DEAR SUN SPOTS: Could you please reprint the hints on how to forward past the previews on rented DVDs?

Also, I have trouble looking up specific subjects in previous Sun Spots’ columns. Any hints? Thanks. — Gary, [email protected]

ANSWER: A couple of astute readers wrote in, adding to Sun Spots’ tips to use the skip and fast forward buttons, which don’t always work. They noted that if you go to the menu button (sometimes it says root menu), it will take you directly to the play option.

As for finding Sun Spots’ columns online, go to and and the search function box. Enter “sunspots” and whatever other key words might indicate what you are looking for.

Each time Sun Spots writes a column, she enters in several key words to aid in searches. For example, for this letter, she entered “DVD menu.” The more precise the key words, the easier the search. Use names and places whenever possible.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I don’t have specific information about the Auburn lying-in hospital (Jan. 26), but in general a “lying-in” hospital was a maternity hospital, a hospital specializing in pregnancy, childbirth and infant care.

If you use quotation marks around a search term, you can search for a specific phrase (lying-in hospital) rather than each word individually (lying, in and hospital). There are lots of other tips to gain more accurate search results in Google and other search engine. Some of them are listed at — James Myall, coordinator, Franco-American Collection, University of Southern Maine, [email protected]

ANSWER: Sun Spots knows about that search technique and used it, but she didn’t report those results, because they didn’t provide any useful information and weren’t nearly as amusing as a man lying in the canal being taken to a hospital. But many readers will undoubtedly appreciate those search tips, as with the previous letter.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: An inquiry was made regarding a “lying in” hospital in Auburn. I have no idea where it was but a “lying-in hospital” usually referred to a place where women went for childbirth and confinement and care afterwards. I believe these often were run by midwives.

I enjoy your column and read it daily. I imagine you will have many responses to this inquiry and hope someone will have more information. — Elizabeth, Norway

ANSWER: Sun Spots did not have much of a response to this inquiry. She thinks it was probably too long ago to be in many people’s memories. She did get the following bit of information from historian Doug Hodgkin.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: For a general treatment of “lying-in hospital,” see

I did not find any reference to an “Auburn Lying-In Hospital,” but I did find an “Auburn Private Hospital,” at 33 Western Promenade. An ad for that hospital stated, “Quiet Pleasant Rooms, Best of Diet and Care, Maternity Cases, Surgical and Medical Accepted.” Mrs. Grace C. McGilvery, R.N., was the matron throughout the period that it is listed in the Lewiston-Auburn directories, about 1924 to 1942.

A woman called me on Saturday and said that she was born there in 1928 and that the building still stands. — Doug Hodgkin, Androscoggin Historical Society

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am wondering if anyone has pictures of Jill Banks Marching Band from the mid-1960s that they would be willing to share? It would be greatly appreciated. — Diane Auger, [email protected]

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.