My family moved to Brattleboro, Vermont during the summer of 1958. We attended All Souls Church when we were located downtown. My memories are mostly about our minister, Rev. Fred Miller and our youth group leader, Charles Butterfield. We had the best time, a great group of youth, participating in LRY (Liberal Religious Youth), going to Ferry Beach, etc.
Of the many families that were involved at ASC, most of the families were larger than the families of today. Most had between four and six children. I have fond memories of going to their homes as part of the group, for pot luck meals, where we would sing folk songs, observe the wonders of the night sky with telescopes, go sledding, swimming and boating at a camp on Spofford Lake. Socializing was an important part of our gatherings.
I was introduced to other religions. We went to the Catholic Church in town and it was an experience I had not had before. Totally foreign to me. That was also true when we visited a Jewish Synagogue. We had events, I think they were dances with the Congregational Church and maybe the Baptist Church.
Once a year the Youth Group was responsible for leading a church service. I never did look forward to that piece. We would select and do readings and someone would do present the sermon. I do not remember the topics. I think the music as taken care of but one of our group members did play the organ so he might have played something.
One major part of the youth group was producing an “One Act Play.” We were part of the LRY for our district which included New Hampshire. Each year we would put on a play and then go to one of the other churches to act out our play and to watch their production. We went to Concord, Milford, and Nashua and hosted the event in Brattleboro. I was not one that felt comfortable with acting but enjoyed working on sets and props.
I really do not remember taking trips except to other churches but there was one trip to New York City. We saw a TV show being produced and went to Radio City Music Hall to see The Rockettes. My, that was spectacular! We went to the Headquarters of the United Nations. That is about all I can remember for that adventure.
Along with my brother and sister, I sang in the children’s choir led by Mrs (Helen) Harris. Talking to Dan MacArthur recently, I was reminded that we sometimes went to other churches to sing our pieces and listened to the pieces the other church choirs sang and then we sang one or two pieces that we all practiced together during the weekend.
Off to college I went in 1965 and lived life as a young adult. After marriage and starting a family, I returned to All Souls Church, now in West Brattleboro and as a family we became members in the early 1990’s. My two children, Ross and Lisa, attended the Religious Education Program. I was a member of the R.E. committee for 15 years with other parents that had their children in the program.
Ross and Lisa were involved in the Religious Education Program from five and two years old until they finished high school. The program had about 35 registered children at the time. The church was going through several changes with three different ministers and about three different directors of the Religious Education Program during the time my children were involved. They had several different experiences from the different styles of the directors of the programs. From theme bases programs to following the UU curriculum.
There were several activities which my children enjoyed and some that were memorable. Visits to Thompson House to make Valentine’s or other projects with the residents. Monthly, pizza gatherings were held at someone’s home which was always fun and largely attended. At the holiday bazaar, the R. E. Program had Elves Workshop which was popular for the children since they could make a gift to take home with them while their parents were shopping. There was the Christmas Eve Pageant that they were involved in. It was always a conflict for our family due to traveling. Some of the highlights of their time in the program were the well attended contra dances we held at the church with Andy Davis playing the music and providing instruction. Lisa was part of the Coming of Age program and the youth group. There were other adventures, going to Boston and visiting the UU office when it was still on Beacon Hill, going to the Nasohba Valley to a corn maze. Those mazes are challenging. Occasionally the group went to the Homeless Shelter at Morningside to prepare a meal with the residents and would sit down and eat with them.
Other responsibilities I have experienced over the years were: Collector for about 12 years, Finance Committee, 3 years as member of Committee on Ministry. I am still actively involved at ASC: Receptions for Memorial Services, Caring Circle, Nominating Committee, Meals for the Overflow Shelter, the Holiday Bazaar and other fundraisers, and other task force projects when asked.
I have been widowed fourteen years. It seems like yesterday that Bruce was with us. All of you at the church were so wonderful in helping so I could continue working a little. I appreciated it a lot. My adult children live outside of Vermont I so I travel to visit them and my three grandchildren.