Updated: Jul 2, 2020
By Beverly Stoddart
John Nemerowski, a friend and co-worker that I knew from my days at work for the Boston Herald, gave me some of the best advice I could have gotten when my husband and I moved up to New Hampshire from Florida. I was working at the Fort Myers News-Press and admittedly, kicking and screaming, my husband wanted a better wage and more advancement than Florida could offer. We landed in Derry in January 1987 in a small apartment, and my husband began a nightshift job. I had a powder blue Volkswagon Beetle that gave very little heat. Nonetheless, the change was daunting.
The Boston Herald was in the process of an ownership change with Rupert Murdoch, the Australian media mogul buying the newspaper. That change allowed for the tightly held union paper to have an opening where non-union employees could be hired. In that two-month window, I applied and got the job in Boston. Nemo, as we called John, was the national advertising manager for the Herald. He lived in Stoneham, Massachusetts, and had a cottage on a local New Hampshire pond. The cottage had been in his family for years.
Nemo told me that I should look for a house in that small town. He said, “You can never go wrong with having a property there.” We found a long-time area realtor in town, and he guided us to a fixer-upper in a time that was long before fixer-uppers had taken over HGTV and that we could afford. We moved in around September of 1987 with the house costing $67,000 give or take. We have been fixing it up ever since. The house is just three miles from I-93 and was a perfect home from which to commute to Boston.
The house was built in 1935, and I mean this literally, there is no straight line in the house. The back door isn't square; it’s angled. The steps to the second floor are steep and narrow. It has a two-car garage, which I required after living in Florida for ten years. Although I’m from Ohio, I was not going to be scraping and shoveling a car out of a snowbank.
The beauty of the home is that it sits on three acres of land. Once we got the yard under control from weeds and uncontrolled growth, it has the most beautiful back yard. We have our very own creek that runs the length of the wide but shallow property and a stone wall that marks the boundary. The back yard is an oasis.
Working in Boston was a fantastic opportunity to work for a large, feisty daily newspaper. I have visions of Howie Carr walking the halls in baggy khaki pants and flip flops. The guy is a great writer and columnist, and hopefully, my little column will be as well received. The problem with working in Boston with an hour and a half each way commute leaves little time for getting to know the town in which I live. I did everything in Massachusetts. We didn’t have a grocery store in town when we moved here, and so I did my grocery shopping on the way home in Salem. For the last fourteen years, I have worked for the Union Leader in Manchester. Once again, all my chores and stops were in other towns.
After 42 years of working for newspapers, I have retired from my newspaper career. Now is the time for me to get to know my town, the people, and the places. To start with, I have joined the local Toastmaster’s group, and will be wandering through around town and seeing it from fresh eyes. It is a vibrant and lovely town, and I will share my thoughts and pictures.
For questions, comments, ideas, and challenges, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kind regards, Bev.