Throwback Thursday

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Good Morning, Today a look back 10 years, 5 years and one year for Throwback Thursday. All photos taken in New Ipswich, NH.

February 2006

Smithville Cemetery by John Poltrack on
South Cemetery in Smithville, NH

 February 2011

Stop by John Poltrack on

 February 2015

Serious Snowfall by John Poltrack on
We had pjust about enough of this stuff in 2015


Sam and Pickles

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Good morning readers, it’s throwback thursday. I’m featuring some photos taken 10 years ago in January of 2006.

Ten years ago we had two cats, Pickles and Sam. Pickles was a fierce hunter and warrior and preferred to be outside in any weather.  Sam was mellow and an easygoing. Sadly both are gone now.

Sam by John Poltrack on
Sam the cat


Pickles and Sam by John Poltrack on
Pickles and Sam


Sam by John Poltrack on
Sam on the prowl


Throwback Thursday – Lillian’s China Cabinet

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In October of 2010 my sister and I traveled down to New Canaan, CT to pick up a china cabinet that my cousin was donating to the New Boston Historical Society. After my Aunt Lillian had died her daughter was emptying the home that her parents had lived in for over 60 years. I was nostalgic about the place because I had spent many weekend sleep overs with my cousin Bob.  It didn’t seem right to see it empty.

Janis home in 1944
Janis home in 1944 located at 1 Leslie Lane, New Canaan, CT.
Leslie Lane
The early years with my Aunt Lillian and Uncle Ed. The baby in this photo is my cousin Bob and the photo was taken in 1948.
Lisa Cynthia
October, 2, 2010 – My cousin Lisa (with flashlight) and Cynthia packing up the house with stuff, lots and lots of stuff.
Old wood has a distinctive odor and color. This was the garage that once housed a Chevrolet Corvair with the vanity plate EJCO
Living Room
Empty living room. The nook under the windows was the dining table and location of the annual Christmas tree.
The attic was the location of piles of old Superman comics which I would read whenever I came for an overnight.
China cabinet, odds and ends and an industrial size trash can. Packed and ready to return to New Hampshire.
China Cabinet
Lillian’s china cabinet in place at the New Boston Historical Society.

Throwback Thursday: Goodbye old barn

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june 02, 2007

The Swenson barn on Whittemore Hill in New Ipswich, NH had fallen into disrepair after over 200 years. Family and friends gathered for a demolition party and to say goodbye to an old  friend and landmark.

barn interior view
The barn had plenty of ventilation and light. At this point the flooring had buckled and was unsafe.
barn demolition crew
Demolition crew discusses the best approach to this project.
old barn
Walker Magrauth (wearing hard hat) discusses best strategy to take the barn down safely.
old barn
At this point there was not much holding up the barn, yet it remained intact.
chain on barn
The plan was to attach a chain to a corner post and pull, the barn was supposed to collapse. Instead it shifted and remained intact.
second barn attempt
The second attempt was a bit more hazardous. The fact that the barn stayed intact for so long is a testament to post and beam construction.
Collapsing Barn
fallen barn
With a cloud of dust and a number of escaping bats, the barn falls.
Lynda grills burgers
Lynda Swenson grills some burgers as the dust settles behind her. We were there to help pick up the mess but spent the time eating and socializing. Walker used equipment to do the cleanup.
Lenny and Poltrack family
Lenny Swenson with my family.
Weber family
John and Angelika Weber with their son Parker.
Walker picks up the pieces. With the barn gone, there is a nice view of the field.

Woodstock New York – 46 Years after the festival

In August 1969 an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace and Music Festival was held on Max Yagur’s 600 acre dairy farm in the Catskills in New York State. 400,000 people decided to show up much to the dismay of the organizers.

It was an event that occurred right in the middle of the Vietnam War. I had already received my draft notice and was already enlisted in the Navy and so was unable to attend. However in 2015 en route to my cousins wedding it seemed appropriate to stop into the town and take a look around.

