FOR YOUR HEALTH: Allergy avoidance

Allergy season doesn’t have to mean misery if you heed a few hints for your home.

(NAPSI) — Ah, Spring: Flowers in bloom, birds on the wing, fun in the sun—and itchy eyes, runny noses, sneezing, coughing, hives, wheezing, fatigue, and difficulty breathing for the more than 60 million Americans the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America say suffer from asthma or allergies.

But there can be a solution.

The Problem

Even the cleanest home can harbor all sorts of indoor allergens. Unseen contaminants and air pollutants include dirt, dust, pet dander, cigarette smoke, mold, mildew, and chemicals. They get pulled into your home’s HVAC system and recirculated throughout the house several times a day.

An Answer

A few simple steps can reduce and remove allergens.

  • Pet dander: Regularly steam clean your furniture, carpets, and window coverings. De-cluttering gives dander fewer places to hide. And regularly bathing your dog or cat sends excess dander down the drain.
  • Mold and mildew: Use mold inhibitors in your paints, clean your bathroom and kitchen with mold-busting products and use a dehumidifier or air purifier.
  • Air system filtration: Change air filters monthly. Consider HEPA filters, designed to catch the tiniest particles of pollutants.
  • Schedule a professional air duct cleaning: A good way to be sure you’ll get the job done right is to hire a National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) member through the online directory at NADCA members have technicians on staff with advanced training and certification in HVAC system cleaning.

THE BEST VIEW: Cotton candy

by Norma Best Boucher

I bought cotton candy today…in a bag. That’s right – that’s what I said – in a BAG. I was standing in line at a gas station store when I spied the blue spun sugar treat. Suddenly, I was bombarded with childhood memories of fairs, carnivals, Gene Autry, Annie Oakley and Rin Tin Tin.

By the time I had reached the check out, I had relived my cotton candy youth. I grabbed a bag of the blue minutely thin strands of sugar glass, paid for the bag and my diet drink refill, and ran to my car.

Childhood treasures, even cotton candy, must be guarded.

To eat or not to eat – that was the question.

I tore open the bag with my teeth, ripped off a chewing tobacco size lump of blue fluff, and popped it into my mouth. Pure sugar never tasted so good.

When I was young, my father took my mother, my Aunt May, my cousin Ann, and me to the fairs. We went to the Bangor, Skowhegan, and Windsor fairs. We all started out with a couple of dollars. Mamma and May played Bingo and won prizes. Ann and I rode the rides. Dad played the gambling games to pay for our fun. When we ran out of money, we went to him for another dollar and another dollar. I don’t remember all of the games, but I do remember the mouse game because I played it once as an adult. The mouse went to the slots after the cheese. I watched to see when the cheese ran out and won when there was only one hole left with cheese. I guess that was cheating, like counting cards, but there was only a small prize won and the fun of winning. I knew then how my father must have felt.

By the end of the night, Dad usually either broke even or was ahead in money.

Ann and I bought our cotton candy to eat on the way home in the car because if we had eaten earlier, we would have had sticky mouths and fingers for the fair. Our cotton candy was spun onto paper cones and puffier than what I had bought at the store in a bag. Our teeth and mouths were blue from the food coloring.

In the summers, carnivals came to Waterville, my hometown. These carnivals set up on the grounds at the old Colby College campus field house on College Avenue. There was an array of rides such as the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Ferris wheel, but my favorite ride was the swings. I had a love/ fear relationship with those swings. We were chained into child-like box seats that were connected by stronger chains to the top of the ride. When the ride was in motion, we swung out over the terrain. The Colby grounds were on the shoreline of the Kennebec River. Although we were always over solid land, we had the feeling we were flying over the river. At night the view was quite spectacular with the multi-colored carnival lights shining off the fast-flowing river. My fears dissipated with that shimmering view.

To amuse us on our walk back home on Elm Court, we all had cotton candy, blue teeth and mouths, and sticky fingers.

