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Clothes pin, moth balls and gum necklaces
WILTON -- The East Wilton Union Church will be hosting their annual August “Concerts on the Lawn” series starting Aug. 5th.
The "Concerts on the Lawn" are held each Sunday evening in August and begin at 6 p.m. East Wilton Union Church is located at 1306 Main St., East Wilton, Maine. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
Chairs are provided but attendees are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. In case of inclement weather, the concerts will be held inside. Light refreshments and a time of fellowship will follow each concert. The concerts are free, but there will be an opportunity for a free-will offering.
The concert schedule is as follows:
Aug. 5th – Tedd Fish, a Gospel singer
Aug. 12th – Greater Purpose – a local Gospel group
Aug. 19th – Alan Frink – a traditional and Southern Gospel singer
Aug. 28th – Hyssongs, a family Gospel trio
Those who like Christian music and a family atmosphere are invited to come for an evening of word and song as the church praises the Lord and fellowship together.
For more information, please call the East Wilton Union Church at 645-4297.
HARRISON – 69-year-old Elaine Emery has lived in West Paris all of her life. Her dad owned Penley Brothers and she enjoyed many hours playing at the mill.
She recently took time to tell us about her life.
Q: When were you born and where were you brought up?
A: I was born in Rumford on June 8, 1941. My parents lived in West Paris, but the doctor had a practice at the Rumford hospital, so I was born there.
I grew up and lived all my life in West Paris, except for college.
Q: Did you have many siblings?
A: No. That's why I always called myself the good the bad and the indifferent.
Q: What did your parents do?
A: My mother was a housekeeper and a seamstress.
My dad was Joseph Penley and he owned Penley Brothers.
Q: What was it like growing up?
A: I was an only child and it was a lonely life at times.
I spent a lot of my time with my grandmother Penley; she was a wonderful lady.
I did live in the village, so I had friends there that I could play with, but it wasn’t the same as having a sibling.
When I was a child growing up I was always called Little Joe 'cause I looked just like my dad. I was my daddy's little girl and he called me Willy. I think back now and wonder if he had wanted a son.
I was in Girl Scouts from the time I was nine and I absolutely loved that. I went to Girl Scout camp every year and when I was too old to go as a camper, I went as a staff member. It was Wayaka in Otisfield.
I had a doll house and I still have it. Oh, that doll house, I just loved it. I played with it a lot. I also played cribbage from the time I was five. It seemed as though my dad and I would play for hours.
I always had long blond hair and my mom would take rags and curl it up at night. In the morning, she would put her fingers through and give me finger curls. I hated that – it hurt. Some lady always said she always wanted my curls so I cut off a lock and gave it to her.
I entertained myself quite well.
I had asthma really bad and would lose a lot of school because they didn't have a lot back then to take care of me. That's when my doll house became my best friend and that's when my dad taught me to play cribbage.
I was outside; I always wanted to be outside. My mom tried to teach me to cook and sew and I wouldn't have it.
That's why I loved camp so much. Outdoors is just one of my favorite things to do.
I took piano lessons and played all kinds of sports too.
Q: did you ever go to the mill with your dad?
A: Yes. I use to go to the mill with my dad at night and when he would go to grind saws. I would go upstairs and play. I would sit up on top of those huge hoppers that were full of clothes pins and play in them with my feet. I would also go to where they had piles of the coils to put the clothes pins together. That was really hard It would take me an hour to put a few of those together.
They started to get some plastic ones that were made in Vermont. They were all stamped and they were in colors, so that was fun. There was a man that would make the springs at night. They were hot!
There were parts of the mill that I didn't like during the day cause it was so loud with the saws. The dark mill didn't scare me, but the noise in the day did.
Q: Was there anything you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: I always wanted to be a nurse. I was sick a lot and ended up at the hospital so much that it really intrigued me. Maybe that's why it's been my passion every since I can remember.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I went to West Paris all the way through and all in the same building. Kindergarten was in the basement, grammar school was on the first floor and high school was on the second floor.
My parents did the same thing. We actually had some of the same teachers; Agnes Gray being one of them, and that's who the school is named after.
We always had two grades in one room and that was good because we could always learn a little more from the grade ahead of us.
Q: Did you get into mischief or play pranks?
A: Not really. But I got in trouble at school all the time; I was bored and so I would do things like whisper or talk to someone. I think back on it now and I was probably a model child compared to today.
Someone gave me some bubble gum one time and I made a necklace with it. My mom found me screaming in the bathroom. I had gotten it stuck in my hair.
My dad did a lot of school work with me at home so I wouldn't get too far behind.
Q: What did you have for childhood jobs?
A: The only job I really ever had was a babysitting job. My dad had a good job and I really wasn't allowed to do anything else. I always wanted to have a job though.
