Tiny Stories From The North Country

 

During our reporting, some conversations don't make the final cut because they don't quite fit the subject at hand – but it's often the meandering moment and quiet stories that bring a place to life. Here's a few too good not to share: we're calling them "Tiny Stories from the North Country."

The North Country: A Series

How We Reported the Series

Our reporting starts with questions submitted by listeners and people in New Hampshire. But how did we go about answering questions? Who did we reach out to and interview? How do you make a podcast, from coming up with ideas to publishing episodes? In this guide, we answer those questions in detail. We think it’s important for listeners to know how we approach our work. If you have more questions for us, email us at wordofmouth@nhpr.org.

The North Country: Tiny Stories

Maureen Patry, Berlin

 

"Gaz, 'fill my car with gaz.' G-A-Z, instead of gas. The French accent comes out in the people, the older people in town. But that’s changing too. There’s not as many of them anymore."

"See, 'Franglish'. It’s French and English mixed. It’s almost like Berlin had their own language. The French people, they mixed it together, but people in Berlin understood what everyone was talking about. But you go outside of Berlin, you go up to Montreal, go up to Canada, and it’s a totally different French...

"'Eee… eee crow, ee ma tante!' Trip over the street… ee ma tante! [It's] used to express surprise. That’s a Berlin thing."

 

David Covill, Pittsburg

 


"I remember when we got our first telephone. It was a crank telephone. We wouldn’t have had it but my father got a job that required him to have a phone. And so I got to make the first phone call on the crank phone. I was going to call my grandfather. So, my mother says, 'Remember, you say you want...' I think it was, '22, ring two.'

David Covill and Daniela Allee at the Pittsburg School.
Credit Justine Paradis / New Hampshire Public Radio

So I rang and the operator [comes] on and I say, 'Can I have Grandpa’s place?' And she said, 'Okay,' and she plugged me right in."

Jonathon Dodge, Colebrook

"Pretty amazing, right? Indoor spin classes in Colebrook, New Hampshire -- offering that many classes with waitlists? Kinda surprised myself, I guess.

"The winter is hard because it’s cold and it’s dark and the weather can be treacherous and it’s slippery. That season can get a lot of people down. Historically we would offer… one, two, three, four, five, six, seven... eight? Typically, eight to twelve classes a week and, yeah, there were generally waitlists for every class."

 

"Our very first day that we were going to host classes, our first class was at 5 a.m., and [my wife] Amber was going to be the instructor for it.  And at that point we weren’t certified as instructors, so we were streaming an online instruction. We had a seven-foot screen and a projector, and she showed up and the internet was out... so we couldn’t stream, of course. She had never even been to a spin class. She knew nothing about this, other than I had this foolish idea to host them. So, she got in front of the class, she turned on some music, and she did the best she could. And that was day one, that was session one!"

Michael Phillips, Northumberland

"I grow about 120 varieties. This is kind of an 'apple mecca.' This is a wild apple tree that I've grafted a variety onto each branch. This is a Wickson Crab, a little red apple. Next to it is a Reinette Simirenko, which is a green Russian apple... down there is a rambo, a huge red French apple... and so forth."

"We grow one that we named 'Bonkers', and Bonkers is a really crisp, dense, somewhat tart apple with all kinds of character. Every apple has its moment, and I like it in its moment."

Gail Rossetto, Northumberland

"I'm the director of the Northumberland Public Library... I love it. I wish I had done this all my life. I would have been a much happier person."

"Some [patrons] come in to do research. Some come in just to get on Google and look at things. I have one man [who] comes in and listens to opera."

"Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Ocean State... those are the three biggest ones that people come in to do job applications, and they're all online. You have to have an email. A lot of them look at me and go, 'I don't have an email address.' I go, 'okay, I'll help you set one up.' So I go in and I help them set up an account on Gmail and I give them their information, make sure I tell them, you know, 'don't lose this!' Sometimes they just look at me like I'm nuts, like, 'what are you talking about?' I say, 'okay, I'll hang onto it here for you. If you need to come back in and look at something, come on in, and I'll help you get back into it.'"

"I try not to keep them unless it's dire necessity. I had a man who came in the other day – he's 89 years old and he's looking to get a job at Ocean State. And of course he didn't have a computer or an email or anything like that. His, I did hold onto."

Bob Reynolds, Groveton

"We have something very unique. I mean, this is the best riding on the east coast. When I tell people, they ask me, 'How many miles of trails?' And I'm like, 'Over a thousand miles!' And they're like, 'What?!'"

"The best ride I've ever been on was a second date with my fiancée... probably one of the best rides I've ever been on. It was just a great summer night: sunset, the whole deal... the whole story there. I'm saying, 'If she's into this... maybe she's the one!' And just after that day, I just knew. I just knew. And that was five years ago -- well, six years ago in July."