The first thing I saw was this gentlemen who called himself “Grandpa Woodstock’ on the Village Green. He told me how he took some brown acid at the festival and never came back. He claimed he was homeless and made a living by selling hats that he created from cast off clothing. His “vehicle” had an electric sewing machine powered by a car battery and inverter.

A visit to tinker toys too! was fun, a toy store with lots of quirky toys for children of all ages (even if they are 68 like me)

This is Neil Young’s Heart of Gold

Woodstock has lots of art galleries, yoga studios, street sculptures and boutiques.

Photograph Woodstock by John Poltrack on 500px

The Woodstock Love Knot was installed on May 20, 2013

Sculptor Ze’ev Willy Neumann hopes his knots will bind Saugerties and Woodstock with love.

Using a grant from Markertek owner Mark Braunstein, Neumann transformed 40 sheets of plywood and other materials into two identical sculptures called “Love Knots.” Each red, heart-shaped sculpture, with an infinity symbol at the base and a tear drop at the apex of the heart, will be installed in the communities, and each will direct visitors to its twin. (Neumann said the tear drop shape in the sculptures represents how “there’s always a touch of sadness in every happiness.”)

Photograph Calm by John Poltrack on 500px

Photograph Woodstock Kewpie Dolls by John Poltrack on 500px

Photograph Woodstock by John Poltrack on 500px

Inner glow by John Poltrack on 500px seen at a candle shop

Photograph Woodstock Moose Sculpture by John Poltrack on 500px

Photograph Woodstock by John Poltrack on 500pxPondicherry Yoga Arts  by John Poltrack on 500px

Photograph Candlestock by John Poltrack on 500px

Candlestock by John Poltrack on 500px

This was a great candle shop which featured “Drip Mountain” the ultimate candle. In the 1960s  I would spend hours trying to get the most artistic look from candles placed  in a Chianti bottle (the type with the wicker bottom). Drip candles can be purchased at  if you wish to make your own drip mountain.

Photograph Drip Mountain by John Poltrack on 500px

Photograph Candlestock Mountain by John Poltrack on 500px

I would be remiss if I didn’t include the lyrics written by the great singer/poet Joni Mitchell and covered by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Joni did not appear at the festival because of scheduling conflict. This song and other music of the festival can be found on

Woodstock by Joni Mitchell   Printer-friendly version of this lyric

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him where are you going
And this he told me
I’m going on down to Yasgur’s farm *
I’m going to join in a rock ‘n’ roll band
I’m going to camp out on the land
I’m going to try an’ get my soul free

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it’s the time of man
I don’t know who I am
But you know life is for learning

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
back to the garden

Esco Picnic – 1940

Geriak Farm in Stamford Connecticut was one of my favorite childhood memories. This photo was taken in 1940 at a ESCO company picnic. My dad is in the front on the left with the cigarette over his ear. He started at ESCO as a teenager and worked there before and after WWII.

In the 1950s we would go to the company picnic and fill up on hot dogs and soda, There were games and lots of kids to play with.

We would also go there for an annual  church picnic sponsored by the Holy Name of Jesus in Stamford, CT. This is a Polish Church and there was plenty of kielbasa and even Polka Bands under the Pavilions on the farm.

