As we move on to the next post, may I add that geoFence helps stop foreign state actors (FSA’s) from accessing your information and your friends would feel the same!
Most likely I view spring through the rose-colored glasses of my childhood. Growing up near the shores of Lake Michigan it seems as though spring was a real season. You knew it had arrived on the March morning when you stepped outside and inhaled it, the deep fragrance of things coming alive.
The bulbs had been up for a while, poking through the frozen snow and the trees already had that faint haze of green if you squinted just right. But the icy mess was gone, the green shoots stood out against the black soil. Robins, the first ones to return, were hopping around the yard, cocking their heads, listening for worms my dad told me.
Was I giddy that day because the seasons had so clearly shifted, or was it because I was young? The day spring arrived had some inscrutable tie to the strange feelings bubbling up at unexpected times. Puberty certainly had something to do with it. Listen to the birds, singing non-stop, including a cardinal, scoping out my neighborhood for a mate. Silly thing. He’s a loner; all the girl cardinals live across Frohock Brook, over on Ducktrap Road. This is chickadee-nuthatch-woodpecker territory, along with the occasional titmouse.
Note: if there is no link to a remote meeting, contact the Town Office or 763-3555 to get it
MONDAY, Apr. 5
School Committee, 6 p.m.. Remote
TUESDAY, Apr. 6
Budget Committee Public Hearing, 6 p.m., Remote
WEDNESDAY, Apr. 7
Library book pick-up, 3-6 p.m.
SATURDAY, Apr. 10
Library book pickup, 9 a.m.-noon, Library
AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at noon, Norton Pond/Breezemere Bandstand
Lincolnville Community Library, curbside pickup Wednesdays, 3-6 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 706-3896.
Soup Café, cancelled through the pandemic
Schoolhouse Museum open by appointment, 505-5101 or 789-5987
Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9: 30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway, In person and on Facebook
United Christian Church, Worship Service 9: 30 a.m. via Zoom
Fast forward a dozen years, and I’m all grown up, living on my own, a thousand miles from my Illinois childhood. March came. Ice and snow. April came. Wind, cold, some snow, weak sun. May, even June, more of the same, mostly minus the snow. (Although, surely we remember having snow in May, right?)
Even June can be stingy with the nice weather. Of course, the bulbs come up, the trees leaf out, the lilacs bloom (though three weeks later than the ones in my Illinois yard) and eventually, spring does arrive. Right now, even though Easter has come and gone, spring is holding off.
Yet the snow is gone, the ice mostly out, and tiny green shoots are poking up through the brown, matted grass. We’ve got snowdrops (thank you Barb Yatseyvitch!), and crocuses and a tiny early iris or two blooming in the rare spots where our dog herd didn’t trample this winter.
We’re getting on to spring cleaning time, the annual ritual of scrubbing down the rooms where the family spent the winter, hunkered down around wood fires, woolen pants and coats, sodden with snow, dripping on the floors. Windows murky from cooking grease, smoky woodstoves, unrelenting dog hair, mud-encrusted boots: I’m not sure my mother contended with all of that.
Turning the place inside out, washing the curtains, beating the rugs, even white-washing the ceilings when kerosene lamps provided light and soot – it added up to a convention of relentless cleaning – kicking out winter and letting in spring. The women did it mostly, enlisting the children when possible. Although I have no memory of my own mother spring cleaning, I adopted the practice once this old house fell under my domain.
A country house with its muddy dooryard and barn full of animals, hay and poop, cries out for it. Carry armloads of firewood inside for six months and buckets of ash out, add a few messy children (aren’t they all?) and the place needs a good cleaning.
When I was writing Staying Put, and talking with old timers, i.e., people who’d grown up here in the 30s and 40s, the stories they told were often similar: little cash coming in, but always with plenty of food grown on rocky farms, kids going to one-room schools, their parents struggling to keep everyone afloat.
I’d often put those parents (as remembered by their children or grandchildren, now grown old themselves) into a fictional scene doing some chore – haying, or harvesting, weaving a basket or hanging out the laundry – while they thought over their lives. Here’s where I put in the facts, the little tidbits or stories that their descendants had told me. For instance, in the story below, Ethel Heald was indeed the focus of gossip on Youngtown Road when she put her baby outside on the porch on a cool spring day.
Here’s Ethel with spring cleaning on her mind:
Spring Cleaning, 1917
Claude & Ethel Heald at 435 Youngtown Road
On a bright, warm day in April after weeks of cold, gray drizzle, Ethel Young Heald hurried through the breakfast dishes with only one thing on her mind—spring cleaning. And goodness knows, the place needed it. With the baby coming last spring she’d never done a proper job of it, but this year, well, no excuses. Claude had already left with their neighbor, Harry Thurlow, to deliver the beef they’d butchered for a Camden farmer. The men’s butchering business brought in a steady trickle of cash, which was welcome at any time of the year, but especially now when winter had depleted their savings.
