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Bills Back on Maine Diner Ceiling

April 29, 2002

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CASTINE, Maine (AP) _ The dollar amounts and the length of the letters varied, but the message to the owners of Dennett’s Wharf was the same: Put this money on the ceiling and start over again.

For more than a decade, patrons of this restaurant have maintained an odd tradition of throwing money at the ceiling. Propelled with the help of a thumbtack and a 50-cent piece, the dollar bills stuck.

In October, the money came down when the restaurant’s owners, Carolyn and Gary Brouillard, donated the $12,313 to the widow of a man who died in the World Trade Center attacks.

The story of the Brouillards sending the money to the family of James Audiffred spread, and almost immediately, former employees and customers, distant relatives, close friends and strangers began sending the Brouillards new dollar bills for the ceiling.

Some letters were lengthy and emotional, others just a few words long.

Susan Biel of Central Square, N.Y., wrote in her postscript that her first boyfriend was from Castine. Robert Butts of Olympia, Wash., enclosed only a drawing that depicted a building with an arrow pointing to the ceiling when he sent his dollar bill.

``Your simple kind act has touched many and helps remind us that goodness will always win out over evil,″ wrote Paul and Barbara Deite of Mansfield, Mass.

On Saturday, the Brouillards, their employees, friends and neighbors threw more than $600 onto the ceiling.

``Today is not about what we did,″ Carolyn Brouillard said. ``What we did was a long time ago. This is about what all these other people did.″

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