Friday, May 25, 2018

Insight: Ways to remember and honor on Memorial Day by Lorraine Glowczak

It's upon us again – Memorial Day Weekend and the gateway to summer. Most of us greet this three-day-weekend by dusting off the camping gear, pulling out the grill, and hopping into our boats to set out for fun in the sun - creating new summertime memories in the process.

And speaking of memories, let us not forget the real purpose of Memorial Day that makes this three-day-weekend possible. This coming Monday, I hope we all remember to create a time and a moment in our happy-go-lucky weekend activities to reflect and honor those who have lost their lives in service to our country. In fact, if you have children present with you, it may be a great time to begin a conversation about the purpose of Memorial Day, so they never forget the real reason for the day.  

There are a few subjects you can discuss with not only the children in your lives, but with the adults in your circle of friends and family. One option is to look back at the history of Memorial Day and how it came to be.

In my research, I found some interesting information from the website. It may make for interesting discussion around the picnic table or camp fire and provide that moment of honor and remembrance.

Did you know that one of the first known public tributes to those who died serving their country occurred in 431 B.C.? It is stated that the Athenian General, Pericles, delivered a funeral address praising those killed in the Peloponnesian War. It is also stated that his speech on that day has been compared to the influential manner of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Did you know that women’s groups and the freed slaves of the south are the ones who sparked the idea of “Decoration Day” – a day set aside annually to honor those who lives were taken during the Civil War? Technically, the praise is given to General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic. However, as the history website stated, “In April 1886, the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia resolved to commemorate the fallen once a year—a decision that seems to have influenced John Logan to follow suit, according to his own wife.” The first Decoration Day, of which Memorial Day came into being, was established on May 30, 1868.

It wasn’t until the Act of 1968 finally went into effect, moving Memorial Day from its traditional observance on May 30, to be observed on the last Monday of the month. This move, even fifty years later, has created great unease for many. Veterans groups are concerned, and rightfully so, that Americans associate the holiday with the first long weekend of the summer and not its intended purpose to honor the nation’s war dead. It wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day became an official federal holiday to honor all veterans who gave their lives.

I have said it before and I will say it again. I prefer peace and civility over war. I think it is safe to say that we all do. But many sacred texts admit that there is a time for peace and a time for war. Even Lao Tzu, the author of the “Tao Te Ching” who was completely against war and violence, admits in his 31st verse of the “Tao” that one should use arms “only as a last resort”; thereby admitting that sometimes we must protect ourselves, our love ones and our nation from harm.

So, whether you are for war or for peace – the fact is that we all know someone who has given their life for our freedom to choose the life we have now. As a result, no matter what fun weekend adventure you find yourself participating, please take a moment and remember those who gave their lives – both those you have known as well as for those you’ve never met.

This insight is dedicated to the memory of my Father, Lester F. Noll, who served in World War II in England. Thank you.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Insight: The dusty key by Lorraine Glowczak

In a recent dream, I was in a brightly lit white room helping others find a missing object. This room had a loft. Following my instincts that the object we were looking for was in that loft, I climbed up and found a small white box. When I opened it, I was surprised to find a silver key inside, covered in dust.

It’s been almost three weeks since I’ve had that “key dream” and I have been thinking about it non-stop. It’s not that I’m big fan of dream interpretation but I do wonder if there may be some sort of message here for me. Is it a key to the future? Is it a key into an unknown adventure? Or, is it a key to unlock some past mystery?

The “key dream” came up again with two articles published in this week’s Windham Eagle and I could not help myself but to apply some sort of meaning behind the dream of this dusty key to those two articles.

Although one article (Jordan-Small Middle School on the front page) may appear as a key to the future and the other (Raymond-Casco Historical Society by Elizabeth Richards on page 9) seems to represent the key to the past - I think it’s possible that the key analogy here is to keep the door unlocked between the future and the past.

It’s not a new concept that students are a vital resource and part of a successful, enlightened society. Without them and their contributions, life as we know it would cease to be. They are our future engineers, soldiers, dancers, musicians, teachers and historians.

However, they will only be as successful as the past from which they learn. This leads me to the second article on the Raymond-Casco Historical Society. In it, you will discover the fact that many historical societies have decreasing memberships. Is it possible that in our efforts to move forward quickly into greatness, we have cast the key of the past aside, thinking it offers little to the future? After all, historians do not perform heart transplants.

But history and historians offer their own valuable resource and greatness. Why? Because we all need a foundation to leap off from and into a successful future. We need the past to understand our own lives, the lives of others and how the world works. I think it would be difficult to imagine in innovative and creative ways, without having the past as our foundation, giving us the ability to update and add to that base.

I think the key to the future must be used in conjunction with the key of the past in order to have the best human experience possible. If anything, we can put the dusty key to use and open the door to many more possibilities – by using the past as the foundation to spring forward into a wonderful future.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Raymond residents are fortunate to have Kate Leveille running in the June 12th election for RSU 14 School Board. Kate has a passion for Maine as a lifelong resident and a passion for this community, having grown up nearby.

Kate is an admired professional and has had an impact on this state through her work to help Mainer’s succeed. She has the experience and the knowledge that we need to help propel the voice of our students. She has a broad educational vision and is dedicate to helping all students succeed.

Kate will bring her vision, expertise, and dedication to our schools and she wants every child, at every age, to have the chance to reach their highest potential. We are lucky to have such an outstanding candidate for election to the RSU 14 School Board. I encourage Raymond residents to get out and vote on June 12th for Kate.

