PORTLAND — Will Jorgensen, 8, Blake and Joe Harrington, 8 and 9 respectively, are your average boys. However, when they are not playing with Legos, inventing games like “Blakeball” and hunting for salamanders, they are publishing a magazine.

“Highland St. Lifestyles,” now on its third issue, is the brainchild of these three boys in second and third grade at Longfellow Elementary School. All three like to write. While their initial idea was to write about “Blakeball,” a game Blake invented using Legos and singing, Will said they realized they didn’t have a large enough audience.

“We wanted to know our neighbors more,” Joe said, so they started calling the people next door.

The homegrown magazine features brief interviews with people on Highland Street, a “Resident of the Month,” local eatery reviews and other topics they decide to write about. In light of last week’s wind and rain storm, Blake said they “gotta write about it.”

Blake and Joe’s mother, Lauren Harrington, supported the idea when she first heard about it.

“I work and a lot of neighbors also do. We don’t really get to know your neighbors that well, other than to wave across the street,” she said.
Will’s father Erik said while the parents have helped “a little bit” with the typing and printing process, “it’s totally their thing.”
“They’ve totally taken this thing and run with it,” he said, adding it has been a great experience to see his son, who he described as “extremely shy” go up and interview people he hardly knows.

Roger Gilmore, a former president of the Maine College of Art, lives near the boys. He tipped them off to the fox in the back yard pictured in February’s edition. Gilmore and his wife, Betty, have also been interviewed for the magazine.

“I was quite impressed,” he said. “I could remember (Will) very shy, and here he is out with his buddies taking the lead on this.”

Having lived in the neighborhood for a while, Gilmore also said it has been nice learning more about the people next door.

“We’re thrilled to see the initiative the youngsters are taking and feel that it’s pulling the neighborhood together. It’s providing the common grounds for the neighbors to be amused by and share the community,” Gilmore said.

With questions as simple as “What’s your favorite color? Food? Holiday?” and “When’s your date of birth?,” these three boys are shedding some light on people they have seen around, but don’t know much about, Joe said.

“I didn’t know the Gilmores,” he said, but now they are their best customers.

They printed 30 copies of each issue, selling out of the first and with a only few left of the second. Will said they are charging $1 per copy with a senior citizen discount of 50 cents to help cover the cost of printing materials. As they continue with their monthly “Highland St. Lifestyles,” he said they will expand to the Deering area so as not to run out of story topics.

With ambitious writing goals for the future, keep their names in mind, because you may just see their byline in this paper one day.


Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]