Archive for April, 2013


The Unique Weirdness Beyond the Strange Boundary

by Walton Stowell

 Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allan Poe, one of America’s greatest poets, short-story writers, and literary critics; wrote such famous stories as The Raven, The Masque of the Red Death, The Black Cat, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Fall of the House of Usher. In most of his works, Poe used first-person narrative to pull the reader into a weird, and strange world; where the reader is forced to use their powers of deduction. The reader must make their own way through the mystical and gothic-romantic atmosphere.

Taken from The Haunted Palace:

And all with pearl and ruby glowing, was the fair palace door; through which came flowing, flowing, flowing, and sparkling evermore, a troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty was but to sing, in voices of surprising beauty, the wit and wisdom of their King.”

Born in poverty in Boston, January 19, 1809; dying under unfortunate circumstances in Baltimore, October 7, 1849; Poe’s whole literary career of scarcely fifteen years appeared a pitiful struggle for mere substance. His memory was initially malignantly misrepresented by his earliest biographer, Griswold. Poe the half-starved poet only received $10 for The Raven.

At a young age, Edgar Poe was adopted by John Allan (where Poe’s middle name comes from), and taken from a life of poverty, into an adopted life of luxuries and advantages that having more money could provide. Edgar was spoiled and shown off to strangers.

From his 8th to 13th year, Edgar attended the Manor House School at Stoke-Newington near London, when his adopted family lived in England. Edgar did will in school. Returning to Richmond, Virginia in 1820, Edgar was sent to the school of Professor Joseph Clarke; who said this of the young Poe: “While other boys wrote mere mechanical verses, Poe wrote genuine poetry; the boy was a born poet.” It was also said that Poe was sensitive, tender of heart, and would do anything for a friend; he was void of selfishness.

Here is an example of some of Poe’s short poem work at age 13: “Helen thy beauty is to me, like those Nicean barks of yore; that gently o’er a perfumed sea, the weary way-worn wanderer bore to his own native shore. On desperate seas long wont to roam. Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face, thy Naiad airs have brought me home, to the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome.”

Poe entered West Point, but obtained a dismissal upon hearing of the birth of a son to his adopted father (who had remarried). This event cut off his expectations as an heir to his adopted father’s estate. When Mr. Allan died, Poe committed himself at once to authorship for his own support. In 1827 Poe published a small volume of poems, which soon ran through three editions, and excited high expectations in the minds of many learned critics, who saw future distinction for the young author.

Edgar Allan Poe wrote this to tell of the sorrow he felt from the loss of this child-wife: “I was a child and she was a child, in a kingdom by the sea; but we loved with a love that was more than love – I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven coveted her and me. And this was the reason that long ago, in this kingdom by the sea; a wind blew out of a cloud, chilling my beautiful Annabel Lee; so that her high-born kinsmen came and bore her away from me, to shut her up in a sepulcher in this kingdom by the sea.”

Poe was a genius with poetry. He had an indescribable oneness with a Shakespearean style with the English language, with a knack for melancholy. He used two great qualities; vigorous minute analysis details, and incredible fantastic imagination. The analysis aspect is needed for plot and setting descriptions using words. The imagination aspect is the vision and feeling that spawns and feeds everything in the story.

Poe chose to focus his power mainly on the dark-side of reality, which extends from the very fringe limits of the probable, to the weirdness of superstitions that are inexplicable and unreal. In his writings he was able to inject a mysterious influence, that is extracted from the shadows by the reader upon reading. Death, fear, and suffering are natural evils, but to dwell on them often seems strange to people; because we are usually encouraged in life to do the opposite. These negative feelings that his writing evoke, are almost mathematically bizarre, compared to our mundane literature. Poe’s writing are mystical.

Poe as a maverick, seemed to have tapped into an immortal pulse. Often our imagination is left to finish the picture that he started in his tales. The reader is called upon to settle endings, which are quite unsettling. Creativity is allowed freedom in his work, beyond any superficial boundary. Our consciousness and subconsciousness are challenged to meet, and settle their differences. Human morbidity is a truth that resonates within us, hidden by our fears. His monsters are demons of humanity; physically and mentally. Facing evil and danger is thrilling.

