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GREAT BARRINGTON — Edward Griffin Beckwith (1826-1909) visited the Sandwich Islands, aka Hawaii, not for climate, beach or volcanic reasons, but for educational ones.He became principal of Royal School in Honolulu in 1854. The son of Deacon … more
WESTPORT. CT. — The year is 1546. The fetid, dangerous Delta of the Mara on River in Brazil claims the life of conquistador and explorer Francisco de Orellana, but not before he has renamed the great river the Amazon, claiming to have fought a … more
PITTSFIELD — I got a few emails in the wake of my column on D-Day last week. Always nice to be noticed.One of the notes is from a guy who knew my father, although he and I have met. It was something along the lines of, "Good job. Hard to … more
WILLIAMSTOWN — I never expected to meet an internationally acclaimed artist when I was just strolling in my neighborhood. But one day, a couple of feet away from me, Barbara Ernst Prey stepped out of a car. As an admirer of the American … more
BOSTON — Long before more than $40 million was spent last year making the cases for and against charter public school expansion, I was skeptical about using a statewide ballot initiative to decide the question. Ballot initiatives are best … more
GREAT BARRINGTON — Far be it for me to bemoan the passing of the good old days, but I guess I'm at that age now.I know the good old days are defined in different ways by different people, but I define them as back when people agreed on some … more
RICHMOND — If you ask a World War II veteran when he or she arrived in Europe, the answer is likely to be D-Day or D-Day plus a number. Time after time, my husband would say D-Day plus 90 and briefly describe landing at Cherbourg where a bunch … more
LENOX — "Calm fell. From Heaven distilled a clemency; There was peace on earth, and silence in the sky." So said Thomas Hardy, who I imagined was seated by my side. His poem, "And There Was Great Calm," was his hymn of thanksgiving recognizing … more
Williamstown — Henry David Thoreau will be 200 years old July 12, an occasion for statewide celebrations. I'm supposing that his 27th birthday — or the day after, given his appreciation of a home-cooked meal — was the occasion he … more
LENOX — Fair fight. Level playing field.Those catchphrases were heard repeatedly this past week when state lawmakers chose Berkshire County for a public hearing on the likelihood that the state and local communities will tax homeowners who … more
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