A member of the Wiscasset Academy Class of 1950 made a New Year’s resolution to call her classmates twice a month this year, after a year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced many into isolation and kept them from family and friends.
Janice Metcalf Fogg aims to see how each classmate is doing and update them on how their classmates are doing. She wants to make sure her classmates know they are all important to her and to each other.
The class had 25 graduates, 11 of whom are living. Fogg is the youngest member of the class and has kept in touch with her classmates for 70 years.
“We take pride in being the last and the largest class to graduate from Wiscasset Academy,” Fogg said. “We were a very close class, like brothers and sisters. We worked together for our school and our community. We were a class that was civic-minded, with most of the class staying in the area, making a difference in their community, and to their country.”
There were 13 boys and 12 girls in the class. Of the 13 boys, 12 served in the U.S. military after graduation. The 13th, Edward Grant, did not only because the military would not accept him.
His brother, Francis Grant, had died on the USS Turner when it exploded Jan. 3, 1944 while docked in New York Harbor. A 1948 law exempted from military service the sole surviving son of a family with another son or daughter who had died as a result of military service.
Although Edward Grant could not serve because of this law, his sister Shirley Grant (Hill), a member of the same class, followed in her older brother’s footsteps and joined the U.S. Navy.
During a 2013 interview, Hill discussed her time in the military. Her company appeared in the movie “Shirts Ahoy” in 1952. The star, Esther Williams, came to the base, where she marched and swam with the sailors while filming the movie.
Hill died Jan. 6, 2019 at her home on Gardiner Road in Wiscasset. She was 85.
Two members of the class, Robert Fairfield and Kenneth Sherman, returned to Wiscasset after their military service to start businesses.
Kenneth Sherman founded a car dealership that his son, Norman Sherman, continues to own and operate today as Norm’s Used Cars. Kenneth Sherman died March 17, 2008. Fairfield, meanwhile, owned and operated restaurants in Wiscasset and Damariscotta.
John Fahey served overseas in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps, then earned a master’s degree from the University of Maine and a doctorate from the University of Michigan. He went on to a career as a school principal, spending the majority of it at Bangor High School. He died Oct. 15, 2016.
The class offers a $250 scholarship each year to a graduating senior who is a descendant of the class.
Earl “Bud” Colby, class president all four years, called Fogg just before the class’s 50th anniversary in 2000 and suggested the idea. Colby, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, was active in the American Legion and served as state commander in 1987. At the time of his death in 2002, he worked at The Lincoln County News.
Other members of the class Fogg recalls include: Ann Quinnam, who married Al Gagnon, creator of Red’s Eats’ famous lobster roll, and owned the Tuxedo Junction dance hall; Louis Nason Thomas, a teacher; Jane McGrath Smith, who worked in the Wiscasset town office; Marion Jackson, who worked at Winter’s Oil Co. and married classmate Kenneth Sherman; Leroy Jackson, who was head of maintenance at Central Maine Power’s Wyman plant in Yarmouth; Donald Colman, now of California; Gloria Harvey Dow, an accomplished painter; and Clayton Grover, who worked at Bath Iron Works for 67 years and became the shipyard’s longest-tenured and oldest employee.
Fogg holds the honor of being the first female reserve officer at the Freeport Police Department and one of four founding mothers of Freeport Community Services, which provides emergency relief services to community members in need.
Fogg remembers the generosity of her classmate Roland Rogers’ father and the late Frances Sortwell during the planning of the class trip to New York City. It was up to the class to raise money for the trip. In addition, each senior had to pay $25.
Frances Sortwell asked Principal I. Joseph Roy to have any student who could not pay the $25 come see her. According to Fogg, one student went to see Sortwell, who paid the student’s $25. In return, the student mowed the lawn at the Sortwell house all summer.
Roland Rogers’ father gave the class 100 live chickens for a chicken pie supper to raise funds for the class trip.
The boys in the class learned how to kill the chickens, while the girls learned how to clean the chickens and worked with their home economics teacher, Mrs. I. Joseph Roy, to make chicken pie for the public supper.
“It sounds like a lot of work, and it was, but we had a lot of fun working together,” Fogg said. “It is something the class will never forget.”
Classmates who have received Fogg’s calls have been pleased to hear from her.
When Richard Soule heard her voice, he said, “That is a voice from the past.”
When Fairfield got the first call, he was pleased to hear from Fogg and said he looked forward to the second call of the month.
Fogg, who is in quarantine until Friday, Jan. 29 because her husband, Merrill, is recovering from COVID-19, hopes an article about her resolution will inspire other people to do the same thing.
“In some cases we have shared 12 years of our lives with our classmates,” Fogg said. “I am sure other classmates in other classes would like to hear from one another, especially during this pandemic, when many are restricted from visiting family and friends.”