Richard Glock died early last Friday. As his four grown children said in the lovely message they posted on the LBB, “poetically, his passing came 12 years and one day from the date our mom, Joy, passed. . . although in true Richard style, he made her wait that extra day.”
Richard was our next-door neighbor, though with about a quarter of a mile between our houses, “next door” implies a different reality than the usual meaning. But whether your neighbor lives 10 feet away or completely out of sight, the designation means you keep an eye on each other. When Richard’s house was lit up, top to bottom these past few weeks, and cars filled the driveway, even an out-of-sight neighbor knew his family was gathering around him.
But just for these few weeks leading up to Christmas, lights are the story, at least at the Beach. Thanks to the Lincolnville Business Group which provided the lights and Mark Impaglazzio of the Spouter Inn who wrapped each of the street lamps in strings of light, Lincolnville Beach is dazzling this year. And the tree is liberally lighted as well, thanks to Mike Grant of Tree Works who strung them all, top to bottom. The lights are timed to come on at dusk, but for next Saturday’s Beach Tree Lighting they’ll come on when the carolers sing “Oh Christmas Tree!”, a nice little tradition we all enjoy.
TUESDAY, Nov. 30
Library open, 3-6 p.m., 208 Main Street
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 1
Library open, 2-5 p.m., 208 Main Street
THURSDAY, Dec. 2
Recreation Committee. 5:30 p.m., TBD
FRIDAY, Dec. 3
Library open, 9 a.m.-noon, 208 Main Street
SATURDAY, Dec. 4
Library open, 9 a.m.-noon, 208 Main Street
Beach Tree Lighting and Carol Sing, 3:30 p.m., Lincolnville Beach
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
Dec. 4: Beach Tree Lighting
Our roads are so dark in November, a feature of rural life often overlooked, one we have to reaccustom ourselves to each year when the season winds down towards the winter solstice.
Not that the solstice brings us much relief; those paltry returning minutes of daylight eventually do add up, but for most of the winter we’re literally in the dark. We drive home in the dark from work, from errands, from picking up the kids. We know these roads so well, every curve, every intersection, every place we encounter crossing deer. And we know each house where people are home, the ones with the lights on.
Just as we know the vacant ones by their blank windows. Near the Beach where I live it seems as if every other house is empty in November. One or two must have lights on a timer, including a pretty lamp that’s been lit all through every winter since we’ve lived here. It sits in the same window, a softly-lit beacon for anyone traveling Atlantic Highway, even though the owners are wintering in Massachusetts.
Occasionally, a vacant house isn’t just left empty by snowbird owners, but vacant by the death of its last occupant. Ruth Felton’s farmhouse wasn’t empty for long before her family began invigorating the old place, bringing it back to life. Likewise, Wayne Rankin’s Beach Road house and the garage where he worked have been transformed over the past year to an airy and inviting homestead with a “for sale” sign in front. Still, it’s Wayne and Frances I think of, wondering what they’d think of what’s become of their life-long home.
Fred Heald’s house up the road, where he lived until he passed away in his 90s, sees intermittent life when his out-of-state family arrive. I always gave a silent nod to Fred when I drove by his well-lit house at night, a way of saying “hi” to my church across-the-aisle neighbor. These days the house and barn, once home, before Fred and his wife Lucy bought it, to Ken and Bernice Calderwood and their dairy herd, is dark most nights.
The lighted windows during our town’s long winter speak a language it takes attention to decode. It helps to have lived here all your life, but even a newcomer can figure it out. There are the lively households full of children with nearly every window lit, upstairs and down. You can almost hear the dad bellowing “You kids! Turn off the lights! You think we’re made of money?” And you’re pretty sure, as you drive past, that you can hear loud music blaring as well.
You drive past the quiet, subdued houses where the bluish light of the TV flickers across the ceiling, or where whoever lives there spends their evenings in just one room, perhaps the kitchen. You know who goes to bed early when the house is dark but for one upstairs window, and you imagine someone reading themselves to sleep by a single lamp.
And surprising to our more urbane neighbors to the south, like Camden, is how early we go to bed in Lincolnville. Drive around town at 8:30 or 9 and see how few households still seem to be awake. We do tuck in early out here in the country.
