Open Letter to NG Community from Laura Jane Sturgis, Retiring Selectman

An open note to the voters of New Gloucester

Three short years ago, on the urging of a few people, I decided to run for Selectman here in New Gloucester. You honored me by choosing me in a contested election and I have been ever grateful for it. You welcomed a gray-haired, oxygen-tank-dependent senior lady to represent you on our governing board. Thank you so very much for the opportunity. It has been a rewarding experience for me and I hope that I have lived up to your faith in me. It was a chance for me to pay back the acceptance that I have felt in my chosen hometown. I truly enjoyed the experiences that I have had during these past three years and the new relationships that I have been privileged to develop.

New Gloucester is a very special place. To me it was never more evident than the past month. With the loss of two of our hardest-working and caring women from the same family, it became evident to me that the heart of New Gloucester is the way that we rally around each other. First the Amvets Hall was full to over-flowing with lines out the door to show support to the Hodgman family. Then the shock of losing their matriarch within the month brought us together again to comfort them once more. As I watched people from all walks of life come to the fore to surround the family with loving thoughts, hugs and expressions of sympathy, I reminded myself of why living in a small town is very special. Our lives touch each other often in casual ways and yet, when we are hurt and broken, these lives come together to just be there for each other. This is often not found in a big city, but here in this small town there is a communal caring for each other. If you are familiar with Thornton Wilder’s play, Our Town, perhaps you, as I have, see similarities with the fictional town of Grovers Corners, New Hampshire. In that town so many lives are interwoven and it shows up in the graveyard as the young Emily joins the people there. She is welcomed and comforted by them. I think of that scene whenever I visit the cemetery in Lower Gloucester.

We will be having interesting discussions coming in the next year and issues to decide as a town. We need to keep these discussions civil and try to maintain a tone of respect for each other. Underneath these discussions I hope that that feeling of community that I have so recently seen remains and we move forward into the future with the best interests of our town uppermost in our minds. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of serving this wonderful little town.

Jane Sturgis