His poem, The Raven, was about his own life. Poe was the master of that bird. The bird was a voice in his head. His consciousness is the main character that tries to understand why the bird is saying “Evermore.” The gloomy solemness, and frantic repetition is intriguing as evidence of a peculiar intellect. Despite the gloom, despite the eerie strangeness, there was also a basis in goodness and normality.

Before his second wedding, Poe stopped in Baltimore for a few days. The events that followed are mysterious, but Poe was found lying outside a voting place on October 3, 1849. He died in a hospital bed four days later, while in a coma. Poe never woke up, and his killer remains unknown.

Behind the melancholy, there was some humility, and a willingness to preserve belief in another’s friendship and love. There is even gratitude for cordial friendship, in characters. Many events were grotesque, but his brilliant detail and romantic prose off-set much of the horror. Poe lived between William Shakespeare and Stephen King, not only in time period, but also in linguistic style. After Elizabethan England, and before modern America, he lived from 1809 to 1849. William Winter’s poem, read at the dedication for the monument to Poe in 1885:

Edgar Allan Poe;

He was the voice of beauty, and of woe.

Passion and mystery and the dread unknown;

Pure as the mountains of perpetual snow,

Cold as the icy winds that round them moan,

Dark as the caves where in earth, thunders groan,

Wild as the tempests of the upper sky,

Sweet as the faint, far-off celestial tone of

angel whispers, fluttering from on high,

And tender as loves tear when youth and beauty die.

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Lake Sunapee

Biography & Geography based on an English Class assignment in 1989

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There is a place in New England where I went every summer since I was born, until I finished college. The name of it is Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire. Lake Sunapee is a very unique place; and I have interesting experiences, feelings, and memories associated with it, accumulated over the years. Let me explain to you the rare treasures of Sunapee that are familiar to me; the ideal mountain vistas, the gorgeous and thrilling waters, the beautiful vegetation and geology, the pine scented air, great old boats, and metamorphosis of seasons.

My father (Kip) and his two brothers owned our family cabin, which was really a small house that we affectionately called the ‘Camp’. They inherited Camp from their parents, who originally bought it from their friend, Marion Savory, in 1960. The official title of Camp is ‘Summer Savory’, which is a pun of Marion’s last name, the sweet summer herb, and the adjective savory (morally pleasant). Camp was built in 1903, on a small lakeside wooded lot. Under the seclusion of the trees, while resting in a hammock, you can glance around and see several types of trees, animals, ferns, lichen, moss, and rocks.

The grey rocks are formed so smoothly, they encourage soft relaxation. Every rock is blended into the leaf-covered surroundings, as though arranged by ancient pagans. The rocks are familiar to me, each with their own characteristics. When I was four years old, I named them all. Some look like chairs and tables, some look like animals or vehicles. A large rock I played on by the Camp as a kid, was named ‘Ship Rock’. Most of the rocks are down by the water; Computer Rock, Frog Rock, Boat Rock, etc.

If you follow the path down to the water, you use steps made from the old train-tracks that were on the terrace landing, between the Camp and the Lake. Down by the water’s edge are a series of wharfs and docks. Uncle Chan and his family keep boats, canoes, and other aquatic devices there. Uncle Chan was a police officer on the Lake, and he kept his police boat there too. Uncle Jay did not actively use the Camp, but he had his own place on Great Island, where he had a collection of antique boats.

The clean fresh air in New Hampshire tends to be typical of New England; the wind is dry and cool, with an aroma of pine needles. When it rains, it is often just as beautiful as when it is a clear, warm day. Although thunder storms do knock hillside trees down, perhaps reminding us that nothing is forever. In the Winter the Lake freezes over so thickly, that trucks can drive over it. It can get very cold and windy. Camp was not winterized (insulated), and so we depended on the fireplace and thermal blankets.

