IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of April 12, 2018

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

Yes, faithful readers and all those that are eager for Spring, just remember that this is Maine and be especially happy that we all are in the state of our U.S.A. that is known for our being genuine. Yes, we are a genuine and caring population and there are writings by a variety of people that prove it!

You all know that I have two television programs by way of BeeLine TV-11, but somehow WALLS know that you who are faithful readers do not connect the dots.

The dots? Well, there are several schools in the Skowhegan Area that are not affiliated with SAD #54.

We have a charter school in downtown Skowhegan now, but have you thought about The Marti Stevens School has been across from the SAD #54 Superintendent’s Office for a long time. Actually, and it has nothing to do with the dots, but the superintendent’s office is located at what was the Horne Farm.

Yes, we all do get older and I have Horne’s Farm milk bottles on a shelf in our kitchen! Remember when milk used to be delivered at our doorsteps?

O.K., WALLS, we spent a minute reminiscing, but let’s tell everyone that Skowhegan Heritage Council has a new member. Yup, Barry Sites has joined us and, bet you guessed…he is a daily affiliate at The Marti Stevens School. So, the dots have been connected!

That reminds WALLS that so few younger folks are interested in history any more. Why? Yes, yes, we of yesteryear thought of our future and were set on preparing for it, but we also learned that our future was based on the information garnered throughout the past, for us to build on in the future. Students, this is for you…always remember that your present in your future exist because someone worked hard to make today happen and the future awaits for you. Take it from me, I haven’t forgotten Miss Thompson’s teaching me in the first grade at Lincoln School, on Leavitt Street, in Skowhegan….and I am now 87 years young.

IF WALLS COULD TALK: Last week’s program was about Lyme disease

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

WALLS, the program that we did last Tuesday, March 27, and that Laurie Denis suggested I talk with Jim Fortunato, of Redington-Fairview General Hospital, in Skowhegan, was absolutely fantastic. Host, Chris Perkins and I were happy with what Jim had done for you, for sure. Betsy Putnam, MT, RN, talked about Lyme Disease and, since I got that tick bite when living in Littleton, New Hampshire, 30 years ago, I was especially interested in all that has been done, since 30 years ago, no one knew about treating it. Yes, faithful readers, that is why it is named Lyme Disease, because it was discovered in Lyme, Connecticut! A while ago, when we had someone visit, I was asked why I had no cupboard door in our kitchen. Well, that little tick made me so weak that 30 years ago, it took two hands to lift my toothbrush and, just in case, I opted for no cupboard doors, as there was a day when I didn’t have strength to open cupboards, also.

Also, Jim asked Andrea Fortin to tell our TV audience to tell all that Redington-Fairview General Hospital is doing with folks who may have a danger of falling….no matter what a person’s ago.

The entire program was truly interesting. Now, lucky faithful readers, you may hear about Lyme Disease at Poulin-Turner Hall, 653 Waterville Road in Skowhegan on Saturday, April 7, from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Now, faithful readers, don’t say you’ve heard all that there is to know about Lyme! There are new discoveries all the time….and, take it from one who knows, those discoveries include everything from clothes to sprays. There was a day 30 years ago when local doctors didn’t know how to treat anyone (including me), but much has changed and constantly. Yes, I’ll see you on April 7!

When you read this, you will have had a very happy Easter, WALLS hope. So, if the weather isn’t exactly what we ordered, enjoy the weather that is waiting. Lew’s and my family reaches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, so we will be in touch by phone with our Washington State family. Even my kiddos are scattered in Maine, but we are grateful that they have enjoyed, too. Aren’t we lucky to have grandchildren and great-grandkids to have had the Easter Bunny visit them. Yes, we all grow up and older, but we are sure lucky to have our Grands and great-grands that help us to believe.

