Friday, February 23, 2018

Insight: Outrageous living in challenging times by Lorraine Glowczak

I don’t think I’m stretching it if I say that most of us may be feeling a little disillusioned with the world in recent days. I simply do not know if I can handle one more hurricane, one more school shooting or one more policy maker deceiving us.

It’s times like these that I want to throw up my hands and say, “What’s the use?” But then I got to thinking. Well, the truth is, writing this weekly insight forces me to think and this is the result:

Let me start with a story.

I recently watched a Netflix series entitled, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” – which is a monthly series hosted by David Letterman. In his new show, Letterman interviews and speaks with important global figures who have made a profound difference in others’ lives.

During one of his interviews, Letterman reflected to the person he was interviewing about his own response during the 1960’s civil rights movement. Letterman stated to his guest something like, “When people were marching across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Alabama, I was heading to Florida to party and get as drunk as I could. Why wasn’t I there in Alabama on that day instead, fighting for a basic human right that came so easily for me.”

I have asked myself this question from time to time, wondering if I do enough to make a positive impact or make a difference. The question came up again as I was writing about the life of Sally Breen, Windham’s very own mover and shaker (see front page).

As I wrote her story about the passions she carried for peace, equality, the environment and the challenges faced by many, I discovered that there were times she came away from these events with a bit of disillusionment of her own, or has her friend said, “got burned.”

But despite getting burned from time to time – she didn’t allow it to stop her. She kept moving forward. I wonder if it was the mere fact that she put her energy in making positive change that kept her going.

The more important tale and moral to this story is that it’s people like Sally that bring joy and hope to the world, shedding light on the good that still exists. She encourages people like me not to give up, to live fully and with outrageous intentions.

So, in Sally’s honor, I’ll pick up my disenchanted bootstraps and get on with it. If I get burned, so be it. I’m not much of a country music fan, but as Garth Brooks says, “Life is not tried it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.”

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Thank you to Walter Lunt for the wonderful informative article: Chief “Polin-Sebagoland’s Wabanaki freedom fighter.” As I read the article a name stuck out as familiar from my family tree’s history. It was the Ezra Brown, who was shot and killed by chief Polin May, 1756; Chief Polin being shot and killed soon thereafter. 

My fourth great grandfather Eleazer Chase was of Windham and alternately also shown as from New Marblehead. Eleazer’s second wife was Mary Brown, widow of Ezra Brown. Eleazer’s first wife was Janet Elder, also shown as from New Marblehead/Windham. Eleazer and Janet are my ancestors. 

From the book, “History of Buckfield” on page 559, Eleazer Chase married Mary Brown soon after her husband was killed in an Indian raid. Janet Elder had passed away just before this time. I never knew it was actually Chief Polin himself who was responsible for the deadly raid and was himself killed in the same skirmish. 

Eleazer Chase had moved to Windham from Massachusetts specifically as a soldier to defend the Windham garrison, already being well known as a scout and a bounty hunter, infamous for retaliatory raids against the Native Americans. 

My third great grandfather Isaac Chase (Eleazer and Janet Elder Chase’s son) married Lois Smith, whose mother was well known as half Abenaki from North Massachusetts. For a period of time Eleazer, the infamous American Indian fighter, lived in the same log cabin in Windham with his son Isaac and his wife Lois, well known for American Indian blood. 

This certainly shows how complicated relationships and alliances were. Both Isaac Chase and his father Eleazer Chase fought in the Revolutionary War; Eleazer way past the age when it could have possibly been required of him. Eleazer was also a veteran of the French and Indian war.

Thank you again for the fascinating article,
John A Dow
Windham, Maine

Friday, February 16, 2018

Insight: A respite from adulthood by Lorraine Glowczak

Next week, the students at Windham/Raymond schools will blissfully enjoy their week-long winter vacation. If their parents are lucky, perhaps they will get to take some time away from their daily workloads and have a fun filled midwinter break, too.  
I have heard it said that we all want to play and have fun, but somewhere along the way as we get older and the demands of life loom over us, we rarely remember to keep those zany and impulsive activities on our “To Do” lists.

I never thought I would be one who forgot how to play, but, alas – it has happened. The past couple of years I have become pretty serious about my career and life time goals. So serious in fact, that I was shocked to recently discover it’s been quite some time since I have delighted myself with amusing and meaningless distractions that tickle my funny bone. 

I realized recently that it has been at least two years since I have skied, snow shoed or snow tubed down a steep icy hill in the moonlight. The thought of it brings back memories of exhilaration and I miss the foolish diversion from everyday life.

For those of you who have children and you have found that your everyday adult life has slipped onto the same monotonous path as mine, I challenge you to take a moment to do something fun with your sons and daughters next week. 

Consider doing something that you wouldn’t normally do as an adult. Be silly. Be amused. Make outlandish faces with your kids and then laugh until your gut hurts. Take a break away from being an adult for a while. If you have forgotten how, I’m sure your children can inspire and help you remember.

If you are lost for some fun and playful family ideas, be sure to read Briana Bizier’s “Ice fishing with small children” on the front page or the “Winter activities and updates” by Rep. Mark Bryant on page 3. 

No matter what it is you choose to do, silliness and play are delightful ways to take a breather from all those important and sometimes tedious adult chores. Not only does it make us feel more alive and adds joy to our daily existence, but in doing so, it creates fond memories to recall on more difficult days - not to mention the wonderful memories you will create in your child.

Now, back to me. It would only seem right that if I challenge you to dive into childhood enthusiasm then I should challenge myself to do the same. Hmmm? What kind of crazy mischief can I get myself into next week? I don’t know what that may be yet, but the excitement is bubbling just thinking about it.