Pearl Harbor

 

 

“My name is Pearl Harbor, I was born December 7, 1949, in Portland at Maine Medical Center. I live in Standish, and I’ve lived in Standish all my life. I have 5 brothers, 1 older, 4 younger, who also all live in Standish, and have all of their lives.”

“I graduated from Bonny Eagle High School and the University of Maine at Gorham at the time, in 1971. In 1978 it was changed to the University of Southern Maine. It was the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham for that gap. It was the University of Maine at Gorham for only that one semester – that’s what my degree reads.”

“I studied secondary education to teach history, and I hated teaching, which I found out when I did my student teaching. I did one term at Gray, and one at the grade school / elementary school at Pride’s Comer in Westbrook. Gray was the junior high level. That is when I decided I didn’t like teaching. I’m not disciplined. I don’t want to do lesson plans every night, and correct papers! That was my last semester in school – kind of late to figure that out!”

“As far as my birth goes, I don’t remember it myself, but I know that I was 3 weeks early, and we lived with my grandfather until he died. We lived in his house – my father’s father, and also his mother-in-law lived there. My grandmother died in 1944, but my great-grandmother was still living. She passed away the week after I was born. That’s probably why I came a little bit early – the stress of that. The next one younger than me was born in ’52, and that’s my earliest memory – when he was born. I was 2 years, 2 months when he was       born. My oldest brother, John, is 2 and a half years older than me, but the next 3 after me were all born within 3 years, so they were very close. 3 babies in 3 years. My poor mother! No wonder she went to work part- time – just to get out of the house!”

“So, there are 5 boys and me. John, me, Steve, Paul, Bruce and Royce, in order. Now, Bruce kind of does his own thing – he’s the wanderer of the group – he drives a big truck. He’s driving locally, and he’s trying to buy a truck now to go back on the road – he loves to be on the road.”

“Around the time I was born, maybe ’50 or ’51, the grandfather that we lived with had ulcers and most of his stomach removed, and he was in the hospital, and they called my father 3 times, saying “come in, this is it.” While he was there, my other grandfather, who was the minister in town, had a heart attack, and, uh, so he was in the hospital, and he had finally gotten home, and they would take me over and leave me at the parsonage with him to babysit and they’d rush into the hospital. So, my grandfather made it through, and he finally died in 1968.”

“My older brother was born in ’47, during the forest fires of Southern Maine. They didn’t burn through Standish, but both my grandfathers used to go out patrolling, watching for fires during that time. My youngest brother was born in ’59, so within 12 years, my mother had 6 kids, and lost one.”

“My childhood was pretty neat – my father collected antique cars. We used to go on antique car meets, and we’d be dressed up – my brothers would have little hats on and long dusters, and my mother and I would have the big straw hats. They’d take slow tours, driving around. Daddy was one of the founding members of the M.O.A.L.’s – the Maine Obsolete Automobile League. He had about 12 antique cars. We all got cars – I had 2, both of which were lost in the fire that burned the shop down where they were stored, and that was probably, I think, 10 or 12 years ago. I had a 1922 Willys Knight and a 1923 -I think – Jewitt. Paul still has a 1917 Franklin, John has a 1938 Chrysler and a 1916 Ford. Both of his will run, but they need a little work to keep them going. Bruce has a ’22 Dodge, and Steve has the other 1916 Ford. We’d probably go to shows once or twice a summer. As more children came along, we’d do less of it, but probably ’54 or ’55, he bought an old school bus, took out an of the seats, built a fold- up kind of bed thing, and we’d all sleep in the back of the bus, and we’d go as far as maybe New York, traveling, and camping out. We visited Santa’s Village and the North Pole in New York, and we closed down the bridge going across Lake Champlain. At the time, it was too narrow for anything else to pass while we were passing, so we closed it down! I was probably 5, 6 or 7, at the time, and we did that for 3 or 4 years. The bus is sitting down in the swamp behind Bruce’s house now – that’s where my kitties were born! So, it’s sitting down there, sinking into the mud.”

“I remember my mother just being really busy. I was cooking meals for the whole family at age 9. She had a big old washing machine, wringer type, and I’d be hanging clothes out. In the winter they froze, and we’d bring them in the house and thaw them out. I can remember, because she worked part-time, too at the Post Office, so I can remember Saturday mornings being crazy. I can remember one brother on her hip, you know, and she’d have the laundry going, and she’d be cooking, and flour would be everywhere, with clothes hanging up on the clothesline in the kitchen, and … I don’t know how she managed. I’ve never had that much energy! John and I always ended up having chores – we’d do dishes every night, setting the table, doing dishes. The other 4 didn’t do any chores that I remember. I think that John had the “older son syndrome,” being responsible, and of course girls always did the housework. I think the other 3 just came so close together, it was just keeping them from killing each other was a big enough job.”

“When I went to high school, boys took either shop or college prep, and the girls took either Home Ec. or college prep – or business. And you didn’t date anybody from the other group, either. I was in the college prep group.”

“The other thing that John and I did together, was the grandparents on my mother’s side would take us with them, because we were so “well-behaved.” My mother’s family came from Rhode Island, and we’d go down with them probably a week at a time to visit relatives, so we got to know all of the relatives. Steve didn’t like to travel – Paul was a wild kid, and by the time Bruce came along, my grandparents had moved to Kittery and weren’t traveling quite so much. My grandfather had had another heart attack.”

“My father’s family was from Missouri. My grandfather was stationed in South Portland during World War 1, and he met my grandmother and came back there and got married and settled down. Her family came from New Brunswick – way up beyond northern Maine. His family never talks much about family. I know my grandfather went out to Missouri a few times to see his brothers, and he had, I think 3 brothers. One, I remember was electrocuted as a young man, working on wires or something.”

“Harbor is German, my father’s side, and my great-grandmother’s name was Miller, so she was Scotch. On my mother’s side is pure English, back to the settling of Rhode Island. My grandfather – my mother’s father – came here directly here from England when he was about 13 or 14. We found the house that he lived in, in England, when we went over there. We don’t know where my father’s family came from in Germany. Nobody in the family kept track – the ones that would know wouldn’t talk about it. They came, I think, in the 1830’s or ’40’s, and they wouldn’t talk about it because “we live in the future, not in the past.” We know that he came from Westphalia – which is the Northwest comer of Germany. I don’t know why they wouldn’t talk about the past. When I was in Germany, my folks were in Missouri, visiting the relatives, so Daddy and Mom and Royce got to meet the relatives, and Bruce stopped one time and looked up the Harbors when he was traveling out there, so he met Uncle Ray and Auntie Em Everybody should have an Auntie Em because there’s no place like home! I’m sure they’re all gone now – they’d be about 100 years old.”

“We went to Rhode Island a lot – my great-grandmother lived down there, and two of her brothers, and they were all in their ’80’s then, when I was little. My great-great-uncle John and Aunt Mabel were married 63 years – long lives – that’s good to have in my life!”

“They didn’t have nursery school or kindergarten – I started 1st grade when I was still 5. I was the youngest in the class. I was the biggest, but I was the youngest! I was very shy, wouldn’t speak, had a hard time making friends, because I had such a big family that we all did everything together. The only one I knew was the next-door neighbor, he was a little older than me. My family was mostly congregational, which is the church I attend now, although my grandfather was ordained a Baptist minister, but when he came to Maine he had mostly congregational churches. The other grandfather, which I didn’t know until I was 12, was Catholic, but, see, they were the wrong religion to be according to one of the grandparents, so… My father was raised Methodist – his mother was a Methodist – here in South Portland. I can remember John and I doing something wrong, and my Sunday School teacher yelled us and asked us what we thought our grandfather would think of that.”

