Mont Alto Stories

Tony Comes Home From Vietnam

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It was 1970.  Tony was coming home from Vietnam.  He had been wounded – something to do with the helicopter he was in – the details were discussed in hushed voices.  They didn’t think the casualties of war and brutal injuries were appropriate for a girl’s ears. That was odd to me.  The war in Vietnam was for real and not over yet. For my… Read More

The Jumping Off Place

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My father called the town the “jumping off place.” Mont Alto had been a stop on the railroad where folks got off the train to go to the Tuberculosis Sanatorium. The Sanatorium was at the top of South Mountain. Granny Beulah told me a horse and wagon would meet the train and take the new patients up the mountain. Later, the same horse wagon would… Read More

Dendrology at the Forestry School

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Dendrology (Ancient Greek: δένδρον, dendron, “tree”; and Ancient Greek: -λογία, -logia, science of or study of) or xylology (Ancient Greek: ξύλον, ksulon, “wood”) is the science and study of wooded plants (trees, shrubs, and lianas), specifically, their taxonomic classifications. There are three ways to identify trees – the leaves, the bark, and the general shape. So say’s my Daddy’s Dendrology coursebook. Circa 1945. Returning from World… Read More

Clinton’s Murder

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“Hey Suzy! Somebody killed Clinton Shank!“ exclaimed my father over the phone. “Oh my god.” I was shocked. “Yep. Somebody killed Clinton and it looks like murder.” “Oh my god what happened?” “Well, the state police were just here.” “You mean at our house?” “Yes, they wanted to talk to me.” “Oh my god! Are you a suspect?” “No, I don’t think so. They know… Read More

Elliot’s Bicycle

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“I met someone this morning who went to Dickinson,” my husband announced when he returned to our hotel room. “I asked him if he knew Patti Spencer, but he said ‘no’.” “What year was he?” I asked. “’76.” I should know him. 1976 was my year. “What’s his name?” “Elliot Konig.” Elliot Konig, Elliot Konig. Sounds familiar. Oh shit. I know who he is, or… Read More