May 30, 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: This is John Foley and Iím doing an interview of Jane Manza at her house on the Cooper Road in Alexander, Maine and today is May 30, 2005. Ok, Jane, you can begin any time you want about - telling us a little bit about yourself.
Jane Manza: Ok. Weíve lived - we live in Alexander. Thatís my husband, Joe and myself. And, we came back to Alexander in Ď96 and we live in a log home that Dad had built. He started building it in 1990 and itís of logs off his land and after he died in Ď95 we had a chance to come live in his house - to take the house and so we did. We lived in Baileyville before that for 25 years, I think it was. And, then before that it was - I started out in Crawford, then from Crawford moved to Alexander. No, not Alexander yet. Moved to Cooper. Went to the Alexander school. And then in, I think it was probably around Ď61, Ď2, somewhere around there, Dad had built a house. Part of it was a ski lodge and part of it was a house. We lived up in the top part of the ski lodge, and we moved here to Alexander from Cooper. So, thatís how I - Alexander became the home in whatever it was - about Ď61, Ď2 whenever that - until I got married in Ď72, so I lived here for 10 years and moved to Woodland for those 25 years, I guess it was. And then back to Alexander, again. So home again, home again.
John Foley: Yes. What - what about your family background? Now, you mentioned your father built this place. Anything about his family thatís, you know - that you want to mention?
Jane Manza: His family was from Crawford. He lived in Crawford and that was just an extension of Alexander. You can go through the Arm Road and get to his old homestead. So, it kind of all seemed like the same place. We would travel through the Arm Road and get to Crawford to his blueberry land over there or we could - helped when we lived in Alexander.
John Foley: What were things like when you were growing up? I mean obviously things have changed a lot but when you were a kid - what are - what are your memories about - you know, anything you can think about? Letís say your early school days in Crawford or Alexander.
Jane Manza: Oh. Oh, Crawford was great. We lived on the Arm Road there. Yes, Iíve - Iíve kind of lived in a full circle here. But, in Crawford I lived on the Arm Road and I - I think - I donít think it was kindergarten. It was probably first grade and it was just down over the hill and Zella Reynolds was the teacher there and I was allowed to walk to school once but then when my brother Carl T ditched me on the way home - - -
John Foley: Oh, that wasnít too good.
Jane Manza: - - - that was the end of me being able to walk to school as a five or six year old.
John Foley: Oh, my gosh
Jane Manza: I think he probably got the old devil, too.
John Foley: I bet he did.
Jane Manza: I bet! But, it was a one room school house and Mrs. Reynolds taught - it was grades one through eight. Some was grade one. Grades one through eight and - - -.
John Foley: How many kids? Do you have any idea about - - -
Jane Manza: I donít know. I could name some of the kids, especially the upper grade kids. There was Gail Beaupry. Seems like there was Lloyd - was my cousin - Lloyd. Freddy Wallace. I think Freddy was - maybe Freddy was there. He was one of the older kids. But there - Eddy Perkins. But, the bigger boys had to go fetch water out of the well. We had an outhouse in the back part of the school. And a wood stove. So this was - this was - - -
John Foley: Pretty simple.
Jane Manza: Yes, this was probably what Ď56? I was born in Ď51, so it was probably around Ď56, Ď57 when I started school.
John Foley: Were any - were any of the kids bussed in or were they - they just all walked or somebody in the family drove them or - - -
Jane Manza: I donít even remember if there was a bus. Maybe there was a station wagon. Thatís very vague. I donít know.
John Foley: What - what was the next step? Did you - did you go to the Alexander school after that or - - -
Jane Manza: We moved from Crawford to Cooper. Dad had a saw mill in Cooper. And so he built a house - took an old house that was right on the sawmill property. I donít know whoís house it was at that - who he bought it from, but he refurbished the house and we lived there - probably moved there in Ď56, Ď57 - somewhere around there. And, I donít know how long we lived there. It wasnít very long. Norman, my brother, was - was born in Ď58 and I can remember that the house burned - he was just a baby because he was - he was a baby in the crib in my mother and fatherís bedroom and the bedroom was in the - in the stairs - in the downstairs in the back part of the house and Dad had put in a sawdust furnace because here it was a logging mill and why not use the sawdust. He put in a sawdust furnace and to my recollection what had happened - from my understanding of it as a kid - there was combustion - whether it was combustion around all the sawdust that was stored in the basement, Iím not exactly sure.
