Pogue, Barbara

Interviewer: Jean McMillen
Place of Interview: Scoville Library
Date of Interview:
File No: 23 Cycle: 2
Summary: Taconic Power House, Salisbury School for boys, Zoning Board of Appeals, Democratic town committee, Owls Kitchen (Food Pantry), Salisbury Housing Trust, Congregational Church

Interview Audio

Interview Transcript

Barbara Pogue Interview:

This is File #23, cycle 2. Today’s date is April 5, 2015. This is jean McMillen I am interviewing Barbara Pogue. She is going to talk about the Power House in Taconic, her teaching experiences, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Democratic Town Committee, OWLS Kitchen, EXTRAS, Salisbury Housing Committee, and anything else she can think of. She had a wonderful story to end this interview about collecting clothes for Mt. Riga. Here we go. I am going to ask you the genealogical questions first.

JM:What is your name?

BP:What is your name?

BP:Barbara Pogue

JM:What is your birth date?

BP:May 16, 1932

JM:And your birth place?

BP:Boston, Mass.

JM:Your parents’ names?

BP:Margaret Mullen and Walter Richard Barry

JM:Do you have siblings?


JM:You have 5 I think.

BP:5, but not all alive at the moment. In chronological order: Constance, Robert, Marjorie, me then two younger brothers Walter Richard Jr., and John.

JM:What is you educational background after high school?

BP:I went to Boston University, Emmanuel College. I graduated from Emmanuel College in my junior year. I went back for graduate school to University Laval in Quebec, Canada.

JM:That was a Master’s in French?

BP:Yes, Master of Arts

JM:How did you come to the area?

BP:My husband and I lived in Manhattan and we liked to ski. We used to go up to Vermont weekends during the winter to ski. We thought on the way home one time if we had a place to stay about half way between New York and Vermont, if would make our weekends a lot easier. Through


family connections and so forth, we heard of someone in this area who was a real estate agent. He showed us a house in Gt. Barrington which was very nice, but it had low ceilings. My husband said, “No, this is nice, but the ceilings are too low.” So he said, “You want high ceilings?” So he brought us to the Power House in Taconic.

JM:When did you buy the power house? You had said 1965.

BP:1965 ish

JM:It had high ceilings? 12 foot?

BP:My husband could tell you. Actually we added a loft to it so it was definitely two stories high.

JM:What other work did you do on it? Because you said that it needed work.

BP:Oh yes, it needed a lot of work. We installed a loft: we installed another bathroom up in one of the lofts.

JM:Did you have to do a roof?

BP:No fortunately as I recall we didn’t.

JM:How are either heating or wiring?

BP:Probably, I think my husband could tell you more of those details. That is a guy thing.

JM;How long did you keep the house?

BP:Roughly 10 years, probably not quite.

JM:Do you remember whom you sold it to?

BP:Yes, I don’t remember his name but they were New Yorkers. They planned to be there only on weekends.

JM:Did you ever get to go skiing after you bought the house?

BP:No, the funny part of it is that after we bought the house, we were so busy working on it that we never left to go skiing. We skied locally at Catamount and Butternut in Gt. Barrington.

JM:Now tell me about your teaching career. Did you start in Region #1 or did you start at where?

BP:I started in a very small town in western Massachusetts called Barre and my maiden name is Barry so I was Miss Barry in Barre. That was just for a couple of years and then I moved to another town in Massachusetts and then decided I wanted to try life in the big city. So I moved to New York, and taught in New Rochelle, New York.


JM:When you came here and bought the Power House in Taconic so that you could go skiing on the weekends, where did you start teaching in this area? Did you start at Salisbury School or Region #1?

BP:I taught at so many schools in the area, it is hard to remember which the first one was.

JM:What were the schools where you taught in Region #1?

BP:Salisbury Central, Cornwall, Sharon those were the ones in Region #1.

JM:Then you went up to Salisbury School about when? 1978?

