Harold Averell

Harold Averell

Interviewed October, 2000

 

 

My life has probably been simpler than a lot of peoples lives. The single experience that has given me the greatest joy has been getting married. My wife and my children are the most influential people in my life. They are the ones I spent the most time with and I love the most. I met Mama when I was twenty-two years old.

My earliest childhood memory is probably at four years of age. I remember living up on what we call “the Hill.” We used to walk down to town with my mother and my father. I thought it was a long ways. It was probably about a three-quarters of a mile walk right to the center of town. I can barely remember living on Clay Hill. I can remember some of the cold winters up there. I was probably four years old and I can remember that we didn’t have any running water or bathroom facilities other than a “two holer” out in the back of the barn. We used to have to go to the next door neighbors’ to pump water out of their well and put it in the ice box. There weren’t any refrigerators then.

Then when I was five, we moved from up on the “Hill” to what was my

permanent home until I left home to go in the service. From the age of five to eighteen I lived at the house on Lincoln Street and most of my growing up years were really pretty fun times. There were a lot of children in the neighborhood and there were a lot of families in the neighborhood that were open to other children. My mother had had a stroke so that limited my being and going a lot of places that I probably would have if my mother hadn’t been sick.

I was around ten or eleven when my mother had a stroke-, in my earlier years we use to go to Gardiner together. I do remember that my mother and I quite often

 

would take the bus there. There used to be a bus that ran locally from Richmond to Gardiner and back and it was quite normal for us for like on a Saturday morning to go eat at a restaurant up there and do shopping and come home. But these trips ended

 

once my mother had her stroke. A lot of times it would be just me and my mother

because my father probably was working. Except maybe on a weekend we would all go.

Seeing that my mother was unable to work due to illness and my father had to provide all the financial support I think Nve were borderline middle class. He never owned an automobile. He either rode to work with friends of his, or when he worked right in the shoe shops right in town he walked to work. It seemed natural to walk to work. A lot of people at that time didn’t have a vehicle because actually vehicles at that time weren’t that numerous. From the early forties to the early fifties there were still a lot of horses around. Probably on @y fifty percent of the people owned their own vehicle at that time.

My father provided everything for is that we needed. We ate well. We were the meat and potato type family. We ate fair y simple, -fish every Friday, we weren’t religious it just seemed that the fish man came around every Thursday and sold fish so we’d buy fish and have a fish meal even( Friday. My mother was able to do some cooking even after her stroke. So she m   biscuits and pies and like that. I used to ride my bicycle up to my neighbors which was about a half a mile away. They had two of the nicest Gernsy cows that gave milk that was really high in cream, butterfat, and you could buy a quart of milk for ten cenL,,,. We always had plenty of milk to drink. My aunt and uncle that lived in Dresden had cows, so they would bring over some milk for

 

us, but they didn’t really have to we w ‘t begging for food or anything.

My mother,was a housewife. Mosi women at that time didn’t work for a living- they took care of the house and did the cooking and did a lot of sewing. There used,to be a lot of sewing bees around. Maybe every Wednesday night, maybe eight or ten of the mothers would get together and sew, ake clothes and like that. The women didn’t work in those days like they do today. In later years, women started to work

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more as there was a fairly good s

ized t@@ile mill in town. There were quite a few

women who worked in there as weaver 3 and spinners, Most of the women were just housewives.

We had some friends, a lady that lived up the street, that was an “old maid,” they used to say. She lived with her parents and they had a nice automobile. They would quite often ask us to go on a Sunday drive which would mean going to Augusta or Winthrop or Wiscasset or something like that. We would maybe eat lunch somewhere. That would happen quite (aen.

Christmas and Thanksgiving was nothing really special. We didn’t go anyplace for Christmas and Thanksgiving. There again, due to my mother’s illness, we were

limitedinthattoo. ltjustdidn’tseemallthatbigofadealatofthetime-itwasjustthi@

three of us.