In 1989 we went skiing with Uncle Chan. During the Summer I often participated in water sports with Cousin Chip; water skiing, water tubing, and swimming. The State Beach is nearby along the shore. The Beach has nice sand, and usually full of people having fun in the Summer Sun! Near the paddle-boats, there is a secret canal swamp to explore by canoe.

Mount Sunapee sits above, behind the Camp, and looks down upon the Lake. It has ski gondolas, ski slopes, and hiking trails. At the top is Lake Solitude. Other mountains nearby include Kearsarge, Ascutney, and Monadnock. All of the mountains have lush forests, with pine and deciduous trees. It is intriguing to watch the hang-gliders. We had many hiking adventures. On one such adventure, Dad and I hiked up Mount Sunapee without a trail, and got lost; so that by the time we reached the top, it was sunset, and we could barely walk down the ski slopes. Once we got down, we had to hitch-hike to our car on the other side of the mountain. I remember we did find ruins of a cabin on one of the bluffs I mapped out, we would never have seen if we had not gone our own route.

Lake Sunapee itself is a powerful 10 miles long, and at its widest part is 3 miles across. The navy blue-grey waters can be very deep. On Great Island, there are 18 summer cottages. Dad and I annually canoed to Minute Island (the smallest island), and then to Great Island (the largest island). The Native American name ‘Soonippi’ meant “Land of Wild Goose Waters”.

On cold days we sat in front of the stone fireplace, with its twin owl andirons, and roasted marsh-mellows. In the mornings we liked to sit on the porch eating breakfast, and watch the sail-boats and motor-boats plow across the Lake. There are two pleasure cruise ships that circle daily; the Dinner Boat and the Sight-Seeing Boat. One of our favorite things to do, was have my uncles drive us in their boats to go get ice-cream at the harbors. One of Dad’s favorite things was to get in the car, and explore around all day. Other favorites included going to St. Gaudens NHS, or the John Hay Estate NWR. At the Hay Estate, which is directly across the Lake from us, we loved to draw the gardens, and walk to Sunset Hill.

Dad and his brothers sold Camp to Uncle Chan’s daughter Kim, so I am glad that my cousin owns it. In 1989 we had a family reunion that saw more relatives than the Camp had in over 50 years, and we got it on video! The main reason I do not travel there every year anymore, is because of the massive distance. For tranquility and adventure, Sunapee is the place to go though!

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I still remember how she plowed through my heart like a flaming juggernaut.
 
The nights were dark and stormy that summer of ’98. The thick humidity of the day had finally broken into saturated night. The driver pierced our carriage through the rain, and through the 30 foot wrought-iron gate ways, topped with immaculate scroll work and scores of lanterns. As I peered from the black shimmering carriage, my eyes beheld an image of massive splendor. She was just as Alice had described her; strong and indomitable in stature, with finely sculpted features.
 
Strength beyond strength” epitomized her role as the sublime, figure on the landscape, and equally the omnipotent goddess of my heart. If it was love at first sight, then it was the kind of love that bucks you in the jib. Like a timid puppy, I stepped out under the shelter of the porte-cochere. Alice was waiting, with a gaggle of guests by her side.
 
She’s beautiful, Alice!” I exclaimed as we exchanged greetings. “Absolutely marvelous! I should say no more, for fear of fainting!”
Oh you darling!” shouted Alice Vanderbilt, who looked as glorious as ever.
 
No, it’s true! She has a Venetian sensuality about her, and a sumptuous scale that makes my etsy-bitsy mind simply go ‘Baroque’. Her fascia is most definitely Indiana limestone, or I am not wearing real pearls. The Italian Renaissance is alive and well, and living in Newport, Rhode Island my dear!” At this we both laughed and embraced. I continued to gawk as we walked. “The Italian attention to classical detail takes my breath away. I am only too eager to discover if I have been fooled by her immaculate facade, or if the glow if her celestial light shines from within.”
 
Alice laughed, “Please refer to her as the Breakers, for the sake of the guests. I will come to you at the close of this evening, and then you will tell me if your love for her is only skin deep. Come inside darling…” And with that, she took me up the stone steps, through the double doors, and into the brightly lit foyer.
 
