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Welcome to Quarry Hill's Blog!

Quarry Hill Creative Center in Rochester, VT, founded 1946 by Barbara and Irving Fiske, is Vermont's oldest alternative community and at one time was probably also its largest. In the 60s -80s, as many as 90 people lived here.
It was and is visited each year, often in summer (but in every season, really) by visitors from all over the world.
We welcome interesting and creative people who are peaceful, bring no weapons, don't believe in hitting children or killing animals, and enjoy the beauty of Vermont and of themselves.

Most of us do not adhere to any particular dogma or religion, though many do find Eastern philosophy closest to our own thought (some of us are also members of the Quakers/Society of Friends).
We value the individual, particularly people who are energetic and have a sense of humor.
Visitors are welcome-- and prospective residents, too. There are some places for rent, others for sale. If interested, get in touch!
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"The symbol is the enemy of the reality, and the reality is ever one's true guide, true friend, true companion, and true self." Irving Fiske, 1908-1990

Monday, June 6, 2011

Last of the Sister Wives (for this year)...

This year I've been writing a column on Sister Wives, a show about polygamy in Utah and Nevada, and the Brown family, who are being persecuted for their beliefs, for Blogcritics. org. This article first appeared there last night; it's the finale showing the Brown family getting settled down in Las Vegas, whence they have fled in order to avoid the husband, Kody's, going to jail for polygamy and bigamy. It's a big turmoil-filled event to the kids and everyone else… and though I am not a Mormon or Fundamentalist Mormon, I think that people should be able to choose their own love and life-style so long as it hurts no one else (especially kids). I appreciate the opportunity I've had from Blogcritics to publish there. Now that it's over for the summer-- this show-- I hope to be doing other writing, but have definitely enjoyed seeing this slice of odd Americana and following the growing closeness of the other wives through their pain at watching Kody marry his fourth, Robyn, a young and attractive woman who is about to have his baby now. Here it is-- as first published on Blogcritics: TV Open Thread: Sister Wives: “Sister Wives in the City of Sin.” Published on Blogcritics, June 5, 2011 By Ladybelle Fiske This one-hour episode centers around the Brown family’s change from Utah to Nevada. They are happy and relieved to arrive in the one-month rental house where they presently are staying; they are seeking homes for each wife. They must hurry and they also have only a few days before they put the children in school. Yet they (the adults, at least) are very much at peace. Kody: “We have just moved, and we have a lot of unpacking to do. There’s a lot of sunlight, and it’s 70 degrees. I feel like I’ve been born again. What a place to be born again, in Las Vegas!” Meri: “I really do feel at home here. Today we’re putting things away and trying to put things away in the house." Kody: “So it’s light and fluffy for little kids, who are in a vacation home, free and at peace for the adults-- the teenagers are still bitter right now.” The teens are angry that they are living in a vacation home, “out of suitcases.” Even though they know that their family could have been broken up, they are still resentful at having had to relocate. Some, particularly Mariah,plan to go back to Utah as soon as they can. While they are involved with practicalities, the episode's real center is Robyn's and Kody's decision to try to have a child. They aren't discussing it with the other wives, but one is sure that the feeling must be hanging in the air. Kody had wanted Robyn to have a baby much sooner, but the legal situation created too much stress, so she “just said no.” Kody, as ever, seems very pleased that he can show the world that all the women have choice in their lives, aren’t just being told what to do. Now they are in Nevada, Robyn feels safe, and they begin to try to have a child. The family makes finding a home for Robyn first, since her children had had to move a lot. There is a fair amount of confusion because the children all begin school at differing times and the children are accustomed to being able to take long showers, and so on. The teens say “I really don’t want to make friends with people here.” They don’t like Nevada and want to go home, but one can see the beginning of interest in a new way of life. Nevada has a different style of dress, and a whole new ethos-- one that worries the Brown wives. The girls want to wear less “modest” clothing, but with four “mothers” watching, they find it hard to get away with this. They want to wear what they wish… as Robyn says, “They are beautiful girls and they probably don’t realize what it means to boys when they have certain things showing-it’s a huge signal to boys. Because they’re gorgeous.” Robyn has the first house, and Janelle then finds the next. She is a bit ashamed and embarrassed to admit that she "wants" something, that it is important to her, but the other women back her up. As ever, there are problems. The women each want a perfect house, and to live near one another (oddly, there seems to be