I think it’s hard to describe my m ther because I don’t think I can see her before her illness. I think I was too young to re ly know. I think because of my mother’s sickness it really changed her disposition, she just wasn’t the same. People who have severe strokes tend to become very depressed and they need a lot of care. I think it was a whole different life style after my m@ther was taken sick.

The things that changed when my @other had a stroke was things like going to Gardiner, which probably today doesn’t seem like such a big deal. But, back then that was a big treat because we’d go shoppino and eat out and usually we’d go to a movie too ’cause that was a big thing to go to a movie. That kind of stopped because she

 

@Nasn’t able to travel, Just having your m ther not being able to do hardly anything

 

with you made times really hard. I think I robably stayed away from home more after my mother’s stroke because there just wa n’t things to do that I could do with my

 

I seeked out other things to do, which was mainly go around to other houses. 3

 

There were playmates and the

other mi@thers were certainly very good to me knowing

that MY Mother was a very friendly person and very well liked. They knew that she was very sickly and she had severe right side paralysis and was practically speechless except few a few words. I think they ki@d of looked out for me and probably treated me better than if I had just been a local reg@lar kid.

I had a grandmother that I knew @riefly. She passed away when I was six or seven. This was my first experience wi@h death. I knew that she was an old lady but it just seemed like one day she was there and the next she wasn’t. Not too much was@ really made of her death. The sense of liar not being there was strange…. a strange@ feeling.

That was my mother’s mother.       husband, which was her second husband, I believe, died when I was real young. I n@ver knew any of my father’s parents. They

had both deceased. You have to remem       that my mother was close to forty or forty-

one when I was born and my father was 4 couple of years older so that made the likelihood of me having grandparents rather slim. I had another sister, but I never

knew her because she died when I was six months old. She died giving childbirth.

She and the child both died. It was like I was an only child. I was a mistake. I was a six week premle, I only weighed a linfe over four pounds, Most baby’s didn’t survive at that time that were that small arid that immature.

My sister, was eighteen years older than I and away at school when I was born,

 

11 was not very close to her at all in my ear ier years because after she finished her

 

nursing school she went immediately into the service and was in the army medical corps during World War two. I really didn’ get to know my sister until she got out of the service in 1945. From then on we wer(Ill very close, even though there were

 

eighteen years difference in our age.

My father was a shoe cutter except for during the war years when he worked at 4

 

BathlronWorks. Hecutshoesforabo@tforty-fiveyearsatiocalshoefactorieswhi(-,h

werelocatedri hthereintown. Duri

9                     no the depression, he worked in the Lewiston

area, still in the shoe business. It seems like my father and I were real close but he spent so much time working and becau@e of the long day he had with traveling, our greatest times together were when my f@ther and I cut wood together.

My father burned wood in the kitc ien stove. We always cut our own wood because he owned his own wood lot in ()resden, Maine which is just across the river. It was just about a two mile walk from ou, house to the wood lot. It was very common for us to go over every Saturday mornin@ from about early October right through the

winter, depending on how severe the winter was. We would have to walk across the Richmond/Dresden bridge and pay a nic@el to get across that bridge. If you went by vehicle, which my father never owned hi,,; own vehicle -never owned a car in his life, you had to pay a dime for a car. We had a lot of good times in the wood lot.

We had an aunt and uncle that livipd on the way over and it was quite common for us to stop there either one way or the r and get a drink of cider. My father was always able to get a drink of hard cider that Uncle Burt would put up for the winter. I’d get a c-Lin of hot cocoa or -something and “he-n W9 WOLI!C@T Pr-OCee-d over to the wood lot

and he would cut the trees down with an ilx and I would saw them into four foot lengths

with the buck saw. What a lot of people viould probably took at as hard work, we kind of considered it our hobby and both enjoyed doing it. We hired a guy that charged ‘three dollars to load it up and bring it over to Richmond and dump t in our door yard. ,And then later, 1 think it went up to five dol’ rs a load.

