This is Ernie–Ernie Thompson. He’s the one who started it all. I wanted to meet people in Bennington as part of my research for my new book on small-town New England. But how do you start.

There was a statue of a catamount (mountain lion) on Main Street painted in myriad colors, almost like a handmade quilt. As I was focusing my camera, a man with a brilliant green fedora with a shamrock proudly displayed approached me and asked, “What are you doing?”  I’m looking for someone who lives in Bennington. “W-E-L-L,” he said. “I live in Bennington.” One thing led to another and we ended up in a restaurant with Ernie’s friend who knew about the history of the town. It was a beginning. And doesn’t he have a lovely face. You might almost think he was Irish!

“you should talk with Josie Kilbride, the Town Clerk of Searsburg. But don’t be surprised when you see her.” This was all a part of the book I’m working on about the towns along the southern Vermont border. Searsburg is pretty small, not much more than the town offices. So I guess Josie fit right in. She was short, somewhere between four and five feet tall. But she made up for it by being intense and taking on the responsibilities of her town..It was best to photograph her sitting and I was pleased how well the portrait came out.



I had wanted to find out more about Readsboro, Vermont and was encouraged to talk with Sue Bailey, Head of the Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment Corporation. After walking through the empty rooms of the Bullock Building, which was in dire need of redevelopment, we went to Emma’s Cafe for coffee. So hard to get  a photo of Sue in the dim light. But this one came out looking respectable.



These photos are in the Vermont Stories portfolio.