One of my most memorable childhood memories was in the mid 1950s when television series stars Gene Autry, Annie Oakley, and Rin Tin Tin came to that old Colby campus field house. I was about eight years old. One TV star would have been wonderful, but all three TV show stars was almost too exciting. So many young, hyper, screaming children in one building is almost too much to imagine now. We were well-behaved in those days, but we let loose when applause time came. No one had to hold up a sign to tell us to applaud. Television was new, in our living rooms, and now live on stage in our own hometown.

Cotton candy, once again, completed our happiness.

By now I had eaten half of that bag of cotton candy. With sticky fingers I pulled open the visor mirror and peered in. Yes…blue teeth and mouth.

The bag read, “No fats, no cholesterol, no sodium” – just 28 grams of sugar and cotton candy memories.


Joseph Conrad

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) has recently become my favorite novelist of all, supplanting such favorites as Graham Greene, John Le Carre, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. His combination of slyly understated wit, of a very perceptive awareness of the hearts of darkness in all hu­man­kind and of his own genius level of mastery of English as a second language are seen in his Lord Jim, Typhoon, Victory and Under Western Skies.

I have been slowly but surely reading his 1913 novel Chance, a book that others find not one of his best; I disagree most vehemently.

The story focuses on a young woman Flora de Barral who runs off to sea in holy wedlock with a Merchant Marine Captain Anthony who is more than old enough to be her father. The novel deals, quite captivatingly, with the repercussions of this marriage. The Anthonys simply want a private life in which they mind their own business but are surrounded by people who make it impossible.

Much of the time in this novel, Conrad uses the first person narrator Charles Marlow who is constantly brooding on the significance of everything he sees and hears with respect to the couple.

One situation has Marlow conversing with an unnamed acquaintance about the gap between people with real integrity, such as the Anthonys who , through no fault of their own, get caught up in absurd, even traumatic situations; and the people who think they’re better than everyone else, but are actually ignorant, if not downright destructive guttersnipes:

“‘They say,’ pursued the unabashed Marlow, ‘that we laugh from a sense of superiority. Therefore, observe, simplicity, honesty, warmth of feeling, delicacy of heart and of conduct, self-confidence, magnanimity are laughed at, because the presence of these traits in a man’s character often puts him into difficult, cruel or absurd situations, and makes us, the majority who are fairly free as a rule from these peculiarities, to feel pleasantly superior.’ “

One could say that Conrad had a very cynical view of human nature but what distinguished him from other writers with a similar worldview was his having made peace with this cynical view and the sense of humor he maintained.

Finally Conrad incorporated elements of his own experiences as a Merchant Marine officer from the age of 18 to 37 when he left that life behind to devote himself full time to writing into his fiction, especially drawing on his own travels to the Far East and other such exotic locales. The grand impersonal immensities of the ocean and its depths, combined paradoxically with its ability to shelter the individual from the toxic humanity on land, held ardent fascination for him, as seen in another quote from Chance, in which the chief petty officer is on night watch:

“The very sea, with short flashes of foam bursting out here and there in the gloomy distances, the unchangeable, safe sea sheltering a man from all passions, except its own anger, seemed queer to the quick glance he threw to windward where the already effaced horizon traced no reassuring limit to the eye.”

One highly recommended novel.

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: My life with history

The interior of the China History Museum.


by Bob Bennett

In all of the lives of human beings, the one factor that can never be changed is our history. It is there in all of its glory or shame. The deeds of those who came before us, and ourselves from the moment they are carried out, are forever in place. So, if it can’t be altered why is history important? The short answer to this question is that knowledge of the past, if used as a learning experience, can and should have a positive impact on those who are still alive and all of those who follow in our future. We should accept, but not repeat mistakes, live with the results but attempt to repair errors, and without question try and ensure that the faults and mistakes of our predecessors are not blessed or repeated. And yet, we all know that these ideas do not always occur; a perfect world does not and will never exist.

I have revered history throughout my entire life. This means that I started with the stories my dad told me when I was a toddler. He loved Zane Grey’s novels and knew a lot about the old west. When I was a couple of years older, my parents bought a full set of Colliers Encyclopedias, including the yearly update volumes, and I was really off and running. I would spend hours paging through those heavy books reading anything that caught my attention. Maybe this is a little over the top, but I loved every moment and learned tons of stuff.

