The Life Story of Jacky Storer
Interviewed November 1992
I was born Iola May Jack just about at the first of the depression. It was the 4th of March in 1928, in Westbrook, Maine, and the big crash came in ’29 and from then on it was down hill.
I believe my father had been an orphan since about 11 years of age. He went to work on a farm to pay his way through high school. Then he realized he wanted to go to college. Back in those days, that was almost unheard of, but he did work himself through college and became a licensed embalmer. During the years before I was born, that’s when they had that big flu, his business just thrived. Well, then the depression came and he went from the thriving business to sort of bad, then worse and then he began to drink.
At the time I was born, I believe we couldn’t afford doctors, so when my mother started having pains she just said, if please go get the doctor”. By the time the doctor was back, I was born and he took care of the rest. I was born within a half hour, so the doctor didn’t get there in time.
I remember when I was three years old, I was playing with some children, outside. It must have been one of the first times and we all had red stocking caps on. We pulled them down over our heads; we were playing KING OF THE MOUNTAIN. I can’t imagine remembering much at three years old, so this must have been either a traumatic or frightening experience for me.
Also, around three years old, my father, having lost some of his businesses in the depression, took to drinking. He came in one day and fell right down in the middle of the dining room floor and fell underneath the table. Well, on top of the table was a box of chocolates. Now, I was lucky if I ever got one piece of chocolate. My mother was so embarrassed and didn’t want me to see any of this, she grabbed me and the whole box of chocolates and put us both in the bathroom. I sat on the bathroom floor and ate the whole box of chocolates. And, I think that probably was why I remember that, because that was sort of a traumatic experience. (That happened when) I was about three. No (I was not the oldest child), the youngest. My sister was 9 years older so, I don’t even remember her being in the picture at that time. Probably you just remember what happens to yourself at that time. But, that whole box of chocolates, I’ll never forget it! I probably did (get sick), I don’t remember. She probably took care of dad and came and retrieved the chocolates.
So then, a little bit later, as things got worse in the depression, and my father’s business went, my mother had no recourse but to grab her two kids, me being three at the time, and we were living in New Hampshire, and move in with my grandfather who lived in Westbrook, Maine. So, I remember the train ride in the middle of the night and also walking, in the middle of the night, up to this strange house. They took us in and brought us up from there on.
So, we lived there probably, or I did, for probably the next four or five years during most of the depression. An so I think we left when I was three ‑ and I think we stayed there about five years. I left there when I was eight. So, I’d say about five years, I lived with my grandfather and an aunt and another aunt had to move in.
My grandfather was a contractor, so of course he lost his job also. My aunt happened to be the private stenographer to Dana Wattmill and she was the only one who had a job, so we all did what auntie had to say. No (didn’t like it), it was not a home of fun. Because we had three floors and in order to make room f or everybody, two of the bedrooms were on the second floor, so we had to convert an attic, which was a nice attic. It had hardwood floors and everything, but my mother, my sister, and myself all had these three beds in the attic. So we were crowded. But during depression, that’s what happened to people. They all had to move in with each other. We were all crowded in the attic.
My mother had to work. She took care of the whole family cause my aunt worked and so, mother did al I the house keeping to taking care of me and al I the work that had to be done and all the meals, everything! So, all the cooking, everything, for everybody. And now there was she, her two kids, my grandfather, and my aunt. And also, during this same time, we had to convert a den because another aunt was out of work and had no place to go. So now we had this little den down on the first floor and this was the only other room with a door that you could close, so that was my aunts.
So, mother did everything for everybody, including making my clothes out of old bed sheets and things. My underwear, little slips and things, all had to be made out of things like that. As things were tough! Things were tough!
There was no love. There was no love. Only my mother gave me some attention and she was so busy, she was cut short from a lot of attention. The aunt was sort of a staunch (person) and by the time she came home from work, she did not want a child around. I was sent to the attic every day at 4:30 because she arrived at 5. EVERY DAY for five years, I was in the attic every night at 4:30. Now, I could color and I could do whatever I wanted with my toys, but I was alone and I couldn’t come down.
The bathroom was on the second floor, so if I did have to come down and go to the bathroom, I could. And (about) dinner, I had to be fed just before I went upstairs at 4:30 because I wasn’t allowed to eat with the family at the dining room table.
She (mother) really didn’t have time (to spend with me). She would come up and read the story UNCLE WIGGLY every night and I don’t remember what time I was supposed to be in bed, maybe 7 o’clock or whatever. She would come up, read UNCLE WIGGLY, and then that was it. But from 4:30 on, even in the summer, I couldn’t go out and play with the other kids, I was in the attic for five years.
I think that feeling went on for years because, I became very much an introvert. I wouldn’t talk to any adults, I could become deaf at will and when I got to the point if anybody spoke to me, I could mentally turn my hearing right off. And I turned it off for so long one time, my mother had to take me to the doctor. He said, “I can find nothing wrong with her hearing and I don’t understand it”. I lost a tremendous amount of weight, and also during this time, my mother ‑ I think it was me first ‑ I had a splinter in my hand because I was playing down in the cellar on one of my grandfathers saw horses and got a splinter in my hand.
Well, my mother was always so busy and everybody was busy and nobody had much time for me. I didn’t say anything until the splinter got so bad, I had blood poisoning running right down my finger. Wel I, by the time they got me to the Doctor, etc., the finger had to come off. So I was in the hospital at (age) four for over three, four, (or) five weeks, I believe.
Then, ironically enough, my mother was re‑papering the dining room at home and she had a cut in her hand and she got some of the wall paper into her hand and she got blood poisoning, so she ended up in the hospital the same time I did. So now, we’re both in the hospital, and after a while I knew the hospital quite well, so I was walking down to look in the window to see the babies and I saw my mother walking up the corridor. I wondered why she had never come to visit me. Well, this was why. She was in the hospital. She ducked into a room and I thought, “oh, she doesn’t even want to see me, so I went running back to my room, crying, and I said, “I just saw my mother, but she won’t talk to me”.
I felt even more alone. And then I found out later the doctors had said, “don’t let her know you’re here or we’ll never be able to keep her in her room, she’ll be down in the bed with you”, and they didn’t even know at the time whether she would live or not. So they (the doctors) said the most (that) would happen to her (mother) is, she’ll lose her arm. Or, the least thing would be, she’d lose her’arm. But, they really didn’t think she was going to live and she laid there (ready) to die for about a week. Then some other doctor came in and checked her out and they did finally get some medication and she, ironically, only lost a finger. They took that off and she did eventually come around.
We BOTH lost a finger and this was ironic. It’s the same f inger on the same hand at the same time! And the only difference is, they took mine off and saved it just beyond the knuckle so that I have freer use of my fingers then she does. Her knuckle was taken so her fingers just kind of come together but she doesn’t have the use (as much use) so her knives had to be larger to peel potatoes. She couldn’t close her hand tightly. So, this was kind of ironic. No, this really didn’t (create a bonding) because I couldn’t find her in the hospital and I took that as a rejection. I guess they didn’t let me out until she got home because there was no one to care for me. So then she was still trying to do all the work, take care of me, run me to the doctors, and all these type of things. I remember one night, I said to my mother that I loved her more than all the stars in the sky and by the time I was hoping for an answer, she had already gone to sleep. She was too tired. I don’t think she ever heard me.
After my mother left my father and we grew up, or the next few years, ‑ well, I went to the doctors (because) my mother couldn’t figure out why I was not, say, growing the way I should, why my weight was bad, why I was going deaf and (I was three when she left but about seven when she took me to the doctors when everything was wrong with me) the doctor said, “well, the only thing I can tell you is, your daughter is dying and I cannot tell you why. I have no idea, why.” And he said, “Now I don’t know what the environment is in the home where you’re all staying, but my first suggestion would be to get her out of that environment. It’s not conducive to her to continue to live.”
So, my mother then started scanning the newspapers and looking for jobs and she took a job as a housekeeper for two or three different places and then, she finally got on as a housekeeper in Prides Corner. I still wouldn’t talk to anybody, I still wouldn’t do very much.
But this farm had about five barns on it, full of all kinds of animals, and I spent the next couple of years just associating with the animals, which all seemed to think I was pretty special, so that made me feel special. I gained twenty pounds that first year and from then on, life seemed to change. And my mother was a really good mother. She immediately moved when the doctor suggested that living in Westbrook was not the place for me under the circumstances. (Between) The farm and the change, I really thrived from then on. We had goats, we had pigs, we had horses, we had cows, and just about everything ‑ chickens, and everything. And a dog. I spent summers up in the woods exploring with the dog. The dog went everywhere with me.
