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, Part 2 April 30 and Part 3 on May 14. All are online. If you would like to respond with your own Words of Comfort, email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi! I am Cali Brown,
I am a 9-year-old student at BRES. I love my cats: Phoebe, Rocket, Church, Chewy, and Vader. I also have one dog named Brady. He’s a black lab with brown eyes. I live in a house with four people: my mom, my dad, my brother, and me. I love to ride my bike, swing, go to the park, and play outside with my friends. Since we have been home from school it’s hard for me because my neighbors are my friends and I can’t play with them outside because of social distancing. So I just stay inside a lot and play on my tablet and watch TV. The other day I did get to take my bike to the school and ride around on the empty parking lots. I have done some “magnet fishing” which means I tied a rope onto a magnet, threw it into the water, and tried to see if anything magnetic would attach to it. I found a horse chestnut that was split open, and I am waiting to see if it will germinate. My older brother sometimes plays with me, but he is mostly a couch potato. I worry about my dad, because he has problems with his immune system, and I am scared if he would get the coronavirus. I don’t like that I can’t see my friends, and I am better doing my work at school with the help of my teachers. I would love to hear from anyone in our community who might have had to live through something challenging when they were my age. It sure would be comforting to know that things can get better.
My name is Annabelle Whitney,
I am 9 years old. I like to go down my road to visit the horse named Sandman. I like to collect rocks and draw. My favorite rock that I’ve collected is the pink tourmaline. I know we’re going through some pretty rough times right now but I just want you to know that we’re all in this together! There is no need to be worried as long as you stay home, you’ll be good. To pass the time, I make scavenger hunts and escape room for my family and spend quality time with Sandman. The time I spend with the horse helps me to forget all the craziness and focus. It also helps me relax. My favorite thing to do with him is to walk him around the pen. Sometimes he nudges me with his nose if he wants to go a different way. When school was canceled, I was sad because I can’t be with my friends anymore. School is my work space, it’s where I am comfortable working. I always had my teacher’s help, whereas right now, it’s not as often. I have been able to call Mrs. Hartley, my teacher, when I really, really, need her. Nini and Papa, or any other grandparent out there, I have a question for you. Were you ever out of school when you were 9 or younger? What do you remember about school? Do you have any words of advice or any ideas to help me spend my time?
Hello, my name is Matthew Reed,
I am 10 years old. I am the proud older brother of the sweetest 1-year-old sister, Marlena Alice. I enjoy playing football and anything to do with an engine. Since being out of school it has given me time to go to my grandma's house to do yard work. My grandmother works at a nursing home and I have been writing letters with jokes in them to try to cheer up the residents that cannot have visitors. I have also face-timed my friend Colby playing Madden 20. I see and hear everything that goes on around me but I don't quite understand it. This whole thing is very confusing to me. Every Wednesday I used to go to the YMCA to play basketball with my friends but now I can't. Although I love staying home with my mom, stepdad and sister, I miss seeing my dad and Annie every weekend. I’m trying really hard to adjust to my “new normal.” I know there have always been wars, a Great Depression, and other diseases that have been a part of our history which we have successfully lived through, But I’m wondering why the news is making it seem like this is the worst thing to ever hit our country. I’d like to hear your thoughts and what it is that you and your family are doing to pass the time during this quarantine. I know everything will turn out OK, but in the meantime “words of comfort” is what I will look for.
Response: born and raised
Shirley Stoddard McMurray is 80 years old and was born at home in Boothbay.
We had polio to deal with when I was young – a younger brother of one of my classmates died from it. We could not swim that summer because people believed you got it from the water. If you did get polio you were put into something called an iron lung in hopes of getting better. You can google iron lung.
We had lots of fun growing up. My house did not have a TV. We listened to stories on the radio for kids. We played board games, lots of bike rides. We caught frogs in the brook and put them in our little fish pond. We played trucks and built a tiny village. I played a lot of paper dolls. And we played marbles and read a lot of comic books. We spent a lot of time climbing trees. We picked blueberries and set up a table beside the road and sold them for 50 cents a quart.
We had chores to do. Mine were mostly dusting and ironing, which I did not like, and setting the table with dishes and silverware. Then I would help clear the table and help wash and dry dishes. I also had to hang clothes on the clothesline in the backyard and sometimes help take them down and maybe fold them. Our allowance was 25 cents a week.
Forth of July was fun. We played with firecrackers and one night some neighbors came and my dad did a nice firework display.
When I was 12, my parents bought the swimming pool in West Harbor. Dad named it Surfside Pool. I worked in the office collecting 50 cents for a day of swimming from each person. I also sold candy bars, chips and soda and I passed out towels to each person. When I was 16 I got certified as a junior lifeguard. It was a great place to work.
Thursday evenings we went to the band concert at the Boothbay Harbor Library. It was outside and a lot of people came so it was really fun. Each year on the last day of school we all rode our bikes to school and we loved that. I could go on and on – it was such a good time to grow up!