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Carolyn Sowash Mitchell

Where all have you lived? Where do you live now?

After graduating I lived in Chicago and in 1971, my husband, Joe Mitchell and I moved to Portland, Maine. Not an easy move economically, but the rewards were more than sufficient and we never looked back. Years later we bought a second home in Georgetown, Maine on the shore of Harmon’s Harbor, a peaceful tidal cove.

About your family:

Joe and I have two children: Wyatt, now 44, and Emily, now 37 (YIKES!—How did that happen?) Wyatt is not married, lives in Chicago, does computer animation and special effects, and is currently doing CAD work for a custom furniture design group. Emily is married to Mario Madero, lives in New Orleans, has two (adorable) girls, and is the CEO of and organization that sponsors some of the popular elebrations that bring folks from near and far such as Satchmo Fest, and French Quarter Fest.

What kind of work did/do you do?

After working various full and part time jobs, 10 years later I went back to school and commuted from Portland to Boston for a Masters Degree in Library Science degree from Simmons College. A challenge while working part-time with a small child but Joe was super supportive and contributed a lot of child care. In 1979 l I was hired by a local independent school (preschool -12th grade) where I worked for 25 years. I was very fotunate to always have someone on my staff who enjoyed  detail work like cataloging so I could concentrate on teaching research techniques (as technology was rapidly changing the library world) as well as the fun stuff like story hours and book fairs.

How do you spend your leisure time?

My favorite moments are relaxing with a good book—not my Kindle, laptop, iPad and I don’t even have TV. Otherwise, I was an avid gardener for several years. Eventually, however, the deer won the battle of the salad bar (my garden) and I decided to learn appreciate their delicate beauty. I enjoy walking with friends,  I gather kniitters and knot knitters on a weekly basis through the winter months, and generally don’t mind quiet time on my own.

What are your community involvements?

I have volunteered for years at the Georgetown Historical Society (Maine), the Richards Library (Georgetown, ME), and the Georgetown Working League which raises funds for scholarships and local other Georgetown volunteer efforts including the fire department.

Things you've learned to be true in the last 50 years...

On a personal scale, I know satisfaction is not about The Stuff—but my reluctance to let it go is all about association and memory and I’m astonished to find it so difficult though I’m determined to smallify and simplify. Additionally I believe life is all about balance and the challenge to achieve it.

Things you've seen in the last 50 years that were spectacular...

Oh man!!! I’ve been so very fortunate to travel enough to unforgettable sites.

First coming to mind:  climbing to the top of Temple One at Tikal, Guatemala. (sorry, you can’t do it anymore due to a couple of deaths of tourists falling down the steep and shallow stairs).  I’m not good at heights but adventures into fear can be very rewarding.

Second: the moment I put on my snorkel off the coast of St. John (USVI) I was  transfixed. An entire colorful world I had never dreamed of; amazing, unforgettable and  so important to preserve.

Third–Iguazu Falls in Brazil. Niagra, you got nothin’ on this.

Fifth: Horseback riding through Monument Valley,Utah, to watch the rising of the full moon with a close friend knowing her life was near ending.

Sixth: And most important: Birth. Children or grandchildren or even puppies or kittens. It’s a time of wonderment. Dash all dire thoughts, celebrate the positive possiblilities!

Things that have surprised you in the last 50 years....

How can I possibly be 70 years old? Thankful for good health but increasingly impatient with The World. This must be an undeliably sign of age.   

Things that have disappointed you in the last 50 years...

I’m continuously confounded by our human disability to put into practice the lessons so clearly given us by history. I’m disappointed that the activism and idealism we shared in 1968 has not carried more strongly into the present.

Have you had a life changing event?

My husband, Joe, died in 2002. Not a positive event, but as Life will have it I’m rewarded by the great joy of two grandchildren, Elia 6, and Devi 4.

What are you most proud of?

In addition to my creative and capable children, I was pleased to help make the library into the school hub, not only of research and literature, but a place of social activity as well. A place where kids from three to eighteen mixed and delighted in the adventure of learning. It was not a quiet library.

Other thoughts you'd like to share:

I am truly grateful for the experience and influence of Lake Forest College. The College encouraged indepence as well as collaboration both of which have served me well. The friendships I formed there continue to be strong and of great value. Finally, I definitely got the message that education does not stop upon graduation but continually enriches and deepens one’s experience.

Who you're most looking forward to seeing at the reunion:

I just looked through my 1968 Forester Yearbook and decided there is no one I would not look forward to seeing though I hope we will all wear large, easily read name tag!