Debbie Walker: a dear friend

Debbie Walker

by Peg Pellerin

Like many of you readers, I was so surprised and shocked to read that we lost one of our fellow writers. Debbie Walker was such an inspiration to me to start writing and thankfully be able to submit my writings to this paper.

I first met Debbie through my boyfriend Edgar. Many times, in her articles she would mention his name, telling all of you of some of the funny things that his sons had done, or said, as children and also sharing some of the things his own father said.

One day, after reading her articles in The Town Line, Edgar emailed her about meeting for lunch to talk about some old stories that he had about his father and his brothers when they were still home up in Lille, Maine, many years ago. This was just before she made the move to Florida.

Soon after, I started emailing her, letting her know how I enjoyed her articles and even used some of the hints she mentioned within those articles. Back in 2020, when schools were going through a hybrid mode, I told Debbie about the assistant principal where I was working who wore many hats, filling in for folks who weren’t able to come in to work. She told me to write something about it, which I did. She said it was done so well that I should submit it myself to The Town Line, which I did, and they printed it! She had been after me to continue with writing, but I just didn’t know how to start.

A couple of summers ago, Edgar and I went to visit her at a camp here in Maine where she was staying for a while. She and I got to talking again about my writing and we went into more detail about my going about it. Thanks to her advice, I wrote the story titled The House, which this paper ran for several months.

I’ll miss reading her articles and the emails she, Edgar, and I shared. She was a wonderful individual.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Farewell to a popular columnist

Debbie Walker

It is with sadness that The Town Line newspaper announces the passing of a popular columnist, Debbie Walker. According to her daughter, Debbie passed away on Friday, December 22, 2023, in Florida. Debbie has been a contributing columnist for the past 10 years, and her column, I’m Just Curious, was a mainstay of the newspaper, and a very popular read. The Town Line staff, board of directors, and all other contributors send our warmest condolences to the family.





I’M JUST CURIOUS: Morals and manners

by Debbie Walker

I have been watching a chain of events taking place. Have you noticed? It seems to me that we have been losing touch with those niceties. When I was working in the school system with first and second graders, that first day of school we had to teach academics but also had to begin teaching basic table manners. They caught on quickly. Kids learn good and not so good behavior at about the same time.

Okay, enough about kids. I have a book (of course) titled Manners and Morals of Victorian America, by Wayne Erbsen. I get a wicked chuckle from reading this stuff. The olden ways were pretty stiff but if we could have saved a bit of the manners and morals it might have been better.

We are entering the holiday activities time of the year. I am working for the theater group, and we are doing a play, Mistletoe Ridge, a Christmas comedy. It’s cute. I have recently read the manners book and there was information about how to behave in concerts, and table manners in group meals. Naturally I was interested. So…..

Beating the time with canes or feet is not a fashionable way to applaud at the play (It appears to be appropriate now) can indicate natural emotion and everything like feeling is now out of fashion. And of course, it is rude to whisper or talk during the performance and annoying to those of the audience around you.

Applause is by clapping hands, and not by stomping or kicking with the feet. (Still the proper thing).

There are quite a few of these DON’Ts, many more than I am printing here. These are geared for dining:

Shoveling food in is considered an atrocity, that in Europe you would be escorted out.

Solemn dullness and unsociability at meals is not acceptable.

Don’t tuck your napkin under your chin, nor spread it upon your breast. Bibs and tuckers are for the nursery.

Don’t fail to notice elderly people. (Even in a Native American family following old customs will seat their elders and serve them first.)

Don’t scold and snarl, as it is exceedingly ill bred to do so.

Don’t chew or fumble your toothpick in public. (Even restaurants give them to you until you are exiting.)


Hold your tongue. Nothing is ruder than to converse whilst people are singing. If you don’t like what you are hearing, you should remove yourself lest you ruin it for others.

More Nevers. Told you there are many more than I am going to be able to print at this time.

Never fail to be punctual at the time appointed.

Never fail to give a polite answer to a civil question.

Never appear to notice a scar, deformity, or defect of anyone present.

Never fail to offer the easiest and best seat in the room to an invalid, an elderly person or a lady.

It is fun reading about the manners and morals of years ago. Comparing them to today gives us something to think about.

I’m just curious if you find these things as interesting as I do. If you have time to comment, you can find me at Have a wonderful holiday season.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: More interesting ideas

by Debbie Walker

At least I hope you find them interesting….

