Tag: new hampshire
Jamie Carpentier decided after his boxer passed away to start looking for another dog. He got on his computer and started reading descriptions of adoptable dogs listed on the Humane Society of Greater Nashua website.
There, in the mix, was one that reminded him of his old basset hound, Ginger.
This one was 13, which, once he did the math, he realized was how old Ginger would be by now. This one was also named Ginger.
“It can’t be her,” he said to himself. “It’s been so long.”
Carpentier hadn’t seen Ginger in 10 years, not since his ex-wife got the dog in the divorce. What he didn’t know was that she gave the dog up up a short time later, and Ginger was adopted, spending the next ten years with another owner. When that owner became unable to care for her, Ginger was surrendered back to the shelter again.
Carpentier, after looking over the description, emailed the shelter, asking for photos of the dog. Once he saw them, he knew the shelter’s Ginger was his old Ginger.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day he went to the shelter to see her, the Nashua Telegraph reported.
“She heard my voice. I walked up to her and she kind of gave me a couple of licks or kisses. And I was like, ‘She knows who I am, she remembers my voice,’” Carpentier said.
“She was stuck to me like glue … I have her now, and she has a place to live and stay,” he said. “The end. It’s awesome.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, animals, basset hound, bond, custody, divorce, dog, dogs, ginger, humane society of greater nashua, Jamie Carpentier, new hampshire, old, pets, reunion, reunited, reunites, shelter, surrendered
The states with the best anti-puppy mill laws? Virginia and Pennsylvania. The states with the worst? Mississippi, Kentucky, Idaho and the Dakotas.
That’s according to the Humane Society of the United States, which has released a list ranking state laws protecting dogs at commercial dog breeding facilities and consumers who might end up with sick dogs that came from them.
“Several states have made great strides in recent years, protecting dogs and consumers from the abuse and cruelty that is prevalent among large-scale commercial breeding operations,” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of the Puppy Mills Campaign for The HSUS.
The rankings assess only the laws — not how good a job a state does in enforcing them.
Other states in the top five were Oregon, New Hampshire and Washington.
Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire all require unannounced inspections of commercial dog breeding facilities two times per year. Oregon, Washington and Virginia all prohibit anyone from owning more than 50 breeding dogs.
In the states with the lowest rankings, there are no provisions for regular inspections, no basic standards of care prescribed and no protection for consumers who purchase a puppy mill dog from a pet store.
In 2011 HSUS experts and supporters helped to pass seven new state laws and regulations to crack down on puppy mills — in California, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming.
Since 2008, 26 new laws have been enacted in 21 states.
The HSUS recommends never purchasing a puppy from a pet store or Internet site, or from any breeder you have not carefully screened in person.
According to HSUS, dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care; live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction; and are confined inside cramped wire-floored cages for life. And breeding dogs must endure constant breeding cycles and are typically confined for years on end.
The HSUS estimates that 2 million to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States.
Keep reading for the full list, from best to worst.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anti puppy mill, best, breeders, commercial, dogs, hsus, humane society of the united states, inspections, laws, legislatures, list, new hampshire, oregon, oversight, pennsylvania, pets, puppies, puppy mill laws, puppy mills, rank, ranked, rankings, standards, state, state laws, strongest, virginia, washington, worst
Judy Blackington, co-owner of Discount Pets in Salem, decided to stop selling dogs at the end of February.
“Instead of buying our puppies off breeders, we decided to take puppies that are about to be killed,” she said. “We’ve saved seven puppies this week and get about 35 a month.”
According to Life With Dogs, the store has formed a partnership with Brookside Husky and Lab Rescue in Alton, Maine.
“We’ve never worked with a pet store like this,” said the rescue’s director, Nicky Bowman. “I think more pet stores ought to do this. I see every day the gruesome reality of puppy mills. We’re making a point to people that breeding really needs to stop because overpopulation is a problem.”
Shop owner Blackington says the change has been good for her conscience — and great for business.