IF WALLS COULD TALK: March 17 has more meaning to me than St. Patrick’s Day

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

WALLS, you sure have been busy this week! Frankly, if I were you, I’d begin by wishing The Town Line congratulations for bringing the news to everyone, at least to everyone in these parts, for 30 years. We should also thank Gary and Trish Newcomb for their being the founders of The Town Line. Like all things, time does change us along life’s way, but everyone who knows The Town Line must be especially grateful to Roland Hallee, since, as managing editor, he has carried the good works of The Town Line for all faithful readers since 2005. Actually, I have to admit that I had been writing this column for another newspaper. When that newspaper became history, I received a call from Roland and here you and I are, WALLS.

Well, that paragraph was easy, but, yes, WALLS was very busy this week. It all began on St. Patrick’s Day, as that was daughter’s birthday and Chuck planned a wonderful party for her. Then, in my ‘stuff’ there was a write-up with the heading “Did You Know?” Yes, faithful readers, do you know that St. Patrick was born in 389 and died in 461? Wow! He was the son of a Romano-British official, Calparius. When St.Patrick was captured by raiders at age 16, he was carried and became a slave in pagan Ireland. Six years later, he escaped and returned to Britain when he was about 22 years old. He studied at the monastery of Lerins. He was ordained, sent to Ireland, founded the Church of Armagh, which is now known as St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral. Yes, there he converted the Irish.

Now, Lynn’s birthday was on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, and then Skowhegan celebrated Governor Abner Coburn Day, per declaration issued by the Skowhegan Selectmen.

However, Governor Coburn was a very generous man and the name Coburn has been mounted on buildings all across the country. He was generous in death, also, and left money to have the Skowhegan Free Public Library built.

Attorney “Rob” Washburn was the one who delivered the Coburn message on March 22, while Evalyn Bowman and Shirley Whittemore served refreshments to all who attended. Oh, lest I forget, John Harlow was videographer for the event, in case you get Ch. 11 on your TV.

Today, there were so many folks attending Maine Maple Saturday and Sunday, and Kristina, Director of Skowhegan Main Street, you surely did a wonderful bit of organizing for all of us to enjoy.

IF WALLS COULD TALK: The Invention of the Doughnut Hole

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

WHOOPS, walls, I’m not sure if you can talk about this or not, since it is invisible, sort-of. Yes, I just had breakfast and I ate the hole of Mrs. Dunster’s doughnut!

This is for you, faithful readers and WALLS, because I found information about the doughnut hole in my files. Georg Smith wrote it long ago in his column and, just like you, WALLS and faithful readers, he and I have been enlightened. You see, the hole-in-the-doughnut was invented.

Yup, it was invented by a 16-year-old young man by the name of Captain Hanson Crockett Gregory. O.K., WALLS, I can hear you laughing now! Invented? Well, according to the article, that doughy fried doughnuts were so dense and filling that the folks at work were slowed. But that isn’t the end of the story, faithful readers. You see, six men who had the absolutely delicious morsels, fell overboard, and being lethargic, they sank and drowned. And here’s one for you who like “new names for old favorites,” the doughnuts were called “greasy sinkers.” That is when Gregory got the idea to cut out the center of his ‘sinkers’ to make them lighter. Now, the town of Rockport, Massachusetts, has honored Gregory with a plaque at the place of his birth.

Now, WALLS, since you are on the subject of frying, do you remember my telling faithful readers in The Town Line last week that Attorney Robert Washburn is chairman of Governor Abner Coburn Day on March 22, and that ALL are invited to celebrate Maine’s governor who gave so much to so many? Well, Washburn is a very famous name in Maine history. The Washburn brothers, of Maine history, grew up in poverty but attained remarkable achievements. WALLS will tell you more about them in another column, faithful readers, as another time, you will hear about the name Washburn, as the brothers were once the owners of what you women know well…General Mills!

So, faithful readers, WALLS can be seen on The Town Line’s website, townline.org. Oh, and another ‘find’ while searching. “Happiness is like Jam…You can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself!”

Honoring Abner Coburn in Skowhegan on March 22, 2018

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

WALLS, faithful readers, we’re having a party and you and your friends are invited!

