REVIEW POTPOURRI – Violin Concertos; Singer: Don Williams; Movie: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Bjarne Brustad

Violin Concerto No. 4

William Walton

Violin Concerto

Bjarne Brustad

Camilla Wicks, violin, with Herbert Blomstedt and Yuri Somonov conducting the Oslo Philharmonic, Simax PSC 1185, CD, live broadcasts.

Sir William Walton

The 4th Violin Concerto of Bjarne Brustad (1895-1978), one of Nor­way’s leading 20th century composers, is a meandering exercise full of dramatic, pounding chords that go no­where; the only Violin Concerto of Sir Wil­liam Wal­ton (1901-1983) is an exciting example of perky, exotic rhythms and emotionally wistful poetry that, for me, gets better with every hearing. Both performances are as fine as is usually the case with the wonderful violinist, Camilla Wicks, and conductors Herbert Blomstedt in the 1968 broadcast of Brustad and Yuri Simonov in a 1985 one of Walton.

Wicks, now 89 and retired since 2005, made her debut playing a Mozart Concerto at 7.

Don Williams

Country Boy
MCA, MCAC-37232, cassette, released 1977.

Don Williams

I first encountered Don Williams (1939-2017) as part of Pozo Seco, an exquisitely accomplished duo that included another singer, Susan Taylor, and in 1969, when I was a high school senior . They released an LP, Shades of Time, consisting of a folk­/country assortment of very fine songs that were finely performed – I have owned a few copies over the last 50 years because I kept letting them go to others.

When he became a purely country singer, I still liked the smoothly soothing voice and delivery but thought the songs were mainly so-so or, at best, okay, thus losing interest in him.

Country Boy, a 1977 studio album was the usual assortment of his trademark love ballads and did not sustain my interest. However, his integrity and personality were of the highest calibre throughout his phenomenally successful career. He was a model husband to his wife of 57 years and wonderful father to two sons!

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World

starring Spencer Tracy, Phil Silvers, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Jimmy Durante, Three Stooges and almost every other comedian and numerous actors and actresses alive in 1963; directed by Stanley Kramer; approximately 3 hours, DVD.

This is the funniest, longest, most expensive and most profitable comedy ever produced in cinema history. I have seen it at least 20 times and still laugh myself into a strait jacket.

A few examples of its humor – Buddy Hackett and Rooney in an airplane with the drunk pilot, Jim Backus, knocked out; Jonathan Winters single-handedly destroying a garage; Jimmy Durante driving 1 mph around hairpin curves with no railings and weaving on both sides and several dozen greedheads on a rickety ten-story fire ladder! One final funny – arch con man Phil Silvers licking his smiling cobra chops and spewing, “Try me – I’m gullible!”

Best watched in two or three installments or you will be laughed out!

PAGES IN TIME: St. Denis Church observes 200th anniversary

Peter Taylor, from the town of Washington, has attended St. Denis Church, in Whitefield, for 40 years, and for him, there is no place like it.

“I just feel the Holy Spirit in this building,” he said. “It’s the community that brings that feeling to me.”

Al Parker, who has attended the church for more than a quarter century feels similarly. He said he used to travel around the country and the world for his work, but none of the churches he found compared to St. Denis.

“St. Denis is very, very unique. The people there are unbelievable. The community that we have is second to none,” he said.

Taylor and Parker were among the many parishioners who filled St. Denis Church on Sunday, June 10, to commemorate the church’s 200th anniversary. Bishop Robert Deeley celebrated the anniversary Mass (20 pictures below).

“The records of history show that there was only a small Catholic community here in Whitefield when Bishop Cheverus, then Bishop of Boston, of which Maine was a part, visited in 1812. There were perhaps five Catholics. Five years later, however, the reality was quite different. The rich farmland of the Sheepscot River Valley, available for a reasonable price, had drawn many Irish immigrants who had come to America seeking a new way of life, just as immigrants do today,” the bishop recounted in his homily.

St. Denis Church, originally spelled with two “n’s”, is the second oldest Catholic church in New England, predated only by St. Patrick Church in Newcastle. The church got its start when Father Dennis Ryan, who had been assigned pastor of St. Patrick by Bishop Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus in 1818, recognized the growing population in Whitefield and chose to move there.

