Another generation ..... thank you Sheila! ..... Americana on Sunday

This Week in Lincolnville: Coming Home ...

.... to this old house
Posted:  Monday, November 20, 2017 - 7:00pm
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Riding up the coast the other night, just off a flight from Florida with a stop in the busy Charlotte airport, there was no doubt this was different territory. In spite of the rain and glare of headlights on the road, it was the absence of lights, the deep darkness stretching back from the pavement that said “Maine”.  The blue light of a TV screen showed in a very few houses; it was near midnight – folks had been asleep for hours.

It isn’t easy to travel to and from our home. Three hours out by car, two if you’re flying out of Portland or Bangor, and to come back, reverse that. It’s one of our best or worst features, depending on how you see it.

I was coming home with mixed feelings, sorry to leave behind my companion in Florida, yet eager to see what had become of the house in my absence.

CALENDAR 

MONDAY, Nov. 20

Recreation Committee, 6 p.m., Town Office


TUESDAY, Nov. 21

Needlework Group, 4-6 p.m., Library


THURSDAY, Nov. 23

No Soup Café today

Town Office Closed for Thanksgiving


FRIDAY, Nov. 24
Town Office Closed for Thanksgiving


SUNDAY, Nov. 26

The Road Home: Concert of Americana songs, 4 p.m., Community Building


EVERY WEEK

AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at 12:15 p.m., Wednesdays & Sundays at 6 p.m., United Christian Church

Lincolnville Community Library, open Tuesdays, 4-7, Wednesdays, 2-7, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 763-4343.

Soup Café, every Thursday, noon—1p.m., Community Building, Sponsored by United Christian Church. Free, though donations to the Community Building are appreciated

Schoolhouse Museum is closed for the season. Visit by appointment: 789-5984.

Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway

Crossroads Community Church, 10 a.m. Sunday School, 11 a.m. Worship, meets at Lincolnville Central School

United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m., Children’s Church during service, 18 Searsmont RoadCOMING UP


Dec. 2: Rabies Clinic in Lincolnville

Dec. 3: Music and Reflection for Advent

Dec. 10: Music and Reflection for Advent

Dec. 17: Carols in the Round

 

The house that has become a construction site, even as I continue to live in it. A plastic covered structure as big as the barn has sprouted out the front, a dumpster and a portapotty stand in the driveway, and assorted pieces of scaffolding and ladders litter the dooryard.

“How’s the project coming?” people ask.

I’m not surprised at their curiosity. Keeping tabs on our neighbors is what we do; everyone knows who’s had a load of firewood dropped off, bought a new vehicle, had a new baby (announced by balloons bobbing from the mailbox) or a death in the family (cars filling the driveway on a weekday afternoon). Five pickups parked in front? Construction.

Plus, of course, I’ve been talking about it off and on all summer and fall here in the Penbay Pilot. Hardly a secret that my middle son, his wife and I are renovating this old house, turning it into two dwellings with me downstairs and their family of five upstairs. Well, we’re not actually doing it: Sam Cantlin and his Consider It Carpentry crew are doing the work, along with Dennis Sidik, Norm Walters, and Jeff Dinse running wires, heat and plumbing, while Jack and Matt Silverio figured the whole thing out on paper.

When anyone asks about it we invite them over for a tour of the place, up the new staircase (where our shop entrance used to be), to the large open living room where we once stored a lifetime worth of stuff and where generations of kittens were born, to the future kitchen (formerly our eldest son’s bedroom) to the granddaughter’s new bedroom (once her father’s). Two original bedrooms stay the same, one was ours – Wally’s and mine – and the other our youngest son’s. The bathroom the five of us used passes on to this next generation pretty much as we found it.

And that’s the thing – as we found it. The house we found at the top of Sleepy Hollow nearly 48 years ago was a much simpler place. Eight rooms, four up, four down, a big house-little house-back house-barn arrangement, with a simple back porch (decks were unheard of in 1970 Lincolnville unless you lived on a pond), a two-holer still functional in the barn, though a bathroom, a drilled well, a hand-dug septic system (the work of Carl Carlson, the sturdy “neighbah” who came with the place) and an oil furnace had all been added in the 1960s by Nat and Vonnie Stone.

This house stood empty for a few years in the late ‘50s after Frances Collemer Claytor died. It was probably already “used up” by that time, the state these old farmhouses fall into after generations of feet have trod, and worn down, the floors; the woodwork gets dinged and dented, the plaster ceilings slump, and a hundred winters worth of snow weigh down the roofs which make the walls go askew so the rock foundations falter.

Vonnie had put her stamp on the place, taking up the old linoleums that covered every floor and painting the old boards beneath a deep red. She stripped off wallpaper and painted the bumpy plaster walls white. A couple of ceilings had been replaced, where, no doubt, the plaster had failed. Their biggest project had been turning the upstairs of the ell into living space with a real bathroom. So the house we moved into was several steps beyond what the Stones found when they bought it in 1960.

The house was always alive to us, its story unfolding before our eyes in those early years. The coal bin in the barn on the way to the outhouse, the clinker pile in what became our garden (we still unearth them all these years later), the chains and hooks fastened high on the barn’s beams for hanging deer or pigs – we’ve used them for both. Everytime we took down a wall or lifted a floor board there were bits and pieces of other lives – wooden alphabet blocks, old bottles, a porcelain doll head. While gardening we unearthed rotting shoes, pitchforks, a toy motorcycle complete with rider and rubber tire, a whole pottery jug found in six pieces over a span of several years. There’s been enough broken crockery to fill many buckets; a lot of it is now embedded in the walls of the new bathroom we built downstairs a few years ago.

This place was a wonder to me from the day I first saw it. All my suburban childhood I’d dreamed of such a house, of the woods, of a farm.

“Does it make you feel bad to change it?” someone asked.

It used to. We’ve certainly made changes to the house; the biggest was the sunroom we added across the front sometime back in the 80s. I fretted about that. It seemed such a frivolous thing to do, and would forever change this from a 19th century house to some kind of hybrid modern thing. But as we all do to get what we want, I rationalized those worries away.

And certainly everyone who has lived in this house made changes, I argued with myself; the ell was added, connecting house to barn sometime later. The shingles that were on the barn roof were covered up by the ell. There’s a hump in the kitchen floor where a wall must have been moved; the living room was once the kitchen. If I wanted a sunroom, if we needed more light in the winter, the space for a dining table why shouldn’t we do it?

And now much of the barn’s original structure, really the heart of the house, is disappearing. Massive beams are cut away to open up the living space, the roof of the ell forever chopped up for two new dormers out the back. The barn’s original purpose – to house animals and the hay that fed them – is gone. People don’t need to do that anymore to survive.

And survival is what it was. Wally and I played on the edges of that kind of survival for most of our marriage, but there was always a salary, always a job that paid the bills. We may have heated with wood, milked a cow morning and night, canned our garden produce, slaughtered pigs and chickens, but we did it all by choice. The Frohocks, the Hannans, the Claytors who lived out their lives here were up against a much starker reality.

Counting the Stones only four families lived here before us, and they were all related in some way. Jeremiah and Henrietta Easton Frohock built the house in about 1872, then passed it on to their daughter and her husband, Maxie Hannan, who butchered animals in a little building that stood where our garden is. Bill and Frances Collemer Claytor got it next, then Nat and Vonnie Frohock Stone, then us. Five families in 150 years.

Perhaps I’d been captivated, as a young woman, by the notion that life was better in “simpler” times. Maturity has brought a different notion: life has always been difficult. Each generation brings its own struggles, just when it seems we’ve progressed beyond previous ones. Both joys and sorrows come to us all, no matter what era we live in.

Our turn living in this house has seen birth and death, delight and depression.  We’ve laughed a lot, fought a bit, worried plenty, counted pennies, splurged, suffered pain, and hugged away tears. We’ve seen beloved members of our family living under this roof with us suffering from dementia, schizophrenia, and alcoholism. Is there any reason to think that those Frohocks, Hannans, Claytors and Stones didn’t suffer the same litany?