My mother had German ancestry. or maiden name was Riddle. My father was F-nglish. Both of my parents were born in is country and their parents were too, My mother’s family resided in Dresden. My fa@her lived right here in Richmond. I was born right here in Richmond. At that time most of the children Wgri_n either born in hoardina

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homes or nursing homes, as they were called then. The home I was born in had

anywhere from ninety, I heard anywher@ from ninetlv-five to an hundred and fifteen children were born in that one ‘nouse.

The town certainly had a lot of Fr   people in it. Other than that it seemed to be kind of mixed you wouldn’t call it a F@ench community or a Polish community, or and Enqlish community. It was just kinj of mixed. The town being quite small, being about eighteen hundred to two thousand people back when I was five or six years old was kind of like a bedroom community.     I grew up people were coming in from different areas without any great cultural ur) just miscellaneous. Just whoever

decided to come here and build here. T@erle was a lot of land of open land and chance for growth and even sixty years later there’s still really a lot of chance for growth. It hasn’t really grown that much. Actually, there are less people now that work in town now, then there were back then, @because all the shoe shops have gone and the textile mill closed. Now, the majority@of people work out of town.

Well, the Russian immigration sta4ed here in the nineteen fifties. So many of them came into this area so quickly that there was quite a bit of resentment against them. Not any real organized hostility or anything but just like people you know

making comments like “too many damn @uss@lans arouncl. The- Russians are buying Lip all the- !an(-i. ” But as time. well by, these Rwbians’ ch@ctre et-,,u4p-d Lip marrying our neighbors’ children so that it became a close knit group, really. There is hardly

 

anybody around rea0v that couldn’t say t@ev had a relative from the old Russian

 

When I was a kid there were just three black i)eoidle in town. They were

 

accepted just like any of us. I don’t believe ftre is any racial discontent here. Even in my high school years there was only one Olack boy and one black girl in our school. o certainly that didn’t present any problems whatsoever. They were well liked and

 

friends with everybody. They weren’t looked at as being any different then we were. They were just our neighbors’ kids and @friends,

We had a lot Of good tmes with the neighbors around. MY Closest r)eighbor, Sally Hoyt, she and her husband never@ had any children and all the neighborhood Children were always welcome in her house. She was a lady that loved to Cook and every Saturday morning she would make donuts. She once told me, she said, “You know that I make doughnuts every Satu@day morning, SO if you’re not here to eat them then it’s your fault.,, So I used to 9C) over and eat donuts and drink milk. One morning I ate thirteen donuts and drank a quart of milk.

Us neighborhood kids had two places we used to hang out most of the time.

One was a household of seven, five children and the parents. The other one was a family of thirteen, eleven children and thg parents, although the father died when the youngest twins were only like two years gid. It was the local hangout for all the kids

and we were always welcome and played many, many hours there. The other family had a great big barn where we used to play basketball and all kinds of games. It had a big lawn so we’d play baseball on the 14twn and kick the old tin can and hide and seek. One of the brothers was a year younger than me and one of the sisters was two years older so we were all right in the same age group.

We probably did a lot of things we shouldn’t have done. Beebee guns were

,very famous back then and we all had bee bee guns we tried to decrease the bird and i:rog population as much as we could. So   etimes we ended up having bee bee gun @rvars on ourselves.                     I

We did do a lot of ice skating on the local ponds around. I shouldn’t say ponds, they were nothing but little frog ponds or gravel pits that were flooded over or

 

Something, but to us it was a pond. There were lots of brooks around and brook skating was fun because you could skate for miles. We did a lot of sliding in the

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wintertime because we had lots of hills @t were stee?p- The town would plow them butnotsandthem. Theywouldsavath@miustsothekidscouldslideonthem.

I used to mow quite a few lawns @in the neighborhood with a push-type reel mower. I used to get anywhere from fi4 cents to a dollar for mowing these lawns, Some of the other real hard ones, I mig@,     even get a dollar and a quarter. It might take

me two to three hours to mow one.