Starting my secondary education in South Portland Junior High School in 1961, I was fortunate to have great history teachers all the way through high school. I wasn’t afraid to ask questions and at a time when many kids were bored with learning names, dates and places, I was in heaven. My freshman history teacher, Charles Cahill, had been in the OSS (pre-CIA) during World War II and even though he told us that he couldn’t really tell us what his actions involved, he could always keep us awake with his stories. Other teachers in high school were good, too, but it was in my college career at the University of Maine in Orono that I really “hit it big.”

My advisor and professor in a number of classes was Clark G. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds had taught at the U.S. Naval Academy before arriving at UMO. He was the ultimate example of the teacher who knew the stories relating to history that made the classwork incredibly interesting. He had been closely involved with major World War II figures like Admirals Halsey and Nimitz and knew all of the details of their decisions and actions. He had also met many other players in the war. On December 7, 1970, he marched into our classroom with a Christmas card he had just received from a former Japanese naval officer, Minoru Genda, who had largely put together the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7,1941); talk about timing! We’ll talk more about Dr. Reynolds later.

After college graduation in 1971, I began a 38-year career in education as a history teacher and also a 20-year semi-career in the 195th Army Band of the Maine National Guard. In both of these lives I was exposed to history in different ways. As a teacher, I was very consistent in relating what I was presenting to my students to events that had similarity to both the past and present. I tried to begin every single class session with at least a couple of current events, including something that had some relation to the history we were covering. Some days those events might take more time than I anticipated but I managed to get most everything on the day’s agenda addressed. As a member of an extremely well-regarded army band, I had the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico, Canada and a number of American states. As a drum major leading a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, meeting and talking with Canadian World War II veterans at Gagetown, NewBrunswick, and seeing Robert E. Lee’s first Corp of Engineering project at Ft. Monroe, Virginia, were all great and eye opening experiences.

I moved from one school system to another, Portland to SAD #3 in 1978, got married in 1984 and it was at Mount View High School, in Thorndike, that I reconnected with Dr. Reynolds. One morning during a prep period I looked him up on line and found that he was at the College of Charleton, in South Carolina. On a whim I called the college, charging the cost to my home phone back then, and discovered that he was coming to Orono for a seminar in the following week. I set up a time to meet on campus. When I arrived at the building I went down the appropriate hallway, following the sound of his great, booming voice. When he concluded his presentation, we drove downtown to Pat’s Pizza and had a fantastic, several hour discussion about everything historic. This meeting helped confirm everything I felt about the value of history in one’s life and the need to keep up with all of its pieces.

As my teaching career continued, another opportunity arose and I switched to Erskine Academy, in South China. The location is just around the corner from where we live in South China; I walked to work most days rather than driving 50 mile round trips to Thorndike. While at EA, I was able to see a lot of history in a new part of the world. I chaperoned on five trips to Europe in my seven years teaching mostly Advanced Placement U.S. History. There really isn’t anything like walking through the U.S. Cemetery, in Normandy, and exploring Omaha Beach. The Colosseum, in Rome, is neat, too. When I retired in 2012, my formal teaching was done but I am a firm believer in “once a teacher, always a teacher.” I substitute taught and continued to pass on my knowledge ’till COVID arrived. I volunteered at the Boothbay Railway Museum and enlightened visitors with my wealth of railroad history.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I am a nearly life-long model railroader. One of the best aspects of this hobby for me is the research into railroad history to build accurate models and scenes. To help other modelers, I have written more that 100 articles for various national publications, This has helped me stay active intellectually and to continue to share my ideas and passions, Also, in a rail-related venue, I was a summer conductor for 14 years on the Belfast and Moosehead Lake R.R. I shared tons of history with thousands of passengers during those times.

And so, this is my life exploring, enjoying and passing on history. The past is such a vital part of everyones’ existence and I really feel that ignoring it is almost inhuman. For parents, teach your kids about your past and experiences. For students, listen to your history teachers. Ask questions about what intrigues you and get involved in organizations that highlight learning about, and memories of what, has come before. It is absolutely true that once the ideas and memories of long ago are forgotten, they can never be recovered. It is our task to help preserve them forever.

