Our last day in Vermont was warm and sunny. The autumn colors of the maples and birches were in full bloom. The town of Stowe was crowded with “leaf peepers” from New York and Massachusetts.
We spent the day at the Trapp Family Lodge and working farm outside Stowe, learning the history of the family, talking to a family member and hiking the trails. The facts left out of or turned around in the movie, “The Sound of Music,” are compelling. The father of Agatha Whitehead, the Captain’s first wife, invented the torpedo. The Captain refused an invitation to sing at Hitler’s birthday. The family left Austria soon after, but by train, not hiking over the Alps. In the movie, Agatha died in childbirth. In fact, she died from Scarlet Fever.
Young Marie, the girl in the movie who suffered scarlet fever and whom the older Maria was brought in to tutor, is 99 and lives in a small house on the farm. The lodge/working farm consists of 650 acres and runs cattle and sheep. The family grows and processes apples and maple syrup, and maintains over 13 miles of bike and ski trails.
Johannes von Trapp, one of the three children by the Captain and Maria, is 74 and runs the lodge and farm. His daughter, Christina, spoke to us and posed with Ann and Andy.
Werner von Trapp, the fourth child of the Captain and Agathe, trained with the 10th Mountain Division in Colorado and served in Italy in WWII.
As an author who sold movie rights to one of his books for far less than they were worth, I sympathized with the family who sold the right to the movie based on Maria’s book for $9000. We left feeling it was too bad that the story of this amazing family had been absorbed in our culture in the form of “The Sound of Music.”