Boothbay Region Elementary School fourth graders are sharing their hopes and concerns with the community through “Words of Comfort.” BRES teachers Kathy Hartley and Jennifer Lassen got the idea from renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma’s “Songs of Comfort.” The teachers hope to encourage a connection between students and the community through adults’ responses to them in the following issue. Part 1 ran in the April 23 edition and Part 2 in the April 30 edition. Both are online. If you would like to respond with your own Words of Comfort, email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Peyton Barter,
I am 10 years old and I am in the fourth grade. Some words I would use to describe myself are adventurous, competitive, thoughtful, respectful, hard-working and funny. I enjoy doing outside activities like playing sports, football and basketball. I try my hardest because I like to win. I love fishing and ice fishing, too. I have two German Shepherd dogs, Piper and Zoey and they love me. I also have a cat named Ruger. My dogs are happy I’m home with them a lot now. I have been staying busy since school has been closed. My family and I have … hiked Oven’s Mouth, Porter, Cross River, School House Pond and Dodge Point so far. Dodge Point was the hardest that I’ve ever done, it was five miles long. I like being outside in the nature. It relaxes me, hearing the different birds chirping and the water running in the streams. I went fishing at Adams Pond. My sister and I have been riding our four-wheelers, too. I have been feeling different emotions during this time. Sometimes I’m happy, sad, stressed. I feel it’s hard to do schoolwork at home. I miss seeing my friends. I was on the basketball travel team at the YMCA and my season was ended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I would love for any elders in the community to write back to me sharing any experiences they had when they were my age.
Hello world! I am Allison Smart, a 9-year-old girl who lives in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
I enjoy swim team at the YMCA, and I miss the pool so much! I am crazy about the Harry Potter series, but now I am out of books to read! It feels very strange for me to be living this different lifestyle. My best friend and I are pen pals until we can see each other again. Me and my grandparents FaceTime every day now. Since I can no longer have guitar lessons I am teaching myself to play songs I hear on the radio. I have also found tutorials online. I am always trying to get out in my yard and play outside! Although I love being with my family, I don’t like why I get to stay home. My family usually never watches the news, but now I can hear sad stories from everywhere in the house no matter what I’m doing. But my parents have more time than ever for me and my sister: just the other day we all made origami together! My sister and I have gotten closer too! I hope you will have opportunities to get closer with the people in your household over this long period of time we have. I think it would be interesting to hear about your stories of experiences you had when you were my age. If you would like to share please write me back! Stay Safe!
I’m Maya Rhys Jacobs.
I’m 10 years old or 10 years young. I just can’t wait for this depressing era to take a turn for the better. It may be a horrible time, a horrible, horrible time, but it’s sort of exciting (not in a good way). Nothing like this has ever happened in my lifetime and hopefully will not happen in a great while. Even though it can be super boring, staying cooped up at home, it can be a great time to think about everything in a different perspective and to truly listen to everyone and everything. I hope everyone will stay optimistic and keep hoping for the best because bad times lead to good times and facing challenges head on is really the only way to solve them.
Response: new in town
Peter Ilgenfritz is the interim pastor for the Congregational Church of Boothbay Harbor.
I read your letter in the Boothbay Register and the letters from your other fourth grade classmates, Owen, Adaline, Lessie, Brianna and Colby. I really appreciated all of your letters, how honest you are about how you are feeling about how hard this time has been.
It’s hard not having a teacher like you used to have at school. Hard not getting to visit any of your friends. Hard for Owen whose mom works at Hannaford and being scared about her getting sick. You write about how you don’t laugh so much. You miss real hugs. And as Adaline said, everyone and myself is having a pretty hard time.
… Sometimes (us adults) say things to kids like ‛Don’t feel that way’ or ‛Look at the bright side of things’ or ‛Don’t be grumpy.’ Sometimes we tell you how you have nothing to be mad about and just tell you our stories about how hard we had it or how these times make us tough and better people. I know none of that is especially helpful.
… It took me a long time to learn to share my feelings and I’m glad that you know that being mad and sad and annoyed is OK and so important to share … What do you do when you are mad? Sometimes I ride my bike. Sometimes I get annoying and rude and snarky and I get on my family’s and friends’ nerves. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with the mad I feel.
… I used to not believe there was anything on the other side of letting go of how I wanted things to be. I used to live on the other side of the country in Seattle and I loved living there and my friends there and my job there and I knew that there was another story I had to discover but I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to leave my friends and job and the story that was my life. I wonder if your parents felt that way leaving Ireland. I wonder if you felt that way.
… I had lots of adventures, met lots of new people. Life was not like it used to be. And one of the biggest surprises of all was ending up here, 3,000 miles away from where I used to live to living here in Maine, a place I have never lived and know very little about. I moved here three months ago on Feb. 1. And I found a new story here. It’s different than the old story. So many new people to meet, so many things I don’t understand.
… Sometimes I just miss the way things were. But one of the things in this story that never would have happened without leaving my old story in Seattle is getting to read your story in the paper this week and writing this letter to you. And for that I am very grateful because you helped me think about these things in a way I hadn’t before.
I hope you and your classmates keep writing about your feelings. I hope you keep biking. I hope you keep discovering that the end of one story doesn’t mean it’s the end of the story. It’s just different. It’s not over yet.