"Bits and Pieces"
A Centennial Celebration
of the Ladies Aid

An original play by Lesley Horvath.

Presented 16 August 2000,
at the Annual Meeting of the
Great Cranberry Island Historical Society.


Susan Storey Lyman
Abigail C. Preble, a strong, sensible woman, President of the Ladies Benevolent Sewing Circle, voices her opinions about some former members' 1863 "secession" from the society.
Sue Lyman
(reading a letter)
Fellow members of the Cranberry Isles Benevolent Sewing Circle, it becomes my duty as President of your society, under the existing circumstances, although painful it is to me, to call your attention to the troubles and perplexities now agitated by some of the former members.  I am informed they have made preparation among themselves to establish and organize a new society seceding from your society and planning to overthrow the same!  Let me caution you as members of this social body to be aware of such traitors.  Their intention to plot your demise and under the existing state of affairs, your candid consideration and best judgment is required to conduct your society safely and judiciously through this struggle.  I would respectfully say that the seceders expect to divide your friends and in regard to that point would say that I know not how it can be done.  My opinion, there is no way for that to be done but by a vote of the acting members of the society and thus any person, having been a member at any former period and having left the society at the time, by so doing abandons their right and interest in the same and have no right or authority to meddle with the business of the society.  Your constitution provides that any person may become an acting member by subscribing to the constitution and paying 10 cents.  From that you will see that the subscribing does not make the person a member until the 10 cents is paid.  If a matter of so great importance arises as the present where a part of the old members become disaffected and secede, turn traitor and plot your ruin, then it is of the utmost importance to be candid and decided.  Permit me to suggest the propriety of your making arrangements to meet the difficulties now existing, all of which is respectfully submitted.  -- Abigail C. Preble
Women come down the aisles and deposit their 10 cents in the mason jars on both sides of the room, signing their names in the roll book, set down trays of food, seat themselves at the table after taking off coats, hats, and gloves.  They still wear sweaters, vests or shawls.

Act I   -   Winter 1900-1940

Jane Wilson, Joan Shorey, Judy Whitney, Ruth Westphal, Emily Colby, Ginna Murray, Eileen Richards, Betty Hartley, and Ada Rice
Woman 1
(Reading from the scripture)
Oh Lord, how many are my foes!
How many will rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
God will not deliver him. -- Psalms 3:1
Woman 2 Good afternoon ladies and welcome to our first meeting.  We have taken the time to draw up a new constitution and there are a few articles to discuss.  I would like to talk of 1, 4, 5, and 12.

#1  This society should be called the Mutual Improvement and Benevolent Society.

#4  No work shall go out of the society without having passed through the hands of the committee and their approbation obtained.

#5  The time allotted for meetings of the society shall be divided to work and useful readings, the avail of which, to be appropriated for the support of benevolent services.

#12 The supper shall consist of bread and butter, plain cake and sauce or cheese and tea.

I felt there were a few changes that you might not have read while you were signing your name.  Thank you for your patience.  Welcome to the society.

She is seated; all women take out their sewing items and start talking among themselves.  "Was it ever this cold?"  "Did you see the ice?"  "I'm froze to death!", etc.
Woman 3 Ladies, I would like to report that the bibles have been distributed to the men that are now departing from us to serve our country.  Each one was accepted happily.  They are quite happy that we will have them in our nightly prayers.  Never forget our Doughboys.  I hope they are right when they call this the war to end war!
Women all nod and chatter
Woman 4 Yesterday we went to have lunch on Islesford.  Would you believe we walked there!  Phip and I decided we would go for our noon meal, you'll never guess what happened on our way home.
Woman 5 Marjorie, is this going to be one of your long tales again?
Woman 4 No!  Why?  Phip decided we'd venture out into the harbor, so off we went to Southwest Harbor to do our shopping.
Ladies in unison Southwest harbor!
W-5 What did you take along with you?  To carry your bags?
W-4 We decided to take the wood sled; Phip thought it would work better than the punt.  We did run into Burt Spurling.
W-5 Who?
W-4 Burt Spurling.  He had a big board with him, in case he fell through the ice.
W-5 You're some Brave!
W-6 Ladies, I really think it of great interest to us all that we discuss the matter of gravest importance here on this island.
W-7 You could only be speaking of the most recent fires that have occurred.
W-6 Indeed I am.  With the fires that happened last year on Islesford and in Somesville.  We can only be very concerned that it has started again.  Ladies, we must keep our eyes and ears peeled for anything amiss.
W-7 I heard the men talking about a young lad who's been staying on Islesford.  After John Bunker's house afire, we have to be prepared, I can't stress this enough.
W-8 This is almost as exciting as when lightning hit the church steeple.  Why it just exploded.  I still can't believe the church didn't burn down!
(standing and taking off her gloves)
Hello, I'm Ruth Stanley.  I was born in 1906, but it wasn't until about the time I was a teenager that I started coming to the island.  My first job was at the Hamor's tea House, and Rose Wedge was my first friend.  I loved it when the boys came down to the boathouse, you know the one down at Murches, and we'd crank up that old Victrola and dance.  Or go on picnics and moonlight sails, those Irish girls from Storeys would come down too.  Didn't you love the way they talked?  When I graduated from Normal School, I married Tud that same year.  I had three children, Allison, Gaile, and Arthur.  I had each delivery off the island in a Birthing home, three great meals a day, two weeks of bed rest and no work.  Best vacations I ever had... The only vacations I ever had!

