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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Lot in a name, so we want to get them right


February 16. 2014 4:10PM

By George, today is the official celebration of the birth of the man deservedly known as the father of our country. That would be Washington's Birthday for those of you who might think something called "Presidents' Day" is an official holiday.

But who am I to talk? I am responsible for a newspaper that recently turned the town of Wilmot (home to Wilmot Flats) into "Wilmont." And one day last week, we referred to the town of "Boscowen."

Some folks in Boscawen might take umbrage that someone thinks their hometown was named after a milk flavoring.

But I think most residents understand. I read once that the post office used to get more mangled spellings of Boscawen than of any town in New Hampshire. And let's not even go to the various pronunciations of the town name. My favorite is "Bosk-wine."

Then again, I still favor "Nash-way" for that fair city; and natives know that a certain northern county, Coos, is actually pronounced "Koos," as in kitchy, kitchy, koo.

(Fear not. I threw in that last one just to enrage my friend, John D. Harrigan of South Hill Safaries in Colebrook. As he constantly reminds one and all, it is actually pronounced "Co-oss," not to be confused with chaos, which Harrigan sometimes causes.

About the spelling mistakes: They happen when deadlines are looming and reporters and copy editors are flying to beat them. It is the nature of the business and the age of the Internet and instant communication hasn't made it any easier.

But things like "Wilmont" for Wilmot are the ones we tack up at the desk of newbies who may well be from another state. Easy it is to assume if it's Fremont and Claremont and Piedmont and Vermont, then it must be Wilmont.

But that would lead to the leap from Tuftonboro to Peterboro. Only our style is Peterborough and I am no longer sure if the Moultonborough Fire Department is still nearby the Moultonboro town offices.

Such uncertainty is understandable in a world where the rules of toothpaste for toddlers keeps changing.

Having memorized that you are to put a tiny bit of toothpaste on the little ones' brushes, I now read that it's supposed to be a "smear" of paste as soon as the first tooth shows itself, graduating to a "pea-sized dollop" for ages 3 and up.

"Smear?" "Dollop?" I must have missed the course on scientific terms.

I am lucky if I can get grandsons Ike, Mike and Spike to stand still long enough to get the toothbrushes out. Figuring out who has the Thomas the Train one as opposed to the Cars one is beyond my pay grade.

Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter at @Deucecrew

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