FLETCHER PERKINS
INTERVIEW

July 6, 2005


 

(Names and other words that could not be transcribed are in italics. Unknown voices are referred to as ďmanĒ or ďwoman.Ē Comments, explanations, and additional names are in parentheses.)


 

John Foley: John Foley and this is July 6, 2005. This is John Foley. Iím doing an interview in Crawford, Maine of Fletcher Perkins and today is July 6, 2005. So, Fletcher you want to tell me about, I donít know, your background in the area or anything about you - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: I was born in Alexander across from the Stage Coach Restaurant. And, we moved from there to Woodland. First we moved to - down in back of Lawrence Lordís


 

John Foley: So, thatís still in Alexander, yes.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Thatís still in Alexander, and we moved to Woodland for a year or so. My father worked in the mill up there. One of my brothers was born down back of Lawrenceís and the other one, the second - the third one was born in Woodland.


 

John Foley: Ok.


 

Fletcher Perkins: And, then we moved back to Alexander here - back in back of Lawrenceís. And we stayed there until I was oh 13 - 13 years old, I guess. We moved up to where (indistinct name) lives now. My father bought that place. Then I - I got a job in the mill down - the white birch mill.


 

John Foley: Ok, now that was the spool - the spool-bar mill?


 

Fletcher Perkins: The Poo-Bar mill.


 

John Foley: Poo-Bar mill on Pocomoonshine.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes. It was right where our camp is now.


 

John Foley: And, how - how old were you then when you did this?


 

Fletcher Perkins: I was 17, I think, when I worked there. And Coolidge White was my - my foreman on the day shift and Harold Cousins - Clarenceís father was the foreman on the night shift. And I worked there - I donít know - letís see, I worked there for all of the winter and sometime the next spring I went to Portland. Worked in the shipyard three days there and then I had to have a physical and I couldnít pass that.


 

John Foley: Oh yes?


 

Fletcher Perkins: So I got a job with the Maine Central Railroad at the Portland Terminal company and I worked there until I went in the service. I was in there for 36 months. I went overseas with the infan - - - I was in the Air Force in Florida for a while and they transferred me into the Infantry and I went overseas with the infantry - Third Infantry.


 

John Foley: Third Infantry. Ok. So what year was that? That must have been - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: That - thatís Ď40 - I went in the Ď40s -Ď41. 1941.


 

John Foley: Ok. Ď41, the war started. I guess there - September, yes.


 

(Fletcher Perkins said something very quietly while John Foley was talking so that he can just be heard but not understood.)


 

John Foley: December.


 

Fletcher Perkins: I was down in Florida for I think 26 months. Down to Tampa, MacDill Air Base. Then I took my infantry training and went over - overseas and landed in Le Havre, France and we fought through Germany and then in the - when the war ended we were in Salzburg, Austria.


 

John Foley: Oh, yes.


 

Fletcher Perkins: I had enough - they come home by points - (indistinct word) depending on how many points you had. I had enough points to come home when the war ended, but the Third Infantry Division was going to stay there as an occupational unit. So, I transferred in with the M. P.s. They - they was coming home so I was going to come home with them. And I worked with them for a while guarding trains back and forth all over Germany there and then they decided that they was going to stay as an occupational unit, too.


 

John Foley: Oh geez! So that didnít work out so good.


 

Fletcher Perkins: That didnít work out too good so I transferred into a - a - engineers and I came home with them.


 

John Foley: Oh, ok.


 

Fletcher Perkins: We hit a big storm on the way home - first night out and we lost a whole day right there in that (indistinct words)


 

John Foley: Is that right? That must have been a rough trip.


 

Fletcher Perkins: That was a rough trip. Even the sailors got sick on that - - -


 

John Foley: Geez! So then - then you came home and got - you got out of the service right then when you came home?

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, when I came home I got out of the service and went back to work for the freight and ship - for the terminal company there. And, I worked there 20 months (indistinct words) It must have been over a year or more. I used to come back and forth from Portland down here to see Claris weekends.


