Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Aimee Ford Foster 2.0: Of Hot Air & Cool Oils

MAU v. Hartford at Quechee Green (Joey Kulkin photo)

BENNINGTON -- Orange and red and brown and yellow but mostly green was the foliage, and plush and cool was grass to the touch. Soft blue smeared with marshmallow goo was the sky, and at 4-something in the afternoon, maybe even 5, there was soccer being played up in the guts of Vermont, Mount Anthony and Hartford, into the back 40. The action was passive, and this October afternoon was gorgeous and peaceful. // Quechee. // That's when it appeared way over there and up high, plump and purple with yellow and orange and red. Basket and flames and riders. Click. // Not the best photo I took as a sportswriter but one of best. Friends think I Photoshopped the balloon into the shot but this shot from 2004 is real. // And it inspired a sportswriter from Florida to interpret it with her own colors and strokes.

"Quechee" by Aimee Ford Foster

Here's a Facebook chat counter boy and Aimee had last month after the framed 30x40 piece arrived at Fiddlehead at Four Corners.

"It's unbelievably great. I haven't seen all your work but this is your masterpiece. What are the dimensions?"

"You are the only other person on earth who could possibly enjoy it as much as I have. But there's no play for it. 30 by 40."

"What are all the specs -- what kind of oil, canvas, etc etc. how long did it take?"

"Took about six months, I think. I use Grumbacher oils."

"how come you painted it? what about the photo? what about the photo inspired you? you may never do anything as detailed as this again. don't let that dissuade you. just saying, this is impressive."

"The first time I saw the picture, I loved the balloon. I wanted to paint it."

"Could be degas 1878."

"Crap, I'm on my phone. Let's try again. Shipping was crazy. Way more than I thought. First time I saw the photo, I wanted to paint our. It. I think I had just started painting again. Then I got to know you and you once said you had always wanted someone to paint it. I did some other canvases. I kept thinking about the balloon. I wanted to do a big canvas. The balloon needed a big canvas. So, I started it. Maybe in November. And I painted and painted. I did the trees so fast. Fall calls to me. I wanted to paint fall trees so much. The rest? So hard. There are for layers of paint in the grass. Partially to get the texture right. Partially the color. The players were tough. Don't like to paint people."

"good stuff. did you show your teacher?"

"The artist I take class from, Kelly Arnold, helped on the players, especially the faces. Oh yeah. She was there when I finished. I think I finished it in April."

"April, July ... same thing."

"Too me long."

They talked about placement in the gallery and possible price tags if Fiddlehead customers loved it that much. Then the chat shifted back to more specifics.

"The red tree above the building is my favorite thing. And the balloon. I created all the texture in the trees with brushes. The texture of the grass came from painting with two different palette knives."

"agree with the red texture. it's raised. how do you describe something like that?"

"Just texture. I like having texture. Most of my paintings have some. It's just a lot of paint. This is my most textured canvas. It helps play with perspectives."

"why are you in arkansas?"

"Torture. Ha. To see my father in law. I used a long, thin piece of cardboard to help paint the net."

THIS IS THE SECOND TIME Aimee turned a counter boy photo into a work of art. Read about how his "Saturday in the Burg" begat her "Beauty and Despair" here.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Of Brian, butchers, scholars and garlic part 2

NORTH BENNINGTON -- This is the 1923 photograph Brian Hewitt fell in love with so much that he painted it one day as part of the "North Bennington" series. He called it "Main Street" -- read part 1 here.

"This photo is quite ubiquitous in North Bennington," Brian said this morning via Facebook. "My father made me a copy of it years ago and it traveled with me to 16 different houses I lived in and it always reminded me of my hometown so I just wanted to bring it to life."

To recap, the man in the white shirt and white hip apron and trousers of the day is Pete Panos standing in front of his store that sold soda, sugar and stogies. There are those Ford Model-Ts mentioned in part 1 of this series, and the space in the left end of the two-story building belonged to Richard R. Dwyer, the butcher of North B.

Ninety years later it belongs to Kevin Lynch, owner of Kevin's Sports Pub and Restaurant, and a framed version of the photograph above hangs on a wall in the dining area. This morning, Kevin posed with the photo ...

Back to the point of this series: Brian Hewitt painted the 1923 photograph as only he could with his favorite new style -- diamond orientation, fish-eye perspective -- as well as 2 others in the "North Bennington" series and sold all 3 originals.

