On Easter Sunday this year, April 1, Bea Strout died at her home in Lisbon Falls. She had lived there since 1955. I remembered Bea as an elderly woman who went to yard sales with her neighbor, Honey Moulton. Bea’s husband Sherwood predeceased her. Mr. Strout worked with my father at the Pejepscot Paper Mill. Sheila and Sandra, Bea’s two daughters, would sometimes babysit me.
One of her sons, Bob Strout, is a local builder. He graduated from Lisbon High School in 1977 and he and my cousin Kaye were “king and queen” of the prom.
When I lived in New Hampshire and started “coming home” on the weekends, I remember seeing Bob and his wife Aline volunteering at the local high school football games, taking tickets and selling food in the Booster’s snack shack. The first year my father and I paddled in the Moxie Festival’s river event, Bob and his son were there and I remember him calling my father “Hermie.”
The Strouts are good people.
I wasn’t able to make it to Bea’s funeral, but my parents went; my mother gave me a packet of the Myosotis (forget-me-not) seeds the Strout family gave away in Bea’s memory.
The forget-me-nots are the tiny blue flowers in the midst of the Calendula.
I write all this by way of long introduction to the matter at hand. On Saturday, I’m interviewing Bob and Aline Strout about their latest venture. They bought the old Lisbon Schoolhouse and will be restoring and renovating it into apartments. I featured a picture of the building in a blog post about writer Eloise Jordan, who attended there in the 1920’s.
When the “for sale” sign first went in the ground, there was quite a bit of speculation about what would happen to the dilapidated building. Some thought the Open Door Bible Church would buy it and raze it for a parking lot. Then word trickled out that Bob Strout was looking at the building. When I learned that Bob had purchased the building, I was happy. As one of Bob’s friends said to me “Bob should have been born 100 years ago.” He’s an old soul; he loves history and is one of those people who is often posting old pictures on Facebook. I’ve heard he’s a member of the Joshua Chamberlain Civil War Roundtable. That would make sense, as his father Sherwood was also a member of this group.
I’m looking forward to learning more about “Bob Strout’s Vision” and how he decided to save the old building from the wrecking ball. My article will run in the Lewiston Sun Journal.
Until then, you can read more about the project by following “The old Lisbon Village School restoration project” on Facebook.