Work on the first church began that same year, and it was consecrated by Bishop Cheverus in 1822. The original church was a white, wood-framed building with no pews. People would stand or kneel on the floor.

“The first settlers knew they needed their faith, and their faith was not their own. It needed a community and a place to celebrate Mass. They knew the meaning they derived from the love of God they experienced in their relationship with Jesus. They wanted to nurture that for themselves in the harshness of winter in a new place, and they wanted to hand it on to their children. It is the legacy they passed on to you. You and I are now the brothers and sisters of Jesus in this place,” the bishop said.

The church community continued to thrive, and in the 1830s, the Irish Catholic population of the parish had grown to nearly 1,200. Unfortunately, the church also wasn’t well maintained, which caught the attention of Bishop Benedict Fenwick, the second Bishop of Boston, who visited in 1832. He urged the community to build another church, and the following year, work on the current church began.

“The Irish Catholics wanted the new church to be on the same spot as the old church, so they put the bricks right over and around the wooden church, so they still had a place to go to church,” said Libby Harmon, a longtime parishioner who researched the history and was one of the organizers of the celebration. “When they got the walls and the roof of the new brick church done, they then disassembled the wooden church and took it out through the front doors.”

The new church was consecrated by Bishop Fenwick in 1838. At the time, it was Maine’s largest Catholic church building, as well as having the largest congregation.

The church was designed like a typical New England meetinghouse, an appearance it retains today. Among the changes along the way, however, was a new Italianate-style tower, which replaced the old belfry in 1862. Around 1890, stained-glass windows were added, the sanctuary was enlarged, and decorative work was added to the walls and ceiling.

In 1976, it was entered on the National Register of Historic Places. The church underwent a major restoration beginning in 1997.

“It’s quite a quaint building, very nostalgic, old, but very comforting. It’s a very nice place to worship,” said Parker.

St. Denis Church is now part of St. Michael Parish in Augusta, but it has maintained its rural character, as well as its loyal congregation.

“I think one of the things that maybe is special for us is that families come from surrounding communities. It’s not like being in the city where everybody is right here. People come from afar to come here,” said Mary Caswell, whose ties to the church span four generations, since her great grandparents immigrated from Ireland. “We’ve had, over the years, to be very independent.”

“My mother, she brought us up here, and I still live in this area. It’s just very special,” said Louise Reed, Caswell’s sister.

“It’s very nice. Wonderful, wonderful people,” said Anne Springer, age 102.

The church was full for the Mass, as was the parish hall for a celebratory brunch.

“I’m just very, very happy to be part of this 200th, because it is so significant in the history of the Church in Maine,” said Father Frank Morin, pastor of St. Michael Parish. “People really supported it, and I’m very happy that we gave them the opportunity to appreciate again their heritage, especially the descendants of the original families, several of whom are here and who have not forgotten their roots.”

Among those in attendance were several Sisters of Mercy. From 1871 to 1888, the Sisters of Mercy ran an orphanage at a convent across the street from the church and also taught schoolchildren. Several sisters are buried in the church’s historic cemetery.

Concelebrating the Mass with the bishop was Father Morin; Monsignor J. Joseph Ford, a native son of the parish; Father Ralph Boisvert, who formerly served there; and Father Roger Chabot. Father Arokiasamy Santhiyagu, HGN, a parochial vicar of St. Michael Parish, joined the gathering for the reception.

As the St. Denis community celebrates its 200th anniversary, the bishop stressed the importance of continuing to gather for the celebration of the Eucharist, which is why the church was first built.

“As we begin the third century of Catholic life in this valley, it is a good opportunity to ask God for the grace we need to be faithful to Jesus’ invitation to be part of his family, ‘whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’ If we do that together as Church, the Lord will be with us, and we will bring the light of Jesus’ message into our world,” the bishop said.

China resident sworn in as new state police chief

John Cote, left. (Contributed photo)

John Cote, of China, was recently sworn in as Chief of the Maine State Police. Cote, a 29-year veteran, has served as deputy chief for the past two years and is the former commanding officer for Troop F, in Houlton. He spent the majority of his career in Aroostook County. He also served several years as a Detective-Sergeant investigating homicides.

