Back in March, I posted a story about a nothing pond in rural New Hampshire nicknamed “Jew Pond” after Jewish businessmen purchased it in 1920. It’s a smelly, man-made hole, really, but the nickname stuck despite the failure of the new owners to realize their vision of creating a vacation spot for previously verboten guests. This past September, the US Board of Geographic Names approved a vote by local residents to rename the pond after one of Mont Vernon’s founding families (more on the Carletons later).
My attempts to reach a town Selectman and a local journalist were met with unreturned messages. And the disembodied voices of suspicious old white ladies with whom I did speak hardened at the mere mention of Carleton Pond. This mosquito pit, you may know, received national and international attention throughout 2012, so it’s not surprising that certain residents (especially the geezers) are wary of being mocked again. As few would, they like don’t outsiders coming in –electronically or on ye ‘ol horseback– trying to change things.
But I didn’t want to close out the year without checking in on Mont Vernon to see how things went. And the answer is: just fine, as long as you don’t bring up that goddamned piss pool.
Shortly after the townspeople approved the name change and went off to make it official on government maps, Richard Masters, the town’s health officer, and local student filmmaker Kate Dobbs were honored by the New Hampshire Jewish Federation for their work in helping restore Mont Vernon’s dignity.
Eight months later, Rich Masters is still playing with local mold. Dobbs had been hired by the local newspaper but then “let go,” an old Colonial hag told me yesterday a little too cheerfully. May Dobbs have moved on to a higher purpose, to achieve great things for openminded people elsewhere to enjoy.