Saturday, March 5, 2011

Now Showing at the Chandler Gallery in Randolph


We had a sunny day and a terrific turnout for the opening reception of The Hale Street Gang: Portraits in Writing at the Chandler Gallery in Randolph last Saturday (February 26). Around 130 folks came to see the exhibit of Jack Rowell's photographs, hear the recordings, cluster around a lavish spread prepared by Chef's Market (gorgeous little tea sandwiches) and Chandler volunteers, and collect autographs. Next event: A one-hour reading of short new pieces on March 12 (Saturday) at 2 p.m. at the gallery. The exhibit is open until March 27. Hours are Thursday 4 to 6, and Friday through Sunday from noon to 5. The writers and I are doing much of the gallery sitting ourselves, so come on down, see/hear the exhibit, and keep us company.

Big Day at the Chandler Gallery

Shari Voghell gets a signature from Cookie Campbell.

Jack's sister, Janet Miller, a Hale Street heroine.
D'Ann Fago's A Life in Art hangs adjacent to Portraits in Writing.

The buffet crowd.
Charles Cooley signs for Gail Evans-Africa.
Jack's friend Robin listens to D'Ann Fago's "Feudin' Country."
Checking out the buffet.
Chef's Market's veggies (everything else devoured by this time).

Jack with artist Phil Godenschwager.
Brent Björkman of the Vermont Folklife Center and Sara Tucker.
Ruth Godfrey, Pam Stafford, Idora Tucker, Mary Hutchinson.

Ruth Demarest Godfrey: Socks and Blocks

Ruth and Harrison at Randolph Center in the 1940s.

During my long, interesting marriage to Harrison, there were many episodes that now seem very funny to me and did at the time. Most of the time, they didn’t seem funny to Harrison, or he was able to conceal any feeling of humor  about the event. Perhaps the way that I viewed the situations was the fact that he was responsible for correcting the problem, while my only job was to watch and cheer. I suppose I felt that it was my job to supply the levity, and sometimes  it seemed a lot funnier to me than to Harrison.
   These little stories are about a couple of things that happened during our long life together, which was often characterized by one of the following feelings on my part: frustration, hilarity, madness (of the insane type) and helpless affection. There was always some sort of reaction on my part. I would be glad to have an opportunity to feel those things again. We always emerged on the other side still loving one another, and we did manage during those lean years to keep the bills paid and to produce three worthy sons. These happened during the years when I was a stay-at-home mom. Financial affairs eased up considerably when I decided to return to work.
   One morning, when Harrison was dressing to go to work, he found a hole in one of his socks. This infuriated him, and he reacted by flinging the sock out of the bedroom into the hall, with loud expressions of his disapproval of my homemaking attributes. In those days the wife was supposed to darn holes in her husband’s socks so he could continue to wear them. Now we know that darns may cause blisters on the feet and the socks should be thrown out. This act aroused my stubborn streak, and I made a silent vow that I would never pick up those socks if they stayed there forever. Day after day, the socks lay there on the hall floor, growing furrier by the day. I vacuumed around them. I stepped on them.  The kids ignored them. Harrison ignored them. Since I was at home all day, friends and neighbors frequently stopped in, and it would have been difficult to miss that pair of socks lying on the hall floor, so I would precede them into the living room and casually kick the socks into the bathroom. When they left, I would kick them back out into the hall. I would not give in! Never a word was exchanged between Harrison and me about the presence of a pair of dirty, dusty socks in the middle of the hallway. It began to seem so funny to me that I told my friends about it and they started checking on the socks as soon as they got to the house. “Are they still there?” they would ask. This went on for months. One day, as I passed through the hall, there seemed to be something different. What was wrong?  Suddenly it hit me.  The socks were gone! I never asked, and Harrison never told me, but apparently he decided to give in and tossed them into the laundry hamper. The saga of the socks had ended.