PITTSFIELD, Maine — As the colorful and comfortable Adirondack chairs before him were claimed one by one, 6-year-old Johnny O’Brien’s bottom lip began to tremble.
When someone bid $75 for his favorite — which he called “the wooden one” because of its natural color — he was on the edge of tears.
“I wanted that one,” he said morosely, gaining the attention of the room full of adults participating in a fundraiser that netted $2,000 for the Pittsfield Community Theatre on Friday night.
“Do you want to bid on it?” asked Lori Glidden of Pittsfield, treasurer of the Theatre Fund Raising Committee. Johnny nodded and his quivering lip became still.
“How about $76?” asked Glidden, which elicited a more convincing nod from the 6-year-old.
“Oh, OK,” said the previous bidder in a half-kidding huff.
“Sold!” said Glidden, and just like that, Johnny O’Brien, son of Sherm and Leona O’Brien of Pittsfield, was happy again.
“I’m going to put it in my bedroom,” he said. “I want to put all my stuffies on it. I think I have enough room.”
Providing a seat for a heap of stuffed animals wasn’t exactly what organizers of the “Chairs for Chairs” fundraiser planned, then again they didn’t fully expect to raise $2,000, which is enough to refurbish at least seven seats in the Main Street theater. Friday’s fundraiser was one of many planned in the theater’s quest to raise $700,000 for renovations.
“They’re just beautiful chairs,” said Glidden. “It’s great that people realized what these are worth.” There were about 60 bids for the 18 chairs, ranging from the minimum of $75 to $200, the latter being what Bruce Mitchell of Burnham paid for a chair painted by his daughter Bonnie Mitchell.
“It was worth it. She does a really good job,” said Mitchell of his daughter.
“Even though I told him if he didn’t get it I’d paint him another one,” chimed in Bonnie Mitchell.
Sharon Kiley Mack, a Bangor Daily News reporter who organized the fundraiser when she relocated to Machias after covering the Pittsfield area for 25 years, bid unsuccessfully on two of the chairs. That didn’t dampen her spirits.
“The goal was to leave something behind,” said Mack. “We’re going to leave behind a row of seats in the theater. I think that’s wonderful.”