This essay was composed to help inspire continued interest in and growth of the newly-resurrected China Historical Society.

SCORES & OUTDOORS: Raccoon dogs make headlines; what are they?

Common raccoon dog

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Over the past weekend, I read a news release about materials collected at a Chinese market near where the first human cases of Covid-19 were identified showing raccoon dog DNA comingled with the virus, suggesting the pandemic may have originated from animals, not a lab. The World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized China for not sharing the genetic information earlier. It appears samples collected from a stall known to be involved in the wildlife trade also contained raccoon dog genes, indicating the animals may have been infected by the virus.

In China, raccoon dogs are often bred for their fur and sold for meat in animal markets. So, that brings the question, what is a raccoon dog?

The common raccoon dog, also called the Chinese or Asian raccoon dog to distinguish it from the Japanese raccoon dog, is a small, heavy-set, fox-like canid native to East Asia. Named for its raccoon-like face markings, it is most closely related to foxes.

Common raccoon dogs feed on many animals and plant matter, and are unusual among canids (dogs and foxes) for climbing trees and for hibernating in cold winters. They are widespread in their native range, and are invasive in Europe where they were introduced for the fur trade. The similar Japanese raccoon dog, native to Japan, is the only other living member of the genus. Other names for the common raccoon dog include mangut (its Evenki name), and neoguri (its Korean name).

The common raccoon dog is named for the resemblance of its masked face to that of the North American common raccoon. The closest relatives of the common raccoon dogs are the true foxes, not the raccoon, and not closely related.

Due to the fur trade, the common raccoon dog has been widely introduced in Europe, where it has been treated as a potentially hazardous invasive species. In Europe, since 2019, the common raccoon dog has been included on the list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern. This implies that this species cannot be imported, bred, transported, commercialized, or intentionally released into the environment in the whole of the European Union.

Common raccoon dogs are omnivores that feed on insects, rodents, amphibians, birds, fish, reptiles, mollusks, crabs, sea urchins, human garbage, carrion, eggs, and insectivores, as well as fruits, nuts, and berries. Among the rodents targeted by common raccoon dogs, voles seem to predominate in swampy areas, but are replaced with gerbils in flatland areas.

Common raccoon dogs eat beached fish and fish trapped in small water bodies. They rarely catch fish during the spawning season, but eat many during the spring thaw. In their southern range, they eat young tortoises and their eggs. Insectivorous mammals hunted by common raccoon dogs include shrews, hedgehogs, and, on rare occasions, moles and desmans. In the Ussuri territory, large moles are their primary source of food. Plant food is highly variable, and includes bulbs, rhizomes, oats, millets, maize, nuts, fruits, berries, grapes, melons, watermelons, pumpkins, and tomatoes.

Common raccoon dogs adapt their diets to the season; in late autumn and winter they feed mostly on rodents, carrion, and feces, while fruit, insects, and amphibians predominate in spring. In summer they eat fewer rodents, and mainly target nesting birds, fruits, grains, and vegetables.

After all this, it sounds like the common raccoon dog is a canine garbage disposal.

Wolves are the main predators of common raccoon dogs, killing large numbers of them in spring and summer, though attacks have been reported in autumn, too.

Both foxes and European badgers compete with common raccoon dogs for food, and have been known to kill them if common raccoon dogs enter their burrows. Common raccoon dogs are the only canids known to hibernate.

Like foxes, they do not bark, uttering instead a growl, followed by a long-drawn, melancholy whine.

The common raccoon dog is now abundant throughout Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and has been reported as far away as Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Moldova.

In June 2021, a study commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs identified the common raccoon dog as one of 20 invasive species likely to spread to the British Isles.

From what I have been able to find, it looks like the common raccoon dog is not a welcomed species. In its defense, evidence has also been gathered that indicates the raccoon dogs cages may have been stored in that same stall with those of bats, and that the bats are the source, and the raccoon dogs may have become an unsuspecting carrier of the virus.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

Who was the last Boston Celtics player to be named the NBA Most Valuable Player?

