N.H. Public Television project spotlights Milford

MILFORD – A new resident of Colebrook whose home is severely damaged in a tornado gets a shock when townspeople gather to repair his house.

Natives in Chatham N.H. continue to swerve around a spot in the middle of the road where the dog of a local auto mechanic would take a nap every day – long after the dog died, the mechanic died, and his garage was torn down.

Every town has stories like these, and producers from New Hampshire public television are counting on people in Milford to come up with their own stories for a series called “Our Hometown.”

“No one knows Milford like you do,” producer Schuyler Scribner told about two dozen residents who gathered in Milford’s Wadleigh Memorial Library last week to hear Scribner and New Hampshire storyteller Rebecca Rule give a highly entertaining introduction to the project.

“Stories from the town, not stories of the town” are best, said Scribner, and Rule explained how to identify and tell a compelling story.

The next phase of the project will happen at Hampshire Hills Athletic Club and on the town hall stage late in October. Storytellers will be scheduled every 45 minutes to sit and tell their stories for the camera, and producers will collect any photos or other items to include in the presentation. There will be a broadcast premier after a community screening of the Milford Our Town episode, and each story will be edited and posted online, at nhptv.org/hometown.

At the library presentation, a few of the residents told stories about the town. Teacher Dave Alcox remembered how Milford revived after reaching a low point years ago. Local historian Polly Cote told the story of McKinley Rock and how Milford Republicans celebrated the results of the 1896 election with a broom parade to “sweep out the old.”

Musician Sandy Lafleur told how Milford contradances in the town hall auditorium helped raise money to refurbish the auditorium.

Anyone with questions can call Scribner at 868-4372, or email him at sscribner@nhptv.org/hometown.

Over the course of the series, New Hampshire’s 221 towns and 13 cities will be covered. Story topics can come from nearly anywhere: family, friends, clubs, work, music, theater, school, politics, comedy or history.

In every town or city there are good storytellers with good tales to tell, said Rule. “She might not be here tonight, but you know where she lives … she might be your grandmother.”

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.