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Tuesday February 2, 2016 Edition
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Special Moments That Matter: Sharing Memories With Patricia Holden Begnoche

photo by Photo Provided

Tuesday February 2, 2016

By Cookie Steponaitis

Patricia Holden was born in Rutland, Vermont in 1940 and grew up with her seven siblings on the family farm located near the truck route to Florence. The farm is still in the family and continues to hold a place of importance in Patricia's heart taking center stage in some of the stories she stated. “It really is about special moments that matter,” shared Pat Begnoche. “Growing up on the farm was fun and a lot of work. We all had our own chores and my mother was the housekeeper, homemaker and did a lot that people today don't even think about.” Pat and her siblings helped with a large garden, milking and on the rare times when her parents took off to attend a meeting or have a night out, the older siblings were in charge.   
Part of her memories of farm life includes many hours with the 4-H organization. “It really was a part of growing up,” reminisced Pat. “We would earn badges, work on projects and got to show our work and be judged at the Rutland Fair. If any young people want to start something even now that is fun and incredibly rewarding they should consider 4-H. You learn a lot, you meet great people and you build some skills that are great to have no matter where you go in life.”
   After graduating high school from what is known today as the Lathrop School, Pat worked in the 5 & 10 Cent store in Rutland and in agriculture with a cow breeding business. She attended Business College at Champlain College and found her long-term career at Burlington Electric where she worked for twenty-eight years as a secretary and billing expert. Pat watched the changes in how electricity is delivered and serviced and remarked she was, “so relieved to see the safety features that went into place to help the linemen do their job.”
   While working at Burlington Electric Pat took a risk that she has never once regretted. She was looking for her special someone and took out an ad in a local Vermont paper section for single people and began corresponding with Bernard Begnoche, a gentleman from Swanton. They corresponded for over a year before they met and Pat felt she gotten to know him quite well. The first series of dates to dances in Burlington confirmed that they were a great pair. “We went dancing at the Holiday Inn in Burlington,” grinned Pat. “Sometimes it was square dancing, sometimes waltzes and later when the swing and rock started moving in, we still went dancing. He was a great waltzer!” The pair married on July 13, 1994 and was very happy for fifteen years before Pat suffered a stroke and Bernard became ill and passed away.
   “It really is about those important moments,” reminded Pat. “When I look back at our times together it was even simple things like making a meal together or taking a walk. We had great plans and it was hard not to see those be able to be fulfilled.” Pausing for a moment Pat then smiled and began sharing other memories of holidays and family traditions. “We were unique in that at our house,” grinned Pat. “We didn't open up our Christmas presents until after the Christmas meal so the gifts sat under the tree all day and after the meal whoever was willing served as the present distributer. We always got a doll for the girls and my mom always made one gift. It was special because we waited and we were all together.”
Pat has around twenty nieces and nephews spanning the country from Vermont to Alaska and takes pride in knowing that many of them are on farms and have a connection with the land and that another generation of her family is still on the land in Pittsford. No memory at the national level stands out stronger for Pat than man landing on the moon. “It seemed that after that happened,” remarked Pat, “business just took off and America seemed to find no limits. It was a hard time too, but the breaking of that barrier opened up so many other possibilities. It is a special memory.” Pat concluded the interview with a pause and a tiny bit of advice which is quite powerful. “Take the time to make and treasure the special moments,” she remarked. “They truly are what life is all about.” The Valley Voice salutes Patricia Begnoche and echoes her sentiments to all who call this valley home. Slow down, pause and make those special moments to fill your own life with stories from the heart and memories to share.

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