’Round Town

Janet and Oliver

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 8:30am

They are not saying good-bye, they are saying hello.

I didn’t know that Oliver sold bicycles. When Janet told me this I thought she said “Oliver stole bicycles.” Then I remembered that Oliver grew up in Newcastle, Pennsylvania. My freshman year college roommate was from Newcastle, and he did steal bicycles!

Oliver told me that selling bicycles was one of his many adventures. This job was in California where he met Janet. And now Janet and Oliver can ride bicycles, or anything else they want, anywhere. As most of us know by now, Janet and Oliver have a little more spare time which most assuredly will include regular visits to the seaside rock in their front yard. The Island Store is in the rear view mirror, except when they head over to the post office, visit with friends, and dispose of unsolicited flyers like all the rest of us.

For 15 years Janet and Oliver owned and operated the Southport General Store. They were maybe the sixth or so owners in about 137 years of what originally began as the E. E. Pinkham Store in 1882. Others have owned and operated the store over the years --- folks like Phyllis Cook, Ethelyn Giles, the Climos. Everyone left their mark. Some who live or visit the island still refer to the store as Pinkham’s. That was before our time on the island. Sort of a stretch to recall the Ethelyn P. Giles that we knew as a real estate person, worked there.

Janet has been coming to Southport since she was a child. In fact, her grandfather, Stan Bailey, built two places practically in the very spot where she and Oliver now live. She visited from California.

I can't recall how they actually met, but Oliver, who has had many jobs, moved to California with acting in mind. In 1972 he landed a big bicycle deal then worked managing restaurants in Los Angeles. That was relatively short lived and the Army was next. Around the same time, Janet got her first serious job at Big Bear Lake in California and I think that's where they got married, 47 years ago.

Janet worked in the food services industry, too. She worked with “Jack in the Box,” a fast food-ish company on the West Coast. So, Janet and Oliver both had the food business in their pasts. When the Southport store became available, so did they, almost exactly 15 years ago!

I am a big believer in chance and serendipity. Oliver said something to me during our visit that struck a chord --- “Sometimes things happen, and things change.” For everyone who has known Janet and Oliver over the years, the change that brought them to Maine was good, for all of us. Welcome home.