Karl Decker’s Magical Vermont

After 43 years as an English instructor, Karl Decker might have looked forward to a relaxing retirement.

Instead, the former Staples icon spent 6 years traveling around his beloved Vermont, photographing and writing stories on 35 small towns for Vermont Magazine.

Karl Decker

Karl Decker

Now a new project beckons.  Decker and his magazine collaborator Nancy Levine are writing a book.  The Tour Buses Don’t Stop Here Anymore will use 1st-person narrative, experienced commentary and engaging photos to describe — bluntly, honestly, lovingly — some of the social and economic problems confronting small towns in that special state.

Tour Buses will also show how each community recognized, faced and tried to solve its problems.

“Rural Vermont communities tend to have a strong sense of community, and a keen, beloved sense of place,” Levine says.

Yet, Decker adds, “infrastructure woes, rising property values and taxes, generational poverty, crime, substance abuse, school closings, job loss, aging populations, poor medical care, agricultural failures, socioeconomic disparities, environmental disasters and land use issues all conspire to undermine life in the Green Mountain State.”

Many Westporters know Vermont only through ski slopes and summer vacations.  Tour Buses‘s stories and photos are sure to open eyes to this diverse, lovely and often misunderstood state.

(One more local connection:  When Decker and Levine presented a talk and slide show about their work to a local club recently, Westporter Jon Gailmor — a 1966 Staples graduate who moved to Vermont in 1977 and is now a statewide treasure as a singer/songwriter/educator — provided the introduction and closing.)

West Pawlet, Vermont (Photograph by Karl Decker)

West Pawlet, Vermont (Photograph by Karl Decker)

4 responses to “Karl Decker’s Magical Vermont

  1. I am very proud to say I was a student of Karl’s in the early 60’s and forty years later his colleague in the eternal quest for the ultimate photograph. Then, as now, he’s excited about his subject matter and thus, inspiring to all who know him. It’s interesting to note in his photograph of West Pawlet above, the similarity to a view east from our own center of town where Toquet Hall would be on the right and a fountain was once in the middle of the intersection at Main St. and the (Boston) Post Road.

  2. I hope that Karl is not putting labels on everything in Vermont as he did in the classroom i.e. chair; clock; door; etc.
    If you ever need that camera repaired you can contact me and I would be honored to take care of it. 30 years in the business of camera repair and restoration of fine cameras.

    all the best and keep shooting!!

  3. Paul Reichert

    Karl, you have mentioned for many years about writing a book, about time you got started. Have enjoyed your articles with your co author, Nancy Levine, in Vermont Magazine.
    Looking forward to the book.

  4. Karl and Nancy, Hope you read this! You know we would love to do a event at Misty Valley Books when your book is done. Does that mean no more Vermont Magazine articles on small towns in Vermont? If so, we will really miss them…. but then, you covered the important ones: Chester, Peru,……. stop by when you’re back this way. All our best, Lynne and Bill