Love of words inspires two programs at Cushman Library in Bernardston

  • BREWSTER Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 1/14/2020 6:08:05 PM
Modified: 1/14/2020 6:07:15 PM

BERNARDSTON — Cushman Library is calling all word nerds for two upcoming events.

On Thursday at 7 p.m., the library will host Emily Brewster, a lexicographer with Merriam-Webster, to talk about her job in dictionary writing. Brewster is also well-known for her Wednesday morning conversations regarding all facets of words with Christopher “Monte” Belmonte on the WRSI radio station.

“She is a fascinating speaker with a plethora of knowledge regarding all things words,” said Cushman Library’s Director Karen Stinchfield.

Stinchfield is familiar with Brewster’s radio appearances, and is excited to invite her to Bernardston. Brewster will speak to her experience writing the dictionary, writing in general and to the importance of using the right words.

“She takes a subject that is potentially dry and makes it an interesting and often funny conversation,” Stinchfield said.

The discussion with Brewster will tie in nicely with a game night later this month, as Cushman Library invites residents to play “Dictionary,” a Stinchfield family favorite, on Jan. 30, at 7 p.m.

According to Stinchfield, “Dictionary” is a game invented by her family when she was a child. It was born at the dining room table in their home on Center Street when she was only 8 years old.

“I am the youngest of six and we cover a span of 13 years, and most of us are lovers of words,” she said. “For me, that love was fostered by playing this game.”

“Dictionary” is a word game where players guess the definition of a word, no matter how obscure. According to Stinchfield, the person who is "it" searches for a word and then asks if anyone knows its meaning or thinks they do. If they think they do, then they say what they think it means. If they're close, the dictionary person keeps looking. Once a word is chosen everyone writes a fake definition and the person with the dictionary writes the actual. Everyone turns in their papers and the dictionary person reads them all out loud. Then, everyone votes on the one they think is real. Each player who votes for the correct one gets a point, and every vote for a fake one earns the writer a point.

Stinchfield said she came across the old game again as she prepared her 91-year-old mother’s home to go up for sale. Even her mother, who Stinchfield described as “a word person,” still remembered the game. It was often played after holiday meals or during special occasions.

“It’s fun and can be hilarious at times,” Stinchfield recalled fondly. “We often laughed ’til we cried.”

While Stinchfield said the game may exist in similar forms, the one that will be played later this month is the family version, as she remembers it. She hopes to bring the game back into her life by hosting games at the library, and sharing it with others who have a love of words.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.

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