Meet J.C. Myers
I was born in 1960 in the smallest hospital in Vermont, Grace Cottage, in Townsend. The babies delivered by Dr. Otis march annually in a parade to honor him, some of them now nearly too old to keep the pace. I never marched in that parade because Townsend sits nearly an hour’s drive from my home town of Landgrove Vermont, where my father’s father, from New Jersey, bought a summer house that he later moved the family into full time in the 1930s.
Landgrove in the 1960s was a town of about 90 people, all dirt roads, no store, no post office. We swam without adult supervision in the river, built forts of snow or pine bows in the woods under the ledges, rode bikes, and rode bikes and rode bikes. In winter, we four Myers kids (three boys and a girl) skied at Bromley Mountain, noisily welcomed guest to our bed and breakfast ski house, got up early to eat eggs, bacon, rolls, toast, pancakes, miraculously produced by my mother, who really wasn’t a skier, but loved to cook. We thrilled at Sam Ogden’s musket shot for the flag raising on the fourth of July, ran barefoot in cool, damp grass across the lawns behind the houses all the way down to the river – potluck steaming, sparklers burning traces in our eyes.
In our mostly kind, secular, intellectual, progressive family, we learned not to hit each other, but to solve our conflicts with words. That didn’t work well at the local school. The local kids in those days were tough, and the principal thought that “boys will be boys.” A loud kid with a large head and a small body had to learn to run fast. I did. And I learned to speak Vermontics. I survived with this adaptation.
Most native speakers of the Vermont dialect don’t know they have an accent. Depending on who I’m talking to, I shift from standard English to Vermontics, without using the clutch. I don’t try. It happens. The standard English, educated home culture got me into Vassar, where the ability to speak Vermontics went unappreciated, such accomplishments nowhere in the curriculum.
During summers and when I returned home with a degree in English Literature, I did what I had to do to make money and live in Vermont: logging and cutting firewood, building houses, concrete work, driving a truck, working at little non-profits. I bought, sold, traded and owned about thirty beater cars and trucks, three tractors and seven motorcycles. I homesteaded a cabin in the woods, a half mile from plowed roads, got married, raised kids.
Living that rural life, Vermontics came in handy and I absorbed the humor and wisdom of my fellow workers. This was my material in writing Junkyard at No Town, a book that started as a short story when I was still in college in the early 80s and on which I did my final edits just this spring of 2019. I feel blessed to have been from two worlds, to have read so much great literature, to have inherited the love of art and music, and to have learned how to sharpen a chainsaw and drop an Ash without having it split on me before it hits the ground.
ART AND MUSIC
Along with writing stories, Theater, Music, and Painting hold J.C.'s attention and claim his creative energy.
Watch this space grow!
Tunes from my CD, It Ain’t Spring. Special thanks to Colin McCaffery on multiple instruments.
Album Cover Art Work: