April 07, 2020

After 57 years, Hudson woman gets degree

It is a college senior’s absolute worst nightmare. You are in your cap and gown, standing in line on Alumni Field on the University of Maine campus in Orono, waiting to be awarded your diploma.

Suddenly, someone taps you on the shoulder and tells you you’re not going to graduate: You don’t have enough credits.

For Dorothy Willard Dyer of Hudson, that nightmare came true in 1940. Dyer explained that “in some building somewhere” was posted a list of seniors ineligible for graduation, but that she hadn’t seen the list. “There I was, in my cap and gown, and a friend tapped me on the shoulder and said `Dot. Do you know your name is on that list? You’re not going to get your diploma.”

She ran off the field in tears. “I felt awful,” she said. For 57 years, she carried her transcript — the unfinished business of her life — in her pocketbook.

But, last October, she could put that transcript away. Thanks to the efforts of her daughter, Ruth Cambridge of Old Town, and the cooperation of university officials who discovered Dyer had enough credits all along to graduate, Dyer was awarded the leather-bound diploma.

In a ceremony at Alumni Hall, College of Education and Human Development Dean Robert Cobb announced the awarding of the diploma which was presented to Dyer by university President Peter Hoff.

“I was tickled to get that,” Dyer said. “As you get older, there’s lots of things — things that hang that have never been finished — and you have a feeling that you’d like to get them done.”

Dyer believes she didn’t get her diploma in 1940 because she had a “misunderstanding with a sociology professor and got an incomplete on a paper.” Back then, the route to a university degree was circuitous, to say the least. Dyer attended Aroostook State Normal School in Presque Isle for two years and spent a year at Ricker Junior College in Houlton, which qualified her to teach. But she always wanted to attend the state university and get that diploma, she said.

She came to Orono, worked as a waitress, and took extra classes to try to complete in 18 months what should have taken two years or more to accomplish. But, somehow, it just didn’t quite work out that way.

Life moved along. Dyer didn’t question the circumstances of her situation, she just tried to work around it. She taught school, married and had a family. After the birth of one child, she attempted to complete the credit “but my mother was taking care of the baby and she fell and broke her arm. That was the end of that,” Dyer said. Another time she tried to enroll at the University of New Hampshire but couldn’t afford the fees.

But, when all is said and done, a university degree was worth waiting for, and worth forgiving her daughter “for sneaking that transcript” out of her mother’s pocketbook.

“I’m 82 years young, and I’m awfully glad I’ve got it,” Dyer said.

Hooray! Sammy is safe.

The 5-year-old golden retriever who was staying with Annaleis and Brent Hafford in Stetson while her father and Sammy’s master, Victor Grob of West Penobscot, underwent surgery in Bangor, disappeared from the Hafford yard at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Annaleis Hafford opened the door and found Sammy sitting there, reported his mistress, Anna Grob.

The family doesn’t know if Sammy was inside with someone, or spent two very cold nights outside when the temperature dipped into the single numbers and the wind-chill factor made it even colder.

But Brent Hafford told us he thought he heard Sammy “with some coyotes one night, and I really thought he was a goner then.”

We will probably never know what adventures Sammy experienced during those 51 frigid hours, but Hafford said he looks fine, and we know the Grobs are very, very happy to have their Sammy back.

Nothing is exempt from an ice storm delay, not even the taking of orders for Girl Scout cookies.

We learned that while the annual cookie sale to raise funds for the 8,000 members and volunteers of the Abnaki Council officially began Jan. 9, the storm has caused the sale to get off to a very slow start.

Executive Director Jo Stevens announced that council officials are extending the order-taking deadline by one week. You can now order your cookies through Monday, Feb. 2, but still expect delivery in late February or early March.

If you have no Scouts in your area to order from, contact the council at 989-7474 or 800-464-3858.

Add another postponement to your growing list of ice storm rescheduling.

Carmel Historical Society Vice President Connie Graves reports the public potluck supper originally scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Masonic Hall in Carmel has been postponed to Thursday, March 12.

The supper features our colleague, Melissa McCrae, reading excerpts from the book she edited with Maureen Bradford, “No Place for Little Boys: Civil War Letters of a Union Soldier.”

Several CHS members are direct descendants of Peleg Bradford Jr., whose collection of letters is featured in the book.

The Standpipe, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; 990-8288.

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