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Music, Friends and Hobbies
PARIS – When visiting with Maryan “Maggie” McKinney one is in for a delightful time of storytelling, friendship and music. The 90-year-old South Paris resident has experienced a full life with a lot of love and survived many sorrows with a positive and generous outlook.
Q: Where were you born and where were you brought up?
A: I was born and raised in Gorham, New Hampshire.
Q: Do you have many siblings?
A: I had five; three brothers and two sisters. My brothers are gone, but my sister Mildred is 93 and lives in Portland and my sister Ferne is 97 and lives in Lewiston.
Q: What did your parents do?
A: My father, William Scott Morse, Sr. was a mail carrier and my mother, Edith Morse was a homemaker.
Q: What was it like growing up?
A: Oh it was wonderful. On the 4th of July, Dad got fireworks and our Christmases were just wonderful. We each got a toy and some clothes that my mother made. I used to give my mittens that she made to some kids that didn’t have any and then told her I lost them so she made me some more.
Q: Was there anything you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: It was my dream to be on a talent show playing my guitar. I played the guitar for the grange, but I never was on a talent show. My son Jimmy was though and he played the guitar too.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: In Gorham, NH.
Q: Did you get into mischief or play pranks?
A: Not really. My brothers and I used to get into the raspberries and shake the apples from the trees, but that was about it.
Q: What have you had for jobs?
A: When I was 14, I used to babysit for the undertaker; the Wilson family. At one time I worked at my father-in-law’s filling station and I drove the oil truck too. After my kids were all in school I worked at the Giant store and later went to nursing school and worked in a couple of nursing homes. I didn’t much like the way they treated the residents and decided that nursing wasn’t for me. I volunteered to work in cafeteria at Southern Maine Community College for three years.
Q: When and how did you meet your spouse?
A: I worked at a summer resort in Jackson, New Hampshire as a waitress. One night in June of 1941 James McKinney Sr. showed up with a friend and they were looking for one of the other waitresses. I told them she had gone to a dance and Jim said “Why didn’t a pretty girl like you go to the dance?” I said “None of your business,” and closed the door. But, we got together and dated for three years and got married.
Q: What did you do for work when you got married?
A: I worked in the home of a lawyer taking care of his twin boys.
Q: Do you have children?
A: I had three sons; Jimmy, Jr. John and Chris and a daughter, Leola. Jimmy and Leola are gone now.
Q: Did you do much traveling?
A: Gosh yes! After my husband retired we went to California to see my daughter and visited my sons in Arizona, Rhode Island and New York.
Q: Which place was the most fascinating and why?
A: I loved California. I like the atmosphere and the people. It’s very restful there.
Q: Do you collect anything or have a hobby?
A: Music is one hobby; I play guitar and now I’ve taught myself to play the keyboard. I knit and crochet and make doilies and pot holders, things like that. I’ve made a lot of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and a few rabbits.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: Rekindled by Barbara Delinsky
Q: What subject do you wish you knew more about?
A: Music. I just love music and I wish I could learn to play the piano. I can play by ear, but I’d love to really know how to play.
Q: What is the one thing you would not give up?
A: My keyboard. Having the keyboard has done so much for me. That along with my daily prayers help get me through each day.
Q: What is the one thing you would happily do over again?
A: Get married and have my children all back again.
Q: What was the best memory this interview brought back?
A: When I first met my husband. He has been gone for 19 years and it’s so nice to think about him.
Q: What would you like people to know about you?
A: That I love children. I would love to read to them at the library.
Q: If anyone could walk in right now, who would you most like see?
A: My husband with my kids right behind him.
Q: Any regrets?
A: None at all!
Q: What scares you the most?
A: Not too much scares me, but people drinking and fighting do.
Q: Any heroes?
A: My husband will always be a hero to me and my daughter-in-law, Leeann, who is always there for me.