Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Walkabout: Bash Bish Falls

Before the white man came to North America, many Algonquin tribes populated the northeast, among them the Mohicans of western Massachusetts. Within their society, polygamy was not uncommon and divorce was frequently countenanced. Adultery, however, was an intolerable offense and was punishable by death. This legend revolves around a beautiful Mohican woman named Bash-Bish who was accusd of this gravest of crimes, found guilty, and condemned to death as prescribed by tribal law, despite her persistent protestations of innocence. For the execution of her sentence, a canoe equipped with leather thongs was secured in the swift water upstream from a waterfall. Bash-Bish was to be bound to the vessel, which was then to be released and drawn by the current over the fateful cataract.

At the appointed hour, the Indians, including the woman's infant daughter, White Swan, solemnly gathered for the ceremony. Suddenly a curious thing happened. A fine mist began to slant in from the sun while, simultaneously, a ring of bright butterflies circled Bash-Bish's head. As the Mohicans fell back in awe of the unexplained phenomenon, the condemned woman broke away, dashed to the edge of the falls and flung herself over the cruel shawl of water, the butterflies spiralling downward behind her. The pool below has never given up her body.

-Excerpt from "Haunted New England, A Devilish View of the Yankee Past, by Mary Bolte, 1972

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Good to be home

Dziadzu (John), far right, visits his parents' house on Hildreth Ave., South Hadley, Summer, 1944. He was on leave from duties in the South Pacific. Uncle Cas, far left.

Dziadzu with my mother, Judy.

Dziadzu and Cas ready for a good meal.  

Cas was on leave from the U.S. Army Air Force from his duties as a tail gunner. He was stationed in England.