North Bennington series: "Main Street"

North Bennington series: NB Firehouse

North Bennington series: Prospect Street
Buy Brian's prints HERE

Reproduced prints of the series hang in the mezzanine at Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery in downtown Bennington, and the "Main Street" print ($500 value) will be raffled during the second day of the Garlic Festival at Camelot Village on September 1.

Tickets cost $5 (or $20 for 5) and can be bought at Fiddlehead, the Bennington Chamber of Commerce, Kevin's Sports Pub and Evans News. Call (802) 447-1000 for more information.

Proceeds benefit one of Bennington's favorite charities, Dollars For Scholars.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Of Brian, butchers, scholars and garlic part 1

BENNINGTON -- Clicking on the image above doesn't do the scene justice. The best way to absorb the full breadth of the moment is to come into Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery and stand in front of it. 

Can't get down here? You still can appreciate the scene by clicking on it.

It's a print of the original oil painting on canvas called "Main Street" by North Bennington master Brian Hewitt, who employed his diamond orientation and fish-eye perspective.

Click and stare and notice the central two-story building and a couple of Ford Model Ts parked in front. The left side of the building has a red marquee that reads The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. but the sign painter had to be creative to squeeze all the words into the space so he stacked The atop Great on the left side of block-lettered Atlantic & Pacific then stacked Tea atop Co. on the right side.

The Coca Cola-themed marquee hangs above Panos Bros., which sold pop, sugar and cigars. Written on the sandwich board are the words candy and cigars.

There's a man in the image, too, almost faceless, but he's wearing a white long-sleeve shirt, white apron and trousers of the day, clutching a thin pole that supports the awning. His name is Pete Panos, and he is standing in front of his business.

Richard R. Dwyer owned the space a few doors down. Richard R. Dwyer was the butcher of North B and one of the influentials. "When I knew Mr. Dwyer he was the street commissioner and he owned a steamroller and rolled all the streets in North Bennington," Larry Powers said during a phone call this morning. Powers was born in 1923, the same year the photograph above was taken.

Richard R. Dwyer's butchery went the way of Model-T's and became several eateries including The Villager. "The Villager was very famous there for 30 years," Powers said.

Today it is home to Kevin's Sports Pub and Restaurant, which opened in '96 as TJ's and Mike's then became Kevin's at Mike's and now is Kevin's, home of good food, better libations and a photograph that binds the current restaurateur to the long-ago seller of sugar, soda and stogies. Hewitt loves the photo so much that he painted his own version of it and called it "Main Street".

"Main Street" is the centerpiece of his "North Bennington" series, and the 35x35 reproduction print ($500) and is on display at Fiddlehead at Four Corners in downtown Bennington.

And, "Main Street" will be raffled away September 1 with proceeds headed to one of Bennington's most popular charities, Dollars for Scholars.

Tickets cost $5 (or $20 for 5) and can be purchased at Fiddlehead at Four Corners, the Bennington Chamber of Commerce, Kevin's Sports Pub and Evans Country Market. "Main Street" will be on display inside the Chamber's tent both days of the Garlic Festival at Camelot Village, leading up to the 3 o'clock raffle drawing Sunday, Sept. 1.

For more questions call Fiddlehead (802) 447-1000.

For more stories about Brian Hewitt, including the one about his triptych raffle at Fiddlehead a few months ago, click HERE. Purchase Brian's original oils and prints HERE.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wednesday, Huh?

What Fiddlehead usually is like on Wednesdsays (Susan Roghair photo)

BENNINGTON -- Wednesday has been the quietest day of the week at Fiddlehead since the doors opened 13 years ago. The weekenders and Monday stragglers have passed back through Bennington on the way home while the next wave is 48 hours away, unless there's a Thursday surge.

But not today, Wednesday, August 7, 2013, at least not for 85 minutes this morning then another 75 minutes before quittin' time.

It begins when the cropped-head UPS dude pushes his dolly into the gallery, a dolly stacked with boxes. "That's not *all* for us, is it?" the counter boy asks as he envisioned a mountain of goddamn packing peanuts. The no-nonsense UPS dude replies "Yup." Oy.

Counter boy begins to slice open one of the boxes from Banner Elk, North Carolina, when a married couple walks into the gallery, tired and sweaty from a brisk morning walk around downtown. "You're in luck," counter boy tells the woman half of the couple, "because we just received work from the most popular potter in here." He open the flaps and unwraps one of the pieces from butcher paper -- no fucking peanuts! She likes the mug he shows her.

