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It was as if a guardian angel were overlooking this journey. On the wall of my room at the Benjamin Prescott Inn in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, there was a framed 1930-vintage picture postcard of the Shattuck Inn where Alan Hovhaness had given his concerts.
The innkeepers had strategically positioned a piano close by the dining tables and with delight from their extraordinarily prepared gourmet feasts, I gave a mini breakfast concert each morning.
I had without thought packed my 20-year-old hiking boots, forgetting that I had worn the soles paper-thin. They slipped and slid unmercifully. Ara Ghazarians, my companion for the climb, successfully helped me avoid disaster: "Watch out for the rock, watch out for the hole!" Ara is Curator of the Armenian Cultural Foundation in Arlington, MA, where our sister collection from the Alan Hovhaness International Research Centre is located. The collection contains over 3,000 individual items which are being professionally catalogued and made ready for researchers and scholars interested in Alan Hovhaness' life and career. (The foundation building is where I gave the kick-off benefit concert in October, 2008, to help raise funds for the Hovhaness commemorative memorial which was unveiled on May 17, 2009)
The famous shoes were dispatched when I returned to Arlington. My host, Jack Johnston, gingerly carried them with one hand (at arm's length) to the trash can while holding his nose with the other! As a child, Jack lived next door to the Hovhaness/Chakmakjian family on Blossom Street. I recorded a remarkable interview with him detailing his memories from that time,)
1: Shattuck Inn during Alan Hovhaness' time. Hovhaness gave twice-daily concerts here, climbing Mt. Monadnock each day between the concerts.
2: Shattuck Inn, reconstructed, as it appears today.
3: Mt. Monadnock trails. Several trails were still closed due to damage from the winter's severe ice storms.