“The breeder prices have gone up lately and the puppies haven’t been very healthy,” she said. “The customers don’t like paying $900 for a puppy and then have to spend more on the vet. These dogs are healthier than the ones we’ve gotten from breeders. I think it’s going to be better for the business, and people love it.”
Elizabeth Dobbins, director of the Salem Animal Rescue League, said other pet store owners should take note.
“Sadly, there is no shortage of adoptable pets in this country. So there’s room for plenty of us. Maybe that’s a trend of the future, that pet stores would look to go out and rescue animals instead of buying from breeders.”
Potential owners are required to submit an application and submit to a home visit, which Blackington says help ensures a better connection between dog and family.
“We’ve had more people come in than ever,” she said. “They love that we’re an adoption center now and not a puppy store.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoptable, adoptions, Alton, animals, breeders, Brookside Husky and Lab Rescue, business, change, discount pets, dogs, health, homeless, judy blackington, maine, new hampshire, nicky bowman, over-population, pet sales, pet store, pets, puppies, puppy mills, rescues, salem, sales, shelters, shift
A Saturday climb to the summit of Cannon Mountain marked the completion of Randy “Zip” Pierce’s attempt to conquer all 48 of New Hampshire’s peaks — with his quide dog, The Mighty Quinn.
Pierce is the first blind hiker — and Quinn the first guide dog — to climb “The 48” in one winter, the Union Leader reports.
“I’m blown away by this experience. I’m absolutely exhilarated,” Pierce said, patting his seven-year-old yellow lab. “I’m a little choked up right now.”
“I am extremely proud of him, but I am not one bit surprised he did it. That’s just how Randy is,” said Pierce’s wife, Tracy, who led a group of friends to meet him at the summit with music, noisemakers and bells.
Pierce climbed the peaks in support of 2020 Vision Quest, a non-profit group that raises funds for the New Hampshire Association for the Blind and Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
Pierce, who began losing his vision in 1989 due to a neurological disease and went completely blind in 2000, said he wants to ensure anyone who goes through vision loss has access to services like those that helped him.
The disease also affected his cerebellum, causing such severe vertigo he was confined to a wheelchair from 2004 to 2006. After a series of experimental treatments, he began to walk again.
“The most important thing I can tell anyone is the choice we make in how to respond to our life is going to have a bigger influence on our life than anything else ever could,” he said.
His guide dog, Quinn was presented with the Order of the Golden Biscuit at Saturday’s climb, making him the fourth canine to have completed the 48 peaks in a single winter.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2020 vision quest, animals, blind, climbing, disabilities, first, golden biscuit, guide dog, guiding eyes, hiker, hiking, mighty quinn, mountains, new hampshire, order of the golden biscuit, peaks, pets, quinn, randy pierce, randy zip pierce, the 48, the mighty quinn, winter
All of the dogs at Rolling Dog Farm are beloved.
But Blind Patti — it’s fair, if not gramatically correct to say — was beloveder than most.
The eyeless shepherd mix, one of the dogs featured in our “Travels with Ace” calendar, passed away Nov. 20.
“Our beautiful blind girl Patti died tonight, just a few minutes before 7 p.m. She passed away here at home peacefully, lying on a big soft fleece bed in the dog room, covered with a fleece blanket,” Rolling Dog’s Steve Smith reported from the sanctuary’s home in New Hampshire.
Patti came to Rolling Dog Farm — back when it was still in Montana — from Spokane Animal Control.
When she arrived in 2003, one of her eyes was missing, and the other was solid white. A scar ran across her forehead from one eye to the other, and suspicions were that she had been struck with either an ax, hatchet or shovel.
At the Spokane shelter, she’d been scheduled to be euthanized her second week there, but an employee felt sorry for her, checked her out of the facility the day before she was to be put down, and tried to find her a home.