He was sworn into office by Governor LePage in the governor’s cabinet room in front of a roomful of family and co-workers. His badge was pinned on by his 82-year-old father, Morris Cote, of Houlton.

Veteran Messalonskee bus driver retires

Donna Pullen

by Dan Cassidy

Donna Pullen, a 51-year veteran school bus driver for RSU #18 Messalonskee School Department was treated to a surprise retirement party by her fellow bus drivers and supervisors recently. She plans to retire at the end of this school year.

Pullen began her employment in the nutrition department at the school. She was asked several times to become a bus driver, but she always responded that she could not drive a bus. However, in 1967, after many requests, she began her driving career.

“She has gone through three generations of kids,” according to Lennie Goff, Transportation Director of RSU #18. “She drove summer trips and has not stopped,” he said.

“Donna has always had the perfect words at the perfect time to help me feel better about myself when I began as transportation coordinator almost four years ago,” Shannon Bizier said.

Pullen, who resides in Oakland, has been very active in her community affairs. She has served as a public servant, worked on the budget committee, and served on the Fire Department Auxiliary. She was also named Driver of the Year in 2015. “Donna has gone above and beyond,” Goff said.

Mike Perkins, State Representative presented her with a Legislative Sentiment from the 128th Legislature at the celebration. Perkins is also Safety Officer of RSU 18.

Vassalboro Community School Principal Dianna Gram retires after 24 years

Retiring VCS Principal Dianna Gram, left, greets children at the start of a new school day with in-coming Principal Megan Allen. (Photo courtesy of Mary Grow)

by Mary Grow

Principal Dianna Gram is retiring from Vassalboro Community School this month with mixed feelings.

She expects to miss people she’s worked with over more than two decades, especially the students.

But she’s totally confident incoming principal Megan Allen is the right person to succeed her. “I have a great sense of relief and pride in her similar values,” Gram said, predicting a smooth transition.

As we talked in the principal’s office one afternoon after classes were over, those shared values kept coming up.

For example, both women prefer the school when it’s full of students, not almost quiet as it was then. “It isn’t a real place,” without students, Gram said, and Allen called it “kind of eerie.”

Both talked about the unusual atmosphere at the school – a real community, to both of them. Whole families go through the grades, and now Gram is seeing the children of former students.

Allen referred to “something different you feel when you walk through the door” – nothing she can define, but an environment and culture she has every intention of preserving.

Students walking through the door in the morning are apt to see Gram first thing, as she habitually meets them in the lobby. If a student looks distressed, Gram is likely to pull him or her aside and see if she can find out what’s wrong and take care of it.

Sometimes, she said, she gets an immediate reaction. Other times, Allen said, the student will come to an adult a few days later to talk about the issue.

Sometimes, too, a bus driver will notice a child acting unhappy and will call ahead to ask Gram to check.

VCS is not perfect. Gram admits there are problems, including bullying. But, she said, school adults try to be proactive, for example by having the school counselor spend time in classrooms. Students are encouraged to speak up if they see something wrong, to an adult or to other students. Discipline is used when necessary.

Students are surveyed every year, Gram said. Typically, 90 percent or more say they feel safe at VCS, and almost every student knows an adult to go to if he or she needs help.

Kindness is one of the values stressed at VCS. At the beginning of each school year, students are encouraged to report acts of kindness; the benefactor’s name is written on a piece of paper and the papers hung on the kindness tree in the rotunda for the year.

Two other positive comments were, from Gram, that teachers feel empowered to suggest and try out new ideas, like the Citizen of the Month program started by a former teacher and still going strong; and from Allen, a Vassalboro resident, that people are friendly and respectful when they meet her off-duty, in the supermarket or at the transfer station.

Residents’ interest in their children’s school is obvious. Gram said this year’s 16 pre-kindergarten students had 127 family members and other guests signed up for their graduation ceremony. The annual eighth-grade graduation is held at the China Lake Conference Center, where attendees’ cars fill every parking space and line both sides of the road for half a mile, because VCS is too small to accommodate the crowd.

Dianna Gram, left, retires as principal of Vassalboro Community School this month.