It’s not fun digging around in the dark when you realize you forgot to plug your cell phone into a charger. You might try putting a strip of Velcro on your charger to hold it in place where you can easily find it. Mine is on the head of my bed. It has saved me some time, don’t have to hunt anymore.

Did I tell you I am an assistant stage manager for a local play? One of my jobs is to help actors and actresses whenever I can. The other night one of the performers marked up their handbook with a highlighter for their parts. That was a no-no. They were concerned because they couldn’t erase it. Actually, it is pretty easy, got a lemon? Cut a lemon in half. Rub a Q-tip in the lemon juice. Wipe the highlighted sections and watch it disappear.

Ladies (and gentlemen) have you experienced a razor burn? Itchy, and painful red bumps. Do yourself a favor, use a cotton ball and apply witch hazel to your skin once dried from a shower. It will minimize inflammation, redness and fends off infections.

Would you like some help taking a sticky price tag or label off? Saturate a cotton ball with witch hazel, hold it on the sticker for 30 seconds. It will dissolve the bonding. (Now I know why my great-grandmother kept some in her house.)

I haven’t tried this yet, but I certainly intend to. Allergies leave my under eyes puffy. I read I should put my witch hazel in the freezer until chilled. Once chilled moisten cotton pads with the solution, placed over eyes for five minutes, ta-da! less puffy. If it tightens skin under the eyes, why wouldn’t it do away with face wrinkles?

Do you have a need to light a fire? To speed up the process place a few corks in a jar, add enough rubbing alcohol to cover, seal the jar and let soak. Next time you need to start a fire, drop soaked corks under the kindling. That will speed things up.

I am hoping you don’t mind if I, once again, print my little Christmas thought for little kiddos. I know you understand that I am an avid reader, and as such, I hope to see my little great-granddaughter enjoy reading, also. You can be absent Christmas morning but still be part of it. I have picked out two of the same story book. One I keep and one I give her. I pick a time with her mother that would be good to read to her on Facebook, face to face but miles and miles away, it’s a gift to us both.

I hope when it comes to gifts for your older, senior citizens, how about gift certificates. If they have a favorite store that they would never allow themselves to “Spend that kind of money on themselves.” There are also certificates to get her or him such as oil changes, car detailed, just put on your thinking cap.

I am just curious what things you might think of for gifts. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them. Contact me at . Have a great week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Just passing time

by Debbie Walker

That is right. Quite a bit of time I am working on one project or another. The most recent one has Dave scratching his head in wonder. I have been wanting to do some matchy (means I want the different pieces to match) things for the bedroom. I found a comforter for the bedroom, truthfully, I bought it to help me cheat in making a quilt. But… some other idea traveled through my head before I got to the quilt (I’ll just have to buy another one to cheat with.).

I have had a lightweight quilt om my bed for quite some time. One side of it was all the bright colors I like. On the other side of it is a print with a white background and flowers outlined in black. Did I mention the quilt is black with a little white mixed through it. So, I have the comforter for the bed and yesterday I started cutting up the black and white flowered comforter to make something like blinds for the windows. Got a pair done and discovered the sun shined through and showed the bright colors of the other side of the comforter. I was kind of bummed but I got over it. I just have to put another thickness of fabric to hide the bright colors, not really a problem.

I also bought some black cotton to make some simple curtains for over the “blinds”. I have to get some more fabric because I want to make some king-sized shams, too. If I complete the entire project, I will let you know. If I don’t you will know another project got my attention. (I always have more than one going).

My friend, Ed, sends some of the neatest emails out daily, some just funny, and some are very interesting. This week one of them is something I am going to do for yet another project. This is written for the month of December, daily. Each day you pick up some form of food, canned or maybe dry foods, common sense items you could use anytime. You know, what you use regularly. Your church or local food banks will certainly accept the contribution or gift it privately. I will let you know how my gift box is progressing.

I was reading our local paper the other night and an article became interesting. We have a local theater group, and they were looking for people who would audition for a part or even volunteer for other needs. And yes, I called the next morning. I will be going over Saturday to meet the people and audition. Isn’t that a hoot! The play is a comedy, and I am anxious to hear more about it. I am ready for some new experiences, fun ones. When I was working at the school in Corinna I used to dress up and act out stories for the kids, and I do miss that.

When we first moved here, I was so shy. I was always a shy kid. My first year my boss at the recreation club had me on the stage and that was just the beginning of speaking to the crowds. I also found out then if you put on some kind of costume, you can be anyone you need to be.