Rolling Dog Farm (called Rolling Dog Ranch at the time) was contacted and agreed to take her in, and another rescue group agreed to transport the blind and battered dog to Ovando, Montana, where the sanctuary, until last year, was headquartered.
She was thin and had a ragged coat when she arrived in Montana, with one seemingly empty eye socket. When Rolling Dog Farm took her to their vet, the remnants of an eyeball were found in the open eye socket. They cleaned it out, and sewed the eye shut. The other eye, which she couldn’t see out of and which was clearly causing her pain, was removed.
After that, Patti blossomed, according to the profile of her on the Rolling Dog Farm website:
“Even though she can’t see, she still thinks of herself as a guard dog of sorts. She stands at the fence and barks if she thinks anything, or anyone, is out there and we ought to know about it. Now plump, her coat shines. (At 80 pounds, she’s on a diet!) She loves to ‘mix it up’ with Steve … woofing and wrestling and showing him just how tough she is.
“Her favorite activity is to climb on to Steve’s lap while he tries to read the paper. Not content to merely lay on his lap, Patti insists on rolling over upside down, feet up in the air, tummy ready to be scratched. And if she doesn’t get the attention Patti thinks she deserves, she begins squirming.”
I first met Patti when I visited the sanctuary in Montana in 2007, and I ran into her again when, during the year Ace and I traveled the country, we stopped in at Rolling Dog Farm’s new home in Lancaster, New Hampshire.
About a year after that, this past October, Smith noticed Patti wasn’t herself. A series of trips to veterinarians followed, and what was at first thought to be one cancerous mass turned out to be a rapidly increasing series of them. About four weeks ago, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer called hemangiosarcoma.
“She was one of our stars, a favorite of volunteers, employees, visitors and media over the years,” Steve, who runs the sanctuary with his wife, Alayne Marker, noted.
“Only four dogs have been with us as long as Patti — Widget, Goldie, Cedar and Libby. So she was a fixture not only of the sanctuary, but of our hearts as well.”
The day after she died, Steve, who I’d been exchanging emails with regarding making Rolling Dog Farm a beneficiary of sales of our “Travels with Ace” calendar, opened up a link I sent him to the calendar page.
The calendar documents some of the memorable moments from the year Ace and I spent traveling the U.S. — including our stop at Rolling Dog Farm. In addition to receiving 50 percent of profits from the sales, Rolling Dog Farm is featured one month, and among the photos I used — though I didn’t know of her condition — was one of Patti.
“… On that page you’ll see a photo of me with blind Patti that almost made me cry,” Steve recounts on the Rolling Dog Farm blog. “When John sent me the link, I clicked on it, the page opened … and there was the photo.”
The photo shows Steve and Patti, face to face, and I like to think it comes close to capturing the essence of what Patti, blind as she was, far more eloquently depicted than I ever could.
As Steve puts it:
“She showed us how animals are immensely capable of forgiving — if not forgetting — what people have done to them. “
Posted by jwoestendiek November 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2012, abused, animal control, animals, blind, blind patti, blinded, calendar, cancer, dead, deaf, died, disabled, dogs, eyeless, hatchet, lancaster, montana, new hampshire, ovando, patti, pets, photography, rolling dog farm, rolling dog ranch, sanctuary, shepherd mix, shovel, spokane, steve smith, travels with ace, travels with ace calendar
Sure, you can extract DNA samples from every dog in your community, establish a database, pick up and pack up samples of any unscooped poop, send it to an out of state laboratory, pay a fee, and then await test results that will identify the poopetrator, assuming he or she is in the database in the first place.
Or, you can gently and wittily remind dog owners of their responsibility.
I’m more comfortable in a community that does the latter.
Earlier this week we told you about an apartment complex in Lebanon, New Hampshire, that will begin testing the DNA of unscooped dog poop found on the premises.
The video above, I think, reflects a far more civilized, less Big Brotherish approach to the problem.
In a effort to remind people what uncollected dog poop does to the region’s health, a Seattle area organization called Puget Sound Starts Here launched “Dog Doogity,” a music video to encourage people to pick up after their pets, according to KING 5 in Seattle.