Allen has been at VCS since 2008, starting as a third-grade teacher and moving to grades six, seven and eight. Meanwhile she earned a master’s degree from New England College, a doctorate in educational leadership and management from Capella University and has almost earned her principal’s certificate – she will take two more courses this summer to move from provisional to full certification.

Gram has been at the school 24 years, as special education director, assistant principal and principal. She leaves behind two specific items, in addition to the school’s reputation and the pre-kindergarten program she initiated.

One is the pink flamingo in the front garden. Gram’s “thing” is flamingos; so the 2017-18 school yearbook has flamingos from cover to cover, and many of the gifts filling her office are flamingo-themed. A special gift is a bag autographed by every student, presented at an assembly June 13 that was a total surprise; Gram still shakes her head in amazement as she realizes that everyone gathered in the auditorium while she was unsuspecting in her office.

The other souvenir is Gram’s grandmother’s wooden kitchen table, under a tablecloth in front of her desk, where she has resolved innumerable problems “sitting around the kitchen table.” Asked if she was taking it with her, she said “No, it’s staying for Megan.”

Ashley Carver graduates from Becker College

Becker College’s Commence­ment ceremony was held on May 5, in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Ashley Carver, of Sidney, graduated with honors with an associates degree in veterinary science.

Winslow resident makes dean’s list at Tufts University

Cody Lambert, of Winslow, was recognized for earning a spot on the Spring 2018 dean’s list at Tufts University, in Medford/­Som­er­ville, Massachusetts.

IF WALLS COULD TALK: Whew! Am I glad that fishing trip is over

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

Whew, WALLS, thank goodness, the annual fishing trip is over. Nope, WALLS, I didn’t want any, but I am sure the boys (including Lew) had their fill of trout at Camp Wapiti, in Patton, (Aroostook County), even though they left on Sunday and returned on Wednesday. They had arranged their flights from Washington State so that they had time visiting family.

Camp Wapiti? Well, the new owners had done the camps over and….and….it is on one of the few lakes that allow fishing with worms! It is true that the Lodge at Lake Parlin was wonderful, but Lew really wanted to fish with worms this year. The fish? Trout, really all sizes from one pound to three pounds! Grandson Matt prepared some wonderful stuffed baked trout on the grill, we were told.

Who went with Lew? Well, Mac McDormond, from Turner, a wonderful friend of the family; sons Nick and Dean, and grandson Matt. All the women divided their time between the David Loubier family at their camp, in Winslow, and me at Lake Wesserunsett. I hadn’t seen Olive and Frances and their mom, Heather, since the children were babies and they were very busy coloring pictures for us to enjoy until more memories are created when they return. Yes, these room are sure quiet since everyone had gone back to Washington State.

One of the memories for Donna was the knitted stockings on the moose next to Gifford’s Ice Cream, as one starts up the East Madison Road. Now, Katrina, were those stockings made especially for the moose so that the moose will attract attention on Skowhegan’s big weekend that was held at Skowhegan Fairgrounds.

Obituaries, Week of June 21, 2018

ELIZABETH E. TUTTLE

WINSLOW––Elizabeth E. (DeRaps) Tuttle, 77, passed away Sunday, May 27, 2018, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta. She was born December 21, 1940, in Waterville, the daughter of Leo E. Sr. and Martha L. (Muzzeroll) DeRaps.

On August 3, 1986, she married Roland Tuttle, Sr., in Waterville. Over the years, Elizabeth was employed in several jobs, but she most enjoyed working for over 13 years with children at the Seton Adolescent Center, in Waterville, until retirement in 2005. She was a member of the Second Baptist Church, in Waterville, for over 25 years where she played the organ and sang in nearly every service. She was also a member of the Busy Bees, a ladies’ group at church.

Elizabeth was a devoted and dedicated wife and mother to her own family and also became a mother to whoever needed one. She was an avid crafter, including knitting, crocheting, embroidery; she loved making afghans, patchwork quilts, countless hats, mittens and slippers.

She was predeceased by her parents, Leo and Martha DeRaps, Sr. and a brother, Leo DeRaps Jr.