Yes (I went to school) and it was a little one‑room school house with seven kids in my class. School, wel I it was always OK. I learned whatever I was supposed to learn and came home and did whatever I was supposed to do. Things were good. I still didn’t talk to adults. If adults came to visit, I usually went out in the barn and talked with the horses or whatever. You know, I was always someplace else. I don’t know as there was anything (that I liked best about school). The first day of school, I thought, well this is interesting, and we all had our little seats and we all learned to sing, “Good morning to you, we’re all in our places with sun shiny faces.” Those were the f i rst things in school . As I look at the school department now, it’s so different. My grandsons school doesn’t have any desks. They have little tables and they all sit around. So school, I think, was more regimented back in those days but so was the family life. And everybody had a lot of problems because of the depression. I got interested in learning, but I was still very much of an introvert, very much alone.
I’ve forgotten about the time way back up in the attic, probably around four, that I’d had this experience. I’d spent so much time alone up in the attic and it may have been at the time when I had the (blood poisoned) finger or it may have been the time when everything was going wrong. I was laying down on the bed and, all of a sudden, I found myself floating around on the ceiling looking down at everything in the room and I thought, wow, this is something again. I didn’t know we could do this. Eventually, when I came to, I was back on the bed and I did ask my mother, when I got a chance, if I could turn into a fly. She said, “Well, absolutely not.” She couldn’t imagine what I wanted to know for. And I said, “Well, I think I did”, because the only thing I knew that crawls around on the ceiling, to my knowledge, at three and four, was flies, so I figured, hey, I turned into a fly. And (of course) she dismissed this. (laugh)
Actually, I wish I had been smarter when this happened to me so that I could, maybe, have traveled (to) other places. Of course I assumed I turned into a fly and now that I’m older and I’ve read all these books, it apparently was an out‑ of‑body experience at a really young age. But, of course not having any knowledge, or my family didn’t have any knowledge, of this type of thing, the whole thing was dismissed and 1, too, forgot it. Actually, it (the same experience) didn’t happen in that way, but I feel as though I have traveled up through the Universe several times. But, what they are is really strong dreams that I really don’t have that much control of. I think I’ve visited other worlds; I think I’ve been through the rings of Saturn, there’s been a lot of experiences but they’re always at night. See, this was really when I was awake, I think. Yes, it had to be when I was awake because I was aware of everything. The others are more like dreams and things. No (they didn’t bother me). I thought it was fun and I thought, Gee, maybe I could get out of here if I could be a fly. Maybe I could go find someone else’s house that would just as soon have a kid around. I was sorry I couldn’t do it again, but I didn’t know how to do it because I didn’t know how I did it in the first place. It just happened!
I think that what I considered lack of love ‑ I’m sure my mother loved me ‑ but she just was either too tired or too sick to show much of it. Then, in those days, I don’t think people showed that much (love). I think they do more today. So, this hearing business, even after I was grown up and getting married. I had some severe problems with marriage. I became deaf then, too. If I didn’t want to listen to anybody, I’d just become deaf. And I could stay deaf for as long (as I wanted) and I did that a couple of times and I thought, boy, this is almost scary ’cause what if I can’t come out of it. So, I haven’t done this now (for a while). Yes, (I really am deaf at will) I can just say I don’t want to hear anything more and all of a sudden, something happens to me and I don’t hear a thing. I can’t hear anybody talking to me or anything. Apparently, it’s a psychological defense mechanism. Now, of all the books I’ve read and other things, I’ve never read where anyone was able to do this. So, I don’t know if it’s something ‑ and I figured later, maybe I’d better be
careful. I did it twice while I was married and it scared my husband. He thought, boy I might not come out of this too. By now, I’m older and wiser and figure maybe I’d better not fool around with this even if I don’t want to hear people talk. So I haven’t done it for years now. So that was interesting.
At twelve years old, I started helping my step‑father (my mother married Frank Foster after being his house keeper for awhile, he owned Foster’s Station in Pride’s corner) in the filling station. By fourteen, I was work’n three afternoons and Saturday. This gave me my spending money, I believe it was five dollars a week, but it was more money than anyone else ever had. And by now, we’re coming out of the depression a little bit. However, I remember going over his books one time and he was only making twenty‑nine dollars a week, but because we raised so much f ood in the garden and (had) the animals and all, I thought we were quite well off. We always had plenty of food and always had plenty of everything. So I thought we had plenty of money. Yes (the road‑302‑went through the property), he (father) had several acres there, so, when the new road came through, that’s when he had to build a new station and I moved over maybe a year or two after he had moved that new station up top of the hill. I mainly pumped gas (at the station) but back in those days they didn’t come in really for motor jobs. I could change oil, I could change a tire, repair the tires, and people would drop in for cigarettes and candy and soda’s and this type of thing. One time I did worry. I told my father I really thought I had made the wrong change and told him what happened. I had asked the man, is this the correct change and he said, “Well, you’re the one run’n the place” and he pulled out of there. And I thought so maybe I did make a mistake and he took advantage of me and I thought, one more reason I don’t think I like adults too well!
