An Unexpected Neighbor

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I was in Sav-On Drug Store two weeks ago. While I was in line, I met a lady I knew and we started talking.

I told her I had just returned from Virginia. She asked how the weather was and I said it was good this year -- no humidity and not too hot.

The sales clerk had just finished with the lady in front of me, and when I approached, she said, “Yes, I know about humidity -- I’m from Maine.”

I said, “I’m from Maine too.

She asked, “What part?” and I said, “Waterville.”

“I’m from Waterville, too,” she said.

Then she said, “My name is Huard.” I asked, “Was your mother Helen Huard?”

She said, “No, she was my mother-in-law.”

“Is she the one with 17 children?” I asked.

“No,” she said, “she had 16 and I married the youngest.” I told her that Helen worked part time for my mother in her nursing home.

My thoughts drifted back to the Huard home in Waterville. I remember it well, though it’s been 70 years since I last saw it.

The family lived up the hill in a compound of two-bedroom homes built for employees of the local paper mill. Imagine 16 children in a two-bedroom house! I remember there were cots everywhere, even in the kitchen and along the hallway.

By then the sales clerk had finished ringing up my sale. I left the store, having forgotten to tell her my maiden name. I just hope I’ll run into her again so I can get more information from her. I would love to get together with her and ask a few questions.

I never meet anyone from Maine -- let alone Waterville!

Editor’s note: the author sent in the following update: Since I wrote this, my daughters found her name and phone number on the computer. I called her and we made a date to have breakfast at Mimi’s. We had a lovely visit and plan to meet again in the near future.

Helen Hampton is a member of the writing class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. It is held off-campus at the Norwalk Senior Center.

Helen Hampton