SOLON & BEYOND: Solon elementary students to take assessment exams

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
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
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
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).

SOLON & BEYOND: Finally got down to town office for annual meeting report

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

This week, I finally went down to the Solon Town Office and picked up the papers for the Solon annual town meeting which was held on March 6. My apologies for being so late but the fall I took slowed me down a bit. The moderator elected was Peter Miles. Article 2 elected municipal officials and school committee members as are required to be elected. Nominated candidates: Selectman, three-year term: Wayne Johnson received 42 votes; Road commissioner, one-year term: Gary Bishop received 44 votes; MSAD # 74 School Board Director, three-year term: Robert Lindblom received 44 votes.

Forty-seven voters participated in the election of municipal officials and a school committee member. All candidates ran unopposed. All candidates retained their seats. Article 3: To see if the Town will vote to take the following amount from the 2020 surplus for overage in the following accounts: Chairman of selectmen $.04, Town Office Security System $30.40, Trio Computer Programs $283.36, Unemployment Insurance $.48, Fire Department $1,193.40 , Moto Vehicle Money $39.25, State Plumbing Fees $400 and State Plumbing Surcharge $90. Selectmen and budget committee recommend Yes.

Article 4: To see if the Town will vote to increase the property tax levy limit of $584,990, established for the town of Solon by state law, in the event the municipal budget approved under the following articles will result in a tax commitment that is greater than that property tax levy limit. Selectmen and budget committee recommend Yes motion to accept Article 4 as written: was signed by Michael Golden and Lois Miller.

There were six full pages of the Solon annual town meeting that I was given when I went to the office to ask for it, but I don’t have enough room to print all of them. Everything seems to have passed and I don’t know how long it took, as to whether there was very much discussion or not. Sorry I can’t give you more information, but I didn’t feel up to par through March this year. But I can also count my blessings! It was a rough tumble that I took down some stairs in a store but it never broke a bone! I have always said that I am tough, but at my advanced age, I think it is a miracle!

Another paper I was given along with the town meeting results states, Advisory Committee Ordinance, Proposed 3-6-2021; The existing budget committee is hereby renamed the advisory committee and all current budget committee members will continue to serve until their term expires.

The advisory committee shall be composed of 15 members and two alternate members. The selectmen shall appoint five (5) members each year for a three (3) year staggered term. The selectmen shall appoint two (2) alternates for three (3) year staggered terms. In the event a member is unable to complete his or her term, the most senior alternate will be appointed to fill that vacancy and will complete that member’s term. The selectmen shall then appoint a new alternate to complete the former alternate’s term.

Alternate members can fully participate in the meetings except for voting. When a member is absent from a meeting, most senior alternate in attendance will be allowed to vote. When a member has three (3) consecutive unexcused absences, the selectmen have the option of terminating his or her membership on the committee and may replace that member with the most senior alternate.

All warrant articles shall be reviewed by the advisory committee prior to any annual or special town meeting. Committee members shall approve or disapprove each article.

No articles will be accepted for an upcoming town meeting after the advisory committee has met, except by agreement of the selectmen and the advisory committee and time allows for a special advisory committee meeting.

This ordinance hereby rescinds all prior budget committee ordinances or policies.

And now for Percy’s memoir: It is called Don’t Give Up, and it is on just a little piece of paper and when I turned it over it says I have used it before, but it doesn’t say when. Hope you will like it and remember it. “You may be tempted to, but don’t give up, when you’ve lost the desire to try, and you’ve misplaced your hopeful dreams, dare to believe again in the impossible; Catch a ray of sunshine, and hold on tightly; The One who holds your hand… will never let you go.

SOLON & BEYOND: A little knitting news

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

I’m going to start out with one of these 40 tips for a Better Life-2008.

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant. From time to time, I will use some of these suggestions to keep you happy in these troubling times. As you can see, I used this bit of news back in 2008, but I feel it is worth repeating. Number 2 is sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

Now for what little recent news I have received for this week… The Embden Community Thrift Shop will be open April 17, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Masks required. No donations will be accepted that day.

