JJ Fanagh

JJ Fanagh

Posted on 10/07/2008


Photo taken on October  7, 2008


See also...


Keywords

panorama
landscape
Milford
Quarry
Avery R. Johnson
© Michael Billingsley
Michael Billingsley
JJ Fanagh


Authorizations, license

Visible by: Everyone
All rights reserved

1 539 visits

Avery Johnson House - Milford, NH

Avery Johnson House - Milford, NH
Designed originally by the architect Philip M. Johnson (no - Cornelius Driscoll... see below), but because of its unusual roof, was prone to occasional leaks. Also retrofitted several times in attempts to make it more weather-tight and energy-efficient. Birthplace of Celia Cerulli Johnson Pashe.

Varin has particularly liked this photo


8 comments - The latest ones
Sageprod
Sageprod
I was a good friend of Avery and Johanna and knew this house and the quarry well. This was before Tovar, or at least when Tovar was very young. Is Celia Cerulli Johnson Pashe.their grandchild?

The house was actually designed by Cornelius Driscoll, Johanna's brother and Avery's brother-in-law. Connie told me that and Avery did, too. It was common knowledge and Connie Driscoll was very proud of the design. particularly how it set into the landscape. I am sorry that it has been abandoned. I particularly remember, though, the "patio" overlooking the quarry. It was possible to dive into the water from up there. The whole place was beautiful.

After work on Fridays, I used to get on my motorcycle and drive up to spend teh weekends at Avery's. Att he time, I was working for the PBS station n Boston, WGBH, and we shot a children's program in a little cabin over near where the road from the state highway came up to Avery's land. I think I remember being told that it originally was where they had stored the dynamite. I haven't thought of that program for years. I wonder if I can find a copy of it among my things. Those would be the only images I have from a very enjoyable part of my life, the part spent up in Milford at the quarry.
7 years ago.
JJ Fanagh
JJ Fanagh
Hi - I'm glad to hear from you. Somehow I missed your note - but it probably came at a time when my email notifications were down.
Avery was not married to Joanna (she was married to Robert Jonas, and she, Jonas and their daughter lived in a three-room cottage on the land that has now been torn down). Avery and his wife Francette lived in the big house, where Celia was born from that marriage. Francette's brothers were all in the financial business except one who was involved with horticulture - no architect.
So I think you must mean Joanna's (not Avery's wife) brother - who would not be Avery's brother-in-law. I don't know why I had the Philip M. Johnson information given me - but it was (I thought) what Fran told me. I married Francette some time after she divorced Avery.
As for your video of the stone cabin - that sounds really special. If you do find that... I'd love to see it. Truly. A good friend of mine lived in that cabin for years, and that's the last place I saw him - a few days before he died. I know that his last partner would love to see it as well.
Best regards
Michael
6 years ago.
JJ Fanagh
JJ Fanagh
I've finally figured out the distinction between Johanna and Joanne - who was living at the Quarry the years I visited there, and married to Robert Jonas. I never met Johanna... she and Avery had divorced, and she had (I believe) moved to Hawaii long before. So my apologies for getting the two mixed up.

Celia is Fran and Avery's daughter - Tovar's younger sister.
5 years ago.
Marye Arnold
Marye Arnold
I used to go to Avery and Francette's property when I lived in Milford in the mid 1970's and was first brought there by Don Land. Celia was just a baby and Tovar was just a little guy. I loved the space and the people who were attracted to Avery and his world. I would like to know what happened to Billy Carrigan who lived there at the time, if anyone has any informaton about him. Also what happened to Avery, as I moved out west and didn't return until the late 1990's, I understand he has passed.

It was a special time in my life when I was associated with the place and the people.
thanks
Marye
5 years ago.
AlexisD
AlexisD
Thank you to Sageprod for 'representing' Cornelius as the architect of the house! Johanna Driscoll Johnson Toney, Avery’s first wife, was my sister. Cornelius/Connie was my brother. (For those who remember the family, Jerome was the other brother). The reason that Cornelius was not formally credited with the design is because he was not a registered architect and so a registered architect was hired to review, refine and file the plans and be the architect of record. But I clearly remember the original sketches he drew.

The quarry had been in the Pease family for many years, as a working quarry and then as a water-filled swimming hole, when Johanna and Avery acquired the land about 1960. (They were married in 1958). We all hunkered down in the shack to which Sageprod referred, cooking in the fireplace and reading by Coleman lantern, while the house was being built. Primitive as the shack was, we found a set of Limoges china in the closet!