Puget Sound Starts Here is a coalition of state and local agencies that works educate the public on protecting the health of the Sound. The coalition says pet waste contains disease-causing organisms that can carry into the Puget Sound and other local waters.
“For every four and a half people there is one dog in the Puget Sound area and almost all of that is going outside,” said campaign coordinator Suzi Wong Swint. “People just don’t think about dog poop and the major contributions it has on the quality of our water. So, this campaign is trying to encourage people to pick up their dog’s poop in their backyards as well as on their walks.”
The music video features Puget Sound locations in Seattle, Everett and Tacoma. It was inspired by Blackstreet’s 1996 hit, “No Diggity,” and features soul singer Martin Luther and dog Lola.
For more information on the campaign, click here.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apartments, blackstreet, campaign, dna, dna testing, dog doogity, dog poop, dogs, everett, feces, lebanon, martin luther, music video, new hampshire, no diggity, pets, pick-up, poop, public awareness, public education, puget sound, rap, rap song, scoop, seattle, tacoma, testing, washington, waste
An apartment complex in New Hampshire is the latest entity to turn to DNA testing of dog poop in an attempt to catch scofflaws who aren’t picking up after their pets.
The manager of the Timberwood Commons in Lebanon has turned to a company called PooPrints, run by a lab called BioPet in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Residents have been told that they must submit a sample of their dog’s DNA for the apartment database. After that, any offending anonymous droppings can be sent off to the Knoxville lab to be matched to their source through further testing.
When an offender is pinpointed through his or her poop, his or her owner will be required to pay for the lab test, and face further, still to be determined, action.
This, mind you, in the “Live Free or Die” state.
Such testing programs have been going on for a couple of years now in other parts of the world, like Petah Tikva in Israel.
Last year, a luxury condominium complex in Baltimore was on the verge of establishing a similar poop testing program, but changed its mind.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amok, animals, apartment, big brother, biopet, complex, dna, dog, dogs, droppings, feces, forensics, investigation, lab, laboratory, lebanon, live free or die, new hampshire, pets, pick-up, poo prints, poop, pooprints, scofflaws, scoop, technology, testing, timberwood commons, waste
Three-and-a-half-year-old Jason Bragg was standing on the edge of the lake watching as Chloe fell through the ice, then struggled unsuccessfully to pull herself out of the water, according to the Union-Leader in Manchester.
That’s when Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. arrived, jumped in the water and began smashing the inch-thick ice to work his way 30 feet from shore to the yelping dog.
“It was obvious that the dog needed to be rescued,” he later told the newspaper. “The dog kept slipping and going into the water even deeper and my fear was that it was going to drown.”
Briggs brought Chloe back to the beach, where she was wrapped in a blanket and rushed to Plaistow-Kingston Animal Medical Center. Chloe was treated for hypothermia and reunited with the family Tuesday afternoon.
Chloe had escaped from the deck of her home and wandered onto the ice. Jason and his mother were able to find her, but when they called her back, she fell through the ice. The boy’s mother, who called 911, said it was fortunate the chief arrived quickly.
“I appreciate it so much. He basically saved her life,” she said. “The vet said that if she had been in there any longer, she wouldn’t have been so lucky.”
(Photo by DAVID LANE / Union-Leader)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, chief, chihuahua, chloe, dachschund, dogs, donald briggs jr, fell, frozen, ice, jason bragg, kingston, lake, new hampshire, pets, police, police chief, rescue, rescued, save, saved, saves
Not that I wouldn’t have been happy to — if it hadn’t been closed, and allowed dogs, and had a vacancy.
In my time bouncing back and forth between New Hampshire and Vermont last weekend and this week – being as it coincided with peak fall foliage — rooms were hard to come by, and hard to hold on to, resulting in Ace and I staying four different places.
Which, in the interest of full disclosure, I will now tell you about.