“I was shy right through college. Probably after I’d been working here at the University for about 5 years was when I started to come out of it. I’m in my 20th year here now. I started getting over shyness when I worked at the insurance company. There was a woman there, Fay Millay, who taught me every dirty joke I know. She was a character!”

“I have a lot of school memories. I remember in 1st grade – one of the girls in my class was always in trouble. I think she had repeated, and I remember she took the scissors and cut all the hair off her arm, and the teacher made her go stand out in the hallway. She told her that she was going to have “hairy, hairy arms when it grew back,” and that scared me when the teacher yelled. In 2nd grade … my 1st grade teacher was … ugh… but my 2nd grade teacher was wonderful – I can remember going through a phase when I colored everything black. I always felt like I didn’t know what they were talking about. I could get up to the board and do the math, but it didn’t make sense, and I was always amazed when I got the right answer. I couldn’t figure out my colors, so I just colored everything black rather than admit I couldn’t remember what colors were what. I walked to school – we were right near the school – and walked home for lunch every noontime. They had a long lunch and a long recess, so the 2nd grade teacher kept me after every noon, and helped me with my colors and my numbers, and helped me to read. She still lives here in Gorham – they used to come to our church, and then her husband had a stroke about 8 years ago. My 3rd grade teacher … that was when Royce was born … 3rd grade was when I went to

New Sharon with my grandparents to visit one of his churches, and I growled at the dog laying on the street, and he jumped up and that’s the scar on my arm, and he ripped my dress. I remember that for show’n’tell, I had a bandage. The dog was at the house that was visiting, and he was in the road, and I just went by and went “grrr,” and he didn’t like it! I was a dumb kid! My grandparents didn’t do stitches – they just bandaged it up, and when I got home, I probably had to get a shot, I don’t know. German shepherds, I have a hard time with – that was one. Another time, when I was in New Sharon, I was probably 3 or 4 years old – I wasn’t very old when they moved from up there, but I remember doing things up there – I remember how big the house seemed, and how high the snow was, because it was up over the porch roof one year! I remember taking the garbage way out to the end of the barn to dump it out back, it seemed like forever! I remember the kids kept saying, “Oh, you can ride on the doggie, he’s just like a pony!” So, I sat on the dog, and he bit me in the face – he nipped my cheek. And that was a German Shepherd. It may have been that same German Shepherd, I’m not sure. It was the same family that we visited.

“My 3rd grade teacher was Edna Libby, and I saw her last Christmas at a get-together for the kids. She’s pretty old and frail now. And then I had the terrible Miss Higgins for fourth grade. I had all “Misses” – Miss Higgins for fourth grade. The old maid schoolteachers with the iron gray hair, and the bun, and boy, we were all scared to death of her, because she made one of my older brother’s friends stay back when he had her, so we knew she was mean. She was very strict, and there was a girl named Judy Ham, that I was feuding with for some reason in the fourth grade, and she threatened the both of us with something or other, and we became best friends after that. I can’t remember what we were doing or anything, but she sat in front of me, I think I used to pull her hair. Once I got yelled at, I knew I had to straighten out because I knew my mother would hear, because this woman lived two houses from us. After I got out of the 4th grade, Miss Higgins and I would walk to school together. I had Mrs. Strickland for 5th grade, and, uh, Mrs. Gould for 6th grade, and then her daughter came as a student teacher, and after the school year was over her daughter got married, and I was invited to the wedding, and I can remember I made her … spool knitting – I made a little table thing. You put four nails and a spool of thread, and you pull the yarn up and over to make a cord, and I made her a round thing with bright colors. Every time I see her, she says, “You know, I still have them on my table!” And I made that when I was in 6th grade. They lived right across the street from us, so I don’t think a lot of kids got invited to the wedding. All of my teachers lived right in the area! It was a small town, and both of my parents were outsiders. My mother was from Rhode Island, Daddy was a little more tolerable because he was from Maine, he was from South Portland! But when he got the job as Postmaster over one of the local boys, that was a big deal!”

“So, my Mom worked part time at the Post Office, and my Daddy was the Postmaster, so they worked together. She was there 35 years, and he was there 37 years. I don’t remember them fighting – if they did, they did it when we weren’t there. I remember growing up being busy, and as more kids came along my father’s temper got shorter. I remember, on one of our trips, thinking, “Someone has hijacked this bus that looks like my father, but it’s not him!” We had driven him right to distraction. We got threatened a lot – we probably got spanked, but I really don’t remember – my father had a “cat and nine tails,” which is like a knot, with these strings with leather hanging from it, so it could have done a lot of damage – we got threatened with that a lot, but I don’t remember him ever using it on anybody. He used to wrap it around my legs, but never enough to even sting, you know? And we knew where it was and we hid it one time. It was in his closet, and we put it way in the back – like he couldn’t find it. My father yelled a lot – a big yeller, bad language! He stopped using one word when I used it in front of my Baptist minister grandfather. Yep. I could pick my times and places!”

I know I had to watch my brothers a lot, and I know there are a couple now who would tell you I was a big mean sister, but you know, it was the way it was. Our folks had to work, and somebody had to watch the kids, and we were all hellraisers! We drove my grand-father that we lived with, right crazy! On one end of the upstairs, he had “his room” and I don’t think he could have gotten three people into the room at the same time, it was so packed with all his stuff. And at the other end of the house he had another bedroom, that was his shop, with all of his tools – he liked to putter – and my brothers wanted to be in that shop! It was on the other side of the stairwell, so you had your stairs and hallway on this side, but up over the stairs was a closet for the boys’ room, that connected with that shop, which he kept locked and blocked – you couldn’t get through it if you tried! But I can remember there was an old lamp in that closet, and it was a Victorian, and it had all these little strings with beads, and I can remember running in, stripping a string of beads off, and throwing them at the door, and he knew what it was, and then we’d run like hell to the other end of the house. He’d come out chasin’, you know, just to aggravate him. He was always telling my father, “Those damn kids have been in my tools again!” My father would always say, “Leave the kids alone, they can’t get in, the shop’s locked!” Well, now I’ve found out, years later, that the boys had taken a screwdriver, and they’d unhook the hinges, and they’d open the door from the other side, and yeah, they were in his tools! He worked nights on the railroad, and he’d come home, odd hours, and one night they strung big elastic bands from the mail, my father would bring them home – across the dining room floor, and my grandfather came in and tripped over them. I didn’t know that until I was probably 40, so I didn’t know it had happened. My grandfather apparently didn’t tell anybody at the time.

“It was a big old farmhouse, and it had a big coal furnace, I can remember them delivering coal through the cellar window, and he’d come home, and he’d stoke that fire up.

“Junior High School is where I met Norma – Andy’s mother. I was friends with her, off and on, through school. We had a love/hate relationship. She lost her mother when she was in 5th grade, and she lost her father in high school – she had a lot of stuff to work through, that I don’t think she ever did, about abandonment, and everything. Even though she had a place to stay, she never forgave her folks for leaving her. And, that’s why it was so weird to me that she died young, at 42, in 1991. She had three kids with my brother John. Andy’s the oldest – well, actually, she lost the first one, Greg was born stillborn and probably died 2 days before she gave birth of cerebral hemorrhaging, and then Andy and then Tim and then Amy, and the three of them came within 3 years. I can remember her saying, when she was pregnant with Amy, she was telling my mother, “I don’t even dare tell you that I’m pregnant again,” and my mother said, “No problem with me! I understand exactly!”