The only other e-mail I received to share with you is one that starts, Local Yarn Store (LYS) Day is coming up on April 17! This day was originally established so folks could show support for their local shops, but at Happyknits we’d like to show our gratitude to you for the support you provide us all year long. We’ll be giving away a $50 gift certificate to one lucky person who makes a purchase between Saturday, April 10 and Saturday, April 17. And Berroco Yarns is throwing their hat into the ring with an offer of a free 7-pattern ebook with the purchase of any of their yarns from our shop on LYSDay.

This week, I’m going back in time, again, this time in a bit of news I had written ( it doesn’t say what paper I was writing for at that time; but it starts like this: “Mary has been cleaning in her nursery school getting ready to open it again and when she took an old linoleum in a closet, underneath was an old Independent Reporter, dated July 21, 1921. In this old paper there was one article I had written entitled, “We All Have It”(this was written 62 years ago!). Then add on all the years since that paper came out.)

At that time, I wrote “We All Have It” and it goes on to say, We mean, of course , the speed mania, wish I could print it all but it rather lengthy – written by an editor who took a drive of 180 miles to observe the speed mania on the highways. It starts out like this …..”We all have it! We mean of course, the speed mania! No one can drive the public highways without being impressed that every man and woman and many children are afflicted with speed mania. It is a dire and dangerous disease . It is just as sure to lead to death as a cannon ball. This speeding is a disease just as truly as small pox is an affliction.

It ends with…”What’s the remedy?There is but one! That is for a law prohibiting the manufacturing of cars beyond a medium speed limit. The ordinary car one meets on a highway has a speed limit of 30 to 40 miles and many of them can tear along at the death-inviting rate of 60-70 miles per hour! We hold life so cheaply that unless these high speed cars are prohibited by law, not only hundreds but thousands of our people will die upon the public highways. Mangled and bleeding amidst the sand and dirt of the earth without an opportunity to arrange one’s business or say goodbye!

That was the end of that story, and I’m sorry to say it didn’t tell who had written the story that I copied there. It goes on to tell about the following: There was a headline that said, “Officers Capture Alleged Moonshiners In Woods South of Madison.”

Now here is Percy’s memoir written by John Greenleaf Whittier: from the Eternal Goodness: I know not what the future hath Of marvel or surprise, Assured alone that life and death, His mercy underlies: And so beside the Silent Sea I wait the muffled oar; No harm from Him can come to me on ocean or on shore. I know not where His Islands lift Their fronded palms in air; I only know I cannot drift Beyond His love and care.

SOLON & BEYOND: New Portland library to hold cutest pet contest

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

Received the following email from Carol Dolan and my many thanks for this recent news! She wrote: I’ve been asked to circulate the following from the New Portland Library Cutest Pet contest. Our activity for April is the “Cutest Pet” contest. Our pets have given us unconditional love, have been our faithful companions, and perhaps our best company over the past year. Pets include dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, pigs, you name it.

We are accepting entries throughout April; $5 per entry with a chance to win $25. Fill out an entry form telling us why your pet should win and submit a picture to the library. Winner will be chosen first week of May. The picture will be on display and will remain up for a time in the library to cheer us up.

They are located at 899 River Road, in New Portland. They are open Tuesdays and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. – noon and Sundays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Call us at 628-6561. Sheila Atwood; New Portland Community Library.

The old news this week is from an Old Somerset Reporter: “Somerset County’s hometown paper for 145 years.” This one was published January 31, 1985, and I was writing for it at that time.

The following officers were elected at the annual meeting of the Solon Federated Church held Friday evening at the Methodist Church Vestry. Clerk, Constance Hopkins; treasurer, Ellen Hills; Finance chairman, Marilyn Rogers; spiritual advance chairman, Gordon Ripley; pulpit decoration chairman, Peggy Rogers; benevolence chairman, Catherine Starbird; music chairman, Gordan Ripley, Sunday School Superintendent, Mary Walz; auditors, Perley Loomis and Albert Starbird.

Other news in this paper was: The blood pressure clinic will be held Monday, February 4, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Methodist Church Vestry.

That paper ended with these words: “Just want any of you who may have passed by last Thursday when I was stopped beside the road talking with that big handsome fella in the New England Tel. car to know I wasn’t having a secret rendezvous; that was my son, Mark! You know how gossip gets started.

