When I tell people I grew up in Vermont, they often smile dreamily, as if I had claimed Neverland as my home state. In a sense, they are right. My childhood in the small town of Stowe was idyllic in many ways, the summers in particular. My siblings and I spent the long, green hours ranging through the fields, doing cannonballs in the swimming hole and fishing for trout. We sold blackberries by the side of the road and, as the sun finally sank behind the hills, we chased each other in endless, breathless games of tag, racing across grass glittering with fireflies.
But Vermont, in all its serene beauty, has another side. As a young girl, I noticed that Vermonters with French Canadian names (DeCelle, Laferriere, LeMieux, Bouchard) were all Catholic and generally less well-off than the Protestants in our town. My parents were German immigrants and, although Catholic, fell somewhere […]