Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Student of the week - Cami Casserly

The Windham Eagle student of the week is eight-year-old Cami Casserly from Windham Primary School. Cami is in third grade with teachers Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Espejo. 

Her favorite subject is math. Her greatest accomplishment thus far is being named student of the week.
“Cami is an engaged learner who tries her best every day.  She accepts challenges and takes risks.  She’s always willing to help her peers,” said Mrs. Miller. 

She feels that her mom has had the most influence on her education to date. 

She lives with her mom Melissa, dad Brian and three brothers Colin, Tommy and Jack. 

The best part of learning for Cami is “when I get to do menus because there is fun stuff on it. There are videos and worksheets to help me learn.” In her free time she watches TV.

Favorite movie: Bedtime Stories
Favorite music group: I don’t really have one.
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Hobbies and extracurricular activities: Hockey, soccer and watch TV  

Community mourns passing of Donald Dickinson - By Walter Lunt

The family man and long-time pastor, known for opening his heart and home to friends and history lovers, Donald Prescott Dickinson, 85, died this week following a battle with dementia and declining health.

His wife, Elaine, noted how it seemed almost fitting that her husband’s passing occurred around Thanksgiving.

“He had a forgiving heart and was always thankful for what was, particularly in prayer. She said he never failed to express thanks, even for the slightest act of kindness, and even during his recent illness “Don would express his gratitude to family, friends and his hospice nurse.”

Donald Dickinson was born on February 1, 1931, and grew up in Salem, Massachusetts.
“He may have developed his interest in history from that town which was steeped in history.” observed Elaine.

Don felt his spiritual calling early on while attending summer bible camp as a child. Later, while caring for his aging mother in Wales, Massachusetts, he preached in the local Baptist Church while studying for his divinity degree. Following graduation from Gordon College & Divinity School in 1961, he served as minister of Charlestown, Massachusetts Baptist Church, where his future wife was among the congregants.

After nearly 10 years in Charlestown, Don and Elaine settled in Lawrence, where Don served First Calvary Baptist Church. While active in numerous social and charitable organizations, Don’s administration and leadership abilities would be challenged when, in 1988, fire destroyed the church building. Undaunted, he secured temporary worship space by sharing ministerial duties at a church in nearby Methuen, and leading a re-building effort in North Andover where he continued a successful ministry until 1993.

He had a saying, a motto, if you will, said Elaine, “Whatever you’re called to say or do, say and do it.”

After more than 30 years in the ministry and raising two children, Holly and David, Don and Elaine move to Ocean Park in Old Orchard, Maine. Elaine continued her work as a registered nurse.

“And he went looking for his dream: An 18th century house. His dream, not mine,” said Elaine, casting a sardonic smile.

The two settled in Windham’s historic Parson Smith House on River Road, a 1764 Georgian style “mansion” first occupied by Windham’s second settled minister, Rev. Peter Thatcher Smith. The house and adjacent carriage shed, then over 225 years old, had been a house museum and was in need of repair, particularly the interior. Elaine slowly warmed to their new home, and following a few years of historically correct restoration, opened their living history property to the community. Over many years, thousands of local residents, including school children, toured the house, guided by the two enthusiastic docents.

Don granted the Eagle and other news outlets many interviews during the house tour years.
“Houses can’t talk,” he once said, “but they can tell stories.”

Daughter Holly noted her parents never were lonely in the big house.

“Being in this house has been wonderful. The world came to him – he loved entertaining people.”

But just as history informs the present and helps guide the future, so did Don’s earlier life in the ministry. Many congregants from the Charlestown church, many of them children in poverty at the time, remained in touch with their former beloved pastor.

“He taught them how to be parents,” said Elaine. “They returned to say thank you for his influence on their lives.”

Holly said her father provided them with a template for life.

“It had an effect through generations. (My dad) characterized it as being a ‘watch care pastor’ – his own term.”

Elaine shared a parting thought as this tribute interview to her husband came to a close.

“It will be a long time before we meet a man as sincere and dedicated to his church and community as was Rev. Donald P. Dickinson.”

His legacy: Whatever you’re called to say or do, say and do it.”