I used to take in laundry for summer people, hard work, but in 1930, just after the island finally got electricity, Dad Bunker bought me a washing machine.  What a present!  I still had to lug water but it was so much easier.  Then I worked off island at Polly Day's in Northeast Harbor.  She was wonderful.  One of the best parts is that Arthur and her son Freddie got to be life long friends.  Poor Arthur, when he was a little tyke, the doctor came out to examine all the children, guess it was whooping cough that time.  There was no place to examine him, so I plunked him down on the ironing board.  The doctor gave him a shot, and the needle broke off in his b---!  I can still hear him yell!

Only thing that bothered me, I never was considered a native, after all these years.  Yes, ...  I'll never understand that.

Ruth sits down.
(Stands and reads)
So may all your enemies perish, O Lord.
But may they who love you
Be like the sun when it rises, in all its strength.
Ada Ladies, have any of you taken my scissors?
Women giggling.  Lights go down, ladies change places, wear different hats?  Take off sweaters.

Act 2   -   Spring 1940-1970

Eva Galyean, Isabel Seimer, Louise Strandberg, Charlene Allen, Bea Weinreich, and Trudy Bancroft

(President of Ladies Aid,
she is standing.)
Welcome ladies, lets get settled down and get to work.  We have a lot going on and I know there is a lot to report, but let us first stop and reflect on these scriptures:

"She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.  Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting.  But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Give her the rewards she has earned, and let her works bring praise to the city's gates." -- Proverbs 31

We are so happy to see the arrival of spring and the return of our dear friends.  Here's Isabel Seimer.  Tell us how your father likes being preacher here.

Isabel tells story of rowing to and from Islesford, the lightning joke, and the boat gas story.
World War II song
W-12 We are happy to announce the care packages have been sent to our men at the Battlefield.  We hope it brings them pleasure.
W-6 Did you hear about the letter from FDR?  Imagine -- the president of the United States!
(Mary Teel)
(Norma, wearing yellow.)
What is it, Mary?
W-13 I was wondering when Lloyd and Rachel Hayes would arrive.
W-14 Bet they couldn't top the excitement from last year.
W-5 Just like the movies!  To see Powder River Jack and Kitty Lee here, dressed in all that cowboy gear.  Full-outfits, like they wear them every day.
Charlene Well don't they?  I was so excited; I thought I was back in the movies at Southwest Harbor.
Oh, that wasn't as good as the president of the United States coming, here to Cranberry!  He went to school with Hayes.
Jamie Wilson reads Roosevelt's letter. Roque Island Harbor, Me.,
July 26, 1933

To Lloyd B. Hayes, Esq.,
Cranberry Island, Maine

Dear Lloyd:
It was grand to see you yesterday morning and I wish we had had time for you to come aboard.

I do hope if you come to Washington this Summer or Fall you will come in to see me.

It is good to get back to the neighborhood of Cranberry Island.

