Third Graders, You Can Look It Up!

 The following article is based on a recent press release… view the WABI TV Five News Coverage!

A Guilford Scholar looks it up!

“You can look it up!” becomes the answer to many of the questions third graders have when they have their own dictionaries.  Students from Piscataquis Elementary School in Guilford and SeDoMoCha in Dover Foxcroft can do just that after recently traveling to the Valley Grange Hall in Guilford for some lessons in history and to receive their own dictionary.

For the past seven years Valley Grange members have been providing dictionaries to third graders in the area. The local program is part of a nation-wide effort driven by the Dictionary Project—a non-profit organization based in South Carolina with a goal of assisting all students in completing the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers by providing students with their own personal dictionary

Noting that Valley Grange has expanded the program to now include three districts, Valley Grange Master Jim Annis said, “This has been a fantastic program for us as an organization. It’s got us involved with the children and the schools where we can truly feel we are making a difference and have a lot of fun doing it!”

Program Director Walter Boomsma agrees and says “I never get tired of these kids’ enthusiasm. They just love the idea of having their own dictionary and in the program we do with them we try to get them to understand that they can own not only the dictionary but also all the words in it!”

Sergeant Boothroyd has the children's attention!

An added treat for the visiting students was Sergeant Eric Boothroyd, a civil war re-enactor from Dover Foxcroft. The Sergeant provides a bit of a history lesson and entertainment. He sets the stage for the students to understand how the Grange came into being shortly after the war and continues to be an organization about “people helping each other and the community.”

Boomsma estimates that Valley Grange will distribute around 180 dictionaries this year after traveling to Lagrange, Milo, and Brownville in November.  Parents of homeschooled children are urged to contact their local school or the Grange. Extra dictionaries are also available for children moving into the area.

Central Hall Is Central

Central Hall Today

In 1893 the Maine State Grange conducted its Twentieth Annual Session on December 19, 20, 21 at Central Hall in Dover. In his opening address, then State Master M. B. Hunt said, “The present is but the result of a long succession of the ages.” Over one hundred years later the succession is certainly longer, but the present is still so defined—by the succession of the ages.

There were some 95 Subordinate Granges throughout the state at that time. By way of comparison there were 155 listed in the 2009 roster—an interesting statistic to those who think the “Grange is dying.” Reading the Journal of Proceedings (minutes) of the three day event is certainly interesting—many of the challenges were not much different than today.  We cannot deny that our history is part of us and we are part of our history.

Perhaps because of my involvement with the Grange, I find it somewhat easy to picture those delegates assembling… walking across the road from the Blethen House where no doubt many stayed. I can see them making decisions that would become important parts of the “succession of the ages” and create a new present. 

Thanks to the work of the “Friends of Central Hall” many folks are recollecting other events and occasions and perhaps discovering how appropriate the name “Central” is. For many years, Central Hall was “central” to the lives and times of many. If you’ve missed the opportunity to be nostalgic, visit Central Hall on Saturday, March 6 from 10 am until 2 pm. Organizers are promising  a slideshow with historic photos, a time-line of exhibits of activities from the 1880s through the present, speakers  sharing more recent memories, guided tours (including the basement), and lots more.

At the close of the session over one hundred years ago, the body adopted the following resolution:  “ Resolved, that the members of the State Grange, now about to close, tender their sincere thanks to the citizens of Dover and Foxcroft for their very generous hospitality and attention during this session. “

George Bernard Shaw said, “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past but by the responsibility for our future.”  So I can’t help but wonder. Will the Maine State Grange meet at Central Hall again in the future?

“Your Household Guide”

While picking up and poking around I found a fascinating book in the Valley Grange Museum. It’s called Your Household Guide and contains “1001 helpful household hints… selected from several hundred Walsworth Bros. Home Recipe Books throughout the nation.” The cover imprint indicates it was sponsored by Shirley Grange No. 413.

These hints are now over fifty years old, but some are timeless. Others are amusing. I thought I’d reproduce a few here for your entertainment and possible use.

Do not grease the sides of a cake pan. How would you like to climb a greased pole?

When bread is baking, a small dish of water in the oven will help to keep the crust from getting hard.

When painting indoors, slip a pair of old socks over your shoes. If paint drops on the floor, just “skate” it up.

Turn printed washables inside out on the line to prevent fading.

Buttons sewn on with dental floss will stay on longer.

Put a small piece of soap in your sewing basket. Stick needles and pins in it and they will run through cloth more easily.

Spinach may be the broom of the stomach, but sauerkraut is the vacuum cleaner. (more…)