Union Village Memories Part 1

Union Village, Vermont bridge


Do you have fond memories of your growing up experience that stay with you always? I think we filter certain memories, some we keep deep in our heart and soul and revisit for a good smile from time to time. Others we tuck away untouched as they aren’t so pleasant to think about.


My maternal grandparents lived in a quaint hamlet called Union Village, Vermont just down the hill from Thetford and bordering Norwich Vermont. Just minutes from Dartmouth College and hosting the Union Village dam, this tiny town holds much history for my mom and our family.

My great grandfather Roy Gould lived in a little house on the cusp of the bridge. His son and wife, my grandparents,  lived next door to him, two lots away from the bridge. As a child I thought their back yard was sprawling and huge. It sloped down to the river, one of my favorite playgrounds as a child. Years later, as an adult, I revisited this neighborhood only to be surprised that it was much smaller as I had remembered. I guess this happens to us all…a view from a child’s eyes looks vast and expansive and shrinks tremendously when you’re grown.

My grandfather in his younger days

One vivid remembrance is when our family scooted the car down the hill into Union Village. I would dread the trip over the bridge. Sometimes us kids talked about the infamous encounter miles away, an expected thrill and scary few moments. Upon approaching the crossing, dad or mom (who ever was driving or on the trip) would stop a few feet in front and honk. It was a tradition to honk the whole way through to warn other cars so a fender bender could be prevented. An exciting rush went through me. It was scary but an exciting adventure as well. Sometimes I closed my eyes tight and wished to be through it. Others I watched the dark tunnel as our driver honked through.


What a memory! To this day, when I do visit Union Village I still honk and put my lights on to glow and pave my path through. I don’t hold my breath or close my eyes but I’m brought back in time in the 70’s when my grandparents were still alive and living near the bridge.

I truly hope you all are healthy and well. Enjoy the week God has given us!

All my Best,

Heart and Soul

The Best Show in Town

Captured through a screen

Look what I found nestled in my photo collection!

Our cat Smokey watching the best picture show in town…a flock of turkeys investigating our yard. This was snapped last year , at that time they visited every single day. As they visited, some investigated this side of the yard while others hung out near our towering pine tree on the opposite side of the house.


Twenty or thirty of them would strut and sometimes close to the window!

Smokey continues to love his picture show, watching flocks of turkeys, flitting robins and perky chickadees in a nearby tree. 



All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

The Ice Castles

My husband wishing I didn’t take a photo of him…but he was part of the adventure so I pleaded with him for a shot.

As winter is supposedly  making its last call,  I am recalling events  of this past season. I spent a  bulk of the season sick with a flu, pretty much weighing me down and leaving me stuck indoors. Although winter was tough to get through,  I do have a pleasant account of a visit to the Ice Castles in Lincoln, New Hampshire.


Lincoln is about 45 minutes from us south on route 93, a place we frequent throughout the year visiting one of our favorite Chinese restaurants, Chieng Garden. They serve delicious and fresh food, without MSG. We also used to go to Lincoln to watch Dylan’s baseball games .Those days are long gone but still strong in our memories and hearts.


It’s been a few years since people started talking about the Ice Castles. This year I told myself that I would buy Tom and I tickets and just go, seeing what all the hype was. I’ll tell you that if you are ever in the area in the winter, it’s an amazing sight but a little disappointing towards the end of the season.We went the first week of March, probably a little too late. I would recommend going in January…just bundle up and experience an outside wonder. Also the tickets were expensive totaling $35 for two.



This was the entry way of the adventure.

Upon entering the parking lot of the monstrous frozen structure, I have to admit we were a little disappointed. We had to visualize it looking as a castle. To us, it appeared melted and worn down and the structure just looked like mere ice. Even so, we gathered our hats, gloves and my camera and gave it a try.  I had longed to go for years and the least we could do was check it out once. Sometimes that’s all you need to satisfy your need and then you never need nor want to do it again.


See what I mean? Doesn’t really look like a castle from the outside, does it?



A narrow walkway with flowing icicles actually was magical but drippy. That made me nervous as I envisioned chunks falling as we walked through. But thankfully it was all in my mind.


