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Meredith Fletcher: The woman behind the smile

First impressions are always key when meeting the parents. Meredith Fletcher’s impact on Diana’s mother involved being introduced after slamming Diana’s hand in the car door. But despite the thumping pain and agony running through her hand, the two remained together.

Meredith Fletcher is the 29-year-old, blonde haired staff assistant to Castleton State College’s Associate Academic Deans. For five and half years, her home at Castleton has been her simple desk in the basement of Woodruff Hall.

“I think we’re very lucky to have her. I was told and quickly discovered that,” said Associate Academic Dean Renny Harrigan.

With family photos looking down upon her at her desk, Meredith’s tasks throughout the day involve setting up meetings between students and the deans, making copies and answering the phones, and taking care of the writing standards.

“I think she is very helpful. If she doesn’t know something, she’ll send you in the right direction,” said Amber Porter, a senior. “She’s really nice and good at giving information.”

Always soft spoken, Meredith said she hopes that her bosses would say she’s easy-going, does her work efficiently, and has a smile most days.

“She’s always pleasant and friendly. She has a good sense of humor and that’s important,” said Harrigan, confirming Meredith’s hopes. “You know that when you ask Meredith to do something, she’ll get it done. You can depend on her. She has a high work ethic.”

Meredith does, however, admit that she is too laid back when it comes to asking co-workers for help.

“I won’t pursue it if they say they’re too busy,” she said, but added, “I think the people is what makes it so much fun.”

Small Town Girl

Originally from Long Island, Meredith and her four siblings grew up in a very religious home.

“We went to church and did things I wouldn’t necessarily agree with. It was cult like in my opinion,” she said.

But after moving to Poultney at age eight, her parents began to relax. They even no longer minded celebrating Halloween, previously not allowed because it was the “devil’s holiday.”

While attending Castleton as a student, Meredith did a bit of acting. She also liked to sing — and still does.

“In the shower, in the car .” said Diana Fletcher, Meredith’s partner.

In 1999, Meredith graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Media and Communications.

“When I graduated I spent a lot of time looking in my field. But, I’m a small town type of girl,” she said referring to the premise that cities are the place to be for communication graduates.

Coming Out

In 1997, Meredith was still living in the “quiet, sleepy, little speck on earth” with her parents. Despite being afraid of being kicked out of the house, she broke the news to her family.

“My mother was crying. ‘She’s like Ellen’ she cried,” Meredith said.

Since coming out, she said that she has had no negative experiences. Only one of her uncles doesn’t recognize Diana as her wife or acknowledge her.

“My grandmother surprised me the most,” Meredith said. “She was like ‘Psh. Who cares? Whatever.’ I’ve been really lucky.”

Although her family now knew, her classmates still officially did not. During college, Meredith was part of the club One-in-Ten, which at that time was not really open to allies.

“At the award ceremony senior year, it was announced I was part of the club. So, I was a little bit outed,” she said.

Today, the couple’s relationship is still questioned by many, unsure of whom the two really are.

“They think we’re sisters,” Diana said.(of the majority who do not know the extent of their relationship.)

Pursuit and Marriage

In 2004, a then 34-year-old, blonde-haired, Brattleboro native came to visit Meredith for the fist time. Meredith embarrassingly admits that two met on Eharmony.

“It sounds so dorky,” she said. “I don’t know. I think of geeky people, send me your picture type thing. It seemed so strange.”

Both Meredith and Diana admit that the first date was nerve racking. For Diana, it was her first time with a woman, having previously been in an 11-year marriage.

“It was all on my shoulders to show her a good date with a woman,” Meredith said of the picnic date. “The first couple of hours were awkward. I didn’t know what to say and I was so nervous I didn’t know what to think.”

However, eventually the two began to really click.

“It was so unreal how we hit it off. I was in shock. You were a lot of fun,” Diana said turning toward Meredith.

The following weekend, Diana visited again and the two began spending more and more time together. Diana continued to pursue Meredith and described herself as the pushy one.

“She had to be. I was just sitting there,” Meredith said.

“It was a fun chase,” Diana, a hairstylist, added.

After six months, the two, along with Diana’s son from her marriage, bought Meredith’s grandmother’s house in Poultney. It was the biggest step Meredith had ever taken with anyone.

“Lesbians tend to bond really quickly. So, as lesbians do, we bought a house in six months,” she said.

Then, it was time to take an even bigger step.

“We both had known we wanted to get civil unioned. I consider it a marriage. I always say this is my wife. Partner sounds like two little old ladies, ‘this is my partner,'” Meredith said in an elderly, shaky voice.

Taking the initiative to do so, Meredith bought Diana a ring.

“I went in and said I’m looking for an engagement ring. It’s for my partner,” she said. “They were like shaking. I think I gave the jeweler a heart attack.”

The night that Meredith proposed to Diana, she spread out rose petals, lit candles, got dressed up and left clues for Diana to follow to the ring.

“You didn’t get the clues to find the ring,” Meredith said to Diana.

“I was in shock about the dress,” Diana replied, adding that was the one and only time she’s seen her in a dress.

“I looked like a linebacker in a dress.”

Although they had a difficult time finding a justice of the peace, the two held a small ceremony in their home on July 30, 2005.

Early on, Meredith had decided to take Diana’s last name.

“It sounds better with our names,” she said. “Diana Trudy. I don’t know. That doesn’t sound good.”

If Laughter is healthy .

It’s said that laughter is healthy. If that’s true, anyone that enters the neat, simple, royal blue dining room will get a dose of healthy laughter.

“We’re a little crazy,” Meredith said.

Arguments are rare in the Fletcher home, but when they do occur, Meredith said they are over the dumbest things.

“One time I didn’t roll up the garden hose. I thought I was in big trouble,” she said, adding buying one that rolls up automatically solved that problem.

“She’s very giving and patient. When she gets upset, it’s the funniest thing,” Diana said.

“We laugh in middle of fights,” said Dillon, Diana’s 11-year-old, dark-haired son, who considers himself the family comedian.

Dillon is not Meredith’s adopted son and she only recently referred to him as “our son” for the first time. His father is an alcoholic and drug addict and the duo is currently working to stop his visitation rights.

“It was a little difficult at first. But for the most part, it’s been surprisingly easy,” Meredith said. “We provide him with double the mother.”

“Dillon was one of the last one’s to know. I wanted him to accept Meredith for who she is,” Diana said, playing with her matching wedding ring.

“I’m always the last one to know everything,” said Dillon, who is still finding out things about his mother’s relationship.

Diana said that Meredith hates housework, doing the laundry and dishes, and is a little fanatic and OCD (her movies are in alphabetical order). She added that Meredith is self-proclaimed technical genius.

“We pick on her a lot. But, she doesn’t pick back so it’s boring,” she said.

According to Dillon, both he and Meredith are competitive and her only annoying habit is that she eats fast.

“I thought she was more hip than my mom,” he said of the first time meeting her. “She’s younger, we listen to the same music and have the same ideas.”

Diana added that she would not a change a thing.

“I’ve never embarrassed you yet,” Meredith said to her.

“Not yet. We’ll see about this Thanksgiving.