This is going to be a rather mixed up column this week, I just came across an OLD Somerset Reporter, 1976, with lots of information about long ago river driving which I find really interesting, and hope you will, also. Won’t be able to get it all in this week. Will start with this story called Bert Morris remembers: Long logs and good men, West Forks – Bert Morris has lived his whole life near the Kennebec River. He was born close to its banks in 1889; he started driving logs in its headwaters when he was 15; he guided fishermen through its rapids and he still lives beside the river today.

If he was trying to be melodramatic, Mr. Morris might say he “loves” the Kennebec. But he doesn’t talk that way. His reminiscences are straightforward and factual. He talks about the river and the forests around it with an understanding that can only come from a lifetime of experience. He doesn’t need melodrama.

He started driving at 15 years old. Mr. Morris served as foreman for the Kennebec Log Driving Company for years. It was a post he earned. When he started, at age 15, he began at the bottom. “They started me out on a big, wide boom, maybe four or five feet wide. The logs went down a sluceway – long logs they were – and there were four or five men on each side with long pick poles to keep them straight. They could run a raft through pretty fast; everybody kept to his business,” he recalls.

That first job, with a driver named Daniel Burns, was at Indian Pond. After four years there, Bert Morris went to work for Jim Kinsley, on Moosehead Lake, a post he held for five years. “They towed the logs through Moosehead Lake with those big boats then. Then we’d sluice them into Indian Pond. That’s where the wind would start to work on them, and they’d pile up and jam, he remembers.”

That’s all the space I have room for at this time, if I’m going to get Percy’s memoir in. His memoir today goes way back in time also, and is called Practicing Penmanship : You may recall the copybook of schoolboy days with its well-worn look, And its rounded script of chaste design, That topped each page in graceful line. We took our stance all set to go, With a toe hooked firm in the seat below, And with vice-like grip on the old steel pen, We wrote up hill and down again, Carving our way at a creeping pace, With many a pucker and painted grimace, As over and under we wrote sage words, That meant far less than the singing birds, We could hear outside, as with labored scrawl, We did our stint at the master’s call.

SOLON & BEYOND: The time I let Percy write the column in my absence

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

I would like to start this column off with an apology: I am so sorry that I couldn’t get the story that was sent to me from the New Portland Library, but I didn’t receive it in time to do that. It was called a Breakfast Bake, Book and Movie Sale! Hope you had lots of people attending, it sounded like a really fun time!

Now, I would like to thank Roland from the bottom of my heart, for leaving Percy’s picture beside mine on our column, for all these years. For those of you who don’t know, Percy died quite a few years ago, and I still miss him every day, he was a very remarkable animal! I came across a small clipping that I found recently dated The Town Line – January 3, 2008, with only Percy’s picture; (Percy was alive and well at that time, and I had let him write our column that week because I was down in sunny Florida!)

Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy!

This is Percy wishing you the happiest of New Years! I am missing my human, she has been down in sunny Florida since before Christmas.

I am thrilled beyond belief that she is letting me write this column again, since so many of you have told her that you prefer my writing instead of hers.

Since I don’t have any real news to share, I have been reflecting on what subject to write about, think perhaps Happiness might be a good topic to delve into. Our by-line each week being, “Don’t Worry be Happy, and she’s been using it for years, before I started helping her. Does that make you stop and think just how happy you really are? Some quotes I can think of are, “Cheerfulness greases the axles of the world, ” “Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself,” “True happiness consists in making others happy.” But the one I like the best is, “There are two essentials to happiness: something to do, and someone to love.” It gives me great pleasure to behold the sappy look on my humans face when I lavish her with love, (I curl up in her lap and put my paw as far around her neck as I can and sing at the top of my lungs!) That is pure ectasy, and makes me happy also.

As I have told you before, the first thing she does when she gets up in the morning, even before she gets her breakfast, is to give me my dish of tuna fish, such love is beyond measure. Do I appreciate it ? You betcha! But must confess, I’ve been misbehaving ever since I heard her telling someone on the phone that she was going to Florida. She gets pretty upset when I do things I know I’m not supposed to but she comes around when I make up, unconditional love is the greatest!

