Students interviewed Mary Wilson of
North Harpswell. Mary Wilson was raised on Highhead
Farm, which was in her mother's family since before
the Revolutionary War. It was a dairy farm where
life was hard work but fun.
Mary and her family lived on the
farm with other relatives. She had many chores to do
every day before going to school like washing
dishes, making beds and helping her father around
the farm. She always found it thrilling to walk
through the dew on the grass in the morning to get
to the cows.
She went to North Harpswell
Elementary School, which was a one-room schoolhouse
with nine grades and one teacher. The older students
helped with the younger ones. The teacher was strict
but fair. They learned writing, reading, social
studies, English, penmanship and, on Fridays, the
teacher read aloud to the class from a book. This
was the high point of the week.
For fun Mary would play baseball,
look in tide pools at low tide and go bird watching.
She liked to go skiing and sledding in the winter.
Her favorite thing to do was to read and take walks
in the woods.
The farm, Highhead, was lost in 1943
to a fire. During a very unusual thunder and
lightning storm, both the house and barn were hit by
lightning. Within an hour, the entire farm was
burned to the ground. This was during World War II
and there was a blackout every night. They were
worried that the Germans would find them because of
the light the fire gave. They had to go live with
her grandfather for several years after that. The
land was developed into numerous house lots and a
Mary tells of a time when a small
propeller plane landed in her father's field during
a hailstorm. The pilot waited the storm out and
asked her father to sit in the plane with his foot
on the brake while he turned the propeller to start
the plane. Her father didn't want to because he was
afraid the brakes wouldn't work and he would end up
flying up into the air without a pilot. The pilot
convinced him it was okay and he did it.