Letter to the editor: Coffee shop has loyal following

First I want to thank John Melanson for his tireless efforts to establish and maintain Carol’s Hungry Mind Café for all these years. You are carrying out the youthful dream of someone you only knew for a couple years. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you have stuck with this business through so many trials and tribulations. You have done this while knowing such businesses have a high failure rate. I have cherished all the years you have maintained Carol’s dream and will continue to cherish every day it remains open. Hopefully this will be the case well into the future.
Next I want to thank Mr. Gregory Dennis for his passionate and very well stated column in the January 18th Independent. I do not know if you ever met Carol, but you sure know her story and passion for the Hungry Mind. It is clear that you care very much for the Café.
Lastly I want to thank the Independent and community at large for all the support they have given Carol’s Hungry Mind over the years. Both at the original site in Middlebury and at the new site in New Haven and as John attempts to continue into the future. I enjoy seeing friends from all different periods of Carol’s life mingling with people from all over the community who may or may not know her story.
Why am I so invested in the Café’s continued success you may ask? I am Carol Ross’ first-born son, and watched the early stages of her growing dream. I was not living in Middlebury when the physical manifestation of the Hungry Mind Café was happening.  I was however around when my mom and John were in the dreaming stage (where they envisioned possibly having a second location north or south of Middlebury.) I was there when they were working on their business plan, and heard a lot about their search for the right location. When I was living out of state and starting married life, I spoke with my mom on the phone at least every other week, and got regular updates on the preparations for opening the Café.
Carol passed away three months after I got married and over a year before my first child was born. My father passed away six years before my mother. The only way my three daughters are going to know my parents is through what I can tell and show them. The Hungry Mind Café is a great example of my mother’s legacy to show them. My youngest only just turned five and would remember very little of Carol’s if it were to close tomorrow. I do have other ways of sharing my mom’s memory. However, it is very pleasant to have a physical remembrance of her show my children.
Mine is primarily an emotional vested interest, but I also take great pleasure in seeing what a hub it has become for downtown Middlebury. From college students, to tourists and other visitors, to those friends of Carol and John who just want to see the dream continue. I cannot help but feel that Carols filled a void that was left when Calvi’s closed in the late 1990’s. Two different eras meeting a similar goal.
Ian Ross

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