So by fourteen I really had pretty much control of being able to run the station and do what ever I needed. But we didn’t do motor jobs and whatever they do now, it was strictly a fill’n station.
My father belonged to the fire department, it was a small community and you’re never out running around to far. If I was ride’n my bike and the fire bell rang, I had to just get on my bicycle and go as fast as I could to the fill’n station icause my father had to leave and go to the fire department because it was all volunteer. So one day I went fast as I could to get up there and there wasn’t a soul around the fill’n station. He had already left, knowing I’d be there within a couple of minutes. When I told him, “Gee you didn’t even wait for me”, he said, “I knew you’d be here.” I thought, gee, kids were more responsible back in those days.
Even though this was not my natural father‑actually, my mother had started out being a housekeeper for him and ended getting married to him‑he treated me with a great deal of respect. There were never any problems, and as money got a little bit better, he bought me a nice bicycle. As times went on, he bought me a saddle horse, that I named Highland Fling, I was able to show in the shows. We got some blue ribbons and red ribbons and so that was a good time. I was like sixteen and seventeen in those days and this was a lot of fun.
My father, of course, didn’t have all that much money, but he took an old set of wheels and made a trailer to haul the horse in. We had two coca cola signs on the sides. He could put everything together.
We used to have this ole car, ’cause he never bought a new car, so we had this ole Nash that looked like a hearse or something. So everybody of course in those days, that went to saddle horse shows, usually had money, so everybody had money except us I guess. But we got there anyway! Everybody would be blow’n their horns with these nice cadillac’s and my father’d be come’n blow’n his horn when I got a ribbon! This ole clonk’n thing would be goin’n honk, honk, honk! And I thought, ohno dad, why don’t you just not bother to recognize that I’m your kid.
I remember one time there was this really big show that had 29 other riders in it. I won second place in that show and I was on top of the world. I think that single show did more for my self confidence and self esteem than anything else could have. That one event was probably a turning point in my life.
As I think back over the years, that horse was probably one of the greatest gifts my family ever gave me. I remember after I lost it, I was at the Dentist, who also had a horse, and he asked me where I had buried my horse. I told him I’d wanted to bury it in the family cemetery but they wouldn’t let me so I had buried it in an ole abandoned gravel pit. Because I had said that, he wanted to give me his priceless horse because he knew he’d have a good home.
By now I was healthy again. I associated with people a little bit, mostly kids. I was slowly becoming less introverted, each year I got a little bit better. I somehow related to boys better than I did girls. I think maybe I’d met some of the boys because they’d maybe come up to the fill’n station and get there air in their bicycle tires and things. So I got to be friendly with some of the boys in the neighborhood and they seemed like pretty good people. I’m still friendly with some of those boys I grew up with. They were good people! They helped get me out of my shell. The girls around the fourteen to seventeen years, were either arguing over boy friends or girls, back biting and all of the sly things. So I really didn’t have too many girl friends during those years because I didn’t think they were too
trustworthy. I can’t really recall any one person (Most influence on life through High School) or relationship that had a striking influence on me during my early life. I was looking for all kinds of answers from all kinds of places. I think everybody contributed a little bit. Everyone had something to contribute. No one person more than others. I couldn’t look up to any one person and say here’s my idol The school teacher was a nice lady, she certainly wasn’t an idol. I had no desire to grow up and be a school teacher. She was a good person and I’ve learned to respect her more over the years than I ever did then. She knew what she was doing. She taught four classes of us and kept us all straight. The four classes of us had to all be in one room ’cause it was only a two room school house in the first place. She introduced us is to good music, to poetry and a lot of things that I’m not sure
kids get in school today. I even started writing books when I was nine. on the farm I had plenty to do in the day light. The evenings were kinda long. After dinner, what is there to do? So I had learned to read at a real early age, I think, because my mother read to me when I was little. So I thought if I don’t have another book to read except one I’ve read a million times, I’ll write a book. So I started write’n books when I was probably nine, in the evenings. of course, nothing ever got published, but it kept me busy for quite awhile. I wrote pages and pages and pages and pages of books. (Still have them) No, I think my ex‑husband, during one of our moves, thought these weren’t of much value so he threw them out. I’d kinda like to read them over to see what in the world I was thinking about in those days.
