by Maren Schober
It wasn’t easy, but I found his driveway at last. William Paradis stands in the grove of trees by the edge of his driveway waiting for me. He is a welcome sight as he greets me and guides me to his home in Lyme down the long winding path in the woods.
“My wife Virginia and I bought this stone house in 1960. It was a much smaller house at the time, and I made lots of changes. I put an addition on the house – doing it myself. Virginia always wanted a parlor room so I built this room,” Bill declares.
Bill opens the door and we walk into the largest “parlor” I ever saw. It is a long large room comfortably furnished and inviting. The huge fireplace built into one of the walls is an example of Bill’s handiwork.
Bill’s home rests on seven acres of land in the Lyme countryside. It is a lovely piece of property facing Beaver Pond surrounded by a combination of woods and open fields.
“We raised six children here and there was never a lack of things for the kids to do outside, such as camping in tents, riding horses, hiking in the woods and swimming in the pond.”
I asked about the camping out.
“Yes, the kids camped in tents on the property. When they didn’t like listening to the wild animals at night, they crept back into the house!”
What wild animals!?!
“Oh, we have lots of animals roaming around here, “ Bill explains. “I see deer, turkey, chickens, coons, beaver, rabbits, mice… and the bear.”
“Yes, I have seen the bear lots of times. He’s only about this high,” he says, with his hand about four feet from the floor.
William Benjamin Paradis was born in 1927 to John and Leah Paradis of Rockport, MA.
“I had a happy childhood growing up in Rockport hanging out around the water,” Bill shares. “I loved jumping from the roof of the yacht club and diving for quarters when the boats of tourists came in to the pier.”
After high school, Bill joined the Navy. He was sent to college and then trained to be a pilot.
“I saw active duty for 94 days, but stayed in the Navy for a period of 24 years. My biggest adventure was when the aircraft carrier ‘Bennington’ I was on blew up in an explosion. One hundred and nine men were killed. None of the men in my squadron lost their lives. The explosion was due to the failure of the hydraulic system of the catapults.”
Bill met his wife Virginia at a dance hall when he was on leave. “My wife was a trophy wife in the way she looked and acted. We have had a good marriage and traveled this country together from Florida to Maine.”
Bill stays active with his home projects, church, senior citizens club and his electric train hobby. “I tell people I think they should do something they like in life and not to pay attention to what other people think of them.”