December, 2006

The Legendary Butterflies:
The Mirabal Sisters' Legacy of Resistance

Slivers of glass, twigs, and dirt remain caught in the braided length of hair that rests in memorial today in a small home in the Dominican Republic – the hair, cut lovingly by a woman from the head of her little sister, whose life was brutally cut short 46 years ago by order of a despicable tyrant.

And, as though tending to the body of a murdered sister were not enough for one woman to bear, there were her two other sisters to mourn and bury as well.

This is the terrible yet inspiring true story of Dedé Mirabal, whose three sisters Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa gave their lives—at ages 36, 34, and 25—in the struggle for their country’s political freedom in 1960 – a tragic tale movingly recounted by Vermont author Julia Alvarez in her 1994 novel, In the Time of the Butterflies.

The braid of the 25-year-old Maria Teresa lies in state, a relic of a nation’s history and an all too easy metaphor for its many twists of fate.

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SAVE THE DATE: Film Screening January 23

Does Motherhood Have to be This Punishing?
No, say Moms in new film, The Motherhood Manifesto

The film’s opening is a grabber: A young woman confides to her girlfriend that she and her partner are thinking about starting a family. Her friend looks as shocked as if the nightmarish Jason of Elm Street had just shown up in his hockey-mask, dripping blood. “What! Are you crazy?” she exclaims.

Childbirth drips in blood, come to think of it, but the shock-inducing scenes about mom in this film are more about her paycheck. The Motherhood Manifesto gives closer scrutiny of hopeful figures we’ve all heard about: American women are closing the gap between mens’ wages and their own. On average, women are now paid 80 cents to his dollar. But single women are paid 90 cents, while women with children are paid only 73 cents, and single moms getting 60.

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Boundless Bounty:
Gift-worthy Books by Vermont Authors

Vermont women writers have been hard at work this past year. Their concerns range from making your seven-year-old laugh to exposing intrigues in the non-profit world. To choose the perfect book for each person on your gift list, check out what local bookstore owners and librarians around the state are saying about these 14 published gems.

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Publisher's Message
Something About Helen

Rushing to the airport to pick up Helen Thomas we were worried. Worried about the horrible winds. Worried about an early flight, a late flight, or worse – no flight at all.
Nearly a thousand people were waiting at the Sheraton Ballroom eager to hear the 86-year-old legendary – and feisty – veteran White House reporter.

An elderly Sheraton bellhop consoled us, saying, “Don’t worry, a little wind won’t stop Helen Thomas. In fact a big wind wouldn’t stop Helen. She’ll be here.”

We were early by the clock, but apparently not early enough for Helen who was nowhere to be found.

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Get Carried Away This Holiday Season
by the Sound of Beautiful Voices

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you are walking from a wet, wind-swept street into a darkened cathedral. Let’s say you are somewhere in Europe. It is cold outside. You are weary from the day and looking only for a bit of respite. But the music you hear upon entering is far beyond anything you were expecting. Its depth and beauty and warmth are overwhelming.

That feeling, of being in the presence of something exquisite, is how I felt, not in Europe but in a high school chorus room in Essex Junction, at a mere rehearsal. The group? Bella Voce, a women’s choral group whose name means “beautiful voice.” They rehearse like this every Monday night – intensely but with palpable joy. The women in this room love what they are doing.

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Abby Jenne:
Infusing Music with the Marrow of Life

Music chose me,” Abby Jenne likes to say. And anyone who hears Jenne’s smooth-as-silk voice and honest lyrics are very glad that it did.

Making music is also “the one thing I’ve done my whole life that I still do,” she says. A self-described flatlander, Jenne hails from southern New Hampshire where she began playing the piano at age five, eventually adding the cello and guitar. She often performed with her older brother’s various bands. Jenne recalls that, at age eight, “the first song I ever sang in a band was ‘Angel of the Morning,’ by Juice Newton, on top of a chicken coop – that was our stage.”

After watching her parents working in jobs they didn’t love and struggling with debt, Jenne dropped out of school and ended up following Phish tours. “I didn’t know where I wanted to be, so I traveled the country for three or four years and got to know some really great people.”

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