Thursday, Nov. 4, from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Congregational Church the Western Maine Senior College will host Irving and Judith Isaacson who will talk about their World War II experiences.
Saturday, Nov. 6, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Bethel Congregational Church in Garland Chapel: the Western Mountains Senior College program: Family Care-giving.
Monday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. -- Bethel Selectmen meet for a regular meeting at the Town Office.
Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 21 at 2:30 p.m., and possibly on Friday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. the Senior Players fall dramatic program at the Gould Academy McLaughlin Science Center –- Trustees’ Auditorium
Friday, Nov. 26 – Local crafts and wares fair at the Bethel Inn Conference Center.
How others see us – Part II: Culture
Going back to the Yankee Magazine article about the best towns for fall foliage visits and sightseeing, it is very difficult to accept that a drive-through profile of the Bethel area could size-up the town’s cultural profile, perform a litmus test of our cultural behavior and evaluate our cultural groups (known today as social collectives).
To me culture is how you cultivate your garden of higher learning. If your garden has only radishes you need to add tomatoes, lettuce and broccoli for your mental rounding out. Cultural behavior produces a better person or at least one better informed in and more appreciative of the arts, literature and philosophy -- subjects your society expects its better members to know. Society becomes your judge.
Considering all of the above makes it very difficult to agree with the idea that an itinerant journalist making a quick pass through the area would be well enough informed and qualified to rate our “culture.”
At Gould Academy, my algebra teacher George Bowhay would often tell my class that IBM offices and hallways had signs on the walls that had one word, Think. Teachers and parents could urge children to think and motivate them to better themselves. That to me was culture.
When you compare our cultural behavior with the days of your grandparents and earlier, it is quite easy to see examples of how “culture” has been changed due to the influence of radio, movies, TV and the growth of professional sports. Sports achievement has overwhelmed cultural achievement as a life goal for our students. Catching a touchdown pass makes the front page. Getting an A+ on an essay about Shakespeare’s insights for the portrayal of Hamlet is never mentioned in the public domain.
Back in the good old days, Bethel and its surrounding smaller communities like East Bethel, South Bethel and West Bethel held neighborhood lyceums where one or two neighbors would present their findings on topics of current interest which in turn was followed by public discussion. These lyceums were winter entertainment. Lyceums often turned into judged debates which were rated by judges and then the audience voted their opinion on who won. Gould Academy commencements required all of those graduating to present lectures on current topics of national interest such as Government control of railroads and telegraph lines, Chinese immigration, Protection, A plea for the Knights of Labor and God in nature.
Our culture reporter probably visited during one of our early morning valley fog days. Our observer failed to see –- our library, Gould Academy, offerings at Books-N-Things, the Bethel Historical Society and book shop, Mahoosuc Arts Council programs, Arla Patch’s artistry, Telstar and Gould musical programs, the Mahoosuc Community Band, mineral and gem, pottery and art galleries, our churches, the Masonic lodge, the preservation of old homes and buildings such as the Opera House condos. Blame it on the weather.
Hands on news
The new trail path from Davis Park to the Gateway trail -- actually a new sidewalk over Alder River -- was nearing completion on Monday. Pine Tree Paving was putting on a top coat of pavement. An interior wooden guard rail fence has also been installed. This new trail section overlooks scenes of long ago -- where log drive crews camped and where Jonathan Barker won a wrestling match against the best man the Indians could muster.
The Schiavi Homes lot in Mayville is being cleared of its last model house. (Of the two earlier removals: one went to Hanover and one is in Sunday River.) Monday a large crane and crew were taking down the former office house by separating the whole into the sum of its parts. The Schiavi name has come off the main sign post as well.
Senior College Players Weekend of Theater
Rosabelle Tifft sent this report on the upcoming fall drama program. As the Senior College Players rehearse for their fifth year, Lynn Arizzi, director, tells us “their talents and abilities have grown, been enhanced and literally exploded into an extremely successful drama experience.” There are 18 participants this year including Leigh and Reed Dickinson, Carole and Ross Timberlake, Joanne Morse, Norman Milliard, Walter Brough, Lynn Mason, Barbara Dion, Carol Campbell, Roberta Taylor, Rosabelle Tifft, Karen Paul, Tineke Ouwinga, Arita Zitoli, Sharon Lyon, Lorie Hoeh and one newcomer, Mark Antell, math teacher at Telstar.
This year’s performances will be held at the McLaughlin Science Center, Trustees Auditorium of Gould Academy on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m., on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 2:30 p.m., and possibly on Friday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m.
There are thirteen plays to display the talents of the Senor College Player’s troupe. “Realize that drama is alive and well in Bethel,” says Lynn Arizzi. From the Revenge of the Red Feather Ladies (guess who they’re mad at?), to an unusual funeral in Two Wives and a Dead Guy, to a conversation with God, an encounter of a Third Kind with a Commander from outer-space, to an oldie but goodie in On Golden Pond, to a hippie experience in Rock Paper Scissors with a Walter Brough statue, to an entertaining mime experience in the local Sauna, to two interesting encounters with old folks in The Meeting and Glacier Bay, to a poignant experience with Grandma Dora in I Remember Heaven, to a wacky encounter with an artistic couple in Safeguard, to a close encounter with the TV remote and finally a visit to 16th Century Spain mocking an old fairy tale, you’ll definitely be entertained.