Answer can be found here.

LIFE ON THE PLAINS: Sometimes, we had to leave The Plains

The Hose 3 substation of the Waterville Fire Department was located across the street from the Second Baptist Church. The building remains, but is now a residence. (photo courtesy of E. Roger Hallee)

by Roland D. Hallee

Even though The Plains was a self-sustaining community of its own, there were times when we had to go downtown to get some necessities. Now, that brings up a question because people called it differently. Some people would say “I’m going downtown,” while others would say, “I’m going uptown.” I never did find out why, but I guess everyone was talking about the same place.

I remember when the stores would stay open on Friday nights until 9 p.m. The following day, Saturday, would see an influx of pedestrians crowding the sidewalks, reminiscent of scenes in movies along New York’s Manhattan streets. People, shoulder to shoulder, making their way to the merchants.

So, let’s take a walk down Main St., Waterville, in the 1950s. This week, we’ll do the east side which parallels Front St. and the Kennebec River.

The first four buildings you would come across would be the Crescent Hotel, the iconic Levine’s Store for Men and Boys, Atherton’ Furniture Store, and Federal Trust Company bank. All once occupied the space now belonging to the Lockwood Hotel.

After that, you would encounter the GHM Insurance Agency, the Chi Rho Shop – a religious store – Alvina and Delia’s Women’s Apparel Shop, Gerard’s Restaurant, and on the corner of Common St., across from Castonguay Square was Michaud’s Jewelers.

On the other side of the square was Montgomery-Ward Depart­ment Store, which later would become Stern’s Department Store, later the Center, which housed the Maine Made Shop, now the site of the Paul J. Shumpf Art Center.

Next in line was Al Corey’s Music Store, W. B. Arnold Hardware Store, and Joe’s Smoke Shop, on the corner of Temple St. down Temple Street, on the north side was Corey’s Restaurant, Bill’s Tire, Bill’s Restaurant, and the Bob-In Tavern.

Continuing up Main St., on the corner of Temple St. was Harold Labbe’s Real Estate Office, followed by the Waterville Steam Laundry – now Waterville House of Pizza and Amici’s Cucina – Harris Baking Co. – now Opa’s – and Centers Department Store – where Berry’s Stationers (and Atkins Printing Shop, in the basement) were located. The next structure was an office building (the Haines Building) with Judy’s Hairdressers on the ground floor.

We now go down Appleton St., where the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge #905 was located on the north side, with the St. Joseph Maronite School. Across the street was the office of the New England Telephone Company.

Back to Main St., on the corner of Appleton was the “Professional Building,” with LaVerdiere’s Super Drug Store on the ground flood. Our family doctor, Dr. Ovide Pomerleau, had offices on the third floor. Dr. Pomerleau’s residence was located on Silver St., an impressive brick home now occupied by Golden Pond Financial.

In the same building, adjacent to LaVerdiere’s was a hall and lobby where one could take the elevator to the floors above.

Next to the Professional Building was the Haines Theater, which burned in the 1960s, and now is a small park, with a drive through teller for TD Bank, located across the street.

The next building was occupied by Boothbay & Bartlett Insurance Agency. A modest home was next before you came to Whipper’s Pizza, the first pizza shop to locate in Waterville. Day’s Travel Agency followed next, and then a furniture store, whose name escapes me at the moment. Above the furniture store was the famous – or infamous, depending on how well you bowled – Metro-Bowl bowling alleys. I often wonder if the bowling alleys are still in place. Ken-a-Set most recently occupied the space at street level.

That brings us to the Waterville Fire Station, and then Goodhue’s Texacardium – a Texaco gas station and auto repair shop – on the corner of Union St.

As always, there may be a few gaps in here that I don’t recall.

So, as you can see, Main St., Waterville, in those days, was a busy place.

Give Us Your Best Shot! for Thursday, March 16, 2023

To submit a photo for this section, please visit our contact page or email us at!

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?: Emily Poulin, of South China, caught this squirrel looking back at the camera.

