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The Lark: Vol 3, Issue 24, May 2024



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IN OUR NEXT ISSUE: What’s Happening in Our Courses (“Beyond the Gallery and the Art Museum: Public Art and the City,“ April 19 at The Avenue Concept; "Theater Conversations," Visitors Deb Martin and Josh Short); Book Conversations: Meet Suleika Jaouad

LLC's 2024 Annual Meeting & Voting Reminders

LLC's 2024 Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday, May 30 at 10 AM via Zoom. Look for your email invitation on Tuesday, May 21.

As we did last year, voting for the slate of nominations approved by the Board, for approval of the proposed Budget, and for approval of Minutes from the 2023 Annual Meeting will be conducted in advance of the Annual Meeting using Survey Monkey. Voting will open Tuesday, May 21, and close on Thursday, May 23 @ 5 PM. Members will receive an email with an electronic ballot to vote on these three items on Tuesday, May 21.

BUDGET Q&A SESSION: On Thursday, May 16 at 4 PM there will be a Q&A Session on Zoom for all members to discuss the proposed budget. Click here to register for the Q&A Session.


Ghost Army Gold Medal

LLC member Cathy Hurst had the opportunity to attend the Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in Washington, DC on March 21. Some of you may remember that author and filmmaker Rick Beyer, who is president of the Ghost Army Legacy Project (and Cathy’s brother!), gave an amazing multimedia presentation back in January in an LLC webinar on the Ghost Army, a World War II deception unit that "weaponized creativity to save lives and help win the war."

The Congressional Gold Medal is the oldest and highest civilian award in the United States (  alongside the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Gold Medal seeks to impart the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions.


Medal front: The front of the medal shows the four aspects of Ghost Army deception. Visual (the inflatable tank in the background), Sound Effects (the truck with the speaker mounted on it), Radio Deception (foreground), and Special Effects (the soldier sewing fake patches on his uniform).


Medal back: The back of the medal shows the informal insignia of the two units that made up the Ghost Army, along with their names (23rd Headquarters Special Troops and the 3133 Signal Service Company) and the campaigns in which they participated.

Rick had worked for years and through multiple Congresses to get the Ghost Army Gold Medal bill passed—it is a strenuous process which requires 2/3 of the House and 2/3 of the Senate to sign on to the bill as cosponsors before it can ever be brought to committee consideration and then to the floor.

Rick Beyer at the Congressional podium

The Gold Medal Ceremony was held in Emancipation Hall at the US Capitol. Only six veterans were alive at the time of the ceremony and three of them attended in person. (The youngest of the three was a spry 99 years old.) 600 people (including nearly 400 family members of Ghost Army veterans) attended the event, which included speeches by Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senators Ed Markey and Susan Collins, Representative Ann Kuster and former Representative Chris Stewart, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, and Rick Beyer. Also in attendance were the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., and the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Randy George.

All of the speakers enumerated in the article. Two of the veterans are seated in wheelchairs; the third is standing, third from the left. Each is with a family member.

“It was an incredibly moving event,” said Cathy. “Sharing with all of these family members their immense pride in their husband/father/grandfather/uncle, and the amazing work that the unit performed during the war—and about which they weren’t allowed to speak for 50 years! Many of the Ghost Army veterans took their secret to their graves, and their families did not find out about their service until after their deaths. And, of course, I’m so proud of my brother’s work on the Ghost Army over the past 19 years—from the inspiration, to the film, to the book, to the Gold Medal. He was so doggedly committed to making this happen!”

The formal Congressional presentation was followed by an elegant luncheon at the Visitors’ Center at the Capitol, and later that evening by a gala dinner and celebration at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA—headquarters for the three-day event. At the evening ceremony, bronze replicas of the medal were officially presented to the Ghost Army veterans’ family members who attended.

Gold Medals presentation ready

(Little known fact—there is only one Gold Medal for any group recipient like the Ghost Army—and it is housed at the Smithsonian. Individuals receive bronze replicas which must be paid for. In this case, the Ghost Army Legacy Project purchased the medals for the surviving veterans; individual family members who wished medals were able to order them in advance and receive them at the ceremony.)

Cathy reports that “one of the most moving aspects of being with these family members over three days was in watching their joy and excitement at meeting other veterans’ families, and feeling themselves to be part of a bigger family. So many of them had felt isolated by the secrecy surrounding their veteran’s work, and it was so wonderful to see them sharing photographs and stories and email addresses with each other.”