BP:Probably because I taught there for 20 something years.

JM:Did you enjoy teaching in private school?

BP:Better than public school? No not necessarily. There were duties at private school that I did not enjoy for example evening study hall and things like that.

JM:When you were working at Salisbury School do you remember any of the Headmasters?

BP:Oh yes, Ed Ward I think hired me, Then there was Peter Sipple, and there was a gentlemen who came for just a short time, but I don’t remember his name.

JM:You had a story about Berkshire School; please tell me that story.

BP:I had retired from Salisbury School and my last connection there was in June. In September I thought, “Oh I am not going back to school!” I got a call from Art Charles who had been the Dean of Students or Dean of Faculty at Salisbury School. He had transferred to Berkshire School. He said, “I just got a call from my French teacher who told me he is not coming back.” This was the day after Labor Day. He said, “Would you please …” I said, “NO, Art I have retired. How many classes are there?” He said, 4 No Art, 3? I have retired! How about 2 OK I shall do 2 and no Saturdays. He said, “OK”

JM:He was desperate.

BP:I know. I should have asked for limousine service.

JM:That would have been an excellent idea.

BP:One thinks of these things too late.

JM:Did you teach there the full year?

BP:Yes, I was there for that year and he had promised me that it would only be for one year. At the end of the year he said, “Could you please stay for another year?” So I did. I stayed for the second year making sure that they were hiring somebody. It was enjoyable.



JM:When you taught French did you teach conversation, grammar, literature? Basically how did you teach?

BP:All of the above.

JM:When I was taking French in high school, it was all language lab; you listened to tapes and you repeated. That is how I learned French.

BP:Really! That is what they are doing now with Rosetta Stone.

JM:After you moved here you got on several different boards. We’ll start with the Zoning Board of Appeals. What do you remember about that?

BP:It was an interesting thing, but I really don’t know how that came about. I think it was through the Salisbury Democratic Town Committee. It was interesting in that we had to make decisions on zoning matters about which I knew nothing when I started. But one learns.

JM:I asked you if you actually did site inspections or whether you dealt with paper work.

BP:No, it was mainly paper work.

JM:I am assuming that the Zoning Board of Appeals means that you have gotten a decision from Planning and Zoning that you don’t like and you are appealing that decision?

BP:Somebody is appealing it whether it is the board or the petitioner.

JM:So it can be either the board or the petitioner.

BP:As I recall.

JM:How long were you on that? Do you remember?

BP:I would say maybe 5 or 6 years.

JM:Did you enjoy the work? Or was it really grunt work?

BP:No it was enjoyable; I think I enjoyed the people I was with. But don’t ask me who they were!

JM:How about the Democratic Town Committee; that must have been early on.


JM:How did you get involved with that?



BP:I remember Margaret Gurney and I did know her. She said to me, “Oh you would be perfect for the Democratic Town Committee.” I was on it for probably 20 years. It was during Charlotte Reid’s tenure in town. She and I became very good friends.

JM:Excellent and again it was one of those things that you liked the people you were working with.


JM:What does the Democratic Town Committee actually do? (See file #2, cycle2 Margie Vail)

BP:They chose people to be nominated for the various office of the town, elections, anything that is on the ballot.

JM:When you were on the Democratic Town Committee, were you in a position as secretary, treasurer or anything like that?

BP:Probably all of the above at one time or another.

JM:Were you President at any time?

BP:I may have been; yes, I think I was.

JM:Probably if you were on that long, they picked you. They get you one way or another. Tell me about EXTRAS. That is fascinating.

BP:Well Bud Trotta was the First selectman (1989-1995) (See File #80 Bud Trotta) at that point. I don’t know whether somebody came to him or whether it was his idea but there was obviously a need for parents who were working and had children going to Salisbury Central School. Your child could not be at school before 8:30. So people who had to be at work earlier than that were really up the creek. I do not know how it came about, but a group of us, he asked me to be on his board and Dick Taber (See file #64 Rev. Dick Taber) I think was there. We discussed the possibility of hiring someone to oversee the children who arrived at school early and who stayed after school. (See file #61 Lou Bucceri) So there was a program for before and after school.