Heather Marden
Early Childhood Educator and Advocate

Friday, May 11, 2018

Insight: Pecan pies and burnt marshmallows by Lorraine Glowczak

What do the smells of a freshly mown lawn and bonfire smoke have to do with Mother’s Day? Nothing directly, but those two smells I experienced this past weekend transported me back to moments in my past that evoked long forgotten but pleasant memories of my mother.

The smell of cut grass produced the recollection of drinking ice cold lemonade together and talking about nothing important after sharing the task of mowing our big yard with a push mower.

Although we didn’t have a lot of bonfires when I was a child, the few times we did, my mom and I would always have roasted marshmallows. We liked ours crispy and burnt.

As Mother Day approaches, many will celebrate and honor their Moms in a variety of fun and meaningful ways. But as life is – it’s messy and filled with imperfections that usually do not meet our preferred agenda on the way life should go. For me, as well as many others out there, our mothers have passed on.

For those of us in that circumstance we need not feel despair. I have chosen ways to celebrate, remember and honor her in my own little way.

But first, I would like to mention that everyone’s story is slightly different, so there are circumstances out there where grieving is necessary and healthy. If that is the case for you - go ahead and grieve. I hope next year’s Mother’s Day will be better for you.

I have chosen the following ways to start a new Mother’s Day tradition:

Make a pecan pie.
My mom had a sweet tooth and I inherited it. I have always loved pecan pie and instead of making a birthday cake for me, she would make my favorite dessert, inserting birthday candles in the pie.

Stay off Facebook and other social media.
When my mom passed, social media had just exploded as a form of sharing our “amazingly perfect” lives with all our “friends.” I suspect she’d think this mode of communication as pure silliness and would encourage me to reach out to others in person or by phone.

I will call my four brothers who live in other states.
Above all I do to remember her, this is the one thing that would “tickle her silly,” as she used to say. Having us remain loving siblings was her dying request.

Isn’t it amazing that the mind can recall fond memories of loved ones, especially during holidays and celebrations? And whether those recollections come through smells or small acts - it is almost as if they are here with us, if only momentarily.

Congratulations Gene “Eugene” Gumaer who recently graduated from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot

Gene “Eugene” Gumaer, a 2016 graduate from Windham High School has graduated from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina on April 6. Gumaer has plans to continue with combat training on Parris Island before heading to school in Missouri to be trained as a deiseal mechanic. 
Gumaer is proud to be a Marine and to serve his country.
Windham is proud of him!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Now that the library renovations and improvements have been completed, I believe it is time to give some special credit to Jen Alvino, the Library Director. 

I served as a Windham Library Trustee during the planning stages for the renovations and became aware of Jen's efforts to effect change in the layout and efficiency of the library. 

The cost of the work has been stated as $405,000. What has not been reported is that Jen worked for over a year on soliciting grants and donations from outside organizations and succeeded in collecting $74,500 from them. This meant that the improvements to the facility included new shelving and furniture. These items had not been included in the original budget. 

While I believe all of the library staff deserves a great round of applause for their work during the transition, I would like to give special "thanks" to our Library Director.

Bruce Raeburn

Insight: Walk a remarkable mile by Lorraine Glowczak

In almost every Windham Eagle issue, there are amazing people in the community whose stories we share that blow the lid off the term, “remarkable". I often write about my admiration for these individuals as well as their accomplishments – much of which entails the good they do for the communities of Raymond and Windham.
One group of individuals that often make our paper, but have never been mentioned in this weekly editorial, are the members of the Windham Town Council and the Raymond Board of Selectmen. 

Before you allow exasperation to arise and envision throwing stones at certain town officials or roll your eyes in disgust, I’d like to offer alternative perspectives, refocusing our individual passions (and sometimes our anger) for the good. 
I’m aware that my 400-word editorial will not offer any quick fixes to what lacks in all political systems, but my intention is to highlight the encouraging aspects of those individuals who do their best, in the ways they deem best, to create thriving and livable towns – whether we agree with them or not.

As a person who attends both town meetings, I witness the multi-layered aspects of what these elected positions entail. Often, they are handed challenging assignments, difficult fiscal matters, complicated policies and challenging projects; they must initiate solutions to countless issues and problems. They do this while raising a family, holding down a job, as well as tending to other personal and professional demands.

I know it is easy to second-guess councilors’ or selectmen's decisions, because we are all passionate about the things we care about and believe important. Often, we only weigh our own interests and perspective without taking into account the many other issues, opinions and concerns that must be considered. Somehow, they must find a way to balance it all.

Democracy contains a wide range of ideas, experiences, skills and opinions; and debating issues is an important part of the process in progressive civic engagement. But when these differing opinions and conversations escalate to the point that a council member or a selectman is bullied or publicly or privately attacked with insults, then democracy at its best begins to crumble. But just as important, bullying is unacceptable and childish behavior that offers few opportunities for problem solving.

Every person who sits on the council or board, even those we disagree with or whom we may even dislike, should be respected for accepting the burden that comes with their job of making our communities a great place to live. Before we throw stones, I would encourage us to remember that these individuals are people just like you and me. 

As the proverb suggests, perhaps we can take a mile-long walk in their shoes and a deep breath. In doing so, maybe positive solutions can occur, friends can be made and something remarkable can happen. If anything, it would make a great story to share.