Hundreds of people flocked in the court-yard. Children played and slid down magical slides. Surrounding speakers belted out elevator music, supposedly  enhancing the experience. We could’ve lived without it, you were not going to experience peace here with all the gathered people. I’m sure bringing children and grandchildren is more fun, seeing glee and happiness through innocent eyes.


I thought of how they created the ice castles. Tom said they have water guns to shoot the water up and it ices up right away. It looks like a lot of time and hard work involved.



I thought the interior sides of the ice castle resembled frozen waterfalls, rushing down and stopping frozen in time. It was a magnificent sight against the beautiful March sky. As we walked around the main court, Tom and I were quiet. I think there are moments that call for peace and quiet, to absorb nature. Although we were hushed, many family voices rang throughout and you didn’t reach a peaceful state. I think it would’ve been better with fewer people so you could reflect instead of trying to ignore all the noise.



This was one of the mini slides with two stalls for wee tiny children to scoot down. I can just imagine how magical it was for them under the iced structure.


This was one of the rooms in the ice castle bearing a big fountain in the middle. It’s hard to see from my picture, but actual water spewed up from it. It chilled my insides just to see it, but it was amazing.


We were in the ice castle for probably a half hour. Perhaps most families spend much longer perusing the man-made wonder, while their children coast down on slides of sparkling ice. We were discouraged from the long lines at the slides and otherwise I would’ve given a go for laughs. It was an experience we can see we did…finally taking part in something many north country people have done. Tom and I decided that it was our last time because we had seen it first hand . Some events you only need to do once and in my opinion, this was one of them.


With this post, I officially say goodbye to winter. I’m ready for spring, with that said all weekend we had snow and freezing rain. This morning is a two-hour delay, a treat for a Monday. I’m having an extra cup of Joe and spending valuable time blogging.

I hope you all have a great Monday where ever you are!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

“Earning Your Keep”


I think most writers discover inspiration all around them…in nature’s beauty, in the eyes of their loves, in magical books and movies that take your breath away, to name a few. I watched a movie last night on Hulu, Tumbledown with Jason Sudeikis and a quote struck me so much that I thought about it all night. The female character was looking out over a frozen lake in April set in Maine and her prolific words touched my every being. ” I love living in a place where you have to earn your keep.”



What does that really mean? I know it was a reference to  living in New England. It can be brutal here with harsh weather with loads of snow and little sun many months of the year to the point of driving many people south for a reprieve. Staying here in this sometimes unforgiving land is”earning your keep.”You have to work hard. Live hard. Love with all your being. You have to accept the seasons and love the changes that are thrust upon you.



In spring the hearty tulips emerge in patches of snow. Newly arriving robins flutter and fly while frosty snow covers the ground. That’s not what I visualize when I think of spring…yet that’s the reality here.


In summer the warmth and pleasant temperatures take over, a season when towns fill up  with returning snowbirds. Small hamlets come to life as economies thrive once again, counting on the hot sunshine, the cool walks in the woods and the refreshing dips in the lake that appeal to any visitor and resident.


The crisp fall presence is a prelude of winter but a lingering glimpse of summer. Trees are an outstanding canvas of golden, pinks, bright yellows and rich reds. Mountains call to you to explore and experience the surreal peace on the way to the top.


Beautiful yet unforgiving winter brings sparkling whites, glistening sheets of ice and frigid air….testing your endurance. It’s the season your will must be steady and strong. You accept the harsh reality because the splendor and beauty can be humbling yet breath-taking.


When I think of living in New England, I think of “earning your keep”. It takes a strong-willed person to not only stick it out, but to love all the seasons for their unique qualities. We choose to stay, to live and love the changes the seasons hand us. That’s what a New Englander does….earns his keep and loves every minute of it!


The older I become the more my bones ache ( possibly arthritis) and my patience with the cold waivers at times. With that said, I still love living in the north. It’s all I know and my husband as well…both of us have lived in New England all our lives and I foresee that’s the way it will always be. 

Happy Weekend to you all!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Little Chippy ( A Sign of Spring)


This is a photo of last summer when the grass turns a rich melon green and the bushes thrive by our pond.

