November 2014 Newsletter


November 2014 Newsletter
P R E S I D E N T ’ S M E S S AG E
Community Service Since 1907
October 2014
The big news for November is that Debby Hall is on VACATION!
President’s Message
I would like to wish everyone a
Happy Thanksgiving and I do
hope to see you all at The
Norwich Women s Club Holiday
Gathering - December 4th at
Coffee &
Monday November 3rd
10:00 - 11:00am
The Norwich Historical Society!
Debby Hall
Member Profile : Mary Otto
I met with Mary Otto in her lovely kitchen where she welcomed
me with a warm cup of tea and a slice of delicious zucchini
bread. I knew very little about her background except that she
was a talented writer and, as someone told me, a true
intellectual. I looked forward to finding out more.
Mary began life in a very small town in northwest Iowa ‒ population about 1500.
Her paternal grandparents were among the original settlers of Holstein, Iowa,
having emigrated from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, in the 1880s. Her husband
of 50 years is from the nearby town of Mapleton. Mary and David dated in high
school before going their separate ways for college̶Mary to Grinnell and David
to Morningside, a small liberal arts college in Sioux City.
In their senior year in college, David reconnected with Mary. When I asked her
what prompted him to call her, she replied, I guess he realized he didn t want
to pass up a good thing! And so upon graduation, they married and left Iowa
for New York. Mary commented about the times and Iowa when she said it was
unheard of that they should even be living in the same city without first getting
David entered the Union Theological Seminary in Morningside Heights. While
David was studying there, Mary began her lifelong career as a high school
English teacher. While teaching she earned a Master s Degree in English at
Hunter College. I did this because it was available and it cost under a thousand
Mary became pregnant with their older daughter, Susan, during David s last
year at the seminary. She continued teaching for four more years until the birth
of their second daughter, Libby. When I asked her about childcare, she told me
she had an arrangement with a neighbor, which worked well for them then. She
went back to teaching full time when Libby started first grade. In 1987 she got
her PhD in English Education from NYU.
Mary taught at Briarcliff High School and then the Edgemont High School in
Scarsdale, New York, from 1977-2002, with a two-year hiatus in the mid-1990s
when she headed up the English department at the American School in London.
This challenge was a good match for her skills. The importance of English
education has been a major focus of Mary s professional life. She worked with
the National Writing Project to help train English teachers in effective and
creative ways to communicate with their students.
When Mary began teaching, it was one of the few professional careers available
to women and it was a wonderful career. Parents supported education and
teachers. Mary talks passionately about the changes in the teaching profession
in today s world. Her life demonstrates her strong commitment to how children
are educated. I asked her opinion about the Common Core and she decried the
emphasis on testing. Teachers, she said, need to have more freedom to adjust
to what happens in the classroom.
Schools should provide opportunities for kids to learn in ways that enhance who
they are as people. She is opposed to the top-down rigidity in today s schools.
The Ottos moved to Vermont when Mary retired from Edgemont. She was not,
however, ready to give up teaching. The Sharon Academy, which she describes
as a creative and innovative school, needed to develop an English curriculum.
She took on the job and taught there for two years.
Mary joined the Women s Club and served on the scholarship committee,
eventually chairing the committee for three years. As chair, she sat on the Board
and, in her words, became acquainted with all the wonderwomen of the club.
So what does she do with her time now? She teaches a course in writing creative
non-fiction at [email protected] (aka ILEAD), is a trustee and volunteer at the
Norwich Public Library and heads up their current Strategic Planning Committee,
is on the Annual Fund Committee of the Montshire Museum, and on the Alumni
Council of Grinnell College. Do you see the theme here? Everything is related to
her passion for education.
Family plays a big role in Mary s life. After ten years as a church pastor, David
spent twenty more as a pastoral counselor. He earned his doctorate in Religion
and Psychology at Andover Newton Theological School. He is now a financial
planner and their daughter Susan works with him. The Ottos were prompted to
move to Norwich in order to be closer to her and her family in Newbury,
Vermont. Their other daughter Libby is an art historian who teaches at SUNY
Buffalo. The children and grandchildren spend a large part of the summer with
David and Mary in their Boothbay Harbor, Maine, summerhouse. The Ottos own a
condo in Katonah, New York, where David still maintains an office. Mary loves life
here in the Upper Valley, but New York is still a special place for her.
At the end of our meeting, I asked her whether coming from a small town in Iowa
had an effect on who she is today. Although she originally denied it, she later
commented that after thinking about it she supposed it did. She said, I think of
me as myself, and never connected it to Iowa. When I think of Mary, I see a selfcontained, focused and self assured person who I am glad to call a friend.
