Friday, August 30, 2019

Insight: A turtle’s stroll into adulthood

By Lorraine Glowczak

With eyes closed and face turned up toward the sky, soaking in the sun’s rays, I drifted into my own inner world as I sat in my kayak that floated toward the pond’s edge. “Wow! That’s amazing. There are eight turtles on the log next to you,” my husband said, whisking me out my Sunday afternoon stupor.

I had drifted so close to the log, I could have touched the hard-shell terrapins, also inebriated by the
sun’s warmth. I leaned forward slowly to gain a microscopic-like view, hoping not to shock them out of their own Sunday stupor and dive in the water away from me. There were many things I noticed about them - their different sizes, the various designs and shapes each individual shell contained and the way each tilted their head. But what fascinated me the most was how the turtles strategically separated themselves from one another. It was as if the ability to hide in their shells wasn’t enough to protect them from the harshness of the outside world so that sat as far away from each other as possible.

According to, turtles are not social creatures. While they typically don’t mind if there are other turtles around them, they don’t interact or socialize. While, I am an outwardly social creature, I do have days when I feel like a freshwater turtle – and sometimes without the shell. But then, that may be what adulthood is all about - moving forward in the world, even on difficult days, when you feel exposed and lonely. Adulthood can come with some pretty hard blows, sometimes hard enough to knock off the protective shell we use to shield us in time of struggle and danger.

In his article, “How to grow up: A guide to humans,” author Mark Manson pointed out that although tasks such as preparing for job interviews, managing your finances, cleaning up after yourself is consider being a responsible adult, “[These things] simply prevent you from being a child, which is not the same thing as being an adult.”

Manson went on to explain that most people do these adult tasks because they are “rule- and transaction-based.” For example, you prepare well for a job interview because you want to get a good job. “Bargaining with rules and the social order allows us to be functioning human beings in the world. But ideally, after some time, we will begin to realize that the whole world cannot always be bargained with. If you have to convince someone to love you, then they don’t love you. If you have to cajole someone into respecting you, then they don’t respect you. The most precious and important things in life cannot be bargained with.”

This concept of “real” adulthood has been with me all week as I struggled to write Simone Emmons’ and Kristen Stacy’s stories (see “Service Dog Strong” on front page). Both sexually assaulted, they experienced loneliness and fear but admitted that telling their story makes them feel less alone – realizing there are others with similar experiences.

If there was anything I learned from my conversation with Simone and Kristen is during those tough and difficult moments – when we feel exposed and lonely – we are never truly alone. Much like the eight turtles last Sunday, there is always someone next to us. Even if there is distance between us – we are all in this together. We all sit on the same log – basking in the same sun. Perhaps this is adulthood at its best.

Route 302 road construction timeline

Below is the construction timeline on Route 302:

Sunday, September 8 to Monday, September 23 construction will consist of milling and paving shoulders from the Angler Road and Whites Bridge intersection approximately 7200 feet to the Windham Christian Academy - night work.

Tuesday, September 24 to Monday, September 30, construction will consist of shimming and surfacing.

Tuesday, October 1, construction will consist of hand work and stripping

Wednesday, October 2 to Thursday, October 3, construction will consist of back shoulders and gravel driveways.

The above schedule may change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Insight: Finding purpose

By Lorraine Glowczak

There are many things I love about my job here at The Windham Eagle. What I enjoy changes from time to time, depending upon when you talk to me. But today, my favorite part is the interesting, fun and amazing people I get to meet.

Having only lived in the area for just five years, almost everyone I interview, I encounter for the first
time. I like meeting new people because I enjoy discovering how they have successfully maneuvered in this crazy and chaotic world. By success, I’m referring to how one has experienced the extreme ups and downs of life and are able to keep smiling and moving forward. Because - we all know that it isn’t always easy.

In my attempt to learn about them, I always discover something about myself.

This week, I got to meet former Windham Town Clerk, Rita Bernier (be sure to check out her story on the front page). Rita is one of those individuals who finds a purpose in everything she does. Yes, she was a successful town clerk but just importantly she was a successful mother, wife and bus driver prior to that. In the front-page article, you’ll learn that she loved those children on her bus route as if they were her own children. She knew her purpose and she acted on it without hesitation. Then, when she became the town clerk, her devoted nature shifted. And, it shifts again when she teaches rug making.

