Nina Bailey

“Oh For Heaven’s Sake!”  ~ The Life Story of Nina Babcock Bailey

Interviewed by Dale Ashby, May 1992

 

 

INTERVIEWER: “It’s May 7th, 1992 and I am here with Mrs. Nina Babcock Bailey. She’s ninety‑three years old and a good friend of mine. I was a piano student of her’s some 20 years ago.   Mrs. Bailey, I’m here to work on some elements of your life story and one of the questions I want to ask you at the beginning is, how would you describe your parents?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Well I should say that they were both very, very good.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “In what kinds of ways?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “They were very kind and so good that I really thought that they were good.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What do you think you have inherited from them?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well I should say that I have inherited a good work ethic.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “I think you had only one sister.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes I had one sister and her name was Agnes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “How old was she?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well she was two and a half years younger than I.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “When she left school, did she have a professional career?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “She went to Mount Holyoke College and became a librarian in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Later, she worked as a librarian for the city of Utica, New York. She became ill and I went to get her at Utica and took her back with me to the president’s house in Gorham. I was with her when she died many years ago.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “That was a very difficult and painful situation

because you took care of her while she was ill.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What are your earliest childhood memories?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Oh my soul! Oh my, well I lived in Whitefield, New

Hampshire.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Where were you born?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “I was born in North Thetford, Vermont.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What year?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “October 25th, 1898.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What was growing up in your home and the neighborhood

like? Do remember you any of that?   Say when you were getting to be five, six, seven years old?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “No, I don’t remember.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “Do you have any sense of how you might have described yourself as a child?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “No.” (laughing)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Too far back?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Do you think you had a happy childhood?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What’s the happiest memory you might have had in childhood? Can you remember it?”

 

MRS. BAILEY.   “No.” (laughing)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “These things are difficult because it’s been a long time since you were a child.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What were your earliest school years like?”

 

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well I went to school in Whitefield, New Hampshire, North Thetford, Vermont and Plymouth, New Hampshire.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “So where did you go to high school?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “We were way downeast in Woodland, Maine and it wasn’t a good school. In the 9th grade I left the family and went to a boarding school called the Northfield School in Northfield, Massachusetts. When I was in the sophomore year, I left the Northfield school and lived with some of my mother’s friends, the Stimsons in Greenfield, Massachusetts.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You must have had a very natural interest in music at an early age. Was the family musical?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes, my father was especially. He sang and had a deep appreciation for music.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Did your sister play music also?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Did she play the piano too?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Yes I think some.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “So you must have had some piano duets now and then.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What was her instrument?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “I think she sang more than she played piano.” I

 

INTERVIEWER.   “Did you sing too?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “I did sing a little.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You must have, because you taught me Solfeggio (sight

singing) twenty years ago. When did you start playing the piano Mrs. Bailey?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Oh when I was probably nine or ten years old.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You played right up through to high school?

 

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes, I still took lessons from a women teacher in Greenfield, Massachusetts when I was in high school.”(Mrs. Bailey graduated in 1916.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What college did you go to?”

MRS. BAILEY:   “I went to Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You studied mathematics and music there?” (When she entered college her major was mathematics. She was selected class song leader and enjoyed it so much that she decided to major in music also.)

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Let’s refer back to an earlier age. Do you remember dreams and ambitions you might have had as a young person or in childhood?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well, no.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Do you remember any of the struggles, the difficulties you had as a child?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “No.” (laughing)

INTERVIEWER:   “Time has a marvelous way of just putting that all to sleep. You don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “In your childhood years, can you remember any of the saddest times you might have had as a child?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well, I don’t remember.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Anything else about your childhood, that you’d like to mention?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well no I don’t think so.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Ok, let’s go on with the adolescent years. You have been a teacher for most of your life. Did you have a favorite teacher Mrs. Bailey?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Oh my, yes.” (she laughs)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Isn’t that nice?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Who was it?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well I can’t remember her name but I can remember

her.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You can see her in your mind’s eye?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes, it’s Miss. Harriet Pease and she is the one who

urged me to go to Mount Holyoke College.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Is there any special way you would describe yourself as a teenager?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “No.” (she laughs)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Certainly very studious I would imagine.”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Yes, I became valedictorian of the class.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You did! Well that’s something pretty special. That implies that you were quite a studious individual. Do you remember the theme of your valedictorian speech?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “No.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Too much time has gone by?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What did your father do for work, what was his occupation?