WHAT’S NEXT?: Joan Chaffee, of Clinton, snapped this turkey vulture contemplating its next move.

THIS LOOKS LIKE A GOOD SPOT: Pat Clark, of Palermo, photographed this red-bellied woodpecker drilling for food.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Have More Healthy Moments: Get Tested and Follow Your Kidney Health

(NAPSI)—Kidney disease is often referred to as a “silent disease” because there are usually no symptoms during its early stages. In fact, as many as 90% of Americans who have chronic kidney disease (CKD) don’t know they have the disease until it is advanced.

CKD is estimated to affect more than 1 in 7 adults in the United States. The good news is the earlier you find out you have kidney disease, the sooner you can take steps to protect your kidneys from further damage. By getting tested for CKD and following your kidney health, you may help keep your kidneys healthier for longer and give yourself more healthy moments.

Know Your Risk

Even if you feel healthy and have no symptoms, ask your doctor about getting tested for kidney disease. If you are over 60 or have any risk factors for kidney disease—such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, a history of acute kidney injury or a family history of CKD—you may be at increased risk.

Early diagnosis gives you and your health care team time to develop a plan to slow kidney disease progression. The plan can also reduce your risk for other health problems, such as heart attack and stroke. Damage from kidney disease usually cannot be reversed, but treatment can help prevent further kidney damage and allow you to live a full life.

Schedule Your Test

Testing for CKD involves two quick tests. A blood test checks how well your kidneys are filtering your blood. A urine test checks for protein in your urine, which is a sign of kidney damage. Contact your doctor’s office—or a community health center if you don’t have a regular doctor—to schedule your kidney tests and find out how your kidneys are doing. You may be nervous about getting your kidneys tested but finding and treating kidney disease early gives you the best chance of staying healthier longer.

Follow Your Kidney Health 

Keep your appointments even if you feel well. Your doctor may repeat testing each year, or more often if needed, and use the changes in your results to plan the next steps for your care. If your kidney function is stable, your care team may recommend you continue doing what you’re doing. If your kidney function seems to be getting worse, the team may suggest lifestyle or medicine changes.

Be proactive! Keep your kidneys healthy by following a kidney-healthy lifestyle.

• Manage your blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

• Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil) or naproxen (e.g., Aleve).

• Be active for at least 30 minutes each day.

• Aim for 7 to 8 hours or more of sleep each night.

• Quit smoking.

• Consult a registered dietitian to build a meal plan you can stick to.

If financial or resource challenges make it hard for you to follow your care plan—including getting to medical appointments, paying for medicines, or buying healthy food—ask your care team for help.

“For people with kidney disease, working with a health care team is key to an early diagnosis and to staying on top of their kidney health,” said National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers. “As we continue to research new ways to prevent and treat kidney disease, there are steps people can take today to improve and maintain the health of their kidneys—and enjoy more healthy moments.”

For more information on getting tested for CKD and following your kidney health, visit the NIDDK website at

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison with his Secretary of State, Maine’s James G. Blaine, and Representative Henry Cabot Lodge on a ship off the coast of Maine.

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Benjamin Harrison

The 23rd former President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) was the grandson of the 9th former President William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) and great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison (1726-1791), one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Like his predecessor/successor Grover Cleveland, Harrison was unwaveringly honest. Unlike Cleveland, he was a believer in the protectionist tariff system on imports, to benefit both agriculture and industry, and in decent pensions for Civil War veterans, particularly the disabled, and their widows, which Cleveland fought against tooth and nail.

(Harrison also championed voting rights and education for African Americans, which made zero minus headway with both parties, the 1880s and ’90s being known as the “Period of No Decision; ” anything to do with any rights for African-Americans was considered highly toxic.)

Unfortunately, Harrison had a stodgy colorless personality and could be very aloof, which didn’t serve him well while in office while also antagonizing a number of fellow Republicans.

He was also a fervently religious Presbyterian and led the family in daily Bible studies and prayers during the breakfast hour, with a tendency to give credit for any political success to Providence.

Harrison’s vice-president was New York representative Levi P. Morton (1824-1920) who, after Harrison lost his re-election bid, would become governor of his home state.