JM:That must have come in the 1990’s perhaps, late 1980’s early 1990’s>

BP:Oh earlier that that I think.

JM:I remember that we had an afterschool program but it wasn’t formalized into EXTRAS. We teachers had to be on duty like quarter of eight and the kids would come in before 8:30, but that was early on. Tell me how the name EXTRAS came about.

BP:We were sitting around the table and talking about what this program would be like and Dick Taber said, “Oh it is extended time.” I was sitting with a pencil and paper and I wrote down EXT and then I thought< “oh for recreational activities in Salisbury. EXTRAS! Voila we had our name.


JM:Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! Do you remember other people that were on that early board?

BP:Possibly Steve Victory.

JM:This would be for the kids that had to be dropped off early and in the afternoon from 3-5?

BP:Yes it seems to me yes.

JM:Anything else you want to tell me about EXTRAS?

BP:Sally Gevault, I think was on it that early board.

JM:Let’s go on to OWLS Kitchen. What did OWL stand for?

BP:Older women’s League.

JM:That was what?

BP:It was group out of Washington, D. C. founded in Washington , D.C. by women advocating for older women and for social security, for programs that did not exist at that time for older women which were promoting

JM: knowledge that they may not have had if they weren’t in the marketplace.

BP:Yes that is correct.

JM:Are there national and local chapters of this?

BP:Yes at that point we were one of the first local chapters I believe. We as a local chapter hosted a couple of gatherings at the Town Grove where we had representatives from other chapters, mainly in New England. There was always a woman from Washington who came.

JM:You were looking for a project, your local chapter, and what project did you come up with?

BP:We came up with a food pantry.

JM:It is the only one in the United States I have been told that is sponsored by OWLS.

BP:I don’t know how we chose the name, OWLS Kitchen. We wanted it to be something connected with the OWL. I remember once answered the phone there and a gentleman wanted to make reservations for a meal. I had to tell him, ”No we were not a restaurant; we were a food pantry.” But you can see how he made that mistake.

JM:I think that is a wonderful story. Do you remember when OWLS Kitchen, the food pantry started? Was it back in the 1970’s, perhaps?

BP:I would think so.


JM:I think Sue Morrill indicated that maybe it began in 1975, in that area. Why did you get involved?

BP:I think I was involved from the beginning with Mary Alice White and Penny Grant. It was political at the beginning. That is how I got involved. (See file #13,cycle2 Jean Gallup)

JM:Was it a spin-off from the Democratic Town Committee?

BP:No not really, I wouldn’t say that.

JM:How long were you involved with OWLS Kitchen? Or are you still involved?

BP:No I had to retire. I think it was 2 years ago I got this other emergency call from Salisbury School; they were desperate for a French teacher because somebody was having a baby. So I had to leave then on very short notice, but they were very nice to me.

JM:When you were on the board I am assuming that you were an officer.


JM:They know a good woman when they find one.

JM:Secretary, treasurer and all of the above.

JM:How about fund raising? Did you get involved with that?

BP:Yes I did. I wrote most of the fund raising letters.

JM:I have been told that OWLS Kitchen started giving food on Saturday mornings and then within last maybe 5 years they have started doing it Friday nights as well? (See file #19, cycle2 Barbara Nicholls)

BP:Yes, or maybe alternate Friday nights? I am not sure of that, but yes.

JM:Where is the location where the clients come?

BP:It is a building in back of St. Mary’s Church in Lakeville. I think I was instrumental in getting that location because I am a member of St. Mary’s Church.

JM:It is a central location which makes a great deal of sense.

BP:Yes, and we were very fortunate because the building was available or at least the ground floor was available.