Are you gaining insight about finding happiness from my words? I do hope so…. but to continue, with more wise words. When you do the things you do with love, you give life a gleam that most people only carry a glimpse of. Your attitude affects the outcome of so many things. Smiles inspire smiles. Reaching out brings people in. Looking on the bright side doesn’t entail being naïve and donning rose-colored glasses. It simply means leaving the cynicism and complaining to someone else, someone who will spend their whole life wondering why good things don’t come their way.

Being a positive person, someone who looks forward to so much, is not only rewarding, it’s refreshing. The wisest people on earth are those who have a hard time recalling their worries….and an easy time remembering their blessings. Now, my human has edited what I have written to share with you, but, will it get by the real editor? Have been told that she asked him once how much mushy stuff he would let her get away with. I’m pretty sure he likes me best and hopefully some of you have told him that you like my writing better than hers.

Anyway, my human and I would like to wish you the Happiest New Year ever! Signed by Percy. Editor’s note: Percy got many of these quotes from different books.

Just to let you know, to those of you who read this column, Roland has let me get away with lots of mushy stuff over the many years he has been my editor. and, I appreciate every bit of it! As far as Percy saying some of you like his writing better than mine…. that hurts!

SOLON & BEYOND: Pine Tree 4-H Club still active

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

I am so happy to have some recent news to share with you this morning. And I would like to thank Hailey Dellarma for sending it.

Solon Pine Tree 4-H met on Saturday, March 13, at the Solon Fire Station. In attendance were: Cooper and Kaitlin Dellarma, Lindsay and Charlotte Hamilton, Jillian and Desmond Robinson, Katelyn and Devyn DeLeonards, Autumn and Matt Ladd, and Isabella Atwood. There wasn’t any craft project during this meeting. Demonstrations were given by the following members: Devyn DeLeonards and Matt Ladd: DIY Knife Sharpener; Isabella Atwood: Guinea Pig Treats, Charlotte Hamilton: Fabric Guinea Pig Shelter; Linsay Hamilton: How to make a rope halter; Katelyn DeLeonardis and Autumn Lass: Kiss Cookies.

New News:

The club raised $209 on March 6 for the Solon Food Cupboard. The club members will be thinking of a possible Educational Exhibit for the Skowhegan Fair. The next meeting will be Saturday, April 9, at 9:30 a.m., at the Solon Fire Station.

I am so very pleased that the Solon Pine Tree Club is still going on for the young people in Solon, it is a wonderful group.

I also received an email from Margaret Chase Smith Library: It was this time a year ago that COVID-19 was beginning to shut down daily life in the United States. Since then we have all had to adapt to the new normal of restricted movement, limited capacity, and social distancing. While we have made progress, and hopefully crested the peak of the pandemic, the library is still operating under restrictions that will once again not make an in-person Maine Town Meeting possible this spring. They will, therefor, use the same format as last spring and offer another Zoom event. They are sticking to the original theme, although in greatly extended form, of using the Maine Bicentennial as a time to assess where the state has come from, where it is now, and where it should be headed in the future. Professor Liam Riordan from the Department of History at the University of Maine laid the groundwork last May with his lecture on Maine’s origins as a state. Next up on Friday, April 9, at 10 a.m., will be Bill Green. Drawing upon his four decades of experience as a broadcast journalist for WLBZ in Bangor and WCSH in Portland.

The final talk in the Maine Bicentennial town meeting series will also be via Zoom on Friday, May 21, at 10 a.m. “Thank you for staying ‘in this together’ through these unprecedented times. While the internet and Zoom have been indispensable tools during the pandemic,” said Director David Richards. They look forward to the day when they can welcome back everyone without the need for contact tracing forms, face masks, and social distancing signage. Now for a short explanation of why I didn’t have a column last week: Lief and I had gone to see if a store had the airplane models that he likes to put together and I had gone with him. There was a long flight of stairs to climb, and I made out just fine, but on the way down, I got to only two or three stairs left, and I don’t know what happened, but I fell, and I have a lot of black and blue places on my body. So I had to spend a few days in the hospital! It is great to be back at home and I’ll try to be wise and stay off stairs, ( for a while.)