John Foley: It ignites pretty easily - sawdust.
Jane Manza: It created a fire and the fire came right up through the wall.
John Foley: Oh, my gosh.
Jane Manza: I think there was a fire place in that back bedroom and Norman was in the - in the crib asleep. And, my father was down to Machias, it seems like, to a meeting. He had gone to a meeting - FHA or one of those type of meetings and Mom was there. She had company. Kay and Chuck Church were there. Thank goodness somebody was there and their daughter, Wilma, were all visiting us. And, the kids were all - we were all playing in the house. And, we were told ďcome down stairs, quick.Ē And, we didnít know, just come down stairs. And, come to find out there was a fire and so they rushed us all out and Carl T ran - I donít - ran in the back room and he got Norman out of the crib and so he saved Normanís life.
John Foley: He was pretty little, too, wasnít he?
Jane Manza: Yes, he would have been - well, this was Ď59 maybe.
John Foley: Yes, yes.
Jane Manza: I think it was Ď59 because we have pictures of Norman crawling on the floor at one time - just a snapshot we came across. I know he was just a baby able to crawl at that point in time there. But Carl T saved Normanís life - ran in there. And, me being a curious kid ran in behind Carl T and all I could - I didnít do anything. I just remember the fire just going up that wall and across the ceiling - probably just a matter of minutes and then too late.
John Foley: Just lucky that everybody was awake - you know, it didnít happen at night or something.
Jane Manza: Yes, it was. Yes.
John Foley: So then you must have moved some place else - you needed another house.
Jane Manza: Well, we moved into a little trailer. So, by then there were - Norman made number six - six of seven. He was number six. And so we moved into this little trailer and we stayed there for quite a while, seems like. And, then Dad rebuilt, but on a new place and the house is still there - on Cooper Corner, just down from the Cooper Grange. So we lived there until he built the house over here in - in Alexander, the ski lodge. Which apparently wasnít too awful long if that happened in Ď59. We moved over here probably in Ď61 or Ď62. And, time just seems to be marked by things that have happened at certain point in time.
John Foley: Well, these were major events for sure.
Jane Manza: Not really - quite sure, because mom - my mother died - she had one more child. Jimmy came along in Ď63. And, she died in Ď63 - not in childbirth but later that year. So, I know that we were - we were living in Alexander at that time.
John Foley: What about the community? Were these - you know with - how did - did that get involved at all in this fire, I mean in - in - in helping your family move or anything? Do you remember about the , you know, the participation of the community or anything?
Jane Manza: Oh, my goodness. At the time when - when that happened, we went - Chuck and Kay took Mama and all us kids up to John and Ellen Howesí and we stayed up - they stayed there and got hold of Dad and I donít remember what had happened from that. We went over and stayed with Grammy Cousins for probably - probably a long time. I donít know how long that was, but I can remember people bringing donations of clothes and just filling up a room with clothes and - and stuff for the house - - -
John Foley: Well, thatís my impression that the community is very, you know - - -
Jane Manza: - - - and helping us.
John Foley: - - - conscious of problems that people have and try to help out and pitch in when things go wrong and such. Well, you lived - you lived in Baileyville for a while and now youíre back here. Any contrast between the two places? Any differences? You know, there probably are.
Jane Manza: Yes. Yes. It smells sweet.
John Foley: Yes, right.
