‘Solidarity’ in the ringing: Wiscasset villagers take bells in hand

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 8:45am

    Social distancing had a ring to it in Wiscasset Village Sunday. A lot of them: From a cowbell to Christmas ones, bells rang out at noon in the coronavirus spring.

    Helen Russell and son Ben, 4, walked down their Federal Street driveway carrying a bell she said came with the house. As they rang the bell, Russell said they wanted to help show solidarity. Across the street, organizer Elizabeth Palmer rang bells and a passing motorist peeped.

    Peter Wells rang a cowbell about 75 years old. “My mother used this to gather seven kids every night at 5:30” in Montrose, New York, he said as he and wife Terri walked home from the ringing. Holding a tambourine-sized wreath of bells, she said the ringing was a great way to bring the community together. We were down there a few minutes ago with about four other neighbors ... We all just sort of stood together, six feet apart, of course, and then rang our bells,” she said, smiling.

    “And we might do it each day now at 12 o’clock,” her husband added. “Just to come out and socialize, see how everyone’s doing.”

    That was Palmer’s plan and hope. She rang bells near Wiscasset Elementary School. Terry Heller rang Christmas doorbells in her yard with her dog Etta. Palmer said First Congregational Church of Wiscasset and St. Philip’s Episcopal Church planned to ring their bells. Reached by text later, Rev. Josh Fitterling of First Congregational said he rang the bell there. He wrote: “It was wonderful to hear hope ringing forth in our community! We live is a special place with such wonderful people and we will get through this together!”