Seniors take sentimental journey around Madawaska

MADAWASKA, Maine — More than a dozen Country Village Estates residents took part in a nostalgic ride around town on Tuesday, when members of the Northern Cruisers Auto Club stopped by to offer rides in several classic cars.

“This just brings back memories for many of our residents,” said Louis Dugal, who owns the retirement and assisted living facility.

Some residents may have driven the very models they rode in, he said.

The eight cars taking part in Tuesday’s ride ranged from a 2000 Pontiac to a 1938 Chevy. The club, based in Madawaska, has 57 members from St. Francis down to Houlton and in Canada.

While waiting for the first group of riders to come back, Country Village resident Jeannine Albert said she wanted to ride in Dan Beaulieu’s 1970 blue El Camino.

Originally from Ottawa, Albert, 91, said she moved to Madawaska when she was 22 and married her late husband Roger H. Albert.

Theresa Ringuette, 91, another resident, went cruising in a very sporty 1967 Pontiac GTO, owned by Ronald Dionne.

“It gives a great ride,” she said.

The transplant from Prince Edward Island said she started driving when she was 40, but only gave up her car last year.


“I do miss it sometimes,” she said. “It’s fun going for a drive.”

Last year, club members started organizing such rides for residents at local nursing homes and residential care facilities, starting with the St. Joseph Memory Care Center in Frenchville.

“It’s nice for the residents,” said club president Gerald St. Jarre. “It has sentimental value.”

St. Jarre recalled what one resident said to him during last year’s ride at St. Joseph.

“She said, ‘All we get to see are ceilings and walls,’” he said. Taking residents out for a fun ride in a classic car helps alleviate that monotony.

“It’s touching to see the people,” St. Jarre said.

This was the first time the car club organized a ride at Country Village. But residents also get an opportunity in the summer and again in the fall to ride on trails thanks to the local ATV club.

Residents of the 27-room facility also take part in trips to see Music in the Park concerts in Madawaska and to the Mizpah retreat in Grand Isle, according to activity director Sandra Hebert.

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