 

John Foley: Oh you did? So - so you met Claris - Claris when you got out of the service or did you know her before?


 

Fletcher Perkins: I knew her before, but when I went in the service she was just a kid.


 

John Foley: Oh yes.


 

Fletcher Perkins: She - she growed up somehow, you know (indistinct words) We wrote back and forth for quite a while there and then decided to get married so we lived in Portland for a while and then Eddy was born in Portland. And - and, I like to hunt and fish and in Portland, there wasnít too many - - -


 

John Foley: There wasnít much of that going on. No.


 

Fletcher Perkins: No. No. I came home one night and I asked her, ďHowíd you like to move back downeast?Ē She said, ďWell, youíre making the living. Wherever you go, Iíll go with you.Ē So, I said, ďPack up.Ē


 

John Foley: Oh, good.


 

Fletcher Perkins: So, we came back down here and stayed with my father and mother and her father and mother for a little while and then got - bought this place. We rented it first and - and then we bought it from Ivan Stedfree.


 

John Foley: Ok, and it was a big - pretty big - was this a farm at the time? Yes?


 

Fletcher Perkins: It was a farm but of course it was sort of run down because nobody had lived in it for a while. We had to rebuild the whole - whole interior of the house - floors, ceilings, and partitions and everything. I went to - I went to work for Carlton Davis. I helped him snow plow - plowing, sanding, you know, and hauling wood and cutting wood. And, as I did it - I - I didnít want to drive truck any more so I went to the woods to work for him. I did that for about 18 years


 

John Foley: Now, when you first got back after the - after the service, there werenít many chain saws at all, were there at that time?


 

Fletcher Perkins: No. No. None around town here at all. The first chain saw I ever see was in Germany. They had a two-man chain saw. Thatís quite a rig, there


 

John Foley: Gee, that must have been pretty heavy.

Fletcher Perkins: (indistinct words) Well, it wasnít too heavy because they had a man on each end of it with a motor on one end - like a cross-cut saw with a motor on it - looked like. I got home, I bought a Precision chain saw with a big bulb on it - weighed 50 pounds.


 

John Foley: Iíve seen pictures of those old ones. They - but they cut pretty good, I guess.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, they did. They cut good, yes. They had big steel teeth on them. The chains wasnít like the ones theyíve got on these saws. They went up around that bulb and on the sprocket. It was more like the teeth on a cross-cut saw, (indistinct words). It was heavy. But, I was young and I didnít mind it.


 

John Foley: Yes, well, it was still - it was a job, anyway.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, it was. I used to work on Breakneck Mountain. I had to carry that thing up over that mountain on my back and cut wood. Hard way to make a living.


 

John Foley: Now, when you yarded the wood out, you were using a horse at that time?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, and when we were working down on the mountain at Earl Seaveyís - I was working with Delbert and he had the horse and I had the chain saw. Iíd carry the saw up on the mountain and cut down a cord of wood and then Iíd go back down and he yarded it out and I sawed it up and piled it up. Then Iíd go back up and cut another cord.


 

John Foley: Still thatís a hard - hard way to work.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Oh, yes.


 

John Foley: Still you had the money (indistinct words)


 

Fletcher Perkins: (indistinct words)


 

John Foley: Yes. Gee, I can see.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Then we got the smaller saw - the Homelite - Homelites and McCulloughs. Those were a lot lighter.


 

John Foley: Well there were probably a lot of mechanical improvements and stuff like that came out, you know, after the war. Tractors and stuff. I donít know if any skidders came in and stuff, but - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: I bought my first tractor in 1952. A new Ford tractor and a mowing machine and a file and I used to mow bushes for the state on the road there some and me and the tractor got $3.50 an hour.


 

John Foley: Oh really? Oh boy! So you had to use your own equipment and I guess you probably had to pay for the gas and stuff, right?


 

Fletcher Perkins: I had to pay for the gas.


 

John Foley: That wasnít that bad a money in those days, probably - wasnít too good either probably.


