Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 30, 2018
Blodgetts head west after years of town involvement
Edson Blodgett and his wife Sally are moving out of the house Blodgett acquired from his aunt Cora, which has been in the family for generations, to Montana to live closer to their daughter.
by Monique Labbe
Edson Blodgett is a fountain of information when it comes to Brooksville. Born in town in 1938, Blodgett and his brother Denis, only 19 months his senior, were raised in a Brooksville not dissimilar to the Brooksville of today.
“It really hasn’t changed all that much, or maybe I just don’t see it,” said Blodgett while sitting in the house his Aunt Cora owned during his childhood years. “They built the new schoolhouse, the high school consolidated with George Stevens Academy, a lot of relatives have died or moved away, but I can’t say there have been any dramatic or traumatic changes.”
Blodgett attended elementary school in the Brooksville school system until fifth grade, when his father made the decision to enroll him and his brother in school in West Sedgwick. Blodgett’s father was doing a mail run for the post office at the time, and the route took him through West Sedgwick right in time to drop his sons off for school every morning.
“The first day I entered the schoolhouse [in West Sedgwick], they asked me what grade I was in. I told them fifth. They said they didn’t have fifth grade at the school, and that I would be going to sixth grade. Just like that, I finished fifth grade in five minutes and saved my father a year’s tuition,” said Blodgett.
Blodgett returned to Brooksville for schooling for his freshman year at Brooksville High School. During his junior year, his father decided he needed to attend a larger high school in anticipation of college at the University of Maine in Orono, which was his plan following his senior year. He was enrolled at Higgins Classical Institute in Charleston for his senior year, and reported to the University of Maine the following fall to study education.
“I think somewhere between first and second grade I decided I wanted to be a teacher for the rest of my life,” said Blodgett.
Blodgett met his wife Sally during his first year at UMaine, and while that marriage has lasted 61 years, his teaching career had a much shorter life span.
He was hired as a high school math and science teacher in Connecticut after graduating college, and when he stepped through the doors for his first day, he thought he was starting what would become a long chapter in his life.
“I decided immediately after that first day that there wasn’t enough room in any school for both the students and myself, and one of us had to go,” said Blodgett.
Blodgett had signed a contract, though, and had to “struggle through” until the end of the school year in June. Having participated in Reserve Officers Training Corps and attending basic training in college, Blodgett had a backup plan, and started work at Camp Drum that summer as the registrar for National Guard Medical Department activity. That employment started a 21 year career serving in the Army, which took Blodgett and his wife, and eventually their two children Gaye and Scott, all over the world.
After retiring from the Army, Blodgett spent the next 21 years in civil service, working in various Department of Defense roles. It was after reaching his retirement in 1998 that Blodgett decided it was time to come home to Brooksville.
Blodgett and his wife moved into the house next door to his childhood homestead, which has been owned by his younger brother for decades. Since coming back 20 years ago, the couple has become a fixture in the community, particularly with the Brooksville Historical Society. Sally was the archivist for the society up until last year, and Blodgett has made it his personal mission to make sure all the grave sites in town, past and present, are accounted for and cared for as much as they can be. Blodgett has also been an almost monthly presence at school board meetings, and has allowed the students to access the wooded area and fields around his home for their education. He is also involved in the annual MAJA Trivia competition, and has served as a judge in the final championship every year.
“We’re so fortunate to have the relationships we have with the people in this town,” said Blodgett. “The traditions, the neighbors, these are all wonderful things in our lives.”
At the age of 83, the couple’s time in Brooksville is coming to an end. They are moving to Montana this fall to live with their daughter, as age has called for them to make the decision to move closer to family. Blodgett said that while he is looking forward to living closer to his daughter, he is disappointed he was not able to finish out his life in his childhood home.
“When we decided to come back, I had said that this was where I was going to be until I went up to Mount Rest [Cemetery],” said Blodgett. “But it wasn’t meant to be. I’m happy we chose to come here, and I’m glad I had a partner [in Sally] who was comfortable with moving here with me. Brooksville is an amazing community.”