JM:You register client?


JM:What information do you take from a new client when they come in?8.

BP:Your name, your address, how many in the family, but we do not ask anything about income or sources of funds.

JM:Is it restricted to Connecticut?

BP:Oh no, we have people from Millerton, and a few from Massachusetts; that is why we call it the new name is the Corner Food Pantry because we are the corner of Connecticut which is adjacent to Massachusetts and New York.

JM:I think I was told that the reason that you ask the number of people in the household is because that determines how much food they can take.


JM:Who sets up the shelves or the counter and so forth? When does that happen?

BP:Usually Friday morning there is a group of volunteers. Sue Morrill is the person to ask.

JM:I keep asking her.

BP:She is the chief putter-upper.

JM:But there is a group of volunteers that set up Friday morning. Is there a different group Friday night that passes out the food?

BP:Some of the same ones would be there. It depends some of the same ones would be back on Saturday morning.

JM:About how many people do you think volunteer for this?

BP:I would say around 12. 10 to 15 let’s say.

JM:Where do you get the food from?

BP:In the summer people with gardens are very generous; people in the area are very generous with things from their gardens. We buy things from LaBonne’s and Stop & Shop, places in the area. We also now are associated with the Connecticut Food Bank. So they have food at wholesale or below wholesale prices.

JM:So you get it from a variety of sources.


JM:The fund raising that you have done goes to buy food.



JM:I come in and I have a family of 4. How do I go about getting food? Where do I go do I go to the shelves first or the counter>

BP:No you go to the counter first and somebody will ask you how many in your family and you would say 4. They will then ask you very crucial questions like “Do you like peanut butter with nuts or creamy”

JM:AH, but that is crucial and if I have a child with a peanut allergy…I have gone to the counter and then do I go to the shelves?

BP:The way it is set up now is you go to the shelves on your way out.

JM:You can take…


JM:It is not prepackaged; you take what you need.

BP:You take what you like. If you prefer chicken noodle soup to tomato soup, you can collect that.

JM:So someone who had a family of 4 would have the ability to take more food than someone that had of family of one. Or if somebody had 8, they would take more.


JM:Is there a limit on how much you can take of one thing? Can you take 2 jars of peanut butter or is it just one?

BP:I think it changes seasonally. Sometimes if someone gave up a huge shipment of peanut better you could take 3 jars.

JM:Do you make up special boxes for season?

BP:Holidays Thanksgiving and Christmas.

JM:It contains everything you need for a turkey dinner.

BP:Yes we buy turkeys and then we assemble stuffing, cranberry sauce, everything that you would need.

JM:The people in this area, not only are generous but they really do look after all special needs of any kind whether it is food, shelter, or the children at Salisbury Central would sometimes contribute money so that they could buy Christmas toys. There are food drives and clothing drives. It is a very caring community.

BP:Yes we are fortunate in that respect.


JM:You told me something about how Helen Mahoney organized something at Salisbury Central.

BP:Right, she organized a food drive where the grades competed against each other to see how many boxes they could fill with things that they brought from home, cereals, soups, peanut butter etc.

JM:There are certain staples that are given out.

BP:Yes, peanut butter, soups, bananas, and toilet paper every week.

JM:Indian Mountain did something special too.

BP:Indian Mountain has a basketball game where in order to get in, the price of admission is a donated food item.

JM:The churches do this too.

BP:Yes, I know in the Methodist Church they ask for spaghetti sauce for the month of February, or something like that. So there are donations left at the church. How about LaBonne’s receipts?

BP:Yes, those are collected and processed.

JM:It is a well-run organization.

BP:It really is.

JM:With just a few people. I think it was Barbara Nicholls that said there are 20 to 30 families that come between Friday and Saturday? (See file #19. Cycle 2 Barbara Nichels)

BP:I would definitely say up to 30.

JM:Nobody is ever turned away.

BP:I can’t think it would happen.

