Her family means a lot to Verona Island Town Clerk Marlene Smith.
Born on this island surrounded by the Penobscot River, Marlene attended the town’s two-room schoolhouse on School Street for 1½ years. “I was only in first grade when we [students] moved to Bucksport” to attend that town’s schools, she recalled.
Soon after graduating from Bucksport High School, Marlene moved to Connecticut and “did piece work for the International Silver Company,” which made “compacts, lipstick tubes,” and other products. That October she married Harvey Smith, who “was already working down there” for International Silver.
“We lived in South Meriden,” Marlene said. “It wasn’t like being home.”
The Smiths moved to Verona Island in March 1971, and their son, Craig, was born that August. The Smiths also have a daughter, Carrie, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, 5-year-old great-granddaughter Harper and 11-month-old great-grandson Hudson. “They’re the light of my life,” Marlene said with a smile.
She and Carrie have a large garden in which they grow potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, peas and onions, and Carrie “grows a lot of herbs,” Marlene said. She makes her own jams — raspberry, blueberry and strawberry rhubarb — and with Carrie preserves tomatoes and spaghetti sauce.
“There were 12 in my family” when she was growing up, Marlene said. “We grew our own vegetables and canned a lot of our food.”
An avid gardener, Marlene also raises “all the bulbs, tulips and daffodils and a lot of perennials, too” in her flower garden.
She and Harvey “take vacations once in a while,” and “I love spending time with my family.” While attending college, granddaughter Kayla Gray worked part time for Marlene in the Verona Island town office for almost three years. Shelley Bowden now works one day a week with Marlene, who is also the town town treasurer, tax collector and registrar of voters.