Editorials / Jul. 24, 2011 3:59pm EDT

By M.D. Drysdale

Welcome …

… to the annual Vacation Edition of The Herald. 

This week’s “news”paper is the latest in a tradition started about 50 years ago by former publisher John Drysdale, so that the entire Herald staff can take a vacation at the same time during the summer. We created this week’s paper last Thursday and Friday, mostly from feature-type material that we’ve been collecting for months. For the most part, readers shouldn’t expect late-breaking news in this issue.

What we offer, instead, are vacation-oriented stories, adventures, interesting historical glimpses, and reflections. Some of the articles are longer than you’re used to, so pour yourself some iced tea, and take the Herald out with you to the lawn chair for a spell.

Under the category of “adventures,” be sure not to miss the true-life story by former Bethel correspondent Chris Costanzo about his several weeks of extremely misspent youth running errands for organized crime syndicate in Naples, Italy. He swears it’s all true!

Costanzo, in fact, continues to be an especially fertile contributor to our Vacation Edition, submitting a half-dozen stories we found fascinating, of which we are publishing three at this time. His wide-ranging interests are especially illustrated by a fascinating account of the reign of Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt, who ruled a huge empire at a time when rulers were expected to be men. Costanzo’s other feature offerings are currently under wraps but are likely to show up in The Herald in succeeding months.

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First-person historical accounts include the 102-year-old diary on the facing page, which in its matter of fact accounting of everyday life gives a vivid portrayal of both the differences and similarities of then and now. Thanks to Mim Herwig for painstakingly transcribing this in longhand! 

Thanks also to Randolph native Fraser Drew, a much-decorated professor at Buffalo State College who still rides a scooter at age 95. He provides a window into the early days of the “Camp Randolph” settlement on the shores of Lake Champlain, where some Randolph families still have connections.

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The Vacation Edition also gives us the opportunity to emphasize just plain good writing—essays or descriptions that are more reflective than newsworthy. We are happy to include several of these this week, three by young writers barely out of high school.

We especially recommend Emily Marshia’s nearly out-of-body essay on page B-1, an imagining of her life as a sort of home movie, warm and tender. Emily submitted this article to us months ago, and we we wondered for months just how to illustrate it. It’s good to have her unique voice back in the paper.

Another unique voice is that of Bethel Gilead’s Stephen Morris. Author of several books and publisher of a host of little magazines, he has always had his own take on Vermont life—and a hilarious way of expressing it.

The three youngest writers are Brendan Mollica, Kevin Paquet, Katie Jickling and Hannah Becker; the latter two are present and former interns at The Herald, respectively. 

Brendan arrived at our door by surprise two weeks ago. He had just spent a week at a volunteer clinic and was deeply moved by it. As a writer, we quickly found, he was eloquent, able to chip away extraneous elements of a story to get at the core of emotion within.

Katie Jickling’s essay on her months in Guatemala is of a different type. It’s a story in which almost nothing happens, which unusual for Jickling, who is always on the go. Nonetheless, the reader becomes immersed in rural Guatemalan culture by reading the essay and feels a greater understanding of life and society there.

Hannah Becker likewise turns a routine  fitness run through Boston into a vivid tale about a different sort of “foreign” environment.

As to Kevin Paquet’s exploration of the future, readers can get an idea of the kind of crazed sense of humor we have to put up with every week here at The Herald. Our thanks to Tex for coming up with appropriate drawings on VERY short notice.

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We hope you like what we came up with for the Vacation Edition this year. Our thanks to the extra contributors and especially to our staff, who had to work twice as hard to put out two newspapers instead of one last week!





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