First we checked into the Lancaster Motor Inn, which like most of the lodgings we encountered in New England had upped their prices for the autumn rush. We paid $60-something, plus a dog fee, for our room, which was just a short walk from the river, where Ace romped while I picnicked on clam chowder and apple cider.
Lancaster’s a nice little town –equal parts quaint and hard-boiled. We saw a covered bridge and, just our luck, there was a parade that night that came right past the motel. Basically, it’s every fire engine, rescue vehicle and salt truck from all the nearby towns, and they slowly roll down Lancaster’s main street, blaring their horns and sirens at full blast.
Ace didn’t think much of it, but I guess even quiet little towns need to cut loose sometimes.
Our second night was outside St. Johnsbury, Vermont, at the Alpine Valley Motel, Restaurant and Pub (though both the restaurant and pub were closed). At $80 a night, it was about twice our limit. But with few other choices, and temperatures dropping to freezing — leading me to rule out the tent — we coughed up the dough.
It, too, was a nice little spot, with a babbling brook running behind our cabin, and views of vibrant mountainside foliage from the front porch. Again, we attempted to recoup some of what we were overspending on motels by spending less on food. Peanut butter and jelly was on the menu that night, and the next.
On our third night, after visiting the inn where John Steinbeck slept (but didn’t admit to sleeping), we stopped outside of Whitefield and walked into the office of a modest looking place called Mirror Lake Motel and Cabins.
I rang the bell and waited, and waited, and finally the proprietor appeared, looking like he’d been midway through a nap. He said he had vacancies, and that dogs were allowed. He wanted $60 — cash only. He grabbed a handful of keys and shuffled outside, picked a room, walked inside, and lifted up the bedspread.
“Give me about 20 minutes,” he said. Ace and I checked out the lake while he cleaned, then, once he showed us how the heater worked — “You’re going to need it tonight,” he warned — we settled in our room and whipped up some more peanut butter and jelly, this time on crackers instead of bread, which was a pleasant change of pace.
The next morning we saw snow on Mount Washington before we returned to Lancaster for a visit to Rolling Dog Ranch. Then we headed back east to St. Johnsbury, Vermont, then south to the town of Brattleboro, where we finally found some lodging we could afford — a Motel 6.
So I celebrated with a nice dinner at a Chinese restaurant, spending close to $20 — in other words, blowing the amount I had saved on an affordable motel.
A gigantic grass lawn was just across the street — property of a textile company — and I took Ace there for some exercise (before I noticed the no trespassing signs). We used it again the next morning (yes, we’re outlaws), before we shared breakfast at a nearby restaurant and checked out.
From Brattleboro, we took Highway 7 west across southern Vermont, again enjoying some peak fall foliage. I’ve gotten to enjoy several doses of that by heading south — first in the north of Maine, again in parts of New Hampshire and for a third time crossing Vermont. On our way west, the leaves were in full color as we climbed up the mountains, a little past peak as we went back down.
I won’t say I outsmarted Mother Nature; it’s more like, purely by coincidence, I adjusted to her schedule.
By the time we hit Bennington, I got yet another dose of color.
We cruised by the Bennington Monument, a 300-foot tall stone structure commemorating the Continental Army’s 1777 thwarting of British and Hessian troops that were attempting to reach a supply depot. The Americans, carrying what is believed to be the first American flag into battle, forced the British to detour to Saratoga, where they met with defeat in a battle that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War.
From the top of the monument, accessible by elevator, visitors can see Vermont, Massachusetts and New York.
It was just a few minutes more to the state of New York, where fall was also in full glory. Seeing a roadside coffee stand near Hoosick, we pulled over.
