Phil Bobrow's winter photo of the Waitsfield Covered Bridge and Mad River

By Mary Kathleen Mehuron

Happy New Year! For many this particular holiday is a time of reflection, and I am consistently one of those people. Looking back, I’m startled to realize that I’ve been working on this column for almost two years. It all started when the publishing world stopped short as the pandemic wound up. My third and fourth novels were being shopped by my agent, but nobody we contacted was buying anything as they couldn’t print the books they already had. (Both novels will come out this summer). In the isolation of the COVID-19 lockdown it became apparent that it’s very important to me to write every day. Perhaps it became even more important, in those lonely times, to have readers who could give me feedback.




One cold winter night a solution became obvious. Everyone I knew was sticking to small pods of close friends and meeting outside. We would put our lawn chairs 6 feet apart and brown-bag our cocktails. And what did we do? We told our stories of years gone by. The idea of Take Me Back was born. 

It was a pretty simple formula: A community member told me a memory. Then, I helped them get it down on paper and scrambled around trying to find images to support the story. Pictures should have been the easy part — right? How wrong I was. I thought I could waltz into the Fayston, Moretown, Waitsfield and Warren Historical Societies and the many volunteers would jump to attention and offer endless suggestions about images to use for my articles. But I was in for a shock.

It turns out the members of the boards of the historical societies of Fayston and Warren have aged out and, in some cases died. The town clerks are left to oversee artifacts and pictures as best they can while they hold down full time jobs. In Waitsfield and Moretown, a few dedicated individuals hang on to take care of things. But make no mistake — the clock is ticking. We need new blood. Younger folks to volunteer and perhaps redefine the way these organizations operate. Seven years ago, when longtime Vermonter Ruth Pestle was still alive she tried to get me to join the Waitsfield Historical Society’s board. She said, “We need younger volunteers.” I was 60 years old at the time, hardly young.

I thought, “ How do we raise awareness about organizations that want to showcase Mad River Valley history?” When the Vermont Arts Council gave me an artist development grant, I decided to use it to begin growing Take Me Back into a book called “Take Me Back: An Anecdotal History of the Mad River Valley” to use as a fundraising product.  The council requires a project mentor and Waitsfield’s own bestselling author, James M. Tabor, agreed to fill the role. 

Each of the 50 articles I’ve written so far, turned out to be a magic portal. A treasure hunt where I found photographs, interviews, paintings, and others’ written pieces. The discoveries felt like they exploded in front of me. I told my son, the director and show runner for Amazon Prime, Jonathan C. Hyde, “It’s a feast for the senses.” He was intrigued and came on board as our head artistic consultant. Then Jonathan went on a hunt of his own to find a cool graphic designer and discovered Marin Horikawa of Burlington. The assembled team gave me confidence that the project couldn’t fail.

Local photographers, artists, other writers, poets, IT specialists, even a show runner, and I donated our efforts. The fabulous editor of Soaring Arrow, Courtney Jenkins, did the entire copy edit at no cost. The only contributors being paid are the graphic artist and printer. And they are giving us a nonprofit rate to create the keepsake edition.

Marin and I had our “pitch deck” ready last May. For us that term meant a booklet of sample pages and a coordinating  PowerPoint presentation. The materials looked pretty good, but I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. With the help of friends I was booked to speak at a Rotary meeting. I didn’t expect so many people to be there. I asked the friends that were present to give me feedback on my speech, took their critique to heart and practiced. It must have worked because we have raised enough to pay our graphic designer. We will now tackle finding donors to help us print the book.




It has famously been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I will take that idea further and say it took four villages to create this anecdotal history — Fayston, Moretown, Waitsfield and Warren. After a fearsome amount of work, in October of 2022 Take Me Back, Inc. became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit offering tax exempt status. Its mission is to raise awareness of and money for organizations in the Mad River Valley that want to showcase our history. A bank account was opened, and a small board of directors formed.

The text portion of the book was completed in November of 2022 and approved by project mentor James M. Tabor. At that point the organization had been gifted significant donations by Green Mountain Valley School, Susan Hoyt, Jamieson’s Insurance, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Mad River Valley Rotary, Jes and Nancy Mobley, George Schenk of American Flatbread, Waitsfield Telecom and, of course, Mehuron’s Market. I will soon have a meeting with Sugarbush Resort’s vice president of sales and marketing JJ Toland, and public relations and communications manager John Bleh. Sugarbush Resort will surely come on board to help with the printing of the book. We hope other donors will follow. Please reach out to me if you want to offer assistance or if you know someone else who might.

All the donated images I had collected for two years went to our designer Marin Horikawa, who is turning our keepsake edition into a work of art. Can’t wait for you to see it.

The book, Take Me Back: An Anecdotal History of the Mad River Valley will launch on June 14 at a Lawson’s Super Sessions event from 4 to 7 p.m. Please mark this on your 2023 calendar.

The idea of the book launch as a Super Session was Karen Lawson’s and it is a good one. We will invite all the contributors, any remaining members of the Historical Societies Boards, anyone who would consider signing up as a board member could do so that night—and we could sell a lot of books. One-hundred percent of the profits are going to projects for groups that want to display our history.

Happy New Year dear friends. It’s such a delight when I hear from you. Thanks for reading Take Me Back!

Mary Kathleen Mehuron lives in Waitsfield. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..