AUBURN – For six decades, Bill Palman has been making windows of downtown buildings gleam.
Palman, 84, was on the job Tuesday when he was pulled aside while squeegeeing the glass on a building he has taken care of since 1976. It was Palman’s day to be honored.
Workers in the HRH Northern New England building were joined by city officials, family and friends to celebrate and recognize Palman’s 61 years of washing windows for downtown businesses. They applauded as Palman entered, leaving him momentarily stunned.
Palman’s father founded a window-washing company in New York City, then moved to Massachusetts and Portland before finally settling in Lewiston. Bill Palman joined his father in Lewiston Window Cleaning in August 1946.
Palman brightens more than the glass he leaves glistening, said Colleen Rioux, head of the insurance company’s bond department. She invited him in for cake and a presentation of gifts that included a gold-handled squeegee, a gold-star patterned bucket and a new L.L. Bean Gore-Tex jacket.
“Everyone who he comes in contact with is greeted with a friendly smile and cheery hello. Everyone knows him,” said Rioux.
Mayor John Jenkins joined those honoring Palman, saying, “Your outstanding and unwavering service allows us to see our community with clear vision.”
“Do you take apprentices?” Jenkins said. “I’m looking for a new job.”
One of Palman’s admirers read a poem honoring him. It said in part, “He inspires us all to do our jobs for as long and as well as we can.”
“I just hope this is me you’re talking about,” joked Palman. “I’m kind of overwhelmed.”
Palman, who now limits his washing to first-floor windows, said he has no intention of retiring.
“I’ve had a lot of fun over the years,” he said. “You meet the nicest people.”