Polly Ridlon Wilson

Posted October 25th, 2012 by Albert DeCiccio Ph.D., Provost, Southern Vermont College

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.” –William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Dear Everyone.

In addition to sharing my sorrow and that of my wife, Ann, upon losing a dear friend–so elegantly expressed by Shakespeare through Malcom in that chilling scene from Macbeth when Macduff is told of his family's slaughter–I share the obituary of Polly Ridlon Wilson, a woman who is linked to the history of the Everett Mansion and SVC: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bennington/obituary.aspx?n=polly-wilson&pid=160594563&fhid=4792#

Polly's dad, Harry Ridlon, was the orchardist for the Everett Estate, and Polly grew up in one of the houses on Corey Lane that many of us drive by each day before turning up Mansion Drive. 

Polly and her husband, Zip, also deceased, interacted with many in the Greater Bennington area during their long lives.  They were our neighbors in the apartment complex on Main Street when Ann and I first came to Bennington in 2008.  Among the many stories they shared, we learned from Zip about his interaction with Norman Rockwell when the artist was working out of Arlington.  Zip had been working for a carnival in town and Rockwell needed a carousel horse delivered to his studio for one of his more famous paintings (perhaps you've seen it).  Zip told us that he and his co-workers delivered the horse, never to be asked to reclaim it!  Polly told us of her "date" with Robert Frost's grandson.  They went sliding down one of the Mansion's hills back in the day.  Zip and Polly had so much to share, and Ann and I are grateful for the brief time we had with them. 

As you all meander in the halls and rooms of the Mansion and in and around its grounds, do pause to think a little about Polly.  When you do, keep in mind this peaceful poem from Wendell Berry:
 

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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