“I liked Junior High School – I liked learning to read, and realizing that reading can open so many different interest areas, but I think it was in Junior High that I also got my first “B” on my rank card. I can remember coming home, crying because I’d gotten a “B.” I had perfect attendance until high school. If I was going to be sick, it was going to be in the summer! I loved school – I cried when school was over in either 5th or 6th grade – I was a weird kid! I liked the learning, but I was teacher’s pet, too, because I was a good girl. I was pretty much scared of the other kids. I remember in 1st grade, that there were several that had stayed back, and they were the bullies on the playground. So, as I got into Junior High, I was more comfortable with the other kids – I had made some best friends, but I was never one of the popular kids, and that was fine. Norma was a good friend, off and on, and Patty Strout (now Saucier), who I’m still best friends with – I’ve been best friends with her since the 3rd grade. Her parents passed away, well actually her mother did, and I thought her father had passed away, but he didn’t die until years later, but he couldn’t deal with a family, so she lived with a great-aunt and uncle. She moved into

town during 3rd or 4th grade. Then there was Linda, the minister’s daughter from Steep Falls, then there was somebody named Paula who lived not too far from me – see, growing up in Standish, after Paula moved there were no other girls in Standish until I was in Junior High. So, from 3rd grade until Junior High, I was the only girl in my neighborhood, so I played baseball with my brothers and all the neighborhood boys out in back of the house in the big field. I think the last game I played was in the 8th grade, and I had a little, slight crush going on Bob, and he called me out at 1st, and I got upset and went in the house, and I’ve never played baseball since. I’m still a big fan to this day but I’ve never played since.”

“I remember in Junior High that another family moved into town that had girls – from Georgia. We had a girl named “Patty Gail – her name was Gail, but she wanted to be called “Patty Gail.” I remember a big fight about it that in Junior High. The principal finally said, “Your name is Gail, we’re calling you Gail. I’ve had enough of this foolishness, no more!” I used to go down to their house and watch soap operas at their house, because my mother would not allow that on her t.v. So, I was sinful and watched soap operas at Patty Gail’s house.”

“We had the first t.v. in Standish, in 1952. 1 can remember a movie on t.v., that I so much wanted to watch, but I had measles, and you couldn’t have bright lights when you had the old- fashioned measles, because it could affect your sight. You had to stay in a dark room and wear sunglasses. I can remember sitting in my father’s lap, and him rocking me, but keeping my face away from the t.v. and keeping the lights down. I could listen to it, but I couldn’t watch it. I think that lasted about a week. Childhood diseases were nasty then. I had chicken pox when Steve was born, that’s how I remember when he was born, I was at New Sharon with my grandfather. They had taken John and me up, and the day after we got there, John came down with them – when he got over them, I came down with them, so they had me for a month! John got to come home, but I had to stay up there, and that’s when Steve was born. They had the old crank phones on the wall, so it was hard for them to call out, but my father – we had dial phones down here in Southern Maine, so my father had called them to tell them about Steve, and they let me talk to him on the phone, and what I remember is them screaming because I hung it up (because it was hard to call out) so that’s what I remember about him being born. Also, it was one of the worst blizzards of the decade. He was born here in Gorham, there’s a Century 21 in a big white house on the left, that used to be DeWitt Manor, and when Steve was born it was a private nursing home type place, where you went and had babies, so that’s where he was born, and later it became a nursing home, and that’s where my great-grandmother passed away, so I’ve got weird ties to that building – one coming in and one going out!”

“So, anyway… back to t.v. We had good t.v. We had Howdy Doody, we had Roy Rogers, and we had Sky King – a rancher with his own airplane – we had the good shows! I used to watch a lot of t.v. and eat a lot of candy bars – that was my summer. I never have liked the heat, and I can remember one really hot summer – the same summer I realized I was starting to get really pudgy, so I’d go out and sit in the hot barn, as hot as it could be, hoping to sweat it off, because I’d heard that if you sweat you lose weight. That was weird. That was when I was 10 – and I remember I was 110 pounds, and it was a big deal to be that, heavy at that young an age. My grandmother made a lot of my weight, more than my mother. She’d always say that she loved me and that I was beautiful, but I was pudgy. I was always the biggest kid in my class. When I’d line up for class pictures, I’d be in the middle in my little plaid dress – my mother loved plaid – and all the other kids would be lined down from me. So, I was tall and I was big, and that’s probably why I was so shy. Some of my brothers were big guys, too, but it was okay for boys to be big. Although, I’m sure Royce got plenty of comments because he was always a roly-poly kid. Paul was until teenage years, when he was in Boy Scouts, and he went hiking and swimming and he slimmed right down. And he’s the one that has problems with my weight. I’m “Fat Aunt Pearl,” – he called me that once, and almost didn’t live to say it again. He’s very subtle.”

“From there, I went to Bonny Eagle High School, which had 4 towns -in the district instead of 2. There I started to meet a lot of different people. I had started noticing boys in the 8th grade – mostly Danny, who had a big wave in his hair. I was still shy in High School – I did my work. I think I was in the Glee Club for a while, and I was always in the Theater Group, but never as an actor, I always did posters and that sort of thing. I remember expecting High School to be a lot different. I remember going to my first dance, my mother made me a pretty outfit – it was brown with a pink blouse with a big tie, and I was ready to go out the door to go to the dance, and John told me I looked like Porky Pig with a tie under my chin. I was still doing pretty well, but when I got to the dance I was a wallflower. I went to one other dance all through high school, and that was only because I was in the French Club, and we put on a dance, and I baked bon-bons and that sort of stuff for it. I went to it, but I didn’t dance. That just wasn’t my thing.”

“My mom made me a lot of clothes because I was hard to fit. My grandmother made my brothers flannel shirts. I think that if my Mom had time she would have enjoyed sewing more, but she used to do a lot of mending. She made me a little red coat with a red hat and red boots when I was 5 or 6. But when you’ve got 6 kids, it’s hard to find time to do anything other than cooking, cleaning house and working. Sewing meant mending, basically. And, back then we didn’t have permanent press – everything had to be ironed, and that became my job. I’d stand the ironing board up over the blower from the furnace, so I loved ironing in the winter! I’d stand right there and crank the heat up, and stay warm. That house was cold – it had 12 foot ceilings. It worked out great with the floor vents when my mother would make bread and yeast rolls. She’d put it on those and she’d have huge rolls. We also used to iron, believe it or not, was Christmas paper. I’d take all the wrapping paper on Christmas Day, sort it out, cut the edges, and iron the paper out, re-roll it and re-use it the next year. That was probably left over from my parents and my grand-parents living through the Depression. I still go nuts when I watch the kids tearing the paper off of their presents – I just want to save the paper.”

“In high school, I was also in the French Club, but I hated French. You had to have 2 years of foreign language for the college prep track, but I just don’t pick up the tones. We had Mrs. Jackson, who was a terror – I sat there during my first year in French, and I had a rash on my arm from stress – I’d constantly scratch my arm, and my doctor finally told me it was my nerves. I also had her for my homeroom teacher, but we talked a little more then – I got to know her a little differently, and she asked me one morning what that was on my arm, and I told her, and she was just devastated that her classes would do that to somebody. But she was from the old school, very strict and stern, and we were scared of her. I think I was in the Glee Club for maybe one year, I don’t remember much of that, I think I just did it because it was something to do – a required activity. I loved making posters – I still do, so that’s why I was involved in Theater. I probably liked the teachers involved, too.”