Jane Manza: Joe always said the smell in Woodland was the smell of money, but now this is - you know itís good clean, fresh air, good people. Baileyville has good people, too, and thatís where we lived and raised our kids. We both worked there and still do. We liked it and Baileyville served us very well. Baileyville, which is still and always going to be Woodland to us, but it served us very well. It was close proximity for the kids to attend - for their - for their school functions, and their school and their friends and everything, but we started looking at coming back to here. We knew that at some point in time we wanted to come back to Alexander and we have a piece of land on Barrows Lake and we figured oh some day weíd start looking at that. And then we started getting the piece of property ready. We cleared it and we started looking at where weíd set our future home/camp and from there we- we just kind of sat on it for a while - didnít do anything more than clear it. And then, well when this came along in Ď95, Ď96, it just - just kind of like oh, why donít we move there. It just kind of dawned on us, you know. Before we were just going - somebody - just sell it or - you know, we in the family - just sell it. Nobody wanted it. Everybody had their own home - had their own place. And, it just kind of dawned on us, well, why donít we move here. So we did and we finished it off. Dad didnít have the floors finished, or - it wasnít all entirely finished. We just kind of revamped it - made it the way we wanted it, too.
John Foley: Well, I was quite surprised when you moved because you seemed so content there and I just thought of, you know, your - your happy home there and - in Baileyville and - and - but I can understand somebody wanting to come back to Alexander. You know you certainly have a better view here than you had in Baileyville. The fresh air. The clear air and, you know, the people and so on are pretty great.
Jane Manza: There are so many people in town that I donít know, though.
John Foley: Really?
Jane Manza: Yes, with - I guess perhaps because I do work in Woodland, I donít get to know that many people, so - - -
John Foley: Yes, Iím the same way. I mean, I feel like I know more in Woodland than I know in my own town, and itís kind of strange, but work does do that. You know, you spend so many hours and even social life to some extent is - is an extension of work sometimes.
Jane Manza: But - then - Iíve got right here in Alexander there are - out of seven kids, there are five of us here.
John Foley: Oh, yes? Thatís right, yes, yes.
Jane Manza: Right here on Pleasant Lake, itself, thereís myself on this side, on Cooper Road side and thereís David and Mary, Ronny and Tammy, and Jimmy and Karen on the other side, and then Norman - I guess at this moment in time, heís up on the Arm Road.
John Foley: Ok, yes.
Jane Manza: But, then Carl T is over in Crawford Lake, - - -
John Foley: Crawford, yes.
Jane Manza: - - - so you just go through the Arm Road again.
John Foley: Yes, right. Thatís right.
Jane Manza: Hang a left and hang a right and youíll find him. And, then Joanne is in Meddybemps which is practically the next town over.
John Foley: Yes. Yes. Well, I kind of think of Crawford and Alexander as the same breath almost, although, you know, there is a different town line. Itís a little different, but the families and everything overlap.
Jane Manza: We do. But, even with the family being so close, we - weíre kind of - weíre all there for each other but still donít see each other in the same town that much.
John Foley: Do you think there are any negatives about living in Alexander - any - anything thatís not so good?
Jane Manza: No.
John Foley: No. I - I - you know, Iím not trying to stress the negative. It was just that I thought of it and most people seem to like the scenery and they seem to like the community spirit and the - they know, the sense that people donít really impose themselves but theyíre ready to help when anybody needs some help.
Jane Manza: Uh huh. Absolutely. When we moved here from Bailey - from Woodland - Baileyville - one of the - the most often asked question was ďdonít you mind the drive?Ē
John Foley: Yes, yes.
Jane Manza: Itís 12 miles from dooryard to dooryard - dooryard, I guess that colloquial. From my driveway to the school driveway, itís 12 miles and itís - allow 15 or 18 minutes. No, - and I have never minded the drive at all.
John Foley: Itís not an inconvenience. Itís not like a drive in the suburbs of Boston or someplace where you - you know, 12 miles will take you two hours. This is a pleasant drive, you know. I mean we have rough conditions some days in the winter but in general it really isnít a problem at all. The commute isnít a big deal.
Jane Manza: And, the water is what drew - drew me. I knew Iíd have to be near the water at some point in time. I always lived on water. Even when we lived in Crawford for - Crawford wasnít on water, but Dad had - well he had camps over there - - -
John Foley: Camps, yes.
