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Otisfield's Matthews loves her job, the people
TOWN CLERK - Sharon Matthews is the town clerk in Otisfield and has been in that position since 2005. She truly loves her job and the people within the town.
OTISFIELD - Fifty-four-year-old Sharon Matthews is the town clerk in Otisfield and loves her job and the town's people.
Matthews was brought up on a small farm in Stockton, New Jersey, which she said is a far cry from television's preconceived generalizations of smoke stacks, abandoned vehicles, the Sopranos or Jersey Housewives.
"It was a rural community with neighboring farms and a general store in the center of town," she explained. "It made the perfect place to raise a family and the country life my dad dreamed of."
Matthews' dad worked in Trenton, the city where his Irish-immigrant parents settled.
"In the evenings he would relax by going out on his tractor. He was a bit of a 'Green Acres' farmer and couldn’t wait to take off his shirt and tie. Dad was so proud of his gardens, especially the corn and tomatoes."
"They don't call it the Garden State for nothing!" she added.
Her mom was a good homemaker and a great cook.
"I use to love the smell of her homemade spaghetti or black raspberry sauce when I’d come home from school."
Animals were a huge part of this young girl's life.
"My sister and I would get up early before school to feed the horses, chickens, sheep, steers, pigs and ducks," she said. "Then rush home from the bus stop to finish chores and homework before going off with friends."
Matthews was never bored and seldom found indoors; and being out-of-doors is her favorite childhood memory.
"We would go horseback riding over the bridge to New Hope, Pennsylvania, swim in the creek, camp in the backyard and fish off the bayside pier at Long Beach Island during summer vacations."
In the fall of 1970, her family came to "Vacationland" to visit relatives.
"Dad was impressed with the pace of life here and decided to retire," smiled the town clerk. "A freshman in high school, I was not thrilled with the move to Durham. The cold was unbearable, the snow unbelievable, the roads impassable and for this I left my childhood friends!"
Like all transitions she learned to adapt.
"We still lived on a farm although we just had horses and boarded brood mares for my folk's friends that raced at Scarborough. Skiing, ice skating and snowmobiling became some new interests for our family too."
After graduating from Freeport High School, Matthews has worked as a psychiatric aide at the Pineland Center and as a medical secretary in Auburn. She graduated from nursing school in 1979 and returned to Pineland working in orthopedics.
Matthews and her husband Don lived in South Paris before moving to Otisfield and were home-care providers for two profound MR adult individuals.
"We had worked with them at Pineland. They lived and were part of our family since our daughter was a baby. Since then both have sadly, passed away."
Don's family was from Otisfield and the family outgrew the house in South Paris.
"So we moved here!" Matthews laughed. "That was after I had our in-ground pool filled in to make a paddock for our two horses that lived in our converted two-car garage!
"Boy; am I my father’s daughter!" she added.
The couple has two children and Don has two children from a previous marriage.
"We love and are proud of all of them. Whatever they showed interest in, we did. I was also an active PTA mom and remember all those fundraising events that brought so many of us parents together. We still talk about 'those good old days.”
Matthews loves to go antique shopping or just browse.
"I must have an old soul because I am just intrigued looking around. What’s weird now is that I find some things that I had when I was a kid. What’s with that?"
Her favorite thing to do?
"Come home after a busy day and be greeted by my faithful, loving four-legged friends. I’ll sit down and share a good show with my husband or occasionally go out with friends, have some laughs, tell some stories and just having a good time. If in the mood, I’ll listen to music, crank up some tunes and sing along if I’m alone."
Matthews began as Otisfield's Deputy Clerk in the mid 90’s and was voted in as town clerk in 2005, and later appointed by the Board of Selectmen.
She is involved with the Community Hall Fund and Neighboring Networking Day.
"I’ve organized Networking for the past two years," she explained. "It allows those in the community to advertise their business, products or services for free to help promote local economic growth."
Matthews enjoys her job and feels that she can relate to those having problems as all people have them.
"It is trying to find the solutions together," she explained. "That makes the difference and for that I am grateful to live in a community with good friends and neighbors that care."
Her favorite part of the job is the people.
"I'd much rather wait on a customer than do paperwork any day, and I am happy to help them," she said. "Working out at the counter … you know just about everyone and you pretty much have a pulse on the town."
"Sometimes I can’t remember every one’s name," she laughed. "But then, I call my children the wrong names too!"