Forum, June 26: Honoring 35 years of dedication to Thetford’s libraries

Published: 6/25/2021 9:59:55 PM
Modified: 6/25/2021 10:00:05 PM
Honoring 35 years of dedication to Thetford’s libraries

As a citizen of Thetford and a trustee of Thetford’s Peabody Library, I would like to thank Peter Blodgett for his 35 years of dedicated service as Thetford’s library director and wish him well in his retirement.

I can remember the day 20ish years ago, as my children looked for books to check out, Blodgett asked me to join the Peabody board. That was back when my children and I attended story time at Latham (Friday mornings), Peabody (Wednesday afternoons) and Treasure Island (during swim lessons in the summer) where he read stories and sang songs with Thetford’s children. My family and I were introduced to Thetford through the libraries.

Blodgett has been a friendly face to patrons at both Thetford libraries, offering book recommendations, greeting newcomers, managing the collections, leading book discussion groups, hosting speakers, and setting up for concerts and other community programs at the libraries. He oversaw library services during decades of enormous change. At Peabody Library, he took great pride and care in maintaining the oldest library in continuous use in the state of Vermont. He was the inspiration for our “Chocolate Indulgence” celebration every February, and was the master of ceremonies for the annual Penny Carnival. In the summer, he kept the paperback racks on the porch stocked with books for summertime readers on the lake; in the dark of winter, he donned a top hat and tails and invited us to light up the darkness with candles throughout the library before his winter solstice/holiday reading. At Latham Library, he supported community events on the hill, welcomed students from Thetford Elementary School and Thetford Academy after school, and engaged a dedicated group of volunteers. He made the phrase “libraries transform lives” real for many Thetford residents over many years.

If you would like to join the trustees of Peabody and Latham libraries in celebrating Peter Blodgett, you are welcome to participate in a card shower by sending your well wishes to him at P.O. Box 240, Thetford, Vt. 05074. For more information about a gathering in Thetford on Sunday, email



Moving forward on natural burial

In his June 23 Forum letter (“Green burial advocates have ignored important considerations”), Tony Palazzo invited people to read minutes of the discussions of the Lebanon Board of Cemetery Trustees, of which he is vice chair. Minutes are summaries that do not capture all significant statements. If you want to spend time reconstructing history, you might listen to the audio of the May 12 meeting at which a five-year moratorium on changing regulations to allow natural burial was passed, 3-2, by the board. The disturbing discussion begins one hour and 20 minutes into the tape. However, it makes more sense to help the city move forward rather than disputing history and initiating or fending off public misrepresentations.

Unfortunately, perhaps COVID-19 protocols for public participation in board meetings impeded possibilities for people stating what they were actually learning from each other. For instance, in a November 2020 letter, I raised questions about the initial pricing model and also invited correction of any misunderstanding on my part. Subsequently, I learned that natural burial plots may legitimately have to cost more because of their size, as Palazzo indicated. I recognized that Lebanon municipal cemeteries could not accommodate ideal versions of natural burial, such as those that cultivate wildflowers. I came to understand the particular challenges of prompt burial; became aware of a Green Burial Council recommendation that cemeteries should require some type of liability waiver; and recognized that some involvement of funeral home professionals might be necessary for arranging a natural burial. Families and loved ones need to understand obligations for official death certificates and timely delivery of the remains.

In some locations, natural burial significantly reduces the cost of a conventional burial. A wicker basket or pine box, both biodegradable, are usually less costly than most coffins. There is no expense for embalming, a vault or an upright monument. Any logistical challenges to implementing natural burial can be overcome so that individuals and the city of Lebanon can make sound ecological and financial choices.


West Lebanon

And who was it who packed the Supreme Court?

In William A. Wittik’s June 22 Forum letter (“It’s no giggling matter”), he writes, “It would behoove (President Joe Biden) to heed the warnings of former Sen. Harry Reid and Justice Stephen Breyer about packing the Supreme Court, since what seems politically expedient now may prove tragically shortsighted in the long term.”

I have to really giggle here! Talk about “packing the Supreme Court.” Who packed the Supreme Court during his first and only term in office? I would say that Reid’s and Breyer’s warnings are particularly true as the present justices are showing themselves to be independent of what the “former guy” had assumed they would be.



The GOP has told lies for decades

As I take my morning walk around the village, I have witnessed several local Donald Trump supporters giving me the finger from passing pickup trucks.

They do resemble in person the insurrectionists who violently attacked the U.S. Capitol and our democratic institutions on Jan. 6, attempting to overthrow the free and fair election of President Joe Biden the previous November.

In my view, the American population is divided between two contrasting groups of citizens: deluded Trump Republicans and all the other knowledgeable people.

This division is the result of Republican administrations, from Ronald Reagan on, that supported a governmental system of minority rule by wealthy oligarchs and corporations who paid little or no taxes and starved and weakened our essential public systems like education, infrastructure and environmental protection.

At the same time, the GOP told lies for decades about the so-called “trickle-down” effect of money from the rich to the poor as the gap between the wealthy and the working and middle classes widened steadily. Families with both parents working could barely make a decent living, and society began to fracture.

Right-wing propaganda media like Fox “News” and radio talk shows spread lies and fear, scapegoating immigrants and ethnic minorities in an age-old tactic to divide, culminating in the grotesque catastrophe of the Donald Trump cult and its followers. The Republican Party deserves to disappear forever.

Since the Trump lovers have chosen to taint the tranquility of my morning walks, I have decided to gift them with two more signs on my front fence line, one reading “Lock Trump Up” and the other reading, in part, “Trump Traitors.”

One can only hope that Trump is soon transported to a prison, thus mediating the damage he continues to inflict on this poor country.


Newbury, Vt.

A sense of humor, if not direction

The story goes that one day, 12-year-old Abe Lincoln was approached by a guy on a horse. He asked the boy for directions to a nearby town.

When Lincoln replied that he didn’t know, the guy on the horse told him he wasn’t very smart.

That may be true, Lincoln replied, but he wasn’t the one who was lost.



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