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Super Senior: Jane Brown

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 3:30 PM EDT
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CABOT, Vt. (WCAX) - Except for the sound of the wind, it would appear Joe’s Pond is frozen in time. But there is a popular event happening right now.

“The hookup goes all the way to the clock,” explained Jane Brown, who has volunteered for the Joe’s Pond Ice Out fundraiser since it started. The springtime tradition allows folks to bet on when a block falls through the ice, pulling the rope and stopping the clock. “It was kind of a challenge, you know, as time went on, how could we sell more tickets,” Brown said.

Her love affair with Joe’s Pond, which straddles both West Danville and Cabot, goes back much deeper than the contest. The depth of her experiences traces back almost 90 years. “Joe’s Pond is just home to me. I grew up on a farm just above Joe’s Pond,” Brown said.

At her home just above the pond, she has a collection of photos from the early days -- a montage of memories. “It was such a part of my growing up,” Brown said. “This is my first wedding, Ray and myself.”

Brown married a Saint Johnsbury man and they had three boys. She’s a portrait of perseverance. Ray died young when the boys were just 11, 9, and 5. The young mother raised her sons alone. “It was a learning process right from the get-go,” she said.

Joe’s Pond is where Brown and the kids kept grounded. “Life goes on. Life was going on at Joe’s Pond and that’s what I wrote about,” she said. And she’s still writing about it in her daily blog ‘Joe’s Pond Reflections.’ “It was a matter of keeping people in touch.”

Over 5,000 posts include updates on local meetings with a bit of weather and pictures peppered in the blogs. “I would write about the depth of the snow and how the wind was blowing,” Brown said.

She rarely posts about herself. Sadly, that changed on November 19th of last year, when she wrote about the passing of her second husband, Fred. “That was hard. Still is,” Brown said, reading from the post from that day. “Yesterday morning, my best friend and husband of 37 years, died in his favorite chair in our living room. I rushed to his side but was unable to do anything for him except hold his hand and watch as he took his last breath. The horrible cancer he had fought for the past nearly four years had finally won.”

“It’s hard,” Brown said. “Fred was the opposite of me. He was calm and quiet.” She says the two of them would take long walks down the dirt roads surrounding the pond. “It’s still raw... So, you know, nobody... everybody has their problems. Nobody wants to hear me...”

With emotional support from her now-grown sons, Brown’s back to writing about the place she loves. “It gets me out of my pity party, you know?” she said.

Time stops for no one, and Jane Brown savors every minute.

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