Although patches of snow remain

little chippy ventures out on the surface

up on his hind legs.

He soaks up the sun,

absorbing its goodness

as I do.

This afternoon I sat out on our front steps and let the sun penetrate my skin.

It had been too long

and I think chippy chipmunk would agree with that!



he scoots down

the hole in the mound of snow

to comfort

and insulated warmth.

With his presence and my first sighting of

two robins in a nearby tree, I’m confident

to say that spring is here.

I’m extremely grateful for this!


I wish I had a photo of this little guy but he’s much too fast for me!  It’s a blessing  that the sun is warm and the wind whipping today, together melting the few patches of snow.

God Bless you all.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

My Son’s College is Closing


Photo taken by Jojo Anderson

I have been in shock for a couple of days over this! Branden’s college has gone under and sold out to a big school, the University of Massachusetts. His dreams of achieving his degree at Mount Ida are gone. His Presidential scholarship totaling $100,000 for four years is gone. We try to process, especially since we both love his college and community. From here he and his girlfriend must deal with their emotions, study for finals and scramble for colleges. My cousin Flora must try to finish her Master’s elsewhere, away from the only college she’s attended. Two years ago Branden took months to decide, tour, talked with college faculties, stood in on classes and now he must do all this again. The difference is that he has just a few weeks to decide and get the ball rolling for the Fall semester.


This is the post I just entered on a Mount Ida Support group. Many parents and students are lost and don’t know where to turn. I’ve read negative posts of legal action and talking to the media and my response is, why? Will that solve anything or make it worse? See my Entry below.


I joined this group as support as I am mourning the loss of Mount Ida College. My son is a Sophomore in the Animation major and up until the other day had dreams to achieve his goals through this institution. I am not bitter, full of hate or have no desire to blame anyone for what has happened. After all, how is that going to change things and put our students on the right path? My desire is to cope but mostly be there for my son and his girlfriend as they try to pick up broken pieces and move on to achieve their dreams. It’s not going to be easy, struggles in life never are but I’ve learned they make you stronger! I will not fight nor look into talking to media. I will not seek legal action, as I feel my son has received a great education at this college. I also want to add that my son has lost a Presidential Scholarship promised to him, $100,000 in total if he kept his grades up. It’s a blow to us, as that helped seal the deal on his initial decision. But we will see what other colleges will match and let it go however hard it may be.We will move forward with grace and acceptance. That’s how I was taught to live…simply, with strength and kindness. No hate. No blame. No negativity. I do hope many of you will choose that path and help your students find their college and move forward without hate and negativity.


With a heavy heart I seek your prayers and well wishes. I know it’s God’s plan and that it will work out but in the meantime it’s difficult. I feel for the 1,400 plus students and the faculty who found out the same day as the students that they were out of a job. Please keep them all in your prayers and thoughts.

Living Without My IPAD


This was Taken at the Ice castles this winter!

Sometimes you just know deep inside you that you need to walk away from a gadget or habit, you know? Even so… it’s such a part of your life that it seems extremely  difficult to stop. This is how I feel about my  iPad usage.  I’ve relied on it for five years, checking the weather, email, banking, blogging, messaging, you get the idea, right?

A few months ago the screen shattered when I dropped it. ( I had dropped it many times before but was lucky every time) I kept on using it and developed a system where I wouldn’t get glass splinters from touching the screen. Then the battery started acting up and not charging. I rushed to buy a new charger cable and discovered that the battery’s finally dead. My iPad is gone and here I am typing on my desktop computer. It’s not the same nor as convenient but I wonder if this was God’s doing, as the thoughts of addiction came to my mind. Everywhere I was the iPad wasn’t far away.


So this is why I haven’t written or posted pictures lately. Many of my photos for my blog were on the iPad and I didn’t back it up. So this is a lesson learned that if I ever do buy another gadget for information….I’ll back it up!

I hope this entry finds you all well and happy with your life!

I’m working on a post about this winter and a visit to the Ice Castles and my mom’s trip to Amish country in Ohio. Check back in soon, friends!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul