Guided by faith and values

  • Missy Salo sits on a stone bridge outside her New Ipswich home that was rebuilt by her husband Russell. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • Missy Salo sits on a stone bridge outside her New Ipswich home that was rebuilt by her husband Russell. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Missy Salo. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/14/2019 3:57:10 PM

This has been a big year for Missy Salo. In April, she celebrated 30 years of marriage to her husband, Russell. Next month, she will turn 50. And earlier this summer, she officially decided to hang up her whistle and call it a volleyball coaching career.

For the first time in 16 years, the Salos will have a fall off together, as Russell spent many years coaching the Mascenic golf team, and Salo couldn’t be more excited about it.

“This is the most beautiful time of year here,” Salo said. “And now we get to enjoy life.”

She’ll miss being in the gym for practices and watching the team come together as the season rolls along, but it was time.

Salo helped start the volleyball program at Boynton Middle School, went on to become the junior varsity coach at her alma mater (Mascenic) and outside of one year, she’s been the varsity coach at the school for more than a decade. She even played volleyball at the school and won back-to-back state championships as a player in 1984 and 1985, so the program means a lot to her.

Salo lived the first 11 years of her life in Greenville before her family moved to New Ipswich and she’s called the town home ever since. She met Russell on the playground of Appleton Academy in fifth grade and now they live just down the street in what Salo said is one of the oldest houses in New Ipswich.

Growing up, Salo thought about being a teacher. She liked the idea of teaching kids and it shows why she spent so many years coaching.

While Salo never pursued a career in education, she spent many years molding young minds – that of her four children as well as some nieces and nephews. Her oldest son Curtis was in sixth grade, Cameron was in fourth, Damon third and her only daughter Amber had yet to begin school when the idea came up of homeschooling.

Salo said at the time she was looking for any reason not to do it, but the more she thought about it, the more it made sense. And now, she looks back on those years as the most important ones.

“I’ve never ever regretted it. Best decision we made as a family,” she said.

Not only did it give her more time with her children, but “I knew what I was pouring into that empty bucket,” she said.

“The greatest challenge was getting them interested in the subject,” Salo said. “But seeing the light bulb go off in a kids head is so rewarding.”

It didn’t come without its own unique set of challenges, but the reward was more than anything she could have ever dreamt of.

“I wouldn’t change anything. I really wouldn’t,” Salo said.

She worried about her kids not getting that all-important social exposure, but as the years went on, she realized that was the last thing she needed to be concerned with. Through sports and their church, her children created friendships that continue to this day and makes her look back and appreciate the importance both played in her family’s lives.

For 12 years, the Salos hosted a Bible study youth group and had anywhere from 10 to almost 30 kids over to their house on Sunday nights.

Jesus is a big part of Salo’s life and as she put it “I love Jesus, but I’m not religious.”

Salo said she lives by her values and morals and “I walk by my faith.”

Looking to a higher calling gives her a unique perspective to just about everything. It has opened up many opportunities and created countless friendships along the way.

It has led her to share her message with others and go on to do mission work. Salo has traveled to Guatemala three times with Little Lambs International, most recently last year, to help build an orphanage and with long-term goals of creating a village. She plans to go back in February.

“We definitely have Guatemala in our hearts,” she said. “They have nothing, yet they have everything.”

Her children are all grown with Curtis and Damon working for the family masonry business, and Cameron filling in from time to time. She has one grandchild, Blaire, the two and a half year old daughter of Curtis. She’s seen a number of her former players and friends of her children also become parents.

“It’s so cool to watch those kids have kids,” she said.

Salo is “proud to be an American, proud of the country we live in.” One of her favorite things to do is write letters, and has sent many to President Donald Trump offering encouragement – and has received some responses. She knows it’s a topic that can be polarizing, but she’s always lived by the idea that “it’s easy to agree to disagree.”

“With age comes wisdom,” Salo said. “And the older you get, the more you view things differently.”

A number of years ago, the Salos bought a house in New Ipswich, fixed it up and sold it. They liked the process of flipping a house and that’s what they had planned for the downtown property they now call home.

“But I knew I wanted to live here when I walked through the front door,” she said.

Salo has been to Hawaii twice in the last year, once for her wedding anniversary, and would go back in a heartbeat. While there’s no thought of retirement or moving – her family is too important – they’ve toyed with the idea of someday spending winters in Arizona.

“I don’t know if I could ever leave,” Salo said. “I’ve never had a different address, always New Ipswich.”

They still hold family dinners on Sundays because it’s something they’ve always done.

“My kids all have a very good sense of family,” she said.

Salo enjoys reading and always seeks to find out the history behind a place she visits. She hopes to make it to Mount Rushmore and all of the national parks.

She journals and likes to go for walks and is learning have to give massages. She also watches Blaire one day every week.

“We should have had grandkids first,” Salo joked. “They’re our reward.”

It’s a little odd to not have practices to look forward to and game days circled on the calendar, but Salo knows it was time to step aside.

She’ll miss it, but on the other hand, she has plenty in her life to keep it full.


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