Michael Kline: 0:00:01.2 Today is the—is it—?
Sally Sanford: It's the tenth I think.
MK: The tenth. You've got the ninth here.
Carrie Kline: It says the tenth.
MK: The tenth is—?
CK: We're going on Sally's word, and she's written the tenth.
MK: It is the tenth, isn't it?
SS: I know yesterday was the ninth. Therefore, today must be the tenth.
MK: The tenth. Today is the tenth of May at the Concord Free Public Library. It's Tuesday, a beautiful, beautiful Tuesday afternoon, a spring day in Concord. Would you introduce yourself, say my name is?
SS: Sure. My name is Sally Sanford.
Lowell Sandy Smith: And my name is Sandy Smith.
MK: Okay. And you two are acquainted?
SS: We are. We are going to be celebrating our fortieth wedding anniversary this summer.
MK: Well, Sally, why don't we start with you, and if you would, just tell us a little bit about your people and where you were raised.
SS: Well, I grew up in Hamden, Connecticut. I was born in New Haven, Connecticut. My father was the business manager of the Yale University. And my mother was a political activist and former whack in World War II. Actually, my parents met overseas during World War II. And they—we lived in Hamden and various places in Hamden. I went just down the street to Yale for college. It was a bike ride from home. A local telephone call is still dimes and whatnot at those days. I was in the third class of women at Yale, so a long time ago. I'm really technically an old fart now. And I did not plan to go into music. I took a music appreciation course as a freshman at Yale. It kind of changed the course of my life. And then my senior year rolled around, and what did I want to do? I decided I wanted to sing. And I was coming into early music at that point to medieval renaissance and baroque music as a strong interest. And someone told me about a program at Stanford University. So I went out there for graduate school, and that's where Sandy and I met, shortly before classes started. And the course of my life shifted again because I was not planning to fall in love at that point in my life. I had big career path in mind. And here we are forty years later, sitting down with you. My family is primarily New Englanders, and as you will here, Sandy's is also. And so two New Englanders met out in California. And then we moved to New York and lived there for fourteen years before we moved here. And Concord was the last place on Earth I swore I would ever live. And here I am. So.
LSS: 0:02:56.0 You went to the length to—where you never lived—
SS: I learned never to say never. So that's a good segue to describing why I said never to pass it over to Sandy.
MK: All right. Can we start with some recollection of your people and where you were raised?
LSS: Sure. Can I have this camera case? Both my parents lived in Concord, in fact, met in Concord. They were married, and were living in Cambridge when I was born in 1947. They were living on Shepherd Street in a little duplex, two-family house, right across the street from Radcliffe College at the time, a couple of blocks from my maternal grandmother.
CK: Can you get a little close with that microphone? Thanks.
LSS: And when I—
MK: Turn up the recording.
LSS: When my father's father passed away here in Concord, my parents moved us to Concord. And we lived on Middle Street and what is now 33 Middle Street. I can't recall what it was at the time. And we lived there for about four years until my parents built a house up on Lowell Road. It's the first house on the left after you go over the Concord River. It's 383 Lowell Road. And that's basically where I grew up here in Concord. I went to the Alcott chool. I went to it for grades K-6. I went to—
MK: The which? I'm sorry.
LSS: The Alcott School for grades K-6. Then I went to the Peter Bulkeley School for grade seven, the old high school, which is the Emerson School, for grade eight. That's now the Emerson umbrella. And that—
MK: It's an umbrella?
LSS: 0:05:06.2 Yes. It's an artist's—
SS: You're interviewing somebody for the umbrella of—
LSS: —you're actually interviewing the director of the umbrella tomorrow, Jerry Wedge. It-when it ceased to become a school building, it became a building where artists could arrange for studio space. And I'm not quite sure what the formal arrangement is in there whether it's rental or condominiums. I suspect just a rental arrangement. It's been a highly successful facility in Concord allowing artists of all kinds, studio artists as well as performing artists, a space to perform. Then I—so I went to Concord-Carlisle High School. I was in the second class of students to go all four years at the high school, which was just torn down to make way for a new high school, which opened a year ago. I went to Williams College, graduated class of 1969, then came back to Concord and worked for several years for an educational consulting group called the National Humanities Faculty. And then I went to Stanford Business School, which was where I met Sally. And as Sally said, we were married a year after we met one another and then went back to Stanford for me to finish my business degree and for Sally to finish here doctorate of musical arts degree. So that's how we met. We stayed in California until 1981, and then moved back to New York City where I worked for J.P. Morgan, Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, for fourteen years. And then we relocated to Concord, and I accepted a position at Cambridge Associates, which was an investment consulting firm in Boston, from which I retired eighteen months ago in the summer of 2014. So it's, for me, it's fun to be back in Concord. It's fun to have raised our kids here, and it's been fun to get reengaged with the community.
MK: It sounds like, though, from what Sally said that you might have had some persuading to do to arrange, to move, there with your family.
SS: Sandy's a fourth generation Concordian. And this Smith family's contributions to the town of Concord run very deep and are very extensive, and there's quite a lot of history connected with the Smith family. Particularly because I did not take the name, Smith, I was really worried I was going to have trouble being my own person if I lived here. But by the time I moved here, I had felt very secure and comfortable in who I was and was very happy to move here. We found a great house that was perfect for our growing family. So it's just a kind of funny story. We have another kind of fun overlapping about our people just to make a bigger answer to that question. I'm not going to go into all the detail because it's not really Concord related, but I was doing some research into one of my ancestors, my seven greats grandfather, who was an important Quaker and Quaker minister and founded the first Quaker meeting in Pembroke. And he had established a Quaker burial ground that we were trying to save from being developed. And in researching land transactions when my seven greats grandfather deeded his farm to my six greats grandfather, that deed was witnessed by Sandy's six greats grandfather. So we had them in the same room at the same time with their signatures on the same piece of paper. So I don't know if we're re-incarnated from that time. That was just really early eighteenth century, about 1707, that that transaction happened. But it's kind of fun to think that our families knew each other way back when.
MK: Sandy, she referenced several generations of contributions by the Smith family to the Concord community. Can you give us a run down on what those would have been?
LSS: 0:09:46.0 I'll give you a brief run down. Anyone who's seriously interested in exploring that could find a lot more detail several of the memoirs of the Social Circle of Concord. Social Circle is a men's organization that's been around since the late eighteenth century and continues today, but one of its unique characteristics is that it publishes memoirs, or short biographies, on all of its members. And my great grandfather was a member. And his second son, who was named for him, was also a member. So there's a fairly rich Smith family history from the point that my great grandfather came to Concord in about 1865. He married the great granddaughter of General Benjamin Lincoln.
SS: The granddaughter.
LSS: —of General Benjamin Lincoln in 1865 and immediately moved to Concord where he, shortly thereafter, became a partner with his cousin, Edward Damon. In Concord today, we refer to the Damon Mill in Concord. It's an old mill, set of mill buildings, in what's now called West Concord. But for a period of twelve or fifteen years, my great grandfather and his cousin, Edward Damon, ran the Damon Smith Mill together as partners. My great—
MK: It was a mill you said?
SS: It was a woolen mill.
LSS: It was a woolen mill.
SS: And they were the largest employer of in Concord at the time and really responsible for a lot of the development of West Concord, what today is called West Concord. It's sort of colloquially was called Damonville, but Mr. Damon didn't want to have—they were trying to get a post office established over in that part of time. And he didn't want to have his name as part of the town. He didn't want to have an eponymous town name. So at Henry Francis Smith's house, they had a meeting and decided that they would call it Westvale. Shortly thereafter, they got their own post office over there. And Leslie can tell you the date when Westvale actually formally became West Concord, but it was a separate little town village area, a subset of Concord if you will.
CK: So did they—what's commonly called the Damon Mill was the Smith Damon mill? Or was it—
SS: No, it was the Damon Smith Mill.
