Looking Back

Mary Ellen Shaw is a long-time Rutland native who shares fond memories of what the city was like “back in the day.” Occasionally, she’ll also share a “looking forward” column, often about the upcoming gardening season in the spring — don’t miss her important tips!

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Remembering downtown pharmacists from yesteryear

May 15, 2024
When I saw the obituary for Lucian Wiskoski back in March I realized that he was the last of Rutland’s downtown pharmacists whom I had the pleasure of knowing from childhood into adulthood. Back in the ‘50s five pharmacies were located in downtown Rutland. They were: Shangraw’s, Carpenter’s, Carroll Cut Rate, McClallen’s, and Beauchamp &…

Remembering Eleanor

May 1, 2024
Spring and summer are seasonal reminders to me of those who have contributed to my perennial gardens. As their gifts to me come into bloom I remember the person who gave the plants to me and their kindness in doing so. This year in particular I will be remembering our neighbor, Eleanor DiSabito, who sadly…

Quotes that seniors can relate to

April 17, 2024
“Old age comes at a bad time!” – Sam Banducci I think retirees will agree with that statement. We work all our lives and once we retire we finally have time to do all the things we dreamed of doing. But after awhile bad knees, backs and feet may put some restrictions on activities such…

Looking Back: Choosing your career

April 3, 2024
A common question that children are asked is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Odds are that their answer will not be the future profession they choose after graduation. I read a survey that was given to children in the U.S. whose ages ranged from 8-12. The child who said he…

Looking Back: Friends sharing memories

March 20, 2024
Chatting with friends during our weekly breakfast often results in a few “looking back” thoughts for my column. After all, looking back is what our age group does best! One subject we reminisced about was old TV shows. Back in the 1950s, there were not a lot of channels available, which meant very limited viewing…

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Looking Back: Remembering Latin

March 6, 2024
Where did Latin go??? If you went to high school up until the late ‘60s it was a subject that most schools required for college prep students. But by the ‘70s it gradually began to fade from school curricula. Latin was my favorite high school subject. It was like figuring out a puzzle. The structure…

Looking Forward: Flower and veggie seeds

February 21, 2024
If you are a gardener you are probably ready to put the snowy days behind you and spend some time “playing in the dirt.” I have already purchased my veggie and flower seeds and just looking at the pictures on the packets puts me in a happy place! Winter is an ideal time to purchase…

Looking Back: Growing up in Queens versus Rutland

February 7, 2024
A column that I wrote awhile back compared growing up in the city to growing up in the country. Reading that column caused a friend of mine to take her own trip back in time and she shared her memories with me. As I was reading her email I realized that my early years in…

Looking Back: Winter memories from the ‘50s and ‘60s

January 10, 2024
  Winter memories from the ‘50s and ‘60s My classmate from first grade through high school, Pat Maroney Embree, shared some wonderful winter memories with me from the ‘50s and ‘60s. As I read her email it prompted me to ask a couple of other old friends what they recalled from that era. It was…

Looking back: A kid’s winter back in the ’50s

December 28, 2023
If you were a kid in Rutland back in the 50s, how did you spend your winter? I will guarantee you that it wasn’t spent inside looking at a digital device! We were outside for the majority of the day even if was snowing. There is an expression that goes “There is no such thing…

Looking Back: Christmas in the 1950s

December 13, 2023
By Mary Ellen Shaw It’s almost Christmas and as I look back I realize how the holiday is very different in today’s world. When I was a child in the ‘50s, downtown Rutland was bustling with shoppers who had numerous stores from which to select Christmas gifts. The windows were beautifully decorated for the season…

Looking Back: Life on the farm versus life in the city

November 29, 2023
Submitted   By Mary Ellen Shaw   The Mountain Times forwarded to me a hand-written letter from a regular reader of my “Looking Back” column. Her name is Ellen Lee Jones. She shared with me what she remembers about her own life when she “looks back.” Ellen gave permission for me to use the details…

Looking Back: Remembering Halloween from yesteryear

October 18, 2023
  It’s almost time for Halloween and sometimes adults have as much fun as kids on this holiday. Looking back to the 1950s when I went “trick-or-treating” the costumes were pretty simple. Most kids dressed as witches, ghosts, hobos or vampires. Celebrity or movie related costumes were not popular like they are today. Many of…

Looking Back: Bikes for all ages

October 5, 2023
By Mary Ellen Shaw It seems like our street had more bicycle riders this summer than I have ever seen here. The adults seem to outnumber the children and teens. For most of us our connection to biking begins with a tricycle. When I was a child back in the ‘50s there were about a…

Looking Back: Taking a ride back in the day!

September 20, 2023
Back in the day where we traveled by car and how we found our way to various places was nothing like it is now. A friend recently told me that without her GPS she would find it very difficult to get from one place to another. We have become a technology dependent generation! My car…

Looking Back: Dumb ideas

August 23, 2023
  During my annual dermatology visit the doctor and I discussed how the choices that people made in the ’60s have resulted in skin damage as we age. Sunscreen was not promoted back then like it is today. A popular trend among my high school and college friends was to slit the sides of a…

Looking Back: Songs that are ‘oldies’

August 9, 2023
While listening to a radio conversation between two people hosting a show I heard one of them ask the other what decade he expected to hear songs from when he is told that an “oldie” is coming up. The two hosts were not close in age so one said the ’70s and the other said…

Looking Back: Keeping up with the changes

July 26, 2023
Many things have changed over the course of my lifetime and that is to be expected. However, they seem to be changing at a rapid clip and this senior can barely keep up! It seems like we all used land line phones forever and now the majority of people have cell phones. You no longer…

What we do for love

July 12, 2023
  I don’t think there is a female among us who hasn’t done something out of her comfort zone simply because she is dating someone who interests her. I definitely plead “guilty” to doing that almost 50 years ago! In fact, I did multiple things that were way out of my comfort zone. Perhaps my…

How is your garden growing?

June 30, 2023
  How is your garden growing? As gardeners we never seem to be satisfied with the way our flowers and veggies look. I think we are too hard on ourselves! Mother Nature as well as critters alter our plans and give us results that don’t always make us happy. But most of what we plant…