×

A Look Back, August 1989: In Upper Valley, everything old is new again

  • Corey Briggs, left, and brother Gordy can continue to navigate their skateboards in peace in Windsor, Vt., on Aug. 1, 1989. Selectmen tabled a move that would have restricted skateboards in town. (Valley News - Bill Conradt) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Jake Guest dumps a load of corn at his Ely, Vt., field on Aug. 13, 1989. (Valley News - Bill Conradt) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Leiwei Chen, born in Shanghai but now residing in West Lebanon, N.H., takes an order from Wendi Goldsmith and Rob Solomon, of Reading, Vt., at the Pagoda Restaurant in West Lebanon on July 28, 1989. The Pagoda, which opened in 1979, is the oldest Chinese Restaurant in the area. Chen came to this country 2 1/2 years ago. Later this month she will enter Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vt. "I will finish my degree and get a good job," she says. "No more waitress!" (Valley News - Stephanie Wolff) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Julie Szabo gives behind-the-scenes instructions to "rubber tappers" during the Bread and Puppet Theater's outdoor performance on Aug. 30, 1989, at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Woodstock, Vt. The show focused on the plight of the rain forest and the murder of activist Chico Mendes. (Valley News - Bill Conradt) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Allan Bruce, top, checks with Sonny Gusha during routine bolt-replacement maintenance on the Route 5 bridge crossing the White River in White River Junction, Vt., on Aug. 25, 1989. Both men work for the state Agency of Transportation. (Valley News - Larry Crowe) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Norma Gokey, assistant recreation director in Windsor, Vt., cleans the school bus on Aug. 30, 1989, that was used by that department over the summer. She's getting it ready for regular duty carrying youngsters to and from school, which opens soon. Helping her out are her children, Andrew Davis and Angela Davis, both 9. (Valley News - Larry Crowe) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lebanon's Scott Barden lets the Memorial Field crowd know who won the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl in Hanover, N.H., on Aug. 12, 1989. (Valley News - Bill Conradt) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Monday, August 05, 2019

Thirty years ago this month, headlines in the Valley News told of stories that have ramifications today.

The Idlenot Farm Dairy announced it was closing its milk plant in Wilder, part of the long, regrettable decline in dairy farming in the region.

Striking workers at NYNEX, a precursor to Verizon, picketed outside company offices in White River Junction, an early battle in the massive transformation in the telecommunications industry as well as a battle for labor rights.

Excavation started at a dump site at an old copper mine in Strafford, an acknowledgment that there might be a pollution problem.

Today, almost $90 million later, work still continues on what eventually became the Elizabeth Mine Superfund site, though the end is near.

And baseball great Pete Rose was banned from the major leagues for life for gambling on his own team. Charlie Hustle, the all-time leader with 4,256 hits, still isn’t in the Hall of Fame.

The paper also ran photographs that, in their own ways, resonate today.

Two boys are skateboarding on the sidewalk in Windsor, after the Selectboard decided not to restrict their use downtown. There isn’t another person in sight, and the boys give life to Main Street, as they would now, as well.

Another photograph shows an immigrant working in an Asian restaurant in West Lebanon, planning to go to a state college and get a better job, as many newcomers to the Upper Valley continue to do.

And construction workers were photographed replacing bolts on the bridge that carries Route 5 over the White River, part of the routine maintenance required to keep roads and bridges safe and functioning. 

One of the photos shows Norwich resident Jake Guest dumping a load of corn into a truck after picking it by hand.

Guest and his wife Liz sold their Route 5 farm stand, Killdeer Farm, in late 2016, but he continues to grow corn that is sold there. And sweet corn remains a hands-on job.

“I don’t think there is anybody in the Upper Valley who picks sweet corn with a machine,” Guest, now 75, said last week. “All the silage corn is picked with a machine.”

Guest occasionally picks some corn, but has another primary function these days.

“I’m usually the guy who drives the truck to the stand,” he said.

That rich Connecticut River Valley soil keeps on doing its thing, even as the human world swirls around it.