"Soon as we get his mugs they're gone in a few weeks." She sort of nods but isn't interested.

He asks where she's coming from. "Cleveland." "Cool. My dad's side of the family has deep roots in and around Cleveland Heights. One of my grandfather's brothers owned the biggest record store in Cleveland Heights" Hubby thinks he knows which record store counter boy is talking about. Counter boy knows little about the Cleveland Heights side of his family and quickly fires off a Facebook message to a relative he's Facebook friends with but never met, who lives in New Castle, western Pa., not terribly far from Cleveland Heights.

A minute later, North Bennington oil painter Brian Hewitt walks into the gallery to pick up two of his original oils from the Park McCullough House series because he's bringing them to his show in Manchester. "You're in luck," counter boy tells the woman "because this is Brian Hewitt, an oil painter with a great story, and his work is up there in the mezzanine." Within minutes Brian and the woman stand in front of his pieces on the mezzanine ...

A minute or two later, Kc Tiffany of Shaftsbury walks into the gallery. Fiddlehead sells her world-class pottery, and counter boy is perfectly comfortable touting her work as world-class even if she's 16. KC is part of this story, too, but not till later so keep reading.

The Clevelanders -- David and Wendy -- walk to the counter to ask how late the gallery would be open today. He answers. They say they'll be back and counter boy is, like, uh-huh, sure, and tells them the legend of "The Bebacks" and ends the story by saying "So here's a little incentive to come back -- I'll give you 10% off." This intrigues them. They leave the gallery -- interior door, foyer, front door -- and walk back into Bennington. Bye-bye, Clevelanders, nice meeting you.

Brian finishes paperwork to take his pieces and that's when counter boy realizes that Brian has not met KC the 16-year-old potter, and vice-versa, so he introduces them. Brian leaves minutes later. Fiddlehead is empty except for counter boy and KC. Her eyes are sad. Bad news; or not-so-good news depending how you look at it. She's been trying to fire her new wares in a kiln across town so that she can bring them to Fiddlehead, which has sold her work for a few months. But miscommunication with the woman in charge of the kiln may have ruined the whole lot and KC is bumming. On top of that she's headed to Buffalo in a few days to see if she and Buffalo State might be the right fit, and because of the kiln firing fiasco she doesn't think she can bring her new stuff to Fiddlehead before Friday. She thinks counter boy will be frustrated by the revelation. He is but has so many things going on that he doesn't show it, which surprises her.

Minutes later the Clevelanders come back, and that *does* surprise him because, well, the "Bebacks" rarely be back. Counter boy's relative from New Castle messages back: Leo Mintz built the Record Rendezvous in Cleveland. In 1936 he married Betty Kulkin then opened Record Rendezvous in '39, and that is the connection with counter boy's connection to the biggest record store in Cleveland. Here's a little story about Leo Mintz, rock 'n' roll king of Cleveland (

Minutes later Wendy walks to the counter with a Star of David trivet. Counter boy asks if she's Jewish. Yes. "Did you have a bat mitzvah?" Yes. He says his bar mitzvah was in '84.

One thing leads to another and Wendy tells counter boy about her mom and the Holocaust -- how her mom avoided the concentration camps and lived to tell about it.

A few minutes into the story, KC leaves the gallery. Later she'd say "You just seemed busy." Such is the life of counter boy as he gives full attention to a member of the tribe as she shares a Holocaust story about Mom.

Mom was born in Hannut, Belgium, with the help of teenage mid-wife Jilberte Delfosse, daughter of Gabrielle and Gaston Delfosse. The family hid Mom till war's end. Mom returned to Belgium several times over the years to visit Jilberte, still alive at 88, but Wendy made her first visit in June. She flew to Germany, where her brother works, then drove to Hannut to meet Jilberte at the house, owned by an Englishman who never knew the importance of his property and was quite taken by the story.

"66 years years later it was really cool to go down to the cellar where my mom was hidden," Wendy says. One of her sons attends Williams College just down the road from Bennington. His name is Gabriel, named after Gabrielle Delfosse. The experience moved Wendy like few things ever have, ever will. "It would be like going back to the house Anne Frank was hiding in," David said, "and meeting Anne Frank."

David and Wendy pay for the trivet and one of Lodiza Lepore's photo cards then leave.

Thank you, Clevelanders, for coming back.

Fiddlehead is quiet again, first silence in 75 minutes except for the music of a '68 Dead show from Jones Beach, meshing with the mad energy in his mind. What a long, strange encounter, he thought.