“Back then, if you were smart, you went to college, and you became a nurse or a schoolteacher, and I didn’t want to go into Nursing – I don’t know where I got that from, but that’s definitely the message that I got. You could take a Business course and be a secretary, or you could take home-ec if you were planning to get married – I was shocked at how many people got engaged on Graduation night! I was also shocked that the top 6 in the College prep courses were pregnant when they graduated! Things were different then – if you were pregnant, you were not in school. I remember one girl had a little sister who was a freshman, maybe a sophomore, and she was pregnant, and both she and her mother swore that she had a tropical disease, she was not pregnant, she was just being treated for this disease – and she just gained weight from it – until she gave birth.”

“Plus, I liked working with the kids, but by the time I got out of high school, and then went to college and came back, I think that’s when the “revolution” kicked in, in the ’60’s and the ’70’s, and when I got back (for student teaching) and the students were disrespectful, they were mouthy, they didn’t want to learn – they didn’t want to do anything, and I just couldn’t deal with that. And, the idea of, every single night, having to prepare a lesson plan – I wasn’t well-prepared in college for teaching. I had just two preparation courses, taught by the same professor, who liked to just gather us all to sit in a circle to ask us where we were at. He’d talk about “when you teach students, you’ve got to go to where they are,” but I had never made a lesson plan out until I had to make one out for student teaching, and I was lost.”

“So I graduated in high school in ’67 – I was a freshman in the year that Kennedy was killed. I remember exactly where I was. We were having an all-school assembly, so we were all in the gym, and one of the kids had snuck out to sit in his car and listen to the radio, and he came back in and told somebody what he had heard. So, then they announced it, immediately ended the assembly and sent everybody home. You could have heard a pin drop on the bus on the way home – nobody knew what that meant to them in their lives – was this the end of the world or what? None of us had ever been through that – I mean we probably knew that Lincoln was assassinated, but that was different because it was wartime, and we knew that people hated him, and it was so long ago. Both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated while I was in college, and I can remember waking up to my radio going on, and hearing about Robert Kennedy, and I just laid in bed thinking, “I can’t believe this is happening again.” I figured I must have dreamt it.”

“High school was generally an o.k. time. I had friends and I had crushes on guys. In John’s class we had an exchange student from Germany and he was just gorgeous. We also had a German family in town and they wanted me to ask him if he would call them and go to dinner at their house, and I was so nervous about even approaching him to say this. We had a Swiss exchange student my senior year – Walter. I wasn’t really friends with him, but I wrote to him after he went back to Switzerland. I tend to have these long-distance relationships! I don’t remember a whole lot from high school. I remember going to class and doing my thing. I didn’t have a driver’s license until I was in college. In 1960, my parents bought the cottage up at the lake, so every year we transferred back and forth. We’d move up to the lake in May, because it wasn’t heated at that time, and then the last year that we moved back for the winter was the year that my grandfather Harbor died, we moved back December 7th and he died on my birthday. I was scared to move back that night, and my parents went back home, and we kids stayed in the house where he had died that night – it was so bizarre.”

“So, they bought the place at Watchic lake where my mother lives now. So we had idyllic summers. John had a boat and my father had a bigger boat. John’s was faster, but my father’s was bigger and more stately, you know? We’d go out in John’s boat and follow my father’s boat which put up quite a wake, and we’d surf the wake in his boat. And we had rowboats, and I learned to swim when I was 11 or 12. So, we just had wonderful summers up there, but I mean we’d move everything up there, pots, pans, clothes, everything for those seven months. So, then we’d either ride the bus or John would drive us from there. John had his license and he had a little Volkswagen convertible with no roof, so when it finally got warm enough we’d take my younger brother to catch the bus at the Elementary School; then there would end up being 7 of us in that car. John and I’d be in front, and we usually picked up Mike, the German exchange student, and the fellow he was staying with, who is now my eye doctor, and 2 across the street, and a lot of times Bob would go with us, who was the one who was my age who lived next door, so yeah, there’d be 2 in front, 3 in the back seat, and 1 or 2 stuffed in where the roof should have fit in. So at that point I had long hair, and Larry had a crew cut, and I’d be wearing a kerchief, and Larry always used to take my kerchief off and put it over his crew cut for the ride to school.” “But we also drove by my father’s insurance agent every morning, and one morning he saw us go by with that thing loaded, and he was probably at the post office before we got to school, yelling at my father about how dangerous it was. When we got home that night, and it was so funny, my father had this little stern look and we were scared to death, and he says, “You know, Jack was in to see me today – how many people did you have in that car going to school this morning?” And John was a good doobie, and he said, “I think there were 7 of us,” and he said, “If you ever do that again… take the other road that doesn’t go by Jack’s house, okay?” He was so mad at Jack for coming in and making a scene at work, and John told the truth too, which made my father happy.”

“I don’t remember any bad stuff in high school – the only bad thing I remember at all was when my great-grandmother died my Junior year. She was 95, and that was the one that was in the nursing home down here, and my mother would not let me go to the funeral, because it was in Rhode Island, and I would have to miss school. It was the first person I’d ever lost in my family, so I had no idea… I didn’t know what I was missing or anything. I think I had a test or something in school. Mom had to be gone over night, because it was too much to do in one day. So, that was the first time I’d experienced death – she was 95, and she’d been in a nursing home for 2 years.”

“So, my great-grandmother died in ’66, my mother’s father died in ’67, just before I graduated from high school – that was unexpected. He had gone in with fluid in his legs and he had heart failure, and died in the hospital. What I remember is that when I found out, I went home and my other grandfather knew I was upset about something, and I couldn’t tell him, because they didn’t not get along, but they didn’t get along, because of this whole religion thing. It was so bizarre. That’s when I first started realizing how bizarre that is to miss out on someone because of the stereotypes that they grew up with. They grew up with them, and I didn’t need to have that, you know? So, that was in ’67, and my grandfather Harbor died in ’68, that we lived with. My brother was in Vietnam in ’68 and they wouldn’t let him back for the funeral, and shortly after that I started having dreams – because I used to have dreams that came true – all my life I’d meet people and feel as if I’d met them before, kind of that deja vu thing – so bizarre, and I remember having a very vivid dream that John had been killed in Vietnam.”

“So, by the year after my grandfather had died, we finished winterizing the house at the lake, and his house sat vacant until Bruce took it about 8 or 9 years ago. Well, it wasn’t vacant – we had stuff stored in it like old furniture, you know, stuff that was there when we lived there. In fact, once my mother went over there and thought “I don’t remember leaving my dishes on the floor,” and she started looking around and then we realized we’d been burglarized. The police think that somebody just backed down around behind the house, and they probably took their time, and spent the whole day looking at what they wanted. She lost a beautiful antique music box that took the big metal records that were punched.”

“I was second to the last to get my diploma because the short girls got to march in with the short boys, and the tall girls, there were 8 of us that marched in together at the rear of the line. I was next to last, and my best friend Ellen was last. I remember Norma didn’t speak to me for two years in high school because I used to let Ellen sit on the bus with us, 3 to a seat with us,

even if there was a vacant seat. Ellen was even shyer than I was. If there was a vacant seat with a boy she would not sit in it. And, Norma got mad about it one day, and I snapped at her and that was it for 2 years. She didn’t speak with me until just before graduation when senior pictures came out. I was kind of sad at graduation. Other families had graduation parties, but that wasn’t something that my family did, so we just went home and went to the lake and went swimming. That’s all I remember about it. It was difficult because my grandfather had died soon before that, and my grandmother did go. I didn’t work at all during high school. I babysat the summer between high school and college – I hated it. I didn’t have a driver’s license, and my father dropped me off – it was for the woman who worked for him, because they had another clerk at the post office by that time, and her kids were obnoxious, it was hot in the house, there was no place to go, it was out of town, and it was just not a good situation. And I put on probably 30 pounds that summer, in frustration, and being scared about going to college.”

