Named as one of the “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children”,  Platt & Munk‘s (publishers) “The Little Engine That Could”  was famous for teaching optimism. In visiting the Cape Poge Lighthouse  (see previous blog post) I witnessed first hand the hard reality of what that story tried to convey. In the lighthouse the actual light bulb that was employed to send out the beacon was only 2 inches high.  Only by the physics of the Fresnel lens was it able to be broadcast 9 miles.


After a life time of watching people struggle to achieve goals or whatever, I’ve always come back to the sobering fact that there is a two inch light bulb in all of us. The two inch light bulb is our self; the Fresnel lens is our individual personality.  Albert Bandura  championed this idea in his seminal work, “Self-Efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change.” It is an extremely simple idea, so simple that, I believe, people discount it.


There seems to be a drag, an inertia, a governor that actively counters any forward movement to positive gain. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew Ch.26:41).


I believe that the soul of man is mirrored in nature, and to observe nature in its vastness and subtlety is to glimpse the soul of ourselves.  Such was my experience of Cape Poge Lighthouse on Chappaquiddick Island.





In some sense this blog post is a culmination of various streams of thoughts, with the heart of it remaining in Scotland. To begin with, the photo is one I had taken when I turned around physically from the photo I took in my last post regarding Glenfinnan (“Place as Evocative”). In the distance was this viaduct, specifically the Glenfinnan Viaduct.


This viaduct has recently become quite popular due to J.K.Rowling’s novels re Harry Potter; more precisely, it was used in the movie version of Harry Potter where the Hogwarts Express was seen transversing the countryside.  In reality, it is a real steam train still in use today, but having had many different owners over the years. Seemingly, it was not a profitable route for a train until Harry Potter made it famous. [See the photo of the train on the viaduct; this photo is from Wikipedia.]




Obviously, there was  a magnetism here for the imagination in this most picturesque of places that drew different historical events to converge on a singular point, namely, Glenfinnan. This will be my segue to the early 20th century writer, H.P. Lovecraft. Now, I grant you, this is quite a leap in association, but, if you think about it, it really is not. H.P. Lovecraft was a minor sci fi writer who had a great influence (despite not being that famous himself, in his time) on current day sci fi writers (e.g., Stephen King). One of the distinguishing features of Lovecraft was that he placed his stories in real places (principally, Providence) that one could find on a map. This somewhat minor point actually was quite powerful in lending credence to this tales.


So, in a sense, imagination melds with reality to produce a fuller picture of our vision of the world.  All of this from a simple trip to Scotland. It beckons to be discovered…





My absence of entries in this blog can be excused (I think)  based on the fact that I had revisited the inspiration for this web site, namely, Brigadoon (the Americanization based on Lerner & Loewe’s musical; also, see my original entry regarding this in the introduction to the website). As you may have figured out, this inspiration has a somewhat complex mythological history. There is  a cross-cultural myth in Germany where it is known as Germelshausen. This is further intertwined by the fact that  William E. Leffingwell chose the name American Nauheim alluding to the country of his inspiration (Germany) for the Glen Springs at Watkins Glen.


Be that as it may,  this whole blog entry really wants to state the obvious, or maybe not so obvious, that the real inspiration for lay in the subconscious minds of the Scotch. This last statement may be a bit much to swallow, so I will have a series of blog entries relating to this.


To begin with,  my disclaimer is that I have become enamored with the  spirit and strength of the Scottish people. I never realized they were as oppressed as any other minority in Europe. It took a trip to Edinburgh and the Highlands to discover this fact. What I also discovered was the mystery of the land. The geography and climate of that countryside create an atmosphere of wild imaginings and mystery I have not experienced anywhere else. If a people and the land are united in creating a culture, then that explains why there have been so many literary greats that have called their homeland Scotland.


The photo is of Brig o’ Doon, the subject of which is from Robert Burn’s poem Tam o’ Shanter. In honesty, I must say I did not  actually visit this site, but I must say I did experience that soul of the countryside that hints at why the Scots so love their land and heritage. By the way, it seems this very bridge also inspired Lerner & Loewe in writing their musical.




