Columns, I Heard it Through the Jeudevine

Bequest Benefits Library Landscaping

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HARDWICK – Progress on the addition to the Jeudevine Library is a bit easier to track as the siding creates a more finished appearance to the building. Still, as one passes that way, it is quite clearly still a construction site. Eventually the heavy equipment and fencing will disappear. What will it look like then? What will replace the dirt and the dust?

I am very happy to share that the library has received a generous bequest from the late Paul Philbrook and Sarah Cobb Philbrook in memory of Sarah’s mother, Leone Cobb. Leone Cobb was a longtime resident of Hardwick. She taught at the Hardwick Academy and worked at the Jeudevine Library. She had a profoundly positive impact on many young lives in Hardwick.

Their donation will cover the cost of terracing, landscaping and building an accessible patio with tables and chairs. The terracing will feature granite blocks, donated by the Center for an Agricultural Economy. It may be difficult to imagine, but before long one should be able to bask in the sun (with a good book!) on a grassy slope overlooking the village.

Our librarian, Diane Grenkow, stumbled across an interesting historical fact from Hardwick’s past: in 1896, as construction on the original Jeudevine was underway, progress was halted due to “the want of brownstone.” Nineteenth Century supply chain issues! The opening of the library did not occur until December 1897.

I am sorry to share that our youth librarian, Marilyn McDowell, has resigned. Summer reading events will continue, Thursday mornings at Atkins Field until August 8. Marilyn will staff those, unless a new youth librarian comes on board before then. She has brought energy and innovation to our programming for children. We will miss her. A search has begun to hire her successor.

Upcoming programs for July include a presentation on emergency preparedness. This has been arranged by the Vermont Department of Health and will take place on Monday, July 8, at 6:30 p.m. It will cover both evacuation and sheltering in place. The emphasis will be on planning, preparation and practice.

July will also feature a three-part presentation by Chaplain Alexandra Jump on death, grieving and advanced planning. Chaplain Jump has trained with the Massachusetts Fire Academy in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and is certified as a first responder chaplain. Her programs will take place on three Thursdays in July at 6:30 p.m.: July 11, “Death: Don’t the Question

Beg an Answer?”; July 18, “Advance Care Planning;” and July 25, “Grief: Different Kinds for Different Binds.”

The work to restore the magnificent original stained glass windows has been completed. Be sure to take a few minutes to gaze up at them when you next visit. The work was done by Tim Byrne of Derby, a delightful man who taught for years at Lake Region and North Country High Schools. We were so lucky to find him.

Our trustee profile this month features Ross Connelly. Most of us know Ross as the editor and co-publisher (with his wife Susan) of The Hardwick Gazette for more than 30 years. Ross sold the paper in 2017, joining the Jeudevine Board in 2020.

Prior to purchasing The Gazette in 1986, Ross had worked as a sportswriter, columnist and editor on a number of newspapers in Massachusetts. He has won several journalism and editorial awards, including election to the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2012.

He has a passion for photography. His work has appeared in shows at locations around Vermont, including restaurants and galleries. Recently the White Water Gallery in East Hardwick hosted a display of Ross’ photography from the 1960s. Ross was a college student at Howard University in

Washington D.C. and so bore witness to history at events of the Civil Rights movement. Ross worked in that movement for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, serving in both Washington and North Carolina.

He is not new to board service, having sat on both the Vermont and New England Press Association Boards during his years at The Gazette. Ross finds many ways to embrace the outdoors, in a kayak, on cross-country skis, or simply on foot. He enjoys travel (Alaska is the one U.S. state he has yet to visit), and, of course, he loves to read.

Speaking of which, among recently added titles to the Jeudevine collection is Circus Smirkus founder Rob Mermin’s memoir “Circle of Sawdust.” Check it out. Yes, literally, check it out, bring it home to read and then return it and try another. Summer, one of the four best seasons to read a book.

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