SOLON & BEYOND: Schools and what should be taught

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

Received the following information from Margaret Chase Smith Library.

Sorry it’s coming out so late in the month. We miss editor Angie Stockwell. Speaking of which, in this issue you will be introduced to her replacement, Nicole Potter, although she has not been brought on board to edit the newsletter. You can also read about the many awards the Margaret Chase Smith Library and Foundation presents to honor and encourage young people involved with National History Day, the Margaret Chase Smith Essay Contest, the United States Military Academy, and the United States Naval Academy. You will also find a concluding report on the Library’s Maine bicentennial Maine Town Meeting series as well another installment about the recently discovered Clyde Smith letters. End.

In this day and age much is spoken and discussed about schools and what should be taught there. I came across this little yellowed piece of paper that I had cut out and saved entitled Character Traits, and it says “In 1995, the Alabama legislature passed a law that requires schools to discuss 25 traits that they consider make good character. Here are those traits: Cheerfulness, Citizenship, Cleanliness, Compassion, Co­oper­ation, Courage, Courtesy, Cre­a­tivity, Diligence, Envi­ronment, Fairness, Generosity, Honesty, Kindness, Loyalty, Patience, Patriotism, Perse­verance, Punctuality, Respect for others, School pride, Self-control, Self respect, Sportsmanship, and Tolerance. It would be interesting to know how many of the above mentioned character traits are still taught in 2021.

The above is the only recent news that I have received, and so again, I’m going to print something from an old clipping (don’t know what paper it came from, but the writing is mine!) At the top of this little piece of paper it states, Bear Visits Solon! Raps May Prompt Natives To Ask, ‘Who’s That Knocking At My Door? by Marilyn Rogers SOLON:

When I was asked last week by the Morning Sentinel to become the Solon correspondent, they emphasized the importance of feature and unusual stories. At that time, I thought what a silly idea – an unusual story in Solon! But the idea intrigued me as I have always wanted to write so I dreamed that someday maybe….? Then, Monday morning, I received a tip that the Victor Baika family on Pleasant Street had an unexpected visitor during the night. My thoughts quickened with the idea of a feature story, photo and the works, but was somewhat disappointed as far as to get the picture was concerned because the visitor was no longer around. I went to see Mrs. Baiko to get the story and it proved to be an exciting tale. At 10:15 p.m., when the Baiko’s daughter, Linda, came home from her work at The Country Store everything seemed as usual about the grounds of their home. About 11:30 p.m., Mrs Baiko and Linda heard someone shaking the screen door and their two dogs started barking excitedly. The shaking and scratching continued, and they thought someone was trying to break in. Suddenly, there was a big thud and one of the dogs let out a yelp of pain. Well, Linda wasn’t about to let anyone hit her dog, so she picked up a butcher knife and started for the door. But by this time, Mrs. Baiko had awakened her husband. When he opened the door there didn’t seem to be anyone around, but the dogs were barking madly at the bottom of a tree on the front lawn. As the Baikos flashed a light in the tree, two immense eyes peered back. They soon discovered that their visitor was a bear. That was surely a great way to start a new job!

But now for another incident that happened about a wild animal and Lief recently! We feed the birds and enjoy watching them. But, of course, the small animals enjoy the seeds as well! Anyway, three raccoons had been taken for a ride in Hav-A Heart traps this summer and released with no problems, but the fourth one, which happened last week was a disaster! Lief had gloves on when he tried to get the cranky animal out and got a nasty bite on one finger! We started for Skowhegan to the hospital and were there for quite some time so that Lief could get medications for several things. We went down this morning to get the next to the last shot that he needed. It has not been a fun experience!

And now for Percy’s memoir: “Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever.” – Unknown.

SOLON & BEYOND: News from various groups and organizations

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

Seems as though all I do lately is apologize about something . Have received some recent news and didn’t get it in in time because of my computer acting up again ­ – and thanks to Peter, he has solved the problem once again, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

The following one was sent to me by Susan Lahti; Here is the information for the East Madison Historical Association Yard and Bake Sale, at 1108 East Madison Rd., Madison, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., each day. We love seeing folks from the area checking us out! It sounds like a great sale and this is some of the items that will be for sale: Furniture, books, pies, bread, baked goods, jams, jellies, tools, glassware, clothes, small appliances, toys, games, HP printer and cartridge – like new, and much more.

Received the following bit of news from Mary Ann Frear. Just wanted to let you know the Community United Church, in North Anson, will not be holding their usual community suppers this summer. However, we are planning a chicken barbecue later.