Someone had stocked the quarry with goldfish and, in the years it was shutdown, a large school had grown. In the first few years, we would conduct “fish feeding time” on the little beach, sipping martinis and feeding the fish. Where Johanna was, was a party. At first, if you floated in the water, the fish would come around to find out if you were edible, tickling your legs and toes. Alas, after a summer or so of frustration, they caught on and stopped coming around.

There were also 2-3 one room bungalows on the property left over from earlier times down by the beach and a open structure, the "Japanese teahouse", built later as a lark on the far side from the house.

In the mid-60’s Johanna and Avery were divorced and Avery and Morgan the dog began to spend more time at “The Quarry” and the weatherproofing began. . Leaking roof aside, the house, unfortunately, had been designed as a summer house only, so it was not designed for cold weather.

Then, in the early ’70’s, Avery married Francette. I have never seen Avery so happy as the day he married Francette and then later as the children arrived. Like Marye, I remember Celia as a baby and Tovar in a little chair his dad had designed for him that sort of clamped to the edge of the table at meals. Avery’s feeling was that babies should be part of the gathering, not set apart. Avery was one of the kindest, gentlest, most sincere people I’ve ever known. I was deeply saddened when he was taken from us so early. (Marye, he was killed in a hang-gliding accident. In the late 80’s? Others will have to add the details. And, yes, Billy Kerrigan, where are you?! And Carl Weatherbee? Craig Casserino?)

What a joy it is to see this picture and read the words of those who, over generations, have taken pleasure in this lovely place and the good people who lived there. Thanks to Paul for finding this site and sending me to it and JJ Fanagh for posting the photo.
Alexis
4 years ago. Edited 4 years ago.
Sageprod
Sageprod
What a pleasant surprise to find Alexis had left a note. I often think of her. I had tried to find news of her on the Internet without any luck.

Her news of Billy Kerrigan is very sad. I remember sitting on the beach with him shortly before he went into the service. We talked about the war. He was conflicted between the ideals of manhood, loyalty to country and his feeling that the war might be wrong. Perhaps that is why the experiences he had in country affected him so strongly. He came back to the quarry where he rigged a large parachute out among the pine trees and lived underneath it. He lived as much as possible on small game. He truly was a war casualty. He left Milford a smart, personable, good-looking, guitar playing guy with so much potential. He came back suffering from had seen and done.

With special best wishes to Alexis.(Alexis, if you wish, you can find out what I've been up to by Googling me.

Steve Gilford
Petaluma. CA
2 years ago.
Joanie Macphee
Joanie Macphee
Carl Weatherbee is still in Lyndeborough as of 2015 and keeps in contact with Craig. You might find him having breakfast in Milford at the Cafe on the Oval on Wednesdays. I was an occasional visitor to the quarry, knew Arthur & others from juice and the Wilton Recycling Center. Joanie
2 years ago.
Joseph Seale
Joseph Seale
Hello, friends of Avery, whom I first knew in 1968 during my first job out of college, at EEL: Environmental Ecology Lab, Lewis Wharf, Boston. This group was founded and funded by Peter Oser and the group members were Avery, Warren Brodey, Sarah Frances "Sance" Smith, and, uh, can't summon up his name. I never heard of Johanna until this blog, though it's a coincidence that my wife Merrill and I named our daughter Johanna. So in EEL days I heard talk about The Quarry but it was some time before I got up there. When I finally did, it became a haven for my own healing. Billy Carrigan (I think the spelling starts with a "Ca") was living in the small cabin with Annie -- this before they broke up or, as Billy told it, as Annie "got religion" and left. Warren (Brodey) moved up to the Quarry at some point, or maybe he had been there all along, but I recall the event of his building a "house" (some would say that's stretching the term) out of blown rigid polyurethane foam. They took large inflated polyethylene bags, probably sprayed them with a release agent, jammed them together and blew the polyurethane monomer on what was to be the house-exterior surfaces of the bags ... the compound would foam up and harden. Pull out and relocate the bags, repeat, etc., and you end up with a sort of bumpy brown igloo of rigid foam. Warren lived in that for a good while (years?) and finally they gave up on the structure (some called it an eyesore) and tore it down.

