Remembering Dot Canwell
The recent passing of Dorothy "Dot" Canwell should not go by without some note on what a remarkable and courageous individual she was. I have known her for over twenty-five years as a dedicated musician, playing the piano at countless Grange meetings not only in this region, but around the state and parts of the nation. She could not read music, but played "by ear" as the phrase goes. And what a player she was! Pianos seemed to come "alive" the minute she sat down at the stool. She loved her music and it showed as she appeared to be transformed from a frail old lady with two canes (in later years) to a vibrant spirit with a broad smile on her face and delight in her eyes. She was happiest when she was giving others pleasure with her music. I always took particular enjoyment noting the expressions on the faces of the initiated when she commenced combining whistling with her piano playing. It was a classic act destined to get one's attention.
How many times, especially in later years, I assisted her in getting up and down stairways that would have daunted lesser individuals. She remained determined to overcome these obstacles and by taking her time with minimal assistance on my part, she triumphed.
How pleased I was that she was able to be part of the opening of the exhibit on the history of the Maine State Grange sponsored by the Bethel Historical Society in 2008. She really made it a memorable event by playing some traditional Grange tunes and marches - and, of course, treated us to her classic whistling one more time. I shall always recall her fondly as a thoroughly kind and generous soul who touched so many lives on so many occasions for so very long.