Always enjoy your articles in The Town Line! Keep up the good work. Sincerely, Mary Frear. ( My heart felt thanks go out to you Mary, for all that information, and your remarks about enjoying this column; That means a lot. )

The following letter was sent to me by Linda Rogers French:

Dear Alumni And friends,

We have decided to wait one more year before having the reunion. With only half of the people vaccinated it seems the safe thing to do. Also the school is not open to the public yet and we don’t know when it will be. We will still be giving out the scholarships because of the generous donations of the alumni. If anyone wants addresses to get in contact with their classmates and meet in smaller groups I can provide those. You would have to provide your own meeting place and agenda.

Deaths reported were Berl Grover, class of 1960 – 1/20/20, Ronald “Bunny” Giguere, class of 1962 – 7/10/20, Lewis Cahill, class of 1961 – 8//27/20, Albert Starbird, class of 1941 – 1/2/21, Alice Davis Heald, class of 1940 – 1/6/21, Terry Cahill, class of 1966 – 2/25/21/, DouglasHayden, class of 1958 – 3/28/21, Betty Lou Tolman Smith, class of 1956 – 4/13/21. Also Kevin Marcel Morin – 7/13/20, Michael Giguere – 1/25/21, and Viola Tolman Hayden – 3/17/22.

Donations to the Scholarship Fund would be greatly appreciated and can be sent to our treasurer: Jo Rancourt Holden, 66 Parkman Hill Road, Skowhegan, Maine 04976. We received over $1,000 in donation last year. Thank you all. Please make checks payable to Solon Alumni Assn. Thank you all and we will see you next year. God bless.

Sincerely, Linda Rogers French, Sec.

There is some Solon School news that I didn’t have space for last week….New Garden At Solon Elementary School: We hope you have noticed the new raised beds garden on the front lawn of the school. These beds were built by Mrs. Campbell’s husband so we could install a garden dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Pat Miller, who passed away in February. Mrs. Miller taught at Solon Elementary School for 38 years until 2008, and continued to substitute and volunteer at our school until this fall when she took ill.

Besides Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, we also want to thank Don Mayo for helping to build the beds and Kathy Tingley for donating flowers for the garden. And we couldn’t have a garden that is growing well and looking beautiful without the green thumb and tender care of our custodian Dan Haes.

On June 2, Solon Elementary School held its annual Field Day for the Pre-K – fifth grade students. The weather was perfect, and we had a great time! Each class of students rotated between stations to play games and do activities such as tie-dying, sack races, beach ball spoon race, chalk drawing, corn hole, wheelbarrow races, water musical chairs, and red light/green light. Our cook Cindy Lawrence prepared a barbecue lunch for us with help from Mrs. Hines and Chad Hebert. Students were able to sit outside on the grass to enjoy lunch. We thank Ms. Rich and Mrs McFadyen for their work planning and organizing Field Day for us.

And now for Percy’s memoir about Friendships : Great minds think alike; There’s no doctor like a true friend. Perfect friends who were once perfect strangers. Friendship – the older it grows, the stronger it is. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Friend: those who’ve heard the worst about us, yet refuse to believe it. I’d give you the shirt off my back! Even the best of friends must part. Forever a friend without an end.

SOLON & BEYOND: News from Solon Elementary School

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

As always, I was very happy to receive the Solon School news sent to me on June 8.

It starts with Best Wishes To Fifth Graders: We want to extend our best wishes and good luck to our fifth grade class, who will enter sixth grade at Carrabec School in the fall. The students had a chance to join the other district fifth graders at a Step-Up Day activity at CCC on June 1. They saw some parts of the school, met the principal Mr. Mahoney, and met their teachers Mrs. Weggler and Mr. Ela.

Their teacher Mrs. McCluskey and the rest of the staff bid them farewell and wish them the best as they move to the middle school.

Good-bye and good luck to Isabella Atwood, Paul Craig, Lane Frost, Jayden McKenny, Gavyn Perigo, Jordynn Richardson, Annabell Roderic, and Liana Sandoval.

FOURTH QUARTER HONOR ROLL: All A’s: Lane Frost, Charlotte Hamilton, Olive MacDonald, Jayden McKenny and Emma Pooler. All A’s & B’s… Isabella Atwood, Maxx Caplin, Paul Craig, Lydia Dixon, Allyssa Hutchins, Ethan Plourd, Martin Plourde, Hunter Pourde and Spenser Rogers. Congratulations!

