Twitter icon
Facebook icon

Sharon Norman


Let the growing begin! Princeton Farmers’ Market’s first meeting of the year was on Sunday with members ready and eager to start the market season.  Dates to join in the fun are: seedling sales – May 30th and June 6th, opening for the season June 20th with July 4th celebrating our grand opening with veggies, music, food and fun for starters.  Any new vendor, the next market meeting at the grange is May 19th @ 3:30 p.m. The market is entering the third year so is as exciting to the vendors as it is for the patrons.  New this year every Thurs. will be fresh bread from our favorite bakery.  Bring a friend, tell a friend, help spread the word that the “old baseball field” on West Street from 3:30-6:30 p.m. every Thurs. throughout the summer will be the place to be. 

Friends of Princeton as well had the first meeting of the season with much enthusiasm and ideas. The clean-up day has been modified in May by asking people to call Bobbi at 796-2074 if debris needs picking up. May 11th is Litter Bug Pick-up Day where Friends and other volunteers wishing to help will start the day at the Bellmard Inn for coffee and muffins then the groups will be organized to cover different streets.  Please mark June 13th on your calendar as the public is invited to the town office conference room at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy a presentation by the library committee. As you know, they have been eagerly working on the Maine Memory Network project to document several different local historical aspects of town.  Nancy Marshall, library volunteer, and Elizabeth Mitchell, town librarian, will present the program with Friends supplying vintage desserts and beverages for the evening. 

The Princeton Library Volunteers that have been interviewing and documenting several of Princeton’s citizens were rewarded with a fun day travelling down memory lane with Ruth Foss.  Ruth was born to Arthur and Bessie McKinnon Burlock in Blaine, ME.  She and her three siblings moved to Bridgewater, ME when her parents separated.  When Ruth turned seventeen years old, she visited her uncle Percy McKinnon, then living on Mill St and relocated there.  Later Percy moved to Petticoat Hill. 

Ruth told a story that one day in 1942 she was sitting in a car in Calais and a gentleman names Lindsey approached her.  He asked her to go to the movies.  She chuckled saying, “I said yes and I latched onto him and never let go!”  Mrs. Foss made her home with Lindsey on Petticoat Hill for forty-five years.  She has fond memories of Princeton, some of those I will share with you now.

One of Ruth’s occupations spanning a period of twenty-five years was a driver/deliverer for Schoppee Dairy.  She was hired by Elwood Brown of West Princeton.  Her route included Princeton, Indian Township and Grand Lake Stream.  Early on, Ruth would pick up the milk at a loading building at Mr. Brown’s farm.  Later the cooler was located at her home on Petticoat Hill.  Her route consisted of delivering to the businesses first: Bob Wheaton’s Store, Nation Wide and IGA, Arthur Wheaton’s Store, etc. then she delivered house to house in town.  Indian agent, Vergie Johnson, told her which houses in the Township that should get dairy delivery.  She only remembers one day when she had the flu that she could not drive; Bob Winters drove for her that day.  In all that time of driving, she reported one accident when a Grant’s Dairy truck sideswiped her and took off her mirror.  She kept a promise to Harland Hitchings for one year to babysit his children. After that, she resumed her delivery route.  Ruth said the weather never stopped her not even in winter.  Ruth laughed telling us that one day a woman came to the door swearing that the milk belonged in the refrigerator.  She took it in and put it in the refrigerator from that day on.  

Ruth’s shopping memories were of going to the Nation Wide, IGA, Furbish’s and Rolfe/McDowell Stores. She told of the telephone office being across from the street from Rolfe’s on Main St. where she recalls Edith Libby, Norma Glidden and Edith’s mother worked as telephone operators at that time.  Ruth also has recollection of the Princeton House Hotel burning.  She and Doris Dwelley helped get things out from the burning building.  Ruth stopped removing things though when a block fell from the chimney right in front of Doris.  She mentioned the post office burned as well. 

Ruth proudly told of her time as a “prisoner of war spotter” during the entire time of WW II.  Harland Hitchings had enlisted her to work at this position.  (A spotter was to look out for planes).  Her position with Mildred Sawtelle was up by the Baptist Church – different shifts covered that spot day and night.  They never saw anything though during that whole time watching so never had to sound the alarm.  Spotters received a special medal for their service to their country; Ruth still has hers.  When the war ended, Ruth said people drove up to the POW camps blowing their horns.  The prisoners could not believe that the war was over.  Many of the POWs wanted to stay in the U.S. but none were allowed to stay.  The prisoners were treated very well and fed very well.  After the war, Ruth took a ride on a former troop plane.  Pilots gave scenic rides and she remembers being scared the entire ride in the plane. 

Ruth shared many good memories: going to dances at the POW camp, dances in the old town hall as well as going to movies at the old town hall, and eating at one of the three restaurants that used to line Main St.  She fondly remembers Mercier’s because he made fresh donuts every morning and had one waiting for her on the counter when she delivered the milk.  In her teens, Ruth was employed by U. S. Peg and Shank Mill where “sucker sticks”, ice cream sticks and shoe shanks were made.  Her original job was packing the sticks, a job she hated.  She was later moved to the #4 machine. She smiled, however, when recalling the work with her friends saying, “We may have had strong backs, but weak minds.” At the end of her employment there, Ruth said she was making $7.00 & change a week, working six days a week from 7-4:00 p.m. with time enough to go home each day for lunch.

Ruth and Lindsey moved to Baileyville in 1987, where Ruth resides today.  However, in her heart Princeton still remains as a very special place to have lived.  Even though Ruth was assisted at times by her granddaughter, Kelly, during the interview, when recalling some specifics, Ruth’s memory is amazing and exhibited a gentle way of sharing the past. 

Dates to remember: SCVIGC Mtg, April 17th, Comp Planning Mtg, April 18th @ 6:00 p.m., Autism Training, April 23rd @ PES

Keep those happenings coming or by calling 796-2723, leave a message.