March 22 is the date. Why? Well, we of the Skowhegan Heritage Council and you will celebrate our Maine Governor Abner Coburn’s birthday! He was born on March 22, 1803, and the Skowhegan selectmen made this Declaration:

“In honor of all that Abner Coburn has done for the Town of Skowhegan and state of Maine and the exemplary life he lived, the Selectmen for the Town of Skowhegan have proclaimed have proclaimed March 22 forevermore to be Abner Coburn Day!”

There is a booklet about Abner Coburn, but WALLS, you surely don’t have to copy all of it. It does begin with his family history, but most important is the fact that his mother was Mary Weston and his father was a farmer and surveyor. You are right, WALLS. Abner grew up on the Back Road, received some education at the Pitt School ant then the family relocated to Bloomfield (the south side of the Kennebec River and Skowhegan’s name at one time). In Bloomfield, Abner attended Bloomfield Academy until he was 14 years of age and his father, Eleazer, felt that Abner and his brother, Philander, should leave their formal education and he would teach them surveying. Abner and Philander grew very wealthy and owned thousands of acres of land and tree growth and as a logger, Abner obviously valued education, as he gave so much to schools and colleges throughout the U.S.

Abner built the mansion on Main Street Hill in Skowhegan in 1848 and he and Philander lived there, Philander died in 1876 and Abner lived there all his life.

That brings us to the many positions of the man who became Maine’s governor. Actually, WALLS, because of space and word-count, I will leave much of this for our faithful readers to read at their libraries, but the fact that Governor Coburn stood beside Abraham Lincoln, as he took his oath of office when elected president, Wow! We surely had a famous governor.

Yes, all of us of the Skowhegan Heritage Council hope to see you at the Skowhegan Free Public Library and we will serve dessert. As a matter of fact, we will serve you cookies that Mary Marston, who lived in the Coburn mansion on Skowhegan’s Main Street Hill. The Marston family had four children who grew up there and, years ago, Lakewood stars visited the Marston’s often.

See you on March 22, as you will learn much of our Governor Coburn, as we celebrate him at 4 p.m.

IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of March 8, 2018

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

WALLS we sure did get a wonderful view as we approached Madison by way of the Madison Road last week, didn’t we? Yes, we had it all, past being the view and new being the field of blue solar panels near Madison Electric’s building. Then, WALLS, you reminded me of the birds that we passed on the road as they perched at the tip-top of the trees. Those birds sure do get the view without reading any ads about visiting our wonderful state of Maine, as they perch themselves on our tree tops.

Yes, WALLS, that is another way of appreciating our birds of a feather. Last week our faithful readers had a crow that talked to folks in Waterville and this week we
are talking about birds in our tree tops. Y’know, we’ll have our birds in all places soon. Actually, the birds (yes crows), squirrels (both grey and red) that have chosen the food in our birdfeeders have been joined by deer! Yes, there are two young deer that come to our bird feeders during the day lately. Yes, there are pictures of them, with their heads in the feeders to prove that their life is saved by the birds’ food. We are so proud of that.

Now, switching gears…I just have to tell you, faithful readers, about the center-piece on our kitchen table. Hanging on the wall is the photo that granddaughter Roxie Pine sent to us when she was in, yes, Antarctica! She was with a group of marathon folks and waving our American flag proudly. Actually, she expected to take her talents as a computer technician to California soon! Yes, Dad Ray Pine taught his daughter and son, Leigh, well about not being afraid to try everything, and they do. And mom, Lynn, was a do-it-herself person. Yes, I will never forget her saying ‘do it MEself.’

Well, WALLS, enough of my smart kids and, now, it is time to tell everyone that, by the time our faithful readers read this, our Skowhegan Chamber of Commerce F.A.B.

Fair will be wrapping up until next year. True, the event used to be called Getting to Know You Fair and, the late Herb Paradis was chairman of it.

