LIVERMORE — This year’s annual Livermore Town Report is dedicated to Norma Boothby.
She has been a resident of Livermore and an active community member since marrying her late husband, Les, in 1954. He passed away in 2000 after a long battle with cancer.
Norma is ready with a story, a quip, a pie and a dozen cookies at a moment’s notice. Shortly after graduating from Nasson College, she married Les and joined him at the University of Maine at Orono. From there, they spent a memorable two years in Germany. While Les slept in the field and prepared to fend off the Russians at the height of the Cold War, Norma and a handful of similarly situated wives toured Europe on a shoe-string making memories and creating remarkably few international diplomatic incidents, a particular incident on the Czech border notwithstanding.
Following his tour, Les and Norma returned to farm, becoming the fifth generation of Boothby’s to manage Century Elm Farms. Norma kept the books, raised her sons, cared for her aging grandmother, gardened, canned, and did all the things for which rural farm wives are known. But in her usual way, she went further, becoming involved with the Cub Scouts, PTA, and any other civic-minded activity available. During this time, she was developing a reputation among friends and family as a fabulous baker and entertainer with a dramatic flourish.
Eventually, along with Glenda Richards and Willi Irish, she fell under the spell of Billie Gammon and became an interpreter/entertainer and Maine humorist at the Norlands Living History Center. Perfecting her persona as Eunice Chenery, a 19th century school teacher and spinster, she travelled all over New England sharing educational programs with a comic bent and impeccable delivery.
During this same time frame, she honed her baking skills and single-handedly undertook to bring smiles to faces and inches to the waistlines of the citizens of central Maine, at times baking 125 pies in a single weekend, dozens of filled cookies and various other goodies for sale at the family farm stand.
Along the way, her interest in history and thirst for knowledge spurred her to earn a B.A. degree in History at UMF. During that process, she further enhanced her writing skills and wrote many poems and short stories which she shares in various forms.
After losing her husband, Norma found solace in the kitchen and continued to bake for every cause that came to her attention. Even today, after recovering from a broken hip, she continues to bake for various causes; her pies disappearing like contraband with bidders secretly making deals to acquire their favorite flavors. Her family notes she bakes fiendishly for family gatherings, pies sometimes outnumbering guests.
Norma takes tremendous pleasure in the successes of her sons, Clint and Rob and their wives Susan and Denise. She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.