This week we are saying good-bye to our first grade teacher, Mrs. Carol Campbell, who is retiring after teaching for 40 years, 37 of them in RSU #74. Mrs. Campbell started her career in Skowhegan but then moved to our district where she taught at Garret Schenck Elementary School, in Anson, Central Elementary school, in New Portland, Embden Elementary School and Solon. She has touched the lives of many students here in our district. We wish Mrs. Campbell lots of fun and new adventures in her retirement, and we hope she will stay in touch. Thank-you and best wishes, Mrs. Campbell.

We are also saying good-bye to our technology teacher, Mrs. Roxann Waugh, who is retiring this spring as well. Mrs. Waugh has taught in RSU#74 for 17 years. She started teaching at Carrabec High School in business education and then moved into the technology teaching position at Carrabec Community School, Garret Schenck Elementary School and Solon Elementary School. Mrs. Waugh may decide to substitute in the district in the fall to keep connected to students. Best wishes, Mrs. Waugh!

BOOKMARK CONTEST WINNERS: This spring our students participated in the seventh annual Bookmark Contest in conjunction with the Coolidge Public Library. Each student designed a bookmark that promoted reading. Our art teacher Mr. Richard Reichenbach judged the bookmarks and chose a winner from each grade. Each winner received a cerificate and a book from Ms. Megan Myers, the town librarian. With each winner’s parent’s permission, we made copies of his/her bookmark, for Ms. Myer’s to give out to patrons of the library.

Winners: Preschool – Mason Kelly; Kindergarden 1 – Payton Kelly, Grade 1 – Tayler Dube, Grade 2 – Keirra Brooks, Grade 3 – Emma Pooler; Grade 4 – Charlotte Hamilton, Grade 5 – Annabell Roderick.

My apologies to those whose news didn’t get in this week, but I’m sorry, I just didn’t get it in time. It is better if I get it a week before it is to happen.

And so for Percy’s memoir: TODAY: I will start today serenely with a true and noble aim; I will give unselfish service to enrich another’s name. I will speak a word of courage to a soul enslaved by fear; I will dissipate drab discord with the sunshine of good cheer. I will be sincere and humble in the work I have to do; I will praise instead of censure and see the good in you. I will keep my mind and body sound and flexible and pure; I will give my time and study to the things that long endure. I will advance a worthy cause; I will strive to lesson evil and obey God’s righteous laws. I will pray to Him to guide me in the straight and narrow way; I will shun false pride and folly. I will live my best today. (To those who remember my cat Percy, he was a remarkable animal, as you can see.

SOLON & BEYOND – Grams: very cute and grandma’s to boot

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

Here it is, Monday already and I’m just starting to write this column! We spent the weekend visiting with Lief’s relatives and friends up in Aroostook County! It was lots of fun and so very beautiful!

This week I call this column; Gram’s: Very cute, and grandma’s to boot. It is taken from an article that was written in the Somerset Reporter way back in June 30, 1983. It brings back happy memories to me and I hope you will enjoy it also.

It’s hard to figure when you get to Gram’s, a gift shop on Route 201, Solon, what will be cuter: the many handmade items lining the walls of the shop, or the three proprietors, all real, honest-to-goodness grandmothers. Marilyn Rogers, Merle Rancourt, and Ellen Hills have a total of 12 children and 17 grandchildren amongst them.

They decided to open their own shop after renting space in a building for two years. This year they purchased an old camp and had it hauled to their site on Rte. 201. After painting, and redecorating it they christened it Grams. (It doesn’t say who wrote the first part of the story for the column but I’m going to change what was printed next so credit can be given to my wonderful sons who did a lot of work to make it the wonderful place that it was!)

It is a clean, pleasant place to browse through their many items. Just about everything in the store is handmade. They carry some Solon Manufacturing Company items for variety.

Merle makes mostly clothes and sewn items. She makes lots of baby clothes and quilts. Ellen creates sock dolls and Maine mementoes while Marilyn makes toys and other baby items.

In addition the shop is stocked with balsam pillows, lap robes, pot holders, and puppets and dolls of all sizes and description. There are even some teddy bears.

“Every time you come in here, there’s something new. ” Ellen said. And Marilyn added. “Most of the items are one of a kind.”

Grams will be open through the summer, and after that it depends on the weather. Besides come December, they all have something to look forward to. That’s when each of them expects to become grandmothers again.

At that rate Grams will never run out of customers or summer help.

Hope to find more information as to how long I kept the Grams store in business with lots of help from my friends! It was truly an inspiration for me to keep doing the things I loved to do. Hope as I continue to go through the many stacks of old papers I may come across more information to share.