LSS: Damon Smith. Damon Smith and Company was the name of the firm, I believe. And they were in the wool and wool business, which was a business that my great grandfather was in his whole life. That partnership lasted only, as I said, only roughly a dozen years, but they developed the mill significantly during that period of time. And you can still see Damon Smith and Company on some of the maps of Concord from that particular era. But my great grandfather set a pretty high bar for community service. He was one of the founding trustees of this Concord Free Public Library.
MK: What was his name?
SS: 0:13:38.7 Henry Francis Smith.
LSS: He—um—was one of the founding trustees of the Concord Free Public Library. He was a selectmen of the town of Concord. At the time, the town of Concord celebrated the 100th anniversary of the battle here at the Old North Bridge, and so he hosted President Grant, who came up for that ceremony, and was in charge of arranging security for President Grant's visit on April 19, 1875.
SS: This is kind of a fun story. Henry Francis Smith was an avid diarist, and we have donated his diaries to the Concord Free Public Library special collections. And he's a pretty terse diarist. His most extensive entry was on the day that Abraham Lincoln was shot. So this is post Lincoln's assassination. Grant is coming up for the 1875 celebration and the dedication of the statue that Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the poem that Daniel Chester French inscribed on the statue. All of that is going to be happening in that ceremony. And a couple of days ahead of time, he takes the train in from Concord to Boston and hires a couple of off-duty Boston cops to provide security for Grant while he's here. It's just mind boggling that a common citizen would be entrusted with that responsibility post Lincoln's assassination. And the only way we know about that is because he did it, and he wrote about it in the diary.
LSS: He was also a member of the Concord school committee for a period of years, and roughly a hundred years later, shortly after I graduated from college, I ran for the school committee here in Concord and was elected at age twenty-three to the school committee and was chairman of the Concord school committee for a year. And one of my responsibilities was to write the report of the school committee that went into the annual town report. So, for some reason, I thought that it might be interesting to look back 100 years before that to see what the issues were. And when I did, low and behold, there was the report of the school committee written by my great grandfather. I had no idea that he was even a member of the school committee at the time. And it was one of the fun family coincidences, I guess, that I ran into.
MK: Anything that really stood out?
LSS: Well, quite frankly, it was interesting because the issues were surprisingly similar. The issues were all about paying teachers and hiring good teachers and school facilities and all those kinds of things. The issues were remarkably similar over the hundred years.
SS: Another volunteer area that Henry Francis Smith was very active in was at the First Parish, the Unitarian Church, which had been Ralph Waldo Emerson's parish. And he was the head of the Sunday school for many, many decades, if I'm correct in that, and became a deacon of the First Parish and became the senior deacon, which is a lifetime position, and which held until his death. He lived until he was ninety-seven, ninety-five?
LSS: Eighteen thirty-three to 1928.
SS: 0:17:32.8 So ninety-five years old. He—for decades, he was a volunteer there. He was a lifetime trustee here at the library for decades. When he was chairman of the board of selectmen, it was his responsibility to turn on the gas street lights every night, which is just amazing to think of a person doing that, but night after night, he would light the street lights here in Concord.
MK: Here in—? Did I understand that he resided in West Concord though?
SS: His mill was in West Concord.
MK: Oh, I see.
SS: He lived just down the street here at what is now 169 Main Street.
LSS: It's now 169 Main Street. At that time, it was 61 Main Street, but literally, between this building we're sitting in, his house—there's only one other house here. So he lived on the same block with the library that he served for so many years as a trustee.
CK: And helped found? Did you say he helped found it?
LSS: Yes, he was one of the founding trustees. William Monroe, for whom the special collections is named, was the man who, I think, deserves all the credit for building this building and conceiving of the Concord Free Public Library corporation and its current arrangement with the town. He was a neighbor of my great grandfather, and they became—
SS: And sold him his house.
LSS: —sold him the house at 61 Main Street. They became close friends immediately. So my great grandfather was invited by Mr. Monroe to be one of the first trustees.
SS: So then he had, Henry Francis Smith, had six boys. And the oldest three boys married three sisters, the Blanchard girls, who also lived here just around the corner. And five of the six boys all lived within two blocks of mom and dad. One of the boys actually lived with mom and dad, Sandy's grandfather. And the sixth, the youngest boy, moved out to California. But there was a very strong, tight-knit clan of Smiths here when you have that many boys. And they were also—Sandy kind of said at lunch when we were thinking about this interview—that it really is something that runs in the genes in terms of community service because they all were active in helping the Concord community in some way. Sandy's grandfather—
MK: Can we have their names?
SS: Sandy can give you all of that.
LSS: 0:20:19.6 So the oldest was a son named William Lincoln Smith. He was born in 1867. He married the oldest Blanchard daughter, Grace Blanchard. William Lincoln Smith was the first professor at Northeastern University in 1896. And he was a professor of electrical engineering. And in 1966, Northeastern University named a woman's dormitory for him, Smith Hall. I've not ever seen it. I don't know if it exists any longer, but it was a nice recognition of his service. But he was also the wiring inspector in Concord for a number of years, an obvious thing for somebody who had electrical engineering as a background. The second son was Henry Francis Smith Junior.
SS: Before you get off of him, he lived at 38 Academy Lane just so you have that down where he lived.
LSS: That's the current number on it, right at the corner of Middle Street and Academy Lane, literally, less than a hundred yards from where he grew up and where his father lived. The second son, Henry Francis Smith Jr., was born in 1869. He married the second Blanchard daughter, Margaret Blanchard. He was associated with Middlesex Savings Bank in Concord for virtually all of his career. He and his wife, Margaret, were founding trustees of Orchard House, the house museum where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women and where Bronson Alcott founded the school of philosophy. And a number of relatives since Henry Francis Smith and his wife were involved in founding the Orchard House. A number of family members have served on the board.
SS: You can pick that back up once you finish talking through the sons.
LSS: The third son was Benjamin Farnham Smith, born in 1871. He married the third Blanchard daughter, Helen Train Blanchard. Benjamin Farnham Smith was town moderator for a period of time and was a state representative for a couple of years. And he lived at, what was then, 5 Academy Lane, now 35 Academy Lane. That house has recently been moved and reoriented toward Sudbury Road and now has an address of 54 Sudbury Road. So the house has been renumbered three times. The fourth son was Herbert Baylies Smith, born in 1873. He married Emily Blanche Pratt. He worked for the telephone company in Boston. They had no children. They lived in a two-family house on Middle Street about two houses away from his older brother, Lincoln Smith.
SS: That's now 25 Middle Street.
LSS: It's now 25 Middle Street, yeah.
SS: And he was not super involved in community service as far as we know. I think he may be the one son who was not super involved in community service. But the house that they were living in was the old Thoreau Academy where Henry David and his brother had a school.
LSS: 0:24:06.6 The fifth son was Theodore Lincoln Smith, born in 1877. He was my grandfather. He married Alice Louise Gage. He went to MIT. He was a production engineer at the Gillette company, and in Concord, he was road commissioner for a period of time. And in fact, the special collections has a collection of his photographs of road construction in Concord during the time that he was road commissioner. He was also—he served in the Spanish-American War, came back to sort of get his strength back and get reoriented, became a Maine guide up in the state of Maine. Later, he joined the Concord Independent Battery, which was a successor to an artillery company here in Concord, and was commander of the Concord Independent Battery for a period of time. He, as Sally said earlier, he lived at 61 Main Street and took care of his mother and father until their deaths. And then he died at 61 Main. And my grandmother then subdivided the property, built a little Cape Cod for herself, and lived there until she died about ten years later.
SS: But she kept, on her property, the carriage house that Henry Francis Smith, the elder, the senior, had built for his horses. And we are now living in that carriage house which we've converted from a horse to a human dwelling. So there's lots of—
LSS: So again, things come full circle.
SS: A lot of the story here is full circles because we'll fill in the gaps of other family members, but Sandy has now picked up many of these threads. And he is currently a trustee of the library. He is currently a trustee at Orchard House and the treasurer, which he has been for many, many years. He is currently a member of the Social Circle in Concord, which is your great grandfather and your great uncle, two great uncles, were members of.