JM:Anything else that you would like to tell me about OWLS Kitchen that is now the Corner Kitchen Pantry?

BP:No, I can’t think of anything else. I think you have covered it pretty much.

JM:Then we will go on to Salisbury Housing Committee which is a non-profit and private organization that provided low income housing. Who is the head of that?

BP:Well we have just sort of reorganized into getting all of the three housing groups in town together.

JM:What are the three housing groups so that I get it right?


BP:Salisbury Housing Trust in one of them. (See file #81 Inge Dunham), the Salisbury Housing Commission (See file # 16, cycle 2 Anne Kremer) and …

JM:Affordable Housing?

BP:That was not in the title.

JM:But you are involved in the Salisbury Housing Trust?

BP:No I think it is the Salisbury Housing Commission. Anne Kremer is now I believe in charge of the whole group.

JM:Probably she is a fun lady.

BP:Super, she has done a great job.

JM:Dick Taber was involved in this affordable housing early on. (See file #64 Rev. Dick Taber)

BP:Oh way back

JM:Because the first affordable housing that Anne told me about was Faith Housing and East Meadow. Then Sarum village came on after that. You are involved with Sarum Village?


JM:What is Sarum Village?

BP:Sarum Village is basically low income housing subsidized rents.

JM:How many units?

BP:I would say 18 but I am not sure of that. We just got a grant to build 8 new units: 2 2 bedrooms, I of 3 bedrooms and 1 or 2 one bedroom units.

JM:You said that you recently had a tour?

BP:Yes, it was quite an eye=opener. It was just a beautiful apartment. I would move in there tomorrow! It had just been painted and new carpet, but the lay out was very thoughtfully done, especially the closet space which was just amazing.

JM:That is important.

BP:Sure it is important.

JM:How many are on this committee?

BP:We have just expanded; I would say probably 15.

JM:do you have a special responsibility on this committee?12.

BP:I personally no I am just one on the committee.

JM:This new project is this grant that has just been given to build these new units. Where will they be located?

BP:They will be located on the grounds of Sarum village.

JM:Is it going to be toward the White Hart or more toward Noble?

BP:I really don’t know. I would say more toward Noble, but I am not sure of that.

JM:When do you meet?

BP:We meet monthly. I know our next meeting it at the end of April.

JM:Where do you meet?

BP:At the town hall.

JM:Anything that I haven’t asked you about this particular section of your life that I should ask? How long have you been on this committee?

BP:At least 5 years I would say.

JM:How did you get involved in this one? You sort of leap from one to another.

BP:That’s right.

JM:When we were talking the last time you had a story that Lou Bucceri was talking about St. Mary’s 140 Anniversary. Somebody had a story which she told. Would you tell that story?

BP:I love this story. It was Heather Kahler who told this story. She said that the people at the Congregational Church, the women especially, were concerned about people living up on Mt. Riga who were called the “Raggies” in those days. They never came down to town, and especially never came to church. People began to be concerned about that. So the women in the church said, “Maybe they are not coming because they don’t have nice clothing to go to church. Let’s do a clothing drive.”

So they did; they had this amazingly wonderful clothing drive. They collected tons of clothing for men, women and children. They brought it up there to the families at the top of Mt. Riga. The first Sunday came; none of the families showed up for church. The second Sunday came; still no families. So after the third Sunday came and there were still no families from Mt. Riga at church, somebody from the church went up there and said, “We have given you these nice clothes and you still have not come down to church.” One of the women said, “Oh well the clothes were so beautiful, we got all cleaned up and put on these beautiful clothes. They were so nice so we came down and went to the Episcopal Church.”

JM:Wonderful story.

BP:I thought it was fun.13.

JM:It is great. Is there anything else that you would like to add to this interview before we close or shall we end on that story?

BP:We could end on that story. I feel fortunate to be living in this town.

JM:We are fortunate to have you. Thank you so much.