Staley and Hayden’s Representation


Like much writing related to specific events, eulogizing depends a great deal on happening across the idea that provides the point — the meaningful summary drawn in a sentence.  Speaking of the passing of her father — Harry Staley — Harriet Lloyd provided that idea for both Harry and my recently deceased local friend and ally Robert Hayden: He “gave his retirement to Rhode Island.”

Harry was the point-man founder of the Rhode Island Shoreline Coalition, which became the Rhode Island Statewide Coalition (RISC, either way), which then became RI Taxpayers.  The founders of Anchor Rising started our Web site within the same wave of people who could see where the state was headed and realized that hoping others would do something about it was no longer an option.  We were just expressing our opinion, but Harry was a big part of what made us think that there was a chance that we could have an effect.

Bob was a founding force in the Rhode Island Tea Party/Patriot movement some years later, when a much bigger, more-populist wave of back-to-our-intellectual-roots conservative reformers decided that more needed to be done to stop the trajectory of not just Rhode Island, but the entire United States of America.  The large initial rallies were a breath of encouragement, no doubt, but no event has summed up the sense that folks like Bob have of their nation’s circumstances better than the surprisingly emotional annual reading of the Declaration of Independence that his wife, Susan Anderson, conducts in Tiverton.  (This year will be no exception, despite the timing.)

Folks in the media don’t know what to make of us conservative Rhode Islanders. One gets the impression that they see us as a strange cult, who can’t possibly believe what we profess to believe and who must have some deficiency or ulterior motive in order to walk the streets proclaiming it.  The activist progressives, who long for nothing so much as people to paint as villains in order to divide society, go one step beyond puzzlement or bemusement and happily attribute to us evil motives.

Both groups (to the extent that they are distinct) miss the big story — the significant reality.

It was astonishing to me, when I was doing my best to raise a family, work full time as a carpenter, keep Anchor Rising going as a positive force in the state, and help protect taxpayers in my town, that I encountered retired people who placed tighter limits on their involvement than I did. “I can’t run for office; I’m retired,” they’d say.

I guess I can understand the inclination.  After a lifetime of work and planning for some years of enjoying life before it ends, finding a moral necessity to battle entrenched (probably unconquerable) special interests must feel like a conspiracy to take away everything for which one has worked, with time being most precious.  To younger adults, who are devoted to building their lives, the shackles of the Rhode Island establishment are just another obstacle to overcome.  We can feel overwhelmed, but from a certain perspective, civic participation isn’t an unexpected burden… just another burden.

In past times, the young went off to war, and the old stayed home and helped to keep the home front going.  In Rhode Island and the U.S.A., the challenge of our day is a soft war, at home, against a growing government apparatus.  Bob and Harry took up their swords.

They had made Rhode Island their home, and they wanted to make it a better place.  They weren’t acting out of selfishness (as some have slandered), but selflessness.  They had no ulterior motives but to do what’s right.

In that regard, they are representatives, after a fashion.  Not of districts of constituents, but of all of us who feel as if we’re answering a call.

  • MoniqueAR

    Very well expressed.

  • Guest

    Bravo. May they rest in peace.

  • Warrington Faust

    Bob and Harry took up their swords. "When you draw your sword against a king, you throw away the scabbard".

    Note to Justin, more interesting in a former life. I am pulling down some walls in the older part of my house to make room for insulation. The lath seems unusual. They took 3/8ths thick oak boards, 6-8 inches wide and made several chops in the ends with an axe. They then pulled it apart like an accordion and nailed it up directly to the sheathing. The sheathing is 1 1/2" by 18" by 20' Chestnut. I should pull down the house and sell the wood.

    • justinkatz

      Aren't there studs in the wall? (I'm trying to understand how lathe would be applied to the sheathing. If there's no framing, I'd expect either the lathe or the sheathing to be vertical.)

  • Well done Justin.

  • Warrington Faust

    No studs, it is what I have found is "plank framing". The post and beam frame is made up of 8 X 8's. There are no studs, the sheathing which is 1 1/2 x 18" by 20 feet runs vertically up from the foundation sill to the second floor header. The lath is applied vertically directly to the 1.5" sheathing. Probably "low cost housing" of the 18th century. The remaining barn is post and beam with mortised studs, perhaps because of the weight it was expected to carry. Plank framing eliminates the need for 80-85% of the mortises which would be needed for the studs. I assume they were an hour apiece. Good sized house, would probably be 150-200 studs. The beams appear sawn, but still have what look like adze marks on them.

    What I am doing is taking down the plaster and putting 3" of rigid foam over the sheathing. Then blueboard. Plasterer tells me no need for studs to support the boards if laid directly over the foam.

  • Warrington Faust

    The lath is applied vertically directly to the 1.5" sheathing. Fail. The lath is applied horizontially direct to the sheathing.

    • justinkatz

      Well, I wouldn't want to interfere with a guy who's actually been there and presumably has some engineering advice, but I question whether the board insulation has sufficient rigidity to sustain sheetrock and veneer plaster in the long run. It sounds like money might be an issue, but I'd want at least 2×3 studs 2' on center with the denser spray foam insulation (I forget the unique identifiers of the different spray foams). That would give solid screwing for the sheetrock and also firm up any gaps between the old sheathing.

  • Warrington Faust

    He tells me there are sheetrock screws long enough to run through the 3.37" directly into the 1.5" sheathing. Basically, the same weight as the original plaster which has been there since 1770.

    Real OT here. The basic defect of the system is that the beams are not supported mechanically, as with studs. Failure of the nails through the sheathing, into the beams, results in no support of the beams. I now notice that 18th century houses tend to bulge out at the mid point of the first floor. I may add studs on the first floor for mechanical support. Doubt I can jack out 150 years of sag. Historic features to be considered.

    • justinkatz

      Yes, they make sheetrock screws that long, but if you think of it, you'll have three inches between the sheetrock and the wood to which it's attached in which there will essentially be no support. Seems like an invitation to sagging and cracks, especially if the plasterers don't fill in all of the gaps at the bottom and along any seams midway on the wall.

      Houses tend to sag in the middle no matter the framing because the force is essentially like pushing down on the top of a balloon. This was more of an issue with "balloon framing," in which the studs go from the foundation to the roof, with the floors entirely interior; it became less of a problem with the practice of building each level independently and laying the next floor system on top of it.

      Even so, this force is why you crown studs inward (putting the natural curve bending into the building)… that way the outward force straightens the studs, rather than adding to their inclination to bend.