Articles by Robin Clifford Wood

Donna and George sit with their dog, Captain, in their "rolling home," a fifth wheel RV that hitches to the bed of their pickup truck.

Retired couple explores RV life on the road

By Robin Clifford Wood on Jan. 31, 2013, at 2:03 p.m.
I ran into my friend Donna Thomas in a Hannaford supermarket parking lot last September. She and her husband, George, were about to begin an eight-month expedition accompanied by Captain, their golden retriever, for their first winter of recreational vehicle life. I asked her if I could check in with …
The Gateway Arch represents the role that the city of St. Louis played as the threshold of westward expansion for the United States during the 19th century. Its shape and symbolism, however, inspire dreams that move beyond our history — into a future of progressive discovery, growth, and progress.

Visit to inner city school illuminates ongoing challenges of racial inequity

By Robin Clifford Wood on Jan. 24, 2013, at 3:31 p.m.
Last week, my husband and I visited with some inner-city seventh grade students in St. Louis, Mo. We were invited into their classroom by their teacher — our eldest daughter, Anna — who is working in St. Louis through the Teach For America program. Although I often appreciated how my …
Gail Page, holding a cup of tea, stands in front of a large canvas she painted with one of her favorite "positive energy colors."

In caring for elderly mom, woman discovers buried treasure

By Robin Clifford Wood on Jan. 17, 2013, at 12:09 p.m.
The prevailing impressions made by Gail Page’s Brooksville home are light, space and color. It is no wonder, since she and her husband are both artists and designed their home themselves. Included in the floor plan are two large, light-drenched studios for their painting and inspiration. Gail was a fashion …
Stu Silverstein — filmmaker, artist, bread baker, wood-fired stove builder, family man — at home in Waterville.

Waterville man advocates change in art and life

By Robin Clifford Wood on Jan. 10, 2013, at 12:49 p.m.
It was the combination of his iconic Maine documentary film, “Dead River Rough Cut,” his passionate interest in bread baking, and his trips to Guatemala to build wood-fired stoves for the Mayans that drew my attention to Stu Silverstein. I later learned that he is also an artist, a teacher, …
Zach Meehan and Morgan McCluskey, two die-hard Disney fans, are preparing to run their first half marathon next week in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

Disney dreams inspire couple to train for half-marathon

By Robin Clifford Wood on Jan. 03, 2013, at 2:01 p.m.
The idea of Disney World might elicit two kinds of response — hand-clasping excitement or cynical eye-rolling. I will wager that after spending an hour with Zach Meehan and Morgan McCluskey, even the most die-hard cynic will consider booking his next vacation in the Magic Kingdom. Zach and Morgan’s enthusiasm …
Carl Little, author of many Maine art books, stands in the Ellsworth Library's downstairs gallery.

Maine’s artistic allure provides endless material for art writer

By Robin Clifford Wood on Dec. 27, 2012, at 10:25 a.m.
“To a landscape painter, Maine is everything,” Carl Little said. The islands, the seaside towns, the deep Maine woods and the great wide ocean, the blueberry barrens and craggy shores, the play of light over woods, waters and mountains — all provide endless inspiration. But it is more than open …
Last year's Christmas party at Highland Pre-School in Hampden. The 30th year of Highland Pre-School Christmas parties will take place next week.

Tradition, community and the funny things kids say keep pre-k teacher going after 30 years

By Robin Clifford Wood on Dec. 14, 2012, at 11:16 a.m.
Hosting Christmas parties for 30 wound-up three and four-year-olds is probably not high on many people’s holiday bucket list. But Tami Campbell is about to do it for the the 30th time in a row, and she’s as excited as ever. Campbell is the owner and director of Highland Pre-School …
Kate Fogg (left) and Lana Sabbagh post with English bulldog Zuzu, who plays Sandy with Fogg and Sabbagh's Annie, in Penobscot Theatre's production of "Annie."

Penobscot Theatre’s ‘Annie’ a holiday theatrical delight

By Robin Clifford Wood on Dec. 10, 2012, at 10:39 a.m.
If you happen to see crowds pouring out of the Penobscot Theatre over the next few weeks, I predict you will see a sea of smiles. Their current production of the musical “Annie” is a holiday offering of optimism, rousing musical numbers, hilarious comic baddies, and a bit of irresistible …
Bailey Pagels, who was born prematurely on Oct. 28, is warmed by a hat knit by Phyllis Nodine. Holding her is her mother, Marcie Pagels, who travels from Cutler to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor be with Bailey as often as possible.

Stories of EMMC preemie and 75-year-old woman are knit together

By Robin Clifford Wood on Dec. 06, 2012, at 1:55 p.m.
I have never been a knitter myself, but I have always been intrigued by how knitting seems to link women together. Certainly there is a fellowship among crafters sharing their work, but there is a connection that goes deeper than technique, into the realm of shared love. I have two …
Current students and alumni of all ages rehearsed together the morning of Saturday, Nov. 24, before their evening band performance in Hampden Academy's new Performing Arts Center.

Gala concert celebrates 70 years of grads, 200 years of history

By Robin Clifford Wood on Nov. 29, 2012, at 2:23 p.m.
Hampden Academy’s new 900-seat performing arts center hosted an almost-full capacity crowd — the largest ever by a long shot — on Saturday, Nov. 24. It was not some hot-shot performer that drew the enthusiastic fans. It was more like a giant family reunion — one that included live performances, …
After 20 years as a refugee in the Ukraine, Afghani native Marzia Din Mohammad (far right) now has a home in Brewer, Maine.  In the photo she is joined by her friend and interpreter, Anna Baglay-Bouchard (center), and her daughter, Hila (left).