“I was scared to death to go to college, even though it was close to home. I had looked into going to the University of Rhode Island, and I was going to live with my family, and then I found out that freshmen had to live on campus, no matter what. Then I drove onto campus – no way. It was too big – I was still really shy. I had one best friend through college. I mean I had other friends and everything, but she was out for like 2 months or whatever with mono one year, and I was just a wreck – I didn’t know what to do with myself The fact that I commuted helped, because I didn’t have to stick around here. So, I didn’t get involved in anything going on, on campus. So, I had never been in any of the dormitories until I started to work here. I had been in the Burnham Lounge once – 1967, the Red Sox had lost the World Series, and I could remember somebody threw a pair of red socks out of the fourth floor and they floated down past the

window. So, I didn’t even apply anywhere else – this was it. I got a big $50 scholarship from the Standish Kiwanis Club or the Lion’s Club or something when I graduated from high school. I think my parents maybe paid, I don’t know – $100 of my school costs. I made a lot of money from babysitting. I babysat a lot through high school. That’s where I got most of my spending money. I can remember culture shock when I bought my books that first semester – it was like $87, and they had told me it cost about $75, and I didn’t have enough money to cover it in the checking account, but I did some fancy maneuvering, and the second semester my books cost me $15. Because we could swap books – everybody took core classes. First semester you had music appreciation, he second semester you had art appreciation, or vice-versa. And we used to set up tables over in front of Russell and sell our books to anybody who wanted it. That was before they had a bookstore that wouldn’t let you do stuff like that.”

“I was a commuter, but my mother drove me my first two weeks because I flunked my driving test the first time I did it that summer. I had the kids that I was babysitting for, and my father took them all into Portland, and he watched the kids while I took the drivers test, and I flunked on turning left-handed. I got back in the car, and we were going to stop and look at a car for me on the way home, and he said, “Well, I guess I don’t have to buy you the car!” – he felt so bad, he was trying to be funny. He bought me the car anyway! It was a $200 Peugeot. I had that Peugeot, which I loved until my brother took it out and spun it around in the winter time and popped all four fenders, so it looked pregnant – I wouldn’t drive it again – it was awful. When I was in college, I had 3 Peugeots, I drove our old Volkswagen bus for a while, I drove the little red Volvo for a while, I went through both my grandfather’s Ramblers – I went through 7 cars in four years of college! They weren’t expensive cars or anything, but…”

“After my freshman year at college, I worked summers at Sylvania Electronics – 2nd shift, over on Route 35 in Standish, and we used to make circuit breakers. The first 2 years, I was in the control area – they’d dump all of these things in, and you had a bright light and you looked at every one to make sure that the leads holding the wires going in were right and that it was seated correctly and everything – kind of like an assembly line. The last year, that wasn’t available, so they put me in the dreaded “oil room” which was not air conditioned, and you’d still get big trays with all the circuit breakers, and you moved them from bath to bath in hot oil to make sure they were sealed and everything – I hated it. That’s when I started having back trouble, it was awful. You always were yellow, your clothes were ruined, your hands always were yellow from oil, you’d get burned… I got sick two weeks before I was supposed to get done, and I just didn’t ever go back. Every year, about 2 weeks before school was supposed to start, my grandmother and I would go on a trip every summer. The first year, we went up along the coast and up into Canada because one of the Assistant Ministers from when my grandfather was here lived in Canada, so we went to see him, and one year we went up around Lake Champlain, and we went to Standish, New York, just because there was a Standish on the map, and we went through Vermont and everything. The year I graduated from college, she took me to England – she and my cousin from Rhode Island. We went to England for 2 or 3 weeks. That was my first time out of the United States, other than Canada. I drove it didn’t bother me at all that time – I was young and foolish. My cousin didn’t have any children, so she used to take me under her wing. Lots of times when I went to Rhode Island, I stayed with her, and when I graduated from High School, she took me to Boston for the weekend, my first time in the big city – that was always my place to stay for the summers, I’d go and spend some time there. We’d go down to the beaches, and up to Cape Cod, down to Newport… I knew DiMillo’s before it was DiMillo’s – that ship used to be the ferry that went from Jamestown Island over to Newport. So, I guess my father must have put that traveling bug in me. Because that’s what we did as kids, when we were little, we’d all go for rides, every Sunday afternoon, we’d either go to New Sharon or down to Kittery – cheap entertainment. Half of us would fall asleep – it was a good way to keep us quiet. So, I’ve been to England twice and to Germany twice. I’m ready to go again! Mom wants to go back to England one more time – different parts of it than what we saw last time – Northern Wales and Southern England, but not this year – maybe next year.”

“So, I commuted to college and I took mostly geography classes, especially from Mr. Hodges – I just thought he was wonderful. I was a Social Science major, so I had to take Sociology classes and certain History classes, and then I could pick. I got my B.S. in Education with a major in Social Sciences, but with that only came 2 education courses. Now, with younger kids, like Norma who was an Elementary Ed. Major – she had a lot of courses in teaching and student development, and all of that stuff, but I didn’t get that. I was planning to teach Middle School. I got mostly B’s and C’s through college – I had Dr. Bibber for history and I had Miss Wood for every course I could – I got B’s from her. I had Dr. Bibber for History, but I’d get so panicked in her classes, so I’d get nervous until finally a friend of mine – her fiancée sat down with me and said, “You know this stuff,” and he helped me before every exam to calm down, and put it in context, so I went from flunking to getting a B-minus, C-plus average, so to me that was an A with anybody else. I had Mrs. Messer for English, and everyone said, “Don’t get Messer for English!” She had this black business suit, and I swear she had steel-toed boots on, and shed put one hand on either side of the podium, and plant herself there and say, “Now, class!” “Yes, ma’am!” We were scared to death of her, and that was freshman English we had her for, my first semester. She wanted some kind of a story, but I just wrote about my trip to Boston, and she read my story in class and I got an A on it, and I didn’t even know what she was looking for. So, I don’t know if college was harder, but they used terms that I didn’t understand, that I understood, you know? I can remember during my interview, the Admissions Director asked me what my peers thought of me, and I had to ask him what peers were – I had never heard that particular word. I was very young and very naive – I was only 17 when I started college – I was always young and naive and I’ve seen my high school records, and it says that on them.”

