We asked locals about their how they’re feeling heading into the new year. Here’s what they had to say.

Patrick Lakin, Lewiston 

Patrick Lakin Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Asked for his thoughts on the year 2020, Patrick Lakin begins with an expletive. 

You can hardly blame him. The year — and COVID-19 in particular — took its toll on the man as it did with so many others. 

“2020?”  said Lakin, hustling up Lisbon Street in Lewiston. “I don’t have anything good to say about it. I mean, I lost the best job I ever had and my kids missed so much school.” 

At the start of the year, things looked promising for Lakin, who has four children. He had landed a good job and the future looked bright. Then came the pandemic and everything changed almost literally overnight. 


“I was working at ADW Windows in Westbrook and I was making $19 an hour,” Lakin said. “Now I work at Dunkin’ Donuts and that’s just to get by.” 

Predictions for 2021? Lakin doesn’t have high hopes that things will get better anytime soon. Every time it sounds like the number of COVID cases are coming down, he said, they just shoot back up again. At this point, he’ll take whatever bright spots he can find.

“Trump’s gone, anyway,” he said. “In my eyes, that’s probably going to help.” 

 Dan Giguere, Lewiston 

Dan Giguere thought that maybe 2020 would end smoothly, more with a whimper than a bang. He was in the process of buying property and  the train-style treehouse he was building in Danville was proving to be a popular attraction. 

Dan Giguere of Lewiston is building a treehouse that resembles a train on his property along the Old Danville Road in Auburn. Giguere will move his Maple sugar operation inside the train once the project is finished. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

But of course, this was 2020, a year that has felt cursed from the start. Sometime around Christmas, thieves kicked in a door to enter Giguere’s shed and they stole practically everything. Table saw? Gone. Generator? Gone. Circular saw, hand tools, you name it, it was taken. 


“They left me with pretty much a hammer and a handsaw,” Giguere said. “It’s been that kind of year. People have been getting knocked around when they’re just trying to keep up.” 

It’s hard to blame a calendar year for a type of crime that’s pretty common, but having all your tools stolen around Christmas does seem like a classic 2020 jinx. Does Giguere expect it to get better with the new year? 

“I really hope so,” he said. “I think people are just sick of this and I think we’re all more than ready to just get back to normal. It’s a matter of getting this virus under control.” 

With the help of his two brothers, Giguere plans to keep working on the treehouse, which will also serve as a sugarhouse, curse or no curse. 

Erica McNinch, Lewiston

Erica McNinch Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Erica McNinch was likewise not impressed with what 2020 had to offer. For this mother of a 7-year-old daughter, it was mostly about the kids who had to give up traditional childhoods due to lockdowns and other burdens imposed by the pandemic. 


“It was so difficult,” McNinch said, standing out on the sidewalk in front of Rainbow Bicycle in Lewiston. “I saw my daughter go through a lot because she was out of school for so long. It’s been really hard for her, especially socially. It’s been tough, especially where she’s at that crucial age where she should be around other children.” 

Like so many others, McNinch would love to believe that a change of calendar years might mean an improvement, but she’s not getting her hopes up. Come New Year’s Eve, she expects to be at home quietly welcoming in a new year that may not offer much promise. 

Her prediction: “I don’t see a lot changing.” 

Ken Bennett, Turner 

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Ken Bennett considers himself lucky. Some people had things a lot worse during a year in which everything normal and familiar seemed to be turned upside down. 

“For me, it was more of an inconvenience than anything else,” said Bennett, carrying a case of soda down Lisbon Street. “But it didn’t affect my work. It didn’t affect things I do out and about, only because I’m pretty solo as it is.” 


Like the others, he doesn’t see the potential for vast improvement once 2020 gives way to 2021 at the end of the week. 

But he does have hope that it will happen someday. 

“I don’t look forward to 2021 being a whole lot better for at least the first nine months,” he said. “I just think it’s going to take a little longer.” 

 Lucien Mathieu, Auburn 

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Lucien Mathieu and his wife Marj Patrick suffered bouts of pneumonia at the start of 2020. By the time the coronavirus came along, they were already sheltering in place and social distancing. It was a head start, of sorts, on all the restrictions that would come with COVID-19. 

Mathieu said he and his wife stayed sane through the rest of the year, by going about their lives as long as they could do it safely. 


“We got outside when the good weather came in the spring,” he said. “We went camping, we went kayaking. We just made the best of it. It was a tough year, but it was tougher for a lot of people than it was for us.” 

Although the end of 2020 might be symbolically uplifting, Mathieu doesn’t see any big changes coming with the new year. Not right away, anyway. 

“I’m certainly glad to have 2020 come to an end,” he said. “But I don’t think we’re out of the tunnel yet. There IS light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still in that tunnel.” 

Mathieu and his wife closely follow the guidance of Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC. Through Shah and other sources, they find reasons for cautious optimism. 

“The vaccine is promising, so hopefully things are going to get better,” Mathieu said. “But it won’t happen overnight. It’s not going to be over with at the stroke of midnight on Friday. We still need to continue to be very careful. I think if we continue to be diligent, that will bring things around more quickly.” 

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