I’m just curious what your latest projects are. Let me know, please. Contact me at . Have a great week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Do you bathroom read?

by Debbie Walker

I may wind up regretting this, but… you know I love to share knowledge (?). The back up story here is my friend, Edgar, who gave me a couple of books years ago. They have been packed in storage, but I found them again last week. The name of one book is Uncle John’s Supremely Satisfied Bathroom Reader, by the Bathroom Reader’s Institute.

One subject caught my eye: it is What’s in Toothpaste? Have you ever wondered what is in toothpaste? I can’t say I ever really wondered but when I saw this I had to know! I hope you will find this as fun as I did.

About 30 percent to 40 percent water (so many products are mainly water!)

Chalk. The same variety schoolteachers use. Did you know chalk is crushed remains of ancient ocean critters? They are rough but gentle enough to clean.

Titanium dioxide. It goes into white wall paint to make it bright. For at least a few hours it does the same for your teeth until it all dissolves and you swallow it. (Lovely thought, isn’t it, but wait! There is more!)

Glycerin glycol. It keeps the mixture from drying out. Did you know it is an ingredient in antifreeze?

Seaweed. It is made to allow oozing and stretching in all directions and hold the paster together.

Paraffin, it’s a derivative that keeps the mixture smooth.

Detergent. Toothpaste without foam and suds? What good would it be? It would be perfectly fine, but the public demands foam and suds.

Peppermint oil, menthol, and saccharin. These counteract the horrible taste of detergent.

Formaldehyde. The same kind is used in anatomy labs. Kills bacteria that creep into the tube from your brush and bathroom counter.

Does this recipe turn you off? Don’t worry, studies have shown brushing with plain water can be almost as effective.

Do you still want to read in the bathroom?

I am switching over to another Uncle John’s book. It is Uncle John’s Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader. The page about LOVE…And MARRIAGE.:

“I love being married. I was single for a long time, and I just got sick of finishing my own sentences.” (Brian Kiley)

“They say marriage is a contract. No, it’s not. Contracts come with warranties.” (Wanda Sykes)

“My husband and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary. I finally realized that if I had killed that man the first time I thought about it, I’d have been out of jail by now.” (Anita Milner)

“Getting married is a lot like getting into a tub of hot water. After you get used to it, it ain’t so hot.” (Minnie Pearl)

“The Wedding March always reminds me of the music played when soldiers go off to battle.” (Heinrich Heine)

“Never get married in the morning – you never know who you might meet that night,” (Paul Hornung)

“Marriage is like a phone call in the night: first the ring, and then you wake up. (Evelyn Hendrickson)

For the last one, please don’t be offended) . “Before we got engaged, he never farted. Now it’s like a second language.” (Adela Rogers St. John)

I’m just curious if Edgar will realize he is responsible for this column!! Any questions or comments, contact me at . Have a great week!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Daffinitions & technical terms

by Debbie Walker

You know I like comical things and I love words. When I came across this material in a Blum’s Farmer’s and Planter’s Almanac from 2018, I saved this page for future reference. I think this is ‘future enough’. I hope it brings you a chuckle or two.

Avoidable: what a bullfighter tries to do. (Avoid-a-bull)

Baloney: where some hemlines fall. (below-the-knee)

Bernadette: the act of torching a mortgage. (Burn-a-det)

Heroes: what a guy in a boat does. (hee-rows)

Paradox: two physicians. (par-a-docs)

Pharmacist: a helper on the farm. (farm-uh-sist)

Relief: what trees do in the spring. (Ree-leaf)

Rubberneck: what you do to relax your wife. (rub-’er-neck)

Seamstress: describes 200 lbs. in a size 2. (seam-stress)

Selfish: what the owner of a seafood store does. (sel-fish)

Subdued: a guy that works on a submarine. ((sub-dude)


Log on: when you want to make the homestead warmer.

Log off: TIMBerrrrrrr

Mega Hertz: when you are not careful getting the firewood.

Laptop: where the cat sleeps.

Hard drive: maneuvering through those rocky fields on the northern range when there is snow on the ground.

Windows: what to shut when it’s cold outside.

Byte: what mosquitoes do.

Modem: what I did to the hay fields.

Keyboard: where the keys hang.

Mouse: critters that eat the grain in the barn.

I have room to go over odd uses for ordinary products. The Jello column was different so now I think we will do Colgate toothpaste, the plain old fashion one, nothing fancy added.

To start: Did you know an inch of Colgate to wash your hands with when you are handling fish, onions, or garlic to remove the smell. I never would have guessed it.