And now this silence, this respite after the hubbub on what normally is a quiet Wednesday, allows counter boy to photograph the new pottery, the glass, the wood. He's familiar with the pottery because Steve Williams of Banner Elk, North Carolina, has just one design, "Moon Over Carolina" and it's a wonderful design. And he's familiar with the Kentucky boards because Fiddlehead has sold them well the last few years. But Mad Art ... Mad Art always delivers new and exciting eye candy, which is a tribute to Fiddlehead owner Joel Lentzner and his artistic eye. The most gorgeous piece this time ...

... is a tall, square vase called Apple Tree and counter boy, being a lover of red, gushes over the lusciousness of the red in the apples and along the top lip. Lindo!

Just when it seems as though the usual Wednesday quiet is going to settle upon the gallery, the bells of the interior door jingle and into Fiddlehead slow-shuffles a pair of elderly women. They shuffle past counter boy who thinks they'll be gone in a few minutes. 

Instead they shuffle and waddle for 15, 20, 25 minutes. One of them pulls a framed litho off the Wall of DeAmicis then shuffles up to counter boy and asks if Fiddlehead sells any Vermont-made pottery.

He walks around the counter and walks her to the stoneware of Tom Homann of Middlebury. She goes meh. He walks her to another table that has a large serving bowl by David Lasser of Londonderry. Meh again. Just one more Vermont potter, KC Tiffany the 16-year-old from Shaftsbury. And it's a bowl that counter boy doesn't really expect to sell because she threw the piece as a 14-year-old and it's really just a placemat of sorts till the new stuff arrives this week, hopefully.

That doesn't stop counter boy from promoting a 16-year-old Vermont potter whose talent belies her age. And it's not faux promotion. She's very good ( I'll put her work up against any other Vermont potter, bubba. "Her pieces are thick and sturdy and they're among the best things we sell," counter boy says. She appreciates these selling points and especially the one about KC being 16. In a thick Alabama twang she says "I'll take it."

If you had told counter boy to make a list of 1,000 things that might come to fruition today, the idea of a blue-haired Alabaman buying a 16-year-old Vermonter's pottery wouldn't even spring to life. The whimsical John DeAmicis with pretty red tulips? Of course. Art like that is right up her alley. But this bowl? Come on, pop.

Her name is Hope Duve -- "Du-VAY?" and she smiles when counter boy gets it right on the first try -- and she lives in Huntsville, Alabama. Counter boy smiles back as she says Huntsville because one of Fiddlehead's best customers is Huntsville lawyer Leigh Daniel and one of counter boy's first roomies in Long Beach in the early '90s was Steve Irvine, a Huntsville boy and one of the Press-Telegram's best sportswriters of his generation there.

As this bizarro little chat and sale takes place, Hope's friend Berthelle -- another old Alabaman who moved to "the northern neck" of Virginia 20 years ago -- has become quite enamored with the Caron Miller Collection wraps, especially the 24x96 turquoise shim. She wants it like a baby wants its bottle, which means she needs it and needs it now now now!

Counter boys walks over to Berthelle as she stands in front of the mirror admiring herself draped in this exotic silky fabric. "I wear a lot of black," she says with a twang like Hope's. She asks counter boy a question and he quickly weighs the pros and cons to the answer he's about to give her. She likes the answer but still has him hang it up again. She changes her mind 30 seconds later, worried that the wrap won't be here when she returns, so she pulls the turquoise shim off the display bar and walks to the counter to pay. Well, only after wrapping herself in the shim and hamming it up for the camera. Cute.

Wednesday, huh?

Hours of quiet followed.

And then ...

Rudi Yniguez, who goes to Williams College, walks into Fiddlehead at 5:10 and makes a beeline toward the stairwell. Counter boy, was, like, she's definitely getting something. Counter boy wasn't expecting this, though: Rudi walks back over and tells counter boy that she was at Midnight Madness with her mom a few weeks ago. Her mom loved -- capital L -- Brian Hewitt's print on canvas called "Harrington Road" and now daughter wants to buy it for mom.

Counter boy has learned a few lessons about selling Brian's work by now so Rudi ain't walking out of this joint without the piece. He gives her a price tells her to go pluck it off the easel.

"All of the paintings in her house are of barns," Rudi says, "but this one will standout."

"Harrington Road" is mom's Christmas gift.