You see, as a society, we tend make careers our purpose in life, including yours truly. During my 20s and 30s, I spent my time trying to “find myself” and my purpose for living. I believed there was one particular thing I was meant to do, and I was going to find it. Over and over, determined to capture it, I’d accept a position, hoping that it would be THE one, but would always come up disappointed, feeling as if I somehow failed yet again.

Somewhere along the way, my perception shifted, and I stopped worrying so much about it. I’m still not certain how it all transpired, but upon meeting Rita I realized that it isn’t necessarily a particular occupation that fulfills a life’s purpose but it’s what you do with what lands in your lap.

When I was 14, I worked at my neighbor’s farm gathering eggs and doing other chores. I learned that lamb’s quarter, a weed that grows profusely in Kansas, was a favorite food of chickens. In fact, they’d run toward me as soon as I walked inside their fence with a handful of it. It was such a simple thing, but there was a sense of accomplishment, laughter, joy – and yes, oddly purpose.

Rita reminded me that purpose comes in many forms and can be obtained in just about anything you do. Actor Michael J. Fox has been quoted as saying, “I believe purpose is something for which one is responsible; it’s not just divinely assigned.”

And speaking of purpose, if you are tip toeing on the edge of insignificance, I hope these 520 words help you find some value in the small things. If so, then I’ve done my job for today. Tomorrow? Who knows.

Letter to the Editor

Bear Editor,

What a relief it is to hear about campaigns that take aim at price gouging by pharmaceutical companies!  It is a long-standing problem that just seems to be getting worse.  Many Mainers find it very difficult to afford the medications they need.  Their treatment is absolutely necessary to keep them alive, but the price of Rx drugs just keeps climbing and climbing.  People are scared that soon they won’t be able to afford their medications and will have to start cutting things out like heat, food or home repairs.  It’s terrifying to get to a point where the medicines you need to keep your family safe become out of reach.

This is particularly true since our drug prices are the highest in the world here in the U.S.  Wasn’t this supposed to be the land of plenty and privilege?  Regular people need help.  We are tired of drug companies raising prices when these same drugs can be bought for less already in other countries.  This is contrary to the American way of doing business that has always focused on a competitive marketplace that creates fair prices for consumers.

It’s time we all make a strong appeal to our Members of Congress to put an end to this painful situation.  If you want our support, stop talking and take action.  Get some sensible solutions on the table for this impossible situation.  It’s inhuman when someone is suffering, and something that can help is out there, and you can’t get it for them.  It feels cruel.

Rosalyn Fisher

Friday, August 16, 2019

Insight: The lessons of spicy foods

By Lorraine Glowczak

The delicious but spicy tuna tartare I had eaten the night before was the culprit of the heartburn I was experiencing the next morning. Add on to that - the burning in my leg muscles on a somewhat humid morning while running (or rather, jog/walking) the Kelli 5K last Saturday, made for a slightly uncomfortable experience. “Please don’t get sick,” was my mantra for 30 some minutes.

To eliminate the possibility of creating an unpleasant encounter for the one or two runners behind me, I tried various techniques to take my mind away from the nausea: counting my breaths in and out, organizing my day in my mind, listening to the morning dove that seemed to always be on every branch I ran under…and I did my best to be grateful for the monarch that kept flitting around in front of me as if to say, “You can do this.” But atlas – I would return to the mantra, “please don’t get sick.”

At one point during the run I wondered why I just didn’t donate money instead of challenging my body, which was a former runner but seems to like the slower pace of walking these days. But then, wouldn’t you know it, something dawned on me to challenge – and change – my perception. Because, after all, challenging the body wasn’t enough for the day.

My first thought went to Kelli Hutchison, of which the run is named after. “All I have is heartburn, not cancer.” And then my thought shifted to Griffin Cochrane who received a portion of the proceeds of the fundraising event. Again, I was reminded of my minor inconvenience as I compared it to that of leukemia. It was at that point the run took on a different meaning.

You see, my personal life’s mission is to be of some use to the world, providing a bit relief in a positive way whenever I can with the hope that it somehow helps others.

For some reason, I’ve been thinking that my lofty “save or change the world” ideals put in action should be easy. Author, Bruce Kasanoff articulates my Saturday run realization the best in an online article he wrote for Forbes magazine. When referencing our thoughts as compared to action, he states: “You're not going to accomplish this by meditating once or writing a few passages in your journal. It will take a ton of consistent effort and focus.”

