SOLON & BEYOND: Four candles burned constantly

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

The following is from an old 1995 column that I wrote in the Somerset Gazette: It starts, Good morning my friends, don’t worry, be happy!

Shouldn’t do this after those words but I’m frustrated. So have to admit that monster (computer ) got the best of me this morning, well it really started last week when I pushed that print button and this column kept coming out and I couldn’t get it to stop until I pulled the plug. On a good day I cringe at the paper the thing wastes, it amazes me how people talk about saving the trees and then in the next breath say how wonderful computers are. Anyway, this morning the “Thing” wouldn’t let me in so I’m typing it! – Peter, I need your HELP! I still get frustrated with this computer, but Peter is still helping me, and I thank him very much.

This week I’m going to put in a letter that was in that 1995 paper, and its title was Four Candles Burned Constantly, by Ethel Bowen. When I look back on World War II, I think of the day when we were all let out of school so we could see our National Guard off to what we thought would be a training session. Little did we know that a few short months later the United States would be in the middle of a war, and they would be participating in it. The Skowhegan High School band escorted the “Guard” to the train station, with us lining Water Street, cheering them on.

This journey for most would end up being a horrible experience, costing some of them their lives, bringing sorrow to their families and the whole town. I can remember Aunt Bernice and Uncle Bill sending their four sons and two sons-in-law off to foreign lands to fight for their country. I lived next door to them. Aunt Beatrice burned four candles continuously, one for each one of her boys. She also had a flag in the window with four stars surrounding it. One son who was wounded three times in Germany, was sent back after recuperating from his injuries twice. The third time he was to have been sent back in a few days, but the war was declared over in the European Theatre, so he was sent home instead.

Another son contracted malaria while in the Pacific and was a long time recovering. One son-in-law lost a finger during a raid in Germany, and the other was injured in the Pacific. Of the two remaining sons, one was in the Signal Corp in the Pacific. I can still picture Aunt Bernice watching for the mail and rushing out to the mailbox hoping that she would get a letter from one of them. When she did she shared them with the rest of the family.

I can tell you, there was delight and celebration in that family when the war was declared over and they returned home. This family was very fortunate. Other families were not. The first time I saw my mother cry was when my brother left home for basic training. He came home on leave, then was sent to Germany He was fortunate as six months after he got there he stayed in the Army of Occupation until he was discharged.

And now for some good advice called The Way to Be a Friend. The way to be a friend is just To strive each day to be A firm believer in the strength Of human dignity.To teach each fellowman the way That you would like to be, With deep respect for each man’s worth And his integrity. The way to be a friend is just To keep a smiling face, To realize that laughter adds A special note of grace. The way to be a friend is just To give and give and give Of help and care and kindly words Each day that you shall live, To shun away each petty doubt And open up the heart, To let in the thoughts of love and trust, Which is how friendships start.

Sorry that this is a rather short one but we have to go to Skowhegan in the morning so Lief can get his LAST SHOT……… and we will probably celebrate big time!


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