During the above period, I traveled with then-wife Linda from Boston to Petersham MA, then Greenfield NH, spending a lot of time at the Quarry, then back to the Boston area for Linda's law schooling. Warren had moved to Norway, and Linda and I visited him there and helped him move from Trondheim to Hvaler, near Oslo. Years later I figured Warren was dead, until the phone rang about a year ago and it was Warren, calling from Norway, picking up the conversation as if it had been left off an hour previous. He's remarried (if he's still living) and involved with sustainable greenhouse agriculture in that northern climate, also involved in advocacy concerning the health hazards of cellphone use.

Linda and I broke up shortly after the visit to Norway, and continuing from around 1978 Avery was a very important source of my healing and "getting back in the game." I recall that the Quarry became a gathering place for many, including members of a nearby acting company. I became very comfortable as a nudist in nude company during long summer days with these lovely people, at the beach and in the water and wandering through the woods. Then there were the winter occasions to sauna and jump into the quarry through a hole cut in the ice. I departed the Boston/Cambridge area to live for a year on Prince Edward Island, joining a sustainable agriculture/aquaculture experiment there (part of The New Alchemy Institute, headquartered in Falmouth,MA), coming back to Cape Cod and New Alchemy. I married Merrill, started a family, and kept up only tenuously with Avery and Billy. Sometime around then, Francette phoned me to tell me about Avery's plane crash. That really marked the end of an era in my life, which is now rather different, strongly oriented to technology R&D, good stuff and a good happy life, but not the same as before.

Years raced by as I was preoccupied with my young family (2 boys, 1 girl), and I recall hearing from Billy that he missed seeing me. I didn't realize the depth of his sadness, and the mental wounds from Viet Nam that would not heal, until I heard that he had taken his own life with a hand gun. Lynne (see below) held a memorial for Billy at her house in Wilton, in which I heard many wonderful stories of that strong young man, and of the woman and son (Ryan?) he left behind. Words I recall from one at that meeting, were of Billy saying he was "too chicken" to shoot himself. Apparently he got over that. I also recall a story about a young woman admiring an enormous boulder of interesting shape that she had seen somewhere. One morning she walked out her front door to see that boulder decorating her lawn. Billy, like Atlas, had lifted that huge bounder by hand into the back of his pickup, brought it to her house, and set it down next to her front walk. Earlier (out of sequence), Billy was alone with me at the Quarry and wanted me to be there as his witness as he jumped from the high corner of the house into the Quarry, maybe 70 ft. I was right there by his side on the roof as he jumped and will bear witness again, here, that he did it (and was fine and exhilarated afterwards.) Another story at that memorial was of Billy climbing to the top of a tall pine tree and jumping, controlling his fall through the overlapping branches of adjacent pines so that his fall was constantly slowed to his safe landing in the soft litter on the ground. OR, a much earlier occasion when Billy and Warren and I visited a college in South Chicago. We were in a large gymnasium-like room with exposed ceiling rafters when I asked, "Where'd Billy go?" I heard a "woof!" and looked up to see Billy high in the ceiling rafters, re-coiling the thin nylon rope with a hook on the end that he had tossed over the rafters and Spider-Manned himself up the wall -- all without one of the half-dozen people in the room noticing him go up. He was like a magician in that sense. He could make himself disappear and reappear, obviously being able to read people's attention, distract them, etc., in order to make his exits and entrances unseen.

Billy charmed many women, but the positive vibes, and perhaps over-night snuggles, that came back to him were not enough sustenance to save him from his Viet Nam demons.

Others worth mention, and follow up: Lynne and Frank Brookshire had been regulars at the Quarry, with their boys Kyle and Seth. Lynne and Frank broke up and Lynne married Jeff Stone, who himself (I think) had long before been known among Quarry company. The two of them still live in the house in Wilton. If you want to know about Tovar Cerulli, you can look up TovarCerulli.com and you'll find out about his 2012 book, "The Mindful Carnivore". Like Avery did at a certain stage in his life, Tovar also went through being a vegetarian, then a vegan, and came back from that to limited meat-eating linked to hunting and fishing, developing a relationship to the natural environment that was a source for the protein and other components that seemed necessary to his ongoing good health. I met Tovar and his wife in 2013 at a book-related talk he gave in Portland, ME. I very much see Avery in Tovar's face. Tovar has become a wise and significant voice for understanding our relationship with and dependence on the natural world, particularly as it relates to the food we eat and, for so many, the disconnect between eating and our impact on nature.

I send my greetings to all those who knew Avery and his friends and The Quarry.

Joe Seale
Gorham ME
2 years ago.