1996 send-off for Miss NH 1996 Michelle Tolson

Honored to have been included in the new “Where Are They Now” series on “Forever Miss NHs,” launched by our 2023 Miss New Hampshire, Brooke Mills. For decades, I have watched the young women grow more beautiful, smart, talented, and community-involved. I am humbled to be considered one of their “Forevers.” Thank you, Brooke!



With Belinda (Bridgeman) Freeman and Miss NH 1995 Stephanie Foisy Mills Ryan in Atlantic City, during Stephanie’s Miss America Pageant week.


The RePost:
!!! Welcome to a new series of “Where are they now?” with our Forever #MissNH’s !!!

Where are they now?
Cathy Burnham Martin, 1975



May 9, 1975 At Miss NH pageant reception celebrating my 21st birthday


As a student at New Hampshire College, I planned to enter their local competition. Because I was nervous to do my first local pageant in front of my college chums, I entered the Miss Manchester Pageant as a warm-up, and won!




August, 1975 – hosting other New England titlists at Volvo International Tennis Tournament dinner


Talent: I was thrilled to win the Talent award at the 1975 Miss New Hampshire Pageant. As a stage actress, I chose comedy for my talent and performed Queen Lucy from the Broadway musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” I recall being concerned that I might run over the time allowed, as there was a lot of laughter throughout, but I was thrilled to see the sponsor Union Leader’s publisher William Loeb laughing so hard he was holding his belly!

September, 1975 competing in Miss America evening wear competition


Favorite Memory: 1975-76 were packed with an abundance of awesome memories. Some are funny, some are poignant, and all are cherished. The experience taught me a great many skills, including public speaking. (Someone, somewhere believed that if you put a crown on someone’s head, she could speak easily in public… so I learned.)


September, 1975 – Atlantic City midnight celebration following Miss America Pageant

My craziest lesson in speaking came while commentating a girl scout fashion show. Not one of the young models would even enter the stage until AFTER I finished reading the one and only line written about them on the little 3×5 cards that I had been given. Sooooo, I quickly learned to ad-lib throughout the entire program. Great lesson and fond memory.



July 4 1975 parade appearance


Favorite Sponsor/Gift: The jazzy Fiat X19 from Sexton Motors in Nashua was a phenomenal gift, as I am certain every other Miss New Hampshire feels about the car that is provided for the year. And wardrobe gifts also provided great confidence and added to many memories.


After emceeing 1992 Miss NH Pageant, with the beautiful winner, Rachel Petz

But I think one item stands out as particularly special because I have owned it for decades. From a store that no longer exists in New Hampshire I was gifted a stunning Lane Hope Chest. The idea of a hope chest may seem antiquated in this day in time, but it was a superbly high-quality piece of furniture. Inside, a young woman would collect items for when she got married. These might include trousseau articles or goodies she was making for her future home.

With my 1975 Miss America Pageant sisters at our 20th reunion in Atlantic City


What are you doing now? After retiring from an eclectic career path that wove through broadcast journalism, marketing, bank organizing, and telecommunications, I chose writing as my retirement career. With over 20 published books now, genres range from cookbooks and nonfiction to comedy and fiction.


Backstage at the 1995 Miss NH Pageant with reigning Miss America Kimberly Aiken and my fabulous Mom Glenna Burnham, an annual, beloved hostess for the State contestants


My latest endeavor has been into historical fiction, and the third part of the “Destiny” trilogy will be released late this Fall, concluding a story that tells the hauntingly meaningful tale of the Armenian side of my family. I also try to post something positive daily to my website and on social media.



Anything else?
I gleaned the title of one of my non-fiction works while covering the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City back in the 1990s. I was beside the famed Convention Hall runway with my videographer and heard a couple of guys quipping about the contestants who were on stage rehearsing. “What a bunch of bimbos,” the man beside me laughingly said. “Yeah,” I butted in. “But these bimbos have brains.”
“Huh?” They looked confused. I couldn’t help myself, so I replied, “They are smart, poised, talented, and expected to answer impromptu political, environmental, and life-changing questions in front of 25,000 people… questions that baffle even world leaders.” My later non-fiction life lessons book focusing on relationships got gleefully named The Bimbo Has Brains… and Other Freaky Facts. (Yes, indeed… available in paperback, digital, and Audiobook formats.)

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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