KES students learn about harvest

12 years ago

Houlton Pioneer Times photo/Joseph Cyr
NE-CLR-Book-dc-pt-38LEARNING ABOUT HARVEST — Students in Crystal Sirois’ fourth-grade class at Katahdin Elementary School listened to author Lynn Olsen Brown as she read excerpts from her book “Alice, Frankenstein and Saturday Night Beans … A Young Girl’s Memory of Bradford Farm.” Katahdin Trust Company donated copies of the book to the class. Taking part in the presentation are, from left, Emily Hosford, branch manager and regional service officer for Katahdin Trust; Brown and student Serennah Smith.

Author speaks on time in Patten
By Joseph Cyr
Staff Writer
    STACYVILLE — Lynn Olsen Brown of Houlton has many fond memories of her time spent visiting her Aunt Irene Bradford’s farm in Patten during the late 1950s and early ‘60s.
    Last year, she put those memories to paper in the self-published book, “Alice, Frankenstein and Saturday Night Beans … A Young Girl’s Memory of Bradford Farm” and has discovered that school children have grown fond of the tales her book contains.
    On Friday, Brown spoke to students in Crystal Sirois’ fourth-grade class at Katahdin Elementary School, and read a chapter from her book that focused on her harvest experience. She also brought many items that were similar to what she used as a youth working in the fields, including an old Thermos, lunch pail, potato basket, clothing and the tickets that were placed on potato barrels.
    “The whole grade four was doing a unit on potato harvest and knew I had written a book,” Brown said. “They wanted it as an introductory activity to bring life to what they were going to be learning about the harvest.”
    “Last year, I spoke to the fourth-grade class and the school purchased books from fund-raising projects,” Brown said. “This year, they wanted me to come speak, but didn’t have the funds to purchase books.”
    Enter Katahdin Trust Company. Brown wrote a letter to bank president Jon Prescott, asking if they would be willing to sponsor the book-reading session so that the children would be able to have their own copy of the book to take home.
    Emily Hosford, branch manager and regional service officer for Katahdin Trust, said her organization was pleased to provide books for the students this year.
    “We thought it was just an awesome opportunity for us, since Irene was a shareholder of the bank and our branch (in Patten) was the very first to be a part of Katahdin Trust,” Hosford said. “It all began there in the Patten area with folks like Irene (Bradford). This was an opportunity for us to share that history with the schoolchildren.”
    Brown’s novel, a self-proclaimed labor of love, was published in 2009 and she has sold about 600 copies of the book thus far.
    “It took me 10 years to write,” she recalled. “I would write a chapter, take some time to reflect on it, and then come back later and write some more.”
    This week, Sirois’ class will visit Kim London’s potato farm and gain first-hand knowledge of picking potatoes. The school district no longer has a harvest break, but tries to keep some elements of the past in its curriculum.
    “The chapter in Lynn’s book about potato picking is a great way to educate the children about what it was like to pick potatoes,” Sirois said. “It also gives a good history of Patten and the kids find it very interesting.”
    “It’s good for the students to see that this is part of their culture,” Brown said. “The sad thing is, that culture is basically gone.”