Donald P. Dickinson

Where I go,
there you will be
gently woven
into the text
of my being
one continuous strand
threaded through the
weft of my memory.
There you will live,
tucked into the folds
of heart
until we meet again.
Holly Dickinson Amidon - 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

Lizards on the ceiling and other tales - By Lorraine Glowczak

It is said that everyone has a story. For some, the most profound and life changing story begins with a quiet knowing from the moment they are born. But then, “life happens” and before they know it, midlife is upon them and existence becomes meaningless. They can no longer ignore that silent knock that beats with every pulse of their heart. It’s at that point they finally jump and take a wild and crazy leap into the unknown. Windham resident Jeri Mullin did just that 25 years ago at the age of 45. It changed her life. 

“I knew from a very early age, as far back as I can remember, that I must visit and live in Nepal and be on my own,” Mullin stated. However, it took a while before Nepal became her home for two years. First, Mullin married and had a precious daughter at the age of 19, eventually becoming a mother of a beautiful son, too. Her days were filled with home and community activities in her Belgrade Lakes region home. Although she was happy with her life, the calling to go to Nepal never subsided and left an emptiness she could not describe or satisfy. As she approached mid-life, it was imperative for her to fill the abyss created by a dream not met. With children now grown, she left her comfortable home and life in Maine, traveling to another land alone to follow her heart’s wish. In doing so, she retrieved a part of herself she had pushed aside for many years. Mullin shares her adventures as if they happened yesterday.“I did not know what to expect,” Mullin reflected upon that first day she arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal in April, 1991. “All I knew was that I was starting a life alone, with a freedom that I had never experience before. For the first time in my life no one was guiding me, no one was giving me advice and no one was there to love me.” 

It is often in these moments when both fear and freedom are yours that an awakening begins to develop and we discover that we are the author of our own story, writing it not alone, but in conjunction with that unknown force that some refer to as God. Diving into unknown territory was both frightening and liberating for Jeri, as she meandered through many “mystical and enchanting” and sometimes challenging adventures that began the moment she arrived. These adventures where pilgrimages to her, learning lessons with each and every tale.

Her first adventure began when she arrived. The little bungalow she had rented upon her arrival was not ready when she landed that early spring day. She was welcomed and invited to stay at the home of a guide from a previous visit to Nepal. Niru and his family embraced Mullin into their lives offering a place of refuge until her bungalow was ready. She accepted the offer with apprehension as Niru’s home was a one room building with no bathroom and only one bed for a family of six. Niru’s wife and Jeri got to share the small, hard bed while Niru and the children slept on the floor.
Mullin describes her first night. “Tossing and turning to find a comfortable position became my priority as I began to finally shut out the unusual sounds of the night. I lay facing the gray stained green wall, my eyes blinking, adjusting to the dimness. Finally, my eyes began to close and I started to relax. As I was drifting off to sleep, a movement caught my eye and I spotted something enormous slithering along the wall.” It wasn’t long before other large slithering creatures began crawling along the wall and scurrying directly in front of Mullin. Unable to contain her fear, she pressed closely against Niru’s wife and told her about the crawling creatures. 

“It’s okay – they are only lizards”, she said and promptly fell back to sleep. Unable to calm herself, Mullin leaned over the bed to wake up Niru, only to discover that the biggest cockroach she had ever seen was crawling on his face. She screamed, waking her guide. Niru simply brushed the big insect off his face and spoke to Mullin in a reassuring voice, “Jeri Darling, do not be alarmed. They are only lizards and cockroaches. Try to get some sleep.” It was not until her last night spent in the welcoming home of Niru and his family that Mullin realized her Western perception of life and the way things “should” be is what caused her the most turmoil.“Respect and accept the God in everything” was the lesson discovered as Mullin fell asleep peacefully that third night – lizards and all.

Of course, two years in a foreign land produce many stories with built in life lessons. A few worth mentioning include the story about the homeless woman who sat at the gate in Mullin’s front yard begging for money every day. Mullin discovered the woman was once an important Nepali dancer who performed for many high ranking officials, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. She was kidnapped by a local drug dealer who abused her and gave her heroin. She became addicted and thrown back to society to fend for herself without support. (Lesson: everyone has an unknown story, so don’t be quick to judge.)  Or the day Mullin and her two guides climbed the Himalayan Mountains to visit a female monastery. While there, she collapsed and had to be carried down. Once home, she laid in bed, passed out for three days. (Lesson: “It’s helpful to get checked for worms in a third world country.”). Or the time she fell in love (Lesson: She learned how to love back.)  

