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DIRIGO STORIES: 'Talking car' is the talk of the town

Barbara O'Brien, 78, drives around Higgins Beach once a week during the summer making community announcements in her "talking car."

SCARBOROUGH (WGME) -- Every Wednesday morning in the summer, the Higgins Beach club house is packed for breakfast.

It's a good deal: Coffee, juice, donut, or a muffin for $2.

"It's just nice, it's old-fashioned," said Susan Thompson, who has lived in Higgins Beach for 70 years.

The Higgins Beach Association Board hosts the breakfast each week and keeps the community updated through a newsletter and website.

But they have a secret weapon to help spread the word to the seasonal residents.

"I love it. It's the best job anyone could ever have," said Barbara O'Brien.

At 78, O'Brien is the oldest serving member on the board, and for the past thirty years, she's been known as "The Voice of Higgins Beach."

"Barbara...she loves the talking car," said Sharon Conley, O'Brien's neighbor and friend.

O'Brien attaches speakers and a microphone to her Jeep, and every Tuesday night at 5 p.m. she drives around the neighborhood making community announcements.

"Somebody said 'You should have a recording,' and I said 'No you don't need a recording. You have to do it. Yourself,'" O'Brien said.

Over and over Mrs. O'Brien announces the breakfast to neighbors. Sometimes she'll tell them about a concert or a dinner.

During our visit, it was all about the last breakfast of the season.

"Wednesday morning breakfast is 9 o'clock at the club house with coffee, juice, donut, or a muffin for $2 dollars," O'Brien announced. "This is the last breakfast of the season so grab your friends and enjoy that last cup of coffee together."

Neighbors, especially kids, come out to wave to O'Brien as she drives by. She says sometimes the young children think the car can actually talk.

"I love the people. I love the kids," O'Brien said. "When they're hopping and jumping and they love to see you, it just warms my heart!"

O'Brien inherited the job from a neighbor, Bill Cousins, who started the talking car more than 45 years ago. She still uses the original sound system.

"I don't know how I got it, maybe because I had a loud voice."

"She is a 'salt of the earth' friend," said Sharon Conley. "You'll never meet anyone like Barbara, ever."

The area has changed over the years, but "The Voice of Higgins Beach" has not.

"Everybody wants it. I've already had people say "Oh i want to do this and I want to do that' well you're not going to do it now because I've got it!" O'Brien joked.

She's not giving up the talking car anytime soon.

"I will do it as long as I can, even if somebody has to drive me."

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