In 1978, I was asked if I would be the deputy town clerk and tax collector for the town of Hope. I took the position and worked from my home. I had no set hours, so I had people coming from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

In 1981 I was asked if I would run for town clerk and I did. I was elected that year by a landslide. It was a one-year term. The following year Ruth Desrosiers ran against me and I won that year. As far as I can remember that was the only time anyone ran against me.

In 1986 the term was changed from one year to three years. In 1989 the position was voted by secret ballot instead of from the floor at town meeting. In 1997 it was voted to have selectmen set the office hours of town clerk and tax collector and this won by two votes. In 1998 it was voted to change the position from elected to appointed starting in 1999.

After the school at Hope Corner was closed the town took over the building as town office. In 1988 Faith Hart retired and I became the tax collector and moved into the town office with set hours.

Shortly after moving to the town office I put the town of Hope on the computer. That was a job and a half. All the properties had to be listed as map/lot with all the values and names and addresses of each owner. All the licenses and motor vehicle stickers were listed so as to keep track of each sticker. Then the voting list was put in and at last the tax bills. Finally a list of all the committee members and dates of their terms.

Today we have become a computer town. We have a Web page and just about everything is done on the computer. I don’t like it but you have to go with the flow.

From day one to my last day my interest has always been the town’s people. Do the best you can for the town’s people.

I have seen the town of Hope grow from a small neighborhood community to a bedroom community. Most of the people in Hope don’t even know their neighbors. We went from 450 in 1970 to 1500 in 2009.

I have recorded the births, deaths and marriages for over 30 years; the last 10 years are on the computer. I recorded a birth, issued a copy of that birth when the child started school, issued another copy when they wanted to take driver’s education, registered that same child to vote and then issued a marriage license when they married.

I also had some fun working for the town of Hope. We had lunches once a month as a group and I took photos and put them into scrapbooks.

I used to decorate the town hall for Christmas. In 2007 when the town was revalued and photos were taken for each building for the property cards, I printed copies of each photo and made a scrapbook of all the homes in Hope. I sorted by road, map/lot and street address. This was presented to the Hope Historical Society. In 2009 when the Hope Fire Station was built I took photos each week and did a scrapbook of that and presented it to Fire Chief Clarence Keller at the open house.

I will miss meeting all the town’s people and chatting with them. It will be different but I am looking forward to doing some of the things I have put off until I have the time. Now I will have the time. Thank you Hope residents for making my life an enjoyable one.

Florance Merrifield is retiring after serving as town clerk and tax collector in Hope for 32 years. Her last day will be Friday, Feb. 26.