Lebanese culture and traditions, Mitchell family, Mitchell, George, Sr., Mitchell, Mary (Saad), Supreme Court, Waterville (Me.)
Barbara (Mitchell) Atkins was born in July, 1935, in Waterville, Maine. She grew up with four older brothers: John, Paul, Robert, and George Mitchell (Sr.). Her mother, Mintaha, was a weaver in the woolen mills in Waterville, and her father, George, Sr., was with the Central Maine Power Company and with the Colby College maintenance department. The family practiced the Maronite Roman Catholic rite of Lebanese descent. Her mother was born in Lebanon and immigrated in 1920. Barbara attended St. Joseph’s elementary school, Waterville Junior High School, and Waterville High School, where she played volleyball, basketball, was a cheerleader, a member of the French Club, and edited the yearbook. She earned her degree at the University of Maine, Orono, majoring in sociology. She married Edward L. Atkins, who had a printing and photography business; Barbara managed the office staff for her husband’s business when she wasn’t teaching. Edward Atkins was a devout Democrat, although he came from a Republican family.
Janet (Fraser) Mitchell was born December 5, 1931, near Westbrook, Maine. When she was fifteen she and her family moved to Waterville, Maine, where she attended Waterville High School in the same class as George Mitchell. She married Robbie Mitchell, George Mitchell’s older brother. She lives in Waterville.
Interview includes discussion of: growing up in Waterville; the Lebanese community in Waterville; Barbara attending class with her brother George when they were young; their parents’ interest in the children’s education; Janet Mitchell’s welcome to the Mitchell family; an anecdote about George Mitchell bringing Janet’s mother a Christmas tree; an anecdote about George and Robert Mitchell working together at the Boys Club; Eddie Atkins; an anecdote about George Mitchell practicing at home to read the Epistle as an altar boy; Mitchell family gatherings; Robbie Mitchell; the Mitchell brothers playing cribbage; Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell; Mrs. Mitchell’s baking; the goat milk story; story of George Mitchell giving his brother Robbie a car; George Mitchell’s time doing counter-intelligence work; turning down the Supreme Court judgeship; their aspirations that he would be president; and the good qualities of the people of Maine.
This recording and transcription are © 2011 Bowdoin College and are presented for private study, scholarship, or research only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction, and quotation beyond “fair use” (Title 17, United States Code) permission must be obtained in writing from the George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421, USA.