"You could have given her pottery or glass or jewelry or a nice scarf," counter boy says. Rudi smiles and says "It was the right thing to do and I'd like to see it hanging in her house so it's a win-win."

Wednesday, huh?

An hour later, this geology teacher from Pittsburgh bought a hand-warmer mug from Walla Walla. Walla Walla!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: A 50,000,000-Year-Old Bennington Fish Tale

3 cigarettes for an historic fossil (click to enlarge)
"I've seen enough to know this isn't fake."

BENNINGTON -- A toothless woman and her tattooed fiance took possession of a rare slab of earth last week ...

David Thompson and Tiffany Friend of Bennington

... after a desperate townie traded the piece of natural history for 3 cigarettes.

Turns out the imperfect jagged square dates to the Eocene era between 35,000,000 and 50,000,000 years ago, before the Rocky Mountains rose up and before the Grand Canyon slumped into Arizona, a time reference almost impossible to comprehend when you compare one year to 100 years to 1,000 years ... to 50 million years?

The top layer on one side is white-beige with 2 splotches. 

What makes this piece so unique and what excited Phil Bernnard the most as he eyeballed a magnifying glass are the 2 fossilized fish embedded in pristine condition. One of the fish looks like it drowned in a one of the splotches.

"I'm amazed you can see the bones and the scales," Bernnard, an archeologist from Hoosick Falls, New York, said on the phone hours after he met David and Tiffany at Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery in downtown Bennington. He showed up to give them a rough appraisal of their investment. "This is a Mother Nature work of art."

Which is why 34-year-old Tiffany Friend and her 50-year-old fiancee David Thompson -- Bennington natives on disability -- think they've hit the jackpot although Bernnard told them not to hold their breath. He made it clear he's not an expert and is no position to give them the kind of appraisal they want but his experience made him feel comfortable enough to say they'd be lucky to fetch more than $500, maybe $700 or even a thousand, because of the condition of the fossilized fish.

"Honestly," Tiffany said on the phone today, "we said were weren't going to get our hopes up. We were shocked it it was worth anything at all."

Bernnard did have to set the record straight after reading the typewritten note taped to the back of the old slab that said the Eocene Age was 20,000,000 years ago.

Earth has had 5 geological eras: Archaeozoic, Proterozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Within the Cenozoic Era is the Tertiary Period, with 5 epochs: Paleocene (dinosaur age), Eocene, Oligocene, Micene and the era we're in now, Pliocene. 

For a detailed table click HERE.

The strip of paper reads:

EOCENE AGE -- 20,000,000

Incorrect is the 20,000,000 number, Bernnard said, because Eocene was 10,000,000 to 35,000,000 years older, but the Green River and Wyoming references were correct because Wyoming, like much of North America, was covered in water.

Fast-forward a few (million) years. "The geological process," Bernnard said during the phone call, "it's time." Tectonic shifts and the bunching of plates led to the rising of the Rockies -- from Canada to New Mexico -- and during this process the rivers and lakes in what we call Wyoming and surrounding states disappeared.

The species of fish in David's and Tiffany's fossil, made up of hundreds of layers of sediment, Bernnard said, probably died and fell to the bottom of the river and became embedded in clay. Millions of years of mineralization led to fossilization, the process by which a cellular structure turns to stone and that's why the two fish look so perfect though David was wary.

"Nobody can make fish like that," he said in the 65-second video below. The archeologist heard the comment as he studied the fossilized fish and replied "You'd be surprised. But this is something made by Mother Nature."

A third party, who didn't know any of the other three from Adam, photographed and shot video of this gathering inside Fiddlehead, an 84-year-old geological beauty of its own and Bennington's most gorgeous structure built in 1929 with marble from Vermont's quarries.

Twenty-four hours earlier Fiddlehead's manager looked deep into Tiffany's desperate blue eyes as she asked for help finding someone who might want to buy the fossil. Tiffany is 34 going on 112. Life's rough, and she needs money. She needs a lot more than money, but a million bucks for this strange slab is the only thing she's really thinking about. 

For whatever reason the gods look kindly upon the ponytailed redhead. Into her lap falls a 24-year-old Benningtonian by the name of David, who is so desperate for nicotine that he trades a 50,000,000-year-old slab of earth for 3 rollies.

Bennington, My Bennington.

David heard of an archeologist at Camelot Village -- the antiques shopping center just outside Old Bennington. Just one problem. David and Tiffany have no transportation to Camelot Village. It's a 3-minute drive from Fiddlehead at Four Corners but for desperados like David and Tiffany it's a 2-hour walk they're in no position to make for obvious reasons. They just need a little help.