LSS: Great uncle. Two great uncles, yeah.
SS: He served on the school committee, as he said earlier, at one point right after college. And then he's also serving our church, quite faithfully. He's been a vestry member and a long time member of the finance committee of Trinity Episcopal Church. Not the First Parish, but still a notion of community, serving community there.
LSS: And on the board, an active member, of the Concord Independent Battery.
SS: Oh yes. I'm sorry.
LSS: So that was the last thing. And then the sixth and youngest of the sons was George Kirkham Smith. He was born in 1880. He went to the west coast and married a woman named Elizabeth Wood from Oregon and lived in San Rafael, California, worked in the insurance business and raised his family in California. And they're all still on the west coast. So there is a significant thread of community service that has run through the family ever since my great grandfather started that tradition, if you want to think of it that way, back in the late 1860s.
MK: I want to ask you to wind this recitation with your dad to kind of bring it full circle.
LSS: Okay. My father was actually—
MK: His name?
LSS: 0:27:52.4 My father is Stephen Lincoln Smith. He was born in 1913, went to school here in Concord, went to a series of small private schools in Concord, the names of which escape me at the moment.
CK: And the spelling of your father's first name?
LSS: Yup. He went to Phillips Andover Academy for high school, and then went to the University of California at Berkley for college, originally in forestry, but then graduated with a degree in history. After that, he graduated in the late thirties. Shortly after that, the war started, and he served in the Army Air Corps in Africa during the second World War. He and my mother met here in Concord. My mother had grown up on the north—she had been born in Denver, Colorado. Her father passed away at an early age, and her mother moved back to Salem, Massachusetts where she could be near her parents, and then re-married a man who lived in Concord. So they moved to Concord. So my mother grew up here, was a good playmate of my father's younger sister, Mary, and so they met through that connection. My mother went to Concord Academy as a girl as did her two younger sisters. And she lived at what is now 315 Lexington Road not too far from Orchard House. So the two of them were married in 1945. And I was born—they lived, as I said, earlier in Cambridge, and I was born while they were living in Cambridge.
SS: So your father's community service was interesting. They ran a little mom and pop department store on the Mill Dam called J.P. Nourse's.
SS: J.P Nourse's. N-O-U-R-S-E. And Nourse's was the place where you could get all the basics, your scout uniforms and nice sweaters and shirts and skirts.
LSS: Underwear and socks.
SS: Underwear, socks, that's kind of stuff. After Sandy's mom died, we got a number of condolence letters that all said, "Oh, I remember Shirley's helped me buy my first bra." And Sandy's mom's name was Grace Shirley Foote, but she was known as Shirley. But Sandy's—did both your parents serve on the celebrations committee or just your dad?
LSS: I think just my father.
SS: Steve served on the town celebrations committee. This is kind a nice, again, full circle. When Concord was celebrating in 1975 and the wonderful festivities that were done there, he was on the celebrations committee for that time period. It was kind of analogous to his grandfather in 1875 for that celebration. And he was also a member of the Concord Independent Battery. So there's been a lot of son to son to son to son.
LSS: 0:31:39.0 I think he was also on the adult education committee for a period of time and—
CK: Adult education?
LSS: Yes, there was a committee that sort of oversaw the adult education programs here in Concord. I believe he was on that committee for a period. And he also was active in church. He grew up in the Unitarian Church. My mother grew up in the Episcopal Church, and so when I was born, my parents decided that they would go to the Episcopal Church. And so my father and I were baptized in the same service together—it was kind of fun—at Christ Church in Cambridge.
MK: You were how old?
LSS: I was just—
SS: He was an infant, but he was an adult.
LSS: I was an infant. My father was an adult, and I was the infant. So we were both baptized simultaneously.
MK: Can we turn to you now?
MK: And I'm very interested in your music studies, your—what developed—into your music career, and the contributions you made musically to Concord, which must have been nice.
SS: Well, I'll try to just tell a quick story about how I got to music. My parents split up when I was six years old. And my mother kind of got religion, and we got the children's choir at St. Thomas's Church in New Haven, Connecticut, that happened at the time, to be directed by Helen and Howard Boatwright. Helen was a wonderful singer, sang quite a lot with the Boston Symphony, did a lot of oratory and orchestral work. And so at the age of six, I had this phenomenal musician directing my choir. And she sort of discovered there was this little kid who was singing on tune and what not. So I did quite a lot of solo work as a child, not ever thinking I would do it professionally. And when I was in high school, I was asked to be a gingerbread boy in a New Haven opera theater production of Hansel and Gretel. And the ginger children scene is with the dew fairy. It's not even with Gretel and Hansel. And the woman who came out to sing that was just one of the most beautiful voices I'd ever heard. That was Susan Davenny-Wyner. It was before her career took off, and I like to think I discovered her before the rest of the world did. And I started studying singing with her. And that was part of what led me to decide to stay close to home and go to Yale because I could continue to study with her.
MK: She was a prof—?
SS: 0:34:18.1 She was a professional singer. She was about to win many, many competitions, and she made her New York City Opera debut and her Metropolitan Opera debut. She's now a phenomenal conductor. She had a terrible bicycle accident in New York City right outside The Dakota, very near where John Lennon was shot, a hit and run accident that basically ended her singing career. Very, very tragic.
SS: Susan Davenny-Wyner. W-Y-N-E-R.
SS: D-A-V-E-N-N-Y, Wyner, W-Y-N-E-R. And her husband, Yehudi, is a wonderful composer and pianist. And he recently won the Pulitzer Prize, a few years ago, for a piano concerto that the Boston Symphony Orchestra commissioned.
SS: Y-E-H-U-D-I. And they're very close, dear friends of mine still, and important friends and mentors. But I was planning to major in French or psychology. I really was—I just loved music avocationally. But as I started to take music courses and do more and more singing, I realized that that was sort of the path I wanted to explore. And early music and historical performance practice really captivated me because it combined my intellectual interests and my musical interests. There's so many layers of research, and it's a wonderful, wonderful field. And I was—it had just started to take off in great interest in the early seventies, so I kind of rode a little bit of that wave of interest.
MK: Wave of interest of?
SS: In early music. I was—the New York Pro Musica had just kind of put early music on the map in the sixties. And there was increasing interest in research. My interest is in combining research and performance so that the performance is trying to capture the spirit and values and known facts that we can establish from how they might have done it then, but still to bridge, make a bridge, to how we appreciate it and make it come to life today.
MK: Give us some rough boundaries of early music.
SS: Well, early music is anything from the earliest available notations from eighth, ninth century. I do twelfth to twenty-first century music. My specialty is seventeenth and eighteenth music. Early music is mostly defined as up until about 1800, but that's not a hard cut off line any more. And I primarily am now known as a specialist in seventeenth and eighteenth century music, but I really do everything except for big opera. I don't have a big voice. I have a delicate lyric coloratura instrument, so I just don't do big opera. But I sing anything else, leader and song literature, oratorio, the baroque opera, medieval dramas, those kinds of things.
MK: Who were three composers that are among your favorites that I might have heard of?
SS: 0:37:33.3 Oh, well, you would have heard of J. S. Bach, I hope, for sure. You might not have heard of Claudio Monteverdi, but he was a wonderful, wonderful seventeenth century composer without whom the genre of opera really would not have developed. And then probably a third composer you probably would not have heard of who is Louis-Nicolas ClÃ©rambault who is a French baroque cantata composer and responsible for—big, big mover and shaker in the development of the solo cantata in France in the age of Louis XIV. But I'm getting quite a lot of mileage out of Mr. Bach these days. I'm doing a very fun project in Japan. I'm going back for the third time this summer. I'm part of the faculty of a workshop that's called Rethinking Bach, and it's aimed at modern players and trying to help them understand historical performance and how they can adapt those concepts onto modern instruments. And we have an international group—we have, obviously, a big contingent of Japanese students—but we also have students from South America and the U.S. and China. And so it's really fun, exciting to bring—to go to Japan with Bach.
