J-D- Salinger

Salinger's high country


Statues at the  wonderful Saint Gaudens National Historic Site, in Cornish, N.H., where J.D. Salinger lived for decades, though he remained in many ways a Manhattanite.

Herewith a charming look in The Boston Globe at J.D Salinger's Connecticut River Valley section of Vermont and New Hampshire. I have always found it one of the loveliest and most interesting parts of America.

He was a strong presence, albeit usually unseen, in the region. I think I saw him go into the stacks of Dartmouth's Baker Library once; he was wearing a raincoat. He was the male Greta Garbo of his time -- the more reclusive he got, the more famous. Intentional, in some way?  And yet he was a civic-minded resident when it came to local matters.

I took a class in Chinese history with his wife of the time -- the '60s --- Claire Douglas, at Dartmouth.  The young assistant professor seemed very smitten with this beautiful lady. Toward the end of the trimester, I was surprised that at a social gathering (at the professor's apartment) for the class, which only had about a dozen people, that the majority of the attendees (including the professor) supplemented their wine and beer with marijuana cigarettes. This was the high '60's indeed!

-- Robert Whitcomb

Diner rises after Irene


A typical small New England town diner goes on as Wilmington, Vt.'s informal community center after being repaired after devastating  flooding by Tropical Storm Irene. Those high carbohydrate and animal-fat breakfasts may not make your body thrive, but your soul and social life get much sustenance.


These diners can be very friendly places but the  staff and customers know when to leave people alone, too. Take the Windsor Diner, in Windsor, Vt.  The great celebrity recluse J.D. Salinger, who lived just across the river in Cornish, N.H.,  frequently patronized the place; everyone left him alone.