I sat at a picnic table and drank a cup. Ace got out for a stretch. And even though we’ve seen more fall foliage than anyone has a right to, we decided to take a few minutes and do what the sign said:
Posted by jwoestendiek October 15th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, autumn, budget, cabins, color, cottages, dog's country, dogscountry, fall, foliage, inns, john steinbeck, lancaster, leaves, lodging, motels, mount washington, new england, new hampshire, peak, prices, season, st. johnsbury, steinbeck, travels with ace, travels with charley, vermont, views
Two journalists, each independently seeking to chart the course John Steinbeck took 50 years ago with his poodle Charley — including figuring out where he slept when — have come to the conclusion that the highly respected author may have taken some liberties with the facts in his classic work of non-fiction.
It’s not stop-the-presses stuff, especially these days, when fuzzily defined terms like “creative non-fiction” and “literary journalism” have taken on enough heft to become college courses.
Like it or not composite characters, re-created dialogue and tampering with timelines have become fairly common practices in non-fiction (though not in my book). But 50 years ago, when “Travels With Charley” was written — five years before Truman Capote’s groundbreaking “non-fiction novel” (his term), “In Cold Blood” — the practice probably would have been given the far less literary label of “making shit up.”
If Steinbeck borrowed from his fiction writing toolbox — and he was primarily a novelist — to craft “Travels With Charley,” he could, on one hand, be viewed as a pioneer. In reality, though, storytellers, even those bound by the tighter confines of non-fiction, have been leaving out the boring stuff and juicing up the truth for centuries.
To Jeff Woodburn, though, who counts Steinbeck among his literary heroes, his discovery that Steinbeck might have made stuff up — and definitely left stuff out — was disheartening.
Woodburn, a New Hampshire-based freelance writer, pitched the idea of writing about Steinbeck’s travels through the state — from Shelburn, west to Lancaster — to the editor of New Hampshire magazine. The editor, being a Steinbeck fan too, liked it. Woodburn set out to retrace the 30-mile route and learn more about the places, and maybe even some of the people, Steinbeck encountered in New Hamsphire.
As Steinbeck recounts it in “Travels With Charley,” on his way to the top of Maine, he drove up a farm road in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, bought some eggs from a farmer and asked permission of him to camp beside the stream on his farm. Later, the farmer visited his camper and they drank coffee, laced with “a good dollop of twenty-one year old applejack.” They talked about Kruschev, and how, that week, he had used his shoe to pound a table during a UN meeting, and whether we should attack the Russians before they attacked us.
When the farmer eventually took his leave, Steinbeck and Charley went to sleep in the camper, parked alongside the stream, according to the book.
Woodburn couldn’t find the farmer, or even the farm. He came up with three possibilities, but none of them panned out. “I really wanted to find him, because he seemed so wise,” he said. When all his research led nowhere, Woodburn began to think that the farmer didn’t actually exist, or that he was a composite of different people Steinbeck met in New England.
Later Woodburn learned that, in reality, on the night in question — Sept. 25, 1960 – Steinbeck apparently slept here:
That’s the Spalding Inn, a luxurious spot in its day, and still moderately fancy, with white tableclothes, well-manicured gardens, orchards and magnificent mountain views. In 1960, it was popular with well-heeled New Yorkers seeking country getaways.
The inn is never mentioned in “Travels With Charley.” Then again Steinbeck admittedly glossed over some of his other stops – Deerfield, Mass., to visit his son in school, and Chicago, where he reunited with his wife at the Ambassador Hotel. “In my travels it was pleasant and good,” he wrote of the latter stop, “in writing, it would contribute only a disunity.”
Woodburn, though his initial retracing of Steinbeck’s route didn’t merit enough for a story, continued to keep a file on Steinbeck, and check out leads when they arose. When he came across a Facebook page about growing up in Lancaster, he put out a query, seeking anyone who remembered meeting Steinbeck 50 years ago.
A local woman responded, saying her mother had met Steinbeck when he stayed at the Spalding Inn, in Whitefield. Woodburn, who worked washing dishes at the inn as a teenager, went to the family that owned it, and they confirmed that Steinbeck was a guest around the time in question.