As I sit here this morning hoping to write what many of you have told me that you enjoy reading about, one of them was the river drive! Was surprised when a woman called and said she truly enjoyed reading about it when I wrote some before…..But I think this is a different story that I am taking from a Somerset Reporter dated 1835-1976. The headline states: A SALUTE ….. There is a picture of some of the men and it says: Three generations—This crew of log-drivers posed for a photograph outside a camp roughly 65 years ago. They are standing Dell Stewart, Will McLaughlin, Albert Reynold, Milt Reynolds, Granville Beane, (first name unknown) Collins and Chris Rollins. Sitting, Tom Bigelow and Miles Cates. McLaughlin and Bigelow were the grandfathers of men bringing up the rear on the last log drive. The Somerset Reporter was the largest weekly newspaper at that time and it goes on to say Bert Morris remembers: Long logs and good men. It looks interesting to me; but way too long to put it in this week!

Do hope I haven’t been putting in too much of this old news and putting you to sleep, but at my age I find it really interesting and good to remember the good ol’ days.

And now for Percy’s memoir: Trying to hang on to youth, trying to hang on to what was really great 20 years ago, throws you totally off. You’ve got to go with it and seek the abundance that’s in the new thing. If you hang on to the old thing, you will not experience the new. – words by Scholar Joseph Campbell.

SOLON & BEYOND: Let’s begin with Percy’s words of wisdom

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

As usual, my computer is giving me trouble again, so this may be a short one this morning. I had started writing the column at an early hour and I got quite a bit written and I lost it . The bad news is that I have finally decided that the computer is smarter than I am…. not good.

Have decided to start with Percy’s words of wisdom when he was still alive! This one is from The Town Line newspaper on March 28, 2013…… It ended with these words: Percy, as usual on our day to write this column, woke me bright and early! (but as you know Percy is no longer here to help me, and I miss him every day. He gave me no sympathy as I rebelled and told him it was too early to get up. In his normal persevering ways he won as usual. When all else fails, he spitefully scratches the furniture, Even so, I’m going to go with this saying by Sir Arthur Helps. “Wise sayings often fall on barren ground; but a kind word is never thrown away.” I know you like Percy’s words of wisdom, so here they are: “I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” (words by Oliver Wendell Holmes.) I think of those words every time someone compliments me on standing up for what I believe in, or asks, “Are you staying out of trouble?”

Here is some good advice from yet another newspaper that I had written for back in December 15, 1988, in the Skowhegan Reporter. I had written under the title, SOLON, “The friendliest town in the state.” It started out with these words, “Good morning my friends! “Do you suppose, Oh could it be, that peace on earth might start with me?” Do you remember those idealist words written by me in an editorial not too many years ago? And do you detect the slight quiver of uncertainly in them now? – but still I dream that maybe some day mine will not be such a rebellious nature. Was reading in a book of mine the other day and came upon this statement and am inclined to agree – “Those who put peace before righteousness , and justice, and liberty, do infinite harm and always fail of their purpose ultimately.

Found this next one in The Town Line newspaper dated July 4, 2013, and this is the way one of the columns that I had written stated, “Now I have got to brag a little (which I know shouldn’t be done, so please forgive me).Was thrilled beyond belief on June 17 when I saw my grandson, Alexander (Zander) Walz’s picture on the front page of the daily paper. It was a great picture of him sitting at a piano (his favorite place), but his inspirational words to all other graduates really made me proud.

The following words are from the July 4, 2013, The Town Line newspaper, before Percy died and it starts, Whoops! I’ve used up half the words and I promised Percy he could write some of this column and here he is after waiting patiently: I love my human s-0-0-much but she gets upset when I kiss or as she says, (laps) her so today just to show her my side of the story, I’m going to write from the book, Love Is a Happy Cat. Loving cats entails recognizing that, like humans, we can suffer from emotional as well as physical problems, including allergies, depression, and flu. (I do have a physical problem and I feel much better since she took me to the doctor, and I know she puts that ground up pill in my tuna fish, but I eat it just to make her happy.) Love is providing me with feline TV in the form of a bird feeder outside the window. Oh, boy, did all of you see my picture on the front page of The Town Line last week? I want to thank Roland for putting it there, but that’s all I’ll say about that, I don’t want to be a bragger like my human is! I do have squirrels and birds of all colors and shapes right outside my window to watch.

And now I’m going to give my human an extra kiss for letting me help her write our column this week and leave you with my wise words: To be a friend a man should strive to lift people up, not cast them down: to encourage, not discourage; to set an example that will be an inspiration to others.

SOLON & BEYOND: The time I attempted to publish my own ‘hometown’ newspaper

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

When I opened my computer this morning I was very pleased to find this bit of news about the Embden Thrift Shop: The Embden Thrift Shop is planning to be open Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Clean donations are accepted, however no electronics. Items can ONLY be left on Saturdays while the Thrift Shop is open.