To this day, no one throws a party like a Vanderbilt. Everyone and their mother was there. To my left was the ladies’ reception parlor, and to the right was the gentlemen’s billiards room. I let my hat, coat, and cane be taken by the gentleman servant. Then I allowed myself to be drawn forward, catching a glimpse of her heart through the immediate atmosphere of party smog.
 
I could no longer feel my legs moving, but moving they were; for I soon found myself standing in the center of the cortile, or great hall. My senses reached a feverish panic! My eyes were as wide as saucers, and my mouth parted as if to speak, but alas my words melted. I was in her heart!
 
Her heart was a generous one; open on two levels. The wall between the double loggias was glass, and conscious of the Moon above the deep Ocean outside. Palms and orchids provided an exotic atmosphere. Composite columns raked the space vertically on all sides, creating three arches on each wall. Above these first-level arches, ran an interior balcony; subdivided by marbleized bronze capped ionic columns. The luscious colonnade beckoned my eyes toward the heavens, as my mind floated with the painted clouds in the painted blue sky above.
 
This heavenly painting encompassed most of the ceiling, and was elaborately framed by the various three-dimensional patterns in gold-leaf, centered on all four sides by the regal Vanderbilt symbol of the acorn and oak leaf. A heavy chandelier hung from the center, and to the left a red carpeted stair ascended to the second floor. Perhaps the Vanderbilts truly had broken into paradise.
 
A lady stood before me. I assume she was another lady of various titles and wealth, for her dress was of expensive fabrics, and her posture equally rich. She was young of age, but her eyes displayed an experienced, sensual wisdom; expected of someone twice her age perhaps. She handed me a glass of wine.
 
Have you seen the Library?” she asked. Before I knew it, we stood before the door to the Library. Then I saw it; an H stared down at me. Not just any capital letter H, but the H of the Architect Richard Morris Hunt. Hunt had left his distinguished mark, in true Renaissance fashion.
 
So it was that the lady and I entered the Library. Indeed it had crowds of book shelves, and people. We moved on to the oval Music Hall, with the grand bay window, and a grand piano as well. This room made me quite dizzy, and it was not just the wine. The floor was dented with thousands of high-heel dents, and the dancing couples were not helping it any. A brilliant chandelier, and all the ceiling, were reflected by large, tilted mirrors on the walls.
 
No extravagant villa of that time was complete without a hexagon room, and in the Breakers it was called the Morning Room. The theme of that room was the Four Seasons. I soon realized we were making our way around the house, in a counter-clockwise procession. I almost tripped over a loaded serving cart!
 
We crossed the Grand Hall and came upon the Billiard Room. This room was thick with smoke, and for the sake of the lady, I tried to make a way through the crowd, to get to the other side. I was only able to catch hazy glimpses of leather, silver, bronze, limestone, and mahogany. For some reason I recall images of terra-cotta acorns and dolphins; weird I know. Perhaps it was the wine and the smoke, but my head was throbbing, and nothing existed except she (the Breakers), and I.
 
Suddenly I smelled sweet perfume, and my head snapped back as the two-story space of the Dining Room vaulted my vision upwards, by means of twelve enormous red and cream rose-alabaster columns and pilasters. My eyes distinguished multiple levels of carved, painted, and gilt detail trim, and noticed the high relief life-size figures and urns with painted classical backdrop. My eyes came to settle on the framed ceiling painting of Aurora, Goddess of Dawn. The rest was short lived, as two twin, twelve-foot crystal chandeliers poured my vision down onto the great oak table.
There were other rooms explored that night, like the Kitchen, Butler’s Pantry, Breakfast Room, and even a sneak-peek of the upstairs bedrooms.
 
At the end of the night I felt as though the blood in my veins had been drained. Like a poor rag-doll I collapsed on the landing of the minor spiral stair, by the Library. I remember staring at a metal hanging clock, and responding to her whispers. I slowly rose in a daze. The lady I was with was joined by Alice. I started to apologize for my state, but Alice said she was just glad that I came.
 