Three surviving veterans: Veterans John Christman, Seymour Nussenbaum, and Bernard Bluestein

Cathy has spent the past four years researching and writing biographies of the men of the Ghost Army for the Ghost Army website; to date she has completed 440 of them. “I met so many people in DC that I had exchanged emails with—it was great to put a face with a name. One veteran’s family brought me a thumb drive with dozens of individual photographs of men in the unit when they noticed that many of the records in the database did not have photographs. Others contacted me or Rick afterwards to find out how they could get a biography of their veteran on the site, so I’m now busy with a backlog of biographies to write!”

The event was streamed live on, and covered that day by all of the major news networks on their evening shows, and by major articles in the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, and other publications.

A phalanx of cameras.  This is what it looked like from the stage! The event was covered by numerous national and international outlets.

For those who are interested in the design details of the medal (which was designed by a Brigham Young University artist and faculty member), here is a two-minute video which tells the story.

And if you’d like to watch the hour-long Gold Medal Ceremony, which was televised live on, you can find it here:

A sketch at dinner: Many of the men in the Ghost Army were artists, recruited for their ability to visualize and enact camouflage. And many of those men's children are artists as well Veteran Bill Sayles' son, Michael Sayles, brought his sketching/painting materials with him, and painted this image of the dinner--during dinner! (Note the Gold Medal and Ghost Army pin in the foreground.) 

Rick and Cathy: Conducting vital Ghost Army business, undoubtedly!


Happy Mothers' Day

Mom’s IQ

by Ruth Mills

I have always joked that my mother’s IQ rose dramatically after I became a mother. As I took care of my daughter Rachel, I began to understand some of the things Mom did when I was very young. I was the fourth baby in four years.  She slowed down the baby production after me but still managed to have two more by the time I was five.

Mom was incredibly busy. Her hands were always in water, washing dishes, preparing food, cleaning floors, and rinsing diapers. Additionally, the small rural churches where my father felt God wanted him to serve saw the minister’s wife as free labor. Never mind that they barely paid him enough to survive. One of the reasons this church chose Dad, Mom was told with a sticky sweet smile, was that she could play the organ. “You’re a team!” she was told. Never mind that there were two other people in the church who could play. She had to do it.  Never mind that my siblings and I had to sit alone, unsupervised during services.  The only time my mother refused and stood up for herself was when she was nine months pregnant with number six, Jonathan, and his head was resting against her sciatic nerve. She was physically unable to sit at that organ for the last few weeks of her pregnancy.

Mom was also expected to help with Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and type up the bulletins each week. In her spare time, she gave piano lessons to about ten local kids. Once Jonathan went to kindergarten, she also worked part-time as a secretary for Nationwide Insurance, supplementing the family income.

I am sure she was overwhelmed, yet she could be quite patient. One day when I was in kindergarten, I was talking her ears off, telling her everything about my gym class. I could run fast, jump high, and do everything they wanted, except, I could not skip. Mom almost appeared to not be listening, as her hands kept moving at whatever chore she was engaged in; that is, until I said I could not skip. She grabbed a towel, dried her hands, took mine, and instructed me to step, hop, step, hop. Together, we stepped and hopped back and forth across the kitchen. I had it in no time. I let go of her hand and skipped off, and she plunged her hands right back into that work. But I will never forget. My trivial inadequacy mattered to her.

Jonathan was born just a few weeks after I started kindergarten. David was not yet two. Mom really needed her afternoons as David and Jonathan napped, but I had morning kindergarten and no longer took naps. Mom was quite resourceful. After David was tucked in, she would lay Jonathan on the couch. I was to kneel next to it keeping my chest pressed against the sofa so he could not roll off. She emphasized this. I did not want anything bad to happen to my baby brother, especially on my watch, so I did get the message. Then she spent a bit of time figuring out the best position for both of us, turning him one way, then trying another. Finally she seemed satisfied. She placed his bottle in my hand. I was to hold the bottom of the bottle upright, and watch for bubbles near the nipple and neck. If the bubbles stopped, I was to call her.

She watched for a moment but did not seem satisfied. Then she told me I should touch him so he would know I was there. HUH???  He doesn’t know I am here?  We tried various things and eventually she decided I should gently stroke the top of his head. Gently, of course, as he had a soft spot. Wow! I had no idea this was so complicated. Eventually she scooted into the kitchen where I could hear her SPEED cleaning our lunch mess. Then she scurried back to check on us. Then she raced back to the kitchen.