Now for some news that I wrote about 0n March 25, 2005, in the small paper I started. It started with the words Solon and Beyond! Good Morning My Friends, Don’t Worry be Happy! From Percy and me. I had become upset with the paper I was writing for at the time, and decided to start my own paper.

Would like to say once again how much I appreciate the many, many kind and encouraging words I have received from so many of you in response to this little paper. Tears of joy have formed in my eyes more than once at your appreciation for my efforts to bring you love and laughter via the written word. To a certain extent this is the way I have always written, some editors have let me get away with it, some have not! (Being the editor of this paper, I got away with it.) Could write a book about editors, have written under many in the more than 40 years that I’ve been writing. This is a neat example of some of the support I have received from loyal readers when I was having a problem with an editor. This was many years ago when I was writing for the Somerset Reporter. This lady in her middle 80s who didn’t have a license to drive, hired someone to take her to the Somerset Reporter office in Skowhegan. She had whoever had taken her to Skowhegan go in the office and bring the editor out so she could give him a piece of her mind. She was a lady who only needed a few words to get her message across, She helped my case immensely! As I said, I could write a book, but only once did I ever quit writing( for a short time) because of an editor!

I had taken a picture of four of my friends and put it on the front page of this particular paper. And this is what was written beside the picture, “And since this issue is dedicated to friendship, I am going to print a picture of some of the UCCEBDMSS members. For those of you who have never heard what those letters stand for, we are Solon Chapter Chowder Eating Beer Drinking Marching and Singing Society members. And to set the record straight, we are not a boozing bunch! They don’t know I’m putting this picture on the front page, it was taken 16 years ago, the picture is of Gloria Barnes, Dorothy Brown, Marge Adams and Alice Heald.

There is more local news in this issue, one tells about the Solon Congregational Church, the Embden Historical Society and other events and it ends with these words: Some people who have been picking up these little papers since the first issue on January 15 will know that I couldn’t afford to give them to you forever. This is the seventh and last issue of probably the smallest and shortest lived newspaper ever. I do believe that the newspaper business is in my blood, and when I couldn’t get the news printed in the paper I was writing for at the time, I decided to start my own paper. Knew I couldn’t keep giving them away forever and prayed for a miracle. As stubborn as I am , don’t know how deep a financial hole I would have dug myself into if the miracle hadn’t materialized! Next week you will be seeing Percy and me once again in The Town Line. Those of you who pick up that paper will have started to see how much it has improved since Roland Hallee has taken over as editor.

Just a few facts about this little paper I started, the first week I printed 62 copies with two pages in it on my printer. I distributed them to three stores here in Solon and to Pinkam’s Elm St. Market, in North Anson. The next three issues I also printed on my protesting old printer and they were now up to three pages. By that time I had started checking out the cost of having them printed professionally because I was having to buy a print cartridge for each issue. The fifth issue had a picture of my faithful helper Percy on the front page as well as a couple of ads and was printed by Deck Copy, in Skowhegan, and I expanded to two stores in Bingham. The last two issues were also printed by Deck Copy and the distribution is up to 170 papers a week, and again I can’t tell you, my friends, how much I have loved your support. Didn’t realize it was going to be a full time job, I had become an editor/publisher, writer, ad salesman, business manager and paper deliverer. I am going to print my financial statement so that you will understand that it takes money to run a paper and I hope businesses in this area will take out ads in The Town Line to keep it in Somerset County. My printing costs for the seven issues published: $231; received $20 for ads, making a total spent of $211, this doesn’t include money for gas, all the time I spent writing, postage for all the papers I mailed out. I’m not trying to make you feel sorry for me, just hope you know how much I want a small weekly paper in this area.

And now for Percy’s memoir: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. Words by Garry Gogetter.

SOLON & BEYOND: Frequent chickadee visitor at our window

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

This week I’m going to start out with our story about a little chickadee that has been at our windows trying to get in for over three weeks. Now for some information about Black-Capped Chickadees: (which are my favorite birds, but not ready to have them move in with us yet!)

They are frequently seen with other birds such as nuthatches and woodpeckers. Makes its nest mostly with green moss, lining it with animal fur. Common name comes from its familiar “chika-dee-dee-dee-dee call. It also gives a high-pitched, two toned “fee-bee” call. Can have different calls in various regions. Our little bird comes to many of our windows and pecks the glass over and over again while looking in at us. Have been thinking how nice it would be to formally meet this little bird by opening the window for a visit, but I’m sure Lief would frown on that!! And I must admit he would be right, and the constant pecking does get tiresome. Would really like to know if any of you do have birds pecking on your windows asking to come in for a visit? Our phone number is 643-5805.

