“One apple, one pie” describes an apple that can weigh in at a full pound. Wolf River is an old variety that is not only good baked with nuts and raisins tucked inside or in pies, but it makes delicious, pink applesauce. A certain 100-plus year-old Wolf River, somewhere in Lincolnville, put out an amazing crop this year, totally worm-free, nearly every apple perfect.
A friend and I harvested bags and bags of them, took them home and following her mother’s recipe – core ‘em, cut into eighths, throw in the pot with two cups of water, cook until soft, then run them through a Mouli grater – we made applesauce, lots and lots of applesauce. We canned a couple of dozen quarts and several pints one recent afternoon to sell at Saturday’s Holiday Antique and Gift Show at the Community Building. Whatever we make will go towards the Beach Schoolhouse Restoration Project.
It’s with great excitement that Mary Schulein and her crew at United Christian Church are getting ready for their annual holiday market this Saturday; let’s all just forget about last year when the Community Building in the Center was shuttered along with every other venue that brought us together. A miserable year and then some – twenty months? – of quarantining and tiptoeing around each other.
Not that the news from our Maine CDC is all that encouraging with Covid still raging in parts of the state. Still, with most of us here in the Midcoast vaccinated, and if we’re old, boostered, we’ve started gathering together again. Masked to be sure, in public places, but with our own friends, probably not.
Here’s what Mary (music director at UCC and organizer/cheerleader for Community Building events) has to say about Saturday’s show:
The United Christian Church (UCC) is pleased to announce that the Holiday Antique and Gift Show will be held Saturday, November 20, from 9 a.m.to 1 p.m. in the Community Building located next to the Church at 18 Searsmont Road, Rt. 173, in Lincolnville Center.
The show will feature local antique dealers and crafters. There will be a full array of unique and affordable products including hand knit hats, vintage snowshoes and bamboo ski poles, handmade Appalachian brooms, holiday decorations, an antique oak chest, an inspirational symphonium, and Roberta's popular jams and zucchini relish and Brittany's pretzel turtles. Take-out refreshments include breakfast casserole and quiche, soup, chili and cornbread, and family-favorites like date-filled cookies and snickerdoodles.
Tours of the historic Meeting House, built in 1821 and the home of the United Christian Church, will be offered.
MONDAY, Nov. 15
Selectmen workshop on priorities, 6 p.m., Town Office
TUESDAY, Nov. 16
Library open, 3-6 p.m., 208 Main Street
Selectmen, 5 p.m., Town Office
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 17
Library open, 2-5 p.m., 208 Main Street
Midcoast Solid Waste Board, 6:30 p.m., Camden Town Office
Comprehensive Plan Review Committee, 7 p.m., Town Office
FRIDAY, Nov. 19
Library open, 9 a.m.-noon, 208 Main Street
SATURDAY, Nov. 20
Library open, 9 a.m.-noon, 208 Main Street
Holiday Antique and Gift Show, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road
AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at noon, Community Building
Lincolnville Community Library, For information call 706-3896.
Schoolhouse Museum open M-W-F or by appointment, 505-5101 or 789-5987
Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway
United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m. outdoors or via Zoom
Nov. 22: Thanksgiving Break begins for LCS
Shoppers are invited to come and find unusual gifts, enjoy home baked treats, visit with friends, all while helping to support local vendors and the ongoing ministries of the United Christian Church.
Event organizers are eager to welcome shoppers after the cancelation of last year's event. For everyone's protection, covid safety protocol will be followed. Masks are required. The Community Building is handicapped accessible with ample parking. For further information call 785-3521.
Coming up next in our town’s schedule of holiday events is the Beach Tree Lighting and Bonfire. This has always been sort of a loosey-goosey affair, pulled together in the last week or so, and yet draws hundreds of people to the Beach to sing Christmas carols and bask in the warmth of a huge bonfire. It started out many years ago (my sons were little kids: the oldest turns 50 this week) with a handful of folks singing around a little fire. Seeing us there, Ann and Leo Mills, on the corner, brought over a kettle of hot chocolate to warm us up.
Before we knew it, a tradition was born. The bonfire grew larger with the Cub Scouts and their dads taking charge, the town Christmas tree was erected there for the season and lights were strung. I remember Wally and Jud Butterman with others – who? – hauling down a huge one they cut on Bill Munroe’s land and figuring out how to stand it up. I think of that every year when the Rockefeller Center tree appears on the news.
Those were the days when the Lincolnville Telephone Company was actually in Lincolnville. The cherry picker they used on the lines was enlisted to string the lights; didn’t Jerry Chalmers and Bob Libby, longtime phone company employees, help with that job? In later years Dave Kinney was always a part of the fun; it was fun, right Dave? Evenually, a live tree was planted; does anyone know when? The strings of lights seem to stay in place year-round these days.
Santa, who arrives at the Beach on a fire truck – thank you Mike Eugley and everyone else who’s ever drawn that duty – greets all the children, who flock around when the truck pulls up, siren blaring. He then departs for the community Christmas party, the party the women had been putting together at the Beach Schoolhouse just up the hill.
People have been dropping off plates of cookies all day, a crew gathers to make sandwiches (we used to get cold cuts and bread from Bo and Penny Rae’s Hillside Market right across the road), there’s hot chocolate and cider. Gingerbread men and frostings, thanks most recently to Jessica Dedecke, are laid out in the kitchen for the children to decorate, and some years Barbara Gould is reading The Polar Express to them upstairs in the Museum.
