The Old Names

I find my childhood in the obituaries, the old names I grew up with are there and still a strong part of my memories.

I have said this before, but saying it again is all about my writing here. I grew up in Barre and we were a community of immigrants and the children and grandchildren of immigrants. The names I find in the obituaries are the old names of families that touched my life in so many ways. All the families knew each other and our names. This is the way it was in a community centered around an industry, granite, and the people it brought to Barre to work in the quarries and stone sheds, mostly all immigrants and part of the American dream.

I used to share with my students that the most common words I remember from my childhood were, “…back in the old country…” and “…during the Depression…” My Dad would laugh about all of this, yet he told me that what he wished most for me was, “…to grow up and be a good American…” I am sure these words were shared in most of the homes in Barre during childhood.

So, I go to the obituaries every day to find the names of the people I love and grew up with. They are there every day and I get to revisit my past and remember how lucky we were to grow up in Barre. We were the American dream in a microcosm, a true little melting pot with all the folks sharing a place in time that was precious.

Published by Ed Pirie

I am a native Vermonter. I am a child of the 50s, 1951 to be exact. For much of my youth Vermont had one foot in the 19th century and one in the 20th century. The old ways coexisted with a world that was changing. We were sort of insulated in Vermont from much that was happening outside our state, but our little protective bubble was shrinking. My understanding of today has been greatly influenced by the past as the past was always part of our present in the Vermont of the 1950s and even the 60s. I am not much of a follower and like to do my own thinking. You will find my thoughts on many topics here. I value my family and a quiet existence in a very rural part of Vermont. I try to write clearly and simply. I hope you enjoy and thank you for visiting my site. Take care.

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