FARMINGDALE — Eva Sherwood and Margaret Jamison sat side by side on a cream-colored upholstered sofa and reminisced about the good old days during the years the women lived at St. Mark’s Home, at Winthrop and Pleasant streets in Augusta.

In late August, Sherwood, Jamison and Nona Treworgy learned they would have to move because leaders of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church had voted to close the 17-bed facility by the end of the year because of its “fragile financial condition.” They talked about their disappointment over the home’s closing and their concerns about having to relocate.

‘IT WAS SUCH A SHOCK’

With the help of their families and St. Mark’s Home staff, the three women, all in their 90s, found new living quarters by early October.

Sherwood and Jamison reside at the Captain Lewis Residences in Farmingdale, and Treworgy lives at the Inn at City Hall in Augusta, where several other women from St. Mark’s Home also had moved.

“It was such a shock,” Jamison said Friday. She gestured to the corridor and the living area, saying, “A couple of years ago I had come here and seen this place.”

Her son learned that she was still on the waiting list at the Captain Lewis Residences and that there was a room available for Sherwood as well. The women said their families are friends and hoped to have the two women in the same place.

‘WE’RE MAKING DO’

Jamison had been at St. Mark’s Home for about two years and Sherwood for six. Both said they loved it there and have yet to adjust to their new housing.

“We’re making do. We’re surviving,” Jamison said. “Christmas just wasn’t Christmas.”

Sherwood said her adjustment was particularly difficult because she had suffered some mental confusion around the time of the move.

“I haven’t been able to go out and walk around,” she said. Sherwood used to walk about a mile a day – with the aid of her walker – in the neighborhood around St. Mark’s Home.

The two have made a few requests at their new lodgings. They were used to tablecloths on the tables at St. Mark’s, saucers under their cups and full place settings of utensils. So far, in response to a request for place mats, they were pleased to see a tablecloth.

They also had to make adjustments to the home’s rules, where all medication is dispensed by staff. Other changes are good – they are fond of the two cats that also occupy the residence, one of which stretched out in the sun as they spoke.

“We have a roof over our heads, we are warm and the housekeeping is good here, but it still is not comfortable,” Jamison said.

Treworgy echoed their sentiments.

“This is nice,” she said Monday about her new one-bedroom apartment with views of the Kennebec River. “This is a beautiful view, but it’s not home. St. Mark’s was home. I miss the family. We were St. Mark’s family.”

Treworgy said her daughter found the new lodgings for her and helped her move.

She joined a number of former St. Mark’s Home residents recently for lunch at a restaurant, and they hope to reunite again early in the new year.

The women wonder too about the future of the St. Mark’s Home property.

“It would be a shame not to have the use it had,” Jamison said.

ST. MARK’S FATE UNClear

St. Mark’s was chartered by a legislative act in 1870 to aid poor women in and around the city, and in recent years served as a comfortable home for older women of independent means.

“We are investigating the disposition of St. Mark’s Home,” Episcopal Bishop Stephen T. Lane said in a statement sent via email. “We have discovered heirs to the property and are working with them. We have received a number of inquiries about future use of the Home from not-for-profit groups. We will ask the courts to clarify the various documents related to the home, but the matter has not been taken up yet.”

 

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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