Remembering Phyllis Scala
Phyllis was a devoted fan of Higgins Beach. Phyllis and her husband Eraldus bought their cottage from Gladys Stanislaus in 1958 when not much was happening on the east end of the beach or East Point as it was officially known. Living virtually on the marsh at the top of Champion Street, she had a commanding view of nature at its best and enjoyed daily swims in the Atlantic.
The picture below shows Phyllis with her mom on a beach in earlier times (unfortunately not on Higgins)
In this photo below. we see Phyllis with her "happy face" on ready to hit the waves at Higgins.
Her obituary from the Portland Press Herald reads as follows.
PORTLAND - Phyllis Scala 1920-2019 Scarborough- Phyllis Elizabeth Potenzo Scala died April 27, 2019 at the age of 98. She lived life to the fullest,reaching personal, musical, spiritual and professional heights while traveling miles with her husband of 61 year, Eraldus “Pete” Scala. Her four daughters share the memories of Phyllis, our mother, who gave us life, showed us how to run and then brought us together again in her aging years for slower walks, words of wisdom and memorable quotes. We will miss you Mom/Nana, with love from your daughters Phyllis G., Ralda, Elise, and Chrissey, their husbands, children and grandchildren. Phyllis grew up in Portland, Maine, the eldest child of Joe and Frances Potenzo with her baby brother Frank. She retold loved memories of playing field hockey at the Oaks, Miss Montpelier’s piano lessons, Strand Theatre recitals, train trips for Bruno family visits, and skiing Mt. Washington while recalling her mother’s words “do you have to take every chance?” She graduated from Portland High School class of 1938 and Westbrook College class of 1940. She started her professional career in Portland then moved to NYC in 1945, “leaving multiple marriage proposals” behind. In NYC she worked in publishing and enjoyed the glamour and opportunities of the city. She enrolled in classes at Columbia University and practiced piano at the YMCA, where she caught Pete’s ear and eye. His ambition as an aspiring engineer caught hers too. She followed her heart then retold “After hanging the 1000th diaper I wrote to my NY boss and told him it was unlikely I'd be coming back to work” Over her many prime years she raised four daughters, “built 2 houses,” qualified to be a certified piano teacher, recorded CDs of her piano masterpieces and original inspirational hymns, and developed successful business interests. Aging was not in her plans, as she was too busy enjoying swimming, running, playing piano and investing. She attended Cornell University and Ithaca College and earned her Bachelor’s degree in her 60's. Her greatest academic challenge was the required insect collection for Field Biology, as she never even killed a fly. In her 70's and 80's she partnered with business girlfriend Lucy to volunteer tax preparation services in the Ithaca, NY community. At age 85 and 93 she recorded her piano masterpieces as family gifts. Phyllis’ strength, faith and compassion were fueled by an impeccable diet, her homemade whole grain bread (that took out more than one son-in-law), daily jogs and laps in the pool or in the ocean at Higgins Beach (“I am baptized with each dip” at the “the best beach around”). These joyful moments inspired her Lenten advise and mom directives: “Release your hang-ups,” “Do what’s right so you don't run pillar to post”, “Just tell them you're damn good” “You're a free agent, right on the button, on the right track…so go do it”. Her love, words and smiles are forever in the memories of her family, friends and caregivers. Special thanks to Atria Scarborough and the Barron Center for their wonderful care, and to her fitness coach Sarah MacColl who helped extend Phyllis’ life wish “If I can't walk outside it’s not worth going.” A Memorial Mass to celebrate Phyllis' life will be held at 10 am on June 10, 2019, at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, 72 Federal St., Portland, followed by interment at Calvary Cemetery , South Portland. In memory of Phyllis we asked that you take a swim at Higgins Beach.