Senior College Players is a course offered by Western Mountains Senior College. Admission to performances is free but donations are accepted to offset royalty fees.
Envoy Mortgage -- Choice Funding has new office location
Michael Renaud sent in the following news about moving their office from Mayville to Scarborough. We are not closed, we have relocated our office due to the size required for all of our new employees we hired and will continue to hire. Our new location is: 89 Mussey Road in Scarborough, Maine. Due to all the new regulations and the ongoing education training that is required in the mortgage industry these days, we felt the need to be closer and more centrally located to the Portland Jetport for traveling purposes due to our Corporate Office is in Houston, Texas, but also to serve a bigger portion of the state.
Jonathan Bowen, branch manager of Envoy Mortgage and myself, Michael Renaud, Mortgage Consultant both still reside here (Bethel-Newry) and are still “open-for-business” if anyone has the need to call. Our 800 number has not changed so please call anytime -- Michael Renaud (80) -394-5252 X103.
Explorers in Bethel -- Part II
Referring to last week’s news about the Western Mountains Senior College hosting a talk by Mary Cowan on her new book about Arctic explorer MacMillan, there is also a Bethel connection to another well-known explorer, Robert E. Peary.
From a file box at the Bethel Historical Society comes a story and photograph about Peary’s mother at Bethel. Item number one was a photograph of Mary Wiley Peary with her brother Dr. Robert G. Wiley (1807-1904) and his daughter Mary Elizabeth Wiley grouped together for the photographer in front of Dr. Wiley’s home in what we call today The Steam Mill. Mary Wiley Peary was the mother of Robert E. Peary. The Peary’s lived in Fryeburg. Stan Howe wrote a piece for the historical society Courier on Bethel’s Fryeburg connection wherein his research turned up the fact that Robert Peary and his mother had lived a short while with the Wiley’s in Bethel and Robert Peary had briefly attended school here. If you ask, where did the Wiley’s live? The answer is the Wiley home still stands. Today the main house fronts a string of connected buildings housing The Steam Mill Antiques owned by Jay Boschetti.
In July 1908-1909 Commander Peary made his final run to reach the North Pole. In the file box there is a clipping from the Boston Globe of July 6, 1908 which tells the story of the explorer’s setting out on their expedition from New York on board the steamship Roosevelt. As the sailed up Long Island Sound they received a whistle salute from President Roosevelt’s yacht “while all the jackies aboard lined the rails and cheered.” The news clipping also has photos of Commander Peary, Donald MacMillan and the Roosevelts. (The Wiley photograph and caption is at page 97 of the Bethel, Maine: An Illustrated History by Randall Bennett.)
Timber Creek Village Subdivision
Timber Creek Village should be added to your sightseeing drive itinerary if one is at all interested in seeing new developments in the Bethel area. It is a subdivision of more than 45 lots that lie in a somewhat wedge-shaped sector on the east end of the Osgood Road. If you stood so that looking west you were able to see the notch between Locke Mountain and Barker Mountain you would be standing in the center of the new subdivision. It is directly across the Androscoggin from Swan’s Corner. From another vantage point one can see all the way to Riley in the upper Sunday River valley. The developed area lies on the western slope of Farwell Mountain. It is just a little over three and one-half miles to the Bethel Post Office.
Mahoosuc Realty is the agency marketing home and lot sales in Timber Creek so you can take some armchair tours from the Mahoosuc Realty’s website.
Photos of the layout, views and homes already standing are available in the online Bethel News for this week.
Outing Club Ski, Boot and Helmet sale at Crescent Park School
Friday and Saturday the Bethel Outing Club held its annual fall sale of new and used ski gear at Crescent Park School for the first time. Talking briefly with Dillon Gillies and Kirk Siegel, both expressed their satisfaction with the school’s facilities for setting up and managing the sale. Dillon told me that when the sale opened on Friday evening a sizable crowd was lined up waiting to enter. By using the gym section of the building, the sale volunteers could arrange equipment by type so that a natural flow of traffic passed through the different equipment layouts. When the sale was housed at Gould’s field house, the sale’s various departments were spread around the entire floor which induced meandering and not a well-defined traffic pattern. At Crescent Park you entered at one side of the maze and worked your way through the hallways to the exit. Volunteers were on hand to guide shoppers.
Kirk Siegel modeled a new helmet for me to photograph. It had a slider on the top of the shell so that a wearer could adjust air flowing into the helmet. Skiing is becoming more comfort oriented all the time.
Photos for this week’s news are online. Search for “Bethel Journals Weekly News”.