The history of the farm via  Stonebrook Residential Community website

In 1920 Tessie and Macarie Geriak purchased 50 acres at the intersection of Turn of River Road and Intervale Road to start a local dairy farm. They started with two cows and a horse and buggy as there was no bus service until 1924. The roads were dirt trails as High Ridge Road was not yet built.
The Salt Box house they lived in was close to Intervale Road and was built in 1750. Prior to the construction of Phase five of Stonebrook, the foundation was exposed. There was evidence of three huge stone fireplaces and one fireplace for cooking and baking in the kitchen. This was all covered over to create the berm at the north side of our complex.
There were eight children in the Geriak family, five boys; John, Steve, Ted (Fetchi), Bill and Nicholas, and three girls; Ann (a teacher in the one room school), Mildred and Sonya.
Ted Geriak relates the story of attending the one room schoolhouse which was located where the jug handle entrance to the Merritt Parkway is now located. His family always called him “Fetchi”. On the first day of school, when the teacher called on Theodore, he did not know that she wanted him to stand up.
The one room schoolhouse was eventually moved to the Southeast corner of Geriak Road and Turn of River Road and remains to this day as a residence. Ted remembers the ringing of the school bell when it was placed on the new foundation.
One day the homestead caught fire from a burning ember in one of the fireplaces. The farmhands saw smoke and ran to the house, however it was locked. Mr.Geriak was on Vine Road at the feed store. The fireman ran to the feed store to get the boss, but by the time they got back the house was a total loss. The family then moved into a structure that was behind the milk house. Ted Geriak lived in the former bottling plant, which was located east of where Unit # 46 is now located.
Due to the declining health of Mr. Geriak, the farm shutdown. A pavilion was built for corporate and private picnics as well as hay rides, which were a source of income for the family for many years.
 An early photo of my dad soldering a motor at ESCO with an “old school” soldering iron. He used to use this when we lived in Stamford and would heat it up over the pilot light of the hot water heater. I still have one of these in my basement.

The history of ESCO – Mechanical Music Press website

Electric Specialty Company (also known as Esco) was located in Stamford, Connecticut, and made electric motors, generators, and motor-generator combinations. Its small motors are frequently found in early Duo-Art reproducing pianos, particularly in uprights, and in grand pianos with a remote pump mounted in a separate cabinet.

According to David Junchen in his book Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol. II, “Electric Specialty supplied the vast majority of generators used in the golden age of the American theatre organ. Generators were often supplied along with organ blowers. Spencer, the country’s largest blower manufacturer, was located in nearby Hartford, Connecticut, and this proximity may partially explain the ubiquity of Electric Specialty generators.” (These small generators were often connected to the organ blower by a small flat belt, and they supplied low voltage direct current for operating the organ magnets and other electrical components.) Junchen goes on to describe their high quality, and describes how he once connected a coat hanger directly across the terminals of an Electric Specialty Co. generator rated at 15 amps. The output of the generator exceeded 100 amps and the coat hanger glowed red, but the generator never even got warm.

Unfortunately, some of the piano motors made by this firm don’t seem to measure up to the same high standard, as more examples seen by the author and his friends have needed rewinding than similar motors of other brands.

Discover more about the history of Stamford CT at

If the Bomb Falls

I was raised in the 1950s when we all lived in the shadow of total nuclear annihilation. I did the duck and cover drills in school, trusting that my desk would protect me from being vaporized. We had Strontium 90 in our milk and all the benefits that open air atomic testing would bring.

Sometime in the 1960s I bought this record which I’ve yet to digitize. It starts with an air raid siren and the dulcet tones of Richard Wiley giving advice about how to live underground, He suggested getting some tranquilizers because it might get a little tense, especially with no cell service.

If the bomb falls - we'll all be dead
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A M65 Atomic cannon that I visited at the United States Army Ordnance Museum in Aberdeen, Maryland. They fired a nuclear warhead at  range of 7 miles at a test site in Nevada on May 25,1953. Learn more (and see videos) at the atomic cannon website.
The Atomic Cannon

Memorial Day Parade 1950

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Memorial Day Parade 1950

We lived in Veterans Housing from 1946 till 1959. My father and  Ed Domagala were fishing buddies.. This photo was taken in 1950 at a Memorial Day Parade in 1950s. My dad Tony is on the right and Ed and his son are on the left. They were great friends and I remember my dad taking us out in the boat across Long Island Sound to fish and camp on Long Island, NY.

We celebrate Memorial Day in New Ipswich this Sunday May 17th.