Alice smiled her allegorical smile. “I see you have met my daughter Gladys. She will take you up to the guest bedroom for the night, I think you have had too much to drink. I must tend to the attendants.”
 
I have swooned Alice! Your family has a paradise Palladio would be proud of; the Marble House has nothing on the Breakers!!” I said as I stumbled for the railing, and wiped drool from my mouth with my jacket cuff. Gladys took me upstairs. I was in no condition to argue, but I still attempted to argue. I was eventually led upstairs successfully.
The next morning I was informed of my mad babblings regarding the Beaux Arts tradition, trompe-leoi, and the New American Renaissance Revival. Well the last thing I remember was noting that the closets were set into the walls, and were virtually indistinguishable from the wall decor. Only keen eyes could make out the key hole, and the slight gap around the door. My eyes were keen, and I realized this guest room was also Alice’s intended dressing room.
 
In relationship to its surrounding landscape, the Breakers was a supreme figure, an immortal fortress palace. It existed with a sense of permanence and massive dominance. It imposed itself upon the elite neighborhood, and it had control of the Sea. Knowing that this castle mansion was intended only for Summer use, gives one a hint of the Vanderbilt magnitude that makes them American royalty.

 TheBreakerssatellite

Self Family Culture Class (Grade A)

RWU Nov. 1995 (updated 2013)

 

Walton (Kip) Danforth Stowell Sr.

 

My father was born on January 30, 1936 in Worcester City Hospital, Massachusetts. His was a caesarian birth (unusual for the time). During this interview, my father made a point to say he was a ‘breach baby’ (turned the wrong way in the womb); this fact was important because without the operation he said he might not have survived birth.

 

Walton Danforth Stowell was his birth name, directly from family last names. His Grandfather Walton came downstairs one fine morning afterwards, and upon seeing my father’s baby blue eyes said, “Boy he looks kipper this morning!”; and so my father got the nickname ‘Kip’. Kip grew up in the small neighborhood precinct Baldwinville, of Templeton, Massachusetts. Kip was the oldest of three brothers. His mother was Helen C. Walton, and his father was Dwight K. Stowell.

His father, Dwight (Kenneth), attended the Stockbridge School of Agriculture (which later became the University of Massachusetts), and specialized as an orchardist. Kip’s father became the supervisor at the Walter Furnell State School (working farm for mentally disabled and minor criminals, to produce fruit and vegetables). Kip had fond memories of the Furnell Farm, including the old farm houses, the dormitories, and the gymnasium where movies were shown. My Dad got piggy-back rides from one of the inmates, but all of the inmates that he encountered were friendly or respectful.

It was on this State Farm that my grandfather Dwight sprayed arsenic of lead, and unknowingly poisoned himself. Grandpa spent a long time in the hospital before World War II, and eventually recuperated (although never fully). Dwight was later a teacher of vocational agriculture, teaching boys how to maintain and operate general farm machinery. Both Dwight and Helen always stressed how important education was to young ‘Kippy’.

Kip’s mother Helen wished she had gone to college, but did not let it stop her from being a hard worker. My Grandmother Helen worked as the town telephone operator, and always seemed to know the latest gossip. Helen loved to play cards (Bridge), and entertain visiting guests, but most of all she loved her three sons. Her sons meant ‘the World’ to her, and she wanted to give them the best of everything she could; to her this mainly meant a good education. Helen firmly believed that with a good education, her sons could do anything.

When Helen’s father (Grandpa Walton) died, Dwight and Helen bought bought the house, and lived there with Grandma Walton, and Kip’s Great Grandmother. This was an interesting living situation, because there were four generations living all in the same house when my father was a kid. Kip recalled traditions, like visiting his Great-Grandma’s bedroom for candies from a glass container.