As ever, Yours,
(signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt

W-1 Wasn't that fire over to Bar Harbor terrible?  If the war weren't over I'd have thought it was the Germans who started it.  You remember those Germans they picked up over to Hancock Point?  You never know who's a spy!
W-2 Oh you are so dramatic!
Ruth Well I was sure worried about Arthur and the other men over there fighting that inferno.  And taking the boats over to evacuate the people, smoke was so thick, worse than a fog.
W-3 And those sparks were flying!  I thought we'd all burn to a crisp.
Rose Wedge Good evening, I'm Rose Wedge, your ever-suffering secretary.  I'd like to read some past society minutes to you, if you can sit still that long!  You all know me, how I cooked down at Hamor's Tea House and made many a popover for those good ladies at the Cranberry Club.  I guess I was just a natural, 'cause I brought lots of Cranberry Kids into the world- My how they'd carry on.

Yes I wear many hats in this life, almost as many as you Ruth!

Ruth raises hands to her fancy hat and looks shocked.
Rose continues Yes I've been your secretary for 6 long years, well here goes.

Oct 21st- The ladies aid met with 10 members.  The meeting was opened by Mabel with scripture reading.  Am guessing, as I was not there and my assistant did not send me my report.  I hope everyone was busy.  I had rather been there working, than doing what I was!

Dec 9th - The ladies Aid met Dec 9th with only 3 old cripples, but we had a good afternoon just the same.  The meeting was opened by Emma, we had callers of 3 different people, 2 of them belonged to the Aid but they wouldn't stay, guess they didn't like our company.

Dec 30th - The ladies Aid met with only 4 members the meeting was opened by Ida.  We had to work like dogs, that new vice-president will work us to death before our president gets back home.

March 10th - The ladies Aid met with 5 members.  A very pleasant afternoon was spent arranging the food sale for March 17th for the Red Cross Drive.  Hope we get lots of money.  Wasn't our tea day but one member brought gingerbread; it was so tough we had to take a sharp knife and hammer to it.  But it was good with hot tea and it all disappeared!  She took an order for more for the food sale!

The ladies Aid met with 10 members, this was New Year's Day, we had our Christmas tree.  What a lovely time opening presents.  A dainty tea was served; sandwiches, cake and ice cream.  The meeting was opened by our chaplain, which was both beautiful and appropriate.  Hoping that we have a most prosperous and happy new year together and let us all ask God to be with us in our good works.

Sue Lyman Well ladies, I think it is time to end this meeting.  I'll close with a bit from the Bible.

"The lips of the Righteous nourish many but fools die for lack of judgement." -- Proverbs 10

Ada I'm still looking for my darn scissors!
Lights dim, everyone sits still.

Act 3   -   Summer 1970-2000

Sam King, Polly Bunker, Jim Gertmenian, and Gaile Colby

Sam King joins ladies at table, everyone changes places.
W-3 Good Afternoon Ladies.  What a marveous day it has been.  Let us start.
Everyone talking...
W-3 Ladies can we begin?

"Oh Lord, our Lord, How majestic is your name in all the earth."

Ada I wonder where my scissors are?
Charlene Oh Ada, what is wrong?  I'm so excited about the fair!  And we have a special guest today, do you all know Sam King?  She's written a poem and with our joy in mind.
Sam King reads "Quilts".
W-3 Thank you so much, what a great way to open the summer season.
W-5 With all the excitement over the fair, I can hardly get the kids to do anything.
W-1 Here are some posters we had printed up.  Everybody take some to put up.
W-6 What are we having this year?
W-4 I hope we have some quilts, the younger women don't do what we did.  And fish chowder and knitted things.
W-2 Don't forget the fish pond.  We've only done that forever!  And baskets.  Polly remembers all about baskets, don't you Polly?
Polly Bunker tells about John Snow, the Indian.
W-7 Thank you Polly.  We needed that!  Girls, let me tell you what happened the other night.  And Art Forrester even wrote a poem about it.  Our minister is a poet as well as a singer.
Jim Gertmenian reads 'Twas a Mite Before Midnight - shortened version.
It was intended that Gaile Colby, new year 2000 President, stand to lead the meeting, but the death of her brother Arthur Bunker just two days before the play necessitates that a different woman read Gaile's lines.
Gaile Well, I guess I can laugh at that, too.  Well you all know we are celebrating our 100 years, lets get back to business.  We should be thinking about the fair.  We need a list of the 100 years of things we could make.
W-7 Don't forget the fish pond!
Gaile Now girls, you all know what you are going to do, so do lots of it.  And we'll have an Anniversary quilt to raffle off.  Now if the Ladies Aid building will just get finished...
Ada Wait, wait, now I think I've found those scissors!  Beverly sewed them inside her quilt!