Outlook Point will eventually drive Chad and myself bonkers.  I believe  Outlook Point could be on the Glen Springs/Padua property.  From the old photo Glen Kissingen Spring situated at the south side of the main building. As with my original photo’s the pictures are taken too close to the lake.  To get the view of the Lake from the property you would have to  back up quite a distance and move to the north while facing Lake Seneca.  I believe there was a spring possibly where our ice skating rink was situated. If the ground was level back then and the picture was such that the angle cut off the top of the main building.   Look at the original Outlook Point photo’s and the photo’s I submitted from the property.  Refer to the Glen Kissingen photo below and the 2 maps from Glen Springs trails (undated possibly early 1900’s) and the Padua Property map.

Glenn Kissingen

Photo taken from the south side Glen Kissingen Spring (Gazebo Spring) South side of building 1913, but south wing is there.

Glen Kissingen Spring


Blue Arrow indicates the direction of the above photo

GS map2

Keep in mind this is higher ground then the actual building. Any point to the right of the red line is also possible.  Map of Glen Springs grounds possible early 1900’s Looks as if south wing not built yet.  Green circled area wooded.

Also keep in mind Padua opened in 1949 and gym not built until 1952.

Now for the Snafu.  Reg informs me that Nelson Rockerfeller married Happy in 1963. So that can put the actual Happy Nelson picture to the North of the property.  There are a few Mansions on Lakeview Ave North and Adjacent to the Padua Property.  Reg also informs me that the original grave site for Williamm Leffingwell was in the vacinity of the Gym so his grave would overlook the lake.  Could this be the site of the bench photo?

We may never know the answer to the actual locations of the Happy and bench photo’s.

State ParkReg found a “Point Lookout” in the State Park adjacent to the cemetery.  This is a possible view of the lake from Chad’s Common Ground photo’s the shot seems much further south from the lake then the “Rocky and Happy” and “bench photo.

Draw your own conclusion




LostCorridorFinalWhen I was at Padua from 1961-65 this  was the name given to that area of Padua Prep located on the second floor right off the central core of the building.  It was essentially over the refectory running to the back of the building, and ending in the kitchen storerooms.


Or, was another name extant when you were at Padua?


This odd place has always been at the back of my mind, and nobody ever talks about it. This may mean that it really had no significance, or it could conjure up images, real or imagined,  of strange goings on.  While at Padua I used to often wander down this area, for no one ever seemed to mind, and there was never ever mention of earning a demerit for doing so.


I was fascinated by the small rooms that it contained with odd remnants of wallpaper on its walls. People seemed to use it for storage, so after one of my years there I left some of my text books in one of its rooms, only to find that when I returned in the fall they were gone. Who knows where these books went to on the “lost corridor?”


Maybe I don’t really want to know the truth behind this fascinating , hidden corner of the old school.  Maybe there is more enchantment in having its history remain hidden. Nonetheless, there is so much I really never understood about Padua, until I left, that this “lost corridor” seems to beckon to me for recognition.





The locations of Chad’s previous 2 photo’s from the grounds peaked my interest.  My first observations were from memory.  I was able to find a photo taken from my dorm room during the 1965-66 school year. It was taken from the upper floor dorm room somewhere in the vacinity above the Rectors office and entrance to the Chapel.  The upper right photo was taken on the grounds this past August 2012 about where the front Porch was situated.  The red arrow in three of the pictures is a strong reference point.  The ? red arrow in the Rocky Photo looks to be the same possible reference point in the other three Photo’s. Compensate for the camera angle.  Chad’s two photo’s may have been on the South side of the main building, keep in mind  there is no date for the Rocky Photo.




The longer I live the more I am convinced we each write our own life’s narrative. This belief stems from thinking back on life events and seeing parallels and patterns. In any event, I just went through one of these parallels, the original event being my prostate surgery about ten years ago. It was during this pre-op period that I constructed the first website. And, I attribute that work (or distraction as one may choose to define it) as keeping me sane, grounded or what have you, in preparing for the surgery which was in a sense potentially life altering.  Continue reading An Unexpected Journey