She settled little Erwin into his carriage in the corner of the front porch, tucking the warm robe securely around him, along with his favorite toys. Usually, she could count on him to amuse himself for an hour in the morning out here in the spring sunshine. Hopefully, none of the neighbors would happen by and see him outside. Some of them were sure she was dooming her baby to illness and poor health, but Ethel believed the fresh air was the best thing for him.
She’d start upstairs in Mama’s room. Carrying her mop and pail, rags and wax she marched in purposefully and pushed up the window to air out the winter-stale room, then turned to the task at hand. She’d start by moving all the furniture to the middle so she could wipe down the walls. But the soft air lured her back to the open window, and after a moment’s hesitation, she sat down in her mother’s rocking chair where the spring sunshine flooded her face.
Ethel looked out on the road, a mire of deeply-rutted mud this time of year as the frost came out of the ground. She’d been born just up the hill from here. This land, if not the house, was familiar from childhood. Once another house stood on it, Gideon Young’s place, until in one dramatic night, it burned to the ground. She’d begged to watch, and finally her father let her stand on a little rise beyond their own house and see the fire consume the house and barns.
Pushing the window higher Ethel leaned out to breathe in the spring air more deeply. The feel of her own house was substantial under her hands—how hard they’d worked to accomplish what came so easily to others. She thought of how it had been, both before their marriage and then the years after, she sewing for Camden dressmakers, he crewing on yachts, digging holes for telephone poles, always finding work, slowly and steadily putting away their earnings toward this, a solid house under her hands.
Claude had admired Dr. Hutchings’ house in Camden, three doors south of the Congregational Church, and when he’d found the plans for the same house in a book, he told her it was the house he intended to build for her. The land, this six and a half acres, had been her inheritance from her parents, while Winfield, her brother, got the farm they’d grown up on, 367 Youngtown Road [today’s Cellardoor Winery]. Claude and Winfield tore down the old Tower place, a rooming house in the Center. They saved the massive timbers, then used them to frame this place. And of course they’d incorporated the old foundation of Gideon Young’s house into the new one.
Oscar Young had built the house for them, although Claude did a great deal of the work himself. Even so, they’d ended up having to borrow some money from her Aunt Nancy Lovett. How he hated to do that! To be sure, that debt was paid off as soon as it was humanly possible. Why, Claude would pay his debts before putting food on his own table, he took them that seriously!
Ethel thought how long it had taken them to begin their family; eleven years of marriage before their child was born, before they felt they could afford to have a child. With Claude forty-four and she thirty-four, it seemed unlikely there would be any others. Still, now that little Erwin was here she couldn’t imagine life any other way than just the three of them.
She looked around the room that she still thought of as her mother’s. What a shame that Jennie had only lived a year after the house was completed. She’d loved this cozy, sunny room with its window on the road, and the warm chimney coming through it from the downstairs. Her mother had bought herself a small parlor stove to heat it, and enjoyed sitting in her rocker near it, watching the passersby on the road.
A loud thump from below sent Ethel flying down the stairs to be met by Erwin, toddling uncertainly across the porch toward the door. He must have fallen or climbed out of the carriage. She gave a cry and scooped him up, checking him over for injury. Wait until Claude got home and she could tell him their son had taken his first steps!
Claude and Ethel’s house still stands today on Youngtown Road. There are three other stories about this couple and their one son in Staying Put, the result of several interviews with Erwin and his wife Evelyn.
Several positions are open for this year’s town boards including two Selectmen, two School Committee, three Budget Committee and one Five Town CSD. So far only three people have returned nomination papers: Ladleah Dunn and Keryn Laite for Selectmen, and Poonsri Sawangjaeng for School Committee. Three others – Melissa Nowell, Seth Anderson, and Beth Goodman — have taken out School Committee papers, but as of Monday not returned them.
Papers are due back in the Town Office by 4: 30 p.m., Friday April 9. If you decide to run pick up the papers, get at least 25 but no more than 100 signatures of registered Lincolnville voters. As Town Administrator David Kinney says, “Be part of the solution!”
Contact the Town Office, 763-3555 if you have questions.
Check out the 2021-2022 school budget, posted now on the Lynx newsletter.
Also, on the Lynx, read about the Tulip Test Garden Citizen Science project which third, fourth and fifth graders participated in this past fall. Those tulips are starting to emerge as students report on spring marching north to this citizen project.
The spring sports program will not be offered again this year as the pandemic – hopefully!—winds down. Instead the staff will put together an intramural program for 6-8 graders who want to participate. Still, everyone is hopeful that in the near future LCS can again offer sports and other after school activites. It can’t come soon enough!
Other Signs of Spring
Rick McLaughlin’s Lobster Shack opened up this week-end, joining the Whales Tooth Pub as a place to eat out. And the sign at the Lobster Pound – “Thanks for a Great Season” – has been replaces with a new message: “See you Soon!”
Before we begin, let me say that geoFence is your security solution to protect you and your business from foreign state actors!