The church was only two doors away, we were at church all the time. We had young people group, we had the Sunday school group and all that. I played the organ at the Sunday school group ’cause no one else could. I couldn’t play it very well either, but no one else could play any better than me, so we all had a good time. It was something to do with Sunday’s. of course, not having any television, or nintendo, no game boards, we had to amuse ourselves in those days. So in the evenings, I think that’s why I took to writing because I ran out of reading everything. I went through all the classic comic books, went through all the books, but the library was so far away that it was difficult to get there. It was three and a half miles away and, of course back, in those days, mothers didn’t drive cars and my father, the only day he took off with the car was saturday and he took off to do the errands. I was at the station, so I really didn’t have access to the library. That kinda wraps up my teen years.
I graduated in ’46 from Westbrook High School. I had a job for a year and a half with United Shoe Machinery Corporation and I met Carlton at a dance. We probably dated six or eight months. He was going to school studying civil engineering. We married in ’48. The first child came along at the end of ’48, the second child came in 1950. At that time it was also the year that he graduated from the University of Maine at C)rno, got his degree and we moved to Kittery, Maine for awhile, while he worked at the nuclear submarine base there. Then we moved to Boston. He worked for a structural engineering group down there; we lived down there for a couple of years. We lived right on Beacon Hill, right in Boston. After a couple of years of living on Tremont Street and taking the kids to Charles Street Park to show them what grass is and so forth.
I decided to move back to Maine against his better judgement. So we moved back to Maine in ’53. The third son was born at that time and we built a house down on Princes Point, he built it himself. A few years later we lost a boy and then a fifth child was born, a girl, in 1966. Just before that time, the boy’s were all older, I ran a thrift shop for a while. We had second hand clothing, second hand antiques, we had paintings. It was called the Off Country Store. It was kind of a fun shop and everybody came and went and we really had a good time. The store allowed me to be out of the home; it let me feel I was accomplishing something; that I was really a person. Being married to an engineer, AND a Capricorn at the same time, you do lose your self‑ identity. He was the type that took over my whole life, my whole being. I was told what to do, when to do it, how to do it. If we decided to have a conversation and I expounded on anything, then I didn’t really have any degrees so therefore I wasn’t intelligent enough to have a discussion about it, so I wasn’t worth talk’n to. This didn’t make for a real fun marriage. I felt that I was learning. I didn’t feel as if I was a total moron. I mean, I had always read and always had studied and I did well along in the years. I joined Great Books Discussion Group for four years (and) I thought I could discuss something. I told him the only thing I didn’t know anything about was engineering and I didn’t know enough to know whether he did or not. These types of conversations didn’t help the marriage so we drifted further and further apart.
Then as we drifted apart we ended up selling the store. He’d wanted me back home. In 1974 we decided, well, I decided is to get a divorce and at that time I didn’t know what in the world I’d do to support this child; this girl. The rest had gone. The boys were up and out, a couple of them were living in Florida and one was married. It was really just Janet, who was eight at the time, and myself, and I’d got the house (in the divorce) so I knew I didn’t have to make a tremendous amount of money, but we did have to eat everyday.
So, still being interested in books all my life, I had been in and out of the Falmouth book store a lot. It had an out of town owner. I felt he didn’t really realize what was going on, the manager, he had, just sat and read books al I day and it was hard to even get waited on and the inventory was down, so I thought, I’d like to have that store. So I finally called up Downeast Maine to say that I had a little bit of money that I had inherited and I needed a job so I’d like to be the manager of the store; that I’d put some money in the store and I’d run it for him. Well, he decided to meet me the following week and before we got done with the whole situation, he sold me the business rather than just have me as manager. So I was down there for six, seven years and I kept building it up and building it up and we got into some astrology.
in ’72 1 had started taking astrology and I got interested in that by seeing a note in the .5hopping Notes that Ginger MacConney, of Freeport was gonna start an Astrology class at night school. so I thought, I don’t know anything is about astrology, so I thought I’d give it a try. I started off giving it a couple of weeks trial and 20 years later, I’m 21 still in the middle of it. I took four years instruction from Ginger. We went to the University of Maine and took some instruction. We all went down to Boston for some seminars. We bought books and traveled all over for different seminars and speeches and whatever.
