Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

One reason I left home

Vermont has made the news this week for the wrong reason: a bizarre homicide at the edges of the Northeast Kingdom, followed by a quick arrest and (in the circumstances) an even more bizarre charge of second degree murder.

If the state's allegations are correct, the perps showed a singular degree of premeditation. Makes one wonder just exactly what constitutes first degree murder in the Green Mountain State.

When my spouse and I lived in Boston's Fens area, we quickly developed street smarts. In the city, one learns to expect, and to anticipate, criminal activity. Barring one purse snatching (spouse) and one failed attempt at car theft (me) we made out all right.

People from urban areas who get away from it all in rural northern New England usually leave their street smarts at the border. They don't realise that certain of their neighbours may be more dangerous than any street punk in the cities they are from; more dangerous than anything in the woods on four legs. Among the native stock, inbreeding occurs with remarkable frequency, and the results can be unpredictable. Just guessing here, but I detect the singular sexual mores of certain northern New England natives as a contributing factor here.

Having been raised country, among similar stock, and seen photos of the alleged perps, I know I wouldn't trust either one to make change, much less would I drive to their rescue on a deserted road. The trial in this case promises to be interesting. One account calls the wife a "New Yorker." Big state, that: many parts of it compare culturally with northern New England. I'd be interested to learn where exactly she's from.

The sturdy, pious upcountry Yankees of a certain level did their cousins, sisters and mothers indiscriminately. Nor was this something out of the remote past. My town had a couple of dirt-poor families who had carried this habit on one generation too many. As a result the offspring of my generation were, um, remarkably sub-normal.

Oddly enough, both these habits, and mere illegitimacy, were barely hidden. One of the pillars of our church had an illegitimate son. Pretty much all the natives, and a quorum of newcomers, knew it and knew who the father was. The mother's family were respectable stock (i.e. land and dairy). The father's were a cut below (labourers without much land who kept only pigs and chickens) so there was never a question of marriage.

The common knowledge didn't extend to the grandchildren, of my generation. That is, until the lady's grandson began dating the granddaughter of her lover. That was when my parents taught us the facts of life, country style. I never knew whether the pair stopped dating from natural teenage causes or because of parental intervention to keep the gene pool pure. My town managed to miss out on homicide; not the case in some nearby towns with a little more genetic blending. Nope, the locals stuck to indiscriminate sex and occasional bestiality.

Last summer I bought a used kayak in New Hampshire. The male partner of the sellers was a painfully earnest Libertarian. When we mentioned that we were both raised in New Hampshire, he wondered why we hadn't moved back. Although we've both wondered the same now and then, keeping some distance between ourselves and the back-country hybrids is one reason.

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