So Far, So Good | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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So Far, So Good 

Readers share their personal stories about Seven Days

Published September 8, 2010 at 9:41 a.m.

Over the last couple of weeks we asked readers, “How was it for you?” referring to Seven Days’ first 15 years and their own relationship to the paper. But even we were surprised at how many of them said they met their current spousal unit through our personal ads. Awww.

Others told us what they turn to first in the paper, or gushed about a fun experience with videographer Eva Sollberger on “Stuck in Vermont,” or recalled a specific story or column that made an impression. All of it is a swell 15th birthday present, so, thanks! Here, we share the feedback.

But wait! We promised that a random respondent would win a package of gift certificates to local restaurants. And that lucky Seven Days reader is … Susan Becker of Montpelier!

So, let’s hear her story first:

I so look forward to every issue of Seven Days. I also receive the weekly email [NOW] and, quite frankly, my week is not complete without Seven Days. My favorite part is the Free Will Astrology — it is the thing I turn to first and it is my guide for the week! I also laugh at the personal ads and study the advice of Mistress Maeve. I peruse the rest of the paper and note events, advertisements, and movie and restaurant reviews. There isn’t a single paper over the last 13 years that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed.

There is one funny thing though that I do: I use my leftover papers in the spring to mulch my garden, and often my husband will find me sitting down in the garden looking at the paper again, perhaps at something I missed. So, sitting in a garden row, a pile of dirt and straw, reading Seven Days! It’s wonderful.

Thank you for all that you do for the Vermont community.

Susan Becker, Montpelier

I did meet my wife and love of my life several years ago via Seven Days after hundreds of other dates. My ad mentioned skiing and my wife responded to it. We spoke on the phone many times before meeting.

We first met in Burlington on a bench next to the [ECHO] waterfront science museum. She was dog sitting and, as we walked along the boardwalk I thought, This is all wrong. All she talks about is this darn dog. I thought the trip was a big waste of time. We both had sunglasses on and could not see each other’s eyes.

We met again soon after, with no dogs involved. We started dating on a regular basis and I fell in love with her and I asked her to marry me, many times over. She finally said yes, and we wedded at the top of Mount Mansfield under a canopy, in front of family and friends.

Every day with her is like fireworks and big bands playing. I love her with all my heart. I write her sweet poems, emails, cards, and give her flowers, etc.

We swim, hike, camp, cook, canoe, bicycle and enjoy life to the fullest together. I’m still not a great downhill skier, but try to keep up with her on the slopes.

I guess I owe Seven Days a big thanks.

Jay Strauss, Plainfield and Burlington

Love your daily newsletter (the Daily 7) and just picked up the paper today. Especially like the info on upcoming events regarding music and theater.

Tamsen M. Benjamin, East Montpelier

While I was in Burlington working for Starr Farm Nursing Center, I found a wonderful second job playing organ at the United Church of Colchester through an ad in Seven Days. The congregation and choir there were very, very special. I’m no longer living in the area, but will always treasure that experience.

Leslie Merwin, Cheshire, Conn.

For many years I eagerly picked up Seven Days each week for two primary reasons: Peter Freyne’s column [“Inside Track”] and the crossword puzzle. If I had time, I’d read further, but those were the incentives to never miss the paper.

Today, I read further into other articles and enjoy the paper each week.

Thanks for a great local publication!

John Wilson, Hinesburg

Seven Days is the only local paper I pick up regularly (the price is right). But the paper most impacted my life because that’s how I met my fiancé.

We first met through the “Two 2 Tango” [personals] site back in March 2007. By date number three we were a couple. By date number four we were saying “I love you.” And within a month of meeting, we were joking about getting married.

So, to be overdramatic, I could say my current happiness and the next 50 years of happiness are due to Seven Days. Although I could also say the huge cost of my impending wedding and a prolonged visit from my mother could also be attributed to Seven Days. But I prefer to look on the bright side of things.

Thanks, Seven Days!