The bubbles stopped. I was supposed to call her. “MOMMY!” I shouted just over Jonathan’s head. He awoke, screaming, gagging. Did I mention how fast she could run? She ran back to the living room. I must be in some kind of trouble.  Yet, just before she entered the room, she stopped. Years later I realized she must have been composing herself, planting a lovingly patient smile on her face before I could see her. Then she scooped up her baby, burped him, put him back down, and expected me to continue. She really needed this to work! Jonathan quickly went back into his milky bliss. Mom watched for a few moments. Before she left she carefully explained that, should I need her again, I could call her in a regular voice, but only after turning my head (not my body) away from him.

As an adult I realize how she did not want his feeding to be mechanical even if she did have to use me as a surrogate. He needed to be fed. She wanted him to feel loved. She needed me to be occupied. She did not want me to be upset by my mistakes. I would not understand all of this until I was a mother.

I wonder if my IQ rose when I became a grandma. I will have to ask my daughter.




“A Reporter Remembers”
Journalism and Politics in RI / When Newspapers Mattered
Lecture by Scott Mackay
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Barrington Public Library, Salem Family Auditorium

Scott was a political reporter for The Providence Journal for almost 25 years before becoming a commentator for The Public’s Radio. He retired in 2020.

Sunlight On Windows

"Sunlight on Windows" taken at the Martin House by LLC member Margaret Lawrence in Cell Phone Photography Club (Fall 2023)

Spring Songfest
Saturday, May 11, 2024 at 2PM
The Green at Martin House Farm
22 Stoney Hill Road, Swansea, MA

The Committee of Martin House Farm invites you to a Spring Songfest
with Song Leader & Environmental Educator Milly Roberts.

Let's sing together in celebration of Mother Earth. We are a community working hard to conserve heritage, habitat and native ecosystems.

Feel free to bring your camp chair. In case of light rain, bring your most colorful umbrella. In case of really bad weather, please stay home. Please stay safe.

It can be wet, so please wear boots. Let’s celebrate this beautiful, well cared for place that we all love.


Providence Preservation Society
2024 Festival of Historic Houses
Saturday, June 8, 2024

This year's Festival will take place in the Mount Hope neighborhood, and include homes and gardens on Larch Street, Ivy Street, and Catalpa Road. We will need many volunteers to make this event a success!

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! All volunteers receive free admission to Saturday's tour. Learn more about this year's event. The direct link to the sign-up form is here. Contact Volunteer Coordinator Kelsey Knoedler Perri at [email protected].


Lippitt House Museum Rosé Garden Party
Kick off the summer season in style
Sunday, June 23, 4-6 PM

Held on the grounds and inside the 1865 Lippitt House on Providence’s East Side, the annual Rosé Garden Party is a vintage inspired event with live music, yard games, light bites, and a variety of rosé wines. It's a fun summer afternoon in the lusciously landscaped garden. Check social media for when ticket sales open.

Looking for a way to get involved – VOLUNTEER! We need help with registration, prize raffle, and even playing croquet! Volunteers will have time to enjoy the party. If you are interested in volunteering, please email [email protected]. Proceeds from the Rosé Garden Party support Lippitt House Museum programs throughout the year.

Guided Tours at Lippitt House
First Thursdays, 5:00 PM & 6:00 PM

Staff-led guided tours of the museum are offered year-round on the first Thursday evening of each month. From May to October, Lippitt House Museum is open for tours on Fridays and select Saturdays.

Thinking Back

Non-Roast Boast

by Allan Klepper
(After yet another year’s succulent success)

A detailed rendition of our family tradition;
Thanksgiving preparation with pride.
Important warning, else you’ll be mourning,
It must be accomplished outside.

Requires at hand a propane fired stand
Upon which the oil pot is heated.
Temp. must be watched, else frying is botched,
And maintained til the task is completed.

The bird will sit on a vertical spit
Atop a circular frame.
Then lowered headfirst into hot oil immersed,
Keeping it upright’s the aim.

While daylight is dying the turkey is frying;
Prize of the Thanksgiving feast.
3.5 min./lb. speed, is the time we need
When oil is 350° at least.

At 13 lb. size, the bird quickly fries,
Within 45 minutes complete.
While oil’s draining and temp. is waning,
Fry pickles for an appetizing treat.

Now a confession, a minor digression,
The timer we sometimes eschew.
It’s one beer to heat, two more to complete,
Rely on our favorite brew!


In the next issue of The Lark:

What’s Happening in Our Courses:

“Beyond the Gallery and the Art Museum: Public Art and the City“:

  • April 19 at The Avenue Concept 

"Theater Conversations":

  • Visitors: Deb Martin and Josh Short

Book Conversations: Meet Suleika Jaouad