 

Fletcher Perkins: It was pretty fair. It was state wages, you know - - -


 

John Foley: State wages. Yes.


 

Fletcher Perkins: - - - at the time.


 

John Foley: But, you - you preferred to stay - youíd seen other places like Portland and stuff, but you preferred to stay here, and you mentioned hunting and fishing. Was that part of the reason?


 

Fletcher Perkins: That was the main thing. That was the main thing, the hunting and fishing. And, I like this part of the world, anyway. I was in five foreign countries while I was overseas there and I never found a place I liked as well as this.


 

John Foley: Thatís a good point, yes.


 

Fletcher Perkins: I came back.


 

John Foley: Well, what do you think about the area? I mean, what do you think is so special about this area, Alexander and Crawford?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Well, I think one thing is the people. The people are all sociable, you know. And, when we lived in Portland, well we knew the people right next door, but I mean, you walked down the street and nobody spoke because they didnít know you, you know. They were all strangers and I wasnít used to that. Down here we know everybody.


 

John Foley: Everybody knows each other, yes.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Everybody - yes, everybody knows us. Itís like a big family.


 

John Foley: Yes, it is, and - and people tend to help out but theyíre not pushy about it. They donít bother people but theyíre willing to help when somebody needs some - something, you know. I guess in the old days they used to do quite a bit of that, you know, like - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, in the old time, there, if somebodyís barn burnt, theyíd all get together and have a bee and theyíd build him a new barn. They did that quite a lot, you know. Help each other out.


 

John Foley: You must have seen a few changes go on over the years here, huh?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, a lot of changes. A lot of changes.


 

John Foley: Now, was there much blue berrying right there after the war?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, about everybody had a small blue berry patch, you know, around here - the local people. You know, at that time school was out and all the kids - theyíd go - the family - some of them would go picking. Of course, now you canít have kids in the field.


 

John Foley: The kids wonít do it for one.


 

Fletcher Perkins: They wonít but itís not legal anyway.


 

John Foley: Oh, yes, thatís right. Yes, yes, the lawís coming in.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Child - child labor - - -


 

John Foley: Child Labor Law, yes.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Thatís changed, too.


 

John Foley: Oh, yes. Sure.


 

Fletcher Perkins: I picked berries from the time I was five years old.


 

John Foley: Yes, sure. Well, little kids can do a certain amount.


 

Fletcher Perkins: My brothers and sisters did, too. Everybody did. They all got together and the whole family would go raking blue berries. It was the natural thing to do back then.


 

John Foley: Well, and the whole family - you know, they had that opportunity, too. I mean there wasnít any other job around or something to do and the little kids they couldnít any money doing anything else, you know.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Thatís right.


 

John Foley: So that helps them out there.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Well, they usually bought all their school kit - school clothes, you know with the money they earned from blue berrying. Most of us did.


 

John Foley: What do you think about the lakes in the area? I know youíre quite a fisherman and a hunter and stuff.


 

Fletcher Perkins: I think itís about as pretty a place as there is around. Right here. Weíve got five lake right here within five miles. And, you can go to most any of them and catch fish.


 

John Foley: People ask me why I donít have a camp and I say, ďWell, look. I can go in any direction and get to a lake.Ē I mean, I donít have to go far. I can get water, you know, and I can go out there and fish or whatever I want to do, you know. It is quite a good spot, you know.


 

Fletcher Perkins: It is. Itís one of the best as far as I know. And, thereís brooks and streams and rivers, you know, and some them got trout in them. Clarence and I spent a lot of time this past two or three years - take the canoe and drag it down through the woods to a brook or stream and go fishing, you know. Weíve had pretty good luck catching fish. Something we both like to do.


 

John Foley: Do you think the winters are any worse now than they used to be?


 

Fletcher Perkins: No, I donít think - I donít think theyíre as bad as they used to be. Now, everybody has a snow plow and the roads - the main roads are all maintained by the state. Back when I was a kid there was a while there that all the people in town would get together and shovel - some of them - places where it had drifted, you know.


