Hanging on the wall in my apartment in Asheville, NC is a treasured photograph of "The Farm," my grandparent's home (which you bought from my family) . I grew up in West Cummington and my brother and sisters and I spent some of our happiest childhood times up there with two of the most special people in my life, my grandparents, who had remarkable lives themselves and raised six children there. My 20 first cousins all share memories of happy family get togethers there often during our childhoods.
I had been excited to learn at the time of the sale that your organization had bought the farm because I, too, was in the arts and went on to get an MFA in Theatre from Indiana University, and thought how interesting it was that a group such as yours was going to take over this beautiful property even though it was sad to lose it from the family.
Imagine my surprise when I saw this article on your website this morning:
from one of your articles from the Daily Hampshire Gazette:
"The first look was less than impressive. The house was barely habitable. Miners had lived in the "hobbit holes" upstairs, in small rooms with mattresses. They had been on the land around World War II, mining the quarry for manganese, a lightweight metal used in aircraft. Snow made it difficult to picture what the land was like. "
As for the comment about the hobbits....my grandfather, Anson Betts, was a chemist, metallurgist and inventor. His was the first patented process for lead refining that worked. He was a Yale graduate, and was truly a remarkable, and classy, person from a very prestigious family in Troy, NY. He knew the value of manganese to the country in its war efforts and went there to try to develop that mine.
My family has just learned about your website this weekend. My nephew in California found it. While we are fascinated by what you have done on the property, I could not let our very rich, full lives there be reduced to the description in this article. I have boxes of happy photos and newspaper clippings, etc. kept from all of our lives there.