You might be thinking about now that I’m downright nosey, peeking in windows, imagining scenarios of my own. Guilty. Except that an accusation of being overly curious about their neighbors can be turned around. There’s that fine line between, for instance, gossip and concern. Between nosiness and concern.
We who live in the country conduct ourselves differently than town dwellers. With the exception of the Center where neighbors live in view of one another, most of us are on rural roads with space between houses.
All the more need to keep track of each other since we’re unlikely to encounter one another day to day as we go about our business. I play a game with myself, driving around town, trying to name, to picture who lives in each house. Sometimes I’m a couple of owners out of date; in true small-town fashion, the house I live in is still “the Claytor place” to the old-timers, though no Claytor has lived here since 1958. And, come to think of it, those old-timers are now mostly gone, as my generation takes over their reins.
We generally know when someone is sick or has suffered a tragic death. We know through the grapevine – that’s gossip-as-concern, not gossip as hatefulness. We spot the cars filling a driveway on an ordinary week day and realize that the person we’d heard was failing had just died. We know when to make a call of condolence, or send an email or a note, a casserole or a plate of cookies. To offer a hug or a pat when we run into one another at the post office or Drake’s, Dot’s or the General Store.
With so few gathering spots here in Lincolnville, those person-to-person meetings are more likely to happen at Hannaford’s or waiting in line at Scott’s. Keeping track of lighted windows, knowing who is home, aware of our neighbors’ habits – it’s how we’re neighborly in the country.
I think, whenever I drive around Deadman’s Curve, of Bessie Dean who spent many hours sitting at her window, the one that looked out at the Camden Hills, working a jigsaw puzzle. She’d been widowed since her 60s, lived to be 93 in that very house. I know about the puzzles because she told me.
Another window, another house, this one on the hill just north of the Beach, Tom Flagg Sr. kept watch over the fields where he grew up, where he used to hay, and where he raised his family’s food, noting who drove by, what was going on at the Beach. He didn’t miss much.
In a town that once had several run-down and abandoned farms, Raymond Oxton’s place on Atlantic Highway near Vikings is the only one left. Each year it slumps a little further, falls apart a little more, on its way returning to the earth. It’s been many years since Raymond’s kitchen window was lit up at night, as he passed his last years alone, long past the time Myrtle died.
Richard Glock’s kids wrote that their father “was a dreamer, and saw potential in every piece of furniture, gadget, nail, and unidentified machinery part he happened upon.” So, the Glocks are still busy “cleaning out this vast treasure trove” and will be keeping the lights on for the time being; I dread the day his house is dark.
Along with all my memories of our long friendship, I’ll remember how the lights blazed from every window of Richard’s house these past few weeks, signaling to everyone passing by that he wasn’t alone.
Beach Tree Lighting
This Saturday, with the bonfire starting at 3:30 p.m. and caroling at 4, the annual Beach Tree Lighting will return! Last year we were all hunkered down (I can barely remember last year; it’s as if it never happened), and the bonfire, et al were cancelled. So bundle up, bring the kids and come to Lincolnville Beach ready to sing in Christmas.
With the Beach Schoolhouse under construction this year, the traditional community Christmas party will be taking place on the Beach. Hope to see you there!
Beach Schoolhouse Renovation Project
The downstairs meeting/dining room ceiling is coming down to install two steel beams to support the second floor. As part of that work the water to the bathroom has been disconnected. Thanks to community support and the two grants (Water Wheel and Davis Foundations) we received, we’re able to proceed with the important structural repairs to the building.
Stay tuned later for more take-out meals like we did last year. Also, with the end of the year approaching, tax-deductable donations can be made towardThe S the next phase of repairs – a new bathroom, exterior doors and ramps, new lighting and more – through the Historical Society’s website.
Also, several quarts of applesauce made from Lincolnville’s “hidden treasure”, a 100-year-old Wolf River apple tree, are still available at Sleepy Hollow Rag Rugs, 217 Beach Road. $10 a quart. Proceeds from that and from the little wooden Lincolnville truck ornaments, available at the Red Shed in the Center, go to the Beach Schoolhouse as well.