Have been trying to organize all the old cut out pieces from by-gone clippings I have cut out from past years from different papers I have written for. It doesn’t say what paper the following item was taken from, but it does say it was in 2007 and a picture of Percy is on with me. It starts, “Good morning, dear friends. Don’t Worry, be Happy!

I am so frustrated now with trying to figure out this machine that hope this column comes out making some sense! Last Wednesday, June 13, 35 former residents, spouses and friends met at the University of Maine North dining hall for a luncheon and visiting. This is an annual gathering of Flagstaff and Dead River people who truly enjoy this time of friendship and memories.

I asked Frances Taylor how this all got started and this is what she wrote. “After Bill and Olena had been in a boarding home for a few years ( about 1990 ) she expressed a desire to visit with Eleanor Flint Currier ‘without any husbands around’. We worked out a date and the three of us met at a Farmington restaurant to eat and talk ( and talk and talk.) The next spring I suggested we add a few other Flagstaff-Dead River women to join us. As a result there were eight of us, Eleanor Currier, Eleanor White, Eleanor Burbank, Flora Shaw, Lydia Bryant Mary Spenser, Olena and I. Olena handed out old report cards and school papers that she’d saved over the years, to the ones she’d had as pupils. We sat at the table ‘til we were ashamed; then stood around out in the parking lot, still talking, until the manager suggested we come back inside.

“From then on the numbers increased and the men folks joined us, always in Farmington, which seemed to be a good central location for everyone.” Eleanor Currier had done the organizing for several years, establishing a meeting place, picking a menu for the luncheon, sending our invitations etc. She had decided she didn’t want to attempt all of that this year so I decided to go ahead with it so we would be able to continue this annual get-together that everyone enjoyed so much.

“As always it appeared to be a happy time, for everyone. Those who attended from this area were Glenn Wing, Clarence Jones, and Pat Wing, from Bingham; Frances Taylor, from North Anson, Nancy McLean, from Embden, Gladys Rogers, Linda French, Loin Burbank and myself, all of Solon; Lydia Bryant, from Skowhegan; Eleanor Burbank, from Anson.”

Again this year my first grade teacher, Barbara Swan, (age 91) drove herself from her home in South Paris to Farmington and as busy as I am, she could put me to shame as she named over her many activities and volunteer work! Glen Wing was the oldest one present at 93, and he had driven over from Bingham, there were three 91-year-olds , two 88-year-olds, one 87 and at least five in their low to mid 80s, and we have many things in common, especially being young at heart! I tried to give the organizing job to someone younger, but they unanimously elected me for the job again next year.

I’m sorry to say, but most if not all are no longer with us here in 2021.

And so now for Percy’s memoir: You ‘re only young once – but you can be immature forever!

Have a great day!

SOLON & BEYOND: Solon elementary students to take assessment exams

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

This is a continuation of the school Maine Education Assessment Takes on a New Form. Last spring Maine students did not take the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) because of the pandemic. This spring the test will resume, but it has a new form.

The Maine Department of Education has contracted with the Northwest Educational Association (NWEA) to use their test as the state assessment. Students in grades 3-8, and 11 will take tests in reading, language use, and 11th graders will take tests in reading, language use, and math, and students in grades 5,8, and 11 will also take a science test. All of these tests will be taken online.

We are fortunate that the NWEA has been our district test for a number of years so our students and staff are familiar with it. Our K-5 students currently take the NWEA three times a year (fall, winter, and spring) so that we can measure their academic growth across the year. The state will collect students scores for the first time this spring, but going forward they will require both fall and spring scores.

Our students will take these tests during the month of May. Teachers are preparing students by reviewing multiples choice test taking strategies as well as reviewing content concepts. K-2 students will take the tests for the district, but their scores will not be collected by the state.

If you have any questions about this new state assessment, please contact your child’s teacher or the principal. Please encourage your child or children to do their best!

That is all the recent news I have. Thanks to the school for sharing all the things going on with our students, it is very interesting.

As you know, since I don’t receive very much recent news lately, I have been going through old papers, etc., to find things to write about to give you a laugh or share love.

The following is some things I shared when I was writing for the Somerset Reporter and my by-line was SOLON the friendliest town in the state. The issue was from an issue on February 24, 1987 and it starts: Good morning my friends, as I have often written in the past, us reporters must experience life in order to be able to write about it. I can report to you as a definite fact that there are many people going to Job Service and the unemployment office because I’ve been there several times, lately (didn’t get any calls on that course I told you about!) It would be a miracle if I got a job through Job Service because on the form I filled out it asked what school you graduated from, and I put Flagstaff High School, then it wanted the address of this school and I put , “Under the Flagstaff Lake” – there is no ZIP code there.