 

John Foley: Yes, Iíve heard about that - to try to keep the road open, I guess.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Theyíd shovel. My father - well where we lived down there, there wasnít many hills from there out. Heíd park his truck out by the road where - the (indistinct words) church is there now. Theyíd shovel the roads down to there and theyíd get him to take them to town and get groceries. He was on - on the other end of the town. He could get out.


 

John Foley: The big hills there further up must have been kind of hard - further out Route 9.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Further out. They were hard to get over.


 

John Foley: I canít imagine a big hill like (indistinct words) get over that or not.


 

Fletcher Perkins: At that time, we didnít go over (indistinct name) hill much - too far away.


 

John Foley: Yes. Sure.


 

Fletcher Perkins: I remember when Lyman Stout was plowing. He had two - two trucks and he put a push-pull between the two of them and pushed the plow up over those hills and if the plow got stuck the other truck could pull him back out.


 

John Foley: Oh, I see.


 

Fletcher Perkins: And then he could go again.


 

John Foley: Oh, my gosh. Gee, thatís quite an idea.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Of course we walked to school, anyway.


 

John Foley: Now, where did you go to school? You went to - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: We went to school down by the old fire hall then - by the general store - the old fire hall. There were 32 children there and one teacher.


 

John Foley: No kidding. Thatís quite a group, huh. And all - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: Eight grades.


 

John Foley: I was going to say all different levels, every - every size kid.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Eight grades and we walked to school and walked home.


 

John Foley: I think Marian went there, too. She said she went to the same school


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, I went - we went at the same time after a year or two. She was older than I was. She got out before I did.


 

John Foley: Now the teachers, they were probably - were they from town or were they from away?


 

Fletcher Perkins: They kept changing teachers, you know, (indistinct words) Some of them were from Woodland and some were from Calais. Olive Edgerly, I think she came from Princeton originally. She was the last teacher that I had for the eighth grade. She was - well, my favorite teacher. I learned more from her than I did from all the other ones.


 

John Foley: Oh, well. Good. What was her name?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Olive Edgerly.


 

John Foley: Olive Edgerly. I guess Iíve seen that name or heard that name before.


 

Fletcher Perkins: She had a brother that run a store down there (indistinct words) Harry Edgerly. She was a good teacher.


 

John Foley: Now, that little area where the school was and stuff, that was like the center - wasnít that the center of town?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes.


 

John Foley: There was a store and - - -

Fletcher Perkins: Charlie Brown had a store there.


 

John Foley: And, was - what about the post office?


 

Fletcher Perkins: There was a post office, also.


 

John Foley: Oh, ok.


 

Fletcher Perkins: About everybody did their shopping right there - anybody that couldnít get to Calais.


 

John Foley: He had enough stuff there for the - you know, for the basic stuff.


 

(Both men talking at the same time - canít be transcribed.)


 

Fletcher Perkins: About everything that youíd need to get by.


 

John Foley: Now, was that where Roger - Roger Holtís house is where the - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: Thatís where the store burned. Thatís where the store was, right there.


 

John Foley: Ok.


 

Fletcher Perkins: That store burned. After that burned my brothers went out up there and picked up a bunch of those old nails and built a camp up in the woods with cedar boughs - cedar logs. We had little hatchets my father bought for us and they cut those cedars down and limbed them out and built a little cabin. If anyone had a picture of that, I - Iíd give a hundred dollars for it.


 

John Foley: Oh, that would be great to have.


 

Fletcher Perkins: It burned in the - in the father and motherís house.


 

John Foley: Oh, thatís too bad.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Iíd like to have that now.


 

John Foley: Yes, that was into - it was like a - well, how old were you then? You must have been pretty small.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Oh, probably - my brothers were probably six, and eight, and ten. (Indistinct name) was ten.


 

John Foley: Well, kids like to do that. I remember when I was a kid we used to build little huts out of old boards and things we could find.

Fletcher Perkins: My brothers had a little bucksaw.


 

John Foley: You got some practice anyway at it, you know.