no thought of sharing a house - one house for two wives?) The family is worried about money, for they all lost their jobs when Utah faded in the rear- view mirror, yet no one wants to compromise. It's still Kody's dream that one day they will live in a big house, all together, though. Now they have two weeks left in the vacation home. The Browns are getting nervous about where they will go… “I can’t ask Meri or Christine to move to just any home down the street, when Janelle and Robyn have the homes they want.” Finally Christine finds a house. “See, God loves us.” She is happy. The houses are each several blocks from one another, which must be a change from living so close together, and recently all in the same house. Eventually, Robyn and Meri go back to Utah to get their things and pets; a painful trip, but one that helps to bind the two together. “I got to have the love of my life with Kody, but also got to have this really cool relationship with the sister wives.” Meri and Robyn discuss the closeness that has developed between them over the past year despite Meri's very honest, and uncontrollable, jealousy towards Robyn and Kody's relationship. And then Meri finds a house, big, beautiful, further away from the others; and unfortunately, expensive. Meri finally finds a home she wants to rent, about 10 days before the rental is up. One big problem: it’s over a mile from the other houses. But it's perfect for family gatherings. Meri realizes she can have the whole family over because it is such a big house; and one of the others says “I’m looking forward to having Thanksgiving in that house.” So Meri, at first feeling deprived and degraded because she has only one child-- always apparently a sign, at least in the past, of somehow being less important than other sisterwives, gets the house she wants-- Kody is overcome by the other wives and overcomes his own misgivings. Kody: “I had to take a chill pill, because Meri and Meriah- their rent will cost as much as the house for Christine or Janelle- for a much bigger family. So it was all about a conflict with myself, trying to justify the amount of money because I had another house, very cheap, right next to Robyn. You’re taking this personally? “Kody says to Meri, turning towards her as she wipes away tears. “I’d take it personally!” says Christine, ever the defender of her sister wives. Janelle says, “Logically, Meri knew she should have a smaller house, that cost less. She tried for 2 weeks, but … she deserved to have the home that was important to her!" Meri says, “I guess I feel that people don’t think I have the right to as many perks, because I have only one child… it doesn’t make sense for me to have a bigger house.” Robyn: “No one feels that way.” Kody: “I was being a jerk about it…” Robyn and Christine hold a block party, because they live on the same street. Kody is worried that someone will come to give them “some religious zeal” against polygamy, but they are determined to meet their neighbors. Kody talks about wanting to be able to trust their friends and to help and stand by them; and he seems relieved to find that no one is (at least outwardly) going to put them down. Kody voices this when he says, “We don’t know what they are really thinking.” One larger black man says, “This is between (Kody) and God. … If you want multiple women, it’s not love, it’s lust.” Robyn: “If this was about lust, prostitutes are cheaper than wives. Sorry.” She points out that it’s a tougher neighborhood than anything she’s used to. “I had to make myself not judge any of my neighbors…” Kody” All we want is to be able to do it (live as polygamists). Judge us- but let us do it.” The wives are each reacting in different ways to this new arrangement. Some like aloneness to have prayers and family time with their children, some prefer to be together with the other sister-wives. Kody is “scared” because it feels like a privilege to some of the wives to have more time alone; he worries that perhaps they don’t want to be with one another, and will, in the end, become more and more separate. Kody and Robyn begin to talk about his and Robyn’s secret. Now, (it must have happened on the trip to Nevada-in January- or shortly after), she will have a baby in October. Robyn and Kody seem like children in many ways; they are excited over sharing a personal, just-between-us secret. But Robyn, unlike Kody, realizes that it may not seem like so much “fun” to some of the other members of the family. “We have a bun in the oven!” as Kody puts it. Happy, eager, delighted, Robyn still sees that Meri, particularly, may feel hurt by this new change in their lives. “Her body won’t let her have more children; that is painful for her...Our relationship has improved over the last year... I want to go baby clothes shopping with her…Hopefuly everybody will be ok with it.” She makes an appointment to talk to Meri. The episode closes with Robyn going over to Meri’s house; Meri has not yet heard the news, and seems surprised at the just-about-to-be revealed secret. The previews of the show’s return in the fall shows that the Browns are not yet through with tension, anger, and struggle among one another… but then, whose family ever is? Article first published as TV Open Thread: Sister Wives Special - "Sister Wives in the City of Sin" on Blogcritics.

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