100 Years Ago: 1922

“I see another story of a raid made in Lewiston a few days ago by certain Federal officers,” smiled a Main Street businessman, Tuesday morning, “and they appear to think that the officers had a desperate encounter here. Knowing the actual details of the incident, all that I can say is that the officers should be writing for the motion pictures.”

50 Years Ago: 1972

A turtle dominating the winter carnival scene at the Auburn Maine School of Commerce is part of the intricate snow sculptures done by the students with snow brought to the campus by wheelbarrow. The huge snow reptile provides a seat for Jeanne M. Laplante of Van Buren, and for Mary M. Hurley of Rumford. Carnival activities include a three-legged race, two basketball games, one between the faculty and the boys and the other between fraternity and sorority members, with volleyball, a ping-pong tournament and tobogganing. At 4 this afternoon, in the gym, a musical program will be presented by Rev. Ken Rancourt, Catholic chaplain for college students in the Twin Cities, who will be accompanied by “The Preacher Boys.” The events will be climaxed by a Sweetheart Dance this evening in the school gym when the name of the Sweetheart Queen will be announced.

25 Years Ago: 1997

People walk all over Petronela Norris’ art. It’s not that they don’t appreciate the 82 year-old Peru women’s skill. Her talent is obvious. It’s just that her creations are made to be trod on. Many a yard of wool has passed through her nimble fingers, to emerge as a braided rug. Like tree’s rings, each of the rugs’ loops record a slice of her life. She is the Grandma Moses of mats. She was about 25 years old, when on a visit to a neighbor across the road, she saw a rug being made and was fascinated by the process. “She’s got an art, like painting. She puts her art in the rug,” observes her son, Joseph, known to friends as “Chummy,” Norris demures. “He’s bragging me up,” she says, her eyes crinkling as she beams. “It’s the truth,” he insists. “She’s that good. And the talent is natural.” Around her, on the sun porch of her Main Street home, lie the results of her efforts, ovals of orange, browns and blue. “Some will say, do it this way, some will say; do it that way. That’s how I learned. As the years passed, I was busy all the time making a lot of rugs: My sons and daughters, I loaded them up,” Norris says. Although she can still speak Lithuanian, the native language of her mother and for whom she’s named, Norris’ memory fades on how many rugs she’s braided during her life. She gives them away, “I did sell two. It takes a week to a week and a half to make a rug that measures 19-1/2 inches across, something for the seat of a chair. The one under her dining room table, covers a 14- by 10-foot area, “I think that took me all winter,” she says. It’s the biggest one she’s ever braided.

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

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