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At 98, a life fulfilled, some regrets and a few fears
At the age of 98, Lorna Hemingway has lived a lot of life. Living in Maine and attending school via horse and wagon, she has seen the state change over the past century.
Q: Where were you born and where were you brought up?
A: I was born April 24, 1915 as Helen Lorna Sturtevant on a backstreet by Hebron Academy. Robie and Amy Turner were my parents.
Q: Do you have any siblings?
A: Yes. A younger sister, Clara Redford, and a younger brother, Franklin Sturtevant who was in the service. He was killed as he was flying in World War II. He was about 23 years old.
Q: What was your childhood like?
A: I used to pick field strawberries, and my mother would make me a pie if I had enough. At the farm, my father put me on a horse’s back, and I steered while he planted. When I was younger, my mother, sister, brother, and I also used to hike Streaked Mountain and eat the wild blueberries.
Q: Was there anything you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: In school, maybe a beautician.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I went to Sodom school in East Hebron, then Buckfield. During the middle of my junior year, we moved to Paris, and I graduated in 1935. I went to school on a horse and wagon. Freshmen year, my father bought a Model A Ford, I learned how to drive it and brought my brother and sister to school. I also played basketball and was the team manager.
Q: Did you get into mischief or play pranks?
A: My father ran the East Hebron store by the railroad station. When I was 3 or 4 years old, I’d help myself to the penny candy. I liked to watch the molasses run down, and people would tell my father on me because it was just running right down the drain.
Q: What have you had for jobs?
A: I worked on my father’s farm, and at a shoe shop where I helped fix the heels of the shoes. My husband worked in a tannery for 25 years, and we both retired in 1978 or so.
Q: What do you consider your relationship status to be?
A: During school, I had a boyfriend, Clyde, and we were married in 1938.
Q: Do you have any or want children?
A: Four daughters; Janice, born March 18 1942, Joyce, born February 14, 1944, Joan, born December 25, 1946, and Judith, born July 2, 1948.
Q: Have you done much traveling?
A: Hardly any. When I was 13, my cousin and I went to Massachusetts to visit my aunt and uncle. They took us around to all the important places, and we stayed there a week. We stayed in an old people’s place, we got lost it was so big! We stumbled into a room where a chauffer was, and he had to tell us where to go to get breakfast. We came home on a train.
Q. What has been your biggest accomplishment been?
A: Bringing up four daughters. They all went through school, graduated, and work. Janice at a boy’s camp in Waterford. Joyce at a telephone office, then she got married, and helps with her husbands book work. She’s an office girl now. Joan worked at
Farmer’s optometrist, and Judith runs an office for Paris Farmer’s Union.
Q: Do you collect anything or have a hobby?
A: I collect tea cups. I like flowers. I used to do crafts but I can’t see well enough now. I still toy a little. I want to read, but I can’t do that, either. I crochet and knit on Wednesday afternoons, and Fridays I go out for coffee. I also belong to the Historical Society.
Q: What subject do you wish you knew more about?
A: History, especially my family history. Many of my family members were in the service. My ancestors came over on the Mayflower. When George Washington crossed Delaware, one of my descendants was a guide for him, Seth Sturtevant, he’s buried in
Q: What is the one thing you would happily do over again?
A: Marrying Clyde again. He died January 31, 2004, we were married 66 years. He had a stroke, and I took care of him as long as I could. We had a farm on 25 acres of land. After he passed away, I sold the farm and bought where I’m living now.
Q: What would you like people to know about you?
A: I love to dance. Country dancing, waltzing. There used to be a club house on Streaked where I’d go.
Q: If anyone could walk in right now, whom would you most like to see?
A: My husband. Other than that, my mother, father, grandparents…everybody.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your day?
A: The worst, I think, is making my bed. It hurts my shoulders. Getting up is hard, but I do it and get my breakfast. I also have rheumatoid arthritis, which I take three little pills for once a week.
Q: What scares you the most?
A: I really don’t like lightening and thunder.
Q: What was the best memory this interview brought back?
A: Thinking about my grandparents. In 1936 or 1938, my Grandma Sturtevant died in the afternoon, and grandpa died the following day, so we had a double funeral.