Who were those masked women putting in signs below First Congregational Church of Wiscasset’s sign at the bottom of the common, next to Route 1 April 14?
Residents Beth Maxwell, in a face mask she made, and Terry Heller, in a bandana-face mask, pounded in the plywood signs Maxwell made by painting “Bells ring, light shines, love prevails” onto the backs of Garden Club of Wiscasset signs. Maxwell is the club’s president and is in the church’s Ladies Organ Society, where the idea for posting a message on the common started, she said in a phone interview Friday.
The bells part refers to the daily bell-ringing in the village during the COVID-19 pandemic; and the light, to the Christmas and other lights that have appeared, like the ones Maxwell has put along her fence. “And just for the sense of light being hope and the light still shining in this dark time,” she said about that part of the message.
The last line, “love prevails,” came directly from a letter to the editor Heller wrote, Maxwell said.
Maxwell hopes the words of encouragement will help. “I think we’re all obviously facing nothing that we’ve ever faced before, and having to just deal with it in our own ways. So anything to make it more hopeful I think is important,” Maxwell said.
Asked why she helped Maxwell post the signs that face both northbound and southbound traffic, Heller, a fellow garden club member, said Maxwell is a dear friend “and I regularly admire her projects.”
Maxwell said feedback to the message has been positive in the days since the signs went up, and even when they were going up. “When we were putting them up, one of the big trucks was coming by and he honked his horn at us.”
First Congregational’s pastor said he loves the sign. “I thought it was a wonderful idea and just one more way that we can help spread hope in these challenging times,” Rev. Josh Fitterling wrote in a text response Friday.