 

Fletcher Perkins: They had those hatchets and built their little camp.


 

John Foley: Lucky you didnít cut yourself with it. You got it in the camp with you.


 

Fletcher Perkins: No. Relatives said we were going to cut ourselves with those things. I was only about 10 years old when my father bought us a 22.


 

John Foley: Oh, he did? Oh, my gosh.


 

Fletcher Perkins: A lot of people in town said we were going to get killed with that. But, Iíve still got it.


 

John Foley: Is that right? Oh, that must be an antique, too.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Youíre right, thatís an antique.


 

John Foley: Well, I think if people - if sometimes parents trust kids and the kid understands the danger, you know, - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: When he brought it home, he said, ďNow, this is not a toy. This is a gun. And, he taught us how to use it and showed us to be careful with it. We had a lot of fun with that.


 

John Foley: What was it, a single shot?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, a single shot. A 22. I can show it to you if youíd like to see it.


 

John Foley: Yes. Sure. Iíd get a kick out of seeing. (Background noises of things being moved.) Oh, yes, bolt action. Thatís what I was thinking.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Bolt action. He bought that from Cordís Hardware in Calais.


 

John Foley: Cordís Hardware. No kidding. Thatís a nice - thatís in good shape for a little - that was a while ago, huh? I bet you shot some squirrels with this. Rabbits and - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: Shot a lot of stuff with that.


 

John Foley: Gee, thatís a nice old gun, too, isnít it.


 

Fletcher Perkins: We used to go to Calais on Saturday night and buy a box of 22 shells and the three of us would shoot them off during the week.

John Foley: Gee, isnít that something.


 

Fletcher Perkins: 50 rounds in a box.


 

John Foley: Yes, I would say - gee that was good practice. Well, you know, your father was- I donít know - more open minded - my father was so afraid of guns, he never would let us have them when we were kids. So what we did, we wanted to get them anyway, so we get a gun from somebody. Weíd buy it from some kid and hide it, you know, out in the back of the garage or some place out doors and only shoot it when he wasnít around. But to me, if the father explains the danger, you know, and then you learn from it and then you - you know you learn to respect it and you donít act like a fool with it. Itís probably the better way to do it.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes. He told us how to hold it down towards the ground, you know, and never point it at anything you didnít want to shoot.


 

John Foley: Well, thatís a - a good point. I think some of these kids, that nobodyís explained firearms and then they really are dangerous because the kid doesnít know what can happen, you know. So, your father must have been - was he much of a hunter and everything?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, he hunted any time he had time, but he had six kids to bring up so he didnít have a whole lot of time to hunt.


 

John Foley: Well now, you and your brothers, did you work with your father?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, we did. I worked - well, we all worked with him right up until we left home to go it on our own.


 

John Foley: And, did he do farming or what did he - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: He did some farming but he had the truck and he used to haul wood a lot and heíd haul gravel and one of the jobs he had, they had a rock crusher out in Calais and they was - theyíd haul - get the truck to bring in rocks and give him a dollar a dump load to bring in these rocks and theyíd crush them for the roads. I was helping him. I was 13 years old then, and we got 13 loads of rocks hauled into Calais in one day and he got a dollar a load and thatís the most money heíd ever made up until that time.


 

John Foley: Oh my - of course you didnít have any pay loaders. You had to - you had to lift it all up, huh?


 

Fletcher Perkins: We had to lift them all up by hand.


 

John Foley: By hand, yes. Oh my gosh.


 

Fletcher Perkins: And, the dump cart - Clarenceís father built the dump cart. It had a tripod with a chain and cable on it and a crank. You cranked it up and that tipped the thing up and the rocks would roll out.


 

John Foley: Oh, my gosh. So the tripod was at the front of the hopper.


 

Fletcher Perkins: At the front, but with a - - -.


 

John Foley: Right back of the cab, I guess.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, right back of the cab.


 

John Foley: And, then you had like a hand crank and youíd crank that up and it would tilt the bed up. Well, that was pretty interesting, huh? Gee!