Everyday at Two-o’clock sharp, Great-Grandmother Anna Whitcomb would wake from her nap, and announce that she was “Ready to see the boys”. Young Kippy and his brothers would receive her vocal call, go to her bedroom door, and knock. Then she would call them to open the door, and come in to her room where they would sit. Great-Grandma Whitcomb would then ask them questions of how their day went, and ‘the like’. To my father she seemed like Queen Victoria, and was a very strict Puritan and a hard worker. Great-Grandma Whitcomb was absolutely against smoking, alcohol, and playing cards on Sunday. She was always neat and tidy, and would end their visiting session by asking if they wanted candies, and rewarding them for their obedience by giving them each candy. She seemed to have an endless supply of candies.

Kip’s parents were both of New England Puritan background, with predominantly English ancestry. His mother Helen was Baptist, and his father was Congregationalist. Christian Religion was a strong basis for daily traditions, as with the ‘Puritan Work Ethic’ (driving willpower for intense and continual labor).

Another Christian tradition was going to Church on Sundays, and for children Sunday-School. It was traditional in this patriarchal society, to attend the father’s church; so our family was Congregationalist. Also British ‘tea-time’ heritage was still practiced, with bread-based snacks (like cinnamon, sugar, and butter toast).

In the mornings the women did most of the chores (like washing clothes, modern appliances take less time) wearing a ‘morning dress’ (for rugged work). In the afternoon they would change into an ‘afternoon dress’ (more formal); and there was ‘tea-time’ for social visitors or ‘callers’. The general ‘Puritan Work Ethic’ included religious maxims like “Idle hands make for the Devil’s work.”, and “Children should be seen and not heard.”. This hard working mentality stems from harsh New England conditions, and allowed them to survive hard times like the Great Depression. Respect for elders was part of it as well.

During World War II (WWII), two things stopped Kip’s father Dwight from being drafted. Dwight was a farmer so he was needed to help supply food for the troops, and his lead poisoning incident proved to be harsh on his health constitution. So the main concern for Kip’s family during WWII was for relatives. My Dad recalled seeing letters sent by Lila Whitcomb from overseas; they were cut open, edited, and censored by US officials before the mail arrived at the house. Lila was like a daughter to Kip’s Great-Grandmother Anna Whitcomb (although Lila was her grand-daughter), so they were all very upset when Lila was stationed as a nurse at Pearl Harbor the day it was bombed! Windel Walton Jr. (nicknamed ‘Junior’) was a B-17 Flying-Fortress pilot, which was shot down into waters. Junior survived the crash, and got to the land where he was rescued, and later became a Franciscan Monk. Both Lila and Junior made it through WWII, alive and well. My father was fascinated by the news-reels of bombed-out ruins, because it revealed the true section of building structures.

Twice monthly, Kip visited his father Dwight’s parents on the Stowell Farm in New Salem, Massachusetts. Kip’s Grandmother Bertha Whittier Stowell invested in the stock-market, rented rooms with ‘boarding’ (meals) for rich Bostonians, and basically ran the farm. Kip’s Grandfather Dwight Arthur Stowell was a retired farmer, by that time, and was able to pursue his hobby as a historian. Kip did many chores on the Stowell Farm during summer visits. Kip cleaned the animal stalls, milked the cows, and helped his Grandmother Bertha in the garden (which he enjoyed).

So Kip’s family was an upper middle-class American family, established mostly from inherited wealth and property. Their ‘Puritan Work Ethic’ ensured employment, and financial stability. It also helped that they did not gamble, travel, or spend much. They were responsible for themselves, and generally thrifty. Kip’s parents only had one car at a time, which they did use to make an annual pilgrimage to Lake Sunapee, NH. Our family two-story ‘cabin’ on the waters edge, was called ‘Summer Savory’ or simply ‘The Camp’.

My father, and his brother Jay, sold ‘The Camp’ to their brother Chan’s daughter Kim. I was glad that ‘Camp’ could stay in the family, even though I do not like to drive the 12 hours just to get there anymore. Some family traditions will continue to the next generation (Kim’s kids). Both Dad and annually visited Sunapee since we both were born. I stopped going to Sunapee in college, and Dad stopped going when he died in 2009, but his spirit is forever there and we had a ceremony where we put his ashes in the ferns like he did with his parents. Lake Sunapee is a sanctuary place of tranquil refuge, and nature-based fun.