He goes on to say that when you shift from thought to action, you might hear an inner voice tell you something irrational like skipping your luxury vacation and work instead with gang members through a community center. “What? Does working with gang members sound like a crazy thing to do,” Kasanoff points out. “Did you think it would be easy or trivial to make the world more peaceful [or insert my many lofty ideals]?

Kasanoff also stated that the wishes you make while waiting in line at Starbucks don't change the world. In most cases, you have forgotten them after a few days or a week. To change the world, you need persistent and positive thoughts that are strong enough to change your own actions. In other words, before your thoughts can change the world, they must change you.

Luckily, I did cross the finish line without sharing with others the previous night’s meal. And, when I did, I was a slightly different person. I entered the race to remember a young girl and to help a young boy in my effort to ‘change the world’ – but it was they that changed me.

But what has also changed about me is this - next year, I will remember not to eat spicy food the evening before the race.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Millions of people are affected by the rising costs of prescription medication every day. It is wrong that hard working families have to choose between taking medication and being able to eat a meal.
My aunt was born with chronic lung disease and is a cancer survivor who has taken a great deal of prescription drugs during her life. Some of them worked, many didn’t help at all, and some may have made things worse.  Up until a couple of years ago, none of the medication she had taken helped her, until she found one that seemed to finally work. She was on that medication for about a year until the company that made the medication decided to change the patent by one little degree.

By changing the patent, the cost of the medication skyrocketed from $30 a month to $400 a month. She can no longer afford to take the only drug that helped her. It is wrong what big Pharma has done to hardworking people who rely on life-saving medication. The health of our loved ones affects the whole family! The greed must stop. 

Senator Collins, your home state did their job in passing comprehensive prescription drug packages. We hope you can bring the momentum back to Washington with you.

Harrison Quidort

Friday, August 9, 2019

Insight: The genius of youthful wisdom

By Lorraine Glowczak

If you speak to artists who are unable to contain their aspirations, whether their creative endeavor speaks through the brush, the pen, the harp or the bread pan, they will tell you, “I cannot NOT do this.” It’s as if they would wither away into the ethers if they did not paint, write, perform in an orchestra or make award winning ciabatta. It is as if life would be torture if lived any other way.

When I graduated from high school in 1984, I placed myself into this category. Writing was going to be my life - with publication as icing on the cake. Although I wouldn’t say “I’ve arrived,” I’m tapping the edges of my youthful ambitions. However, I almost lost my way.

Besides the everyday life hurdles, it was that I believed the adults in my life who told me how unwise it was to follow such “foolishness” that diverted me from the path of authorship.

I was reminded of my youthful ideal and how I narrowly escaped the grips of adopted fears on Monday evening at the Artist Meet and Greet hosted by the Raymond Arts Alliance and library. I got hear artists Holden Willard, a 2017 Windham High graduate and his father Don, speak about their lives as artists. Willard sees art as his life’s career and intends to not let anything get in the way of his creative ventures. Although they admit to having some fear around their son’s financially secure future, his parents support him in his decision.

As a society, we tend to believe that it is the elders who hold and impart wisdom to the less experienced among us. Although it is true that we older adults have lived a long life and do have valid bits of knowledge and experiences to share, we must be careful to not let our hardened viewpoints and baggage of failed expectation and disappointments spill over, preventing the youth to live their dreams fully.

Yes, life is life and it will be painful for them at times. But that’s okay. We survived. They will too. No matter our own fears and setbacks, it is not up to us as adults to cage the spirit of youth. In fact, they offer the reminder and wisdom to continue moving forward with our own lives and passions – whatever they may be.

In the online article “Generation Us: Heeding the Wisdom of Youth”, written by David McNair ( he has this to say about the subject:

“Children… see themselves as the heroes of their own lives, not the victims of time and circumstance, and they approach things with fearlessness. And when they get hurt, or things don’t go their way, they cry and yell and stomp their feet — but they move on.

Too often, as adults and older people, we settle for ways of being that aren’t necessarily that joyful, rewarding or even healthy. Set in our ways, perhaps, and veterans of a struggle the young can’t even begin to imagine, we can get hardened and wary. That’s where the wisdom of youth comes in.”

