In memory of Mary Jean
Another dear friend has passed from our midst. We will all miss Mary Jean Smith of Morrill, who passed away June 17, aged 72 years.
Mary Jean and I go back a few years. In high school she was a classmate and friend of my younger sister. When we moved here to Belmont, Mary Jean was our next-door neighbor. She was a nature lover, bird watcher and goat lady. At that time she was the mother of Karen and Dennis, the ages of our children. Carrie came along later.
In 1989 when I was in the process of organizing Greene Plantation Historical Society, Mary Jean became an active member. In 1990 when Greene Plantation Historical Society obtained Greer’s Corner Schoolhouse from Marjorie and Yvonne Redman, in trust, to keep it as a one-room schoolhouse, Mary Jean was one of few who pitched in, in getting the schoolhouse on the National Historic Register, ensuring that the building should be kept as it was when it was built in 1908 until it closed in 1954. As far as we knew, it is the only building in Belmont on the Historic Register.
At that time vandals had taken a toll on the windows in the old schoolhouse. We raised money from those who had attended the old school and from the families of those who had attended, many who have now passed away, to purchase about eight new windows.
Mary Jean and her husband, Leigh Smith, painted all of the window casings and frames. They also put in the windows and the wire “hardware cloth” on the outside of the windows.
We held a Victorian tea party with a large round mirror as a tabletop, with flickering candles on the mirror to give light to the room. We also had a Victorian Christmas party, with an old dollhouse, old dolls, and other toys with a cozy fire in the schoolhouse stove.
Mary Jean and I spent time at the old schoolhouse cleaning and later sorting books for a book sale. We’d often just sit and relax in the quietness of the old building before the days of cellphones to disrupt our quiet time.
We held a craft sale that got rained out and a yard sale under canopies, sloshing around in mud, making about $10 each time. We put on suppers in both the Northport and Lincolnville Grange Halls to raise money. Those were the days we really enjoyed the Historical Society and working together.
Mary Jean was the treasurer of Greene Plantation Historical Society, almost from the beginning. There are so many projects that we worked together on, that all cannot be remembered.
She was also a member of Morrill Historical Society, the town where she was born, raised and lived in her last years. Each spring, she and Josephine Grady could be seen planting flowers and cleaning the grounds around the Smith house on the Weymouth Road in Morrill.
Farewell, old friend. We’ll meet soon enough on the golden shores of heaven!