Kip wanted to increase the middle-class standard of living he inherited from his parents, and so he traveled more frequently and celebrated life with more extroverted exuberance. He thought his own work ethic was established in middle-school (6th or 7th grade) when he first got his paper route, with his middle brother Chandler (Chan). Their youngest brother Jay was often left out of things they did, simply because he was younger. A major difference between me and my parents, is that they had siblings, and I am an only child. I am happy I was an only child; but it may make it harder for me to share space with others. I like privacy, but my father always wanted all doors open.

Buses and trains were the primary modes of transportation when Kip was young. Now we have more reliance on cars, and added commercial airlines to the list. Kip’s entertainment was marble games, Sunday radio, and early television shows (like Howdy-Doody). My main forms of entertainment were somewhat similar, with outdoor games and board and card games, but mostly tv and computer games. During his life, Kip witnessed the development of inventions like television, electronic home appliances (washer and drier machines), commercial airlines, computers, and other digital devices. Automobiles and the building of Inter-State Highways using large earth-moving machines were big things ‘in his day’. One of his favorite things about cars were the freedom for his family to go on Sunday drives to visit friends, and stopping for hot-dogs and ice-cream.

Sometimes when he was frustrated with me, my father would remind me that the original purpose for his paper-route was to start earning money for him to go to college. He also mowed lawns, and worked in the local drug store on weekends, and sometimes summer weekdays during grade-school years. However most of the time, my father told me that he did not want me to go through the agony of having to work as hard as he did, and feel forced to work at places I did not want to work. He wanted me to have a better quality of life than he did, yet I chose to study architecture in college as a way of understanding my father better, and wanting to feel closer to him in the old tradition of inheritance and apprenticeship.

My father was more of an architect than an artist, and I am more of an artist than an architect. He knew he wanted to be an architect during his youth, playing with blocks and building models. Dad started constructing his own building models in grade-school; like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and Greek temples. Later while attending Templeton High-School, he made the Roman Colosseum, and Gothic cathedrals. He even built an underground sand bunker in his back yard, as a full-scale hang-out hide-out place for he and his friends to smoke, and be themselves.

Kip was encouraged by everyone to pursue his interests and become and architect. He was especially inspired by his relative Bill Gas, who was the architect that restored historic Deerfield. Bill gave my father his first collection of Sweet’s Catalogs. Dad’s 7th Grade teacher made an impression on him by read from Richard Halbert’s World Travel Journal. Kip’s taste in antiques was inherited literally from his parents’ collection (he told me). Somehow along the way, Kip became convinced about his convictions regarding the importance of imagination, creativity, interest in problem-solving, eye for beauty, love of history, and taste in furniture.

Despite WWII, he considered the 1940’s a ‘fortunate decade to have grown up in’. Dad considered himself lucky to be a product of the 1950’s and early 1960’s. He attended the University of Pennsylvania for Architecture. Kip felt as though his soul was free, although it was hard to leave his cozy town. The same was true for me, although thanks to my parents I had already travel long distances and stayed away from home (although not without them very often). So I had traveled more than he did, and he and my mother were more liberal than his parents were. So in terms of freedom, perhaps it was more extreme or drastic for him when he went to college. He told me of some of his college adventures, and that when he got involved with Communist Russians and the CIA, his grades were failing, and his father had to drive down, rescue him, and bring him home to help him get ‘back on track’ with architecture studies.

My RWU college experience matches what my father went through before me, and he empathized with my pain in architecture, as well as my joy of freedom, learning, and sharing. College made us realize how many choices we have to make, and politics and philosophies to consider in life. Kip taught me it was ok to ask ourselves questions like “What are you going to do with your life?” I agree with my parents, and grandparents, that education is vitally important (although I may disagree when it comes to the price of tuition). Once you get education, options can be eye-opening. Knowledge is power, and hind-sight is 20/20. I have chosen to inherit many of my father’s values and interests. Architecture is indeed a culmination of all of my interests, and my father was a unique yet archetypal architect. He was perfectly himself.