I got a text from my friend Andrea last Saturday:
“Good morning, I’m in my office this morning, putting the postcards together. If you would like to help, I’ll be here.”
Andrea and I have known each other since 6th grade. Back in those long ago years before multi-million dollar consolidated “community” schools, there were two separate elementary schools in our town. One simple building for the Lisbon village children and something similar for Lisbon Falls children. Since Andrea lived in Lisbon and I lived in Lisbon Falls, we met at the Sugg Middle School. That’s just how it was in those days; each village was its own country.
We were never “close” friends, but Andrea was always kind to me. We hung around with different people, but I was flattered that she offered me a cigarette once in the girl’s bathroom.
We lost touch after high school and she moved to California, got married, and had a son. Like just about everyone, she got divorced and moved back to Maine. Then she moved up to Aroostook County. I might see her at the Moxie Festival or a class reunion, but even in the age of instant communication and selfies, it wasn’t the same. Andrea is a fun, free-spirited person and certain elements of her personality transcend pixels. Kind of like a whirlwind.
She gave up on The County and moved back to Lisbon a year or so ago. It’s complicated, as they say on Facebook, but she was a big help to me when I moved into my house. She blasted in and cleaned my stove and oven one Saturday. She’s good about checking in on me and beeping when she drives by the house, too.
That’s what friends do.
Her office? It’s a corner table at Chummy’s Mid Town Diner and her current project is promoting her father’s art. Frank Gross, a self-taught artist, paints in oil. His subject matter is vast, but some of his most popular works are paintings he’s done of now-gone places in town.
There’s a mural of one of his paintings on Main Street; part of it looks like this:
His paintings are like Normal Rockwell met Edward Hopper, in my very humble and unprofessional opinion. I like them.
The postcards in Andrea’s office? They’re lovely, six different Frank Gross paintings set in a postcard format, capturing iconic and loved places that are a memory now. Like the Worumbo Mill before the fire, Smith & McCarthy’s Esso station at dusk, and Lisbon Falls Main Street in the 1930’s. A number of local businesses are selling them–it’s a deal. Six for six dollars.
If you don’t live nearby, send me a note here on the blog in the comments section. Don’t worry; I moderate all the comments, so nothing personal will get posted. And I’ll mail you the postcards with a hand-written letter and tell you a story about some intriguing element of small town life.
Of course, you could always buy them from Andrea, in her office at Chummy’s. Have a cup of coffee and some breakfast while you’re there.
You’ll have a good time, I promise.