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Politics, blind dates and family
NORWAY – Spending most of his life in Norway has given Dennis Arsenault a strong feeling of security and community and a deep belief in God has given him peace and a happy family life.
Q: Where were your born and where were you brought up?
A: I was born in Berlin, NH, lived in Gorham, NH until age 5 and then moved to Norway and have lived in this area ever since.
Q: Do you have many siblings?
A: Two brothers, Paul and Lee, two sisters, Bonnie and Laurel.
Q: What did your parents do?
A: Both had numerous jobs, but my mom worked locally at Stone's Drug Store and Woolworths. My dad was a Deputy County Sheriff in the mid '60s.
Q: What was it like growing up?
A: It was fun growing up in Norway. I had a lot of great friends to hang out with and great neighbors.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: Oxford Hills district school all the way from kindergarten to graduation at OHHS in 1973.
Q: Did you get into mischief or play pranks?
A: Never, I was a mommy's boy.
Q: What have you had for jobs?
A: One of my buddy's, Robbie Paradis, family owned The Country Way Restaurant. His dad hired me to wash dishes; it was the first real job I had. When I turned 16, Gordon Smith hired me to work at Smith’s Shop ‘n Save; I worked there for over 30 years. In 1993, while still working at Shop ‘n Save/Hannafords, I started my satellite TV business part-time. I left Hannaford around 2005 to do satellite TV full time.
Q: When and how did you meet your spouse?
A: My younger sister set me up with her on a blind date back in the spring of 1976. Bonnie felt bad for her lonely brother and was always setting me up with blind dates. The last one she set me up with, Debbie, worked out very well.
Q: What did you do for work when you got married?
A: I was working full time at Smith’s Shop ‘n Save.
Q: Anyone ever said you look like someone famous?
A: Yes, but I’m not going to say who.
Q: Did you do much traveling?
A: Not a lot, been to Florida a half dozen times. My business has had me traveling to several different states for convention type meetings. I enjoy staying close to home.
Q: Which place was the most fascinating and why?
A: I really enjoyed Montreal, because of the historic beauty of the city. Deb and I went to Montreal for our honeymoon.
Q: Did anyone influence you to the point of changing your direction in life?
A: Yes, my pastor. In a tough period of life he showed me God’s point of view and it changed my life and goals.
Q: Do you collect anything or have a hobby?
A: No, but I like to follow politics; it’s kind of in my blood from my dad. Although he was a staunch liberal Democrat, I’m the complete opposite, a conservative. When my dad was still alive I would love to get him wound up talking politics; it was so easy and a whole lot of fun.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: I’m not much of a reader; the book I read as often as I can is the Bible.
Q: What subject do you wish you knew more about?
A: The best way to make good investments in these tough economic days. I know there’s a lot of people who would like to show me, but please don’t call me.
Q: What is the one thing you could not give up?
A: You don’t want to put that in the paper…do you?
Q: What is the one thing you would happily do over again?
A: Marry Debbie Bradbury all over again.
Q: Do you have children?
A: I have three beautiful daughters, Denise, Aimee and Katie.
Q: What was the best memory that this interview brought back?
A: I guess to remind me of how blessed I am. I’ve had a very good life.
Q: What would you like people to know about you?
A: Quite often people get the impression that I’m a really serious guy. Once people get to know me they find out that I have a good sense of humor.
Q: What scares you the most?
A: Phone calls late at night.
Q: Any hidden talents?
A: I’m good at talking people into getting a satellite TV system.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 ten years?
A: In ten years I hope I’m enjoying life even more than I am now.
Q: Last day on earth; what would you do and with whom?
A: I would like to make some homemade pizza with my wife and have my daughters, sons-in-law and grandkids over and just watch them interact with each other.
Q: If anyone could walk in right now, who would you most want to see?
A: My nephew, Travis VanDurme. Experiencing the loss of a member of your family that way was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life. We were all so proud of the accomplishments he made in his short life and miss him terribly.
Q: Any regrets?
A: I wish I could have not been so ignorant and selfish. In my adolescent years I missed out on having relationships with a lot of people I really cared about.