In late March, I left spring in Texas to travel to the 116th Maine State Conference, Sandra Swallow, State Regent, where I was warmly welcomed despite the cold weather. Greeted at the Portland Airport by Vrege Murray, National Auditing Committee Chair, we enjoyed hot lobster soup before visiting the Saco Museum. The Museum had recently opened an exhibit “From the Elegant to the Everyday: 200 Years of Fashion in Northern New England”. Vrege and I had an opportunity to closely examine the styles, fabrics and details of these historic costumes. I was amused by a sign displaying an old Yankee adage with some good advice:
Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without.
I enjoy learning why ladies decide to join the DAR and Vrege shared that she had a teacher, a DAR member, who encouraged her to participate in one of our American History essay contests. The teacher asked Vrege to consider joining the C.A.R. and she was disappointed to learn she was not eligible as her maternal grandparents had immigrated from Ireland. It was decades later before she found a patriot on her paternal line and could apply. It’s humbling to realize that the impression we make on someone now could impact their decision to join several decades later.
As this was my first trip to Portland, ME, we drove around downtown and lingered at the Evergreen Cemetery in which over 100 Revolutionary War veterans are buried. A prominent feature of the cemetery is a monument erected by the Elizabeth Wadsworth Chapter in 1909. The chapter was named for wife of Gen. Peleg Wadsworth and the grandmother of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The large historic cemetery is the final resting place of many prominent early citizens.
After driving north to Waterville, Maine, we attended the State Officer and Chapter Regent Club Banquet. The program featured member Sonia Mallar and her husband, Wayne, who are re-enactors. They shared information about their historical costumes as well as photos of the encampments and events in which they participate.
The State Regent’s theme is “Teamwork for Success” and Sandra chose as her emblem two swallows gathering materials to build a nest. Sandra’s project is a fund for the DAR Historical Garden at the Viles Arboretuem in Augusta, located near the Maine VA Hospital. Established by Elsie Viles, a now deceased DAR member, the arboretum features hiking paths, gardens and forests. The DAR Historical Garden features flowers, herbs and shrubs would have been found in gardens around the time of the American Revolution for aesthetic, medicinal, culinary and home-use.
State Regents’ Project Chair Kitty Chadbourne shared plans to compile a Maine State Organization Heritage Recipes & Remedies Book of old recipes and remedies. She shared the story of her Great Grandmother’s recipe which stated to keep in a dark, sealed bottle out of the reach of husband and children. When administering, the woman of the house was to take one tablespoon for every one she hands out…
The Maine State Organization has over 900 members in 23 chapters and I was pleased to present five chapters with their 100% participation certificates. Saturday morning I hosted members of the Heritage and Founders Clubs at a brunch and had the opportunity to share some of our exciting plans and to answer questions.
It was a pleasure to serve as the Luncheon speaker and update the members on the many projects at Headquarters. Following lunch, a tea was held in honor of the student award winners and their families.
A highlight of the Saturday evening banquet included a basket auction in which many chapters donated lavish gift baskets. With both a silent and a live auction, the Maine general fund benefitted greatly.
The chorus entertained with a clever adaptation of The Yellow Rose of Texas. The first two versus were:
There’s a yellow rose of Texas that we are here to see
She’s visiting State DARs from sea to shining sea
We cried with joy when she got here, it really touched our hearts
To know she loves the DAR and wants to do her part.
She’s the yellow rose of Texas and she’s flown up here to Maine
To see her lovely daughters in their evening gowns with trains
So we’ll share our stunning state with her from the mountains to the sea
‘cause the yellow rose of Texas is our new PG!
Following the Sunday morning Memorial Service, Vrege and I departed for the airport. Despite the cold, windy day, we stopped briefly at the Lighthouse at Portland Head on the shores of Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, commissioned by George Washington. In 1776, the new Town of Cape Elizabeth posted a guard of eight soldiers at Portland Head to warn citizens of coming British attacks. Construction was authorized in 1787 and the lighthouse was lit with whale oil lamps on January 10, 1791.
I look forward to returning to Maine someday and visiting the historic Burnham Tavern, built in 1870, which is owned by the Hannah Weston Chapter in Machias.
The Maine Daughters are working as a team and finding much success!