Santa and his elf (Camden’s Christmas-by-the-Sea folks send up their Santa and elf each year) greet each child; Michael O’Neal took photos. There’s enough food so nobody has to go home and cook dinner that night. Dorothee Newcombe would send over a platter of chicken wings from the Pub, some years a pot of soup or chili is on the table.
A tree decorated with the ornaments the children had made after-school one day is set up in the corner, and they could take them home after the party. Who pulled this whole thing together? The LIA (Lincolnville Improvement Association) sponsored it, along with contributions from the Women’s Club. Still, somebody needed to make sure all the pieces were in place.
Cindy Dunham, Liz Hand, Marian Swanson, Christine Buckley, Briar Lyons, me all took our turn. Some did it for many years – myself, Cindy, Liz – before finally finding someone else to hand it off to. John Clute, Liz’s partner, automatically assumed the role of clean-up guy. Wally, who would skip out early, (got to put the chickens away, you know) waited at home for John to join him for a bourbon.
Down at the Beach somebody had to lead the carol singing. There were song sheets to print, to hand out, and to collect at the end. Then somebody had to remember where they were for next year. Tom Shandera led the singing for a long time while Jan kept track of the sheets. Richard Grant, complete with his jesters hat took over, and the last few years Morgan Keating, a New Hampshire visitor with Lincolnville ties has done it.
Things pop up, like Lincolnville Family Dentistry’s hot chocolate stand at the Beach kiosk. For a year or two John Cookson brought his team of horses and wagon and gave rides down the Ferry Road and Rick Osgood stood in the middle of the Atlantic Highway-Beach Road intersection directing traffic.
But at the heart of it all has been the bonfire. As the Cub Scouts and their dads dwindled, Andy Young gradually took over the task in about 2010. He’d put out a call weeks ahead for people to drop off whatever bonfire material they had. The pile of scrap lumber, pallets, branches, etc. grew on the seawall.
By late morning of the day, Andy and his crew of volunteers – Don Fullington Sr., Wade Graham, Ed Hurlburt and the Scouts, both Boy and Cub, Adam Putansu, Ed O’Brien, Justin Wright, Frank Rollerson, John Stevens and Cubs, members of the Lincolnville Fire Department to name a few of the many over the years – would start to build the pyre. Fortified with donations of pizza from Di Lord’s Beach Store and from Drake’s, pastries from Dot’s, chips and soda from the Center General Store, the guys worked all afternoon.
Each year it grew larger. Andy told me recently that was so the folks who were setting up the party could see it from the Schoolhouse. And indeed, we could. Each year the crowds grew as the fire did. The fire was enormous, and as the sun set children, let free on the Beach, raced up and down in the dark, while their parents drew closer to the warmth of the flames. The ferry came and went, crossing the Bay on its last run as we sang all the old carols many of us had grown up on.
What happened last year? I know I’m not alone in having amnesia about the Covid year. Did people gather at the Beach? I know I didn’t.
So here we are a few weeks away from the traditional first-Saturday-in-December Christmas by the Sea. Andy, worried that the town’s requirement that he get a burn permit for the fire gives him liability for what is in essence a town event, has decided to bow out this year. Ed O’Brien, who got the permit two years ago, is now feeling the same concern. Also, the fire must be tended until it’s completely out. This could be the middle of the night.
One solution could be no bonfire. Another could be a smaller fire that could burn itself out by the time the last caroler leaves, or could be extinguished easily by the incoming tide or buckets of water.
In the way this event has grown and changed organically in the past 40 or so years we’ll have to wait and see. Who will step up? The Beach Schoolhouse will be off limits this year as renovations have begun. Four enormous steel beams are being installed under the second-floor museum, meaning the downstairs dining room is a construction site. Perhaps the party can be held outdoors at the Beach under a pop-up or two to protect the cookies. Loosey-goosey? The best kind of party after all.
Once again, I urge everyone to check out the Lynx, the school newsletter. There are so many projects going on it makes me wish I could be a fifth grader again!
Girls and boys basketball season begins today.
Inventory at the Schoolhouse Museum
I’ve said for years that Lincolnville’s maritime history is lost to time and attrition, too many families missing from the Beach and Ducktrap villages. Perhaps it was easy to get on a ship and leave town. They were merchants and mariners, shipbuilders and artisans. Their skills were easily transported to the cities to the south, unlike the inland farmers who tended to stay put.
Then, the other day, while going through the dozens and dozens of archival boxes stored at the Schoolhouse Museum, we came upon the log book kept by Orren Ames, a turn of the 20th century boat builder and the guy who ran the boat back and forth to Islesboro.
The detail (wind, tides, distance sailed, who was on board, what cargo) is satisfying; every one of the 112 pages is covered with Orren Ames’ neat script. These are the May through November entries; during the winter months he was building boats and that’s covered too in detail.
I spent a satisfying rainy afternoon this past week-end mending the torn holes in the pages, then re-stringing them all between the covers of the journal. 1899-1908, including the “last entry of the 19th century” he made in December 1899.
Next step is digitizing it so everyone can access it. That’s in our very near future as we work to transfer all our data to a web-based site. Again, volunteers are welcome to join us this winter as we work through all the material that’s collected upstairs at 33 Beach Road.