There was always plenty of work to do. Especially from the time school let out until early winter because there were se@,eral vegetable farmers right in the area. They always hired kids to pick beans. We used to get two cents a pound for picking beans and we could pull weeds for fifty cents aii hour and also we used to harvest carrots and turnip and parsnips. And even after all these vegetables were harvested we

would haul them to the storage facility woich was really just an old potato shed and we would work on them. Grating them and Outting them up for the canning factories.

We were able to work even in the Ofternoons when we were going to school. Another farmer I worked for in Dresden,,*e used to go over there all different hours of the day and night and lay irrigation pipe, Ock beans, and dig potatoes. I used to get seventy-five cents an hour fror,-,     so I felt I was doing better than some of the other kids. Then we also raked blueberries, which was the best paying job of all if you really

wanted to work hard you could make eight dollars a day raking blueberries. There were strawberries to pick.                   I

There was plenty of work, if you warited to do it. Usually the farmers would pick you up in either their old pick up truck or *hatever they had. They furnished the

 

transportation and we furnished the manpower. The farmer in Dresden, the river ran by his house. The bridge had gone out in Ithe flood of 1947, and the road wasn’t

 

passable beyond his place. So we used to go swimming in “he river off the old piling and stuff that was still left from the flood. That always made it interesting and joyful to

 

be able to go there every noontime to go swimming and then it was back to work in the fields.

I didn’t have to work, I liked to work. It seemed like everybody liked to work

then. I don’t think any of us was really Made to work. It was certainly suggested that we might find a job. I know I wasn’t pre@sured to work. The farmer in Dresden would either call my father or come over and a@k him if I could work and my father would say, “That’s up to Harold, ff he wants to work, I and you want him, then that’s up to him – If he doesn’t want to work, he doesn’t have to ff you wanted to be with your friends you

worked, because they worked.

During my early school years I wa@n’t happy because 1 didn’t like -zchool. In

fact, I quess you would say I hated school. A lot of times my father would have to drag me to school and my father would literally, drag me all the way. This subsided over the years. When I got to high school age, I really liked school. In fact, I don’t think I missed a day of high school my whole four yearsi

My mother and father were both fa@rly, I don’t know if you would say strict, but you didn’t get away with an awful lot. 1 tnnk my father was more lenient than my

moth–or was. If I did something naughty 1’0,get a spanking. I wouldn’t say a severe one but I’d get a spanking to let me know what I had done wasn’t right.

I really can’t say why I didn’t like school when I was younger. I grew to like

 

school as I got older. I didn’t dislike the seventh an eighth grade that much. The earl, years I certainly didn’t like school; 1 iust had no intere 4zt in it. I front L-not,@j itihit, hut

 

real!%, did i.ike hi-1, scioo!. ! got int.o zn,,rt . I played baSL-,nthnil anii basoball. We

 

onlyhad!ik–ti,,reesportsback,then. !r-iidinotplayfr-%n-.h-n-‘,I-hecau,-ze!%Nasonlyfivefeet four and a hundred and Q-ixteen poundz -m I real!%, @ti-asn’t built for football. ! had enough sense to knekt, that i. I played 1 probable, would have been annihilated.

 

enjoyed baseball v–r,%,, much. nin-t/,Qd legion ball. Basketball, I nlay,-nd even though I

 

set on the bench most of the time; I played a lot of junior varsity ball. I did like it. I think sports were a big interest to me. We dion’t have any sports that I can think of in my grammar school years.                     I

There was a lot of peer pressure. I was a small person in size. One time the other kids were trying to get me to smoke and I don’t know why but I was just adamant that I wasn’t going to. My father smoked. My mother never did. I just didn’t like it and there was no way they were going to make me do it. I think there was certainly peer pressure here.                             I

The most trouble I was in was when in the seventh or eighth grade, there was a bully in school that was always picking on me and other kids. One day I just had

enough of it and he knocked me down and was holding me down and I picked up a rock and smashed his glasses. I didn’t really get in a lot of trouble over that. My

parents weren’t too happy about it, but I explained to them why I did this. I think they did end up paying for his glasses but he didn’t pick on me anymore after that.