“It seems as this is where he spend the night,” Woodburn told me over the weekend when Ace and I met him at the inn. “Enough people have said it, that I feel comfortable saying he spent the night here.”
Woodburn, whose piece on Steinbeck’s travels through the state will appear in New Hampshire magazine’s November issue, said he was told Steinbeck went to dinner at the inn, but was refused service because he wasn’t wearing the required jacket and tie. Upon learning who he was, they supplied him with proper attire.
Other than having dinner, Steinbeck did little socializing while at the inn, and it’s doubtful that Charley, his poodle, actually slept inside. More likely, he spent the night alone in the camper.
To Woodburn, who is a third generation New Hampshirite, finding that Steinbeck might have been less that totally honest was disturbing.
“I’m a big fan of Steinbeck. I’m very troubled that he didn’t tell the truth,” he said.
To blogger Bill Steigerwald, who is retracing Steinbeck’s route for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, discrepancies between the book and reality — and he’s found a few — don’t diminish the esteem he holds for the writer.
Steigerwald, who we met on a ferry boat as we crossed the Long Island Sound the same day Steinbeck did — 50 years later — tried a couple of weeks ago to find the “ghost cabins” along the Connecticut River that Steinbeck slept outside of on his way back through New Hampshire
Steinbeck wrote that, although its signs said “open” and “vacancy,” no one was around when he walked into the office 50 years ago. So he and Charley, according to the book, slept in the camper on the lot.
As it turns out, and as both Woodburn and Steigerwald have confirmed, the “ghost cabins” did exist, and were known as Whip O’Will. Today, they’ve been replaced by the Beaver Trails RV Park, and Munce’s Convenience store. Next to that is the Happy Star Chinese restaurant. And across the street live Mike and Sallie Beattie, whose family once owned the Whip O’Will property.
During its conversion to an RV park, the new owners took down the six cabins and offered one (that’s it above) to the Beattie’s, who had it moved across the street so they could use it for storage.
Steigerwald buys the ghost cabin account, but he has serious doubts about the New Hampshire farmer — since that’s apparently the same night Steinbeck apparently stayed at the Spalding Inn.
“It’s clear evidence — and further proof, considering what I and others already know and anyone who reads ‘Travels With Charley’ with a critical eye should suspect — that the book is not nonfiction but a creative mix of fiction and nonfiction,” Steigerwald wrote on his blog, Travels Without Charley.
Woodburn, while less forgiving, also notes that Steinbeck gave some hints that the book wasn’t a straighforward account of the journey. ”It’s easy to confuse reality with romance,” he said. “I think he gave signs that he was making stuff up.”
As Steinbeck himself noted, reality is in the eye of the beholder:
“What I set down here is true until someone else passes that way and rearranges the world in his own style,” Steinbeck wrote. “In literary criticism the critic has no choice but to make over the victim of his attention into something the size and shape of himself.”
I bounced the issue of a professor-friend, a teacher of creative non-fiction writing, who pointed out that the term didn’t exist until around the 1980′s, when the National Endowment for the Arts saw it as a way to give non-fiction writers a chance to win literature fellowships.
Though the term is fairly modern, the practice is not, he agreed.
“There’s been a long and wondrous and centuries-long tradition of made-up non-fiction in literature (the Victorians were particularly good at it), and not even just a few changes of detail.
“Steinbeck was a novelist, not a journalist. If his fibs were limited to whether he stayed in a hotel or not, that’s pretty remarkable restraint,” he added. “It’s not my personal standard for writing nonfiction, but many writers have had worst standards (paging Mr. Capote). It seems a silly thing to lie about, really.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accuracy, america, bill steigerwald, creative non-fiction, dog's country, dogscountry, facts, fiction, jeff woodburn, john steinbeck, lancaster, literary, literary journalism, literature, new hampshire, new hampshire magazine, new journalism, non-fiction, reality, road trip, spalding inn, steinbeck, travels, travels with ace, travels with charley, truth, vermont, whitefield