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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!
And, please follow the Blog and comment whenever you like!

"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

Saturday, November 5, 2011

MetaMaus and the advice Irving gave Vladek Spiegelman...

I haven't seen a copy of "MetaMaus" yet, but it seems my family has been mentioned in it, finally, by actual NAME and the true quality of my relationship with Art Spiegelman at the time his mother died. My husband, Brion, and a couple of friends were in Barnes and Noble together a few days ago and one friend came across a mention of my father, Irving Fiske, who, having been dead since 1990, is not eligible to take legal offense at his portrayal. In any case, I am quite pleased to hear that the relationship has finally been acknowledged by Art, without making QH sound like a place where he stopped in and got his "ashes hauled" for $2.00 on his way to Canada or something... I remember most of the situation, as it occurred, though I’m still amazed that Willie agreed to talk to Irving…perhaps to get some idea of why his son was attached in any way to to the flyaway flowerchild daughter of such a man. At the time of Anja's death, Vladek (or Willie) either sought advice from both a rabbi and my father, or was given such advice without having requested it by at least one of them... (Probably Irving, if I know him). The Rabbi gave Rabbinical advice... sit Shiva, put a stone on Anja's grave after a year, say the appropriate prayers, and (maybe) in time, marry again. Irving said, in his most jolly and Zen-like fashion (possibly telling his favorite story of the man who was haunted by the ghost of his wife till he picked up a handful of beans and asked her how many beans he had in his hand... and she, being a Tulpa, or production of his imagination, could not answer... at that point, she vanished "into air, into thin air," as Prospero (Irving’s other Irving invited Vladek/ Willie up to Quarry Hill, to meet as many pretty girls as he possibly could, and as quickly as possible, if he happened to be interested in that sort of thing, pick one out and marry her as rapidly as possible. Evidently in MetaMaus Art says that Vladek was too distraught to pay much attention to either Irving or the Rabbi (I'm surprised he even agreed to meet Irving, since I was treated like Hester Prynne when I visited the Spiegelman house for wearing shoes of silver with a mini-dress of some kind of short, shiny gold... all I had, by the way. The only other shoes I had were sneakers, and had always been sneakers. I also left hair in the sink-- at the time I had very long, curly, wavy brown hair, and without realizing one was not to do that, combed it over the sink and then didn't wash it fully away or remove it. This offended Anja's friends and the remaining (if any) members of the Spiegelman family. I just did not know... and was mortified a few days later when Art told me that people had been offended by my laxness about hair-combing and mismatched dress). In any case, what I recall Art saying about Irving to me after our parents met (where was I?) was that Art's father thought that Irv was "meschugas" (crazy). " Art looked at me as though I ought to take this to heart, accepting the judgment of his father, this pragmatic, conventional Jewish man (admittedly, one who had lived through the Holocaust with inestimable aptitude) against the life-long entertainment and fascination (and to be honest, the not-so-entertaining role of the person who sweeps up the three-ring circus when the elephant king has gone by) of my relationship with Irving and his refusal to kowtow to any sort of predictable or unadventurous person whatsoever. (It was, to put it mildly, unlikely that a man of Vladek’s generation and background would have been willing to pick out another young wife on the advice of an apostate Bohemian schterer (troublemaker). Later Vladek did remarry, to another Camp survivor. I understand that the marriage was not a particularly happy one).

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