“I liked it much better as a commuter; I don’t think I could have fit in on a dorm floor. I hated gym in high school because I had to take showers with all of those kids looking at me – I still think now if I had to live on campus, I’d live in Portland Hall with my own bathroom. It just wasn’t that big of a deal to live on campus, I mean I was the first one in my family ever to go to college, for a full 4 years, and the money wasn’t there. If I was going to go I had to earn it. Since I had to pay my way, there wasn’t any way I was going to Eve on campus, it wasn’t even considered. My mother had a 2-year degree from a business school, and my father didn’t finish high school – I think he had his G.E.D., and three of my brothers went to technical college. I think I was smart, and that’s why I was the one to go to college. I thought kids would be so excited to go to school like I was. It was so funny, because I worked at the high school for a year and a half after I got out of college, and they were having double sessions because the high school was being built, so I’d work in the morning at the high school and a lot of times I’d substitute in the afternoon at the Jr. High, and they had one English teacher that quit after a week. They gave him all the low classes, so that’s where I was subbing for, so I had all the kids that didn’t really want to be there. So, I remembered what my professor said, “Go to where they are,” so I asked them, “So, how many of you want to finish school?” Not a hand went up, so I asked, “So, what are you going to do?” “Get a job!” “I’ve got an idea,” I said, “If you get a job, you really have to sell yourself these days, and a wiseass in the back says, “How do you do that, by the pound?” thinking he’d really get a rise out of me, and I said, “Yeah, I bet I’d get more than you do, too.” That’s when I first started realizing that I don’t have to let my weight become an issue – I could slap them down with it, and I don’t have to let it hurt my feelings with it. So, that day I made them all make out applications for a job. I did not want that job full-time, but the best thing was that I had one girl in one of the classes, and I told her, “You know, you really are doing a good job, you’re really smart, you can do this!” and she said, “Do you think so?” and I said, “I know you can do that,” and she moved up a class, and I saw her in the hallway one day, and she said, “Miss Harbor, I’ve got to tell you, they moved me into the higher English class group, I’m really doing good,” and she was so excited. That’s the feeling that teachers want, and I did get it. So, anyway I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.”

“So, I worked at the high school for a year and a half, and the second year they moved me out of the office and put me in the book room down back, and all I did was typing. I think they were trying to ease me out, saying “Well we don’t need people in the front office,” and then they hired a little chicky-poo out front -I didn’t fit the image. So they put enough pressure on me and

I started getting work from the Jr. High teachers, so I went to the principal, and talked to him about it, and he said, “Well if you don’t want to do it, you probably ought to leave,” so I came in the next day and I said, “You know I’ve thought about it and I think I will leave,” so I gave my notice, I worked it out and I left. I mean, I was coming home at noontime, and going right to sleep because I was so depressed. I just knew it wasn’t right, and my way to work it out was to sleep it out.”

“I think I got done in October and in about January, I heard they needed a keypuncher at an insurance company. The first year was awful until I relaxed when someone finally told me that it’d take a while to learn how to do it. It took me a long time to figure out the installment loans, but it finally clicked. I learned to keypunch, and then you’d have to verify it, and then you sorted

everything and then you sent it through an accounting machine. Sometimes it didn’t come out right, and it took me a year to get it straight and by the time I left I was head of the department, so to speak. The last year I was there, they started with the computer, and he bought out another company, that wasn’t even keypunching. So, a few times a week we went up to Brunswick, and we got all of this work to do, and one of the guys from IBM came out because they were having trouble, and he pushed some button and it erased everything that we’d been working on, so I remember working New Year’s Day one year, just trying to get it all back into the computer, and he never set foot in York Mutual again!”

“So, that’s why they hired me here, because I knew how to keypunch. So, then the second year I was working at York Mutual, my grandmother had a stroke, and I moved in with her, so I was taking care of her, up a lot at night, and it got more and more stressful because as she got better, she got nastier. She didn’t want to have someone sitting there watching her but she also had her own little world going on, you know, I’d be watching M.A.S.H., which used to be my favorite show, and she would change channels, and I’m not good at channeling my anger, so I’d just go out and slam the door: I couldn’t stand it, but I was there for 3 years. The last year at York Mutual was so stressful- they had hired a guy and one of the other girls was flirting with him and they’d sit down back chatting all day while the rest of us were doing her work, plus she was stabbing my friend Faye in the back, telling the boss that she smelled alcohol in the bathroom after Faye had been in there, and it was hairspray –stuff like that. We all knew what Sally was doing, so we just shut her out, and then the boss yelled at us for being nasty to her, because she was dating his son, and flirting with the computer programmer. So I finally gave my notice, and I said, “Well, I just can’t take it,” and they said, “Well you’re never going to get rid of stress

because you have stress at home. “Well, I couldn’t change what was going on at home, but I could change work, so I got done. I went back part-time when they needed me. It was funny, I was on my way home one day -I had finished working in March of ’78 and I started here in June of ’78, and I stayed at my grandmother’s. My big worry was that I didn’t have any health insurance. But other than that, I’d saved money and had no expenses. So, I was driving by here

one day, and I heard the word from above, so I went in and filled out an application, and at the time, I filled out an application without a resume or anything. A week later, somebody from the University called me, and my mother said, “Somebody from the University called,” so I didn’t know if I was working for Residence Life or the President’s wife or who it was that called, but

I’ve been here ever since. Chuck Lamb was the Coordinator of Residence Life, Domenica Cippolone was the Coordinator of Student Activities, and Kathleen Bouchard was the Director of Student Affairs. So, that was in 1978, and just after I started my mother had an emergency hysterectomy, and needed me at home, and my grandmother called somebody she knew in Kittery and they found somebody to come and stay with her for 6 weeks, so I moved back home to help take care of my mother, plus I was working. And after that, Grammy could do it on her own, and that’s when I started working on my house to finish it. It had been an empty shell for 10 years.”

“My father started the house for my brother Paul, who wasn’t getting along with John so they didn’t want to live on the same street. So, I moved into that house in 1981. Single women were supposed to live at home until they got married. It was funny because the whole time I was living with my grandmother, I was thinking, “Why is this my lot in life? Why am I the only one who would step forward and stay with her?” So, as we were working on the house my grandmother would give me money and I didn’t feel guilty about taking it, because at that point I figured I’d earned it. So, I worked nights at the house while living at my parents’ house, and my brother John was working on it. So, somehow a neighbor and I got talking about the house and he asked me when I was going to move in, and I said, “Well, I don’t know, John works on it when he can, but he doesn’t always have free time,” well he went back to John and told him that I was upset because he hadn’t finished the house for me yet, and John got all ticked off, and that was it, he stopped working on it. I was trying not to put pressure on him, because I knew that he worked all day long. So, in the meantime he and Paul had had a huge fight, so Paul came and finished it just to tick John off. So, it finally got done -I did all the finish work inside -the floors, I did all the varnishing and stuff and I learned to do it as I went. And, right now it’s been 15 years and it needs to be re-done, but I don’t have the time or energy. I have to vacuum first! I was just so funny because I couldn’t think about moving in the whole time we were working on it –my stomach would get so knotted up with butterflies. Really, the first year, I lived in the dining room, kitchen and the bedroom. I had the little portable t. v. and I’d sit in the comer of the dining

room, because I was heating with a woodstove, and I’d be down cellar cutting up wood and scraps and stuff, and I was losing weight like crazy -it was great! I was eating everything in sight and still losing weight -something was wrong. I finally went to the doctor’s and he said, “I think you’ve got an overactive thyroid.” That’s why I was losing weight, so if I had been a normal weight, I probably would have died -I lost like 40 pounds without trying. I’d lay in bed and take my pulse and it’d be like 140, so I knew it was time. And at that point I was smoking and I’d just shake while I smoked a cigarette. That was the spring of ’82.”

“So, I came here to interview and the first thing I remember was that they asked me if I wanted some coffee and I said, “Sure,” and I lifted the cup and it was shaking so hard I just put the cup down again, and it surprised me because I didn’t realize I was that nervous. I’d never really had a job interview except at York Mutual, and I knew him. The position was for a Records Technician. I told them that I basically knew where my fingers were supposed to be on

the keyboard -that didn’t mean they were always there! And, the keying will screw you up -it’s almost two fingers, and a lot of it was numbers. I told them I didn’t really know much typing, and they told me it’d come, and they gave me plenty to type, and it came! But Chuck was always so supportive -Kathleen too, but I worked more for Chuck. He had me doing newsletters for ACUHO.”

