So I was reading this great article on the Roadside America website about Santa's Land in Putney VT. This place is right up the road from my Grandma's summer place in Leyden MA, so I visited a few times through my childhood. The story really encompasses the charming weirdness of the place, including the spray-foam Xanadu house, which I always thought was there to make the elves and reindeer feel more like they were in their native arctic climate:
"We walk up the hill to the quiet of Santa's House, and can see red legs through the doorway. Santa sits, motionless. We assume he's a stuffed dummy. Then a truck klaxon echoes through the woods -- the over-the-top horn for the tiny Alpine Train -- and Santa jerks to life.
"Ho ho," he says groggily. "You caught Santa napping." The next words out of his mouth startle us even more than finding him asleep. "You look like prosperous gentlemen. Would you like to buy Santa's Land?""
Fortunately, somebody did buy Santa's Land in 2004, and apparently made a lot of really positive improvements to it. I'm really glad to hear it, as these small, independently owned attractions are as awesome as they are increasingly hard to come by.
The weird thing about this Santa's Land article though, was the discussion of a statue called "The Purple Plum Man".
The first thing that really comes to mind when you see this guy are the letters w, t, and f. He doesn't make any sense at all and looks like he came from a bad 50's space invader movie. The more I looked at this though, the more familiar it seemed. Then I remembered something...
When I went to Santa's Land w/ my bro in the 90's (I'm the nearly obscured head and shoulder by the belt buckle, he's the blondie baby) we posed for pictures with a fairly normal statue of the childhood icon Humpty Dumpty, pre-accident.
So my first reaction was, why in god's name would you paint a regular nursery rhyme character to look like that? It seemed like a really bad choice. But then the plot thickened!
Behold, Purple Plum Man in his native habitat, circa 1985. So. Either between 1985 and 2005 Purple Plum Man was temporarily painted to look like Mr. Dumpty, and eventually that was decided to be a bad call, or Santa's Land, for whatever reason, purchased two Humpty Dumpty statues and had to figure out what to do with the second one.
And the more I look at the pictures, the more the latter seems true. Purple Plum man perches on pot or sack of some kind, while Humpty opts for the more traditional wall. Also, Humpty has a more defined belt buckle.
Why two Humpty statues in the first place? And why try to cover up the truth with this ridiculous Plum man ruse? We may never truly know...
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