I haven’t tried it yet, but Joey Green had it on his list of hacks. Ink can be removed from cloth with Colgate Toothpaste. I have tried hairspray and that worked.

Colgate can be used for removing hair dye from skin. Wish I had known that when I was dying my hair. Not sorry that’s over!

Grass stains used to be an issue when we were growing up. Wish Mom had known about Colgate and grass stains. She might now have been so upset with us!

It’s no secret that I enjoy Joey Green’s books. Helpful and entertaining! He now has a monthly newsletter that you might want to check. Just try your search engine with his name and see what comes up. Enjoy!

Changing up a little: If you have a shedding pet, try this (maybe). If when you are brushing the pet looks wonderful, but you look like a shaggy critter. I read about a possible answer. Cut a pair of pantyhose into pieces just big enough to fit over the brush’s head, allowing the bristles to poke fully through the material. Fur will cling to pantyhose instead of your shirt. Then pull off pantyhose and put in trash. (Try this out on Piper, Mim)

The cup holder in my car is always nasty and hard to clean. I read today to put a silicone cupcake liner in it and it will be easy to keep clean. I’ll let you know.

One more thing before I finish. Some doctors are saying good ole’ soap and water will kill as many germs without the use of alcohol or other chemicals in the hand sanitizers. Just saying….

I’m just curious if you have any ideas you want to share. Contact me at with any comments or questions. Have a wonderful week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Clean the season

by Debbie Walker

I always thought that Spring is the season of cleaning, but I read a column in our local newspaper, Citrus Chronicle, not so. Maybe someone changed the season, and I missed it! Thanks to Patricia Shannon I read about it in August and just settled down now to write.

You will, of course, go by your weather for mowing and that will obviously be different here in Florida. The timing will be different, but the care will be very much like ours. Before you store it inside it will have to be cleaned. You will have to remove any stuck-on debris. If you wait until spring it will be much more of a job. I suggest you get out your owner’s manual for correct instructions. I imagine the instructions for cleaning will have the details for sharpening, remove the filter and battery and sharpen the blades, drain the gasoline, replace the oil and cover machine.

If you must bring your grill inside for the next season (they must be cleaned here, too, just not so often here). If it is time to clean your grill for a season, you probably need to get it done before you need to use your slow cooker for the winter recipes.

If you own a pool, bring out pool toys and equipment that need to be cleaned and stored. Check them first for wear and tear. It may be time to trash some pieces. Maybe if you look you will find some things marked down for the end of season.

End of season sales may also include bathing suits and pool towels. Remember the Salad Spinners you used to see advertised on TV? If you still have it make a habit of rinsing suits out and spin them almost dry. Your last pool towel washing should be done in hot water (not your suits).

Time to clean the window screens. It does collect over a few months even if we don’t realize it. Once you begin cleaning you will be wondering, “How did that happen?” Once cleaned, it is a good time to make any repairs to the screen or the window frame. (I hate bugs, especially the ones that buzz and bite me!}

Cleaning outdoor cushions and furniture is also included in the list of fall activities. When I worked at a recreation club at their pool. I lined my furniture and cushions out for a hose down party using whatever is my cleaning product at the time. Once done the party, hose yourself to get rid of any chemicals trying to hitchhike on you.

We use our ceiling fans year-round and I did when I lived in Maine. I like to feel the air moving. Since I have allergies, I may be a little more aware of the dust content on my fans. I don’t wait for the sneezing to clean them. Once a month seems to help me.

When you are finished with your fall cleaning why not go out and pick apples. Take a group for extra fun. Just be careful.

I’m just curious what I am forgetting to add to the list, maybe you would let me know. Contact me with any questions or comments at Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Jello, for what?

by Debbie Walker

I love getting e-mails from people like Joey Green. He has quite a few books about the different hacks (different uses for ordinary things.) Look him up online, his books are entertainment and a great deal of useful information.

Today I am passing on information he collected about Jello. I loved it, the uses, not the Jello!

Jello to unclog a drain. Most everyone has heard about using vinegar, however, it is often too acidic, possibly damaging. Total Info about this process is online from his book ‘Joey Hacks”.

Jello to style your hair. I guess maybe it would work with most stuff that is sticky and stiff when dry. Don’t forget to make some whipped cream for the left-over Jello!

Jello can be used to make marshmallows. I never heard of it but then again, I am not a cook. Seems a lot easier just to buy them! It is in my recipe book.