LSS: This will be your third trip this summer.
SS: This is my third time this summer. So that's a little bit of what I do, but musicians where lots of different hats. So in addition to my performance career, I do have a bit of a scholarly career. I've published some scholarly articles and chapters in books and things. And I also have done some recording/producing, and then I have this impresario hat that I wear here for the library. We will be celebrating our twentieth season, next year in 2017, of free concerts to the public that presents world-class artists, chamber music programs, right here in the rotunda of the library.
MK: Is this something that you invented?
SS: It's something that I've been on the ground floor of, and I'm the chairman of the music committee. And that's all—the idea was Sherry Litwack's. I think I see on your list that you'll be talking to Sherry. It was Sherry who had the idea of bringing concerts to the library. And that we can offer this free to the public, we've had some outstanding performers play on the series. We've had Matt Haimovitz. We've had Anonymous 4. We've had the Borromeo String Quartet. We've had Eliot Fisk. We've had—I could go on and on of really phenomenal performers that have played here, and they loved playing here because the acoustics are wonderful. And the audience is very attentive. And it's free. It's this beautiful, little cultural jewel right here in the center of this wonderful cultural nexus that is the library. And we cut across a wide socioeconomic spectrum of Concord. We have people who work as grocery clerks who come. We have people who are retired. We have Mrs. "Gotrocks". We've had a homeless person at some of our concerts. And it's just fantastic. Mrs. "Gotrocks?"
CK: Can you spell that?
CK: For our transcriptionists?
SS: Gotrocks would be quotes G-O-T-R-O-C-K-S end quotes. [laughter]
MK: 0:41:08.5 Gotrocks whenever you think of it.
LSS: That's right.
CK: Your socioeconomic class.
SS: She's up there. She's a—it's wonderful to work with artists who play for usually below what they would normally receive in other concerts because they understand that this is free.
MK: Are you able to corner some state arts?
SS: We don't apply for state arts money. Our budget comes from the Friends of the Library. And their budget comes from people who donate books. And it's the most beautiful recycling project I can think of which is to take a used book, get it sold at the book sale, and convert it into a concert. So it's pretty special and unusual. And we do not have to worry about our funding, and we do not have to worry about our audience, which are the two biggest impedimenta to making concerts viable in the twenty-first century. And I've said for a long time that the minute anybody wants to start charging for these concerts, I'm out of here because part of what makes it so special is that it's free.
MK: That would change it altogether.
SS: That's right.
LSS: And what's fascinating about it is that the audience changes with each concert. Some of the concerts are more contemporary than others. Some are vocal. Some are just all piano recitals. And the audience, obviously, self selects. And so sometimes it's an audience of people that really enjoy sort of traditional classical music, and other times it's an edgier audience that enjoys something that's a little more contemporary.
SS: We try to keep our programming very eclectic so that at some point we'll traverse just about everything. We haven't gotten there yet. After twenty years, there's still repertoire and things I still hope we have a chance to present. But we have a core of people who will come to anything. They really trust the high bar that we have, and they know that they might not have heard of the composer, but they know it's going to be an interesting, well-performed, stimulating program. And so they will venture forth and come to listen even so. One of the concerts that we do is deliberately a very, very contemporary program. We call that our Hans Poppel concert. Hans, H-A-N-S, Poppel, P-O-P-P-E-L. Hans was one of the founding members of the music committee along with me, and was very, very much behind contemporary music. And he and his wife Stephanie moved back to Munich, Germany, where he was from several years ago. And we, in his honor, we have committed to have one concert every year be the Hans Poppel concert that pushes us off into very adventurous programming. And I'm very glad that we've made that commitment to presenting some things that are very new and experimental sometimes.
CK: These are evening affairs?
SS: 0:44:30.6 They're Saturday evenings, 7:30. We usually have three programs. It's a winter time concert series, sort of February to April.
SS: So when there's not quite so much else going on. January and February tend to be slightly down trough in other people's concert schedules, so it's a nice time for us to come on.
LSS: Sally was also involved in purchasing the grand piano that's currently owned by the library.
SS: This is also a fun, only in Concord, kind of story. We started the series, and of course, we had to rent pianos. And the quality of the pianos we were getting was not consistent. And we were never completely sure what we were going to get for a piano and how well regulated it was going to be. And we're bringing in pianists who don't have a lot of time to practice on it ahead of the concert. And we needed something that was going be more stable as an instrument and also save us the huge budget drain renting a piano costs. Two very, very generous donors here in Concord, Reed and Barbara Anthony, gave the funds—most of the funds—for the piano. And Hans and I went into Boston, and we did not find anything that we liked there. This is a small space and it just needs just the right instrument for it. A lot of new pianos are being made for big halls and are rather hard and brassy so they'll cut through orchestras. And that was not what we were looking for. We wanted a piano that could be a soloist and also a chamber musician, being able to accompany other instruments and singers, not a concerto player. So Hans went down to New York, and he sort of prescreened a few pianos. And then I went down to New York and met a friend of mine who was in town from California. I said, "Well, come on along. We're going to go buy a piano today." And we went to Steinway Concert Hall, and we found the one, you know, when you just lose your heart. And it's a very special instrument. It's got a beautiful range of colors. It's got a beautiful base and baritonal register, fabulous tenorial color, and a very, very sweet top, which was really, really important to me. And I knew that it was so unusual for pianos that were being made these days that I wrote out a check for $1,000 to hold the piano right then and there without checking with anybody. And it was about $20,000 more than the gift we had was. And I just said, "Well, somehow, we're going to find this money." Then I had to go to meeting of the trustees. Sandy was not on the board of trustees of the library at this time. And I felt like I was going through a doctoral oral exam. I was thoroughly, utterly grilled. I had to prove to them why was this the one and why should we pay twenty more thousand dollars out of our endowment to purchase this instrument. So I made my case, and I said, "I will contribute the $1,000 deposit that I just put down if each of you around the table will match me. And we'll be well on our way to raising that money." And they ultimately unanimously voted to buy the piano and to contribute the extra difference that we were short on the gift. And I think it's repaid many times over already by being such a wonderful community instrument.
MK: And who is the maker?
SS: The maker is a Steinway. It's a Steinway B. It's a Steinway B.
MK: Just a particularly—
SS: 0:48:34.6 But it's an unusual instrument for the way Steinway is making pianos now.
MK: When was this one built? Roughly.
SS: I'd have to go back and look. In the oughts of 2000.
SS: I wish I could remember exactly what year it was, but so not that—it's just we're trying to keep it kind of low mileage now so not to have too many people banging on it so that hopefully it will stay in tiptop shape for a long time.
LSS: But before concerts, use the piano, you have it tuned by a professional tuner.
SS: Oh, of course we have it tuned. We have the technician of the Boston Symphony who looks after this piano.
SS: And the staff—
MK: Where else but Concord.
SS: In the winter, in the winter time, because the climate control in this main part of the library is not perfect, we have a tube, a humidifying tube, that lives inside the piano. And they have to water this tube every week. And the staff of the library is very careful to help keep that maintained. But I do—I end up being the person who dusts the piano before the concerts.
MK: So as the piano provider and one of the founding committee members, you've played a pretty big hand, I would guess, in selecting—
MK: —the music that's been performed?
SS: Well, we—well, I will certainly talk to the artist. We have some artists that we're just so happy to have them come, they can play whatever they feel like. And then there are other programs that we've designed very specially together. One really fun collaborative program we did with Randy Hodgkinson and his wife, Leslie Amper, where we did—this was a wonderful kind of library type program—where we took the correspondence between Robert and Clara Schumann. And I spent about a year researching this program. We selected wonderful excerpts that connected to specific pieces of music that then they played. And so we did this in costume. One of the drama teachers at the high school played Robert Schumann and I played Clara. And we rented some costumes from the Concord Players and read the excerpts. And then they played the music. That was a program that we took a quite a lot of hand in designing. That's an extreme example on one hand of being very involved. I hope we're going to do another program like that with Clara's correspondence with Johannes Brahms.