Had a wonderful visit with my mother last Saturday and I found out that she also collects poems, sayings, etc. This one is so true- – Money will buy a bed but not sleep, books but not brains, food but not appetite, finery but not beauty, a house but not a home, medicine but not health, luxuries but not culture, amusement but not happiness, religion but not salvation, a passport to everywhere but heaven.

Just remember you read it in the Summerset Reporter! There was also a picture I had taken of five girls and under it said, “The Solon Elementary Knitting Class on Graduation day!” but it didn’t tell their names.

Have a wonderful day. Love many things for therein lies the true strength and whoever loves much performs much and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well. Author unknown.

SOLON & BEYOND: Solon elementary school news

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

I was very pleased to receive the Solon School newspaper for this week’s column, with a pretty picture of a flower and the words HAPPY SPRING; it made my day!

Will start with the Third Quarter Honor Roll: All A’s, Lane Frost, Olive MacDonald and Jayden McKenney. All A’s & B’s, Isabella Atwood, Maxx Caplin, Charlotte Hamilton, Ethan Plourd, Martin Plourd, Hunter Pouliot, Dylan Priest, Spencer Rogers and Rowdy Taylor. Congratulations! Now for the Principal’s Message: Spring is upon us, and our students are enjoying more time outside. We are happy to be able to open windows wider to bring in the fresh air and to engage our students in some outdoor learning activities.

Many of our remote learners have returned to in-person learning, and we are happy to have them back. After not seeing all of our students last spring, it is so nice to have them here this year!

Next week is Staff Appreciation Week. I want to celebrate the wonderful teachers and staff that we have here at Solon Elementary School. You can be sure that our children are their top priority!Thanks to them to them for their hard work and dedication in this unique and challenging school year.

Plans are already in the works for summer! We are in the process of planning our Summer School programs, and more specific information will be forthcoming. Mrs. Laura Layman is also planning a Summer Rec program sponsored by the town of Solon for three weeks in July here at the school. We’ll share that information with families once we receive it. Families have already received forms to register their children for the town of Solon’s summer sports programs.

Important dates for spring are the public hearing on the school budget, scheduled for May 27, at 6: p.m., at Carrabec High School, and the budget referendum in each town on June 8. Another date the students are looking forward to is the last day of school, June 10! Enjoy this beautiful Maine spring and please contact us with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your support.

Solon School Participates in Walking School Bus. On April 7, students and staff participated in a Walking School Bus activity. They met at the Solon Thrift Store and walked to school, respecting social distancing guidelines. Once at school everyone enjoyed a great breakfast prepared by school cook Cindy Lawrence.

Walking School Bus activities are part of our 5-2-1-0 wellness plan. Our 5-2-1-0 School Champion, Ms. Rich, organized the activity for us. Another Walking School Bus activity is scheduled for May 12.

Solon Elementary School To Benefit From Sales of Shopping Bags: During the month of May, Hannaford Supermarket, in Skowhegan, will donate $1 for every purchase of its $2.50 reusable Fight Hunger Bags to our school for our food pantry. Every month Hannaford chooses a nonprofit organization to benefit from the sale of these bags.

Solon Celebrates the Week of the Young Child; Our school celebrates the Week of the Young Child, April 12-16, with special activities organized by our preschool staff. Our students enjoyed “Tasty Tuesday” with delicious fruit and yogurt parfaits on April 13 and helped clean up the school grounds on Work Together Wednesday, April 14.

Solon holds spring fever festival week: During the week of March 22-26, Solon Elementary School celebrated the arrival of spring with a Spring Fever Festival. Here are some of the special activities organized by Mrs. LaChance: Guest readers videotaped themselves reading spring books, and teachers showed these videos to their students. Our superintendent, Mr. Tracy, came to read to them during lunch time. Each day had a dress-up theme for students to follow such as Tie-Dye Tuesday and Time to Shine Thursday. Students played “What’s in My Egg” using riddles to help them guess what was in two big eggs sitting on the counter by Mrs. McFadyyen’s desk. During one period each day, teachers switched classes. Each one read a spring book and did a spring craft or other activity with that class. Thus, students got to work with four different teachers besides their own during the week. An outside Easter egg hunt was planned for Friday but postponed due to rain until March 31. After the hunt, students received Easter treat bags.