Wine Jello? Okay, it’s simple enough, just doesn’t sound very appealing to me. Boil one cup of water and mix with Jello powder until dissolved then add a cup of red wine, stir well, and refrigerate for four hours. Serves four.

How to prepare for a wrestling match in Jello. Pour 2,347 boxes of Jello into an eight-foot square padded box, add boiling water, and chill for two days. I think that match might make national news.

If your apple pie doesn’t have enough flavor, you can always add Jello. Just prepare your apple pie and before the top crust sprinkle ¼ of dry Jello, cover with crust and bake.

Watch seedlings grow roots. Yes, we are still talking about Jello. Root seeds on a damp paper towel. (While your Jello is setting). Once the seeds have sprung plant them in a clear jar or glass. Kids will love it.

Jello for enhancing marital relations. I am not touching that one!

Use Jello to help recover from diarrhea. I believe that is to allow you to eat something! I wonder how many cases of that stuff that hospitals buy.

You’ve seen flavored cream cheese at some time, right? Well, you can choose any flavor you would like with Jello.

I wish I had known about this when I first quit coloring my white hair. You can use Jello, add a little water to make a paste. Apply it then let it dry then rinse. It will last through three or four washes. Maybe I will try it.

I have never heard you can use Jello to stop a nosebleed. Place one tablespoon of any flavor Jello powder on the tongue, press the Jello against the roof of your mouth letting it slowly dissolve The Jello clots the bleed.

Please let me know what ones you try. I know someone will. However, I want to add something I read, not related to Jello. Do you know how to recover from a sugar overload? I read you put one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass and sip. Acids release tummy calming sugar digesting enzymes. Hope it works!

I’m just curious if you found this as funny as I did. I hope so!! If you have any questions or comments just email me at Have a great week and thanks for reading again.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Meaningful bouquet

by Debbie Walker

Recently I was given a book called Thinking of You, by Molly Hatch. As you flip through the book there are flowers and their meanings pictured. When the flowers along with each type of flower slides up the picture it looks as though they are a bouquet in a plant pot.

Flowers have always been quite symbolic. It is said they celebrate, commemorate, and communicate beyond words alone. A lot of the meanings involve regions and culture. I’m using the Victorian language for the wisdom of these flowers.

Forget-Me-Nots represent “Cherish Good Memories”. There is a legend in which a knight and his fiancée were picking flowers by the Danube. The knight slipped in the water before he was swept away, he tossed a bouquet to her and shouted “Vergiss Mein Nicht” (forget-me-not}. The flower stands for our innate loyalty and consistency in our lives.

Pansy, it has to do with French for “Thought” and “Think Freely” and in the Victorian floral dictionary it means “You occupy my thoughts”. They also grow from a European wildflower also known as heartsease, Johnny-Jump-Ups and other whimsical names. It is said the pansy reminds us of our individuality .

Poppy – The ancients regarded sleep as a healer and consoler of human nature. Remember this wisdom when you are down and give into sleep, so you wake up with fresh perspective. The poppy represents, “Remember to Rest”.

Dahlias were grown by the Aztecs as an edible crop. The Victorian’s saw the dahlia as a symbol of dignity and elegance. Besides being edible, some are still harvested in Central America for potato-like roots. They say when you see this flower, remember to stand tall and bold, “Never Doubt Your Worth”. There is much more to you than meets the eye.

Hyacinth, the Victorian flower dictionary had many meanings for it but I am coming in for “Practice Self Forgiveness”. Colors could determine games and play, jealousy, sorrow, or forgiveness. Forgive yourself when slip up and adjust your course as you move forward.

Lavendar represents “Seeking Serenity”. Romans used it to scent their baths and homes. After the fall of the Roman Empire washing fell out of favor and became a forever deodorant. The fresh scent and oils became clear for clearing the air and your mind.

Lilac represents pursuing your passion. The blooming reminded the Victorians of the beauty of youth and first love. The message of lilac is never forgetting what captives you in your youth and keep looking for ways to pursue what you love.

Jasmine represents “Be Lovely and Kind”. Robert Tyas in The Sentiment of Flowers reads “There are some persons endowed with a disposition so happy that they seem to be sent into the world to be the bond of society. There is so much grace and ease in their manners that they adapt themselves to every situation. The Jasmine seems as though it had been created to express the quality of amiability. Sometimes we make the strongest impression simply by being accommodating and likeable, Just like Jasmine.

I’m just curious what your favorite flower is. I hope your fall has improved since I left Maine on September 21. It had rained every day I was there. But I am back in Florida now. Have a great week. Contact me with any questions or comments at