Here’s How it Happened

November 13, 2007 by Ellen Stimson in Country Living, Moving, New England, Vermont

I married a man who was steady, responsible and solid. He loves with a quiet loyalty and patience that humbles. That same man married an almost unstable woman whose emotional viability fluctuates a bit over frizzy hair. (It should be noted that it is extremely frizzy hair that has been compared unfavorably to Aerosmith, a rock band never known for it’s classy hair. They were probably compared in their day to Bozo the Clown…so this is frizzy hair to the tenth power, but still….)

The two of us have somehow managed to make a decent life with three sane loving kids, a bunch of dogs, cats and now chickens. The hysterical one among us seems to have a knack for making money and thinking up interesting vacations. I read hundreds of novels every year and cheered like crazy at my children’s events. The stable one made great pasta, coached the kid’s sports, and read Greek history with a yellow highlighter. We are really good parents who love our children and each other well. He says I keep things exciting, and naturally he grounds me. Plus he is the funniest person I have ever known. He makes me laugh every day with an ironic dry wit that is very subtle. (The problem with that is that it is often in a serious room where my snorting doesn’t go unnoticed but his sotto comment does).

In 1994 we still had only two kids and were just starting to make some money, all of which we were spending on private schools and vacations. It was on one of those quick weekends where I combined a business trip with a weekend in New England with my husband. We flew out late in the day and landed in Vermont in the dark. It was the end of the first week of October and I had been hoping to see the famous autumn color, being that I was an autumn kind of girl. The fast flash and then the sad windblown ending always appealed to me need for drama. I loved the sexy baudy nature of fall. Boring little parks were transformed in our hometown of St Louis by the riot of color. For one or two brief weeks the humidity faded and was replaced by temperatures that favored cozy sweaters,just before the freeze. St Louis is supposedly a town with seasons. Really it has two, summer and winter. Summer lasts from April until October. Winter from November through March. Spring comes for a day or two and then back comes the famous humidity. But there was always that brief interlude called fall when all was right with the world.

So coming to Vermont in October was a much anticipated event. Only it was dark on the way to the inn and there seemed to be an awful lot of green along the way. I fell asleep almost disappointed. It didn’t last though. John woke me in the morning and called that I had to come outside at once. I wondered if he’d seen a bear. Then he shouted that I should get my cape. So I wrapped it around my nightgown and walked out into the spectacular splendor that is a Vermont autumn. The colors even smelled different. There was a heady cold snap in the air and the scent of pine was everywhere. Maybe that’s how these Green Mountains got their name. I was giddy and it was love at first sight. I had the sense of the world shifting under me. It was the same at the birth of all of my children. There is a moment when you know that your old life no longer fits and you expand to make room for the one that is coming. From that moment it was clear that I had to live in this place which for a few weeks each year is the most beautiful spot on earth. The rest of the time it is merely one of the most beautiful.

But how? That question consumed us for the next several years as we made another baby, bought a business and finally sold it to start this new life. There were lots of trips in between and the kids seemed to be as enamored as we were.

Anyone who has ever seen Baby Boom knows the ending. I am waiting for that baby food company to come along and make us rich. I can say that getting richer was a lot more fun than going broker. But what I can also say is that the pleasures of living here in this beautiful place have touched my soul and raised me higher than even the best of all those vacations ever did.


  • mari

    Beautiful.Thanks for sharing this E.I hope there is a whole stash of these with lots more to come.
    Katie Sykes, who is a wonderful folk singer, told me about this blog.

  • Library Lady

    You’re going to end up with a long list of women who want dibs on John if you spin off the earth completely!

  • Anonymous

    When I saw Baby Boom, it looked like she was selling her baby food in Peltier’s. The scene flashed by, but it certainly looked like it!

  • JP

    I love Vermont and have always wanted to live there. I cannot quite figure out what I would do for a living up there. But your descriptions have me planning another trip this winter. Thanks

  • akakarma

    Beautiful fall description. I can’t wait- thought I do love the summer while it lasts!

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