MK: So these were letters which talked about the flavor and construction of the music, the theory.
SS: 0:51:29.5 Yes, or, "It was hot, and I traveled today, but I still played beautifully," various different kinds of things that gave a little bit of a backdrop and amplification. And also their relationship together, because there was some for Hans music that they would play together, and then there were solo pieces by each. We had music by Clara and music by Robert. It was a wonderful evening, really, really fun evening. And then other artists will sometimes contact us if they have a special program that they want to try out before they're playing it at Carnegie Hall or something like that. They might come here and play it first, in which case, it's going to be whatever they want to play. We're happy to hear it. But sometimes we go looking for certain repertoire. We had not really adequately looked at the music of Ravel and Debussy. I felt it was a real lacuna in the series. So we found a wonderful pianist to do that program. How we pick and what we do runs the flavor from really working closely with the artists, designing a unique program for the library to anything goes and ranges in between.
MK: And this began in what year?
SS: So this started in 1997.
MK: Ninety-seven. So you're coming up on the anniversary.
SS: So twentieth anniversary.
SS: And the Borromeo String Quartet is going to open our series. I think I can say that in public. We don't have the contract signed, but I've got the contract to get signed. [laughter]
CK: Who is it?
SS: Borromeo String Quartet. They're coming back.
MK: Spell that.
SS: B-O—let me spell this right. B-O-R-R-O-M-E-O. They're a Boston-based string quartet, but they're very internationally renowned. They're delighted to come back. They remembered playing with the statue of Big Waldo that's out in the rotunda. And they were delighted to come back.
CK: Where do you hold it, speaking of it?
SS: 0:53:41.3 Right here in the rotunda, just out the door here. And we orient the piano in front of the reference desk so the artists are looking at Big Waldo, the big statue of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
MK: Is that based on studies of the acoustics of the space?
SS: Well, just kind of visually it makes sense to us to do it that way. I think if you were looking at Big Waldo, you wouldn't see the performers quite as well. So we like to make him an audience member, the Ã©minence grise of the room.
MK: You sell out all though it's—you sell out these concerts on a very regular basis. How many, roughly, how many people come?
SS: Well, we—I would say we average about 120 or so for most—as an average—but we've packed—if I put in a number, the fire marshal will probably get upset, but we've packed 150 in there.
MK: Well, I've heard you both reference raising children, and the more I hear you talk about your interest in public service, the more I wonder how you juggle raising children with all of these great things you've done.
SS: Well, I'm—I don't know. I'm a high energy person, and we've involved our kids. We have two wonderful, fantastic children. Our daughter, Samantha, is a third-year resident at Yale-New Haven Hospital now. She went to Williams College and the University of Chicago Medical School. And she was very active at our church. We haven't really gotten as deeply—there's volunteer stuff in our church that we haven't talked about yet, but Samantha was an acolyte.
LSS: A member of the choir.
SS: And a long-time member of the choir, both the junior choir and the adult choir.
MK: She's a good singer?
SS: She's a nice singer, a very nice singer and went on to sing in choir in medical school too. And we just have always pitched in. So the kids were here helping set up chairs for concerts. Samantha and Trip have run lights for different things that I've been involved in or passed out programs. They've just—that's how you manage to do it is you involve them and bring them along. And Trip is now on the investment—our son, Thomas Ripley Sanford Smith, called Trip, T-R-I-P—is now on the investment committee at Orchard House. So he's becoming, what is it, fourth generation to serve on that board?
LSS: Fourth, yeah.
SS: 0:56:33.1 We'll talk about—we'll circle back and talk about some other Smith family's contributions there.
MK: Investments are an interest of his then professionally?
SS: He's working as a financial associate at Cambridge Associates where Sandy worked actually. He went to—both our children went to Concord Academy. He went to Colby College, where he majored in economics. And he's hoping to go to business school at some point and get more expertise in whatever area of finance he ultimately settles out in. He's living in Cambridge now. Our daughter's also married, and she got married in 2014. And her husband, Matt Zegarek, Z-E—
SS: —G-A-R-E-K. I have to always think through. He is also a doctor, and is just finishing his residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital. And they both spent two months in Africa this past fall working in a remote Zulu village called Tugela Ferry in an aids clinic that's also the epicenter of multiple drug resistant TB. And while that was part of their residency training program, it was also really an intense community service that they did there for two months. The notion of serving others is pretty deeply engrained in our kids and both of our kids are also members of the Concord Independent Battery. So that's now a—
LSS: Keeping that family tradition.
SS: So that's now a fifth generation.
LSS: Ah, no. Well, no. Let's see. One, two, three, four. No, four.
SS: Yeah. Oh, that's now a fourth generation.
CK: So women are involved in that too?
LSS: Yes, yes. Yup. We've committed the twenty-first century, twentieth century, whatever.
SS: But other Smith family members, the Orchard House family service is quite something. Henry Francis Smith Jr. and his wife, Margaret Blanchard Smith, were founding trustees of Orchard House. And there was—I think about—I read through all the minutes of Orchard House tracing this, and there's a three year gap when there is not a Smith family serving Orchard House between 1911 and now. Whitney Savage Smith was a long-time treasurer, and then Eric Parkman Smith, long-time treasurer, we're talking twenty, thirty year type services. And Eric would only relinquish being treasurer if Sandy took it over, which you did. I forget in what year.
LSS: Roughly 1997, I think.
MK: So in 1911, did you say?
SS: 0:59:26.9 Nineteen eleven, they purchased the house and raised the funds. It's a fascinating story. They wrote to women's clubs all over the United States, and different women's clubs raised $5 here, $10 there. It's an amazing story of a bunch of little, tiny contributions—
MK: Twenty-seven dollars each or something?
SS: —adding up to be able to raise the funds to purchase the house and create the association and try to preserve it.
MK: The suffrage movement must have been in full swing. Did they time that?
SS: The suffrage movement would have been—I imagine they might have caught a little bit of that wave. George Kirkham Smith's wife was the daughter of Charles Erskine Scott Wood. And Charles Erskine Scott Wood's second wife was a very big mover and shaker in the women's suffrage movement, Sara Bard Field. And so it was in the family. It was over in the West Coast branch of the family, but I imagine that they would have been hearing about—she was traveling—Sara Bard Field was traveling all over the U.S. making speeches for women suffrage. So probably they caught some of that wave.
MK: Tapped into one of their mailing lists or something.
SS: Who knows how they did it, but the correspondence back from all the women's clubs we've donated to Orchard House. It's just fascinating to see these wonderful notes that were accompanying these very small amounts of money that were getting contributed from all over the place.
LSS: Bake sales and all kinds of very cottage industry types of fundraising efforts.
SS: But Margaret Blanchard Smith was a long-time secretary of Orchard House while her husband was the treasurer. They were both very actively serving over there. So it's quite an amazing—if you've served now, it's 2017, you take those years, it's over a hundred years of service to Orchard House alone. Henry—was Henry Francis Smith Jr. a trustee here too?
LSS: Here? I'd have to check. He may have been. He may have been.
SS: But your grandfather was a trustee here for—
LSS: My great-grandfather.
SS: Your great-grandfather was a trustee here for decades.
LSS: From roughly whenever the library was founded in the late 1870s, I think—
SS: Until his death.
LSS: —it was until his death in 1928. So for fifty years.
SS: So close to fifty years.
LSS: 1:02:17.7 And his service, Sally referenced his service to the First Parish Church also.
SS: Also well over fifty years.
LSS: He's the longest serving deacon of the First Parish in history.
SS: But then, Eric Parkman Smith was also a deacon there for a good thirty plus years. Henry Francis Smith Jr., I think, was a deacon there succeeding his father. So there is more than just one organization that's gotten decades and decades of Smith service to the town. So now you can understand why it felt a little intimidating [laughter] when I first married into this family. I'm not sure I can handle living in Concord.
MK: The last place you'll ever live.
LSS: And here we are, twenty years later.