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well he was in lumbering.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Was he at the retail level or did he go out into the woods and actually select trees?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well he did both.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Your mother, was she a homemaker or did she have some

career that she pursued or how did that work?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well, she had my sister and I to look after.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Now we are going to move to the adult years. You went to Mount Holyoke College. Do you remember what year you graduated?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “1920.” (She was 21 years old.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “I’m trying to set the scene. You have graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, Music and Piano Performance?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What does the future hold for Mrs. Bailey after she has just graduated from college with a diploma in her hand, what did you go off to do?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well I went off to teach and I went to Hudson, New York and was there for two years.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You were teaching high school mathematics and music?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes and then I went to Winnetka, Illinois.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What led you to Winnetka?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “I went there because of a teaching opportunity.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You were teaching at Winnetka?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes. That was grade school through high school.

It was a private school called the North Shore Country Day School for boys and girls.”

(At some point in time Mrs. Bailey also studied music theory for a summer in France with the world famous keyboard teacher, Mademoiselle Nadia Boulanger.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “From Winnetka, where did you go?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “I met my husband there, only he was teaching in another school.”

(It has been said that Dr. Bailey use to like to tell the story about the time when they were courting, and Mrs. Bailey was the featured piano soloist with the Chicago Little Symphony. She was so tiny, that he had to get telephone books for her to sit on in order to reach the concert grand piano keyboard properly.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Did you meet him through a church function?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Who was this man, what was his name?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Francis Louis Bailey and he came from Michigan.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Do you remember what year you married him?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “August 14th, 1924.”

(She was 26 years old, he was 30 years old. They married in Meredith, New Hampshire where her mother, father and sister lived at the time and in 1925, they honeymooned in Europe by boat, commercial flights were not yet available.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “He was quite a studious gentlemen wasn’t he?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “Where did you go from Winnetka?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well then we went to New York for two years. He was finishing his Ph.D. at Teachers College and did some teaching also.” Later, we moved to Montpelier, Vermont. He was state administrator there for several years.”

(Dr. Bailey was Commissioner of Education for the state of Vermont for ten years. She taught for awhile at the University of Vermont. In another reading Mrs. Bailey added that at some point, “My father, Bernard A. Babcock had to go to southern Vermont to work.   I brought my mother, Addie P. Babcock to Montpelier to stay with us. My mother became ill and died in a hospital there.”)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “He (Dr. Bailey) got a Masters degree from the

University of Michigan and later a Ph.D. in Education from Columbia. So he became Dr. Bailey.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “How did you folks end up in Gorham, Maine?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well, I think we went from Vermont to Gorham, Maine.” (She was 42 years old and he was 46 years old.)

 

INTERVIEWER. “Your husband, Dr. Francis L. Bailey became the president of what is now the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.”

(President of Gorham State Teachers College for twenty years, 1940‑60. Because of his friendliness and great interest in students and teaching, Dr. Bailey was widely known as a leader in education. He retired after forty four years of work in the field of education, the last twenty of them at Gorham.   Dr. Bailey’s personal philosophy: “A person needs to be busy to be happy. You stay young by working with young people. Listen, and you can learn their problems. Then, can these problems be solved.”It has also been said that “Dr. Bailey knows

almost every student on campus [664] by his or her first name! Many graduates of Gorham return and find that Dr. Bailey remembers clearly such items as their children’s names, where they are living, and even what they had for grades when attending college.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “There was a time when you and Dr. Bailey lived in the president’s house on campus. Do you remember that period of time?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Oh yes, Douglas went to the first grade in there.”

(In another reading Mrs. Bailey added that at some point her father, Bernard A. Babcock came to stay with them. Like Mrs. Bailey’s sister Agnes, Mr. Babcock also passed away in the president’s house. It has been said that Mr. Babcock enjoyed gardening and created a hybrid geranium with an unusual red color. It was called the Babcock Geranium. When Mr. Babcock passed away, Dr. Bailey continued to grow them and carried on the tradition. Then they were known as the Dr. Bailey Geraniums. They were so popular that even Barrow’s Greenhouses carries this particular hybrid and thus the townspeople are able to enjoy them to this day.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Now Douglas is your son and one and only child.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Currently, Douglas must be about sixty years old?”