Our senior class trip to New York Oity and Washington D.C. was the most significant event of my teenage years. It was something that for kids in our community to be able to do was really special. I think we all really looked forward to it. We all had a great time.                               I

One of the times I was the most scared in 1947 a good part of the state was being burned Lip with forest fires. I was very fearful that W. e were going to lose our

home because we had been told to completely evaci-late, a!thol-igh mN” father refuc-ec! to do it. because he thought it. was too early to make that decision and he was right. As

 

it was he was right because around midnight the wind shifted and the fire went the other way but it was a very scary situational

The only other time that 1 was really rea!!y scared that I was going to die was when one of my school friends parents had bought a new 1954 Hudson Jet and we

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took it out on the road and went a hundred fifteen miles an hour in it and the vehicle was vibrating so I just knew I was going to disintegrate with me along with it.

From the time I was real young I lbad always said I was going to go in the Navy when I grew up. I have pictures of me when I was seven or eight years old dressed up in a sailor’s suits. I just thought it was something I always wanted to do, and I followed through with it.

I really enjoyed my four years in the Navy. I thought I probably lucked out with

the job I got in the service, it was very interesting. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I first went in the Navy. I ended up going to radio school in San Diego,

California and from there to communicaoons school in Imperial Beach, California. I came out of the school as a Russian intercept operator, which was very interesting work. It was kind of secretive work. It was something that at that time we didn’t talk

much about because they practically threatened you with life imprisonment or worse if you did reveal your secrets or even your trade at that time. I spent eighteen months on different ships. Serving in my ranking and work was very interesting.

It was very difficult to make a decision of weather to stay in the Navy and make a career out of it or come back home. I really don’t know how I made the decision not to stay in. I guess I felt I was ready to settle down and have a home life rather than travel all the rest of my life. Certainty, I enjwed my four years in the Navy.

F:oo D                 I came home and happened to Meet a nirl -no night, it. wA-c–, April. 1 s a%,,.

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kind of liked this girl pretty muct,.. 1 bad met her before in the school off ice. @Ay present wife and ! dated for four %lp-ars because she was nuite a bit younger than 1, iust about

 

eight years in fact. She wanted to have a career in Nursing and at that time the school that she went to (the students) were not allowed to marr@, until. the,,,, were in their senior class. At that present time, Sylvia was still only a senior in high school. So we -4ated all we could for four .,’-@arc

;Lau

 

When I first got out of the service 1 went to work for the state n inting roads

which was a k-,erv good job because we not to travel all over the state and the r,,-qv was ‘y

reasonable. We were able to no in a lot of overtime. It was kind of a fun job, trav

get                                                     e..

lot, work harcl, stay n_vernight at cli ornnt places, ate at differe

nt names. But, 1 could see

that after being married that it wouldn’t be such a great job ‘calse you had to be awav

Sometimes if we went up to the County or Down East we would have to be away two weeks at a time.

My sister at this time had roften out of the service and was a rerlister,-2.d nurse at the Veterans Administration at Togus. 1 had talked to her off and on about possibiv Getting a job out there. I talked it. over with Sylvia, about nettinn n iob out there, and I

u                                                           v     Z2 -I

nlit in my applii.-ation. 1 went out, was interv. iewed, and was finally accepted for a

position there in       1 tlvqq %Aiorkinn thiarin imhon W nn                          n :4

e   t married. 1 started workin     t Togus, as a nursing assistant. I enjoyed my work there and stayed there for twenty-

nine vears until I reached the age of fifty-five which made me eligible for retirement.                 .v I rntir ri at the age of fift -five in June. I decided that I was bored, not doing anything. They had job placements out for a custodian at the local school W. here ma

f

worked as school nurse. ! was able to get a custodian job there which started in

August of that same v,-nar. I will now be- starting mv tenth ve-ar working thom-rim- thi.-, August or September.