SS: But we never—I never, ever, ever, ever imagined that when Sandy's grandmother died, his grandfather, his grandmother built this little—subdivided the property and built this little house that Sandy referred to, what's called, the little red house on Academy Lane and kept this carriage house that had been Henry Francis Smith's horse and carriage barn. Henry Francis Smith loved his horses. He had four horses, and his diaries talked more about his horses than they do about his six boys. And he built them an incredibly elegant dwelling place that sometime around 1868-1870, the barn dates from that time period. And when Sandy's grandmother died in 1960, Eric Parkman Smith purchased the house because he was living in his family's house at 5 Academy Lane right next door. And he purchased it to keep the property in the family. And he rented the house and did next to nothing to the barn. So Sandy's grandfather had died in 1947, and we don't think it had gotten a coat of paint between 1947 and 2013 when we renovated the space. When Eric died in 2007, he willed the property to Sandy. And he made that decision to will the property to Sandy around 1980 when we moved back from California to New York because I think he knew that Sandy loved Concord. And he knew that Sandy loved the family, and that probably Sandy, of the next generation, might be the most likely person to take care of it. And since he was directly connected to the property, it having been his grandmother's, Eric felt that it made great sense for Sandy to have this house. So we inherited it in 2007, and it was very nice, thank you very much, but we certainly didn't inherit the funds to do anything with the house. So we finally realized that if we were not going to sell this property and how can you sell a piece of land that's been in the family since 1868 or so—
MK: And was passed to you in good faith.
SS: And passed to us in good faith. So we decided we'd sell our house and renovate the barn and move into it. So we did an extensive project in 2013 and '14. And we worked with a wonderful, wonderful team, Chip Dewing of Dewing Schmid Kearns here in Concord.
SS: Dewing Schmid Kearns. D-E-W-I-N-G. Schmid is S-C-H-M-I-D.
SS: No "T", no "T". I think it's just a "D." And Kearns, K-E-R-N-S and Jeff Adams, who was our contractor. And Jeff is also a trustee of the library. So there's so many overlapping layers and levels in which one relates to folks in a small town like this. And Jeff's become a good friend and obviously colleague with Sandy on the trustees. So it was just a very, very, happy project from beginning to end. But if you had asked me forty years ago, would I be living in Sandy's great grandfather's barn,—
LSS: Horses' barn.
SS: 1:06:47.5 I would say, "Forget it. No way on Earth am I ever going to do that." [laughter] Oh, they're doing great.
MK: No questions.
CK: Do you need to take a break? Do you need a bathroom break.
LSS: I'm fine.
MK: Well, we're going to ask you to give us a good summary now.
SS: The one—before we do a summary, I would like to just talk a little bit more about what we've done at Trinity Church because you asked a question about how do you balance raising a family and career and whatnot. And that's a really big question, and, obviously, I have lots of things to say about that. [laughter]
SS: One of the ways we balanced that was by involving the children in what we were doing. And in, I think around 2009, I felt very called to serve as pastoral care coordinator at Trinity Church, which is a volunteer position, a very, very big volunteer position coordinating all of the pastoral care needs of our parish. And I felt very called to really re-energize that work and worked very closely with our wonderful minister who's about to retire, Tony Buquor. B-U-Q-U-O-U-R. And we reinstituted a bereavement counseling group. We instituted rides for people to church and to doctor's appointments. We did grocery shopping for shut-ins. We really activated the making food to provide for people in times of need. We involved children in making food. We had a kid's caring cook's day. It was really quite a huge amount of time. It was like having another full-time job. And somehow, it was just possible to weave it into everything else that we were doing. And also while we were raising kids, I took care of seven family members. Eric Parkman Smith I took care of for twelve years, Sandy's first cousin once removed. I took care of Sandy's parents. I took care of my mother for well over a decade. We took care of Sandy's aunt, took care of my father and my step mother, so a lot of family members that we were caring for. And I started elder care before I became a mother. So the children have never not known me as some level of caregiver. And so it was really sandwiched in. And the kids became very adept at pushing wheelchairs and IV poles, visiting older people, and I think one of the reasons that our daughter is such an amazing physician with both children and older people has been all the experience that she had just alongside us as we were caring for people. We were also caring for Sandy who had some very serious problems a while ago and was in the hospital quite a lot over a ten, fifteen year time period. So it was a lot of things to juggle. We hired—I had a babysitter when I was teaching at Wellesley College. I hired a woman to come pick up the kids two days a week and cook a little bit for us. And she ended up helping to cook a few meals for cousin Eric every week. So, you know, you hire a little bit of help, but I think the main thing is that we just entwined service to others into the way we lived so that it wasn't an either/or. We weren't choosing between the children and serving in the community. We engaged them in doing that as part of the way we lived.
LSS: 1:11:02.4 I think that's one of the themes that we incorporated into raising our kids in general. We rarely did things without them. If we had a party, they were invited. If we had people over for dinner, they were expected to have dinner with our guests and make conversations with adults. And so we integrated them as much as we possibly could into our daily lives.
SS: I've never, ever used an electronic babysitter. And my children didn't watch any television until about the age of five. So at witching hour when you're trying to prepare dinner, they can help. Salad spinner was great when they were toddlers, up on a chair by the sink with an apron on. Fill the water, put the lettuce in, fill, and dump. It's a classic game of fill and dump. [laughter] I'm sorry, what?
CK: Okay, great. I was just hoping we could transition for a moment or two into the Concord of your earliest memories or even of the ancestors to today, changes and the built and social landscape.
LSS: Sure. I grew up in Concord in the immediate post-war period. So Concord was growing rapidly at the time. There were large tracks of farm land that were being developed into houses for veterans and other families. In the post-war period also, I think people became much more mobile in terms of job mobility. And so there were lots of new faces in Concord at the time. But Concord, the Concord that I grew up in, I think, was a much more innocent Concord than today. It was a little bit smaller, probably 10,000-12,000 people. And now it's about 16,000-17,000. But—
MK: Innocent you say?
LSS: Well, in the sense that you didn't have to worry too much about your children's safety either in terms of the amount of traffic that they were encountering or the types of people that they might encounter in town. We walked everywhere. We walked to school. We rode our bikes everywhere on the streets. Men who worked in Bos, would ride their bikes to the train station in their suits and hop on the train and go into Boston and be a lawyer or a doctor or whatever they were, a broker. Sally has referenced Trinity Church. One of the wonderful events that Trinity Church sponsored in the post-war period when I was a child was something called the Pinocchio Fair. And it was a fundraising effort for the church, but it was open to the whole town. And the members of the church would basically put on an old-fashioned country fair, except it didn't have a lot of animals except some pony rides. But they had tests of strength, bean bag tosses and watching old black and white movies and boat rides on the Concord River in little outboard motorboats, all kinds of fun events for families to do. And it was open to the public . It was held right over here on the grounds of Concord Academy. It has a river right behind it. And it was in the—I can't remember—June probably, a summertime event. And all the props and equipment that were needed for the fair were kept in a parishioner's barn up on Monument Street, in Bud Cross's barn on Monument Street. And every spring, they would repaint the things and update the pricing or whatever they were doing and add some new event and bring it down, set it up for a week for probably a Saturday event. It was a great event for the whole town.
SS: 1:15:59.7 People didn't lock their doors.
LSS: People didn't—some people still don't, but I would say most people do. But, you know, it was a—I guess the pace of life was a little bit slower then. Now, Concord is clogged with traffic. There are all kinds of—there's much more mobility in and out of town. And I think that, obviously, there are lots more activities in town. This was well before all the youth football and soccer and all. I remember playing Little League baseball. And that was about the only sport in town, but that meant that everybody did it. So if you wanted to go see your friends, you'd meet them at the baseball field. So that was lots of fun.
