IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of November 24, 2016

by Katie Ouilette

WALLS, have I goofed? Yes, I know, faithful readers, that November 24 is Thanksgiving Day and our, also, very faithful circulation folks will be sharing that very special day with their families. In fact, since we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day, what better time to thank everyone involved with getting The Town Line to each faithful reader.

And WALLS, you found a special bit of history for our faithful readers! You found two articles that were printed in the ‘long ago’ Skowhegan Somerset Reporter, dated Thursday, December 8, 1988!

One of the columns was written by our U.S. Senator George Mitchell. It surely would be appropriate to let our faithful readers know that Senator Mitchell was born, grew up on Front Street, in Waterville, and attended Colby College, but, especially, since we have just lived through a long and what seemed like it-would-never-end election, you certainly have chosen Senator Mitchelll’s perfect heading which was “Impact of Election Has Yet to be Felt.” That was written in 1988 and that still stands true, faithful readers.

Just below Senator Mitchell’s ‘Guest Column’ is a ‘Letter to the Editor’ about Lydia Child. Yes, you are wondering ‘who’? Well, certainly, you have sung Over the River and Through the Woods, around Thanksgiving time and when you were a very young student in school. Well, this letter was written by ‘someone you still read, but in The Town Line.’

Katie writes that when she and her late husband, Joe Denis (also a Colby grad and from Waterville, and Joe’s Grammy and Grampy Denis lived next door to the Mitchell family), moved to Sudbury, Massachusetts, they were house hunting with their Realtor. In the process, they passed a large Colonial, which the realtor pointed out as the Child’s house. Lydia must have written the song and poem as she remembered her Thanksgiving as a child.

Lydia’s grandmother lived in Concord, Massachusetts, and, sure enough, just passed the Child’s house was a road and a four-arch bridge which led to Grandma’s and Over the River and Through the Woods, on that special day, dinner was waiting and Lydia closed the song with “Hoorah for the pumpkin pie!”

WALLS is sorry, folks. Way back in 1988 and before, folks in Norridgewock thought that Lydia must have been writing about the

Kennebec River, in Maine, but not so! In fact, people tried and tried to figure how the Kennebec River could have been ‘the river’ and which road could have played out in Lydia’s memory. What’s more, Lydia’s family made the trip to her grandmother’s house by horse and sleigh!

Oh, WALLS, aren’t you glad that the Childs moved to Norridgewock and you could tell folks to be happy with song?
Well, the Denis family took the trip from Waverly to Concord every year for three years. Yes, singing the song! Why? Because that made the Thanksgiving ‘carol’ more meaningful as we drove to our own grandma’s house in Skowhegan.

Now, we sing the song that Lydia Child wrote as we sit around grandson Leigh and granddaughter Samantha Paine’s table for Thanksgiving dinner in Canaan. All the while, great-grandchildren Reese and Owen are trying to learn a bit of local history in song.


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