A Local Tribute to Pete Seeger
Hanging in our office is a print of a Hudson River sloop that was originally created for an advertisement for marine paints. But when Pete Seeger began traveling up and down the Hudson to raise funds for the Clearwater, it was all he had available to illustrate the type of boat he wanted to build. In the summer of 1968, he stopped by my father’s newspaper office in Warrensburg to drop off the print and talk about the Clearwater, which he hoped would inspire people to restore the Hudson to its pre-industrial conditions. As the Warrensburgh Historical Society’s recently published book notes, Seeger also stood outside the office and sang “Newspapermen Meet Such Interesting People.” Seeger and my father had been friends in the 1930s and 40s, but I suspect that was the first time they had had any contact since then. I was away at camp, but my older brother was home and he went down to the office to meet Seeger. ”I was a rebellious teenager who’s theme song was “We gotta get out of this place.” We went for a walk and Pete looked at the buildings we passed along Main Street (yes the town had a real Main Street) and pointed out things he found interesting and asked questions and generally made me see the town in a totally new light.” I was home from school the next time Seeger visited, for a cocktail party organized to introduce him to Henry Diamond, the first commissioner of the newly created Department of Environmental Conservation. Just as my brother had been, I was struck, and somewhat confused, by the depth and extent of his curiosity about our local lives. He, after all, was famous for writing and singing songs to change the nation and the world. Now, of course, his interest in the daily lives of ordinary people makes more sense to me. As we quote Seeger in a story in this week’s issue, “the most important thing going on in the world today is a million little things.” Seeger’s admonition to ‘act locally’ is among the reasons why the Lake George Mirror is sponsoring a tribute to Seeger on June 22 as a benefit for the Bolton Farmers’ Market. We may not be able to change the world, but all of us can change, or save, our small parts of it. We hope everyone will join us on June 22 at the Bolton Conservation Club for this local tribute to Pete Seeger.