Ever since Windham’s library opened, the reading public has been fortunate that a strong little army of volunteers work along with paid staff to put returned books back in order, find books, help patrons with the copier, check out books and a myriad of other tasks. These are among the most diligent and faithful of the many volunteers in town. I doubt that the library could remain open as long as it has, without these volunteers.

I have missed chatting with one of the long-time helpers for some time now. A personal connection to Louise Libby made every visit with her special. Many years ago, she and her sister Clair were classmates with my late mother, at the old Friends School. I’ve seen lots of school pictures with these young girls alongside other old friends and I’ve heard my mom’s recounting of some of their school activities. I saw Louise last summer when her son brought her to the chicken barbecue the Historical Society held at the Friends church. She was as cheerful and fun to talk with as ever before, and I never dreamed it would be our last visit. Louise Ennis Libby passed away last week at the age of 85. She was indeed a special lady, from a special generation.

My hometown was fortunate for many years, with a large contingent of folks who felt a strong tie to Windham and never thought twice about donating hours of time (and equipment and money) to make things happen. I think of Jack Clark and others of my parents’ generation, bulldozing and building a baseball field at Field Allen school; I think of Rudy Gagnon and others who made Dundee Park happen – who knows how many man-hours and meetings were held? A dozen or so years ago, the Alumni Association, newly re-organized, bought and gave to the school department enough silverware and dishes to serve hundreds. The high school alumni association is now the oldest, still active, organization in town.

For dozens of years, Windham held an annual event which used to be called Old Home Days. It was totally put together and run by volunteers, for the enjoyment of all residents. Well, those old time volunteers are disappearing. Some of them who are still with us just plain got worn out! Yes, there are lots of volunteers in all the kids sports and other young people’s activities, and I hope that when their kids are grown up and gone, they will continue to volunteer.

I hope that Old Home Days or Summer Fest or whatever it will be called, can be revitalized with the help of volunteers and hopefully some of them will be people I’ve never seen before! Before we complain about things costing money, we should review the town’s history when we had a lot of things to do that didn’t cost much – because so many of us worked to make it happen. I don’t miss the dirt roads or the lack of electricity, but I sure do miss the part of our history where truly neighbors helped neighbors and Windham was a community, not just a town.

In the past week, I received four or five letters and e-mails regarding a genealogy column I wrote. Thanks to each of you for writing. I hope that if you have an elusive ancestor or just an interest, you’ll let me know. I might be able to help you or show you how you can easily find information. One resource I have access to is the Revolutionary War pension information through the National Archives in Washington, D.C. I have downloaded the entire application of an ancestor, for a couple of people. These are very interesting because they give personal information like who is living in the household, ages, occupation, and an inventory of household goods. Please e-mail me at [email protected] if this is of interest to you.

The Internet is a wonderful tool and resource, that’s for sure, but when Web sites are not kept up to date, it is of questionable use. Before you retrieve information be sure and check the “last updated” line. The Windham Historical Society is working toward updating its site this spring so it will be easy for folks to research the many records that the Society has, which are online. These include some vital statistics, records of the Friends Society, and cemetery records, as well as deeds and excerpts from deeds (old deeds, that is, nothing in the 1900s.)

In the last issue of the Windham Hill United Church of Christ newsletter, The Carillon, I note the church is planning to hold a Harvest Quilt Show on Oct. 13 and 14. This would be a good thing to add to your calendar for future planning. They announce they will have a “wide array of vendors in Fellowship Hall” – this tells me the new hall will be completed – this old church and its members, deserve many congratulations for accomplishing such a challenging task! This will be a wonderful opportunity for visitors to our area to attend the Quilt Show and visit the historic church and adjacent burying ground.

See you next week.


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