Shannon Trainor, Montpelier

Since 2002, when I’ve lived outside of Vermont for parts of years in New York, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina, I’ve read Seven Days from afar as a way to continue to feel connected to Burlington, and my former hometown of Richmond. More than any other online publication covering the state, Seven Days encapsulates and records so many of the wonderful things about living in Vermont and in Burlington. Thanks for all the work you do!

Fred L. Hiltz, Shelburne

David and Sally Conrad made the connection with Eva Sollberger for her video about maple sugaring at Wake Robin, the only life-care community we know with its own sugarbush…

We who appeared in the show were, of course, enthusiastic. The word soon spread to families and friends, through our community and out to people interested in Wake Robin. Our website still features the link on its front page.

Our marketing manager says that she often hears about it from people contacting the department: “My, you seem to have fun there!” While that is certainly true, it was Eva’s contagious, happy personality that brought it out in us “actors.”

We hope she will return for a video about beekeeping some day. The honey harvest in early September is the most visually interesting part of the story…

April Howard, Burlington

I have been reading your paper since its beginning...Your recent story about Lt. Governor Brian Dubie was an eye-opener, causing me to reconsider my options as an independent voter in this coming election. I have another letter ready to send to your paper concerning discipline and diversity in your August 25, 2010 issue. Keep going! Your articles cause us to think, wonder and hope for a better world.

Jerry Hinckley, Williamstown

Seven Days began to change my life 10 years ago. I placed a personal ad and enjoyed many a conversation over coffee with various women I met. Eventually, I met my current partner and wife as a result of that ad. It’s not always easy to meet others in this rural state of ours, and the Seven Days personals make it possible to meet a wide range of people with similar interests. It sure worked for us!

The next experience I had with Seven Days was in hiring employees for my fledgling dogsled-tour business about five years ago. After placing ads in several local papers and not receiving much in the way of quality applicants, I decided to use Seven Days for the next round. What a difference! I had six or seven applicants, any one of whom I could have hired. The two I did end up hiring are still working with me now, four years later.

My latest experience with Seven Days involved a visit from Eva [Sollberger] to film a version of “Stuck in Vermont” featuring our dogsled tours. I’m fairly camera-shy, but Eva made the whole outing very relaxed and I had a great time. I was amazed at how she took around two hours of footage and edited it down to about five minutes of video that really seemed to capture the essence of my business.

I just remembered one more positive interaction I have had with Seven Days, if you can believe it … It seems like the more I think about it, the more I realize what a great resource Seven Days has been over the past 15 years.

Ken Picard and his dog Nicky came to do a dog-scooter outing with me in the fall of 2006. He wrote a very nice article on the visit, titled “Mush Motives” [November 15, 2006].

So, has Seven Days affected my life in the past 15 years? You might say it has. I wonder what the next 15 will bring.

Ken Haggett, Lake Elmore

“Stuck in Vermont” helped me change my life. Since our first visit to Vermont in 2006, my husband and I spoke often of uprooting ourselves from our South Dakota home and moving east to Vermont. We liked almost every single thing we experienced during our vacation — the views, the museums, the farmers markets and especially the people. But to uproot and move halfway across the country on the basis of one week in paradise was a daunting prospect.

My husband and I (now retired) made a good living applying research to everyday problems. We decided to research Vermont to see if this was what we really wanted to do. Scouring the Internet for any and all information related to Vermont, in early 2009 we found Seven Days and “Stuck in Vermont.” The very first SIV video I watched was episode 124, called “Sheep Shearing School” [April 15, 2009]. I not only learned about Shelburne Farms and sheep shearing, but also about the quirky, informative way Eva Sollberger presents the state in which she lives. I was hooked. I watched each SIV for over a year and learned so much — why would anyone not want to live in Vermont? The decision to relocate here became a no-brainer!

The videos not only helped us decide to move, they helped us determine a method of moving. Thanks to SIV, we saw so many areas of Vermont we wished to investigate as potential homes. To be certain we landed in the right place for us, we rented a furnished home for a few months in our target area so we could explore. We ended up in a village we would not have considered otherwise and are very happy here. This was the best move we could have made.

Laura Lewandowski, Bristol

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