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35 Years Ago

from The Greenfield Recorder 190th year – no. 290, p. 1; December 10, 1982.

Meadow Messages
Students spell mischief with bales of hay
By Richie Davis
Recorder Staff

NORTHFIELD - What’s a graffiti writer to do in “the sticks,” where subway cars are scarcer than hen’s teeth?
The answer is “rural graffiti,” in which hay is more than for horses.
For the past week or so, someone’s been stealing into Frank Podlenski’s field off Route 10 and rearranging the hay bales into messages for passing motorists.
Some of the words have four letters, and Northfield police have been trying to keep one step ahead of the country-style vandals. That means, walking down the bank to change the bad words,” which are clearly visible to traffic up on Route 10. Northfield police don’t push the hay into new configurations, though, said officer Eugene Miller.
“I’m not that ambitious,” he said.
Nathan Stewart, who edits Northfield Mount Hermon School’s newspaper, The Bridge, said the hay games began between Pioneer Valley Regional School students and what appeared to be a rival team.
NMH students – who can see the hay from the shuttle buses that carry them between the school’s two campuses – got involved in the creative hay shuffling last weekend, writing a commentary on a disciplinary problem at school.
Someone, explained Stewart, had walked off with some keys from campus security, and school officials warned there would be curfew for everyone if they weren’t returned.
“KEYS?” the haystacks read.
Sunday, after the key culprit was found, the stacks were changed to “GOTCHA.”
Early this week someone rearranged the hay into an advertisement for a Springfield radio station: “WAAF 107.”
And Thursday, a few Bridge staff members gave their newspaper a plug, “The Bridge.”
“It’s just fun and games,” said Stewart.
Frank Podlenski, who owns the Bennett Meadow property that borders on the Connecticut River, says he isn’t at all upset by the pranks.
“It doesn’t bother me a bit,” he says. “If someone wants to have fun – as long as they’re not doing me any damage – God bless ‘em.”

Ed. note: This story was picked up by the Associated Press and appeared in newspapers from as far away as Albuquerque, NM and Miami, FL.
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120 Years Ago

from The Hermonite, vol. XI, no. 6, p. 87; December 4, 1897.


The case of Commonwealth vs. Alice M. Brereton, for the larceny of a piece of cake from the store room of East Hall, came up before Judge C.I. Scofield in the winter session of the Northfield Seminary Superior Court, at Marquand Court House, Tuesday afternoon, November 30. The Commonwealth was represented by District Attorney Eliza S. Halsey, and the defendant by Lawyer Eldridge. The witnesses were sworn in by Clerk Elizabeth Aitken and the prisoner was brought in by Sheriff Julia Rieser.
The district attorney called the following witnesses: Misses Mamie Milk, Catherine Utley, Elizabeth Hendrickson, and Grace Prouty. Evidence was issued to prove that a handkerchief scented with a certain perfume that could readily be distinguished from all others on account of its peculiarity to itself, said perfume alleged to have been the property of the defendant, was found near the cake box from which the cake had been abstracted. Lawyer Eldridge, for the defendant, called Misses Flora Dobbin and Sadie Whalen as witnesses, who swore that on the night in question the store room was locked and the defendant was away from the building all night. In rebuttal the Commonwealth brought forward evidence to prove that the defendant was in East Hall on that night and that she made brown bread, which was served with beans for breakfast Sunday morning.
After eloquent pleas by both lawyers, and His Honor’s solemn charge, the jury retired, and after a short session brought in a verdict, “Not guilty.”


Arthur J. Philips was fined $50 for contempt of court, and ordered to remain in the custody of the sheriff until the fine was paid.
The entrance of the executive committee of the Mount Hermon Good Government Club caused His Honor so much annoyance that he instructed the sheriff to arrest anyone making further disturbance.
After the adjournment of the court the executive committee of the Mount Hermon Good Government Club was sentenced by the Current Events Club to one hour’s solitary confinement in Wayside Inn.

Editor’s note: The Sheriff went on to found the Whitney Museum of American Art.
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70 Years Ago

            For many years “Deerfield Weekend” was the culminating event of the fall sports calendar. Here is an account of one such Saturday.

from The Hermonite, vol. LXI, no. 6, p. 4; November 29, 1947.

Entire School At Deerfield

Green is Gracious Host: Movies Shown Students

The official address for Mount Hermon School for the afternoon of November 15 was Deerfield, Massachusetts; for nearly five hundred students and most of the staff had migrated south for the final varsity football game of the year, against Deerfield Academy. The observance of this custom, followed the last five years when the game has been away from home, left the campus as deserted as it will be this time next month.

Two Bus Trips

Enthusiasm for the game had reached a high point by 12:35 on Saturday, when the first busses left from Camp Hall [Now Grandin Auditorium –ed.], carrying the band, cheerleaders, and the first group of students. At 1:35, the busses made a second trip with the remainder of the student body.

At Deerfield, 2:00 o’clock found the Hermon stands well packed with tense spectators, including many parents and alumni who had returned for the game.

Bands at Half

The bands combined to add much color to the game. At half-time, David Lynn led a Hermon band, which showed remarkable development since early fall, in forming the Deerfield letters in front of their stands and playing a song of the rival school; following this, the Deerfield band reciprocated with the Hermon letters and a Hermon tune in front of the Hermon stands. At the close of the game the band accompanied the spectators in singing the Alma Mater.

Movies Shown

The students returned in two bus shifts, those going on the early bus who had gone to the game first. A program of movie shorts was shown for those who remained at Deerfield for the second trip.