However, it was the exploration and becoming a part of the culture that provided the most profound lesson. Raised a Northern Baptist, an unfulfilling spiritual path for Mullin, she began meditating with Buddhist monks. The first practice opened the flood gates of pain, releasing the burdens she had experienced all of her life. After continued involvement, Mullin realized she was becoming happier, more peaceful and the emptiness she once felt began to cease. Recognizing that meditation was a beneficial and life changing experience, she made it a part of her everyday life practice and became a follower of the Dali Lama. She is now a meditation leader/instructor. (Lesson: “The Buddha was asked what he gained from meditation. He answered, “Nothing. I have lost stress, anxiety, insecurity, depression, anger and fear of death.”)

Mullin teaches meditation classes to area businesses in the greater lakes region. If you or your business is interested in a morning, noon, or evening meditation group, please inquire by contacting Mullin at

Friday, November 11, 2016

Student of the week - Barrett Rose

The Windham Eagle student of the week is Barrett Rose, an 8-year-old at Windham Primary School. Barrett is in Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Espejo’s class. 

“Barrett is new to Windham and has taken huge risks as a learner this year. She works really hard and is a sponge! She takes everything in! She’s a great role model for her peers,” said Mrs. Miller.

Her greatest accomplishment is “When I was five I knew how to ride a bike with no training wheels,” Barrett said. 

Her dad has been most influential in her education because “he’s a teacher.”

Barrett is the daughter of Shannon and Jody Rose, has a sister Avery at Windham Middle School and lives with her dog Oliver as well. 

In her free time she enjoys playing on her dad’s computer, playing on her iPad and her sister’s X-box.
She plans to go to college.

Favorite subject: P.E.
Favorite movie: The Jungle Book
Favorite music group: No groups, but favorite singer: Michael Jackson
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Hobbies and extracurricular activities: Skateboarding

State Farm - Do I need insurance for rental cars? From Tricia Zwirner

Do I need insurance for rental cars?
When renting a car, you will be asked if you want to purchase insurance coverage. The rental agent will normally offer you different levels of insurance coverage, including a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) or Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), which covers the rental vehicle in the event of accidental damage and theft. Many drivers become confused at this point, wondering if they need this insurance.

Here are some guidelines to help you decide.

What to look for
When to consider additional coverage
You have a personal auto policy
Read your policies carefully or call your insurance agent to ask for details of coverage. Many auto policies cover rentals with the same type and amount of coverage on your personal vehicle. Also ask about coverage for any administrative fees you may be responsible for, such as loss of use (rental income not earned on a car while it is in the repair shop).
If your policy does not cover rentals, has a high deductible, or does not include collision coverage or sufficient comprehensive coverage, you may wish to purchase additional coverage from the rental company. Also, insurance is invaluable in foreign countries where you may be responsible for paying for the damage in full before you leave the country.
Your credit card offers rental car insurance
Carefully read the documentation that came with your specific credit card and understand the extent of the coverage it provides.
Depending on the level of coverage your credit card provides, you might consider adding coverage from the renting agency.
You are traveling on business
Your employer may provide corporate insurance for rented vehicles.
Be sure to know the applicable corporate policies and procedures before you rent a car for business.
You do not own a car
If you do not own a car and therefore do not carry auto insurance, you will need to purchase insurance from the rental agency.
Take your time at the rental counter to consider the coverage packages being offered. You may not need the most expensive plan being offered.
You are renting a car in a foreign country
Check your auto insurance policy for possible exclusions or limitations on renting a car abroad. Also check for coverage that may be offered by your credit card company or auto club.
If you are not sufficiently covered, you may wish to purchase third-party travel insurance to cover your foreign rental, or the Loss Damage Waiver from the agency. You will still be liable for any costs resulting from vehicle damage that are not covered by the waiver.

From State Farm and Tricia Zwirner, your local provider.