The other thing, though, that obviously a number of things have changed, but a lot of things are still the same. Concord has worked very hard to maintain the character of its business district here in Concord through the adoption of a historic district commission. And the historic district commission has to approve changes in construction and changes in color and changes in signage within certain districts within the town. I think there's about six different historic districts. That's one thing that's kept a lot of the charm of Concord from changing dramatically over the years. I remember when Dunkin' Donuts first put its store here in Concord in a location that used to be a dairy not too far from where we're living now. They had their big orange sign with Dunkin' Donuts on it. And the town said, "Well, we're sorry. This is Concord. We'd like to have you tone that down a little bit." So they did, and they toned it down to something that's sort of a grayish-brownish type of color. I'm not quite sure what it is. But as I think back to the kinds of—some of the fun things growing up, I remember—growing up—it was before television. It was before everybody had freezers in their home. And so the local dairy had a large walk-in freezer. And you could rent space in this sort of community freezer if you wanted to freeze meat or whatever. And so I remember walking up with my mother. It was lots of fun on a July or August day opening the door to the freezer and having all the cold air blow on you and walk in quickly in your shorts and get what my mother wanted to serve for dinner out of this community freezer, then walk home with it.
I also remember, have really fond memories, of the period in the 1950s when Memorial Day was really celebrated in a much more substantial way than we celebrate it today. Obviously, that was the immediate post-war period. There were lots and lots of young veterans who were fortunate enough to come back from World War II. And Memorial Day was a very big celebration then. There were many marching units of the different services and bands. And I remember my dad marching and watching from the sidelines and sneaking into the parade and walking right beside him for a block or two. But today, Memorial Day is a long weekend for people, and the parade—there's just no interest in the Memorial Day parades anymore. And it's really a shame, I think. I think that's one of the things that Concord's lost, I think in general the country has lost, is a reverence for those who served. So that's one of the disappointments in terms of the development of what. But, again, Concord's not unique in that respect. It's nothing Concord specific.
MK: Where there any great old characters in town that you remember as a kid that the kids talked about?
LSS: 1:20:59.9 Well, there was a wonderful fellow who ran a little sporting goods store. His name was Peanut Macone. And the Macone family had been in Concord for a very long period of time. And a number of them are still here.
LSS: M-A-C-O-N-E. There's a pond not too far from my parents house where the town harvested ice for iceboxes before refrigeration. It was called the Ice Pond. And then Peanut Macone built a house nearby, and would plow the ice in the winter time with his jeep so that people could skate on it. So I think it's now referred to as Macone's Pond. But Peanut was about five foot two, and a real character, always had a cigar, chewing on a cigar and working on a bicycle in the back of his shop and always—was one those real characters that you really would remember well.
SS: Eric was a character.
LSS: Yeah, that's true.
SS: Our cousin, Eric Parkman Smith was also quite a character. He was an only child and brought up, truly, in sort of a Victorian upbringing. And he spoke with a very old-fashioned Concord accent. He would always correct you if you said Thoreau. It was Thoreau like borrow. Henry David Thoreau. And if you said Alcott, he would immediately correct you. It was Alcott. And he felt very strongly about certain Concordian pronunciations. And he was an inveterate walker in his sunset years, and he walked all over, once he stopped driving, he walked all over town and partly because he never married—he was a bachelor and was an only child—he loved people. And he was very, very loquacious when you talked to him. And he also loved Concord history. And he could completely talk your ear off with story after story. He could recite Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in Latin. Mica Mica Parva Stella is about all I can remember of it, but he could do the whole thing. And he knew John Jacks grave's inscription by memory, and he's rattle that off to you at any time period. But he was a real Concord presence. And I really viewed him as Concord's last Victorian gentleman and was really a fun character. And, Sandy, you worked at—you ought to tell a little bit about working at Intervale Farm because that's a—farming has come back into a vogue now, but this was real farming.
LSS: This was a farm that was owned by a member of our family, George Root married my grandmother's sister.
CK: Okay. And the farm?
LSS: 1:24:30.9 Intervale Farm.
LSS: I-N-T-E-R-V-A-L-E. Intervale Farm down on Sandy Pond Road. And it was a local farm where they had a stand and sold vegetables and fruit, berries and things to the public. And I would ride my bike from Lowell Road all the way across town to Intervale Farm and work on the farm as a school boy in the summer time picking raspberries and strawberries and corn and all kinds of vegetables, squash and beans and things like that. And then what was really fun, they also had an apple orchard, and they made cider in the fall. And watching the cider operation was absolutely fascinating. Unfortunately, the building where the cider was made burned and all the—and that sort of ended the whole operation. They were prepared to retire at that point anyway. But that was lots of fun. Other things that I remember—
SS: Just before you leave them, Heddie, that farm had been Hed's father's farm.
CK: I'm sorry, whose?
SS: Heddie Kent. Helen Kent Root, who was the farmer's wife and—
LSS: Helen Root Kent.
SS: Helen Root Kent, sorry. Helen Root Kent, called Heddie or Hed, H-E-D, had been born in that house, and she died in that house and lived her whole life in that house. Eric Parkman Smith lived virtually all his life in the same house. I mean, these things don't happen in our society today. We're much more mobile. But Hed, herself, was quite a character. In addition to having run this farm, she raised her sister's daughter. Her sister had multiple scoliosis. And she took care of her sister, and her sister died fairly young and raised her daughter as much as her own. But she was a children's librarian also in Lincoln and very, very active in the Concord Players and donate decades of service as a set dresser and props mistress, behind the scenes costumer and just worker bee. And so Hed was full of stories and very young at heart partly because of her experience of children's books. Hed gave us a wonderful farm scene that her uncle, Daniel Ripley Gage, who was also in the Social Circle, had made. We now have and we set it up. When Hed was ninety-three, she came over and taught us how to set it up. And she stood at this farm for three hours arranging all the little farm people and the cows and the sheep and the pigs and the bunny rabbits and raccoons and everything that goes along with this wonderful farm that Sandy's great uncle made, just full of animation, at ninety-three, standing up and doing that. She never lost her enthusiasm and energy. Her father was involved in the first Concord Players production of Little Women, which they do every ten years. And his job was whistling the robin. And he taught Hed how to whistle the robin, and so Hed would always be the robin cue for whistling the robin. And she loved the birds and feeding the birds, so just kind of fun little things that pass on of being every ten years being the robin in Little Women. Our daughter worked a couple of plays with her doing sets and props with her just to kind of grow up, spend some time with Hed at her elbow doing Hed's things with her. So it was fun.
MK: What a story. You're a very, very beautiful couple and you're so respectful of one another. It's unusual. [laughter]
SS: 1:29:10.1Well, thank you.
MK: You really seem to enjoy each other.
LSS: It's lasted forty years.
MK: This interview reminds me a little bit of one we did with a patriarch in Ohio of a local Amish—he was the bishop of the local church.
CK: Are you putting this on the recording?
MK: Yes, I'm putting it on the recording. And he talked, he agreed to sit for a recorded interview, which blew my mind.
MK: And he was so giving and outgoing. He talked about how they, in their family and community, court the children to learn farming and live the Amish life. It's not done through coercion. It's done through courtship.
SS: And then don't they have to leave for a year to decide to come back?
MK: I think they're free to leave.
SS: I think they are free to leave.
LSS: They don't have to leave, but they're free to leave.
CK: Romance the children.
MK: Yeah, romance the children.
LSS: Interesting. Fascinating.
MK: The way you were talking reminded of that.
SS: 1:30:20.6 Well, I should tell you how Sandy and I actually met. This is a very sort of famous story of ours. When I made the decision to go into music, it was kind of like the first, what I would call, the voice of God moment when I was like, "Uh oh, real world's out there. What am I going to do with the rest of my life and voice goes off. Well, you're the happiest when you're singing." Fast forward less than a year later, I'm sharing a house with Holly Lyman who is now Holly Lymn Antolini, and she's actually the rector of a church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, now, but we were living in Palo Alto. And she was writing cook books for Sunset Magazine at the time. And she was part of a potluck supper group that was hosted by David Tyack, T-Y-A-C-K, who was a Stanford University history of education professor. And Dave had been on the board of the National Humanities Faculty, which Sandy had for here in Concord before going to business school. When he was chairman of the school committee, he was working for the National Humanities Faculty. And Holly dragged me along to this potluck supper, and Dave invited Sandy to join the potluck supper group when he heard he was coming out to business school. And voice of God goes off, pay attention. Something very important is walking into your life. And I looked up and Sandy walked into the room. And it was just one of those, "Okay."
