GROTON -- He had them at "hello."
Ted Reinstein, of WCVB TV's news magazine "Chronicle," faced a packed room at Groton Public Library. His audience was completely engaged as he introduced his recently published book, "New England Notebook," reading excerpts from his collection of captivating, uncommon stories.
New England Notebook was introduced as "a treasure trove for both casual readers and dedicated lovers of all things New England."
As a reporter for Chronicle, Reinstein has traveled far and wide over the six states of New England, "...to find the quirky, the unique and the bizarre."
He has met all kinds of people and has reported on all sorts of events from his travels, including topics such as traditions that have been passed on for generations or new, creative endeavors. The chapters of New England Notebook give insight into many characters, such as craftsmen and entertainers as well as (wicked good) foods like "chowda."
From chapter four titled "The People," Reinstein read about his favorite quirky character, "Vermont's unofficial folk hero, Fred Tuttle of Tunbridge, Vt."
Tuttle, once a dairy farmer, was forced to sell his beloved herd of Jersey cows due to his declining health at age 70. But part of a neighbor's creative idea to help him raise needed money was to put him in a movie role where he ran for a seat in Congress.
Reinstein shared Tuttle's humorous campaign slogan: "I've spent my whole life in the barn -- now I just want to spend a little time in the House," which resulted in hearty laughter from the GPL audience.
On a very personal note, as a postscript to New England Notebook, Reinstein dedicated several pages to the Groton Dunstable School District's "Big Book: Pages for Peace," a project on which he reported on Chronicle more than once as it progressed over the years.
"This was one of my favorite stories," Reinstein said, "that I checked in on about eight years ago. It was pretty ambitious stuff, especially for fifth-graders!"
Reinstein resumed, "I came back in 2009 and there was mounting excitement ... they had received letters from Nobel Peace Prize winners, other children and leaders from all over the world."
What motivated Reinstein to continue following the Big Book's progress was the fact that the dream was coming to fruition, though it became a daunting task ... a one-ton, 500-page book. Reinstein's reaction at the time: "God bless 'em. It'll never get done."
Reinstein acknowledged a guest in the audience -- Groton Dunstable Middle School teacher and club advisor for the Bookmakers and Dreamers, Betsy Sawyer, as "one of the most inspiring people I've ever met.
"Betsy's optimism, matched by her determined dogma allowed this dream to become a reality. This book made a big statement," Reinstein concluded, "not just to its size, but as to resolve and youthful enthusiasm. It is something that will endear the town of Groton to me forever, making it doubly wonderful for me to be here tonight!"
To close out the evening, Reinstein accepted and answered questions from the audience, such as "If you were visiting New England for the first time, what would you want to make sure you didn't miss?" or "How did you get your start as a reporter?"
Reinstein then signed a personal note in each book purchased by guests, unexpectedly running out of books before everyone who wanted to buy one could do so.
Reinstein said that as he travels throughout New England, "I always leave myself room for finding something that I wasn't expecting."