Skip to main content

Ashland Speaks: Blackout

July 17, 2019 11:37 am Updated: July 17, 2019 11:46 am


Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! They’re finally here, and I already hear the complaints. Even from those who promised NOT to complain about the heat after those long weeks of frigid weather. Can we EVER be satisfied? Even the rain: too much, too little, I prefer it to rain, gently, overnight, so my garden can be naturally watered. Those in the lawn mowing business wish it would rain in the early evening and be dry overnight so they can mow while it’s cool out. We are such a persnickity species.

Another bear sighting. Neil Anderson had a large bear on his porch the other day. Keep your eyes open, and trash under cover.

The North Settlement Church was open on Sunday for services and again next month on Aug. 18. We, as a community, are trying to keep the old churches in good repair and need your help. The summer services, both in North Settlement, and in Mitchell Hollow, are to keep it an active parish, but we need donations to keep up with the repairs. Attending one, or all, services would be great, but you may send in donations to help the repair fund. Judy Lamanec is contact person for Mitchell Hollow, and Louise LeBrun is contact for North Settlement.

Good to see Gail Mulford and her family back in the Mountains. A great place to call home.

I hear some of the graduation parties are still being held. Congrats to those who partied over the weekend.

A busy week at the Hudecek residence. On Thursday, Rose had the family come for an extended visit. Marty, Joan, daughter Stacey, and her daughters, Kelsey and Raury Richardson with cousins Chloe and Claire Jenks, came via RV to set up camp along the creek. Following close behind were Karen Hudecek Jenks with her husband, Tyler and Janet Hudecek. Susan Hitchcock heard Janet was coming, so she came from East Jewett to pay them a visit. On Friday, Jay LoPresti came up and David had the day off from his job, so it was a big family dinner party. The occasion was Marty and Joan’s 50th wedding anniversary, (and David’s birthday on July 14). Anthony and Tricia just returned from Ireland and London, so they couldn’t make it in person, but through the magic of Face Time, they got to be included. Of course, the girls had to go to Conifer Lake to jump and splash. One of the residents let the girls use a floating “island,” so that doubled the fun. Bill and Barbara Mead say they enjoy hearing the sounds of the laughter and splashing. Marty and Joan had to leave on Monday as they will be entertaining Mr. and Mrs. Fred LeBrun during the week. It’s nice to hear of WAJ Classmates still getting together.

I guess my article on Ice Cream Parlors brought out the sweet spot in many memories. Did you know In 1984 President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month? National Ice Cream Month is held every year in July throughout the United States. President Reagan also named the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. President Reagan stated that these two events should be observed with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” In the U.S. 90 percent of the nation’s population consumes ice cream...I scream, you scream, we all ‘SCREAM’ for ice cream!

Hope Restoration Christian Fellowship had their first Friday Family Game Night on July 12. Available was free pizza and games — board games, word games, corn hole, kan jam and more! Or bring your favorite game! A good time was had by all. Mark your calendars for the following dates: July 26, Aug. 9 and 23. Everyone is invited.

The sale at the Ashland Church is continuing, at least through the end of the weekend. I would like to continue until all is gone, but will see. We still have plenty of goodies, and it seems that more show up everyday. Even if you’ve already been by, you might want to stop and check out our new inventory.

On July 21, the Mason’s will hold their summer picnic at the Lodge, Main Street, Windham. For information call Bob Rhodes.

Have you seen the Crazy Chicken has shown up, again, on the intersections leading to Jewett. Don’t forget Aug.10 is the day of the Jewett Fire Department Brooks Chicken Barbecue. That is such a busy day, starting with the WRIP anniversary celebration at WAJ. While you’re attending that, go inside for the Patchworkers Quilt Show in the school. There’s a $3 admission, but all proceeds go to local food pantries. By that time, you’ll be hungry and the smell of the chicken cooking will lead you right up the mountain to the Jewett Fire House and Church Hall.

Family and friends of Ivan and Gertrude DeHoff will be gathering at the Maplecrest Cemetery, Maplecrest at 2 p.m. July 28 for a brief graveside service. Ivan and Gertie were longtime residents of the Maplecrest community before moving to a retirement village in Gerry in 1989. The service is open to the public.


July 19 East Jewett UMC, Ice Cream Social & Bake Sale 3-7 p.m. with freewill Spaghetti Dinner 5:30 p.m.

July 21 Masonic picnic.

Please help me advertise your activity by emailing me at or calling 518-734-5360.


Where were you when the lights went out in 1977? In “honor” of the anniversary, NYC had another blackout on Saturday night starting at 7 p.m. and lasting until at least midnight. Scary! Many were stuck in subways, elevators, theaters, apartments.

We have becomes so dependent on the electric grid, that it becomes harder to function without it. In 1977, the store owners just pulled the security gates on their stores shut, cranked up the awnings, opened their cash registers to cash out, and went home. Now, everything is push button. The security gates could not be closed, and cash registers didn’t open. How many still pay by cash? No electric, no swiping your card. People couldn’t get food at a restaurant because they had no way to pay.

Theaters on Broadway went dark, people were ushered out into the streets to do what? A refund was (electronically) issued to the patrons, but what about the people who were in town for a vacation? They had nothing to do with their time, except climb all of the stairs to their room.

No traffic lights meant traffic congestion. Remember when ALL police and security knew how to direct traffic? Remember when we knew how to follow their motions?

When the electricity goes out up here in the mountains, we moan and groan, carp and complain, but go outside, start up our generators, and continue with life as before. Even those without generators can survive very nicely with supplies that are always in stock. In the summer, we open doors and windows for natural cooling, maybe go out and sit on our porches or in our backyards looking at the moon and the stars, and counting fireflies as they light up the night sky. We can start up our gas grills, or lay a fire in our firepit and cook a meal, even if it’s just hot dogs on a stick. Without electricity, and the constant background noise of the television, we can hear the bull frogs hurrumping in the swamp and the sounds of the night animals and birds.

As I watch the stories about the city and the result of the blackout, and I compare it to life in the ‘70s, I wonder if, with all of the modern technology, are we really ahead? Or, should we take a small step backwards and prepare ourselves for emergencies like this?