(Doug is 57 years old and his wife’s name is Gerry. They live in Grove City, Ohio. He is involved in social work as an administrator of professional service education for staff, foster parents and adoptive parents for Franklin County Children Services in Columbus, Ohio. He has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Wisconsin‑Madison and a B.A. in English from the

University of Michigan. He also has a Bachelor of Divinity and a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale Divinity School. In addition he has done post graduate work at The Ohio State University. Dr. Doug Bailey is an ordained minister of the United Christ Church and has had pastorates in Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and Wisconsin. He has also served as a Minister of Christian Education in Wisconsin. While reminiscing with me Doug said, “I will always remember her letters to me, good sensible advice plus plenty of understanding.”)

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Your husband, Dr. Francis L. Bailey made major contributions to the development of the identity of the college. In return, one of the ways the college recognized his contributions was to name a building in his honor. (1958) What did they call that building?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “I think they named it for him.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Absolutely. There is a building at the University of Southern Maine, Gorham Campus called Bailey Hall.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

 

INTERVIEWER:   “As a resident of the president’s house, I’m sure you made major contributions along the way too. You were very involved in the women’s auxiliaries and meetings that were going on there and the many socials and functions that you needed to participate in.”

(She was an active member of the Cosmopolitan Club, the Annie Louise Cary Club and Y cabinet meetings with the Y. W. C. A. She was also well known for her lemon sherbet. This is what was written about her. “Gracious hostess, talented musician and understanding counselor. Mrs. Bailey skillfully complements her husband’s educational leadership on the campus. Many the chapel

program, entertainment and party which has owed much of its enjoyableness to Mrs. Bailey’s patient, generous and skilled direction. Both Dr. and Mrs. Bailey were known for the “Sugaring Off Parties” they gave!   Mrs. Bailey said, “Dr. Bailey got Vermont Maple syrup and got Kenneth Sawtelle’s place, the Polar Zone to store a large amount of snow. I don’t know how he did it and then come spring, when it was warm enough to be outdoors, up in the grove we’d have Mr. Goodwin the cook boiling the syrup till it reached a certain stage. Then all the students

and the faculty had dishes packed with snow in the dish. Then you’d go and get maybe a cup of this thickened syrup and you’d pour it on the snow in these little dabs.     Then it’s the most delicious thing, you can just roll it up on a fork or a spoon, it’s cold and just congealed a little

bit. Sugar on Snow it’s called. Then you eat a pickle and then go back for more!)

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Can you remember how many students you taught at any one time when you were at the college?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Oh, well I don’t know how many.     Probably, I don’t know whether I had ten to fifteen.”

(During the 1950’s and 1960’s Mrs. Bailey was also very successful as director of the “Madrigal Singers”, boys, girls and mixed choruses and musicals such as Gilbert and Sullivan’s, Pirates of Penzance with high school students at Gorham High School.   It has been said that her

productions were truly excellent and loved by everyone. For many years she was President of the Maine Music Educators Association and was on the Board of the Music Educators National Conference. She was also the chorus director of the Maine Music Camp five consecutive

summers. She began teaching in the Gorham Public Schools in 1945 at a time when there were also some rural one room school houses. “There were eight to ten schools then and it took Mrs. Bailey about two weeks before she began the circuit again. She taught for a span of twenty years, grades K through 12 and retired in 1966. She also loved to play the recorder and enjoyed playing

in recorder ensembles. In addition it has been said that she was one of the best supportive piano accompanist a soloist could ask for. She was a teacher, she was a teacher of teachers, she was a leader, she was a leader of leaders.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “When did you stop teaching piano lessons? I know you were teaching in 1971 because I was one of your students and you were going quite strong at that time.”

(In 1971 she was 73 years old and still teaching college level students.)

 

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well I still taught after my husband died.

(She continued teaching piano lessons until she was eighty‑nine years old.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Do you remember what year he died?”

(He was born November 18, 1894, he died January 16, 1981 at the age of eighty‑six years old, eleven years ago. She was eighty‑two years old at the time.)

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “No, I can’t remember. He went to live in a nursing home.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Was that in Gorham?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

INTERVIEWER:   “So you went to see him all the time didn’t you?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “That must have been very difficult to do.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes, it was hard.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “I bet you miss him still today.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “When you had Douglas, that must have changed your

(She was 38 years old at that time.)

