Cleaning 2013's House

By Sandra Sylvester | Dec 30, 2013

Knox County — Here at “Beyond the South End” we would like to clean the slate as far as 2013 goes so that we may look forward to things to come in 2014. It’s always fun to hope for better things in the future and to wonder what the New Year will bring.

There are a few things I may have not covered in 2013 which I would like to touch upon here if only to put my thoughts out there for you to ponder as you enter the New Year with me.

First of all…what’s up with the school system in Knox County? I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and reflect on how we got to this point.

Let’s review: My father Ted Sylvester Sr. along with Ernest Jones, Armand Plourd, Paul Merriam, Sr., Blaine Merrill, and I. Lawton Bray formed a committee that helped create a bill in the legislature to create a new school district with the intent of forming better organization and efficiency. On September 29, 1947, a referendum was passed which created Rockland School District.

This system existed for twelve years until 1959 when the Sinclair Act allowed local towns to band together for the purpose of financing and administering their schools. Thus School Administrative District 5 or S.A.D. 5 was born. The towns involved included Rockland, South Thomaston and Owls Head.

Fast forward to today’s system. Seems as though a bigger and better districting system was necessary in order to once again be more efficient and better organized. More local towns became involved including Thomaston and Tenants Harbor.

At first glance everything seemed to be hunky dory. The kids were happy even though there was no more Thomaston or Rockland High Schools. They said they had more resources open to them under this new system (and I don’t even know what they call this said system). As enrollment was decreasing it seemed to make sense to reorganize once again.

But alas, like a business who tries to expand its area; add new stores; be better known; sometimes one can bite off more than one can chew. Is such the case with the latest hoo-ha-ha in the current system?

Maybe I’m talking off the top of my head as I am basically an outsider here. All I know is what I read in the paper and if it’s in the paper it must be true, right?

In any event, before we end up with the possibility of a Tenants Harbor High School or a complete distrust of those who are trying to run things, let’s try once again to agree on something before the kids suffer for it.

 Now I’ll get off this soap box and go on to other things.

Saying Goodbye Once Again

As I opened my Christmas cards this year I learned of the death of one more of my classmates from the Rockland High School class of 1959. Darold Poulin left us just recently. He was a twin to Donna. To date, out of a class of 93, and including Darold I count twelve deceased classmates; some of whom left us way too early. If I’ve missed anyone I’m sure my classmate Violet Karl, who keeps up with these things, will correct me. I pay homage here to Darold; Richard Ames; Victor Daniello; Shearer Hooper; Ralph Laaka; Walter Leo; Prill Newbert, Bruce Rubenstein; Sandra Stinson; Pat Wade; Paul Waltz; Rowland Wasgatt, our valedictorian; and Eddie Crane, who died as a teenager while working at his family’s business, Senter Cranes.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Poulin family.

Expectations for 2014

My own expectations, hopes and dreams for the New Year include finally getting control of my legs and feet again. I see another operation on my left ankle in my future for the coming year. I would dearly love to be able to walk the length of the boardwalk and the expanded shore walk without the use of a cane.

The family is happy to have my dear Aunt Virginia still with us at 103. We all hope to see her celebrate 2015 with us.

My pipe dream has become wrapped up in a new word called “crowdfunding.” Have you heard of it?  Basically it involves a dedicated site online in which people beg for money for one thing or another. If you believe in their cause you might be convinced to contribute. This past year, the Hilton Homestead used a form of this idea to raise funds for a new well on the farm. It worked and everyone is very thankful to all those who contributed.

Here’s my project in case there are any directors out there who may have read my book “The South End” and thinks there may be a movie in it, even if it is an HBO production. I encourage you to consider crowdfunding for this movie and to contact me anytime at I’ll be waiting for your email.

I plan my usual trip up to Maine this coming summer. If any of you up there would like to go to lunch or just get together to gab, let me know. I’ll let you know here when I’ll be home. Until then I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.

Thanks for listening.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Sandra Sylvester | Jan 03, 2014 12:33

Thanks for the correction, Helen. Happy New Year to you too. Nice hearing from you.

Posted by: Helen Plourd | Dec 30, 2013 13:07

Good afternoon! It was Armand's Dad, Al, who served on this committee not Armand. Although, Armand did serve on the school board. Happy New Year.

Relish reading your stories.

Helen D. Plourd

If you wish to comment, please login.