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Super Senior: Joe Hall

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 2:16 PM EDT
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BENNINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Joe Hall doesn’t hold back on his love of Bennington.

“You know, if anyone suggests I leave, I’ll scream and holler and say no. I’m staying here,” Hall said.

The 89-year-old’s roots are firmly planted here. He gives me a history tour of some key sites. “My grandmother was born in that house,” he points out. “We used to pasture cows in there.”

Now, just a minute or so from his home is a Walmart. “This was just a field when I was growing up,” Hall said.

From sprawl to quintessential Vermont, old Bennington is just up the hill. The Bennington Battle Monument is dedicated to the victory against the British in 1777.

Reporter Joe Carroll: As a kid, did you go up there?

Joe Hall: Oh yeah, we used to. Of course, now there’s an elevator. We used to use the stairs.

“This, of course, is the Old First Church, built in 1805,” Hall points out.

Back at his house, he shares a bit of his own past with his wife, Mary.

Reporter Joe Carroll: How long have you two been married?

Joe Hall: Seventy-one years last November. We were very young when we got married... Just think what Mary’s had to put up with!

They met just up the road in Arlington. “My mother would make a chocolate cake and I was allowed to invite anyone I wanted to, within reason,” Mary said.

Needless to say, Hall was sweet on Mary, who as a young girl modeled for a famous resident. “I modeled for Norman Rockwell,” she said.

She posed for the painter more than once. One of the paintings illustrates a Boy Scout rescuing the young Mary from the Hurricane of 1938, one of the worst storms to hit New England in a century.

She even made it on the cover of “The Saturday Evening Post” along with the painter.

The couple raised six children. Hall did various jobs from farming to running the Bennington Housing Authority. History, though, has always been on his mind. He wrote a book about it called “Bygone Bennington.” “I worked on it for a long time,” Hall said.

And that Hurricane that Mary modeled for? It was all too real for this community. Hall has pictures of the damage -- roads and bridges washed out.

History brought to life by this Super Senior.

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