Forum, June 13: Upper Valley Hostel History From One Who Was There

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Some Upper Valley Hostel History

I am compelled to write and share information about Maynard House, formerly known as the Upper Valley Hostel, as follow up to your story (“Organization Aims to Buy Home for Families Battling Cancer,” May 31) featuring the D’cruze family of Lebanon.

At the age of 92, I am the last living founding member of the Upper Valley Hostel. In the late 1970s, a group of us in Hanover realized the need for a home-like place for cancer patients and their families to stay nearby while undergoing cancer treatment. In 1978, the hostel first opened its doors in a rented house furnished through the closing of the nursing school at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital. Twenty-four hour coverage was provided by volunteers and a $10 fee was charged for those able to pay. No one was turned away for a lack of funds.

After a successful fund drive in 1980, the house at 17 South St. in Hanover was purchased and remains in operation to this day, now known as Maynard House. In later years, patients and families from all departments within Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center became eligible guests (as well as those at the White River Junction VA Medical Center and Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital). The fee remains low and still no one is turned away for an inability to pay.

After we’d been in operation for sometime, Dick Cyr came to meet with the hostel’s board to learn the steps we had taken to turn a dream into reality as part of his quest to create David’s House. A few of us offered to help him form the first David’s House board of directors — and I still remember the fun of the day when it was decided to decorate and name the rooms after animals.

Thank you, Nina D’cruze, for bringing awareness to the community of the need cancer patients and their families have — as do all who travel far from home for care at our local medical facilities. For all of them, Maynard House is a “dream come true.”

Ann James


Reckoning Is Coming in November

Graduation day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School reminds us of the recent day when 14 students and three staff members were mowed down with guns on their Parkland, Fla., campus. Then came eight more students shot and killed at Santa Fe High School in Texas. Again and again we hear, “another school shooting has taken place.” But in truth, it’s more than that. It’s “mass murder” of our children and other innocents.

Words do matter, so let’s use the right words. Maybe if gun lobby politicians heard us call these horrible events what they are — “mass murder” — they might crawl out from the rocks they live under and do something to stop the carnage. “Mass murder” is occurring and it’s sanctioned by the National Rifle Association and politicians who accept its blood money to finance their political campaigns. Come November, a new political and NRA reckoning will occur if we follow the courageous young students across the land and hold these self-serving cowards accountable with the power of our vote.

Jackie Smith


A Special Box of ‘Presidential Lies’

Last year the Valley News published my letter in which I suggested that presidential tweets be relegated to the Entertainment section of the newspaper and not be dignified as real news. Now, I have another suggestion: How about having a special box each day titled “Presidential Lies and Baseless Allegations,” which could list the most recent presidential statements that are obviously not true or are wild assertions that have no evidence to support them. This would enable readers to keep track of how our president’s reality is very different from actual reality.

At family gatherings, when crazy Uncle Walter starts ranting about “little green aliens who are going to invade our homes,” we can listen to him and then change the subject, but we certainly don’t go home and board up our windows and doors.

Trump’s supporters may listen to his lies and baseless allegations and think to themselves, “Well, they may not be true, but they could be true.” But they are almost never true, and it would be better if we changed the subject and focused on the destructive things this administration is doing to our country and to our democracy without worrying about the alleged little green aliens.

John Morris

Topsham, Vt.

It Was Bush Who ‘Cleared the Way’

Dana Milbank’s Opinion piece (“How Bill Clinton Cleared the Way for Trump,” June 6) claims that Clinton “set us on a path, or at least accelerated us down the path, that led to today.” While the article is thoughtful, its headline is misleading. The fundamental distraction of Clinton’s presidency was that he engaged in an extramarital affair and got caught. That the affair was consensual was complicated by his having taken up with a young and impressionable woman, Monica Lewinsky, who has since become a compelling writer and an articulate spokeswoman for herself and her peers. We wanted better from Clinton and were consistently disappointed by his behavior with, and choices in, women, with one great exception: his wife and political partner, who has performed exemplary service in a variety of leadership roles throughout her life — Republican spin notwithstanding.

Meanwhile, a number of leading Republicans of that day were privately engaged in the same behavior as Clinton while publicly denouncing that of the president. Newt Gingrich, then speaker of the House, was cheating on his wife and eventually left her for the woman he’d been having an affair with.

The fundamental distraction of the Trump presidency is his daily conveying of false information, every bit of which is vastly more serious than, “I did not have sex with that woman” — which is also among Donald Trump’s sins. The practice of delivering and defending false information as “alternative facts” sprang not from Clinton but from George W. Bush’s White House and the Republican leadership of that day, in the course of their selling the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses. Following their loss in the 2008 presidential election, Republicans took inventory and came up with a series of recommendations about the need to acknowledge then-current reality in their policies and behavior. Those recommendations have been since ignored in favor of unparalleled deceit, which has become business as usual for Republican leadership and which has the blessing of many of their followers. That’s what cleared the way for Trump. Sad, but true.

Chris Weinmann