Thursday, May 29, 2008

End of an era

Another good friend of the Bakerville Library has passed away. Bud Sedgwick (right), who with Bill Stafford made it an annual event to tell second graders what it was like when the library building was a schoolhouse, died on Thursday, May 22nd. He will be missed at the library and around Bakerville. Following is his obituary from the Register Citizen.

Posted on Fri, May 23, 2008
Malcolm Sedgwick, 82, on May 22, 2008. Montano-Shea Funeral Home.

BAKERSVILLE — Malcolm “Bud” Sedgwick, 82, passed away on Thursday, May 22, 2008, after a nine-month battle with cancer.

He was the loving husband of Dorothy Sedgwick, who passed away in Sept. 2005. Born Nov. 12, 1925, in New Hartford, the son of the late Ralph Sedgwick and Ethel (Jones) Bartholomew, he was a life long Bakersville resident. He was a World War II veteran, having served in Hawaii as a tank and artillery mechanic. He later worked on the early NASA space suits used during the first moon landing at Hamilton Standard. He spent over 20 years at the Torrington Company in the Broad Street and Standard plants as a machinist. His hobbies included gardening, fishing, and antique cars. He was a member of the Litchfield Hills Antique Auto Club for over 30 years. He was also a volunteer fireman with the South End Volunteer Fire Department for most of his adult life. An avid walker, he would walk for miles every morning before breakfast.

In addition to his brother, Allyn, he is survived by two sons, Wayne R. Sedgwick and his wife Wendy of New Hartford and Terry L. Sedgwick and his wife Andrea of Barkhamsted; a daughter, Renae J. Ferguson and her husband Ray of New Hartford; and four grandchildren, Corey, Kate, Sara and Josh. He was predeceased by his brother, Upton.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 29, 2008, at Bakersville United Methodist Church, Bakersville at 11 a.m. Burial will be held at Bakersville Cemetery, Bakersville. Friends may call on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at Montano-Shea Funeral Home, 5 Steele Road, New Hartford, from 6 to 8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to South End Vol. Fire Department New Hartford, Conn. 06057 or the Litchfield Hills Antique Auto Club c/o Royal’s Garage in Torrington, Conn. Visit an online guestbook at

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club

June’s book club meeting will be about The Pickwick Papers, by Charles Dickens. I was one who voted for it, and some people are blaming me. Okay, I stand by my vote. It’s a very funny book.

Also, I have to present Dickens’s bio. (As part of my punishment.) So come back and visit this post in the next few days—I’ll try out some ideas here.

First, the basic facts.

Born: 1812.

Died: 1870.


Well. Book club has come and gone. I ended up printing out some Wikipedia pages and reading from them. Not very serious, but entertaining. I discovered that Dickens actually lived through a lot of the things he wrote about, including working in a factory at a very young age because his family were confined to a debtors’ prison.

I listened (am still listening, in fact), to the book on tape (21 tapes), with Patrick Hull as the narrator. He does a really good, funny job with all the voices. Some other people listened to Walter Zimmerman, and they raved about him, too.

I think Dickens would have appreciated our meeting. It was warm enough to meet outside, so we did, accompanied by (1) gin and tonics, (2) drinks with vodka, cucumbers, lime, and mint, (3) assorted wines, and (4) plenty of lovely hors d’oeuvres. Don’t you wish you had been there?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Castaway Playaway

A while ago, I was in the library looking to feed my audio addiction. My eyes lit on this attractive cover of Robinson Crusoe, and I grabbed it, since I’d never read it.

It felt strangely light; judging from the shape, it should have contained a bunch of tapes.

I opened it up, after some struggle, and saw that it contained a little calculator-shaped gadget, and a battery in a separate foam slot.

I was annoyed. I felt old and cranky. I thought, “What in the world am I supposed to do with this? It probably goes with some machine I don’t have. Now I have to look around for something else acceptable to listen to?”

Then I made myself calm down and look at it. It was called a Playaway, and it was, of course, a digital version of the recording. It had a place to plug in your own headphones or earbuds (how hygienic), and instructions on how to turn it on and navigate through it. So I decided to check it out.

You may already know about this, but if you don’t, I recommend the format. You don’t have to change tapes or CDs. The navigation is pretty simple. And when I paused it to get out of the car, when I got back and turned it back on, it started right up where I had stopped it.

The only trouble I had was when the battery ran out in the middle, and I didn’t recognize the signs until it had flaked out a few times.

The only major design flaw (and I can deal with it) is with the volume—you can’t decrease it directly. You have to keep pressing the button that increases it until it gets to the loudest (pretty loud) and then jumps down to the softest and starts the climb again.

As for the book itself, I’m happy to have read it, but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as The Swiss Family Robinson.