Woman’s book, work aid Alzheimer’s research

Posted Oct. 01, 2010, at 8:28 p.m.

Libraries, historical societies, museums, public television and Alzheimer’s organizations from Maine to California benefit from the work and wanderlust of former Mainer Sandra “Sandy” Newman, 59, who is getting ready to leave the state after spending the summer in Island Falls, as she does each year.

Sandy, whose life seems to be filled with one adventure after another, recently donated signed copies of her book, “Life and Times on Pleasant Pond,” to the Katahdin Public Library and Birch Point Campgrounds & Cottages in Island Falls, Cary Library in Houlton, the Lumberman’s Museum in Patten, Maine Public Broadcasting’s coming holiday auction and soon the Ronald Reagan Library in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where she wrote the book last winter, will receive a copy.

The book is available at www.onpleasantpond.com; Katahdin Public Library; York’s Book Shop in Houlton; the Maine Historical Society in Portland; and The Red Moose in Patten.

The cost is $24.95, but any amount purchasers include above the cost will be donated to a fund Sandy created to benefit Alzheimer’s education and research: Alzheimer’s Drive to Find Home, c/o Beverly Cooperative Bank, 254 Cabot St., Beverly, Mass. 01915.

Sandy is the daughter of Dr. Ray C. Newman of Island Falls who, until he retired in 2008, was a longtime Aroostook County veterinarian known as the “Pet Doc.”

Her father’s late sister had Alzheimer’s disease, she told me, as do many others Sandy and her dad know and love, which is why she focuses her charitable works on Alzheimer’s research and education.

Last year, for example, Sandy used her auto travel from California to Maine as a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s research, and you can read about it at www.sandytravels.09.blogspot.com.

Mainers, it seems, often are on the move, and Sandy, who calls Island Falls her “real” home, is no exception.

Among her careers, to which the author recently has added, were the 20 years she spent teaching fashion art and a computer-aided design program at LaSalle College in Newton, Mass., working as a tour director, a ski instructor on the West Coast and, more recently, becoming a corporate flight attendant.

Sandy doesn’t know, or really care, where she will be based for that newest career, she said.

“I’ll just be where they plunk me.”

She told me the inspiration for her book about this special place in northern Maine came from a request, two years ago by Joe Edwards, whose family owns Birch Point Campgrounds & Cottages in Island Falls.

He wanted her to tell the story of his family settling on Pleasant Pond.

One day, while paddling the pond with her childhood friend and former next-door neighbor, Mary Sherwood, now a Bangor realtor, Sandy realized there “was more to the story” than one family, she told me, and “I decided I should just do the whole thing.

“I put fliers around Island Falls to ask people who lived on the pond if they had stories to contribute.”

She received about 25 responses, and the result is a collection of memories, stories, a history of the area, photography by Sandy and photographs that Island Falls historian-librarian Becky Drew supplied through her research at the Katahdin library and Island Falls Historical Society.

The book describes the lives of residents, such as the Newmans, who lived in town from October to late May and then moved to camp where Sandy would become “a pond kid” for the summer.

Sandy hopes folks everywhere, but especially those who have a connection to Pleasant Pond and northern Aroostook County, will enjoy reading about the area and helping her raise funds for Alzheimer’s research and education.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

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