Not the 'fairy godmother', Mrs. Sunspots celebrates 50 years of providing advice, support and community outreach

Not the ‘fairy godmother’, Mrs. Sunspots celebrates 50 years of providing advice, support and community outreach

Welcome to Solar Spots Land, a 50-year full of life dialog with the neighborhood that is nonetheless related, however thriving.

From day one, the Solar Journal’s every day column – Solar Spots – has turn into a spot the place readers can ask a query, share a recipe, assist fellow readers in want, and be taught extra about our communities. For a lot of, it is turn into the primary place they go to avoid wasting time, and the place to show when all the pieces else they’ve tried has failed.

Now 50 years later, he is nonetheless the pioneer of at the moment’s greatest social media—however at all times organized, upbeat, and well timed—connecting neighbors, answering questions, and assembly wants. Be a part of me at the moment, Ms. Sunspots, as we take a tour of Sunspotsland.

The story begins like this: In 1972, Solar Journal editor A. Kent Foster had an concept and determined to throw it towards a wall to see if it might stick. An “recommendation column” referred to as “Solar Spots” was born.

The oldest sunspot plume ever found in the archives was published on Thursday, December 7, 1972. It included a query from an “Upset in Lewiston” who requested what she had completed flawed when she dyed her husband’s white shirts “to look extra like the colours of the day” and got here up with stripes. (Mrs. Sunspots advised that the shirts had been product of a blended cloth, with cotton and artificial fibers absorbing dye in a different way.)

Mary Ann Norcross of Auburn reveals off only a few handfuls of the various pop tops she’s been capable of gather over time thanks, partly, to her Solar Spots column. Collected as a part of her help for the Ronald McDonald Home. Ross Dillingham/Solar Journal

Since then, the column has been printed a number of instances every week earlier than hitting the large time present six days every week.

5 many years and plenty of Ms. (now Mrs.) Solar Spots After that, right here I’m, 5 years of reaching out to readers (whom I check with as Solar Spotters) each Monday via Friday, together with the vacations. So in fact, I might prefer to encourage you to have fun Solar Spots’ fiftieth birthday! Fabulous!

In spite of everything, I am unable to do that with out you. We created Solar Spots Land collectively. You ask questions and in addition assist me discover the solutions. We’re sharing our collective data on all the pieces from how you can make a treatment for brown caterpillar rash to the place to discover a raisin pie like my mother used to make.

And also you who generously give away free stuff like pianos and books, inform us what is going on on the place you volunteer, and sound the alarm while you lose one thing or discover one thing. like him:

Pricey Sunspot: I misplaced my Auburn Goodwill Retailer sterling silver ring. It’s a dimension 5 and has a big minimize glass stone. I left my title and quantity on the retailer and in addition referred to as native pawn retailers and jewellery patrons. I pray that my ring shall be returned to me. . . . Jennifer, Norway

And days later, this:

Pricey Sunspot: You’ve got completed it once more. A beautiful girl noticed my message to Solar Spots. I referred to as and located a hoop outdoors one of many shops I used to be in. Positive sufficient, it was my ring. She even introduced it to my home final Thursday. I can not thank Solar Spots and this beautiful girl sufficient. Sustain the nice work you’re doing! Jennifer, Norway

This wasn’t the primary time Solar Spots had helped discover invaluable possessions and it would not be the final.

Typically discovering issues for readers takes a special kind. We’ll always remember the gentleman in his 80s who implored Solar Spots for a strong egg beater so his spouse may maintain making sweet. Solar Spotters had been everywhere, with ideas on the place to purchase new putters and provides of used ones.

Then there’s problem-solving, like when readers share their collective recommendation for a mother whose 8-year-old son actually stinks.

That is how issues work in Solar Spots Land. We share in so some ways, and in doing so, we make our personal sunshine on even Maine’s darkest and most depressing days.

charity. It’s you, expensive readers, who make Solar Spots so particular. Whether or not you plan to or not, while you write to Solar Spots, you’re getting into right into a proactive neighborhood of people that can and can aid you.

Want a journey to the airport, a fundraising dunk tank, a marching band, volunteers to put the flags on the Veterans Cemetery, a advice for a therapeutic massage therapist or chimney sweep, zipper alternative, or gentle restore? You understand what to do.

Readers have even advised concepts which have spawned “Solar Spots,” together with a cookbook stuffed with Solar Spots recipes, a e-book of family suggestions, and most not too long ago a companion column on money-saving suggestions.

being mrs. solar spots

Being Mrs. Sunspots means I’ll turn into a detective and benefit from the thrill of the chase, which is a occupation I’ll select in my subsequent life. I’ve to concentrate to the little issues. I additionally embrace empathy, curiosity, a humorousness, and sure, I even should be fearless.

Being Mrs. Sunspots additionally consists of magical considering.

To be clear, I am not as “unbelievable” as one younger reader may assume.

I’m not a “fairy godmother” as a “devoted reader” as soon as wrote.

I haven’t got a “analysis division” (ha ha).

Nope, I am not a “Solar Spots official.”

And I’m not an web bot destined to incorporate you in my community.

