Dear Sun Spots: Recently I stopped at the What Not Shop in Rumford to give a donation, only to find it closed.

Can you please find out any details and if it will reopen? Thank you. – No Name, No Town.

Answer: Sun Spots spoke with Joe Sirois, who says the What Not Shop is currently closed but will be reopening in the Adult Activity Center (the old Rumford Armory), 85 Lincoln Ave., probably in early September. He says those wishing to make donations can still do so. You are asked to drop off donations at the activity center or leave them outside by the door and those at the center will pick them up when they arrive.

In addition, Sirois had a wonderful history to share on the What Not Shop that Sun Spots feels compelled to share with readers. Please excuse her if many of you already know the story but Sun Spots was so touched by Sirois’ tale she wanted to share it so you could be as moved as she was.

Sirois has read much about the What Not Shop’s history. He says the shop had its beginnings many years ago. It was, he says, thanks to the efforts of an association of parents in the area who had children who were mentally retarded. Much of which is included in written recollections from these parents is captured on faded yellow legal paper. It was a time when parents could not take their young children out without having them stared at, made fun of. It was a time when name-calling was frequent. Sirois says this was long before the state had a Bureau of Mental Health and there was only once place for these children to go: Pineland in New Gloucester.

“Parents in Rumford said, ‘No,'” Sirois says. “‘We can’t put our children there. We in Rumford will take care of our children.'”

They did.

Along with a school for these children, The What Not Shop was born. Those who were once hospitalized can now have a chance out in society. Many have their own apartments and Sirois, who is the executive director of the Oxford County ARC, says many also help out in the shop. The shop sells items that have been donated by many local people. Sirois says the items are typically in very good condition, clothing clean and that which needs some replenishing is done by workers prior to selling the items.

Seems to me anyone who’s looking for a good cause in the Rumford area has found it!

Dear Sun Spots: A few papers ago, someone wanted the words to “Two Little Girls in Blue.” My folks used to sing this song too. Here is one verse and chorus as I remembered it. I think it does have another verse or two which I can’t remember. Perhaps you can help? – Geneva Luce, Farmington.

Answer: Thank you for the lyrics, Geneva. Perhaps you and others will remember these words fondly:



An old man gazed on a photograph In a locket he’d worn for years; His nephew then asked him the reason why That picture had caused him tears. “Come listen,” he said, “I will tell you, lad, A story that’s strange, but true! Your father and I, at the school one day, Met two little girls in blue.

That picture is one of those girls,” he said And to me she was once a wife; I thought her unfaithful, we quarreled, lad, And parted that night for life. My fancy of jealousy wronged a heart, A heart that was good and true – For two better girls never lived than they, Those two little girls in blue.” Refrain: Two little girls in blue, lad, Two little girls in blue. They were sisters, we were brothers And learned to love the two. And one little girl in blue, lad, Who won your father’s heart, Became your mother. I married the other, And now we have drifted apart.

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