Harrowing refugee story ends with hope

By Robin Clifford Wood on Nov. 23, 2012, at 6:15 a.m.
Rather than dwell on today’s chaos of consumption known as Black Friday, I’d like to share a story that is more in line with yesterday’s spirit of giving thanks. This story spans the globe from Afghanistan to the United States by way of Uzbekistan and the Ukraine. It concerns a …
The members of the Boyd Place Art Committee pose in front of a few works of art that they recently hung on the walls for their current exhibition. They are Jane Burger, left, Nina Jerome, LeeAnne Mallonee, Sarah Clark and Fran Clukey.

Honoring their art

By Robin Clifford Wood on Nov. 15, 2012, at 5:40 p.m.
Three local artists, women with national-level talents and regional connections, have died within the past year. In addition to being great artists, Helen Marie Allen, Margaret Manter, and Mette Arup Watt were active community volunteers, teachers, mentors, wives and mothers. They were also friends of Boyd Place, an independent living …
On the coast of Greenland, Ian "Greasy" Stewart (from left), Tessa Wood and Sara Carter, the crew of the Wanderbird, display their newly shorn heads after having taken part last summer in the traditional ceremony for sailors who cross the Arctic Circle for the first time.

Arctic adventure forges bonds for the Wanderbird crew

By Robin Clifford Wood on Nov. 08, 2012, at 1:45 p.m.
In a traditional rite of passage for sailors crossing the Arctic Circle for the first time, the three young crew members of the Wanderbird, an expedition vessel based out of Belfast, Maine, took part in a “blue nose ceremony” last summer off the shores of Greenland. The ceremony includes head …
Pakistani teenager Aqsa Munir, exchange student for the 2012-13 school year, enjoyed Columbus Day weekend on the Maine coast.

At home with a Pakistani teenager

By Robin Clifford Wood on Nov. 01, 2012, at 2:55 p.m.
When we heard that a 15-year-old Pakistani girl had been shot by extremists for publicly espousing education for girls, the news hit close to home. Our home, since Aug. 17, has included a 15-year-old Pakistani girl, here in the United States to further her education. Even before Malala Yousefzai’s shooting, …
Stacey Scotte, Brad LaBree and Ron Lisnet in Penobscot Theatre Company's production of "Becky's New Car."

‘Becky’s New Car’ offers talent, fun and food for thought

By Robin Clifford Wood on Oct. 25, 2012, at 3:55 p.m.
I knew I was going to enjoy Penobscot Theatre’s production of “Becky’s New Car” right from the opening scene, when a harried, middle-aged woman wielding a DustBuster passes a roll of toilet paper to someone in the front row. “Could you hang on to this for me? Thanks!” This is …
During the sixth annual Bangor Book Festival, a roomful of Maine-based and Maine-connected writers gathered at the Bangor Public Library to sign books last Saturday.

Maine writers explore life, celebrate books in Bangor

By Robin Clifford Wood on Oct. 25, 2012, at 1:34 p.m.
There are those who predict the demise of books without concern. For them, Kindles and Nooks have won the evolutionary advantage. Others, like me, are loath to relinquish that feeling of substance when we hold a new book in our hands, that satisfying crinkle of a turning page, that evocative …
Jean Camuso, five peaks shy of completing all 67 of New England's 4,000-footers, stands at the almost-summit of Saddleback Mountain in a surprise October blizzard last week.

October blizzard with a peak-bagging friend

By Robin Clifford Wood on Oct. 18, 2012, at 1:11 p.m.
Since the computer world has co-opted the term “friend,” I’d like to set the record straight on friendship. A real-world friend calls you to join her for a cup of tea. She herds your escaped goats back home with a carrot. She shares her favorite bit of calming maternal advice: …
Geologist Harold Borns in his office at the University of Maine. In front of him on his desk sits one of his proudest accomplishments: Maine's Ice Age Trail, Downeast ecotourism trail map.

84-year-old professor still deep in ice and glaciers

By Robin Clifford Wood on Oct. 11, 2012, at 1:08 p.m.
Flowing north from the Kukri Hills of Victoria Land on the continent of Antarctica, there is a glacier named after geologist Harold “Hal” Borns. Last week I met with 84-year-old professor Borns in his office at the University of Maine. Well before our three-hour chat was done, it was clear …
Children on school vacation enjoy the beach in Toubab Diallo, a town about an hour south of the capital city of Dakar.

Senegal offers amazing journey, new name

By Robin Clifford Wood on Oct. 04, 2012, at 3:57 p.m.
I told a friend of mine that I was going to spend a week in Senegal, a small country on the westernmost edge of Africa. The news sparked a vivid memory for him. He had spent six months in Sierra Leone long ago, but his first experience on African soil …
Science teacher Steve Ressel holding a blue-tongued skink in College of the Atlantic's zoology lab.

One summer of lizards that changed a life

By Robin Clifford Wood on Sept. 20, 2012, at 2:34 p.m.
In the course of interviewing people for this column, I have discovered that many life histories include a pivotal event that changes everything. I recently heard a particularly unusual “pivotal event” from Steve Ressel, who has been teaching science at College of the Atlantic for nearly 20 years. The glorious …