She is survived by her husband of 31 years, Roland E. Tuttle, Sr., of Winslow; three daughters, Deborah French, of Chelsea, Melony Fortin, of Oakland, and Susan Hixon and partner Ric Marshall, of Fairfield; stepson, Roland Tuttle, Jr. and wife Theresa, of Fairfield; brother, Gerald DeRaps and partner Kathy, of Winslow; 11 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; several nieces, nephews and their families.

A graveside service will be held, Sunday, June 24, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. at Howard Cemetery, Rte. 201 in Winslow with Bill Gilbert and Bill Lawrence officiating. A Celebration of Life will follow at the Second Baptist Church, Waterville.

Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan ME 04976.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Elizabeth’s memory to: MaineGeneral Health, Office of Philanthropy, P.O. Box 828, Waterville ME 04903-0828.

PEARL M. HAMILTON

ALBION––Pearl Maxine Haskell Hamilton, 92, passed away Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at MaineGeneral Medical Center, in Augusta, from complications from a fall. She was born in Benton on January 16, 1926, the eldest daughter of the late Wellman and Lucy Fuller Haskell.

Pearl graduated from Besse High School, in Albion, was a member of the Shawmut Chapel and Branch Mills Grange. She worked for 26 years at the Hinckley Post Office, twelve of them as postmaster, retiring in 1992.

Over the years, Pearl enjoyed gardening, canning and pickling. During the summer she like to travel to the coast with family and friends for lobster dinners. And in recent years, she most enjoyed her rides :”around the block.”

She was predeceased by her parents; brothers, Clayton Haskell, Jack Haskell, Joe Haskell, Billy Haskell; and sister, Peggy Jones.

She is survived by her sons, Sonny Hamilton and wife, Jane, and David Hamilton and his wife, Mickey, all of Albion; her brother, Stephen Haskell and his partner, Donna Rte; and sister, Rosalie Rood; grandchildren, Rachel Crommett, Matthew Hamilton, Mark Hamilton, Chad Hamilton, Jason Hamilton, Holli Merry and Molli Rainey; 12 great-grandchildren; and seven great-great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews.

Memories and condolences may be shared at www.directcremationofmaine.com.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Pearl’s memory may be made to: The Make-A-Wish Foundation, 66 Mussey Road, Scarborough ME 04074.

NANCY L. PERKINS

CHINA LAKE––Nancy L. Perkins, 84, passed away on Tuesday, June 11, 2018, at Bedside Manor, in Oakland, following a 14 month battle with the debilitating disease of Lewy Body dementia. Nancy was born in Portland to Irving and Ethel Pope on October 21, 1933. She graduated from Falmouth High School as valedictorian of her class in 1951. She continued her education at Boston University and graduated in three years to become a registered nurse.

Nancy began her professional career as a teaching nurse at Maine Medical Center, in Portland, in 1955 and after marrying her husband, she followed him in his teaching career, while raising their two sons, living in Foxboro, Massachusetts, Standish, and Rockport. Finally in 1968, she moved to her much loved final home on China Lake. After taking time off to raise her sons, Nancy then worked with her husband for over 20 years running Carroll Perkins Associates where she was a very successful residential real estate broker who was well respected by those who worked with her and knew her. She retired in early 1995 when her husband of 38 years, Carroll F. Perkins, became ill and she tended to him until he passed in September 1995 in their China Lake home.

Although saddened by the loss of Carroll, her faith in God, and the love of her family and friends sustained her and she continued to live strongly and build on the great life she had lived with her husband. She loved singing in the Choir at the Waterville United Church of Christ and having weekly bridge games with some special friends. She also loved to travel, enjoying many trips to numerous parts of the world whether by plane, train, or cruise. She was fortunate to have some special friends whom she loved very much to travel with. She would also spend every winter at her condo on the beach in Isle of Palms, South Carolina, where two other long time family friends also had condos, and she would relish time there with them.

Most of all though, her greatest joys were her grandchildren Matthew and Jenna. She took them each on many special camping and other trips throughout Maine. She also loved following the sports her grandson played, especially during his high school years where she never missed a single game. Her devotion was so strong she would even put off her travels south until the basketball season was over.

