What chores did you do? Where did your family get its food? What did you do in the summer? What was special about winter? Did you ever get in trouble? These are some of the questions people were asked by Fischer and the eight Mt. Ararat Middle School students from Bowdoinham who helped him form the ideas for the film and conduct the interviews.
The film does not follow Bowdoinham history chronologically. Rather, it brings the words of the interviews and the images of life in Bowdoinham together through common experiences. For example, several people recalled summers spend picking peas at the Prout Farm- “Hard labor for an eleven year old,” as Rachel Wildes put it. Others described the fun of poling on and hopping across ice chunks when the ice went out. “It wasn’t until years later that my mother figured out what we’d done, “ said Frank Connors.
One of the common themes that comes out is that, in the past, Bowdoinham kids spent a lot of their time outdoors, without supervision, exploring the woods and streams. As Erla Browne Kelley who, at 97, was the oldest person interviewed put it, “I don’t know how our mother let us go out and do the things we did.”
Growing Up Bowdoinham was produced by Jeffrey Fischer
Visit the The Town of Bowdoinham's website
Go to the MPBN Community Films Web page
[Growing Up Bowdoinham originally aired on MPBN Community Films June 13, 2013.]