Semiseptcentennial? Tricenquinquagenary?

Woodbury dates its founding to an initial purchase of land from its original inhabitants (who had no idea what they were letting themselves in for) in 1659. I remember vividly the massive celebration of the town’s 300th birthday in 1959. (Fifth graders are supposed to study American History. We did…Woodbury is in America, and we spent the whole year learning about our town. I’m actually very glad we did.) This weekend we celebrated its 350th. A half-mile of Main Street was blocked off on Saturday, and the party played itself out right in front of our house. Great weather, high spirits, lots of old friends back for the event. I got a sticker!

(This put me in the middle rank. One gent was wandering effortlessly around wearing one that had “90” on it, and our oldest resident, 98, father of an old baseball teammate, has lived here all his life.)

Sunday morning we attended an ecumenical service held at Bethel Rock, a spot the Puritan settlers used for worship because the massive outcrop provided safety and a spot upon which guards could stand. A drummer beat a tattoo from Drum Rock as a call to worship.

Later, I sat on the south green for a ceremony with a dozen or so other former selectmen. In this context, at least, superannuation suits me to a T.

We had the Revolution…

…and the Civil War.

And, of course, lots of patting ourselves on the back for our old town’s historic wonderfulness, in all its nostalgic, funny stories, school pranks, good-place-to-raise-a-family glory. I must admit I favor the tales of murder, arson, runaway wives, disgraced clergy, and ancient Town Meeting brawls over who should pay for weeding the cemetery and whether the town should come up with the $300 bounty to keep its sons out of the Union Army, or force the lads to pay it themselves. (The boys had to pay it themselves…this is Woodbury.)

The committee did a superb job. Great fun.


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