Ginger decided she’d like to have a little input in with the bookstore so we got together and she came up with a name for the bookstore and we went on from there. She worked for me for several years. She said that was the only job she ever had that she never got a promotion but she didn’t quit either I cause she was having a good time. If we’d ever made any money, she might have got a raise but we really never made any money. We just all had a good time for years. This was probably one of the best periods of my life.
I became a person, owning the bookstore. People even talked to me. They didn’t even notice I didn’t have any degree’s when they asked me questions. They didn’t ask me for my qualifications for answers on anything and I seemed to manage to get along alright. I really had a feeling of accomplishment.
I’m sure my ex‑husband figured I wouldn’t be in business more than six months and I wouldn’t be able to make a go of that, which I proved six years later he was wrong. Even the Landlord didn’t think I’d make it. He said that the book store was a failing bookstore, which we all knew, and he said one of the worst things you can do is go in behind a failing store and try and to put it on its feet, because it’s easier to start from scratch with everything new than to recapture something someone else has already lost. So I felt good about that. I did something the other fellow couldn’t do.
Then in the early 80’s, I thought we were going into a depression. We had double digit inflation, (and) my inventory was going down. I thought sure we were going to go into a depression so, I’d lived through it before and knew I needed to get prepared for it. So I moved up country with a friend I’d been seeing for five years. What we wanted to do was start with big gardens, learning how to prepare foods. Starting with animals; we started raising rabbits. We had huge gardens and decided to make all the mistakes while we still have money to turn around and recapture things, ’cause we hadn’t been farmers for years. But, then Reagan got in office and put us a trillion dollars in debt so the 80’s turned out to be the best years in a long time. So after five years of being up in Poland, I decided to take my daughter and move back down to Freeport and bought a mobile home. She went to one year of school there and did get through school. She started in baby sitting here and there. I had a job for two years with Southern Maine Area Agency on Aging. Then I inherited some money so I’ve been retired since.
With my daughter having some problems, I’ve taken on raising her five year old boy. So I’m still right here working like crazy. I never would have thought that at 64 I would be standing out in the rain waiting for the school bus, but here I am. My grandson, Shaun, has been living with me for the past year. His mother, Janet, has some problems of her own and it was felt by all concerned, the government included, that I should raise him.
I had thought that at this stage of my life I would be curled up with a good book and wondering what I’d be doing today or who I’d be meeting for lunch. But I guess my life’s all mapped out for me. I guess I’ll be donating the rest of my years to make sure this one child gets the best I have to offer. I really don’t consider that much of a problem though since I don’t really have much of a life of my own at this point.
I have friends that come and go, both men friends and girl friends that stop by occasionally to have a drink and see how things are going. Shaun has his own room, with his TV. We have the disney channel and I think he learns a lot from that and, of course, we have the computer. He spends a lot of time with that. The neighbors have been very good and helpful. If they’re going to take a walk down to the park, they invite Shaun to go along.
I do appreciate the hour I might have to set alone. I appreciate the four hours he’s gone to school but I’m never quite sure what I should do with the four hours. Should I rest, relax, clean house, run to the store, run to do the errands and so forth.
In the summer I go down to the park with him and he plays in the playground or swims in the ocean. I thinks he’s going to have a good start, a good basis. I really feel at this point that I’ve lived my life.
I’ve had a good life in many respects. We’ve had a nice house, we’ve had a swimming pool, the boy’s have had a good life, we’ve had sail boats, a lobster boat. We’ve travelled, been to Bermuda, to Florida several times. One year I spent a month in Florida on one of my boy’s boats. Two of my boys are active building boats and one time they built a 54′ ferrous cement boat that we spent the summer around the Casco Bay islands on. As I look back over my life, its been a good one. I had a good time at the farm; I had a good horse. I feel I’ve done a lot. At this point I’d just as soon make sure this little grandson of mine has the same opportunity.
No (no dreams unfulfilled), I can’t think of any. I always thought I was gonna grow up, get married and have kids and I did all that. Meeting people and going to parties and such I always thought would be fun and interesting and entertaining and it was. I didn’t even get any desire really to have any career’s in life so I didn’t have a desire to go to college or anything like that.
