Book From the Past

Stopping by the new coffee shop in Hardwick last weekend — Front Seat Coffee — I discovered this gold-covered book which I am darn sure was The Book of my childhood. My dad actually bought this book for our house; he didn’t check it out of the library or stand in a bookstore reading it — his two main ways of gleaning information when I was a kid. He bought it and used it.

Need heating vents upstairs? Consult the book. Toilet broken? Get out the book, kids. Hot water heater on the fritz, again? Book. Move the washing machine, install a kitchen sink, put in a window or an outside door? Book, book, and book.

Inside are the classic ‘exploded view’ diagrams where my siblings and I honed our reading skills. Everything’s there, except how to smartly deal with the IRS…. a whole other lesson.

Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read!

— Faulkner



By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.


  1. I know that book! My dad passed along his copy when we moved into our house. Even though you can find just about anything you need on YouTube, this book still gets lots of use.

  2. You’re right, this book does tell you how to dyi absolutely everything to do with a house. We bought a copy from a secondhand book shop 20 years, when we first acquired our ‘fixer-upper’ and consulted it extensively.

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