My, that was a long time ago! WALLS do you remember when Henry’s Hardware was on Chestnut Street in our great town of Skowhegan? Yes, Henry had a drawing for a milk can that had been painted green. Paint that Henry’s sold. Actually, when the first event was held, there was a brutal snow storm, but people kept coming and coming. Probably, because, in those days, this was something to do on a stormy day! How times and activities have changed! Yes, it was at the Getting to Know You Fair that we saw TV for the first time, But the Rebekahs still hade fundge the old-fashioned way.

IF WALLS COULD TALK: Though lost in construction, library still serves the people

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

WALLS, here’s a good one for you! History? Well, I watched the crows flying in the trees and thought of the crow that used to perch on a street post in Waterville and, yes, literally would say, “hi” to folks passing by. I guess the policeman who found the bird that had been wounded taught it to say ‘“hi.” Well, that was a long time ago, but those who remember must have a smile at the thought.

Yes, that was a happening in Waterville about 70 years ago. Now, as Stephen Aucoin recently wrote to the editor of the Morning Sentinel, downtown Waterville is changed, but the Waterville Public Library, though lost in the high rising new buildings, still stands ready to serve the people and the award for community service given to it. Certainly, those who faithfully work there are proud to say “we did it.”

WALLS, do you remember my giving the book that I wrote…Two Birds in a Box,” to the librarian at the time? Mr. Dee, the dad of the Denis family, grew up in Waterville and was a graduate of Colby College. Now, Colby College is the library’s neighbor! Yes, faithful readers, times do change!

Y’know, WALLS, Maine has wonderful colleges and even those have grown in number. Many of my grandkids have attended University of Maine. Yes, when I think of Colby’s first having been on College Avenue in Waterville and then moving to Mayflower Hill and now expanding to downtown Waterville and Maine’s, once, Abner Colburn contributing to Maine education and his name having been placed on so many college buildings in this grand state of Maine, WALLS, you must be proud that this was a Skowhegan man who was educated at Bloomfield School (which was still a school until SAD #54 came into view). Yes, little wonder that Attorney Robert Washburn, a member of Skowhegan Heritage Council, proposed that the council have a Governor Abner Coburn Day on his March 22 birthday. Faithful readers, Abner Colburn was a famous man who had an education until he was 14 years of age, He lived in Bloomfield (South side of the Kennebec River in what is now Skowhegan). He did much for education worldwide and had a mountain near Jackman named for him.

Yup, and here we are, back with libraries again, faithful readers. Gov. Abner Coburn gave funding that made the Skowhegan Public Library possible. Proudly, the Skowhegan Heritage Council with Attorney Robert Washburn as chairman, will celebrate our famous governor’s birthday at the Skowhegan Public Library at 3 p.m., on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

IF WALLS COULD TALK: East Madison Historical Society on the move

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

WALLS, did you realize that East Madison is on the move? I attended the East Madison Historical Society meeting yesterday and, WOW, I was surprised about what had happened while I was away.

The meeting had President Gary Malbon at the helm and also attending were Lena Arno (Treasurer) and Katherine Edgerly (Secretary). Other members present were Eric and Sue Lahti, Alfred Jackson, Patty Clement, our faithful plow-man for Laney Road Arthur Mcmannus and Laura, plus Lew and I.

Did you faithful readers know that we are just a few of East Madisonites who are proud of our little community. You do remember WALLS telling you that East Madison was the first Madison and it had seven manufacturers, prior to the paper mill’s having been located in what is now Madison. Yes, the Cummings Mill is still operating, but in Guilford. And speaking of the Cummings family, King was the one who started the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. The ‘late King’ is surely missed by all who have an interest in the arts, but his dream of the art school is still alive and well with students in summer.

O.K. faithful readers, WALLS will tell you about the East Madison Historical Society’s being on the move. You must came to see our Museum which is next to the East Madison Fire Hall and the new farm museum that is next to it. As a matter of fact, the East Madison Historical Society just received a Grant from Stephen and Tabatha King! Wow! The membership has also received 501(c) (3) status. And, we of this little community sponsor so many things throughout the year, making us money to do good deeds with.