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well let me see, he was born in Vermont and he was

about five years old when we went to Maine. He went to the kindergarten in there.” (Gorham)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What kinds of values or lessons did you teach Douglas?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Oh my soul.” (she laughs) “Oh dear. Well I certainly just taught him good ordinary methods.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “The role of the church has always been an important influence in your life.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes, we played (participated) very heavily in the church.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “You’ve been involved in the spiritual music situation all of your life.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Oh yes, I played the organ and I led the music.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “So you were the choir director and the organist for the same church. Once you moved to Gorham, you established yourself with one church and you stayed an active member of that church for forty‑four years.”

(First Parish Congregational Church in Gorham, Maine.)

‘You have a plaque that gives you an acknowledgment for having been the organist and musical director of that church for a forty‑four year span, 1944‑88.

(Presented to her on October 23, 1988.     Two days later she was ninety years old.   Dr. Bailey also retired from his career after forty‑four years of service. Still quite the Red Sox fan, it has been said that Mrs. Bailey occasionally enjoyed practicing the organ at church while

listening to the Red Sox on the radio!)

 

MRS. BAILEY:     “Yes that’s right.”

 

INTERVIEWER:     “Certainly you have been involved with that church.”

(Fifty years as of 1992.)

 

MRS. BAILEY:     “Well I guess it’s true.” (she laughs)

 

INTERVIEWER:     “Are you feeling ok with this so far?” (the interview)

 

MRS. BAILEY.‑     “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:     “Is a sense of community important to you?”

 

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Oh yes, oh yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “Why?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “We always felt as if we were part of the community.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “What family or social celebrations, traditions or rituals were important in your life?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Christmas was always an important one.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “Dr. Bailey served as president of the college for

twenty years. You lived in the president’s house and then you moved across the street to thirty‑two College Avenue. You set up home and lived there f or a number of years.”

(She was 61 years old and he was 65 years old.)

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Yes we lived in the big house f or a long time and then

we moved across the street.   Then he was sick and he went to the hospital.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “What was his illness? Do you remember?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “No. But finally he went down to Gorham Manor.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “You went down to see him every day.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Were you still driving then?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Oh yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Do you remember how old you were at that point?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   ‘Oh no.” (she laughs)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You were still driving quite late in life.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Oh yes, I was.”

(She was eighty‑nine years old when she stopped driving.)

 

INTERVIEWER: “Any other particular social holidays that played an importance in your life?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “At the church.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “The religious holidays?”

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

(She conducted the Ecumenical Chorus on Palm Sundays from the 1960’s to the 1980’s.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What gifts are still important to you now?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well, of course since my husband died, I was sick a

few times and now I’m down here.” (Seventy Five State Street)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You have been able to rebound from your illnesses

wonderfully. So the gif t of health is very important to you?”

 

MRS. BAILEY.   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Good gifts of being alive and still with us and able to share in some capacity.”

 

MRS. BAILEY. “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What was your most important experience with death and what was that like for you?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well the most important experience was with Frank.” (Dr. Francis L. Bailey)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “How did you deal and cope with that?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well he was down in the Gorham Manor.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Were you there when he died Mrs. Bailey?”

MRS. BAILEY: “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Did they tell you that he was getting close to death and you needed to be attentive now?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes and the minister was there at the same time.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Which minister was that?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “The minister of the Gorham church.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Was it Reverend Harrison W. Dubbs?”

(Minister of her church and a very dear and close friend of the Bailey’s for forty years. Beginning in 1932, he was minister for 31 years, Pastor Emeritus for 18 years and served the longest of all the ministers, a total of 4 9 years. He was born on July 16, 1892 and passed away on May 6, 1981 at the age of 88, five months after Dr. Bailey.)

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “No, it was the next one, Reverend Jack Perkins.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “So what happened?   Can you remember?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes I remember I was at his hospital bed.

(Dr. Bailey’s) I was with him when he died.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “That must have been very difficult and very painful f or you.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “Any comments about that?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “No, except that it was a personal thing.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What special people have you known in your life?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well, I’ve had personal friends.” (See page 45 for partial listing.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Want to talk about Mrs. Dubbs for a few moments?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Reverend Dubbs has passed on but his wife, Mrs. Helen Dubbs is still alive. Tell me about her. How old is Mrs. Dubbs now?”

(Mrs. Bailey and Mrs. Dubbs have been friends for fifty years. When their husbands were alive, they went on many trips and vacations together. Mrs. Dubbs was a teacher and heavily involved in church work.)

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Well she’s over a hundred!”

