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It's good to be a Pollyanna

Sunday News Correspondent

June 11. 2017 12:24AM
The area around the Pollyanna sculpture on the lawn of the Littleton Public Library was a popular place to be Saturday as the community celebrated Pollyanna Glad Day 2017. Bookended by Pollyanna hosts Hailee Beane, left, and Rebecca Colby, right, are Dick and Debbie Alberini, who earlier received the annual Signature Award for exemplifying the optimism and "be glad" attitude of Pollyanna. (John Koziol/Sunday News Correspondent)

LITTLETON - With gladness and gratitude, this community along the Ammonoosuc River on Saturday celebrated the creativity and generosity of its residents, foremost the novelist Eleanor H. Porter.

In 1913, Porter (1868-1920) created the character of Pollyanna, a girl who always looked on the bright side of life and was known for a game in which she tried to be glad for everything.

To honor both the author and her creation, the Eames family commissioned artist Emile Birch to sculpt a bronze of the ebullient Pollyanna, her head held high, her arms open and flung back to embrace the world.

Located on the lawn of the Littleton Public Library, the sculpture was unveiled on June 15, 2002.

The 15th anniversary of that event and the largesse of the Eames family were fondly noted during an 11 a.m. ceremony yesterday at the Pollyanna Gateway arch in the heart of the downtown that also included presentation of the Signature Award and a large group photo where everyone made like Pollyanna.

Schuyler Sweet, the chairman of the Littleton Board of Selectmen - Littleton is known as the "Be Glad Town" - proclaimed Saturday "Pollyanna Glad Day" and was joined by Gov. Chris Sununu, who via a letter read by state Rep. Erin Hennessey, R-Littleton, did the same.

Pollyanna is famous for her "unflagging spirit," said Sweet, while her statue is "an inspiration" to Littleton and to people from all over New Hampshire and elsewhere who come to see, be photographed or touch it.

Rubbing Pollyanna's front shoe reportedly brings luck and gladness, and Dave Ernsberger, who is a well-known businessman in town, joked in his ceremony remarks that someone must have done so in order replace what had been cool, overcast weather with bright blue skies and sunshine.

On Saturday, as Ernsberger spoke, and is if to highlight the cool kind of place Littleton is, Kacie Collins, a junior at Plymouth Regional High School who hails from Thornton, offered up a delicate and spot-on rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" that drew knowing smiles from passers-by of a certain age.

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