So, the six of us – Tracee, Ed, their three kids and I – are excited about this new chapter in the life of this house and of our family. I expect all of the above emotions and events will play out for this next generation. And best of all, I get to hang around and see it for as long as I can.


School News

This winter fourth through eighth graders will be working with visiting artist Randy Fein and their art teacher, Jackie Copper to create a 10-foot clay relief mural to be installed permanently in Walsh Common; the theme will be the Megunticook Watershed. Randy, a longtime Lincolnville resident and ceramic artist, has worked with students in 150 schools throughout New England doing these murals. You can see one on the front of Camden Middle School on Knowlton Street, created by students when it was Camden-Rockport High School. Randy is looking for five community volunteers to work with her on the project, helping students with the clay work, helping her load kilns, and gluing tiles to plywood. It will involve 2 ½ hours on a Wednesday or Thursday starting November 29 to the end of January. You can help one day or more. Contact the school office – 763-3366 ­­– if you’d like to be part of this project. Sounds like fun!


Library News

Tuesday, Nov. 21 the needlework group will meet; this is off the usual schedule of the second and fourth Tuesday. Stop by with a project and spend some time chatting and working, 4-6 p.m.

Library director Sheila Polson sent this out to the Friends of the Library on Monday: “It has been six years since a small group of us first met to start planning a library for Lincolnville, and I have had the honor of serving first as chairman of that committee and more recently as library director.

“Now I have decided it is time to pass the director’s baton to someone new. Being a part of our community effort to turn the old center schoolhouse into our beautiful, modern library has been exciting, inspiring, and rewarding, and I am so grateful to everyone who has participated.  While the library will continue to rely on volunteers for many of its operations, our board of directors recently voted to hire a paid part-time director to oversee the overall management. The position will be for ten hours per week and is now being advertised.”

 Sheila has been such a big part of what the Lincolnville Community Library has become, seeking out programs and speakers, overseeing the many projects such as the needlework, book and writers groups, children’s craft mornings, music for toddlers, as well as a growing collection of books and other resources. I’m sorry to see her go and am so grateful for the great start she’s given to our Library.


The Road Home: Lincolnville Music Project

Once again the Lincolnville Music Project is presenting a free concert for the community, this one featuring Americana songs, Shaker hymns, Southern spirituals, and Appalachian folk tunes. Director Shannon Elliott formed the LMP to build community through the pleasures of making music together. If you heard their earlier concert of Celtic and Scottish music last spring, you know this will be something special with the Choral and Chamber Ensembles performing along with the Lincolnville Band. The date is Sunday, November 26, 4 p.m. at the Community Building. Following the music stay for the potluck supper; if you wish, bring something to share at the harvest table.


A Young Lincolnville Singer

Sophia Buckley-Clement, a senior at CHRHS has been selected for both of the 2018 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House.Sophia will perform as an alto voice in February at Carnegie Hall in New York City and again in July in Sydney, Australia. Participation in these two Honors Ensembles is limited to the highest-rated high school performers from across the world. Sophia also co-directs Fortissima, CHRHS’ womens a capella choir. The girls are looking for venues this holiday season where they can spread some holiday cheer while showcasing their talent, and there’s no charge for this. If you have an upcoming party, craft show or other event or group that might enjoy some Christmas singing, contact Sophia Buckley-Clement by phone or text at 207-706-2660 or email her.


December at United Christian Church

Music and Reflection on the Advent Season will be held at the United Christian Church (UCC) on Sunday, Dec. 3, 4 p.m., featuring the premiere performance by student organist, Ina Wolovitz; Dec. 10, introducing the Mill Street Songsters, and Dec. 17, presenting the popular Mount View High School Chamber Singers performing "Carols in the Round."  Contact Mary Schulien humm@midcoast.com for more information.


BDN Features General Store

Check out this article that ran in Monday’s Bangor Daily News.