2018-07-05 / Editorial

OOB has new way to experience history

By Bob Cochran

While walking past Libby Library’s Staples Street entrance the other day, I noticed its mascot, Libby Lobster, admiring the plaque recently installed as part of the OOB Museum in the Streets Project. I approached Libby and said, “This Museum in the Streets thing must be great for history buffs like you.”

He responded enthusiastically, “You’re not kidding. I love celebrating history, especially during the week of July 4. You just missed it. Lawrence Whelk, Stanislaw Starfish and I were just reenacting our ancestors’ roles in the Revolution.”

I leaned toward him, “This I’ve got to hear.”

“You’ve heard of the Boston Tea Party?” he asked.

“Of course. Who hasn’t?” I replied.

“Did you know it was almost the Boston Turnip Party? Well, it was until our ancestors, Landebert Lobster and Stavros Starfish intervened. Anyway, the colonists did disguise themselves as Native Americans and boarded the British ships. Once on board, they immediately started throwing turnips into the water until Landebert shouted “Are you making a revolution or boiled dinner?”

“Stavros then pointed to the crates of tea and said, “If you really wanted to make the British angry, you’d be throwing tea overboard. With turnips, they’re probably going to thank you.”

“It turns out that Stavros and Landebert were being savvy (and a bit selfish) as well as patriotic. Lawrence’s ancestor, Wenceslas Whelk, had just opened up an underwater cafe, and what would you rather have with your scone, tea or turnips?”

“Well Libby, it sounds like your ancestors were in the right place at the right time.”

“You got that right. It wasn’t just at the Boston Tea Party either. You heard the story of Miles Standish and Priscilla?”

“Pretty much everyone has heard of that one. You’re telling me that one your ancestors had a part in it as well?” I asked, working hard to keep the incredulity from my voice.

“I sure am. John Alden was getting a bit tired of hearing Miles Standish struggle to say ‘I love you’ to Priscilla, and it was always coming out something like ‘I love y... yams,’ ‘I love y...ahtzee’ or ‘I love u..ukuleles.’ So one day when Miles was talking to Priscilla, Alden snuck up behind him and slipped my great uncle Lamont into his trousers, just as Miles yet again, was struggling to express his feelings, which eventually came out as ‘I love ...YOOOOOOOOOOOOW.’ Priscilla was almost won over by what she took as an emphatic expression of his admiration for her.”

“Wow Libby, that is some story, but maybe we should stop talking about your history and talk about the town’s.”

“Well certainly, and that brings us back to the OOB Museum in the Streets Project. This is a nationwide effort to interest residents in their local history by turning their towns into living museums.”

Whether you’re a long-time resident or a weekend visitor to Old Orchard Beach, if you’d like to learn more about the rich history behind various local landmarks, simply follow the route outlined by the recently installed plaques. You can find out more about this project here at Libby Library or by following the Old Orchard Beach Museum in the Streets Facebook page.

“Libby, we haven’t just been celebrating history this week. We’ve been celebrating the beginning of summer, too. We’d like to remind both residents and visitors that we will be open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. now through September.”

Our Summer Reading Program is in progress now through Aug. 17. We are currently taking registrations at the Children’s Circulation Desk. Children can collect beads, brag tags and other items based on the amount of time they spend reading. The more they read, the more fun stuff they’ll collect. We also have a free lunch available for children 18 and younger, Tuesday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. in our Community Room. Parents, guardians or siblings older than 18 may purchase lunch at $3.

We also have reading programs for adults this summer, too. The library is taking part in the statewide ReadME Program, and PBS’ Great American Read, You can find the list of books and much more information about the Great American Read Program at pbs.org/the-greatamerican read/home.

“Libby do you have anything to add before we go?”

“Sure. Always check our website, ooblibrary.org, or our Facebook page to stay current on library happenings.”

Bob Cochran is a volunteer at Libby Memorial Library in Old Orchard Beach and jazz director at WMPG in Portland.

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