Sylvia and ! were married on the eleventh day of July in 1964. We will -be

 

celebrating out thirtx,-,-,-zivth wedding anniversary tomorrow. We have- had thir -six “ty

 

wonderful years together. I bond we have thirty six more.

During those thi%,-six veers, we had three children. Our first born, Michael, was                                           .y

 

born two     after our Marrinriin. T n %i -nr I.-:z inr %Ain

@ %i@/             as oi     @Q.     ht r,                                                       e-. s             ir fir t daun…e. ‘-Qandv

 

Then three v–nars after that dvas our lvoi_lnn zt dalghter,       Thev have all brought us rnanv man%,, enjoyable hours.

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There used to be a local eating place in Randolph which was a famous hangout. If you went anywhere out in the evening, you ended up at Brownie’s to eat French fries and hamburgers and fried clams. So quite a few of our dates consisted of going to the movies and ended up at Brownies having a snack. We did some bowling. Any chance we had to be together we tried to be together.

We spent a lot of hours at her house and had a lot of good bacon and egg sandwiches that her mother would gladly cook for us at any time. We used to take her brother along with us as a chaperone, (not really -just kidding.) Her brother was two years older than her and we were all friendly so we used to ask him to go with us quite often to the movies. We tried to get him a girlfriend to go with him too, which was kind of hard at times.                       I

We hung out at my parents’ quite a bit. We hung out at my sister’s house quite a bit too. When my sister came home from the service we became really close and

spent many hours at their place. We ate a lot of meals there. We used to go in their boat, go mackerel fishing or just boating up and down the river.

When we first got married we had an apartment in Lewiston. Anybody who doesn’t know Lewiston, you are right in the middle of Frenchtown, USA. Another

couple who was a friend of Sylvia’s that was going to nursing school with her, had an apartment right across the street in the apartment next to ours. I think we were the only four English speaking people in the two apartment houses. Everybody else spoke French. We used to get a big joke out of that. We had a lot of good times together.

After Lewiston, we had been looking at houses to buy and we had been looking at several in the Richmond, Dresden, and South Gardiner area. Finally the house that we are presently living in now came up for sale and we jumped at the opportunity and bought it in 1964. We have lived here ever since.

I had saved about a third of what our house cost while I was in the service

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through savinn,,-z bonds. We were able to make a flood down r%aliment and keep our monthly payment to a minimum. So in that respect we W r very fortunate. My parents -Y               nu             probably never had much money in the bark but th-n were certainly, 11 ite frugal with their money. The Navy was a good opportunity, to save. Even though we di-n’t make

ri

much money, I think 1 made ninety-nine dollars a month when I first went in the

Four years later, I was making about two hundred and forty dollars a month, which certainly doesn’t seem like much but when you’re aboard ship and ever%

.Ithing is practically provided for you, it’s pretty easy to have fifty dollars taken out of your paycheck. When I got a step-up or a promotion, I usually took what I got from my

salary increase and put it into my savings bond. By doing this it came in very handy for making a down payment for our home. I knew that some day I would want that money

for something.

When we got married we might go to all three places in one day for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Having them all within five miles of each other this was all very

easy to do. We could go for breakfast at one place and dinner at another and supper at another. It wasn’t any big deal we were always very welcome at all three places. We were married Baptist. That was not a problem for my family even though

the%, were not religious. We waited two years before having kids.

Having kids made our life a lot busier and it put a lot of excitement in it. We

 

were very fortunate in that Sylvia had a day job and I was mostly working an afternoon and evening job so we did not need to have any child care services. I would keep

 

care of the children until she got out of school at three, and then I would immediately head for work to be at work at three-thirty.

