I saw Kathy for the first time a day after she was born. Her parents recently moved about two hours away to Camden, Maine. I knew Kathy’s parents (Kingsley and Margaret Strout) when they first arrived in Fairfield, as Kathy’s father was the Methodist minister at the church, I was a member. We remained lifelong friends for over 50 years. I admired Margaret and Kingsley very much. Kathy’s mother was physically handicapped from a recent illness that would affect her for the rest of her life, yet she would never let that interfere with living the fullest life possible. She participated in everything. I admired her father, because he was so patient kind, and caring to Margaret—and to everybody, for that matter.
A little more about me: I was born in Athens, Maine, a farm my (paternal) grandfather built. During the depression era, my parents lost the farm. In the 6th grade we moved to Waterville, then after a year, to Clinton to my mother’s parent’s farm. In my junior year, I lived with my aunt and uncle in Fairfield too help care for their children, and also finish high school. After graduating, I worked for a brief time at a baking company in Waterville, while also applying at several other places for employment. Within a year, I received a call from the telephone company, and worked with them for the next 40 years. The first 11 years I worked as a switchboard operator, an instructor, teaching new operators, then became supervisor for the telephone operators. This department was called the traffic dept. I then moved to the engineering department as the office person. When the opening came for this position, the boss placed a notice on the board and told the chief operator in the traffic dept. that if anyone is interested to please apply. Several from our dept. did (12+), so I jokingly commented to my superior, “Maybe I’ll put my name in, too.” I enjoyed working in the traffic department and had no intention of applying. Yet I was the first one to interview.
On the day of interviewing, I entered and sat down to talk with the person who would be my immediate boss. His first question was, “why be here?” to which I replied, “I don’t know."... He responded, “Well,...you would have holidays and weekends off.” … I asked what specific work does this job involve. He replied, “typing and filing primarily.”
“Well that leaves me out. It’s been 11 years since I’ve done that.” “Oh, you can pick that up quick enough,” he tells me…. He didn’t even know me, and I did not help myself at all in the interview. I learned the decision came down to two women, I being one of them. The chief engineer asked for an second interview, for us to see the office and the atmosphere we would work in. We would have our own desk and be in charge of the office. The decision came to our dept. that I received the job. These were my best 3 years with the company. A wonderful group of engineers. I later asked how I got hired. My boss told me he was impressed by the interview. Also, they asked for a second interview so the other guys in the department could weigh in on the decision, since we would all be working together. After 3 years in Waterville, the office of engineers relocated to Augusta for a short time. Since I had no car, I carpooled with a fellow who lived in Waterville and worked for Central Maine Power (CMP). During this time, I received a call from the Waterville Business Office, asking if I’d like a position in their office. I didn’t think I would care to work in this department, and said I was not interested. The individual I talked with persuaded me by saying that it would make more sense to work in the town I lived in. So, I accepted a position as service rep, answering the phone, any calls and any questions from customers. I later became supervisor, until retirement. Retirement came early, at 59, due to the business office closing. After 40 years of service I was given an early retirement package offer. I cared for both parents just prior to retirement, who then came to live with me afterwards. Prior to retirement I was involved in volunteer work, as a member of Telephone Pioneers, with 21 years of active service. The Pioneers offered a great social life, as well as a working life. We were active in a lot of volunteer work and projects. The Pioneers are community oriented to help in the community. 5 years before retirement, I was involved in infant hearing project, that testing newborns for hearing so they could be treated right away instead of having to wait. The doctor in charge wanted the Pioneers to do its paperwork. I co-chaired this project with the doctor for 11 years Another volunteer program also took place at the hospital: a children’s visitation program, for children who were going into the hospital, to learn what happens when they are in the hospital. We had school buses of kids coming in, and we would set up a room to be like a regular hospital room. The volunteers and the children would act out roles of nurse and patient. I have always loved children and being a part of their lives. What I enjoy for myself these days? Now, that I am in my 90’s I am still active in the church I became member of, long ago, when Kathy’s parent’s first arrived. Thursday nights is crafts night, where 10 individuals meet at my home to converse and make crafts. Friday night is fun night; 8 individuals come for a meal—2 persons per week prepare the meal for us all—and we enjoy each other’s company, playing board games, card games or dominoes. I have always loved cooking throughout my years, and I used to sew a lot. I like to read, and I enjoy children immensely. After beginning work with the phone company, I rented a house, which I was later able to purchase. The house was two floors made up of two separate, yet identical apartments. When I rented, I would only accept the tenant who had children.
And I continue my relationship with Kathy, as she has grown. I am very happy that she provides home care service to individuals who need it, in the Belfast, Bucksport and Camden area, because I saw how Kathy was so attentive to her mother as a young girl. She is doing what she is meant to do in her adult life.