On July 17 I traveled with the Bethel Senior Citizens to Portland where we toured the Wadsworth-Longfellow House and Garden, the boyhood home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The house, which was built in 1785 by the poet’s grandfather, General Peleg Wadsworth, is the oldest brick structure in Portland. It is decorated with original furnishings and family memorabilia. The house is part of the Maine Historical Society’s one-acre campus in Portland that also houses the Museum and Store, Brown Library, and Maine Memory Network. We visited the museum exhibit “This Rebellion: Maine and the Civil War,” which is a memorial to the 9,000 Maine soldiers and sailors who died during the Civil War. The exhibit contains letters written by participants, artifacts, photographs, official records, and other items saved and later treasured by those who participated in the war effort. The exhibit and the Wadsworth-Longfellow House are “must sees” in Portland. The Civil War exhibit will remain at the museum until May 26, 2014. Senior citizens participating in the tour were Becky Keen, Fran Head, Caroline Gould, Musa Brown, and myself. We thank our bus driver, Burnie Rice, who not only deftly maneuvered the bus through crowded streets, but also provided front-door service for us at the restaurant and the Christmas Tree Shop.
A wild rain and wind storm hit Bethel on Friday night, July 19. The storm was short-lived, but left sections of Bethel without power. Some roads flooded and tree limbs and trees were downed throughout the area. A tree blocked Paradise Road near Broad Street overnight. A large section of a maple tree was downed on the lawn of the United Methodist Church. Linda Howe found the tree at 6:30 a.m. when she arrived to set up the church for Mollyockett Day activities. Bob Howe arrived with his chain saw and cut up the tree. Reggie Brown and Mary Brown, who were setting up their booth on Main Street, helped Linda and Bob load the tree remains into a pick-up truck and the lawn was cleared by 8 a.m.
Summer wildflowers are flourishing from the hot sunny days and the heavy rainfall. Orange daylilies are everywhere and appear to have grown to giant proportions; the ones behind our house are more than five feet tall. The roadsides and fields are brilliant with purple loosestrife, asters, daisy fleabane, tansy, and goldenrod. Did you know that there are almost 100 species of goldenrod? Although bright roadside and pasture flowers seem to dominate the summer, there are still flowers growing in the woods. This week, I found delicate partridge berry blossoms. The plant is a trailing evergreen herb with tiny white, sweet-smelling flowers. Although the plant is common in the summer woods, I had never seen the flowers before.
The dragonflies have arrived. These insects, who resemble hovering helicopters, are a welcome sight in the summer. They eat mosquitos, flies, bees, ants, and wasps. They are sometimes called Devil’s darning needles. My grandmother used to tell her children (my mother and my aunts and uncles) to be careful around the Devil’s darning needles. “If you swear or use bad language,” she said, “they will stitch your mouth shut.”
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