Life is too complicated to put everything neatly in compartments – we all must find our own ways to maneuver around in the world. But if we can, no matter our age, let’s keep showing up and moving on despite the difficulties and the fears we come up against. And, if you are feeling like you might be losing your way, listen to the wisdom of the young artist in your life – to remind you the vision you once had about a life lived fully.

Will it be worth it in the end? Who knows? But I, for one, would rather regret the things I did than that things I didn’t do. I was foolish in my youth – why change now.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

When you get a raise, it’s normally because of a job well done.

Central Maine Power (CMP) has asked the Public Utilities Commission for a raise – a big one.  The utility giant wants a 46.5-million-dollar rate increase. Even if CMP wasn’t already under intense scrutiny for inexcusable billing mistakes, the current proposed rate increase would still be unaffordable for Mainers.  However, during three recent public hearings, consumers shared how CMP overbilled them, failed to correct the billing errors, and subjected them to an appalling customer service system.

The public uproar has not been limited to the public hearings.  In the last week alone, AARP Maine heard from over 450 CMP customers, all of whom expressed outrage at CMP’s rate increase request. That request includes an increase in the fixed rate for all their customers no matter how much or how little electricity they use. CMP clearly mishandled the launch of their billing system and their bad performance should not be rewarded with a raise.

AARP Maine strongly opposes CMP’s latest request to raise their rates. CMP’s Spanish parent company, Iberdrola, just announced double-digit growth in their profits, yet they continue to push for higher rates for their customers.  We think it’s time to put ratepayers ahead of shareholders and pay Maine back first. 

If you would like to make your voice heard on this issue, send an email to today.

Austin Hodge

Friday, August 2, 2019

Insight: Why me?

By Lorraine Glowczak

With a little preparation and some research prior to an interview, it is relatively easy to gain the perspective needed from individuals to write a well thought out feature article that not only stimulates the reader’s mind but informs the heart as well. It is our hope, that these stories inspire others and opens the door into other’s lives thus gaining a viewpoint one would not have otherwise.

There are, however, some lives whose stories are dabbled with challenge - and no amount of planning and research can prepare the writer to capture the richness of that individual’s journey. In this week’s publication, the story that made me stop in my tracks was my interview with five-year-old Griffin Cochrane and his family. Griffin, who has leukemia, will receive a portion of the funds raised by the 10th annual Kelli’s 5K.

At the present time, Griffin is in the midst of a daunting three-and one-half year chemotherapy treatment program. I try to tread lightly in these types of interviews. “Do I ask too many personal questions,” I asked Melissa Hutchinson after the Cockrane family left our meeting. Melissa is Kelli’s mother of which the 5K is named. Melissa has received the brunt of my stumbling in the dark Q/A sessions a multitude of times, so I trusted her feedback.

“I remember the first time you interviewed me; it was so painful. But then I read the article afterwards….and….” she then touched her heart to signify that I was able to capture a bit of the truth. I secretly hoped Griffin’s mother and family would feel the same way.

One thing I’ve noticed when I interview people going through extraordinarily painful circumstances is that I have never once, in the almost four years of writing for The Windham Eagle newspaper, heard the question: “Why me?” Not once.

In her book, “An Alter in the World”, Barbara Brown Taylor points out something important regarding that question many of us have asked at one time or another when life throws us excruciating curveballs. “[This] is a natural question to ask when you are in pain, but they are just as relevant when you are in pleasure. Who deserves a warm bath on a cold night after a hard day’s work? Who has earned the smell of a loved one, embracing you on your first night back at home?”

In 53 years, I’ve never had surgery or spent one night in the hospital. Why me? I can see the purple hues of a fall sunset with my own eyes. Why me? I can hear a cardinal in the background as I type this Insight. Why me? I can smell the earth when I walk in the nature preserve near my home. Why me? What did I do to deserve these wonderful things? I don’t know the answers except that I now know that on those painful “stub your toe” sort of days, I won’t be as quick to ask the question, “Why me?”

Forgiving: A poem

By Masha Yurkevich

Let me be forgiving
If someone is unkind.
Let me forgive them
and not keep it in my mind.

Let me smile to them
and send the anger right away.

For angry thought can
even the brightest day.

 Stars without darkness
Are no use.

there is no light
for them to produce
 You can't climb every mountain
and you can't win every war.

But one thing you can always do is try to
be better than before.

You always warm me up with your
sunny ways
and brighten all my
cloudy days!

~ dedicated to my family,
Those wonderful people
That make my life better!