An Open Letter to Christine Nordhaus

Dear Christine,

Why is Littleton Apothecary not open?

The town entered into an HCA with Littleton Apothecary in May 2020. The state gave the Apothecary its provisional license in November 2020. The Planning Board detailed what you’d need to do to open in September 2021.

You have been given all the permission you needed to begin setting up the shop.

So, I, among others, want to know what’s the hold-up?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have various theories on why Littleton Apothecary has yet to open. I’ve decided that for this open letter, I’m going to share the one that, I think, inspires the most hope for the future for the greatest number of people.

I call it “The Do-Over.”

Hold on.

Don’t go rolling your eyes.

Hear me out.

Let’s begin by going back to June 6, 2019.

I loved you on that day. You were my friend.  

I pictured us selling cannabis for eight to ten years and then the two of us traveling around the globe. Maybe we’d earn enough for me to get that Parisian flat I’d always wanted; maybe you’d be able to buy that house in Girona, Spain. We’d visit each other by train when we got old.

Remember those plans?

I do.

Between August 2019 until April 2, 2021, I had a really hard time. I imagine you did, too.

My children and Rob suffered through those months as well, wondering what happened, seeing me in pain. I suspect Matthew and your children saw things they wished they hadn’t.

The unwavering support I received from Rob, the children, my mom and sister, Jen, Katie, Cammy, and others got me through those twenty months. Without them and the dog, I’m not sure I would’ve remained sane.

It is fair to say that my life, without you in it, has been far less exciting and a lot less fun than it had been up until June 6, 2019.

Don’t get me wrong: things are great with Rob—better than ever. I think I’m finally writing a marketable novel. And I’m really proud of my children, even though they’re living lives I didn’t at all anticipate.

Remember back in the winter of 2019? Dave had just shared his conservative projections for cannabis sales, and we told our six kids that they didn’t have to worry about college. Remember that? It was such a relief to us both; it was a tremendous comfort to my four children. And while “college” might not be the best marker of what I feel I owe to them, the spirit of helping them financially still applies.

I can’t shake from my memory the way our six children looked at the two of us that day—the day they saw opportunities for their futures provided by their mothers. I saw a flash of rare hope in their eyes.

Sadly, our children inhabit a world that constantly reminds them of its ruin, and by extension, of their demise as well.

My motivation to suggest this Do-Over to you is out of loyalty to them: my four, your two, and all the rest who inherit this mess.

Shakespeare was right:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely Players;

When I think of the potential roles that I might still play in my short, growing-shorter human life, I’ve decided I’d like to spend my remaining time in comedies, romances, and tales of redemption.

I’m tired of the tragedies.

I know if I were to write a play about us, it would have three acts. (Total time saver: two are already written)

Act I:

Late summer of 2017 until June 6, 2019

Comedy, sort of: Friendship and Opportunity

We find a friendship from working side by side at Littleton Community Farm. Some months later, I invite you to sauna with Katie, Jen, and Cammy. The five of us become a terrific friend group.

I felt like I’d finally found my forever friends. Sounds so seventh-grade, but it’s true.

Do you know that the first time I spent in your house was that Saturday morning when we made chocolates for Tom?

Of course, you remember.

I don’t think it came as a surprise to either of us that in the fall of 2018, we decided to work together toward the mutual goal of opening a recreational cannabis shop in town. We knew what a great plant it was.

To this day, some of my best memories of my life come from those months. I woke up every day with a sense of purpose. I (almost) always looked forward to hanging out with you as we learned about the industry, imagined the future, and deepened our really remarkable friendship. And we confidently predicted that the town would love our proposal. They did.

Act II:

June 7, 2019, until, I guess, today

Tragedy: The Betrayal

I’m not looking to relitigate.

We both know what happened.

You’ve missed out on a lot in the last three and a half years. I wish that hadn’t been the case. The pandemic would’ve been a lot more fun if you’d been with Jen and Katie and Cammy and me week after miserable pandemic week standing on the frozen ground around my fire pit.

We talked about you all the time.

Tried to understand what happened.

Recently, your name came up.

And it got me thinking: Maybe Littleton Apothecary isn’t open because it’s a sore spot for you. You and I created something really cool together. But then, in early August 2019, that all changed.

Since then, apart from getting a bunch of tedious paperwork done, it looks like you’ve done nothing to get the Apothecary open.

But I get it: I know if the shoe were on the other foot, I wouldn’t’ve been at all motivated to open the shop on my own without you. It was our thing. Remember how we told each other—over and over—“I wouldn’t be able to do this without you.”

So, maybe that’s where you’re at?

You don’t want to be alone.

So today, we are at the start of our yet unwritten Act III. And make no mistake, Christine, there will be an Act III.

Here’s what I’d like to write:

Act III:

Now until Opening Day at Littleton Apothecary

Redemption: The Do-Over

Here’s a chance to do something radical, remarkable, and redemptive.

Let’s wind back the hands of time and go back to any day before August 5, 2019, but preferably back to June 6th, before things went sideways, back when we were working side-by-side as co-proprietors of Littleton Apothecary.

A Do-Over.

That’s what’ll land us the interview we talked about on Good Morning America.

That’s what’ll model for our children what it means to behave abhorrently and still be forgiven. That’s what’ll prove to them that no matter how awful you’ve been treated, you can still offer forgiveness.  

I’ve fully forgiven you.

While I make no guarantees about a future friendship, you know I’m not a grudge holder. At some point, we’ll might very well hug it out and cry tears of regret for lost time.

But for now, we’re not friends. We don’t have to be. We only need to be moving toward a shared goal: Open Littleton Apothecary.

It’s not too late for a happy ending.

Despite people telling me, “She’s going to tell you to Fuck off,” I’m an optimist.

I want you and me to get to work to open Littleton Apothecary.

Let’s put all hard feelings aside, find that esprit de corps, and remember who we were to work toward who we could be again.

I’m crossing my fingers that Act I Christine will tell Act II Christine to get off the stage.

Like Shakespeare, I hope that:

the Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,

is a return of Act I Christine to join me in a triumphant Act III.

What do you think?

It’s a rare chance to rewrite history.

We could totally crush it together.

Sleep on it.

Let me know.


P.S. If you want to talk in person, let me know. My passport’s current.

6 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Christine Nordhaus

  1. That is incredibly sad to hear. I was completely unaware (not that one would think I should be). I guess the one question I would have is this: Why not have Act III Jenna and Act III Christine, two people shaped by time and experience, who, like water in a river, are never the same, even if you go back to the same spot, come to the table? Like water, we flow and change with time, and while our essence may be the same, we never go back to who we once were, and that is ok. Good luck. I love stories of healing and redemption where the hero is not damned by his/her tragic flaw.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good luck Jenna!
    Many friendships sail in and out of rapids, sounds like yours went through a level 5! I hope you can find mutually calm waters to reconnect.
    You both have tons to offer our little town, together you would be dynamite! Just a word of caution, in every river there is more than one set of rapids, some are easy, some are swift and short, and some areong and arduous! That’s part of the fun and the work.


  3. I am curious why this is an open letter and not a communication just between you and Christine. I’m sure you must have thought this through and have a reason .

    Liked by 1 person

      1. IMHO if your goal is to reconnect and have a fresh start, publicly airing such a conflict is more likely to push the other person away.


  4. Here’s hoping your letter achieves your desired goal of moving forward.
    Either way, you will know you tried everything in your power to reconcile.
    I wish you luck!
    I admire your strength and genuine honesty and determination. Your kids, and Rob, will understand and respect you for this. One day….

    Liked by 1 person

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