Tom using the Darlington dry harvester, ca.1952.
I was also Tom's landlord, since he leased the cranberry bogs from the State. I wish I could say that all my leases were as easy to manage. When my eldest daughter and I hand-planted cranberry vines in the Garden Bog with a very few other volunteers many years ago, Tom was right there with us. He said he had to stop by. He had never seen vines hand-planted before. His personal information about Whitesbog has been indispensable to our understanding and inter- pretation of the village and the cranberry industry. I appreciate the time he gave, and wish there could have been more.
In closing, I can't say I ever met a man who was more honest, forthright, or interesting than Tom. I am going to miss him.
Chris Bethmann -
L ike all people who have a broad spectrum of interests, Tom also had a lifetime of good stories. He once told me, with an obvious sense of accomplishment, that he rode a small scooter from his home west of Philadelphia (Lansdale or Abington?) all the way to Fenwick Manor, J. J. White’s homestead and the present home of the Pinelands Commission. It took him most of the day, but he could tell you the miles covered and the make and horsepower of the engine. He figured he probably got “60 or 70 miles to the gallon”. Since he most likely did this in his teens, it was probably done in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s. Can’t you just envision Tom crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge (still called the Delaware River Bridge back then) on this little scooter?
My other comment on Tom was his pioneering work as one of the original members of the Pinelands Commission, where he served for 20 years. Tom tried to hear both sides of each issue. He always voted in what he thought was the logical and fair way. His was never a “write in” vote that could be predicted before the tally was even taken. At times he disappointed the environmentalists and other times the farmers. Tom walked the middle line with integrity and class. And in an era where left and right seem to be permanently entrenched and every decision is clouded by political ideology, the middle ground in America has become a pretty lonely place that is not for the faint of heart. Ask Joe Lieberman.
John Joyce -
and finally, a note from Elizabeth White …
“My three year-old nephew, as I put him to bed, cuddled up to me and said, “Aunt ‘Lis’beth, we’s twins, isn’t we?” He knew not the compliment he paid by suggesting to an elderly aunt that she might be his equal in freshness and charm.”
Elizabeth C. White in an address to The Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, April 17, 1934
If you have your own reminiscences of Tom Darlington that you’d like to share, send them to the Newsletter at the Whitesbog offices and we will include them in a future issue. ■