A lot of people said, “gee whiz” seems that means you don’t see each other all that much,” but we were able to work that out. I think we found out that by me taking

 

my days off during the week and Sylvia had her days off on the weekends than we got

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to see@ our children more and each other more than if we had both been off on the weekends. I would be home all of those two days and she would be home all of the two weekend days, so there were four days out of the week that at least two of us were home all day. It just seemed to work out fine really. Mama and I have been more protective of our kids than a lot of parents are. That came from Mama’s side of the

Our best family ritual is getting together for weekends or whenever we can for big family dinners. We certainly try to get together for all holidays and birthdays and anniversaries, all we can. I think we are close knit family.

I didn’t want my kids to have bee bee guns. We tried to get our kids to travel

with us. We liked to go on trips. We went to Disney. We went to Niagara Falls. That was quite an experience in our ’64 Dodge Dart. We didn’t know if we were going to make it or not. Sometimes our windshield wipers would start and sometimes they wouldn’t. Sometimes the car would start and sometimes it wouldn’t. Especially in the

rain, pouring rain, but we made it. We went to Washington D.C. and walked

everywhere in Washington. We went to New York City and took the kids to the Bronx zoo and ate in a “Sloppy Joe” cafe. We used to go to Sylvia’s brother’s house in

upstate New York and visit with their two children. Our children and their children

were basically the same age. Traveling around was probably our biggest thing to do

We did have a period where we bought snowmobiles and all went

 

snowmobiling. That was a lot of fun. We decided that about the time that our children were four and two years of age we get a swimming pool. Swimming pools were

 

coming into the area and we thought it would be better to have kids come and swim in our pool than to have our kids go all over and swim in everybody else’s pool. So we had a swimming pool put in which was a pretty big decision both financially and

 

constructionally. We never regretted it. Our kids turned out to be fishes at early ages and most of the neighborhood kids also. Now our grandchildren are starting to enjoy it, or are enjoying it, along with our kids still enjoying it.

One of my greatest losses, certainly my greatest loss was when my sister died real suddenly at the age of fifty-nine. I was probably more close to my sister than I was my mother. Because my sister was like a mother to me, really. They had never had any children of their own. My age and their age more corresponded with being mother and son’s age than my mother’s and my ages. I don’t think Dot could have children.

My mother died when I was about thirty-one or thirty-two. My parents, my father was in pretty good relative good health until his seventies. He had a heart attack and then he stayed fairly well for a year or so after that but then his health deteriorated real fast. Even though I was young, I was born late so my parents weren’t young.

It’s hard to say what has been the most difficult time in my life because I have been very lucky. Our health has been really good I would say. When your children all grow up to be successful, I can’t really say I have had any real difficult times. Certainly there hasn’t been the sickness and tragedies in this family that other families have had to go through, other than the loss of my sister. The care of Sylvia’s parents when they were sickly was maybe more of the hard times. I don’t really remember hard times with you kids. The normal growing up problems; the teenage years are certainly difficult, but we all struggled through them and hoped for the best. We all seemed to survive

 

and do well.

My wife and kids have influenced my life by being faithful to them and wanting to be at home and be with them and travel with them. I’m not the type that goes out

 

much with other groups. I am a family oriented husband and father. I don’t belong to any clubs or organizations. I belong to the Legion but I don’t attend any meetings.

 

Which some would look at that as a drawback but I had just rather be home with my

 

wife at night than out with the boys. If that’s a fault, than I am guilty.

1 do enjoy hunting. I am not an avid hunter. The older I get the less I care about it. But, I still like to get out and take my gun for a walk in the woods. I enjoy going fishing now and then with my son and grandchildren. I still enjoy cutting wood as much as I ever did.

I was active in, from the time I was about eighteen, I was a junior fireman. My father had always been on the fire department. My next door neighbor was the fire chief for many many years. I thought that’s something I would like to do. I was able to

join as junior fireman at the age of seventeen and stayed on the fire department until I went in the service at the age of eighteen. I continued on the fire department when I got home from the service. I don’t know what there is about people enjoying fighting fire but I think some people do and I guess I was one of them. I stayed on the department for thirty years. I enjoyed the group that I worked with. As Sylvia would say, “I always heard the whistle in the middle of the night.” I still do.

