January 4, 2007
By INDEPENDENT STAFF
ADDISON COUNTY — The changing of the calendar at the beginning of the new year has traditionally prompted people to resolve to turn over a new leaf in their own lives.
New Year’s resolutions come in many forms and may be geared toward personal good or the public welfare. Some resolutions are strictly practical while others are pretty improbable.
The Independent staff surveyed county residents on their hopes and wishes for 2007. Our friends and neighbors often resolve to improve themselves in some way. Just as often their optimism for the betterment of the world as a whole resurfaces.
When Vergennes Union High School front office worker Diane Marcotte went to college three decades ago her roommate smoked cigarettes. Before long, Marcotte picked up what became about a half-a-pack-a-day habit.
But if Marcotte’s New Year’s resolution takes hold, she has puffed on her last cigarette.
“I’m chewing my smokeless gum,” Marcotte said early this week. “I’m giving up smoking.”
Her family motivated her to quit.
“My children were all home during the holidays, and they’re the most important thing to me, and I said I had to do this for myself and my family,” Marcotte said. “I want to live longer. I want to be there for my family so I just made that decision.”
Marcotte also turned to a late family member for help. She had a grandmother who was born on Jan. 2, 1902, and she chose this Tuesday as the day to stop.
“The best thing I did was choose a day that was important. I felt my grandmother would help me,” she said.
Day One was not easy, but by changing related behaviors and by getting support from her friends and family members, Marcotte said she was making it through.
“I’m not doing too bad,” she said. “I’m breaking these patterns I’ve always had.”
Matthew Gibbs, owner of the Briggs Carriage Bookstore and Ball and Chain Café in Brandon, doesn’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. For Gibbs the new year doesn’t really begin until the middle of February, after he’s finally put to rest and filed away the store’s 2006 paperwork.
But this year is special, Gibbs said, beaming. He and his wife are expecting something new in 2007.
“I have to finish remodeling my house,” he said. “I’m going to China in the spring to pick up someone who will stay there, hopefully, for the rest of her life.”
In June, the Gibbses will adopt a baby girl. They want to make sure their Brandon home is ready for her arrival.
“I usually don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions,” he said. “But this year I have to.”
Anne Hoover of Middlebury is thinking big.
“My New Year’s resolution is to work on peace, climate change, saving the polar bears and the environment,” Hoover said. “I’m retired, and this is something I can do.”
Vergennes resident Pam Pierce works as Ferrisburgh assistant town clerk during the daytime, but she moonlights selling sheet music, post cards and antique linen on the Internet, both through eBay and her own cyberspace outlet. Business has been good, but Pierce said has sold her best stuff and the rest, she has resolved for the new year, must go.
Thus, “weeding out my house,” is Pierce’s top resolution, and she is packaging her remainders for bulk sales. “You deal with the really good stuff and you get the leftovers,” she said. “And I have to get it out of my house instead of piling it into the unfinished room.”
Plans for that room in her Vergennes home are the related part two of Pierce’s resolution.
“We want to do over the unfinished room,” she said.
For Roger Langan of Bristol, 2007 could be the year of empathy. “My resolution is just to be more patient and understanding of other people and their problems,” he said.
Hanni Guinn is taking a step back to look at her place in the world in 2007.
“My resolution is to learn more about myself — what my strengths are, and to manifest those strengths outwardly into the physical world,” the Middlebury resident said. “I want to make a difference; I am one drop in the ocean and I want my drop to count.”
Bruce Hiland of Cornwall is a big booster of Middlebury business and a downtown property owner. He does all he can to promote the economic and civic welfare of the biggest town in Addison County.
His resolutions for the new year are more wishes for a better community.
“I’m hoping for a Cross Street Bridge; an intelligent repair plan for the two railroad bridges (in Middlebury); a successful repaving of Main Street, with a net gain of parking spaces; and the recognition by everybody in Addison County that Middlebury is the place to shop,” Hiland said.
David Clark is recognizable to most patrons of Middlebury’s Ilsley Library, since he is the library director. The Middlebury resident’s hope for the new year seems to be connected to his day-to-day work.
“My New Year’s resolution is to find the time to read all the books I want to read.”
Rachel Jones of Monkton also said she’d like to read more books this year, as well as save some money, since she’ll be living in New York City this summer.
“They’re all very general,” Jones says when asked about her resolutions. “I make New Year’s plans, not resolutions.”
Megan LaRose of Lincoln understands that sentiment. What are her New Year’s resolutions? “Just to do something to better myself,” she said, during a stroll through downtown Bristol with her daughter, Emma. “It’s more of a goal than a resolution.”
Carmen and John Lorentz, Queensbury, N.Y., residents who were visiting Bristol last weekend, are looking for a little self improvement. John, a teacher at Castleton State College, vows “not bring my work stress home with me.” Carmen said she would “try to have a more positive attitude in the year in general.”
Bonita Bedard, like many, is taking stock of her health in 2007. Her resolutions for this year revolve around “eating as well as I possibly can and being as healthy as I possibly can,” the Starksboro resident said.
“I want to lose weight,” said Bristol resident Tony Rzeczycki. “I want to do it slowly… I’d like to lose 20-25 pounds by the spring.”
A couple stopped on the street in Brandon shared the views of some who don’t believe that self-improvement is something to be limited to the first few weeks or months of the year.
“I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I believe they’re something you should make all the time,” said Dan Carrig of Cooperstown, N.Y.
His friend Ashley Amsden of Orwell added, “They just don’t ever work.”
“Resolutions are something you should be open to every day, not just on New Year’s,” Carrig said.
Kenneth Dukette of Brandon said he hadn’t made any resolutions, but he had one hope for the coming year. “I hope the war ends. Soon!” he said.
“Like every year, mine is to lose weight,” Joallen Vincent of Brandon said. As far as things she’d like to see happen in the New Year, she said, “Just bring everybody home safely.”
Pete Preseau’s hope for 2007 is probably shared by many. “I just hope the price of gas keeps going down. Let’s not let it go past $3 again,” the Sudbury resident said.
Vergennes Police Sgt. Patrick Greenslet had a quick and simple response to the question of whether he had made an resolutions.
“To get myself into a fitness program and stick with it this year,” Greenslet said.
When pressed on the issue, Greenslet assessed his physical condition as “not bad,” although he maintains there is room for the improvement he plans to achieve.
“It could always be better,” the sergeant said.
Janice Hull of Brandon is taking a universal approach.
“I haven’t really thought about resolutions, but I want to see peace in the new year,” she said. “I’m sure everyone feels that way.”