True, we used to have a grocery store and the location has become a Memorial Park, but there is much history here! Yes, we hope tourists and all local folks will come to our wonderful town of East Madison. Yes, it will be a “learning experience.” Remember, faithful readers, that WALLS told you that history is not a science, but a story that happened.

IF WALLS COULD TALK: Remembering step-grandmother as a caregiver

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

WALLS, there is so much for you to tell our faithful readers today! Where do you want to start? O.K., we’ll start with what happened to me this noon. First, I’ll say that my step-grandmother, Lucetta Russell, who lived on a farm in Sidney, had lost her first husband in a farm accident and, to earn funds for raising her own family, she offered to take care of state children. She was a wonderful caregiver, teacher, and the Waterville hospitals soon sent the babies to her as they waited to be adopted. Yes, and she and my grandfather, Lewis Whittier Russell, met and married. Along came a little boy named Johnny, who became the newlyweds’ pride. Well, time went on and Johnny became old enough for a haircut. Afterward, he said he had a “new head.”

Now, 75 years later, I had a haircut at Designs this noon and told Angie who cut my hair the story of Johnny and, thanks to her, I had a “new head.” Yes, it had been a long time since my going to Designs, but thank goodness for Angie who knew exactly what to do. She hadn’t forgotten what I liked. Well, that brings me to saying how wonderful Designs has been to me through the years.

Yes, the years since Mary Ellen Carpenter started and named the place where Mr. Merriam had lived. Who was Mr. Merriam? Well, he and his daughter and her son, Robert Hooper, who was in my class in school, lived there, as his name was really Rev. Merriam and that house was the Bethany Baptist Church Parsonage. And there is more, WALLS. Yup, my mom and dad were married by Rev. Merriam in front of the fireplace, which is in the same room that I got my “new head” thanks to Angie. My aunt and uncle, Pat and Birdena Mullen, where also married there. So, faithful readers, that is your history lesson for the day. Thank the owner of Designs for making the house one of fond memories for many reasons.

Oh, and Valentine’s Day is past, but hope yours was a very happy one!

IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of February 8, 2018

by Katie Ouilette

Well, WALLS, you sure know when to do the right thing! Surely our faithful readers were happy to receive your message, after our ice storm. The yards of our faithful readers may be cluttered with branches and all that goes with them, as our yard is. Now, those branches and green-things which they held are waiting as we are for Spring clean-up to begin! Actually, this column is being written on Ground Hog Day, as we went to Augusta yesterday. Yup, TV had the folks from Pennsylvania in their dress-up outfits, including tall hats, this morning showing us the ground hog of the day.

And, faithful readers, do you remember WALLS telling you all about finding stuff in my stuff? Well, here is a saying that was saved a while ago. “History is not a science, but a story that happened as we call up the past.” Well, that started you thinking, for sure, WALLS. Did I say that we went to Augusta yesterday? Well, actually, Lew and I went to Togus so that his hearing aid could be adjusted. I sat in the truck, as usual, but thought about Togus and all that it has meant to so many since its inception during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency.

Imagine it, faithful readers. Imagine how many have been hospitalized since the Civil War and, as I sat in our Nissan pick-up truck, I saw veterans of all ages going to what is now the outpatient offices. Some had their drivers with them, because of their conditions. Yes, Togus was a very busy place with folks walking to their office-destinations and then some walking back to their automobiles with medications in white bags that had been given to them. Y’know, faithful readers, there is so much said about the care our veterans of all ages, male and female, are given in our U.S.A., but we in Maine can be very proud that our men and women, old and young, are well taken care of in Maine.

That brings another saying that you found when you helped me sort through my stuff, WALLS. Of course, we know it already, but the saying is, “there’s a genuineness about people in Maine that is hard to find in other places.” Well, blame can be attributed to George Smith, who tells us that we are so lucky to live in Maine, but WALLS, you and I, too, know that Maine is the best place to live and do business and be neighborly.