A History with our Oldcastle TheatreMay 26, 2012
When I was a kid in over what used to be called Lyons District, I loved when my dad, carpenter by name and trade, would take me with him "over street" to Greenbergs Hardware Store. It was further up Main St.
then, beyond the General Stark Thea ter and Harte Theater. Loved all the tools, hardware and mystifying gadgets. Think the store was up closer to the Baptist Church, a bit down from B.H.S. where I'd later graduate and then join the Navy in 1944.
When WW2 ended, I returned from Tinian to New York where I'd done two B'way plays before graduation and landed another.
During those first shows in NYC, I'd get, almost weekly, a letter from my folks. Mostly Mom. They always ended with "When are you coming home to settle down and get a real job?" It always tickled me since I was doing 8 shows a week and earning my living.
When the new show "Three To Make Ready", a musical, opened in March 1946, those "settle down - job" letters started again. When the show, a hit this time, went on the road, I got a nice raise in salary.
I immediately phoned Greenbargs and asked Mr. G, "Do you have one of those new-fangled washing machines?" He said he did. (Think it was a Bendix). I said, "GOOD. Rush one over to my folks and set it up." (We had an old cast iron tub with handwringer in the cellar.) "I'll just do that for you," said Mr. G. I could hear the smile in his voice. "I'll send a money order right away," I said. I did. We were in Chicago then.
The next letter from homse was the usual, thanks, family news etc.
But no closing question this time. Or ever again. I guess the new washer was a daily reminder that 'the boy's doing okay'. Thank heaven for Greenbergs. Then and now.
The incredible generosity of the family is keeping Oldcastle Theatre in Downtown Bennington.
This is a letter of love to all of you from a grateful old actor and his hometown.
Bennington native Carleton Carpenter has had a more than 60 year career as an actor, singer, dancer, director, composer-lyricist, and novelist. He has appeared on Broadway, TV and movies, his recordings have sold in the millions. His new musical "Northern Boulevard" will be presented by Oldcastle Theatre Company later this year.
- Bennington Banner
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