(Mrs. Dubbs was born on December 27, 1891.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Isn’t that amazing. Most of your friends are very old now or they have passed on. That must be difficult to experience. The people who have been supportive and growth inducing and all of those important things that you were able to reach out to, these people for the most part, are no longer here.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “How does that feel Mrs. Bailey?”

 

MRS. BAILEY.   “Well it feels as if it’s empty.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   ‘How do you cope with that?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well I’m in a home that’s all and I think this is a narrow part.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You’ve had a very special life indeed. There’s been

some very wonderful things that happened in your life and you have been able to serve God very well.     There’s no doubt in my mind, that you Mrs. Bailey of all people I know, will being going to heaven. You will be there with your husband and other loved ones.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You have gone from having a lot of mobility and a lot of personal freedom and actualized abilities. The last home you had was on thirty‑two, College Avenue in Gorham, Maine. It was a very nice home. I was there some twenty years ago as a piano student with you and have witnessed that you kept a marvelously beautiful home, everything was always clean and sparkling and you were just a consummate care giver, I thought.   You were able to live there numbers of years and then as time continues these things are taken away from us.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:     “Yes.” (She lived there for 28 years.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You have had to go through a transformation of one

major loss, your husband and then at one point you had to lose your home because you had become ill and you had to go to a place where they could give you more care.”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “This has been primarily your home now for some time.” (She has resided at Seventy Five State Street for about four years.) “Are you able to accept the changes?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Oh yes, you have to accept the changes, that’s all right.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “Now these are questions that don’t have any chronological order, they just kind of ping pong from here and there.”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “Who shaped and influenced your life the most?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Mrs. Dubbs, she’d be the most recent one.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “She’s been your friend for over fifty years. That’s incredible.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What were some of the crucial decisions in your life?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well of course a crucial decision was when I had to send my husband to the Gorham nursing home.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “That must have been the most difficult decision of your whole life.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Have you made any mistakes in your life?’

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Oh there must be.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Any that you would want to share?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “No, nothing that you would want to spread.”

 

 

INTERVIEWER:   “How have you overcome or learned from your

difficulties?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “After my husband died, I went to a nursing home for a while.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “So you had to learn how to be ok even with that major loss and the decisions that were there surrounding it. You had to learn to live in spite of all of that.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What do you think has been the happiest and most productive time in your life.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well I think that was the first few years down in the old house. I think those were nice, when Douglas was five years old.”

(President’s house at University of Southern Maine in Gorham.)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Would you say that time has the ability to soften the blows of life. That it helps to dull some things so that it doesn’t have the kind of pain and personal grip that it had at the time and that perhaps is very merciful?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Mrs. Bailey you have accomplished much in your life. You became an accomplished pianist. That’s not a skill that you have from birth, (she laughs) you had to earn every note of it.”

(Because Mrs. Bailey has arthritis, she has been known to practice her fingering and scales everyday to keep her fingers limber, even when ill. At this writing, she still practices and plays her grand piano one hour a day.)

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes, that’s right.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Also, you pursued a life of service to God and you married a man who would help make major contributions to the community and people in general. Surely, you helped him be all those things. He didn’t do that all by himself completely.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes that’s right.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You also brought into the world a child. You brought Douglas Bailey into the world and helped him contribute to his community as well. So I think you have made major contributions to this planet.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well all right.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What do you feel about God?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well I feel as if He was just ahead of us.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Do you love God?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “You have spent a lifetime worshiping God and praising God and trying to be, what you felt God wanted you to be.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “That’s right.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Do you regret that now?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “No.” (she laughs)

 

INTERVIEWER: “You feel pretty happy about having pursued that and remained consistent through it all?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “Because surely God sent you many trials and

tribulations and asked you to come through, in spite of it all and you have, haven’t you?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “I think so.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “I know so, tenaciously you have. (she laughs) It shows the spirit of you Mrs. Bailey. Have you ever had a religious experience?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Yes I think so.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “Is there something that has ever happened in your life that you can remember and say, this one event absolutely proves to me that there is indeed a God?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: ‘No, but I’m sure anyway.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Do you feel you have inner strength?”

 

MRS. BAILEY.   “Well at times I do.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “When are these times that make you think you have inner strength?”

 

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well I think I had strength when my husband was in the nursing home.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Where do you think this inner strength comes from?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “It came from God.”

