100 Years Ago: 1924

Gray Grange celebrated Christmas on the evening of Wednesday, Dec 26, with a Christmas tree and special exercises. Santa Claus was in attendance and distributed gifts to the members and their invited guests who were present. There was a very large attendance and a very enjoyable time. At the next meeting which comes on Jan. 2, the newly elected officers will be installed.

50 Years Ago: 1974

Kelley Gwendolyn Record ushered in 1974 for Lewiston and Auburn when she was born at 8:53  am New Year’s Day at the Central Maine General Hospital. She’s the first child born so far this year in the twin cities. Photographed  while she was barely 12 hours old she is held by her mother, the former Gloria Thomas of Lewiston while her father, Vernon Record watches. Mr. and Mrs. Record are residents of Greene and have a son, Bruce who is six.

25 Years Ago: 1999

If Jacqueline Childs had her way, she would have skipped the 14 hour labor on New Years’ into the world and missed the chance to bring Lewiston-Auburn’s New Year baby into the world.


John Preston Wiley lll, however, seemed determined to be the first baby born in Maine in 1999. And at 18 minutes past midnight, Friday, he apparently achieved the distinction.

A Central Maine Medical Center spokeswoman said she believes Willey was the states first New Year’s baby arriving three minutes before a baby in Waterville.

“I didn’t want to wait until New Year’s Day, but he wouldn’t come until then,” Childs said Friday night. “While I was in labor, the doctor’s were saying, ‘Happy New Year!’ I didn’t care. I wanted it over.”

The boy, all 6 pounds, 12 ounces of him, was something of a celebrity all day Friday. Reporters came and went, and relatives were overjoyed.

“It’s awesome, just awesome,” said the boy’s grandmother, Sandy Conrad. “It just makes doggone proud, He is like a part of me.”

Childs, 26 of Auburn went to the hospital at 10:30 am Thursday when she started having pains. She was expecting to attend a party on New Year’s Eve, but John had other ideas.


“He wasn’t due until Jan 6,” Childs said. “I didn’t even think of having him on New Year’s.”

The boy is named after his father, John Preston Willey, Jr. of Auburn. Childs also has a daughter, 4 year old Sabrina. She said John will be her last child and he made sure the birth was dramatic.

“I’ve had the television news poeple here and the phone just hasn’t stopped ringing,” Childs said. “God knows that I didn’t want to be in labor for 14 hours. But since the baby came I’ve been having lots of fun.”

John Preston Willey III was 19 inches long when he was born, and he has plenty of hair.

As news reporters came and went Friday, the boy appeared happy to pose for cameras.

“He’s a precious baby,” Childs said, “He’s a momma’s boy.”

Childs and her new son are expected to be released from the hospital Sunday.

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

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