Forum, Saturday, June 14: Exciting Times in Plainfield; The Real Story About Veterans; Pies for Sale

Exciting Times in Plainfield

To the Editor:

Recently a reporter stopped at our house to ask if we had memories of the time when our road, Center of Town Road, was in the news because of activities of the Browns (“Convict Apologizes to Plainfield” May 31). We mentioned a few and she then wrote her story, adding her impression that we had “fond” memories of the Browns. She did fine with the other things, but “fond” wasn’t one of them! Fond is for people you know, sometimes even for a color or ordinary, everyday things. In no way did it apply to our feelings in this case.

The story did, however, remind us of all the excitement and unusual times that occurred on Center of Town Road that year. Ordinarily this is a very peaceful, country road in a very peaceful, calm and lovely New England village, but not that year.

Plainfield had its 15 minutes of fame and it all happened on Center of Town road for us, beginning with going shopping and coming home to be stopped by barriers and orders not to go home. We had to find a home for quickly defrosting food. We also found that a truckload of men in camouflage wear and helmets were driving up the road, laden with large guns.

One vision never to be forgotten was the sight of a large political office on wheels, covered by ads for Ron Paul. The driver tried to get that huge bus up a country road that was too narrow for it. It was even more amusing to see the bus being backed down by the driver, an inch at a time to a place where he could turn around. If he’d ever gotten it stuck, we would have had more ice cream defrosting.

Then there was the knock on the door at 10 one evening, with two large men in orange jumpsuits outside the door, wanting to know how to get to the Browns’ home. We also had the dubious honor or having to tell a man from Ruby Ridge how to get there. Evidently, the Browns weren’t very good at drawings maps. We can laugh about it now, but at the time it was quite scary, especially for people with children who lived much closer to the scene.

But we were also honest with the reporter when we said we were never afraid and that was because of one thing — the police force of this town. Chief Gordon Gillens and the policeman who lived on our road, Sgt. Larry Dore, were terrific — they let us know what was happening and Larry checked in on us every day to be sure we were all right. We were so grateful to them for being there and felt safe through the whole thing.

Life has never been quite that wild again (thank goodness), but there have been other exciting times on our road. After all, who would expect to have two bank robbers caught in the field behind our house, with police sirens going and helicopters flying overhead. That was over 30 years ago, but it hasn’t been too boring since, either, at least for us.

After all, who would expect to see a U.S. Supreme Court justice jogging down the road in front of our house? And who would expect to look out the window one day and see a camel going by, laden down as if on safari to the Sahara Desert.

Life goes on and nice things keep happening, done by kind and thoughtful people. As for the Browns, they are gone from this beautiful road into a world surrounded by iron bars and have lost their freedom, but I cannot feel sorry for them — it was their choice and they made it of their own free will.

Mary and Fred Sweet


Paper Missed the Real Story

To the Editor:

This past March, I contacted the Valley News to tell it about the upcoming grand reopening celebration of VFW Post #2571 on May 31 in White River Junction. The VFW had undergone a major renovation project by local contractors and volunteers and we are very proud of the results.

We were contacted the night before the event and asked if a Valley News reporter could come a little early to see the project and take pictures. After an extensive tour with the reporter, it was evident by her questions that she came with an agenda that had nothing to do with our grand reopening. Her questions were exclusively centered on our reaction to the current VA scandal and the resignation of VA Secretary Shinseki. As evidenced by the article, she had also interviewed veterans at the American Legion and relegated our reopening celebration to a couple of inches as an aside to the VA scandal story.

The irony of this is we had been contacted by a different reporter earlier who was interested in doing a story on World War II veterans, specifically Normandy veterans. That reporter could have met and spoken with these veterans and many more at our celebration. You missed a great opportunity, Valley News.

Allen Albrecht


VFW Post #2571 Club

Enjoy Fourth of July Pies

To the Editor:

The two Rotary Clubs of Lebanon are holding their 2nd Annual Great American All-You-Can-Eat Pie Buffet on Friday, the 4th of July, and you are invited to come and do just that — eat all the pie you are able to.

This event is being held in the air-conditioned Upper Valley Senior Center at 10 Campbell St. in Lebanon, just a few steps from Colburn Park. Doors open at 10 a.m. and will stay open until 2 p.m. or until the pies are gone. They go fast, so come in early.

You will find tables filled with all kinds of pies — from the standard apple, pumpkin, pecan and rhubarb, to the exotic, such as tortilla, southern brownie, onion, fruit pizza and Homestead. For the really hungry, try the quiche, Shepherd’s pie and pizzas. There will be pie for everyone’s taste.

This event is being sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Lebanon and Lebanon-Riverside as a benefit to help Rotary’s PolioPlus Campaign, which aims to eradicate polio around the world. Although travelers recently have brought isolated outbreaks of the disease to a few countries (Syria and Sudan among them), the wild virus exists in only three countries as a result of eradication efforts since 1989 (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria). Now your help is needed more than ever, to finally stop this horrible disease.

Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for 10 and under, and are available in advance from Rotarians, or at the door. Take-out of two slices for $7 is available separately.

So, if you love pie, this is the opportunity to eat as much as you can, as it truly is a buffet of pies. For further information, contact Bruce Bergeron at 603-667-8254, or visit

Betsey Child

Public Relations Chair

Rotary Club of Lebanon

The Bergdahl Promotion

To the Editor:

There is much ongoing news in the national press about U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl. That news centers mostly on legal issues. However, there is a military issue that has not yet been addressed. When Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban five years ago, he was a private first class. Today he is a sergeant. Can someone please explain how or why he got promoted during those five years?

Coleman Hoyt