My many, many thanks and love go out to all of you who have called or sent get well cards, it means a lot!

SOLON & BEYOND: Forty is the old age of youth…

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

I’m going to lighten up this morning after putting in so much about all the heartache and sadness of the flooding of Flagstaff. I’ll start with this little saying I found; “Forty is the old age of youth; Fifty is the youth of old age. As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.”

I am taking it from a yellowed old age clipping I found. It doesn’t have a year when it was printed, and it doesn’t tell what paper I was writing for at the time (but it certainly wasn’t The Town Line.) It starts out with these words: “I am going back in time again but only 62 years this time. Mary has been cleaning in her nursery school getting ready to open it again and when she took up an old linoleum in a closet, underneath was an old Independent Reporter, dated July 21, 1921. On the front page was the headline, “Old French Farm had Bridal Party. Earle Spaulding Wedding to Miss Esther French, Great-Granddaughter of Pioneer.” Couldn’t find any other Solon news, the closest being South Bingham and vicinity. Under the heading it said, Mr. and Mrs. Harry French are parents of a baby son, Carlton, born July 8. Albert Gehrker Sr, and family are enjoying a nice overland car. Albert Gehrke Jr. has bought the place where Harold York formerly lived and has moved his family there.

There was quite a bit of Stratton news and items from such places as Mainstream, Larone and Quinnebasset and with over 30 towns having columns. There was one article entitled, “We All Have It ” (this was 62 years ago!) Wish I could print it all but it is rather lengthy, written by an editor who took a drive of 180 miles to observe the speed mania on the highways. It starts out like this

“We all have it! We mean, of course, the public highways without being impressed that every man and woman and many of the children are afflicted with speed mania. It is a dire and dangerous disease. It is just as sure to lead to death as a cannon ball. This speeding is a disease just as truly as small pox is an affliction.” It ends with: “What’s the remedy? There is but one! That is for a law prohibiting the manufacture of cars beyond a medium speed limit. The ordinary car one meets on a highway has a speed limit of 30 to 40 miles and many of them can tear along at the death-inviting rate of 60-70 miles per hour! We hold life so cheaply that unless these high speed cars are prohibited by law, not only hundreds but thousands of our people will die upon the public highways. And what an awful death! Mangled and bleeding amidst the sand an dirt of the earth without an oportunity to arrange one’s business or say goodbye!”

There was a headline that said “Officers Capture Alleged Moonshiners I. Woods, South of Madison.” The paper then was the size of the daily paper now but with much smaller print. This issue had 14 pages and on the front it claims to be Maine’s Best County Weekly, Cost was 5 cents per copy or $1.50 a year. The correspondents didn’t get their names put in under their towns except Athens, and it said Bunker Hill-Athens. Does anyone know if that was a person’s name or a place there? Guess I’ll go put last week’s The Town Line under a linoleum someplace and in 50 or 60 years someone will find it and they’ll say, “Who was the nut writing Solon news way back then?

Hope all of you in Solon received 2020 Annual Report last week telling about the annual Solon Town Meeting, on Saturday, March 6, 2021, at Solon Elementary School. Election of town officials; 8 a.m. to noon. Town meeting is at 1:30 p.m.

Perhaps I’ve been back in the dark ages too long with what I’ve been writing about lately, because I haven’t had very much recent news sent to me, what do you think? Anyway, I came across a poem I had written back in 1943. On the outside it says Marilyn Houston English 1, Oct 4, 1943. The name of it was Saving Gas:

Some people go to the movies in cars, and that is luck,
But we have to go in a breezy old truck.
What do we care, if we only get there,
With many a song, our singing is rare.
We don’t have much style, But we have lots of fun,
The people of Stratton always know when we’ve come.

I got an A- for the above poem. But I can’t begin to tell you about all the fun we had going to the movies in my Uncle Perley’s BIG Old Truck; on cold winter times or the hottest of summer days! Flagstaff truly was a wonderful place to grow up, and to have lived in for a few years after I was married.

