By Ardeana Hamlin
of The Weekly Staff
BANGOR — Six residents at Phillips-Strickland House in Bangor graciously agreed to share their memories of how they spent Fourth of July when they were growing in answer to The Weekly Question. Their answers were interesting and well-spoken, but too long to use in their entirety, so I have written a lengthier version.
Linda Nickerson, activity director at Phillips-Strickland House, coordinated my visit to ask the residents The Weekly Question — How did you celebrate July 4th when you were growing up? She also served as my guide at the retirement community.
Shirlene Coombs, who grew up on a farm in North Lincolnville, recalled marking the Fourth of July by going on picnics with her family. Sometimes they went to a freshwater location and sometimes they went to saltwater where they swam. “We didn’t get to go to saltwater often,” she said. She also recalled that one summer the family farm burned, but within a year her father had rebuilt the house.
Marian Parent said she and her family went to Central Park in New York City on July 4th when she was growing up, except when it rained. Then they went to the movies. “It was exciting,” she said of going to the park. “There were the animals at the zoo and vendors selling things. There were swings and see-saws.”
The parade in Portland stood out as a memory of July 4th for Nancy Hood, who grew up in Portland. “There were lots of fireworks. Popcorn and hotdogs,” she said.
Ethel Carroll, who grew up in Orono, recalled firecrackers and sparklers. “But what I remember most,” she said, “ was the time my father took us — there were seven of us children — camping overnight at Lamoine Beach. We drove down in father’s big touring car — a Maxwell. We dug clams. Us girls slept in the car and the boys slept in the tent with my mother and father. We went just that once, but it stands out in my memory.”
Thelma Merritt said that her most memorable Fourth of July was 90 years ago when she was 3 years old. “We came down from Aroostook to my uncle’s farm in Orrington,” she said. “We had watermelon, homemade ice cream. There were lots of cousins and fireworks. It was a long ride by car but it was very exciting.”
Melva Grindle recalled that her family rented a camp on Cold Stream Pond for the Fourth of July. “We went swimming, boating and ate lobster.” The family drove from Bucksport. “It was an old lodge, big enough for the whole family,” she said.
“My grandchildren are so excited I’m going to be in The Weekly Question,” she added.