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Tuesday April 25, 2017 Edition
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Sharing Sweet Memories Of The Land Family And Baseball With Robert Myrick

Married for 65 years, Robert and Rita Myrick raised their family in Bridport and watched America come into its own both locally and globally.
photo by provided
Married for 65 years, Robert and Rita Myrick raised their family in Bridport and watched America come into its own both locally and globally.
Two passions Robert Myrick never outgrew were baseball and pure Vermont Myrick Maple Syrup!
photo by provided
Two passions Robert Myrick never outgrew were baseball and pure Vermont Myrick Maple Syrup!
From the air, the Myrick farm seems quiet and at rest, but Robert Myrick would disagree for his family farm was always busy.
photo by provided
From the air, the Myrick farm seems quiet and at rest, but Robert Myrick would disagree for his family farm was always busy.

Tuesday April 25, 2017

By Cookie Steponaitis

Robert Myrick was born in Burlington, Vermont in 1924 and was just two years old when his family moved to the farm in Bridport and the town he still proudly calls his home. Whether it is sharing memories of walking to a one room school, dealing with the shortages of the World War Two years, serving on the Bridport Select Board for thirty years, the beloved maple business or baseball, Robert Myrick is a man of constants which include family, faith, love of the land and appreciation of baseball that are the cornerstones in his life and fill his memories.
     While Robert was a youth a lot of significant changes occurred in the business of  farming bringing changes to the land in Bridport.  The first was the arrival of power lines and electricity at the farm in 1936 or 1937 and the second was the purchase of the very first Farmall tractor. The Myrick Maple business also began during the same World War Two era.
 “We started it for the simple fact that we didn’t have any sugar,” explained Robert Myrick. “There were many things that you didn’t have in those days. I had a gallon and a half of gas for a week, couldn’t get car tires and we had no sugar. So, we started tapping the trees and that first year we only produced a hundred gallons or so. We would drive the tractor up to the  taps and dump the buckets into the container. That was well before pipelines and the  current system in place.” Today the Myrick Maple works is in the hands of son Steve and family and is all pipeline. Robert smiles a great deal when sharing memories of the sugaring process and the purchase of the first evaporator from Wilmarth Orchards. Myrick is not a fan of Vermont’s new grading system for syrup and is certain that the sweet crop will continue in the Myrick name for years to come.
    Robert’s life took on new meaning in 1950 when he chanced to meet Rita Counter in Middlebury. Certain from the start that she was the one, Robert smiles and reminisces that he was, “quick to date and marry her before she got away.” They were married just shy of their 65th anniversary when Rita passed away in 2014. The couple had nine children Robert, Jr.(Larry), Stan, Dana, Mary, Stephen, Nancy, Susan, Dennis and Lori. Today there are 15 grandchildren and 14 great- grandchildren to carry on the traditions of family, land, maple and fun and Robert shares stories of taking his children on the milk route he had first for another employer and later for his own. When not working his own farm, Robert drove milk truck and picked up the milk of others. “It wasn’t until the 1960’s that I looked around and really began to see the smaller family farm vanishing from the area. I know that the farmers today have gone big but that does concern me. It is possible to make a living with a medium size farm and I hope that it doesn’t just become a business and loses the quality of life we enjoyed for generations.
    While family life centered on the farm, there were horseshoe clubs, bowling teams and the beloved baseball that kept the Myrick family on the move. “With nine of us dad would joke we were a baseball team,” shared daughter Mary. “Just know though that some of us did not get to play as much. There was a huge age gap between the top end of the team and the bottom end, so some of us were considered too young to play.” Robert is a devout baseball player and played on the local team the Panton Bullfrog and was a member of champion teams on several occasions. He was also the local coach for his own sons and countless others who came of age when baseball was more than a pastime; it was a passion and the American sport of choice “I must admit I never got attached to football,” explained Myrick. “I really enjoyed playing on the teams with all the other men from the local area and we had some great times. While I take a bit of ribbing for it, I am a devout St. Louis Cardinals fan. I will watch the Red Sox on television   because their games are good and easy to get on our local channels, but I love my Cardinals.”
    Growing up when television was still an invention that would come later in his life, Myrick has
 incredible memories of sitting and listening to the Dodgers play baseball and using a satellite radio to listen to games from all over the area. While watching them brings him joy and entertainment, to this day he believes if you cannot be there to watch it in person, the way to go is to listen over the radio and concentrate on each play.
    Just scratching the surface of an animated and active memory that has witnessed more change in Addison County than almost any generation before, Robert Myrick has a treasure trove of stories of triumph and challenges. A member of the Fire Department for 30 years and a 30 member of the Town Select board, Myrick was instrumental in the creation of the Tri-Town water project “Do you remember the water crisis of ‘63?” asks Myrick and with a chuckle adds, “Anyways, that was before Tri-Town Water went in. We had fifteen water pumps and five miles of irrigation hose to help people make it through that awful year. Sometimes working with the land can be hard.”
    With a smile and request to be sure to come again, Robert Myrick turns his attention to that passion of his and begins to watch a baseball game on the television. As this reporter rounds the corner of his room she hears coming from behind her the exasperated voice of a true lover of the sport, “For God sakes, teach that boy to pitch.”  Most recently, Robert attended the opening of the Time Capsule as he had graduated from that high school and his memories of attending the dedication of the Municipal Building and the placing of the time capsule. The Valley Voice salutes Robert Myrick and the legacy his generation gives to all of us of a ‘can do’ and ‘will do’ attitude that shines through in their actions, efforts and stories they share even to this day of memories of sweet crops,  family dinners, baseball games, new tractors, milk runs and friendships shared, living and working on the land in Addison County.

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