This very particular necklace was misplaced by a Solar Journal reader two years in the past. Solar Spots supplied an article about her plight and one other Solar Spots reader discovered the necklace and introduced it to the Solar Journal workplace to be returned. It is one in every of many misplaced objects which were reunited with their house owners over time due to the useful column and readers. despatched picture

I’m merely Mrs. Sunspots, taking my flip with the notorious Rolodex as I mirror the power emanating from my readers. I function a conductor for everybody concerned within the shaft that reaches past Los Angeles, Western Maine, and even New England. Letters arrived from London, Eire, Germany, New Brunswick, Virginia, California, Arizona, Carolina, Florida, and others.

You, my dears, have put Solar Spots Land on the map.

To deal with reader questions, I typically depend on an ever-expanding helpline that features metropolis managers and clerks, the Division of Environmental Safety, retailer and restaurant house owners, educators, librarians, nonprofits, professors, tax preparers, sheriffs, seniors, plus, After all, my readers.

It typically occurs like this:

“Brrring, briiiiiing.”


“Good day – these are Solar Spots from the Solar Journal! I would like your assist.”

Usually, no different clarification is required. The sound on the opposite finish of the road lights up. I ask my questions, get my solutions, after which simply chat together with her for some time. It is truthfully enjoyable.

Typically a reader query opens up a big, worm-inducing can that’s too huge to slot in the sunspot column. So flip to a Solar Journal freelance author or author, as was the case in July 2018 when this letter hit my Solar Spots inbox:

Pricey Sunspot: My aunt, Dolina McIntyre, was a daily singer/artist on radio station WCOU throughout the 1940’s. . . . I feel her stage title was Rozelle Corey. Does anybody bear in mind it or have extra info? Additionally, please let me know if there are any recordings.” – Jimmy, No City

I’ve discovered that Dolina and Crozel aren’t the identical particular person, however that inquiry led to an award-winning function story, Ms. Sunspots’ transient reply expanded upon by a contract author at The Solar Journal.

Remember the Korean hibiscusPosted on October 28, 2018, simply three days after the “First Woman of Maine Broadcaster” birthday. After the story was printed, Solar Spots poured in from members of the family and others who knew Roselle, together with native radio celeb Connie Cott.

One other query that led me fully down a rabbit path was when loyal reader Heidi inquired the place her vintage, handcrafted blood may very well be donated. I discovered the Hazel & Owen Currier Historic Puppet Museum in Fribourg. Because the museum already homes ten thousand dolls of Hazel, it could possibly’t maintain any extra, nonetheless I found another home for Heidi’s collection By way of volunteer contacts on the Museum.

My favourite messages

As a rule, your messages ring a bell with me. I laughed loads, was annoyed at instances, and even shed a tear or two. And typically your messages fire up a particular reminiscence for me that I am unable to assist however share.

I admit I’ve my favourites.

For a few years, Heidi has despatched Solar Spots fantastically handwritten letters that at all times carry pleasure to my day:

Pricey Sunspot: Once I bought dwelling at the moment, somebody stunned me with a lovely blue vase of flowers left on my entrance door.

Once I was a toddler and I visited my grandmother, I picked wildflowers on my means and introduced them to her. She was at all times so completely satisfied and put it in a vase on her kitchen desk. My thought is, why solely give flowers on birthdays, holidays, and on the grave? Whoever you’re, thanks a lot for the beautiful reward.” — Heidi, Wilton

This recipe was utilized in Solar Spots within the ’70s and is only one of many recipes shared over time by column. Presenter

I by no means laid eyes on Heidi however I felt like I knew her. When she died not too long ago, her neighbor wrote to inform me, referring to me as “that good girl within the newspaper”.

I am going to admit it is onerous to not get connected to the “regulars” who write to Solar Spots again and again. There’s MaryAnn hauling trash baggage stuffed with soda cans to Portland for the Ronald McDonald Home. There’s David, who posts nice recipes, and Louise, who checks in simply to see how I am doing.

What would I do with out Jerry, who helps reply veterans’ questions?

I’d additionally like to specific my appreciation to the late Cat Man Norm who, together with his associate Rose, based Tommy’s Feral Feline Associates in Inexperienced. His requests to Solar Spots to provide his cats had been very touching, and every time he adopted it up with a heartfelt observe of thanks.

And what about these Good Samaritans — those who sweep driveways for the aged, speeding to assistance from somebody in a automobile accident or somebody who has slipped on the ice?

I additionally love getting messages about “meals angels” who pay anonymously for strangers’ restaurant meals, quick meals, espresso, or groceries.

You see, after I was chosen to be Mrs. Solar Spots, I did not know that I’d check a lot extra from you than studying how you can use Jerusalem artichoke in a recipe or how you can translate a letter written in Esperanza.

Your enthusiasm for this place all of us name dwelling, your willingness to cease what you are doing to assist another person, your loyalty, generosity, and goodwill – all of it conjures up me and offers me a way of consolation and belonging.

I am going to say it once more: We would not have Solar Spots with out you, readers. What a deal with to journey with you on this informative and fantastic journey. Let’s go for one more 50 years.

Completely happy birthday to us! Preserve these messages coming. . .

And as we are saying in Sunspotsland, shine!

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