When I got a bit older and couldn't go to Girl Scout camp, my parents did let me get a job there. So I worked there summers till I graduated from college.
Q: Where did you go on to College?
A: I went to the University of Maine – my dad was an alumni. I went to Orono and went to the nursing program. It took five years and I graduated in 1964.
Q: When and how did you meet your spouse?
A: I knew him since we were in kindergarten, but we never even dated until I was a senior in high school. We dated off and on all through college as he went there as well.
While we were dating, I was working at Maine Med in pediatrics. Two doctors signed on to do the USS Hope in Nicaragua. My roommate decided she wanted to go so I decided to join them. I was all ready to start my shots and get ready … I came home and told Norman about it. It was just before Christmas and he gave me a diamond during the holidays. Needless to say, I stayed home and planned a wedding instead.
Hmmm…maybe he never wanted me to go.
Norman and I got married on August 8, 1965.
Q: Did he go in the service?
A: No. They were drafting, but because they needed teachers to stay home, they didn’t take him. He had gone to ROTC and was ready to go to officer’s school.
Q: Where did you live when married?
A: We lived in the Mason Block in West Paris. We lived downstairs in an apartment. Then we moved next door to a brand new apartment. Eventually we bought a house in downtown West Paris. It was in 1967.
Q: Did you nurse?
A: I worked as a public health nurse for a while; Steven’s at first. But I needed to work with well children. I was fortunate to get a job teaching in Woodstock and did that for two years until my children came along.
Q: Did you like teaching?
A: Yes! I was very creative and had a music background. I loved it. I had 16 children and only three were girls. I made up my own curriculum and used music and creative things to teach. Some people frowned, but the principal later told me that I was way ahead of my time.
Norman was a teacher as well and he taught for about 13 years and went to work at the mill.
A: We have two daughters. Lara Lupien, our oldest, lives in Waldoboro and Stephanie lives in Utah. Lara has given us three wonderful grandchildren.
Q: What do you do now?
A: I do everything. I am the church organist at the Norway Congregational Church. I was so delighted when I got the job. Years ago I had played the pipe organ there for a friend’s wedding and so I always wanted to do that and have been for 25 years
I do a lot of sewing and taught myself in my late 20s. My mom had tried to teach me, but she was such a perfectionist that if I had a seam off just a bit, she would make me rip the whole thing out. My kids were in a lot of music things so I did a lot of costumes when they were in school.
Q: Did you do much traveling?
A: I didn’t as a child, but my husband and I have. We have traveled the US, Canada and back. When Stephanie was in high school, I was able to go to Soviet Union and France on school trips.
We have also been to a lot of cruises to the islands and Panama Canal.
Q: Which was the best?
A: Monet's homestead and his garden outside of Paris, France. To see the flowers and the real water lilies where he stood and painted was amazing. There were arbors with huge rose bushes and the Queen Anne's Lace was a foot wide when in full bloom.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: Iris Johansen is my favorite author and I read a lot of hers. Right now I am reading Eight days to Live. The Cell, by Stephen King is going also.
Q: What is the one thing you could not give up?
A: My music. I would really hate to have to give that up. I recently took up the violin. It is so frustrating, but everyone laughs at me.
Q: What is the one thing you would happily do over again?
A: The day I brought home my oldest daughter from the hospital. It was Memorial Day weekend and she weighed 3 pounds. I gave birth at 7 months and she spent 48 days in the hospital. So that was a very special day to finally bring her home.
Q: What was the best memory that this interview brought back?
A: Some of the fun times with my dad; teaching “Willy” to play ball. Those were special days. I was such a daddy's girl.
Q: What would you like people to know about you?
A: I am a people person, especially when it comes to children. Volunteering for different groups that help others like the Thrift Shop or the Library ... just makes me happy.
My three grandchildren are just my special treasures. I enjoy teaching them to knit and crochet or just singing to them.
I miss being on the board of directors and taking part of the ol’fashioned Oxford County Fair. I was a fifth generation director and the first female ever on the board. It was started in 1842 and I was put on in the early 70’s.
Q: Last day on earth; what would you do and who with?
A: Enjoying an outing with my entire family.
Q: What scares you the most?
A: Yes. Snakes… I worked at the infirmary at the Girl Scout camp and there was a snake that hung out at the front door. I put out moth balls. The health inspector told me I had to pick them up and learn to like snakes. I told her I hadn’t learned in 52 years and wasn’t about to now…the moth balls stayed.
Q: If anyone could walk in right now, who would you most want to see?
A: Probably my mom. Dad and I were very close, but I was with him when he died and was able to say what I needed to. My mom was hit by a car and killed and I wasn’t able to say goodbye to her. I would tell her that I love her.