LSS: I'll take it.
SS: And it took a while before we went out, but we had dinner once a week in this potluck supper group. And our first date was the thirteenth of February. We were engaged six weeks later. So it's just kind of one of those—and we'd been married for twelve years before we found out that our sixth greats grandfathers were on the same piece of paper.
MK: A great story.
MK: Absolutely beautiful.
LSS: Is there anything we've left out?
CK: I'm sure there is.
SS: I'm sure there's a lot more about what growing up in Concord in the 1950s was like.
LSS: At that point you weren't as programmed as a kid. You had to find things to do, as I mentioned, Little League. I did Saturday a morning workshop up in Acton called the Bantam Workshop that taught you how to use a saw and a hammer and nails and screwdrivers and things like that run by two single women. And that was great fun.
CK: Do you remember their names?
LSS: Yeah. Miss Torrey and Miss Lincoln. And I can't remember their first names, although I think one was Kathryn. It might have been Kathryn Torrey, and I don't remember Miss Lincoln's name. But that was a complete blast, but I remember having such a wonderful time with two other guys who were a year older than I was, Bob Carr, whose father was a pharmacist and Bob took over his father's pharmacy, which is now the West Concord Pharmacy here in town, and John Tucker who was the son of the town's veterinarian, Brad Tucker. And the three of us spent hours just romping in the fields catching butterflies, literally. We made our butterfly nets, and we would, in the summer time, we'd get together in the afternoon, and we'd spend hours just trying to catch butterflies together. That's what I referred to as sort of the innocence. We weren't on iPhones and doing war games and all this kind of stuff. We were out chasing butterflies. And that was what growing up in Concord in the 1950s was like.
SS: What about skiing at the—?
LSS: 1:34:34.9 Yeah, there's a place in—there's a place in Concord called the Estrabrook Woods. And there's a hill in the Estrabrook Woods that is referred to locally as Punkatasset, P-U-N-K-A-T-A-S-S-E-T, I think it's sort of spelled phonetically. And it was—in the winter time, all the local guys would go over, girls too, who like to ski, would go over and there wasn't any kind of lift on it or a rope tow or anything. You had to walk up the hill on your skis. And you would walk up and pack it down so you could ski down. You might get four or five turns coming down, and then you'd have to walk up again, but it was a great way to learn how to control your skis on a Saturday morning in the fifties. Late fifties and early sixties, there would be several dozen people over there skiing. And at the bottom of that hill, there used to be a little lean-to that had a fireplace in it. And you could have a picnic in there. And there was a pond in behind there. My mother and a friend of hers who had a son my age. It was Barbara Lee, and her son Malcolm and I grew together. And we'd go over there, and we'd swim. And we'd be the only four people in the pond. Our mothers would sit on the shore and talk, and Malcolm and I would paddle around in the water as kids. Nothing organized about it, no life guards, no filtration. You're just diving into a pond with garter snakes, well, whatever water snakes and frogs and other things there were in there. It was just old-fashioned country play. And it was lots of fun.
SS: You should also talk a little bit about your athletic experience because nowadays kids are—
LSS: Which one?
SS: —well, all of them, the fact that you could do multiple sports.
SS: Nowadays, if you're going to play on a high school team, you're a swimmer, you're a tennis player, a track star, and you specialize in long distance or short distance. I mean, the athletic specialization is starting so early for kids today.
SS: And that was not Sandy's experience, but you had quite an athletic career both in high school and college.
LSS: 1:37:21.5 Well, organized sports started in junior high school, when I was growing up here in town. And so the junior high offered football, basket ball, and baseball. That was fundamentally all the sports. And so if you wanted to be an athlete and do something, those were the things you did. And so I did all three in addition to Little League in the summer time. And then getting into high school, I did all three sports again in high school. And I was fortunate enough to play on a very good basketball team my junior year. We won the Class B Eastern Massachusetts state tournament at the Boston Garden. And that was a real thrill. Our senior year, we got into the quarter finals or semi-finals, but it was my junior year that we won it. We had some terrific players a year ahead of me and my class as well.
SS: Those were the days like the old Larry Bird short shorts and Converse sneakers. And Sandy had a crew cut.
LSS: 1:38:37.0 Yeah, right. That's right. We all looked a lot different than players look today. But that was lots of fun. I remember, I think, the semi-final ball game of the tournament was on a Friday afternoon in at the Garden. And I think the high school basically called off classes in the afternoon so the kids could go in and watch. It was a lot of fun. And then in college, I played football and basketball for a couple of years. And then was on the National Ski Patrol, qualified for that.
SS: You were in track.
LSS: I ran track for a couple of years. So, you know, I had a fun time.
SS: You had an undefeated football season.
LSS: We had an undefeated football—yeah—my junior year in college we had an undefeated football season. That was a real thrill too. So I've been very fortunate.
SS: And what about the famous play?
LSS: The famous play? Oh, you tell the story about the famous play.
SS: I'm not going to tell right. You tell it. I'm not going to get it right.
LSS: No. No. I was a split-end on the Williams football team. And I think this is the story. I can't remember exactly which game it was, but—
SS: It was Amherst.
LSS: —made a play which allowed the team to win the Williams/Amherst game my junior year, I think it was. It wasn't catching a pass.
SS: But you clinched the undefeated season.
LSS: It was a block. That's true. That is true.
SS: We were—
CK: We should have asked for dates of birth, if you don't mind, just to keep, get some of this in perspective.
LSS: 1:40:34.6 Oh sure. I was born February 12, 1947. And February 12 is Abraham Lincoln's birthday, and I think that, as a kind, I was very invested in all of the tales of Honest Abe Lincoln. It was—he provided a good role model for me just by virtue of my birthday.
SS: I was born May 25, 1953.
MK: Well, thank you all very much.
SS: Thank you. Good. Came through a little bit early.
1:41:26.4 (end of audio 1)
0:00:00.8 (begin audio 2)
CK: All right. We're back.
SS: I mentioned earlier that I didn't use an electronic babysitter with our children, and what we did instead a lot, if we weren't cooking or doing some other fun thing, we were reading. And my daughter Samantha was a very fluent reader by the time she was three. And she was just turned seven when we moved here to Concord. And she had, at that point, read all of Louisa May Alcott's books for girls more than once. And when we told the kids we were moving to Concord, Samantha had one request, and that was the minute we got here, we had to go over to Orchard House and see were Louisa May had written Little Women. So Sam, we called her Sam, so Sam and I left Trip and Sandy at home with all the boxes, and the first thing we did, the minute Orchard House opened the next morning, we were over there taking a tour of the house.
CK: Great. Thanks.
0:01:13.7 (end of audio 2)
0:00:01.3 (begin audio 3)
SS: In the third grade curriculum in Concord in, it would have been 1995, Samantha skipped second grade and started here in third grade. They were studying colonial American history with the particular emphasis on Concord. And part of what they do is recreate one of the debates of a town meeting from sometime around 1775 I guess, or 1780, somewhere in there where they're discussing the North Bridge. And each of the children is assigned to be a town's person. And Samantha was the local apothecary. And I'm sorry, I've forgotten his name, but he lived in a house on Lexington Road. And you had to research your person and whatnot. And I said, "Well, Samantha, we're going to go to the special collections, and we're going to actually look through the minutes of the town meeting." So one Saturday morning, down we went. Leslie was there, and very kindly got the materials. And we actually read the real minutes of the meeting they were re-enacting. She got to hold them. And I was pretty certain that she was the only kid whose mother was that much of an archivist who would insist that she get exposed to this wonderful archive that's here in the library to do some primary research when she was seven years old.
MK: I don't know how you could fail with a start like that.0:01:41.6 (end audio 3)