Monday, December 25, 2017

r.i.p. john tingley wall 1948 - 2017

we lost one of our longtime vermont friends, john tingley wall, this past friday night.
he went to sleep and didn't wake up ... he died of a heart attack at age 69 ...

as it happened, i got off the bus in arlington, in july of 1971, to work at the Roundhouse,
a local bar in manchester.  The Roundhouse opened july 6th 1970, and my first night there in 1971 was the one year anniversary of the opening.  my sister was friends with one of the founders, and she had gotten me the job on my return from a couple of months traveling in europe.  i ended up working there for about a year, and after my first month in local low rent dive, my friend jim and i moved into the 'wall family gallery' in downtown manchester, a building that housed a pottery studio (beriah and janice) and several apartments where the owners, John Tingley Wall and Kathy lived, the apartment my friend Jim and I shared, and  our soon to be long term friends, noel and peter, lived in the basement where there was also a mechanic shop for tinkering.  i was traveling with jim at the time, (scroll down), and after the summer season in Vermont, we planned to go back to the ocean reef club in key largo where we had worked for the winter season of 1970.  tingley's wife worked in a local real estate office and she one day sent this blonde chick to see our apartment, as we were scheduled to move into a two bedroom unit that was almost finished next door.  well, i answered the door, and the blond chick instead moved in with me before jim and I moved out, and she's still living here with me now ..

johnny was a fairly fearless business go getter.  eventually, I grew tired of tending bar and Tingley recruited me to help in his various businesses, landscaper, tennis court builder, excavator, carpenter, and eventually after the economy collapsed in 1973, as a logger.  i am still connected with many of the people who lived there and who i worked with then, my brother in law, the mason, peter moore, my snowplow and logging guy bruce waite, and my dirt and pond guy noel dydo. all three of us went on to establish our own long term businesses.  another woman who lived there at the time is still a friend, as are tingley's ex wife kathy and their kids Abigail and jonathan, brothers, beriah and david, and sisters, hope and nancy, and beriah's ex wife janice ... it was a very formative time ...

johnny, in his happy place on his jd 450, helping clear our land in arlington ..
david wall, peter moore, me, and beriah wall outside the wfgallery, circa 71-72

eventually, tingley and kathy bought an old house at the corner of richville road and lye brook road and i got my first real introduction to carpentry.  strip it down to the studs inside, insulate, shore up the stone foundation, pour a slab in the cellar, replace some rotting exterior details, frame up some new interior walls and a stairway, sheetrock and tape, build a kitchen, hang the new doors and trim them out .. a complete, paid course in remodeling and carpentry over the course of a year.  this experience gave me the confidence to tackle our own house, pretty much every stick, every nail, every wire, pipe, and slate the next year, 1974.  there was a recession on, and we were logging an hour and a half away at somerset reservoir, but during the winter of 73, we were tackling the outbuilding at john's house, and he had a wood shop set up there where i built my first real piece of furniture which is still in our dining room today.

there it is, under the painting on the right

given that i have had two days off here to reflect and consider, i can honestly say that though we sort of lost touch with john over the year after he moved away to run other peoples bigger businesses, my encounters and work with john tingley wall profoundly shaped my life.  it's unlikely i would be living where i am, with the woman and kids i am with, doing what i have been doing for the last 40 years without those first three years kit and i spent at the wall family gallery..

thank you tingley and kathy !!!

1 comment:

Beriah Wall said...

Hey, Danny, this is a very nice tribute. Yes I’ll send you some buttons! Love and all the best to youse all. Beriah