What a great time
we had !
Northern Stage Now
Calendar of Events
November 3rd
On October 15 a noisy, fun filled pre-theater dinner at
Elixir was enjoyed by a group of NWC women prior to
moving up the street to see the Northern Stage
outstanding production of Into The Woods. We all
agreed that we should do more programs like this.
Elixir provided us with their separate side room, away
from the crowd. Although it was a treat to have the
room to ourselves, it was probably a wise move on Skip
Symanksi s part. Our segregation protected his other
dinner patrons from our raucous noise. We all know
that the decibel level rises when we women get
together. That evening was no exception.
The Valley News review of Into the Woods said it all. The
acting, music, costumes and great script was letter
perfect. We also got a chance to preview the drawings
for Northern Stages new location, right around the
corner from the Opera House. What a treat it will be to
have everything ground level, and not have to climb up
and down the Opera House staircase. The new location
will also have improved and increased restroom
facilities. This is Northern Stages last season in it s
current location, so if you want to say farewell to the
old, make sure to attend at least one of the upcoming
productions for this season. We are so lucky to have
such a professional theater right in our own backyard.
Coffee and Conversation
Our next Coffee and
Conversation morning
with be on Monday, Nov
3rd from 10 - 11 AM in
the front living room at
the Norwich Inn. Join us! You need not be
a member of the NWC to
enjoy a short visit with
your friends and
neighbors. Bring an old
friend or a new neighbor
and enjoy complimentary
coffee and cookies.
RSVP to Arline Rotman at
[email protected] or call
at 649-2046. We like to
be able to tell the Inn
how many are coming. However, if you find
yourself free at the last
minute, come anyway,
and we'll find a coffee
cup for you, too!
December 4th
Norwich Women’s Club
Holiday Gathering
5:30 - 7:30 at the
Norwich Historical
A warm welcome to new members Gena Doyle, Norah Geraghty,
Linda Glasgo, Suzy Hallock-Bannigan, and Laurie Sabatelle.
Membership is open to everyone interested in our work; we are
proud to have many members who are not residents of Norwich.
Do please suggest the Club to those newcomers down the street
who may be looking for ways to get involved in the community as
well as to make new friends.
Anyone thinking of joining will find more details on our website or can email me with any questions
[email protected]
Sophia Crawford
Membership Coordinator
. . . some people think this is our “clubhouse” ! Come find out!
Elaine Waterman, Chair
Once again the Nearly New Sale shoppers have dispersed, the tables returned to the
Tracy Hall closet, the hangers sorted, stacked and packed, and the racks taken apart
while the mirrors were wrapped up. All was hauled over to the Ireland s barn next to
the Congregational Church for storage until the spring 2015 sale window (April 29‒
May 3).
With great relief I am again reminded how fortunate the NWC is to have a Club
member move close to Tracy Hall and give their permission for all the NNS fixtures to
be stored in their barn. THANK YOU DANA AND JERRY IRELAND!!
In addition to the fantastic job the clean-up crew did getting the gym back to normal
on Sunday afternoon, they also neatly folded, bagged and labeled left-over clothing for
pick-up on Monday morning by two Haven interns who run The Haven Clothing Closet.
They were so excited and thrilled to see the many-labeled bags of quality warm
clothing to fill their almost empty space.
In August 2011, Hurricane Irene was responsible for that fall s record sale of over
$35,000 as so many Upper Valley families lost all their belongings in the flooding; this
fall s sale now holds the record for the second best sale with gross sales just shy of
$32,000! The funds left after consignment checks are issued and bills satisfied
benefit the Norwich Women s Club Scholarship Fund.
This sale also set another record with 273
consignors!!!! That s a lot of item tags to
sort and paperwork to shuffle for the
accounting committee in order to correctly
credit each consignor s account and issue
checks. A loud shout out to Sydney Smith
and her team of assistants for their
continued commitment to getting this task
done accurately and within four to six weeks
from the close of each and every sale.
To all the consignors, volunteers and shoppers, THANK YOU as it truly takes a village.
These volunteers generously gave of their time to fold leaflets, affix
labels, prepare pre-consignment packets, file paperwork, send out
emails, make phone calls, write postcards, inspect, hang, fold, write lists
and tags, cut off tags, bag clothes, give change, count tags, match tags,
calculate consignor checks. We cannot thank them too often. Without
them, we know there could not have been a sale.