“So, the second year I was here Kathleen was pregnant -and the baby is out of high school now. I remember Dr. Bigelow -they had a shower for her -and he gave her a shortened mop handle, and twisted the mop holder, and it was a belly rest for her -it cracked me up! Kathleen had a great sense of humor. In my 3rd week, Jack, who was in charge of DFM, I could not say his last name (Kaczynski) and I’d never answered the phone before and he kept calling about stuff, and I finally put him on hold, and I said, “Kathleen, it’s Jack what’s-his-name again –I hate Polish last names!” So, she said, “A1yce-Ann, while I take this call, tell Pearl my maiden name” -it was Kzm-something or other -it was awful. I figured “Well, it’s been fun working here…” They were a lot of fun there. My former boss had never said, “Good job, you can do it,” and Chuck was always real supportive and it was fun because I was pretty much the same age as the RD’s, and close to Chuck’s age. He was 26 or 27, and the RD’s were 24-25. The summer I

started was the first year they had gone to RD’s (Resident Directors) instead of house mothers, and that’s because Clara Burnham had passed away.”

“My dad passed away in ’84 – that was a very hard time, and I don’t talk about that real well, so …He had cancer, it was a very short time, but it seemed like forever. He had a heart attack in ’82, I think, and he didn’t go back to work, and he was just about getting over that, and he was thinking about going back to work, when they diagnosed him with lung cancer. That was in November, and he died in April. The doctors lied and told us they could take care of it, and he went through hell with treatments. He was a smoker and they thought he had rheumatism in his shoulder, and it turned out to be bone cancer, and that’s always the second cancer, so they knew it had spread from somewhere, but it took a long time to diagnose him because it was way behind the ribs. They said it was probably from stress from the heart attack. It was bad because Paul’s wife Janet’s father had been in the hospital since the July before with leukemia, and in January one of Norma’s grandmothers died, in February Melanie’s grandfather died, in March Janet’s father died, the week before my father died my great-aunt in Rhode Island died, and while we were at that service, her son came out from Michigan and we hadn’t seen him in years, and then Daddy died two days after that, and they all headed up here. It was weird. It was the first time I’d seen some of my cousins in 15 years. I had to ask who some of them were that day. I was Daddy’s little girl, and we had a lot going on that year. I think maybe we could have prepared better for it if the doctors had been honest with us, but he was 62- that’s young.”

“So, Joe started in ’83 and Chuck started in ’85. There have been ups and downs working here for 20 years – mostly ups. Joe and I have had our times, you know? I have a hard time dealing with black and white, right and wrong. If I’m working my tail off and somebody else in the office isn’t doing squat, I get mad, but I don’t handle it well. So, I go and bitch to Joe and he gets tired of hearing it. I think this year, for the first time, I said to him that just because I tell you something doesn’t mean I expect you to fix it, and I think he heard it for the first time. Because I don’t think I ever expected him to fix anything, I just wanted a little affirmation that maybe what I was feeling wasn’t all wrong, there’s maybe no cure for it, but we’ve come to a pretty good

understanding over the years, finally.”

“So, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. I always wanted to get married and have kids, but I don’t think I want to do that anymore! At least not the kids part. I think I’m going to stay here until I retire, and travel any chance I get. The ’80’s were really a blur for me, and I don’t know why. Some really good things happened in the’ 80’s -my mother went to Europe for the first time, which shocked me. Maybe that was the beginning of my seeing her more as a person than as my mother, because I never knew she wanted to go to Europe, and she just up and said, “We’re going to go to Europe, and you’re welcome to go with us.” My father had never wanted to travel. I’d been to England in ’71, and I went to Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, northern Italy, with my cousins in ’77, just before I gave notice at York Mutual. Mom and I went to Germany in ’93. She went to Europe in ’85 or ’86- not that long

after my Dad died. Not long after she got back here, the two guys from Germany that I met on the computer terminal came to visit us for 2 weeks. I’d been talking to C.D. for two or three years, and he wanted to come over and could he bring a friend, and I said, “Male or female?” He said, “Male -I wouldn’t do that to you,” so I picked up them up at the airport. I drove to Boston, which I don’t do. We just had a good time.”

“I think it was ’86 that I started talking to Paul on the computer, and I met him in person in ’87 and we hung together until ’92. I met him in kind of a chat room relay type of a thing, and we just hit it off – he had the same kind of sense of humor that I did, and then I found out we were the same age, because most of the people you talk to are 17, 18 years old, so when you hit someone who is 35, you take notice. Just after he left, I got mono, and he was in a panic. I

missed work that whole summer, and I missed my 2Oth class reunion that summer.”

“So, I was kind of an early computer pioneer here at USM, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was doing it. So, Paul and I dated, but my family wasn’t thrilled about it. Racism and some of those old-fashioned ideas don’t die easy. It’s so funny because by that time my grandmother had another stroke, and she had other people staying with her, but she had a harder time when she found out that he changed from Southern Baptist to Jewish, than she did with the fact that I was dating someone that was black. I don’t know why she was like that -my

great-grandmother went to the Baptist church, but her brothers went to the Episcopal church down there. I don’t think that religion was that big of a thing -maybe it was in my great- grandfather’s life, I don’t know, but they didn’t mix religions at all. My brothers weren’t real thrilled about Paul- Bruce and Paul definitely weren’t happy. John and Norma actually had us up for dinner a couple of times, you know, they were fine with it -and Royce and Mel were fine. Steve and Kathy were coming around, too – they had invited us up for New Year’s dinner, but that was the year that her father had an aneurysm up in Augusta -his car broke down, and he was pushing it off the road and he had an aneurysm, so we never did get together with them He still felt as if he was being ostracized from my family, but I guess he couldn’t see it from our point of view – there’s not a lot of black people in Maine and my family hadn’t had any exposure, you

know, except for Steve in the service, and that’s why it took them a little while. They were doing the best they could -they didn’t treat him badly, it was just an oddity for them, something different. I think it might have been that way with anybody I dated because I haven’t dated much. So, you know, they were afraid it was getting serious and they were wondering if this was the right person for me, and I think any guy would have gone through that, and still would. Royce is going to check them out pretty close. Paul came up 3 times the first year, and I’d see him about every 3 months. I went down there a couple of times, but it just didn’t end up working out. I think I was getting too needy, because the year we broke up was the year my cousin died in Rhode Island, and then my grandmother died, John had a heart attack, Norma was diagnosed with

brain cancer, my mother had kidney cancer and had her kidney removed, and Norma died that summer, and the last day we talked was on the computer, and I told him that Norma had passed away, and he didn’t respond. And, I said, “That’s it,” I needed somebody that could at least give me a little moral support, and I didn’t get it. That was in 1992. I think it’s hard on anybody because my family is so close – we all live within five miles of each other, we’re in each other’s

hair all the time, and I think that’s hard for anybody outside to get used to. But, I don’t really know how to change or necessarily want to change it. Sometimes, I’d like to move my house 200 miles out into the woods and just live alone. I really think Nubble Light would be the ideal place, because they’d have to tell you they were coming, and if you didn’t want to send the boat across

to get them you wouldn’t have to. Royce and Mel’s girls are like my girls -they’ve let me have such a part of their growing up, that I stop every day to see them, and I think that was hard for Paul to understand. He always wondered why I had to “check in” with everyone, but it wasn’t checking in to me, it was just seeing the kids. ”

“In 1993, Mom and I went to Germany again, and had a blast. Joe, over there, found us this place to stay -it was a religious retreat center, and they rented out rooms, so we stayed there and had breakfast with everybody in the morning. We couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but we had breakfast with them, and then we’d take off. The first few days, we met Joe and CD’s families and did things with all of them, and then we rented a car for a week to go off on our own, which was fine, but we didn’t know where we were going. We went on this roadway, and I don’t know if it was open or not because there was absolutely nobody else on that road, either direction, for like 20 miles, but it was great -right on the Autobahn. The first night, we found this little place and when we got up in the morning, there was this open valley, and these huge mountains behind it, and we had this panoramic view, and this crane went flying by, and it was so cool! It was gorgeous, you know, and we found places like that all on our own. We were there for 2 weeks, and we went back to visit with Joe for 2 or 3 days. We went 100 miles an hour on the Autobahn, riding to the airport. We were both in the backseat and Joe was driving his mother’s car. It was really nice there.”

