I’m not going to say it because it’s just too cliché. However, it does feel like yesterday when Wendy McMillan Kenyon and I were working on the Quechee Times together – she was my graphic designer at the time – and we began toying with the idea of starting a Norwich publication modeled after the Quechee Times. Her daughter, Maddy, was just three years old and my older daughter, Dewey, was just 18 months and we both worked with and around our daughters by our sides many a day or night!
I had only been publishing the Quechee Times for about a year and thus harbored a helping of self-doubt and fear highlighted by my inexperience. So, I asked my cousin who was an extremely well-loved and respected community member and local attorney, Garfield (“Field”) Miller of Miller and Candon, what he thought of the idea. He, of course, in his reserved way (with a slightly noticeable twinkle in his eye) said “Yeah, sure. Go for it!” He even agreed to write one of the first articles!
So, before I continue to ramble on about how awesome Norwich is and about what a privilege it has been to share its good news stories with everyone in the community, I’d like to dedicate this 25th anniversary issue to my late and beloved cousin, advisor and under-the-radar supporter, Field Miller. All who knew him loved him dearly and anyone who enjoys the Norwich Times can thank him in memoriam.
Why Just Norwich?
One of the age-old questions I get asked about the Norwich Times is why I didn’t start a Hanover/Norwich paper. From a business perspective, it would have made all the sense in the world. At the time, Here In Hanover didn’t exist and there really were no other publications that served these two communities except Upper Valley Life and the Valley News. The Norwich Happenings newsletter was a wonderful mainstay for town and civic organization news. But, the Norwich Times, I believed, would serve to complement it by presenting more longform, human-interest profile pieces.
Sometimes I kick myself because it would have been much easier to get advertisers and therefore more revenue had I been able to offer to reach both communities. However, I knew in my gut that Norwich needed its own publication that focused solely on Norwich people, places and events that made Norwich such a deeply special place. Somehow, it just felt like the right thing to do and, to this day, I still feel strongly about how wonderfully intimate we can keep the content without having to serve multiple audiences. I hope you all agree. Please feel free to share your thoughts!
Recurring Themes That Just Fit
While Norwich is home to so many interesting people and goings on, it’s not always easy to come up with new story ideas. Unless you hear people talking on the playground or at Dan and Whit’s or at a soccer game, you don’t necessarily know what cool and unique tidbits are just waiting to be told. So, sometimes certain themes would repeat themselves over the years as tried-and-true fan faves!
Clearly, we love our local farms and farmers. We live here because we are privileged to have such incredibly high-quality food grown or raised in our backyards. As such, you might have read many articles about farms, farming, farmers and the landowners who donated their land to keep local farming viable. In my opinion, the topic never gets old!
Another theme that I selfishly created was the Gap Year Kids series. When my daughters were in middle and high school, I was intrigued by the many adventures Norwich young people embarked on between high school and college. I personally believed in the benefits of trying out a new culture or volunteer stint or perhaps an apprenticeship before just automatically going straight to college. In order to give a voice to these young people, I encouraged many to tell their tales. This served a variety of obvious purposes. I also hoped that other young people would be inspired to investigate their own options and possibilities. If you were inspired by reading about your contemporaries, please share which stories were particularly compelling and what you ended up doing as a result!
Education is another community priority that Norwich residents value a great deal. Since the longtime MCS principal, Milt Frye, retired just as the Norwich Times launched, we featured the many principals that followed his tenure. Mrs. T, Tracy Smith, Mr. G and other longtime and beloved teachers often appeared in our pages, as well. The May Day celebration was always a welcomed photo opp as it captured so well the spirit and values Norwich holds dear when it comes to educating its children.
I also particularly enjoyed our Elder Profiles. Norwich has an amazing mix of those whose families have been here for generations and the newly retired transplants who come back after their long-ago exposure to our special place during their Dartmouth years. Not only were their life stories fascinating, and their words of wisdom worth their weight in gold, the fierce commitment these elders made to aging in place was a testament to Norwich and to the community support. It was an honor to capture their spirits in our pages.
Thank you, Norwich
When we think about the saying, It takes a village to raise a child. I can’t think of a better village to raise this “child,” the Norwich Times, from birth to now, as it turns 25. I am deeply grateful to have been able to share your personal heart and soul stories and to provide a vehicle through which neighbors can connect and even meet each other. To overhear someone in Dan and Whit’s say, “Oh, I recognize you from reading about you in the Norwich Times…” is my greatest reward. To know that people connect, inspire, teach, share, open up, invite and just plain give of themselves to each other through our pages, and have for the past 25 years, is what gives me the hope that we can uplift humanity through the power of positive press. Thank you, Norwich, for making it so easy.
And, last but not least – as these pages would not exist without our co-collaborators – our advertisers, sponsors and contributors. We truly could not exist without local businesses that believe in the power of good news and in supporting their community nor could we feel Norwich’s heart and soul if we didn’t have such tremendous writers who capture the essence of what makes Norwich so special. Thank you all for your ongoing loyalty, support and for translating our subjects’ values into messages of hope and inspiration.
We thank you all!