As you can probably imagine, we get a lot of emails every day.
They include story ideas and press releases, thank yous for – and critiques of – stories, as well as others that we consider spam that get immediately sent to the trash.
But on July 25, one came in with a subject line reading: hello from Wisconsin. At first I thought it was probably a picture of one of our faithful readers who had taken a vacation to the place known as the Badger State – which is kind of surprising since it’s pretty well known for its cheese – and snapped a photo with the Insider.
But much to my enjoyment, that was not the case. The email came from a woman by the name of Jean Kringle who lives in Belleville, Wis., and here’s how it started:
I hope that subject line grabbed your attention because I have something nice to say. I recently received a package in the mail from Duncraft. Rather than bubble wrap or foam peanuts, it was wrapped in newspaper, The Concord Insider to be specific. It made me curious; the format was friendly and inviting so I decided to see what it had to say. I only received 11 of the 31 pages but I immediately liked it and your community. I think your headers are clever and appealing, the font is easy to read and the bits of color spread throughout the articles add interest. It’s upbeat and enjoyable. I like your sort of gonzo photo on page 2 too.
So immediately, I was a fan of Kringle. How could I not be?
But it also left me wanting to know more.
What stories had she received? What did she order from Duncraft? Where is Belleville, Wisc.? And who is Jean Kringle?
So I sent her an email thanking her for the kind words, explaining how my brother-in-law, Mark, hails from Wisconsin and asked if we could put something in the paper about her email – and if she had time for a phone conversation.
Kringle told me about how she went to college not too far from where my brother-in-law grew up and sent her phone number.
So last week, we connected for about a 20 minute conversation and am I sure glad I called.
Kringle is a retired art teacher who is well known in town for her photography, having her kayak photo on the town’s lightpost banners with Belleville’s motto: Small community . . . big heart!
“I’m the go-to person if they need pictures of Belleville,” she said.
She ordered a hanging water device from Duncraft, replacing one she had bought from them many years ago. It was wrapped in the July 4 issue, and remembered the story on the community center construction project. Kringle was also a big fan of the ads, so see it pays to advertise in the Insider.
“Mostly I read the headers,” she said. “It just looked interesting.”
As a retiree, she has traveled to places like France and Panama, and has plans to see many of the national parks out west.
And in fact, Kringle came to New Hampshire in the 1980s, and has fond memories of The Flume Gorge – with pictures to prove it. But she has no plans to relocate to Concord, even with a promise of free Insiders and the idea of living in a thriving art scene.
“I love a community like that,” Kringle said. “But I’ve been retired 13 years, so no, I’m not looking to move out there.”
As for Duncraft, we checked in to see if it is typical to use the Insider for packaging, and it turns out they come to the Monitor once a week to grab old papers to wrap their orders in.
“I thought, ‘Gee whiz, someone is still packaging things with newspaper?’ ” Kringle said.
I’m just a little surprised we haven’t gotten more fan mail from Duncraft customers.