Elaine Waterman
Claudia Adami, Mary Anderson, Sandie Anderson, Jennifer Ankner-Edelstein, Toni Apgar, Terri
Ashley, Kathy Avery, Beverly Barton, Celina Barton, Pip Barton, Cinny Bensen, JoAnn Berns, Licia
Berry-Berard, Carole Bibeau, Sarah Bibeau, Debbie Birenbaum, Lydia Bos, Amy Bosco, Christine
Bothe, Isabelle Bradley, Tineke Breed, Megan Brendel, Susan Brink, Erica Brinton, Katherine
Broussard, Renee Brown, Charlie Buell, Samantha Candon, Debbie Carter, Nancy Carter, Terri
Catherwood, Devra Chicoine, Ann Christiano, Mary Jane Clark, Sheila Clark-Ferris, Dorothy Cloud,
Danielle Cohen, Wendy Cole, Laura Cooley, Mary Clare Cooper, Sophia Crawford, Frank D'Aprile,
Madeline Dalton, Melissa Danen, Stephanie Davis, Sandra Dell, Carole Dempsey, Pat Dempsey,
Rosalie Denike, Ruth Dixon-Vestal, Cheryl Doubleday, Annah Dupuis, Rebecca Eiler, Jennifer
Ellsworth, Lee Emerson, Alanya Engtrakul, Robyn Fairclough, Cindy Faughnan, Erica Faughnan,
Manuela Fonseca, Clare Forseth, Keith Fossett, Kate Foster, Mary Fowler, Carolyn Frye, Carolyn
Fryer, Sally Gage, Dori Galton, Anne Garrigue, Jenny Gelfan, Sugar Genereaux, Janet Gerety, Nancy
Golder, Deirdre Goodrich, Michael Goodrich, Mary Lee Goodwiin, Beverly Gorham, Michelle Gottlieb,
Andrea Granger, Marilyn Grassi, Ginny Gray, Linda Gray, Lizzie Gray, Abbie Griggs, Adam Griggs,
Dianne Griggs, Peter Griggs, Martina Hackett, Susan Haedrich, Debby Hall, Laurie Halpern, Bernard
Haskell, Ellen Haun, Geraldine Higgins, Mary Ann Holbrook, Kim Holzberger, Brucie Hubbell, Ellie
Huke, Abigail Hurlburt, Ruth Jabbs, Bee Jacoby, Christine Joanis, Corlan Johnson, Jaye Johnson,
Daniel Jones, Sue Kaufman, Carolyn Keck, Joanne Kent, Barb Kline-Schroder, Pam Kneisel, Karen
Kniffin, Sarah Kniffin, Anne Kolkin, Beth Kopp, Karen Kuntne-Woodward, Jennifer Langhus, Jean
Lawe, Bonnie Lawlor, Mary Layton, Linka Lewis, Cheryl Lindberg, Allison Litten, Carol Loveland,
Suzanne Lyons, Lettie Mabaso, Renie MacArthur, Phyllis Macdonald, Lorinda MacLeod, Betsy
Maislen, Tracy Malloy, Megan Martinez, Cheri Mather, Natalia May, Lisa McCabe, Virginia McCleery,
Anne McClenachan, Susan McGrew, Mary McKenna, Shelly Melendy, Melanie Michel, Fifi Milchman,
Lisa Milchman, Marion Miller, Marisa Miller, Pam Mobilia, Bonnie Munday, Amy Nartowicz, Candace
Nattie, Elizabeth Nelson, Jill Niles, Jane Officer, Nancy Osgood, Kathleen Otto, Mary Otto, Katinka
Paquin, Barbara Payson, Ann Perbohner, Carolee Perry, Judith Pettingell, Lizann Peyton, Sue Pitiger,
Vicky Pridgen, Heidi Reiss, Beth Reynolds, Mary Reynolds, Michael Reynolds, Toby Reynolds, Libby
Robbie, Judith Rocchio, Michie Rogers, Arline Rotman, Daphna Rotman, Elisabeth Russell, Holly
Sateia, Edye Scheier, Jan Scheiner, Nancy Schindler, Nan Schwartzman, Bekah Schweitzer, Ivy
Schweitzer, Debby Scribner, Fran Sherley, Sydney Smith, Joan Sorenson, Susan Spademan, Tricia
Spellman, Marieke Sperry, Lydia Starosta, Judy Sterndale, Melinda Stucker, Meghan Teachout, Diane
Tensen, Lindsay Tensen, Hetty Thomae, Veronica Thurston, Sandra Tomeny, Gail Torkelson, Lily
Trajman, Ceci Tseng, Diane Usle, Steve Usle, Deb Van Arman, Amelia Wallis, Paige Wallis, Shannon
Wallis, Suzanne Wallis, Karen Ward, Theresa Warhold, Ann Waterfall, Marcia Williams, Reeve
Williams, Maureen Wilson, Arlene Wright.