 

Fletcher Perkins: He built 27 of those - Clarence. 27 of those.


 

John Foley: Oh my gosh, so that was - and that was - that was a regular pickup truck or was that a bigger - bigger truck.


 

Fletcher Perkins: No, that was a ton and a half.


 

John Foley: Ton and half truck.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Ď31 Ford truck.


 

John Foley: Oh, ok. Yes.


 

Fletcher Perkins: 1931 Ford. Bought it brand new.


 

John Foley: A dollar for a load of rocks.


 

Fletcher Perkins: That - that was delivered in Calais.


 

John Foley: Yes, you had to drive it to Calais and you figure your - your fuel and everything to get there, and time. I mean that took a while to do, too. You couldnít do that in two minutes, ten minutes.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Well, of course, at that time gas was five gallons for a dollar.


 

John Foley: Yes, right. Ok, the gas was a lot cheaper


 

Fletcher Perkins: Some of the - - -


 

John Foley: Probably some of those old trucks went pretty long, too. Theyíd last for years and years, if you took care of them, you know.


 

Fletcher Perkins: You wore that out - the motor out and have a new motor put in it and wore that out. He worked hard.


 

John Foley: Yes. Well, thatís the way it was in the old time. There wasnít much of a choice, you know. You really had to work hard to get by and he had the six kids. Thatís a - you didnít have any, I donít know, retirement plans or disabilities or stuff like that. It was just what you could save and your family had and try to get by.


 

Fletcher Perkins: You had what you earned. That was it.


 

John Foley: Now, he - he lived down by Lawrence Lord, you said. Is that where his house was?


 

Fletcher Perkins: He bought that place where Lawrence lives there and all the way down to what they call the Brailey place there.


 

John Foley: Ok, Now that - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: Farm.


 

John Foley: Fred - what was - the blacksmith?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Fred Brown.


 

John Foley: Fred Brown, now he was - lived down in back there, too.


 

Fletcher Perkins: His land butted right onto the house. He had a big dairy farm there and blacksmith shop.


 

John Foley: Now, did your father have any horses or other livestock?


 

Fletcher Perkins: (Noise on tape so a few words canít be transcribed) other livestock and he had at one time - when we were going to school he had six cows and sheep. Always had some hens for our own eggs - our own milk. We used to make home made ice cream. We had an ice house back of the barn there where he could put ice in there and cover it with sawdust.


 

John Foley: Ok. And, you cut ice down at the lake, I guess, or somewhere.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Cut ice down to the lake in blocks and covered it with sawdust.


 

John Foley: And that would keep at least some of the summer.


 

Fletcher Perkins: It would keep all summer.


 

John Foley: All summer?

Fletcher Perkins: Yes.


 

John Foley: Well, you had to keep the milk and stuff cool - yes, so - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: We didnít have any refrigerators.


 

John Foley: No, no refrigerator. I can remember as a kid that we had an ice house out in the garage, you know, that was left over from the old days and I remember ice hooks and things like that laying around. Yes, you had to plan ahead I guess and when you had the ice, you had to think of the summer when you might need it, you know.


 

Fletcher Perkins: My mother used to wash clothes in a wash tub and a scrub board, you know. I can remember when she got her first washing machine. It had a little gasoline engine on it. Wringer, you know, and there was an exhaust pipe that went out through the door and outside so the exhaust wouldnít get in the house. That - that was quite a thing then.


 

John Foley: Well, that was before they had power, anyway. Probably.


 

Fletcher Perkins: We didnít have any power. In fact we never had any power when we lived down in there.


 

John Foley: But, you had a lot of chores to do with the livestock and stuff or did your father do some - your father probably did a lot of it.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, but us kids did a lot of it, too. Weíd come home from school and do the chores and do some of them before we went to school. We helped out quite a lot. It was a good life. A fellow was always happy.


 

John Foley: Well, it didnít seem to- that - that people were bored, you know. They didnít seem to sit around and think about - you know.