I’m afraid I have used up most of the space for this column already, and there was still more about the Solon School that I will print next week. There will also be some crazy news about our bird friend that is driving us crazy! …and the wonderful week of celebrating my birthday. Many of you know how old I am and I feel blessed to have reached that elderly number!

And here is one of my thoughts, (which I found on the cover of a book that I have, and it says “Age doesn’t matter unless you’re a cheese”

And now for Percy’s memoir: “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack. ( those words were from Statesman Winston Churchill.)

SOLON & BEYOND: Organizing a teacher-less class

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

Here it is the last of April, time certainly flies! And this year Lief and I will be hurrying around delivering The Town Line papers in quite a few stores in Somerset County. This week’s column is an old one that starts out, From PERCY and me….. Good morning my friends, Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” So many of you have been asking me how many years I have been doing the teacher-less project at the Skowhegan Adult Ed classes. I really don’t know for sure but I found some information on a poster I had made about that club. It was an article I had written for The Town Line back on April 13, 2006, about this, with a picture they had taken of club members at that time. (That was a meeting when we were going to come up with a name for this club, so it had been going on for some time before that.

These are the words I used in the newspaper article); “For the past few years I have been taking the painting classes at Skowhegan Adult Education and enjoying them immensely. Peggy Riley was the teacher and I had learned many new techniques through her instruction, and had made many new friends. Peggy decided that she wouldn’t be teaching when the January sessions started up again, and when I saw that the classes weren’t going to be offered for that semester I was disappointed. (the article was too long to get in this column so this is a shorter version of the one that was printed.) I came up with the crazy idea of having a teacher-less painting club. I went to the administrator’s office and asked them if they would let me do this with a teacher-less person running it Was very, very happy and pleased when they gave me their permission.

When I arrived the first night I was given the attendance folder with M. Rogers, instructor, on the cover. The word “Instructor” went to my head a little, and one night when one of the members was misbehaving, I gave him a push and he nearly fell over, bending his glasses in the near fall. Since then I don’t rule with an iron hand!

Some people would not agree with that statement, I’m pretty sure! I have stressed, (without any violence) that I would prefer that there wouldn’t be any discussions on two topics, politics and religion while we are there so that those who love peace while they paint, can enjoy their stay there! Have had a fear that is probably against “Freedom of Speech”, but I do know it can get pretty rowdy and loud with some discussions!

And now back to the writing about this teacher-less painting class! Members at that meeting were Suzanne Currier, Shirley Foxwell, Linda Sullivan, Gerda Pilz, Betty Dow, Dana Hall, Linwood Turcotte, Peter Foxwell, and me.

The column ended with these words: We meet every week for three hours of relaxation in a pleasant atmosphere and I know I look forward to our Monday night sessions, I’m pretty sure the other nine members feel the same way. I am so happy the Skowhegan Adult Education had enough faith in us to try this experiment with a teacher-less club, and my thanks go out to them.”

The above was taken from The Town Line paper back on April 13, 2006. Wow, things change a lot in 15 years!

Back when the pandemic started, after much thinking of yes or no against trying to continue with this teacher-less club, I finally decided not to ask for the spot at Skowhegan Adult Ed. I miss all the many wonderful painters, many besides the ones mentioned in this column very much! It was a wonderful group of friends to get together with each week and enjoy painting with! I miss it, and think of you often, Hope I didn’t scare any of you away with my wild ways.

In my organizing lately, I came across a small clipping with the words, Chronicle, October 20, 1988: Solon News: Facts & Frivolity From Solon, “The Friendliest Town In The State”. by Marilyn Rogers. Good morning my friends!

Had to learn the ropes of waitressing all over again last week and have definitely decided that I do have to learn another language – French! Two French men came in the other noon and in the hard process (for me) of trying to understand what they were ordering one of them called me “stupid” he knew that much English! I am many things but I am not stupid; and do you remember how I said some people were predicting I would be black and blue from pinches? Well, haven’t had to worry about that at all but my tongue is mince meat! Have clamped down on it so many times, made up my mind before I ever started that everyone was going to get service with a smile, but usually at least once a day I repeat to myself the saying that I have on my living room wall, “As others touch our lives so do we touch theirs – Be gentle even when they are not “!

Now for Percy’s memoir entitled: Influence: Drop a pebble in the water; And its ripples reach out far; And the sunbeams dancing on them may refect them to a star. Give a smile to someone passing, Thereby making his morning glad; It may greet you in the evening When your own heart may be sad, Do a deed of simple kindness; Though its end you may not see, It may reach , like widening ripples, Down a long eternity. (from Salesian Missions).