One of my best friends, Charles Tuttle, and his wife Chickee, have been an influence. We have been on several cruises together in the Caribbean and Alaska. I have worked in my spare time for Charlie cutting wood and harvesting Christmas trees and selling Christmas trees. I would probably have to say he’s my best and closest

 

The greatest value is to be honorable to your wife and family. To seek out good people for friends and to have good times with these people. Work ethic is certainly a good value. Some people struggle to go to work and others, like myself, just enjoy

 

going to work. I enjoy working at my job and I enjoy working when I get home. I don’t have to cut my own firewood. I had rather do it, I enjoy doing it. I probably will do it as

 

long as I am able to carry a chain saw and an ax.

I value a college education. I sometimes wish… I did start college and went very 1 7

 

briefly. I couldn’t seem to get interested in it. I think it probably was a mistake that I didn’t. I don’t know if I would have been any better Off today if I had gotten a college education but it would have been nice to have one. I certainly think that in today’s world it’s much more beneficial that it was back in my day. I’m glad certainly all my children have gotten either college educations or technical school educations.

I hope that My grandchildren will grow up with good morals and a good work ethic. Good morals are being honest and doing what’s right, abiding by the law   I live a

good life a clean life stay away from drugs, get a good education.

I don’t really know if we are great citizens. I look at people that participate in town government, or volunteerism as better citizens than we are. I think we are family oriented so much that we don’t get involved in it. We vote but we could probably do a lot more that we do. We donated time building the Baptist parsonage. I worked building the gazebo. I worked clearing the little league field for future expansion. I helped coach “T-ball” this year. I coached little league when my son was in little

The most important lesson in life outside of the classroom was joining the Navy and traveling to many countries and the Far East. The one thing that I probably

learned from it and appreciated the most was the fact that how lucky I was to have

been born in the United States. Until anyone has done this and seen the poverty and different lifestyle you really don’t appreciate it until you’ve been through it.

I can very well remember events during World War 11. I was just five or six when my sister was in the Army nurse corps. I can remember her letters coming and my mother reading them and her telling about the war. At the end of WWII all the church bells were ringing and people were out and about. It was just such a happy time to think that the war was over.

 

I remember exactly where I was during the Kennedy assassination. I was 1 8

 

working at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Togus, I can remember being on the ward and having them announce that Kennedy had been shot. It was like it was yesterday really, it just stuck in my mind.

I can remember the launching of the Russian space Probe Sputnik. At that time I was in the service and part of my work was Russian intercept and our group of intercept operators intercepted the signals from Sputnik and actually knew just as much about it as probably the Russian’s did. We copied every code and every message that was sent back from Sputnik so that was very memorable.

My biggest worry is health. The fact that I am going to be an old man in fifteen years or sooner makes me feel the most uneasy when I think about the future. I want to see my grandchildren all grow up and go to college and get a good education is what I most want to experience before I die.

I am certain of death. I have thought about whether or not one’s spirit lives on and I am not sure; it is questionable. I don’t have really strong feelings that it does. I

define spiritual as religious. Believing in God is questionable. I think that if there is in God it certainly is different that what is depicted in the Bible because modern science has proven that a lot of events couldn’t have happened as they did in Biblical times. I just can’t really see how God could create the Universe. I just have to believe that man

was around long before the days of Adam and Eve.

I don’t know if you call it fate but some events and happenings I just don’t know about. Rather it’s their own doing or not, for some reason some people are put through a lot more suffering than other people.

I believe there have been miracles. This has to do with the question of whether there is a God or not. We are taught that only God can create miracles. I believe that

 

there are miracles but I don’t know what they come from. I don’t believe that anybody knows. Different people from different origins all have their own beliefs and the

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agnostics aren’t dealt with any differently than the Christians. I do believe in ghosts or some power that exists. I think certainly there are friendly ghosts. I do believe in some non physical force and it can be either good or bad.

This interview has been a good interview it made me think of things in the past that I probably put aside. 1 thought it was interesting.

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