MARLBORO - Marlboro residents stopped by the town offices all day Monday to say goodbye to long-serving Town Clerk Nora Wilson.
Wilson announced earlier this year that she would be stepping down after serving the town for 23 years and seven months.
Her last day was Dec. 31, and with a table in the office loaded with chips and dips and sweets, and a brand new ukulele unwrapped and sitting near her desk, Wilson spent the day answering the phone, helping residents with their problems and saying goodbye as one person after another stopped in to congratulate her and wish her well.
Wilson was appointed to the position in June 1989 after the town clerk at the time, Harold Makepeace, said he wanted to step down.
Makepeace had told a few people he was thinking about stepping down, but he didn't want to pressure Wilson into taking over.
And at the same time, Wilson says, she did not want to run against him or make it seem like she was forcing him out.
One day, while at the post office, Wilson overheard Makepeace tell someone else that it was time and Wilson told him she was ready to step up.
"It seemed like a good fit for me. I like office work and I am detailed oriented," she said, now more than 23 years later. "I always thought I would be good at this job." The Selectboard has appointed Town Lister Forrest Holzapfel to serve out the rest of Wilson's term, which runs until Town Meeting Day.
Holzapfel, who has also been serving as Assistant Town Clerk with Wilson for five years, says he will run for the position during the Town Meeting Day election in 2013.
While serving as assistant, Holzapfel says he has been able to see how Wilson handles the various challenges that walk through the door every day.
"It's been great to watch her handle all of the issues that she has had to deal with," he said. "When she doesn't know the answer to a difficult problem, she knows where to look to find a solution. She is always composed and her wisdom will be missed."
Wilson says she is looking forward to moving on, but she admits that helping people out is probably going to be a part of her job she will miss.
"Sometimes people have trouble finding out the right information they need, and they come in for help," she said. "When I make a call and say I am a town clerk people sit up and listen, and that feels good. I like solving problems."
During the day Monday Mary Coogan stopped in to say goodbye and give Wilson a hug.
"Nora knows everything," said Coogan. "She knows what we don't know, and she knows the answer to our questions even before we know we have a question. We are going to miss her."
Although the wide, wide world of Marlboro will no longer be knocking at her front door every day, Wilson is going to stick around in a part time capacity to help the town work its way through the complicated FEMA funding process that is still going on following Tropical Storm Irene and she will work with Holzapfel for as long as he needs her.
Wilson also says she is going to make more of an effort to get out and see people.
Wilson has been pondering her retirement over the past year, and when she found that her second grandchild was on the way she said it was time to end this chapter in her life and begin the next one.
Beside caring for the new family member Wilson says she will garden more, travel a little and maybe learn how to play the ukulele.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter@HowardReformer.