 

Fletcher Perkins: They werenít bored. And, my father was - of course my father and mother was young too, and they growed right up with us, you know. Theyíd go out and play tag with us and go sliding with us. We growed right up together.


 

John Foley: The holidays must have been interesting.


 

Fletcher Perkins: They were. We had a good place to slide and a place on the brook there that froze over so we could skate on it. Never a dull moment.


 

John Foley: No, I was thinking - yes - and, I mean sleds and skates and stuff like that - were they - I suppose they were around or you could - I donít know - make some yourself, but - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: Well, my father could make a lot. A lot of times he would go around Calais selling wood and heíd buy bicycles and skis and stuff like that. If he got a good trade on them. So they werenít expensive.


 

John Foley: Well, it wasnít like buying computers and that stuff (indistinct words) cost an arm and a leg for the stuff, you know. What do you think about now-a-days, you know, the changes that are going on around town. You know, whatís - whatís the biggest thing that you think of happening?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Thereís too many changes. For one thing, the younger generation donít seem to want to work like we used to have to work. And, itís good. You know, the experience and when we had to get out, we knew what to do. Now the kids, if they want some money, instead of earning it, their father and mother give it to them.


 

John Foley: Thatís right. They just put their hand out and collect it.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Yes, and I donít - I donít think thatís as good as it was in the olden days. When you earned money, you appreciated it .more. Of course, now everybodyís got a four-wheeler and a snowmobile.


 

John Foley: Yes, theyíve got everything. All kinds of toys.


 

Fletcher Perkins: We had a sled that weíd play with and skis and that was it. (Indistinct word) bicycle.


 

John Foley: The community itself has probably changed some. Do you think so or not?


 

Fletcher Perkins: Itís changed a lot. You can go from one end of the town now over to - well (indistinct words) where Bruce Baker lived - all the way down through (indistinct words) them people are all gone. None of them left, you know.


 

John Foley: I guess it was John Dudley said that he looked at the list of the kids in the elementary school - in the first five grades and he said theyíre almost all new names, that he didnít know, you know, and - and - and for years and years and years it was always the same families pretty much, you know.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Thatís right and you know when we was growing up we knew everybody in town. Now, thereís people here in Crawford that I donít know. And, the same in Alexander. Thereís a lot of people in Alexander I donít know. When we was growing up everybody knew everybody.


 

John Foley: Yes, well, people, you know, get kind of isolated now. They buy something and they stay in and they watch the TV or play with the computer or whatever they do and they donít - they donít go out and see people too often and - and I think that loses something - the community loses something when you - when you donít have a little more communication, and stuff like that.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Thereís a lot of people coming from out of state, you know and moving in from out of state. And, itís - itís a good place to live and a good place to bring up a family. Well, just like you. You moved in and you found a home.


 

John Foley: Well, I tell you, we couldnít imagine a better place for us. I mean, I donít think - even in my family, people say ďWell, gee, what are you doing way up there in Maine?Ē You know, ďWhere are you going to get your groceries?Ē like people in Maine canít get groceries. You know, they have - they have crazy ideas. But, we came up and we thought weíre - we like it a little slower and we like the country, anyway, and we like a little room and be able to do some of the things - - -


 

TAPE TURNED OVER - SOME CONVERSATION LOST


 

John Foley: - - - at the town meeting or whatever and they seem to want to try to tell people how to do things. And - and, sometimes they have good ideas but you - to me the town people who were here, they understand the area and they understand each other and they understand what they want and I think you have to listen to them first and get to understand them and then if you want to put in your two cents and help out, you know, fine, but you donít come in and say ďWell, this is the way we did it in New JerseyĒ or some - who cares? It doesnít matter.


 

Fletcher Perkins: The idea is they came from New Jersey. They moved down here because they didnít like it there and then they come down here and try to fix this like New Jersey.