 

INTERVIEWER: “Do you feel you are in control of your life?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well yes, I do, but not entirely.” (she laughs)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What do you think your life will be like five years from now?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Well, I think it won’t be this anyway.” (she laughs)

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Are you pleased with having lived this long?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “No you’re not. Your more pleased with thinking that you lived a long time.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “But actually being there is not that great?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “No.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “In the year 2000 how would you like the world to be?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well I’d like to have it be more by accompaniment here.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “More in peace and harmony, perhaps?   Is that what you mean by accompaniment?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Are you certain of anything at this point in your life?”

 

MRS. BAILEY: “Well I’m certain that you won’t live long. (she laughs) Because you can’t tell from one day to the next.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Do you have any advice for the younger generation or for other people?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well, I think it’s from what you have, that you want to pass along. It’s just simply a question of the do’s and the don’ts.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “At this point in your life, how do you feel about yourself ? ”

 

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Oh my goodness. I feel as if I’d done pretty well.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “I would agree with you completely. I’m very impressed with you. You have my admiration and my fondness. I think you’ve done very very well for yourself.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Is there anything that we’ve left out of your life story?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Well no, I don’t think so.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “What would the title of your life story be?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Oh For Heaven’s Sake!, I think a life story would be, what you’d like to have done during your life.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “In three more days it will be Mother’s Day. I see that you have some pretty flowers, a nice bunch of gloxinias, some beautiful purple ones.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Yes.”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “Who are those from?”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   “Douglas!”

 

INTERVIEWER:   “I want to thank you very much Mrs. Bailey for letting me do a life story with you. I appreciate you letting me come in and see the nature of life as it is for you now.

I hope that you have many more years of life to come and what you have offered, is an important and very valuable gift for all of us.”

 

MRS. BAILEY:   ‘Thank you.”

 

As we ended the interview, Mrs. Bailey realized that today’s date, May 7, 1992 was the anniversary of her sister Agnes’ birthday!

Interviewer, researcher, writer: Dale Ashby, 773 Congress Street, Portland, Maine 04102, (207)774‑1932, released 6/26/1992.

 

FOOTNOTES:

 

1. Burlington Free Press, April, 1940, University of Southern Maine, Archives.

 

2. The Observer, Vol. 2, No. 2, Gorham State Teachers College, December, 1959, University of Southern Maine, Archives.

 

3. Green and White Gorham State Teachers College, Yearbook 1946, University of Southern Maine, Archives.

 

4. Suburban News Vol. 1, lst Issue, June 3rd, 1992, Windham, Maine. 5. Gorham’s 250th Anniversary Celebration videotape, 6/4/1986.

 

Everyone I spoke with had only good things to say about Mrs. Bailey. She gave a lot of herself to the Gorham community and she is loved dearly for her many contributions. Of her many qualities, it has been said that she takes extreme care with details, has high expectations and is able to motivate you to do your best.   She totally absorbs herself with concern and interest for all people and is very delightful to work with! She has been a major influence on generations of human beings in Gorham and touched thousands of people in her 70 years of teaching.

 

Mrs. Bailey has had an opportunity to read this text in it’s entirety on four different occasions and has made corrections and additions where needed.   Always the teacher, she even corrected some of my spelling and grammar mistakes a few times. Mrs. Bailey says I have honored her. I’m glad as that was my intention.

 

I bought a Dr. Bailey Geranium at Barrow’s Greenhouses and gave it to Mrs. Bailey as a celebration present. She was very pleased.

 

I would also like to thank the following friends of Mrs. Bailey for providing background information and materials:

 

Douglas Bailey

 

Rosalie Barden, she also provided a videotaped interview she made of Mrs. Bailey for Gorham’s 250th Anniversary Celebration in 1986.   Mrs. Bailey was 85 years old at the time.

 

Jane Beever

 

Electa Brown Edna Dickey Helen Dubbs

 

Robert Hamblen, News Editor for Suburban News, Windham, Maine. Martha Treworgy Harris, she also provided the Bailey photographs. Helen Heel Lois Libby

 

Rosamond Phinney Priscilla Rines Lynn Silcox

 

Donna Trefry

 

Phyllis and Audway Treworgy M arjorie Turner Venita Winckler

 

First Parish Congregational Church in Gorham and Reverend Shearman.

 

 

University of Southern Maine, Archivist, Marjorie Duval and Library Assistant, Mary Madden, Portland Campus.

 

In a late breaking news story, Mrs. Bailey has been invited to be a Grand Marshal of the annual “Celebrate Gorham Parade” in Gorham, Maine on July 11th, 1992!

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