“Joe is 6’8”, his sister is over 6′ tall, and her friend Michael, who just got married and had a little boy, Josef, I think. Michael is a “thalidomide” baby -in the late ’70’s, a lot of women took thalidomide for morning sickness and it caused deformed babies, and so Michael was one of them. He has very small, webbed hands, and he’s in a wheelchair, but I think he can walk, with crutches and braces and everything, but his arms and extremities and everything are different. They were so much fun, and Karen, the younger sister, had a brain tumor like Norma, only they got hers in time, and she made it. I just think they’re wonderful. These people are all doctors -Joe and C.D. both have their doctorates in quantum physics, thank you very much! And I can still talk to them, so it’s pretty neat.”

“So, that was ’93 -Andy went to England in ’95 and we went over to see him, and that was our little trip to England, and that brings us up to here, just about. I can’t believe it’ll be 20 years June 5th. We’ll have a big party, black balloons, the whole thing. I’m going to keep learning new stuff on the computer, and other than that, I don’t know what I’ll be doing. I’m going to stay until they implement my room selection program -where you write the names of every room on a piece of paper and throw them all up in the air, and have everyone go and pick one up and you get whatever you pick up!”

“What else …well, I play piano for myself! My grandmother taught me by writing numbers on a piece of paper and a number on the key, and then she changed it to letters, and all at once a light bulb went off and I could find some of the keys. I can’t play the lower notes, but I can play the upper notes with both hands. I have my grandmother’s piano and I don’t even play

for my cats -I shut the door. They like to come in – my cousin left me a beautiful chair that she hand-hooked the cover to, but she had cats, so my cats like to claw it. So, the door stays shut to the den, and they can’t go in there. I like to hook rugs. ..and I can paint by number, but not well. It’s strange because my grandfather Harbor painted, my great-grandmother was a beautiful artist, and I can draw a straight line with a ruler. My great-grandmother wrote childrens’ stories, and she had a little poem about little pills published in a medical journal at one time -she was just an amazing women. She lived alone until she was 90. Her husband died in 1924, when she was about 54, so she lived almost half of her life alone, and she was not supposed to live beyond 35

because she had a heart problem. I think she beat it! I’ve got cards at home that she wrote me – she just had a wonderful nature, very whimsical. ”

“I’d like to go back to Germany and I’d like to go back to northern Italy again. When we were in Switzerland, we drove through the Alps, and that was scary enough for me -those high, high, high passes. I can’t think of a lot of other places …it’s awful, there’s so much in the world. I’m a little more comfortable in places that are more familiar to me. I think it would be wonderful to go on safari, but I would definitely want to be with a tour. I’d love to travel with C.D., because nothing bothers him, nothing scares him, and he goes everywhere and anywhere, and I’m kind of a timid traveler, which people don’t believe because we’ve taken off and driven places where we didn’t know where we were going. I don’t drive in the city -I was a wreck when we ran into London. It took me about 2 days to get acclimated -I hate big cities like that, but once we hooked up with C.D. and he knew where we were going and everything, I was fine. Driving in England is about as stressful as I want to be -come out of the airport and you’re at a round about -which way do I go?! The first time I went, I even had to shift -it was a standard –using my left hand, and it was a brand new car, and it took two of us to shift it into reverse because it

was so stiff. It took us 3 days to find the horn, which was on the end of the blinker. It was an English Ford.”

“Someday I’m going to get brave and learn how to do pottery. Deb and I went to Vermont and found places to buy pottery, and we’ve got to learn how to throw pots now. My niece has started doing pottery in Jr. High, and she’s good. She hasn’t done the wheel yet, but she does forms and bowls and I think it would be neat if we could do something that she could do with us. She seems to be very creative – her mother and her aunt were very creative. ”

“As far as my life now, I like to knit, I like to read -I don’t read much, but I like to. I’m supposedly learning to sew- that will come someday. I love to garden, go out in the yard, feed the birds. I need to learn to be a little more organized with my time -I need discipline. I’m not a good one on doing stuff around the house – my house is a pit. I don’t like to vacuum, I don’t like

to clean, I don’t want to do the floors again, but they need it. Sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do in life. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been on anti-depressants for years, it seems like, but since we went to Germany, at least, in ’93. I was on something that didn’t work for a while before, but that was also the year after John and my mother’s cancer, so much coming all at once, but apparently my body just ain’t what it used to be. It’s clinical- caused by chemical inbalances, and, getting back to Joe Austin -he is a lot better at understanding me now that he knows about that. I assume that if I’m having a bad mood, people understand that I’m not feeling good, and I just assume too much, and he had no idea what was going on, so I need to learn to be

a little more open in sharing some of that stuff. I think part of my problem is that I’m depressed, living alone, and yet I don’t know if I could live with anybody else. I think the older I get the more set in my ways I get. I’m still waiting for this person to come along, but damn he better be good! I love my kitties -they keep me company. I’ve got the kids when I want them and when I

want some rest I get some rest. So, the anti-depressant I’m on now is wonderful. I think I’m not as hard on myself as I… might be, because I know I’m doing what I can to handle it. I have good days and bad days.”

“I have no idea when I’m going to retire -I have no savings, I think that’s the hard thing about being single and having a house, and trying to keep up on bills and everything -I have no savings. So, that’s why I’m so excited about this new retirement program -now I can sit down and figure it out -I can put in up to 4%, maybe I’ll start with 2% and work my way up. I’ve started buying savings bonds, trying to do something to save, but I think that’s my fate unknown. I just don’t know how anybody single plans on retiring. I don’t live an extravagant lifestyle –I don’t know where the money goes -cat food and kitty litter. I love buying yarn, in all colors, and I put money into church and I do a lot for the craft fairs and things, that’s my two biggest expenses- food and church. Church plays a pretty big role in my life -it’s not always the best it

could be, but I’ve learned that you can’t complain about something that you don’t take part in fixing, so I’ve gotten more involved there. Right now, I probably need to back off a little bit on this stuff, too, and I find that Mel is very obsessive with her role at church, and I spend most of my time with my sister-in-law and my brother. They’re the closest, and we have a lot in common,

but some days I just need a break from hearing that …she’s a lot like Norma was. They almost thrive on a little bit of dissension in the ranks, and I don’t thrive on that at all. I don’t like it around me. I had that with Norma all the years they were married -either things were real good or things were lousy, and when I refused to be stomped on, things got lousy because I wouldn’t be taken advantage of anymore, you know? So, mostly life is pretty good, but some days it’s tough to take.”

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