SOUTH BAYMOUTH—Even in winter the Bowerman’s South Baymouth garden is a pleasure to see. Tall grasses rise from the snow and sway gently in the breeze. Dwarf trees and trellises add a sculptural appeal. Inside their home the rooms are filled with light and warmth, as are Dick and Eunice themselves. The garden isn’t their only claim to fame, however. Both Dick and Eunice are well known for their community involvement.
“It all started when our house burnt down, the day they landed on the moon,” Dick said.
“1969. July,” said Eunice. They have a tendency to finish each others’ sentences.
The fire left them with nothing. “We were in the car. We had four kids. The people of the township were wonderful. We only had to buy a broom and an ironing board. They held a shower in South Baymouth and one in Tehkummah. People were fantastic. It was unreal.”
The fire, and the community’s response to it, sparked an interest in helping others. They financed their first foray into volunteering with a pair of rheas. “Eunice decided she wanted to get a pair of ostriches. It became a big fad for a while,” Dick explained. “The old girl laid about 40 eggs. Everyone wanted them.”
With the proceeds, Dick bought a camera and set up a darkroom. He took about 2,000 photos of all the homes in the township for the Little Schoolhouse and Museum collection. The following year he photographed the barns, providing a visual record of the community. For his work, Dick received a certificate of appreciation from the Heritage Community Recognition Program. That was in 1998 and he hasn’t looked back.
Dick has just joined the museum board for a second time. Over the years he’s completed a number of projects for the museum.
Twenty years ago, with no actual funding, he and Paul Bowerman managed to build a gazebo at the museum. He has built displays, made quilt racks, planters, and signs. He even built and installed a new belfry. Dick does the woodwork, then Eunice does the sanding and painting. It is difficult to recognize Dick’s contributions to the community without including Eunice. “Whatever we do, we do together,” he said. “We painted the museum last year,” Eunice said. “Everything was already off the walls,” continued Dick. “It was fun. It had never been painted before, from when it was built.”
Dick likes to walk. “But I couldn’t walk on the roads in winter. It was too cold.” About eight years ago he began clearing brush on some unused road allowances in South Baymouth. People starting going out and liked what he was doing. Soon others were helping with the work. After the Bowerman trails were finished, he went on and built about 700 feet of boardwalk and some stairs.
Dick received the Senior of the Year award from Tehkummah in 2007 for this work.
For many years he was a volunteer firefighter and first responder but leaves that to the younger generation now. Dick and Eunice both volunteer on an “as needed” basis with the Volunteer Navy to provide tourism information on the Chi-Cheemaun, and have signed on as Sunday volunteers at the museum. They’re trying to scale back some of their activities. “We’re aging quicker than we’re downsizing,” said Eunice.
“But we’re enjoying getting older,” said Dick. “We really are.”