Besides her husband Carroll, Nancy was predeceased by her parents and her sister Elizabeth Haggerty.

Nancy is survived by her sons Scott, of China, Gregg and his wife Susan, of Fairfield, and their children Matthew and Jenna; and many extended family members.

Please visit www.veilleuxfuneralhome.com to view a video collage of Nancy’s life and to share condolences, memories and tributes with her family.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Nancy’s memory can be made to: Waterville U.C.C., 7 Eustis Parkway, Waterville ME 04901.

SANDRA K. UPHAM

WINSLOW––Sandra Katherine (Wadlin) Upham, 80, passed away on Friday, June 8, 2018. Sandra was born on September 2, 1937, to Richard I. Wadlin and Doris Roberts.

She spent her early years in the care of her grandmother, moving to Waterville her sophomore year of high school, and graduating in 1955.

She married Richard D. Upham on January 11, 1958, and they immediately started their family. They left the great state of Maine for a few years to live in Indiana and Maryland, moving back “home’ in 1972 to open Flavorland Dairy Bar, and later Medical Supplies Inc., in Waterville.

Sandy and Dick have three daughters: Brenda and Gary Zemrak, Kathi and Kevin Michaud, and Missy Gurski and Shane Wade.

Being a grandmother was one of the greatest joys in her life. She was dearly loved by Wes and Moe, Jenna, Mike and Danielle Zemrak, Mackenzie and Kamryn Michaud, and Trevor and Dawsen Gurski. Little did she know that the smiles of her four great-grandchildren, Alina, Grady, Mara, and Isla Zemrak, would bring such happiness, helping her through the toughest of times.

She is also survived by seven sisters: Lyn, Jeanne, Janice, Marjorie, Mary, Maureen, Debbie; one brother, Alfred, and their families, and many cousins.

An online guestbook may be signed and condolences expressed at www.gallantfh.com.

In lieu of flowers, donations may go to a Trust Fund in care of Brenda and Gary Zemrak, 299 Cushman Road, Winslow ME 04901.

ALMA T. BROWN

CHINA––Alma Taylor Brown, 91, of China, passed away on Saturday, June 9, 2018,following a brief illnesss. Alma was born on July 30, 1926, in Fairfield Center, to Gardner and Nora (O;Neil) Taylor.

She was educated in Fairfield schools and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1944. She was employed at Diamond National and J. C. Penney. On December 24, 1946, she married Sydney J. Brown, Jr. and moved to China where they built their home and raised their family. Alma was a lifetime member of the Order of Eastern Star and the China Baptist Church.

Alma enjoyed working at home, caring for her children, her flower and vegetable gardens then preserving fruits and vegetables and her famous bread and butter pickles. She worked beside her husband on the family farm for many years. Alma enjoyed spending the winters in Florida with her sisters for 25 years.

Alma was predeceased by her husband; her parents; and seven siblings.

Alma is survived by her three daughters and their husbands: Linda and Victor Caron, Valma and David Rodrique, Cynthia and Michael Miner, all of China; her grandchildren: Christopher and Mandy Rodrique, Margaret Rodrique, Alicia and Seth Lemieux, Grace Hartung; great-grandchildren: Tessa Joncas, Shae Rodrique, Brynna Rodrique, Emma McCausland, Taylor and Anastasia Lemieux; her brother Clyde and his wife Jeanette Taylor, of South Portland; and many nieces and nephews.

Please visit www.redingtonfuneralhome.com to view a video collage of Alma’s life and to share condolences, memories and tributes with her family.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the China Baptist Church, Window Replacement Fund, 36 Causeway Road, China ME 04358.

GRAVESIDE SERVICE

Tracy, Lois Marie (Webber) (Bernard) – 85, of Waterville, died October 1, 2017. Graveside services, 1 p.m., June 23, at Quaker Hill Cemetery in Unity.

Public invited to China Town Manager’s retirement party

Dan L’Heureux

Residents of China and nearby towns are invited to a retirement party for China Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux, scheduled for 5 p.m., Saturday, June 30, in the portable building behind the China town office on Lakeview Drive.

Incoming Town Manager Dennis Heath announced that the town office will be closed Saturday, June 30, to make sure office staff have time to attend the party.