Harrison’s Secretary of State was our own James G. Blaine until he resigned due to ill health in 1892. (Blaine was a very close friend of Andrew Carnegie and stayed with the multi-millionaire at his castle in Scotland for several weeks in 1888.)

Benjamin Harrison was born on a North Bend, Ohio, farm to John Scott Harrison and his second wife Elizabeth. He had five brothers, two sisters and two half-sisters.

Harrison was married twice – first in 1853 to the former Caroline Scott (1832-1892) who gave him a son and a daughter; who was the opposite of Harrison in personality and made many friends with her warmth and generosity; and with whom he remained deeply in love for the almost 40 years they were married before she died of tuberculosis.

In 1896, Harrison married Caroline’s niece, a young widow Mary Scott Lord Dimmick (1858-1948) who was the same age as Harrison’s daughter and two years younger than his son. Both of them, objecting strenuously to the marriage, refused to attend the ceremony. The second Mrs. Harrison gave birth to another daughter a year after the marriage.

In early 1901, Harrison contracted influenza and died on March 13, at the age of 67.

Two very enjoyable 12-inch 78 shellac discs:

Frederick Stock (1872-1942) served the longest as music director of the Chicago Symphony for 37 years until his death at 70. The Victrola Red Seal #6579 features Stock’s vibrantly alive conducting of the Sibelius Valse Triste, Volkmann Serenade and Rimsky-Korsakov Flight of the Bumblebee, all three pieces then well-known light classics.

Meanwhile Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) served, by comparison, a mere 26 years from 1912 to 1938 as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra before handing over the reins to Eugene Ormandy whose tenure – 1938 to 1980 – would surpass Stokowski’s. A 1930s RCA Victor Red Seal #14472 has an intensely lavish and colorful performance of another light classic, the Liszt 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody. I also have a 1940s Columbia Masterworks 78 rpm of the same piece with the Philadelphians conducted by Ormandy which is differently colorful from Stokowski’s.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Eye Disease Can Affect More Than Your Sight

It’s smart to see your way clear to getting regular eye exams.

Regular vision checks can help you see your way clear to a better social life and healthier living.

(NAPSI)—Eye disease affects more than your ability to see the world clearly. People with impaired vision face an increased risk of falls, fractures, injuries, depression, anxiety, cognitive deficits and social isolation. One of the best ways to protect yourself against vision loss from eye disease is to get regular eye exams.

Ophthalmologists – physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care—have more tools than ever before to diagnose eye diseases earlier, and to treat them better. But these advances cannot help people whose disease is undiagnosed, or who are unaware of the seriousness of their disease.

That’s why the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends all adults receive a comprehensive eye exam by age 40, and every year or two after age 65.

Here’s how low vision can affect nearly every aspect of your life:

1. Depression and social isolation. Being unable to drive, read, enjoy hobbies or see loved ones’ faces is frightening and can lead some people to withdraw from life, leaving them feeling helpless or lonely. One study found that after being diagnosed with a vision-threatening eye disease, a person’s chance of experiencing depression triples.

2. Dementia. Several studies suggest a connection between eye disease and dementia. While the cause is unclear, it’s possible some eye diseases interfere with the brain’s sensory pathways. Early diagnosis and treatment are the best way to prevent vision loss.

3. Injuries from falls. People with decreased vision are more likely to misstep and fall. Every year, about 3 million older Americans are treated for injuries from falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of these falls are caused by low vision. Luckily there are some changes around the house people can make, such as grouping furniture together and increasing lighting. Seeing an ophthalmologist regularly and making sure your glasses are updated with your latest prescription are important safety precautions as well.

Can’t Afford an Eye Exam? EyeCare America® Can Help.

For individuals age 65 or older who are concerned about their risk of eye disease and/or the cost of an eye exam, you may be eligible for a medical eye exam, often at no out-of-pocket cost, through the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America® program. This public service program matches volunteer ophthalmologists with eligible patients in need of eye care across the United States. To see if you or a loved one qualifies, visit to determine your eligibility.