However, I always took courses everywhere. So probably I did have a desire to do something along the way. I was always signed up for some course here or looking for another one to be signed up for there, just to get some insight into life itself anyway. I studied a lot of psychology, read a lot of great books and from that I got into comparative religion, (and) studied all the religions. From that I got into meditation and into astrology; still am with astrology. We played bridge a lot for years, we went skiing for years, all the boys know how to ski.
So it seems like all the different fun things as well as educational things and entertaining things we’ve done! Bermuda was quite interesting. I haven’t been to Europe but I hadn’t really had too much of a desire to go there. I don’t like to fly. These ‘iast ten years I’ve been in a position to go to Europe if I’d wanted to, but I’m comfortable and settled in this little mobile home, and as they say, home is where home is. We’re probably a thousand feet off the ocean so we can walk down there. Everything seems to be right here that I ever dreamed of.
In fact, years and years ago I had a dream that I was living in a trailer in the clouds. You know I thought some day I’ll bet I really will be living in a trailer in the clouds. Well I’m not in the clouds but maybe you could think of that as happiness rather than clouds being an ah symbolism of happiness rather than being in the clouds itself. So I would say, this is an ideal place to bring up the little guy so this is probably what I’ll do for the rest of my life. I will do astrology, I still do everything with my computer and try to rest somewhere in between and have friends coming and going still. I have always thought I’d like to write a book. I’ve had a couple of opportunities where I have a whole book inside me I think. I haven’t really had the opportunity to put that all down. I reach winter, and if it’s a long cold winter I think I’ll start in on this book, either one of them. I just have never done it because it seems like there isn’t the time. one of the books I’d like to write about is my daughter and her trials and tribulations of living in the situation she’s lived in. I’ve got loads of material and it may be an insight to someone going through the same thing. When you have a trying problem like that you think you’re all alone in the world and I’m sure I’m not. I’m sure there’s a lot of these youngsters out here that are in that same position and the parents might benefit from it even if they find out they’re not going to learn any startling news. I’ve opened up every avenue I could think of with this girl . But even if I put it down and somebody only realizes they’re not alone I guess that would be perhaps the only contribution. (I could make)
The other book I have in mind is (how) during the Viet Nam war, my boys exchanged places. My second son went to Viet Nam and decided that this war was really a stupid war. Of course, it tore the nation apart. And when he came home on his R&R, his brother said he would go back with him ’cause Glenn said he would never go back in any way, shape or manner. So the older boy put on his uniform and went back to Viet Nam.
For awhile there, it was a long trying experience. Everything from the FBI being at my home interviewing me, tapping my phone and everything else. So that was a trying experience. We almost lost Wesley because the South Viet Namese would like to have kept him in jail for five years for illegal entry into the country. Had not one of the news casters on CBS news broken the story wide open, and it hit all over the papers and so forth, I could have lost that boy to Viet Nam.
We’ve been on national TV three times. The first time was when the whole story broke. They came out to the house and interviewed us, this was way back in ’72 and we were on CBS news with Walter Cronkite. Then, ten years, later we were on Night Line because Judd Duval, the news correspondent at that time, wanted to do a ten year update on Viet Nam and he thought of us and the story, so they all came to my trailer here in Freeport and they interviewed Glen and myself here at the trailer. Then, they flew to Florida where Wesley was at the time and interviewed him. Then, just two years ago, (1990) there was a new TV show that was just starting up called Instant Recall and they called, out of the clear blue sky, and wondered if they could come and do a story. At the time I told them I thought the story had been beaten to death, but they wanted to do it because they were taking the papers and saying it was like an instant recall and they took what happened, what was on the newspaper of that particular day. So we were on the news again. in the mean time, when Wesley first came home, he was on that program What ‘s Mv Secz‑et or something like that. He was on several talk shows, some of which didn’t show in this area. That would be a good book. We’ve got a lot of it really written anyway, we’ve all had a turn at it, really what we did is write down notes so we wouldn’t forget ’em. That would be a good project. So there’s a couple of good projects, if I could feel that I could put them together, and I’m still working on astrology all the time.
