Bernard was born in 1930 at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital. For the first year of his life his family lived on Beaver Meadow Road in the Leslie Howard place (now the home of Bukk Carleton) before moving to the family home on Moore Lane. His folks moved to Norwich from Ashland, New Hampshire in 1924 (they lived briefly in White River Junction). He has a sister (Mary Irene Moore) and a brother (Henry James Moore, who died in 2003, and whom both Gwen and Bernard miss very much). Bernard attended the Norwich public schools and graduated from Hanover High School in 1948. He remembers walking back and forth from the high school, and says there never was a day in those years when school was called off because of the snow.
After high school Bernard did finish work for a contractor named Al Lauziere (1948-50) who owned a hardware store and shop in Hanover where the CVS pharmacy stands today. From 1950 to 1952 he pumped gas and did some work as a mechanic at what was then called Manchester’s Garage (now known as the Food Stop). He and Gwen were married in December 20, 1951. From Valentine’s Day 1952 to Ground Hog Day 1954 he was in the US Army doing basic training at Fort Dix, where he worked in the shop, and then trained at Camp Drum, NY before going overseas to Austria and Germany for a year.
In 1954 he returned to Norwich. Some of his friends included Richard and Alma Gray, and Violet and Kendall Gray. Bernard is an avid woodworker: he built much of the furniture in his own house, as well as in several homes in the area. He is also an avid walker and can be seen on many an early morning, walking the Norwich two-mile loop. He does this daily.
Bernard stopped hunting deer at the age of 60, but remembers the days when farmers would ask him to shoot crows or woodchucks (holes from the woodchucks might result in injury to horses that were used then for farm work.) Bernie got 11 deer. Occasionally his wife Gwen would hunt with him. Back then, says, Bernard, “Norwich was all farm country.”
When Bernard was young, he’d sled from the top of Brigham Hill (in those days from the Johnson House – now owned by the Finers) down past and over the lip at Kendall Gray’s house and then on to finish at the American Legion. This was done at night, as “there were very few cars in those days.” Brigham Hill was a dirt road that at the bottom went between Kendall Gray’s barns and his house (now owned by the McDonalds). Bernard remembers this sledding as being “pretty slick.”
Of the many changes in Norwich since he was a boy, Bernard says, “it’s not a town anymore – it is a city. The roads are all paved; there are lights all over the place. People brought the city with them. It was the Interstate that brought all this change here.”
Gwen (Dennis) came to Norwich in 1948 from Beverly, Massachusetts. Gwen was born in Marblehead and lived in Beverly. She was educated at St. Mary’s High School in Beverly, Mass, and lived briefly in Hanover in 1947. Her father was chief chef at the Hanover Inn. They moved to Norwich to live in what was known at the Frank Clough place, a house that now sits opposite the parking lot for the playing fields on Norwich Meadow. In those day there was a mink farm across the road. She has worked as caretaker for Catholic sisters and brothers, a secretary in the OB Department at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital (1977), and for New England Homes, and Shopping International.
Gwen and Bernard were married in the Catholic Church, which in those days was on Main Street (where Mascoma Savings Bank is now). They think that they were the first Catholics to be married in Norwich. Father Doherty, who in those days came down from Bradford, Vermont, married them. She and Bernard raised 5 children – 3 boys and 2 girls. Together they have 11 grandchildren and 17 (nearly 18 in December, 2008) great-grandchildren. Gwen enjoys sewing, quilting, making clothes, and caning chairs, although some health issues have limited this to some degree.
On December 20, 2008, Gwen and Bernard celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary. It is also Gwen’s birthday (75). Of their marriage Gwen says that she loves Bernard as much today as she did when they were first married. Bernard is obviously a very devoted husband. Given that Gwen was one of Bernard’s nearest neighbors when they were both kids – it is very true to say that Bernard married the girl next door. “It has been a wonderful 56 years.”