So the manager called Camelot Village and asked the girl who answered if the archeologist was available. The girl said the archeologist hadn't arrived. Fiddlehead's manager nudged a little and got the girl to put him in touch with the archeologist, a man by the name of Phil. So the manager makes one more call, to Phil Bernnard of Hoosick Falls, who hems and haws for a few seconds after the manager's spiel but agrees to come to Fiddlehead the next day to give the fossilized fish fossil a once-over.

Bernnard told David and Tiffany they need a zoologist to name the species of fish and that fossil experts could tell them what kind of money they might fetch by selling it, which is what they want to do because all you have to do is look into Tiffany's eyes as the archeologist puts his knowledge on display. Watch the video below at the 45-second mark when she interrupts him, or tries to, as he's eyeballing the scales of the fish. You can see her train of thought a mile away.

After Bernnard's quick appraisal, David put the 50,000,000-year-old fossil in his backpack and walked his woman out the front door. They were neither happy nor mad, satisfied that someone gave them the time of day.

Things like this happen quite a bit. Person buys a painting for $3 at Goodwill and it turns out to be from the 17th century and he sells it for $190,000. Or this one: Person buys a $3 bowl at a tag sale and it turns out to be a 1,000-year-old Chinese bowl worth $2.25 million.

This is not going to happen to David and Tiffany of Bennington. The 3 rollies they gave David didn't yield an Eocene Era fossil worth millions or even six or five figures. They'll be lucky to get a grand unless this is a missing piece to an Eocene Era fossil puzzle.

Fiddlehead's manager called the couple this morning.

"We'll probably put it on the mantle," Tiffany said. "David built a nice stand for it."

The manager asked "Would you sell it for $500 tomorrow?"

In the background you could hear David grumble. "No. ... It's too cool."

"Be careful," the manager warned Tiffany. "Don't be so stubborn that you turn away $500 or even $750 because you think you'll get $12,000 for it."

"$500 is a lot of money," she said as David grumbled again. "We could use that, though. We're not looking at it, like, someone's going to say 'We'll give you $12,000.' "

David's voice boomed in the background. "It's a good bragging piece."

UPDATE (8/2): Fiddlehead's manager called Tiffany and David again asking if they could locate 3-Cig Dave and bring him to the gallery. David said he doesn't know where 3-Cig Dave is these days although he might be visiting his mom in Barre. When asked where 3-Cig Dave got the slab, David said the 24-year-old told him he found it while cleaning out an apartment for his dad's landlord.

UPDATE 2 (8/2): Tiffany walked into Fiddlehead today with a large, sweaty fella wearing a cap signifying he's a veteran of the Iraq War ...

... and this is 3-Cig Dave -- David Jalalian-Taylor of Bennington, but he's 28 not 24. 

He said he was stationed in Alaska and pulled the trigger often on front lines in Iraq from 2003 to 2006, said he came home with the rank of sergeant. He lives in an apartment on North Street, part of a 3-apartment complex. One of the tenants was a man in his 70's, health failing, Jalalian said, so he up and left for Canada months ago to live with family.

"The guy left so much trash in there," Jalalian said. "He was a pack rat, a hoarder."

Jalalian found the Eocene piece in the attic crawl space. "I thought it was a neat little thing. But I needed nicotine so bad -- stupid me gave it away to Tiffany."

He said he's not worried about people thinking he stole one of the abandoned tenant's possessions because "he told me that if I like anything I'm welcome to it." He kept a painting and photo but wishes he had the fossil he traded to quell the nic-fit.

Tiffany said something funny about the piece she now owns with David Thompson. He doesn't trust her and has bubbled-wrapped and hidden the fossil. "He knows I'm desperate for money and knows what I'd probably do with it."

Fiddlehead's manager told Tiffany he wrote about her being a 34-year-old with no teeth and asked if it's because she used meth. She said no. She lost her teeth because of bad enamel, gingivitis and because she neglected oral hygiene for years. She said she loathes drugs and wants to work with children one day, perhaps in a daycare.

3-Cig Dave is unemployed but wants to get his license and become a bounty hunter in Vermont. He said he has a felony -- he's listed on Vermont's sex offender registry HERE.

UPDATE 3 (8/2): Someone posted this story on and a redditor left a comment leading to a website dedicated to the Green River Fossil Adventures HERE.