And now for Percy’s memoir in these difficult days: When things seem hopeless, trust God and do what’s right. First think: God is on my side! He wants to help me. Second say: I will rejoice and be patient through this hopeless situation. Next pray: ask God to help you trust in him. Finally obey patiently, wait, for God always keeps his promise, so you can depend on him to help you.

SOLON & BEYOND: Fires raged all around the town of Flagstaff

Flagstaff circa 1947. Three years later, whatever was left behind from three towns was buried under 80 billion gallons of blue water. (photo from

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

Have been looking through my old scrapbook about living in Flagstaff in the time before having to move because of the dam that was being built and reading about all the fires that threatened us. Some were worse than others: One of the old papers that I have reads: Farm Homes Destroyed. Flames which consumed three farmsteads and several small camps in the Dead River region brought on an evacuation. About 37 families were said to have left their dwellings. Meanwhile Burbank, armed with a portable pumper, defied the flames and refused to leave his Dead River home.

He lives with his wife, son and visiting daughter at the upper end of Dead River Plantation, about one fourth of a mile from Route 16. At times the buildings were encircled by nearby fires, but Burbank kept the dwellings well watered down with the pumper. Water is obtained from the Dead River in the rear of his home.

Nine permanent families and several power project workers made up the evacuation. Furniture Piled High: The furniture of about 17 families was piled high in the yard of Robert Hall, a former town officer of the Dead River, who recently moved to Lexington. Huge billows of smoke shrouded 4,150-foot Mt. Bigelow and observers were unable to determine how far up the peak’s side the flames have reached, according to the Associated Press. The smoke was visible in Bingham, 20 miles distant.

Another fire in Flagstaff that was printed starts with these words: On Thursday afternoon fires began to get out of hand and by 5 p.m. the fire above the village had advanced to the Walter Hinds’ farm, a distance of a mile, with a strong wind blowing the flames and smoke swiftly toward our town. It looked very serious for about an hour and many were the boxes and suitcases packed with valuables to be ready for instant evacuation of our homes. But a slight shift in the wind and quick action of the firefighters changed our fears to just concern. On Thursday and Friday the same thing happened – morning would find us hopeful that at last the fires were under control. By noon the smoke would be back and rolling in billows and state fire trucks, Central Maine Power men and out of town firefighters would begin rushing about in their efforts to control the fires which threatened to become very serious for the town. Late Saturday afternoon a new fire on the Plains in an old lumbering area began to grow and advance swiftly in spite of all the efforts of the firefighters. Again the road was closed and people began gathering their valuable papers and precious belongings into bags for a quick get away if necessary. A fire at the foot of Flagstaff Pond had advanced to the foot of Jim Eaton Hill and in the old cutting of several years ago, going to the top of the hill and down the east side. It was gaining in seriousness, and the guests at Camp Adeawanda at Springl Lake were evacuated, upon the advice of the fire wardens, to the Green Farm, in Coplin.

I can’t begin to describe how really terrible that time was for everyone during all the fires and knowing that we were going to be driven from our homes because of the building of the dam!

Sorry to write such a dismal column but the proposed Central Maine Power Co. Corridor brings back so many memories. It hurts my heart the most, that so many of our beautiful trees will be cut and it will destroy the beauty of Maine. … with no benefits for Maine people.

In going through all my old papers I came across this e-mail from The Town Line paper dated December 2, 2003. Had not been able to remember when I started writing for it (But it was evidently a letter I wrote asking some questions, like do you want pictures, and if so how often, etc. ?) When Roland called and asked if I wanted to write for The Town Line, I asked him if I should write the same kind of column I had written for the Somerset Gazzette. He said, “Yes”.

Some day when I get time, I’m going to try and figure out all the papers I have written for over all these many years. I have written for The Town Line longer than any other paper and it is fun, (my goodness, I didn’t remember, it has been 18 years! What other editor would let me put in my dead cat’s memoirs?!

And here is this week’s Percy’s memoir. “The Secret of Living”: Make each day a magnificent adventure. Accept the challenges that come your way. Seize each opportunity that you find. Without concern for what others might say. Experience each day with open arms. Savoring both victory and strife. Welcoming the good and the bad together. For only then will you know the joy of life.