You know, sometimes people who are really church people, and I never felt that I wasn’t church people. I don’t go to church every week but I never felt that I didn’t believe in God or I was going to run a marathon with him to see who was gonna win, astrology or him or what ever. The only thing I can think of is when people say I will put no other God’s in front of me, I think people sometimes put money in front of him. That could be their God. Or if they put astrology (first) and didn’t believe anything else, that might be their God. It never occurred to me to do that, it’s just a tool for learning other things. It’s no different than trying to puzzle out the pyramids. I don’t think we’re going against God by puzzling out how did they do the pyramids, but there are people who do, but there’s no conflict in my mind at al I(between astrology and God) (About the) Kennedy assassination. I remember I was running the thrift store there on main street and I heard it on the radio and I was so shocked. At about the same time two boys drove up in a car and they got out and hollered, “President Kennedy was shot!” and I said, “oh my goodness I did hear that correctly.” I remember running next door to the publisher of a small paper and I said, “Do you have your radio on, the President’s just been shot.” So I remember right exactly where I was. Of course, we heard it (Pearl Harbor) on the radio. I remember my mother was quite upset and I came running out and she said, “Well, they’ve bombed Pearl Harbor”, and my only reaction was well, where’s Pearl Harbor?
As for the end of WWII, I had friends visiting from Massachusetts and I had taken them to old orchard for the day. The war ended and I thought, oh my goodness, I’ve got to get them home. Somehow we had to grab the bus and get to Portland. When we got to Portland there was wall’s of people in the street’s. On Congress street, there must have been 200 people deep up and down and the bells were ringing and people were screaming, and here I am with three out‑of‑town guests, and thinking, how am I ever going to get them home and my mother must be hysterical wondering where we are. The only thing I could think of was, we had to walk from Congress street all the way down Forest avenue and maybe with any luck the buses were running beyond Forest, and they were! So I finally got them home and I thought th6y’ll never forget their visit in Maine!
I think I’ve always felt at peace with myself, I never could really explain why I feel at peace, I’ve (just) always felt at peace. Even though I was going through some traumatic things in a lot of different areas in my life. I think my mother instilled some sort of confidence in me, that she always thought I was great whether anyone else ever did or not, and that’s always carried me through life! There was never anybody that could ever really knock me down. When people picked on me, so to say, quote, quote, I just felt it had to be their inexperience or their fault. So I always just felt peace of mind. Everybody else was wrong. (laughter)
At this point I feel that my life is on the waning side, of course, and so Shaun, this five year old grandson that I’m taking care of, at this point in life, he means the most to me. Everybody else, I’ve done the best I can with them, and I’m just beginning with him and I want to continue as long as I can to do the best I can with this guy.
Unfortunately (how long left to live) doing some of the astrology here, I DO know the way I will die. It will be through a heart attack, which I hope will go suddenly and quickly and so forth. My mother died of a heart attack at 93, I don’t ever expect to ever live that long. I think I may have another, maybe five to ten years left. I’m just not sure. I’ve done some extensive research on the length of is people’s lives through astrology. I’m getting it narrowed down. So I can get prepared. I would rather die at sleep at night in bed.
My children will have to be the ones to reflect (how I’m remembered). Whatever remnants of me that might be left will surely come out in the boys, surely I must have had some influence on their lives, and that will come out in their lives. I would like my friends to remember me as an interesting person who was fun to be around. I sure don’t plan to reincarnate soon. I’ve got lots of plans on never coming back, I don’t think I could handle it twice! I have no desire to try and make it through this again! I prefer to live right up in Heaven for the rest of my life.
There are those people who wish they could do this or that before they die but I don’t have any of those feelings at all. I think I’ve done more than, probably, a lot of people have done. I definitely feel at peace with myself.
This fairly sums up my life story, it’s a pretty good synopsis. I suppose if I have to use one word to sum up my life I would use fulfilled. (Interesting) Oh yes, interesting, definitely interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever spent any length or periods being bored. There was always something on the shelf. So I’ve never been bored! That’s a tremendous thing I guess, icause I’ve heard from other people that they are bored. I think it’s been interesting. I’ve had a lot of interesting people that’s been around me over the is years which I really treasure their friendship and their input. It’s been a fun life really. I don’t think I’ve set and thought so much about myself as I have for this interview as, well, I can’t remember when. I can’t remember thinking over my whole life and putting it down in two hours. Well, (would you enjoy having a copy of this) I might add to it as time goes on. I would perhaps, end with a note that Shaun is the one that matters the most and I could fill in the things that did happen to Shaun, and how he did progress if I was successful in helping him with his life. It might be interesting for the children to read.