont."

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