100 years ago: 1918

(From a Journal ad):

Experienced maid in a family of two. Must be a good cook. Good wages. Apply at the office of Jack & Hartley Co., B. Peck Bldg., third floor

50 years ago: 1968

Fourteen years ago about this time, I sat down in a smokey room at the DeWitt Hotel in Lewiston with about 100 Democrats, who deep down didn’t figure they would win the following Monday. It was September 11, 1954, and one of those Democrats who seeking office predicting victory, but not really expecting it, was a lanky, bow tie wearing, curly-haired Edmund S. Muskie, a Waterville attorney. “I am convinced that we can have a Democratic victory this Monday,” the nominee told the coffee and donuts gathering of Democrats, and my pencil moved over my notepad. I remember earlier I had been told by the “experts” that Muskie didn’t have a chance. Muskie was one of three top Democrats on hand for the session. Also there that morning was Prof. Paul A. Fulham of Waterville, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate opposing Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, and Thomas E. Delehanty of Lewiston who was seeking the Congressional Second District seat from incumbent Charles P. Nelson.

25 years ago: 1993

Because he is bright and because he is bored, 16-year-old Josh Mitchell will not return to Edward Little High School this year. Instead, Mitchell, who would have been a senior. will be attending Carleton College, a selective four-year liberal arts school in Minnesota. Having earned a 3.7-grade point average in his Junior year, and scored higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test than any EL student in recent memory, Mitchell is confident he can do college-level work. “I guess I’m a little intimidated by it, but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “I really haven’t felt that here.” While he might like to stay at Edward Little, graduating in the spring with his classmates, Mitchell said another year at the high school may, in fact, do him more harm than good. “I haven’t been pushed, and I’ve been bored a lot, thinking there must be something better out there,” he said. “It seems like if I stayed here, I might not get into a good college because there are courses I can’t take.” As an example, Mitchell, who will study classical languages at Carleton, hoping someday to teach or translate ancient texts, referred to a speech and oral interpretation class that will not be offered at EL this year. “I would have taken it, but it was cut out. Instead, they keep a shop class or a gym class,” he said. “They’re cutting courses that could open up new horizons to people. I don’t think EL is doing what it should be doing.” Though he concedes that financial times are tight, with the city losing more than 70 positions in the past four years, Mitchell believes the effects of the funding shortages have been felt disproportionately in the arts room. “A lot of the stuff is still geared to at athletic achievement, and the emphasis is not as much on academic excellence,” he said. On Wednesday, just as his classmates are returning to Edward Little for the first day of their senior year, Mitchell will be on his way to Minnesota to begin his college career. “If you’re bored, or you don’t like your situation, do something about it,” he said. “If it means taking different courses, or going on to college, then do it. Education is the key.”

The material in Looking Back is reproduced exactly as it originally appeared, although misspellings and errors may be corrected.

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