Pop writes about fishing and watching clouds as a kid growing up in Maine.

Mr. Harold Lufkin, V.P.

Newton Mfg. Co.                                                                                         March 29, 1967

Newton, Iowa.

Dear Mr. Lufkin:

Enjoyed your little piece by Jim Murray as do I all the little notes and letters you send my way.

There are no Robins in Norfolk! In fact there are still about ten inches of snow on my front lawn, but that is much better than the thirty inches a week ago and it will go fast now. I am home today with a very bad cold so thought I would catch up on my writing. Wish though that I could catch up on my sales. Don’t think I am too far behind as to volume but sure am with orders.

Spring IS the time “when hope springs eternal” I suppose, but as the man said how different it is than it used to be. He (Mr. Murray) must have been brought up in a good deal the same atmosphere as myself. Even to the Baseball Glove, except that I bought my own and STILL have it.

Each day on my way to school I had to pass Freddy Scotts newspaper and notion store. Displayed in the window was a most wonderous baseball glove. I always stopped and spent several minutes looking at it. One day Mr. Scott came out and said “Leon, would you like to have that glove?” and I told him I most certainly would but did not have the money. He asked me if I could give him ten cents a week (the glove cost five dollars) and I gave him ten cents a week for almost a year until the glove was mine. If you grant us the pleasure of your company in Norfolk I will show it to you sometime along with the “razor strap” that my Dad used on me when he felt it necessary. I have kept the both of them all these years.

Did you ever hang Maybaskets in your day? We used to and how well I remember the beautifully trimmed little boxes that my Mother used to make me all trimmed up with crepe paper of pinks and blues and violets and covered with ribbons and filled with home made Divinity fudge and chocolate fudge. We used to go hang them after dark on the door of the gals we liked and knock on the door and then they would have to come out and find us and give us a kiss. A most admirable pastime I thought!

After that season of Spring came the smelting, those delicious little fish about the size of a sardine. They came up the Brooks that ran into the sea and you caught them with the incoming and outgoing tides. You sat on the bank of the brook with your lanterns until the tide began to turn and then each of us rushed into the brook with our nets, crocus bags, or our hands whichever we had to use. Fried in rolled cornmeal and bacon fat I think they are the most tasty fish that there are.

After that came the Brook Trout season. In Maine that was as soon as the ice went out of the brooks and the fish were of course plentiful. My kid Cousin and myself had twelve miles of a brook called “Springy Brook” all to ourselves. There were no posted lands and we followed the brook from its narrow start in some springs to its ending in Frenchmans Bay right across from Bar Harbor, Maine. Wide, clear and deep holes with clear clay and sandy bottoms and there would be as many as twenty or thirty nice trout in each hole. Then we would sit down and eat our Gingerbread, sandwiches and banana and drink from the Brook and start the long weary trudge home, only I don’t remember that I was EVER weary when I was a child. Life and Nature was just one wonderous show after another to me.

After that came the Mayflowers or trailing Arbutus which is probably the sweetest smelling flower in the World and you could smell a patch of it when you were half a mile away it seemed. I used to climb an old Pine tree and crawl out on a branch and just lie on my back with the scent of the pine and a light breeze blowing and just watch the clouds in the sky, and watch them change from ships to houses to animals and to the shapes of different countries and States and you could use your imagination just about all day, interrupted occasionally of course by a chattering squirrel who was peeved when he leaped from the next tree onto your limb and discovered it was occupied.

The Apple blossoms, the Mayflowers, the sweet smell of clover and above all of course there was no such a thing as air pollution, and of course as did Mr. Murray we played Marbles in the road for hours, which would be broken maybe twice during the day by a horse and buggy coming by, and sometimes even then the driver would get out and join in to show us some of the finer points of the game that he had learned as a child. After years of hunting I finally found one small patch of Trailing Arbutus here in Conn last summer when I was fishing.

What a reversal! Instead of giving some of the beautiful May baskets filled with delicious homemade candy, the trend today is on begging. At Halloween Janet has to buy about five dollars worth of candy and the kids trudge in from all over not only this Town but even teenagers in their cars come from Winsted and Canaan begging and also stopping the little ones on the streets and taking their candy away from them. Not here anymore though. Last Halloween we organized the Constables and sent every out of Town kid right back where he came from with a warning not to appear in Norfolk until Halloween was over. We enjoy the little ones but the big kids began to spoil it.

Enterprise was rewarded also in those days. I never had any trouble picking up any kind of a job because everyone knew I was willing to work. Now I see the Government is going to try and tax our Incomes %6 more and there is talk of the Social Security going as high as %20. Where DO they think the money is coming from? Our own Senator Dodd here in CT is being investigated by Congress. He has taken about $200,000 from Testimonial dinners and used it from everything to fixing up his house, to giving his son $4900 and Heavens knows what else and he claims that is his right as it was given to him to do what he wished with and was supposed to be Tax Free, yet they talk of letting you and I deduct $1.00 from our income tax for a Political contribution. A strange Country indeed that we live in these days, but they will no doubt “whitewash” both him and Powell. I have put four Sons through 14 years of college on for the most of the times a Net income of $6000 a year and they can’t live and operate on their $30,000 salary plus expenses plus $200,000 gathered up from testimonial dinners!

………My regards to all at Newton and I hope that Mr. Peck is progressing from his cold. I have a beaut!

Sincerely,

Leon

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