Who am I? Where do I come from? I'll tell you. I'm a Winooskadian. I come from an ugly, ugly town, and possibly the only ugly town in Vermont. I come from Winooski and I know what it's like to be a despised minority. The kids from Burlington, across the river, used to throw rocks at us. They called us "river rats."
More than a decade ago, I went back. I brought with me my family. "Don't get me wrong," Marianne said. "But where is the good part of town?"
"In Burlington," I told her. Only later did I realize that she meant the good part of town. Which was in Shelburne, some miles beyond Burlington.
"What did you do here?" my then-teenage son asked, aghast.
"Well . . . on Fridays we used to take the bus into Burlington to hang out on the street corners," I replied. He thought I was kidding, but I was not. We really did.
So I'm particularly glad that somebody put together the above photos of the Winooski waterfront in a montage that makes my old stomping grounds look beautiful. The walkway wasn't there in my day. And the spiffy-looking buildings were tired old mills reaching the end of their lifespans. Never mind. It tugs at my heart. It speaks to the love I had for that place.
As for you rock-throwing Burlingtonians? It's been a long, long time, hasn't it? Half a lifetime. I extend my hand to you.
You'll notice that the first, second, fourth and fifth fingers are folded down.
And I have a West Coat appearance!
Bowing to popular demand, I've booked a room and bought airfare for Norwescon, this April 22-24. Haven't yet determined whether I can squeeze onto the program at this late date. But I'll be there. Being expansive and giving away small but desirable signed-and-numbered limited edition Darger & Surplus booklets to those who ask.
I'm hoping to do something in San Francisco later this summer too, but that's still up in the air.
And I'll be at Lunacon two days from now . . .
I'll be working hard and (again) handing out booklets for those who'd like them. I'm only there on Saturday (I have to go up the Hudson River Valley for the big secret nonfiction book project), but I'll be emphatically there.