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Archive for the tag “Northampton”

More of my trip to Western Massachusetts

In Northampton, my girlfriend and I ate every meal at Evolution Cafe, an incredible vegan restaurant.


We ate delectable cupcakes, salads, sandwiches and yesterday we had the most amazing brunch with a vegan “omelette” and home fires that we flipped over. Here are pictures of us enjoying our breakfast:




 I was totally psyched to drive to Amherst, the famous college town a few miles away. Amherst is another Western Mass town established in the 1700s. Check out the great old buildings:

Of course, Amherst is also famous for being the home of Emily Dickinson, one of my idols. We took a 90-minute tour at the Emily Dickinson museum, which is in Emily’s house. Dude, I stood in the bedroom where Emily wrote her poetry!

Here’s the back of the house where you enter the museum (it was actually Emily’s father’s house, but she lived there most of her life):

Have you ever wondered what the grounds looked like when Emily – an excellent gardener – came outside and walked around her house? Well, they looked like this:

When we drove out of Amherst, we accidentally stumbled upon a house in West Brookfield with a sign declaring it was the birthplace of Lucy Stone, the famous American suffragist who was the first woman on record to keep her birth name after marrying her husband, the abolitionist Henry Brown Blackwell.

Then we went apple picking! Seriously. This is life in New England. We picked up my cousin Michelle who lives in Three Rivers and drove to an apple orchard in Monson. We actually didn’t get to pick them – there was sign about the crops being light this year – but we bought them and wow, I had forgotten how great freshly picked apples taste.

We also took a stop at a cemetery there to visit our grandparents Hans and Lillian Vogl. We were both mystified as to why Hans’s gravestone had the Americanized name “John” instead. We remembered some people calling him John – it’s the American version of Hans – but I left feeling sad that this man who was born in Munich, Germany and fled to the United States on the brink of World War II should have to lie in a grave in a tiny town in New England under a name that’s not his own.

The other funny thing about the cemetery: Michelle pointed out to me that my grandmother and two of her sisters, Ann and Frances, all have the same birth year on their graves. See, after my grandmother’s mother died giving birth to her 14th child, my grandmother’s father dropped off all the kids at a Catholic orphanage in New Jersey and started a new life (and family) for himself. I heard that a fire at the orphanage destroyed all their records and as a result none of the kids knew what year they were born. The grave stones – now, I’m not sure who decided what year to put, but it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the three sisters used the same birth year throughout their lives. They were spiritually close, sharing everything (even husbands). In fact, all of the children cared for each other after getting out of the orphanage one by one. I’ve never met a more tight-knit collection of siblings.

We drove back to Boston today, but before catching our flight at Logan, we tooled around Cambridge for a bit. Here is an old building – a church?- that’s right near all the Harvard buildings:

And a great inscription over a Harvard entrance that’s unfortunately not clear in my picture :

It says, “Enter to grow in wisdom.”

I’m off to Northampton for the weekend

I’m leaving in the morning for Northampton, Ma. with a brief side trip to Palmer to see my old house.

I’m leaving you kids alone and I expect you to behave. I’ll see you when I get back late Monday night.

Kim Gordon interview in ‘SF Guardian’

The San Francisco Guardian‘s ‘Noise’ blog has an interview with Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth.

Kim talks about her new art projects, what she likes on TV, and the different energy you get when working with other women, which she will be doing in her improv band with avant garde composer/harpist Zeena Parkins:

SFBG: What draws you to working with women?

KG: I think of the women I play with foremost by their personality. You immediately have a different role as well. Bass is usually more of a…supportive instrument, even though it may be the most important! [Laughs] But I’ll probably be playing guitar. I usually play guitar and do vocals when I do improv things. That immediately has a different kind of energy to it.

Kim lives with hubby Thurston Moore and their daughter Coco in Northampton, Ma., right near where I grew up. I’m going for a quick visit next month and the town is really small. Cross your fingers for me that I can casually bump into her and become best friends and start our own free noise band. I’ve been a fan of Kim’s for two decades.

True story: when I was a teenager I wrote a song about Kim and the band called “Sonic Thing or Two.”

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