 

John Foley: We donít want - nobody wants that, I donít think. They probably donít even want it either. Yes - well I donít know - I think whatís interesting to me and Pat, my wife, there - that - when people - you know if you - if you - around here, if youíre not pushy and you show them that youíre honest and dependable and you work hard, they - they seem to respect you and they seem to, you know, treat you great, you know. And, nobody has given us any trouble for - about anything and people have offered us stuff. I sometimes tell people that when I was here, gee just a few - maybe a week Robert MacArthur came down and offered and said that Lawrence Lord said - you know, he worked for Lawrence Lord and he said, ďDo you want a job?Ē And, I just looked at him and I said, ďYou donít even know who I am.Ē And, he said, ďWell, I thought you might need a job, you know.Ē And I - I thought it was - you know, that kind of thing - little things like that where people pay attention to something and consider somebody and - and understand what - you know, but donít try to push themselves on people and donít try to take advantage and stuff like that - so I kind of - I really think the people are really unique and special in this area. Itís a - I - probably a lot of other places in Maine, too, but I could tell you from having lived in the city in other states, everybody isnít like that. There are some pretty decent people down here. If they are connected to you at work or if theyíre related or something, theyíll do anything for you, but just strangers that happen to be, you know, in the same area, you canít be sure of anything. Iíll tell you the truth.


 

Fletcher Perkins: No, you canít. Itís a pretty good place to live.


 

John Foley: Anyway, Fletcher, anything you think you want to add or you think might be worth mentioning about the area or your connection to the area. You know youíve never stayed away - never thought about going to Florida or any place for - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: No, no. I spent 26 months down there - summer and winter - in Tampa at MacDill Airbase there, and I kind of got enough of that hot weather.


 

John Foley: The heat.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Well, my father and mother lived down there for a while and my brothers and my sister - so Clarence and I used to go down for a couple weeks and that was enough for us. Weíd go down about every winter there for a while when my father and mother was living for a couple weeks and then come back. It was nice to go down and see the family, you know, and visit a couple weeks with them where it was warm in the middle of the winter but we was happy to get home.


 

John Foley: Thatís the way Pat and I are. We go down to visit my relatives in Massachusetts and, you know, after a few days though weíve had enough. We want to get back out here. Weíre itching to get home.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Itching to get home.


 

John Foley: Yes. Right.


 

Fletcher Perkins: We donít mind the winters here. Itís warm - itís nice and warm here in the house and weíve got a snow blower. We can get out. Weíve got a four wheel drive any time we - weíre never stuck here.


 

John Foley: Well, youíve got to just to plan ahead and prepare yourself and understand the climate and things.


 

Fletcher Perkins: I ice fish. We donít - we donít mind the winters.


 

John Foley: I donít either. Actually I could put with the cold weather a lot better than I could put up with the hot, you know.


 

Fletcher Perkins: I can, too.


 

John Foley: The heat - I canít - it drives me crazy. It just wears me right down, but the cold, I donít know, you get moving around a little bit and if it isnít 20 below zero, you know, if itís just coldish and freezing itís not too bad. Well, the population - for a while it seemed to drop around here. So, a lot of people seemed to go away and not - especially during the war of course, a lot of people went off to work in Portland and stuff like that. And there was a while there when there wasnít too many people. It seemed like that - you know, people just kept moving away and - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: A lot of them come back, though.

John Foley: Yes, yes, it seems like - - -


 

Fletcher Perkins: Sooner or later, they - most of them come back.


 

John Foley: They do, yes, yes. But, I think itís - sometimes itís the job opportunities and stuff like that.


 

Fletcher Perkins: Well, thereís not - not an awful lot of work around here (indistinct word) you know - good paying jobs.


 

John Foley: Thatís the big disadvantage of the area. Itís hard. Well, I think this has been a pretty good talk - you know, what I explain to people is that I, you know, am interested in anything you have to say, and say, you know, later on today or tomorrow or some other time, you think ďGee, I should have told John this.Ē You know, I can come back and we can add a little more to it. It doesnít, you know, mean, that we have to stop it or not, but letís - - -.


 

Fletcher Perkins: This is really not my thing, you know..


 

John Foley: Itís not your kind of thing. Well, most people feel - Iíll shut this thing off.


 

END OF TAPE