Pop writes about his early Maine days again.

John McConegy,

Newton Mfg. Co.                                        August 20, 1966

Newton, Iowa.

Dear John:

Thanks for the letter, and the enclosure about Maine. August just isn’t my month anyway I guess, so I am glad to be getting out of here Tuesday headed for Wyoming with the bare possibility that I might take you up on that Johnny and Kay business around the 30th or 31st. I can eat a little steak now, a few mashed potatoes and soft vegetables, but can’t drink anything but milk and water, not even a cup of coffee or a glass of Ginger Ale.

Can’t say I am too keen about flying but it IS the quickest and least expensive way to go. In fact I just talked to a friend of mine while getting my mail. He is a Pilot for Pratt & Whitney makes United’s planes and he said “I sure would not want to get in one of the damned things for at least two weeks until the rust is blown out of them.” I said you are a big help as I don’t like the cussed things anyway. So there you are! Maybe we won’t make Wyoming let alone Iowa. Huh?

Well if so I have lived nine lives like a cat anyway but would hate to see my “pride and joy” Kirk not live to enjoy his. Mama and I have had a pretty full life all things considered. I will never get over my fear of planes and snakes. How the sea and your mention of the book “Wind and Water” does not faze me a bit and the rougher the Typhoon or what have you the better I like it. Am perfectly at home on it anywhere in the World under any circumstances, War or Peace.

The Jonesport boats mentioned in the clipping are probably the sturdiest little workhorse of a boat that is built. They are used extensively in the Main Lobster business. That is the one man industry that is going by the board.

Some Sound of course I am very familiar with. They used to tell us kids that it had no bottom. I know the water is some 600 Fathom or better, and I still remember the tales my Great Grandmother used to tell me about the Sea Serpents that came up out of it and crawl up to die on Cadillac Mt.

I don’t know what nice things he said about us State of Mainers. Probably most of them not exactly true, but one thing IS true, we are the most independent breed of cats” on the face of the Earth. Also it was a struggle to survive when I was a kid, but for all that we did not get “ulcers” about it all, but just took it as a matter of course that it was our destiny.

I ate more fish and potatoes in those days then I ever did steak “that’s for sure,” and the winters were really something fierce. The roads were not open for days sometimes and it got as cold once that I remember as 60 below zero. It was so cold that Frenchman’s Bay (salt water) was frozen over.

The roads were opened by heavy draft horses and oxen. Oxen preferred as they could get through the big drifts better than the horses as the horses would cut their legs with their shoes. As I remember it they hauled a big flatboat behind them and also heavy logging chains in a half circle. We used snowshoes sometimes to go to school of course, but generally when the storms were that bad there was no school.

We went in a kind of covered wagon on sled runners that were filled with straw and hot bricks to keep our feet warm. That was in Grammar School of course. When I went to High School I walked four miles each day most of the time, until Dad got rich enough to buy me a bike which I could not drive in the winter. Sometimes also if my schedule corresponded with the Trains I could get home on the Train. Some different than today, if a few snow flakes start to fall here in Norfolk the School Board calls the Hartford Radio Station and announces NO School at which Kirk cheers of course and his Ma does not as he is underfoot all day with nothing to do. That is the chronic complaint today with the youngsters. “Nothing to do” and they have everything under the Sun to do, whereas all I had was the birds and squirrels and the drifting clouds to watch.

Well thanks again John. Hope we can drop down at Desmoines around the 30th or 31st. That between wind and water was the type of book I was thinking of writing someday but the guy beat me to it evidently so I won’t have to work at it now.


Leon R. Sinclair