By M. Dirk Langeveld
Staff Writer
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Erica Jed’s first taste of Oxford Hills was as a camper at Camp Waziyatah in Waterford. After graduating from medical school, Jed eventually ended up working at Stephens Memorial Hospital and the office of James Swanbeck in Norway. She later worked as a medical and educational technician at Waterford Elementary School and taught anatomy and physiology at Central Maine Medical Center. More recently, she purchased and now runs Books N Things in downtown Norway.

How much has Waterford changed since you were a camper there? At the time, the camp had a mailing address of Harrison! Going back now, it all seems much smaller than it did then. I remember going to Springer’s Store, on the way back from hikes. I wish I could remember who the counselor was with family who lived on our way, as we would stop there for a rest, and lemonade. She had two younger brothers she described as “towhead,” which I had never heard before, and the house had a porch, but that’s all I remember.

What made you decide to pursue a medical degree? From the time I was in sixth grade, I wanted to be a doctor and cure cancer. I got sidetracked, however, and started college as an English major.

Why did you purchase a bookstore? I live in North Norway, and every time I drove down Main Street, I wondered what type of store I could open there. When my kids were gone, I thought about moving into a condo in Portland at the same time I heard that Books N Things was for sale. I looked into that, and the actual purchase price was so low that it didn’t seem like I’d have a lot to lose. Little did I know how much of an investment it would take to actually create the store I wanted. At the same time, my father passed away, and left me enough money to purchase the building on Main Street. Everything just fell into place after that.

Which is more time-consuming, the medical profession or owning a bookstore? I can only say that I don’t get calls in the middle of the night now, but hour for hour, I’m not sure. I have terrific employees, which allows me some flexibility in when I work, which doctors don’t really have.

When you were in the medical profession, what was the worst sick absence excuse you heard at Waterford Elementary School? I think the complaints I heard were genuine. The worst reason that kept children out of class was for head lice.

How has the move from Oxford affected the bookstore? It’s been a great move! Business has increased dramatically, and it’s much more fun and appealing to be on a historic Main Street. The building has much more character than the strip mall did.

Any books to recommend? I’m reading “People of the Book” right now, which I’m enjoying, and listening to “Shadow of the Wind.” I adored “Eat, Pray, Love” and “The Glass Castle.” “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” should be required reading, as well as anything by Suze Orman. “The World is Flat” is also useful in understanding our global marketplace.

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