Stowe, Vermont, Day One


I’m exhausted from two weeks of agony and uplift in  Charleston. Here are three days in Stowe, Vermont.

We (Lou, Deb, Tony, Sharon, and I) started at 11 a.m. on Saturday June 27. Except for construction slow-downs we had an uneventful ride until the very end.

We made a brief stop at the Cabot outlet in Waterbury (yet another town named for the people who escaped Connecticut) for tastings of the many varieties of cheese. Most don’t appear in stores. The place also offered popcorn and a couple of types of dip with yummy crackers. Deb bought garlic and herb cheese and some crackers. I bought the Seriously Sharp and a $9 bottle of Chilean pinot noir. Thank you, low taxes! Sharon and I floated through the pewter store into the connected chocolate venue, but she didn’t find any with high enough cocoa butter percentage so we passed. Alex, driving separately, caught up with us in the parking lot and then beat us to the lodge.

Stowe is cute, as might be expected of an upscale ski place. The town evicted McD’s but allows Subway (and I discover from an online search, D&D). The main drag is experiencing serious chaos with road repair and building construction, though the more westerly section where we stayed is settled with restaurants, a hotels, a convenient deli, and lots of other places to spend money.

As we approached the Hob Knob Inn, which is built on a hill, we saw a terrified young deer struggling to run up the bank, its back legs obviously broken. I looked across the road and saw a dog in hot pursuit of another deer. Pretty sure the dog had chased the poor injured creature into the road.

Alex said the deer wasn’t there when he pulled in perhaps three minutes ahead of us, so the coward had just driven away. We let the owner know. Sharon walked down the drive and came back a few minutes later. The deer was dead and a man with a game license had received permission from the warden to remove the carcass. We agreed it was not an auspicious start to the weekend but vowed it would get better.

After checking in we went to the Crop, a restaurant/brewery where we learned 1) police had killed one of the escaped murderers who were not far across Lake Champlain; and 2) President Obama rocked the eulogy for the Reverend Clementa Pinkney. Later we learned that the Supreme Court had overturned bans on same-sex marriage.

We returned to the inn, where Sharon and I watched some of USA vs. China in women’s soccer, then Obama’s eulogy. It had everything – passion, love, political analysis, religion, humor, sadness, and that song! I’m checking out the text because I missed a word or two here and there and want to keep a written record.

Bedtime reading was The Woman in White. Even though I did a “What I’m Reading Now” on it, I’m still less than half way through because I only read it when I’m on the road. It’s still plugging along, almost Rashomon-like though with less violence and lots of gothic twists. It probably isn’t the best book to read before falling asleep, but I’m still enjoying it.

Who Rapes Whom?

My great-grandmother, Anna Houston James, b. ca 1844, Alabama

The Charleston shooter reportedly said, “You rape our women.” He got it backward, and history proves it.

Go to the census records for the former confederacy from 1870, 1880, and 1900. (Most of the records from 1890 burned). They’re free on Mocavo and other websites. The first census after the end of slavery occurred in 1870. There are patterns here. Households include a man (head of household) and woman in their twenties or thirties with one or more much younger people, along with one or more older people, usually women. The man, woman, and youngsters are mulatto (MU), while the older people are black (B). Households may comprise a black man and a mulatto woman along with mulatto young people.

The 1870 census didn’t include family relationships, but later ones did.

In 1880 and 1900 we can see  the man and woman in the first example are husband and wife, the youngsters are their children, and the older woman is either his mother or hers. In the second example, the couple is married, but the children are hers. The older women are either mother or mother-in-law.

So where did all these mulatto households come from? Africans arrived on these shores without much white blood. Except for Spain and Portugal, Europeans didn’t have much black blood. By the time 1870 came along there were almost no Native Americans in the Southeast, and they were listed as “I” when they lived off the reservations.

I did a Mitochondrial DNA test a few years ago. It was 100 percent West African. Before and after TJ, the enslaving white men exercised their power over the bodies of black women, women who could not object without risk to their own lives or more likely, the lives of their other children. It wasn’t called rape, but it was.