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Tuesday December 19, 2006 Edition
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Russell Whitney Turns 90

Tuesday December 19, 2006

By Bridget Dorman

    Turn an object 90 degrees and you’ll find it faces in the opposite direction.  Turn a Vermonter 90 and you’ll find, at least in the case of local Middlebury resident Russell Whitney, that while turning and reminiscing about years gone by is an enjoyable pastime, age 90 still keeps us moving agreeably forward.

    On December 19th Russell Whitney will celebrate his 90th birthday.  Russell was born in Salisbury, one of ten children – eight boys, two girls - and just as you might imagine of a child growing up in the 1920’s, he walked a mile and a half to and from school each day.  Russell’s father worked as the mail carrier for Salisbury in 1900 and for sixteen years he transported mail by horse and carriage, stamps and money in tow.  Russell remembers in 1920 his father bought his first car, and Russell would ride with his father to deliver mail to his neighbors.

    Born of a farming family, Russell spent ten years buying and selling cattle, and for sixteen years worked at Middlebury College carrying for the animals.  He also, for many years, volunteered to care-take at the West Salisbury Cemetery.

    But what most people attribute to Russell is his love of the woods.  Russell was an avid hunter, trapper and is a nature lover.  A woodsman through and through, Russell knows where to find and collect wild Ginseng among the hills of Vermont and this powerful herb, Russell says, may be the secret to his long life.

    Russell knows many secrets.  He knows that you salt a pork brine until you can float a potato, he knows how to hunt deer straight to their bed, how to raise a family, how to be a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather and a great-great grandfather.  Russell knows a lot and he remembers it all.  So, if he ever claims, with a smile, to have forgotten where to find Wild Ginseng, you now will know better, that he has chosen to. Happy Birthday Russell, from all of your neighbors.


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