Jane Manza: - - - where itís now the - the ski slope and the campground. He always had camps there that we stayed there all summer. So when we lived in Cooper, of course, it was always come up here in the summer, too. So.
John Foley: What about your boys? What do they think about coming back to Alexander? Do they have any opinions about that?
Jane Manza: Chris definitely. Heís a - a mountain man, and he has already kind of staked out the place. So I think this place will be - Itís close to his heart. He loves - he loves Alexander. Jason - well, Chris will be 30. Chris is 30, almost and Jason is 28. Jason - he comes back. He likes the fishing. He likes Alexander. They never really lived here.
John Foley: Well, thatís what I was going to ask. What about their, you know - they were probably more familiar as residents of Baileyville. Their whole life was there, really, you know.
Jane Manza: It was. Thatís where they were born and brought up and grew up there with their friends, but I think this is special to them. Chris already has paths made down back. So, heís - - -
John Foley: Oh, heís already doing some work around (indistinct words)
Jane Manza: (Indistinct words due to both people talking at the same time.) Heís staking it out. Being the mountain man and the nature lover. He - he loves the water and the streams and the woods. Jasonís on the other side of the - the stream. He goes fishing.
John Foley: Do you think thereís anything unique about the place besides just, you know, the kind of decent people and the nice views and so on about this - this area. I mean, if you had a choice to live and somebody said, oh, you know, you have - money is no object. You can pick another place to go. You seem to indicate that youíd rather be here.
Jane Manza: It is. Weíve traveled a little bit. The - I like it warm. But, no, itís pretty hard to beat this. We have - you know, we have the water. We have a mountain to look at. Thereís a stream and a pond right beside us. Black flies arenít too awful bad because we have a nice breeze coming off the lake. Enough land, so - when I moved from Alexander to - to Woodland and got married back in Ď72, it was like ďOh my gosh. Iíve got neighbors on both sides.Ē And they were - you know, we had - I donít know, maybe a couple hundred feet property line, but I had neighbors on both sides and it was almost claustrophobic. And it was such a funny feeling. It was like - you could just walk to a neighbor.
John Foley: Well, you get used to space - a little bit of space - sometimes you - you kind of - in the country, youíre kind of familiar with that and comfortable with it, too, you know.
Jane Manza: And, we do have neighbors here on both sides of us, but I donít feel claustrophobic any more. Enough space.
John Foley: Do you have any hobbies or special interests, you know, that you want to mention?
Jane Manza: My other life? I teach by day - kindergarten teacher, the last 15 years. Now Iím working on energy work. Itís this - I do reflexology, polarity, rakey and thereís a new class. Itís called touch for help. Itís along that line, too. But, itís body work.
John Foley: Well, you have quite a -quite a few gardens and things. I think you must put a certain amount of time in that - your flowers and things.
Jane Manza: I do love the gardens. Itís been raining so I havenít been out so they do get ahead, but I started out when we came here - it was just like an acre or whatever that is over to the side. It was just a hay field so I looked at that and got my brotherís back hoe and dug a few holes and planted a few trees. Decided I was going to make it into a wooded - get it to grow back up, so I started putting in paths. I love the paths because when we lived in Cooper there were all kinds of deer paths and cow paths. All kinds of paths going through the woods.
John Foley: Well, it makes a place interesting when you have those.
Jane Manza: It was like I wanted to recapture that. So, I started out with this kind of a manicured landscaping thing and I wanted everything to be prim and proper and manicured and - with bark and everything. Well, letís see - that was in Ď96 and this is - you know, nine years later itís like whatever nature wants to do
John Foley: Well, nature has a force of its own.
Jane Manza: She does. Sheís very powerful. I just keep a path going through that I can get a lawnmower through and Iím happy, but let it grow. I have all kinds of wild cherry trees growing up. I started out with store-bought Wallmart type trees and shrubs and things, and now itís whatever nature wants to plant or birds plant. Iíve got some birch growing and some dogwood and just other native plants coming up.
John Foley: Well, theyíll spring up on their own.
Jane Manza: Yes.
John Foley: They donít need too much encouragement.
Jane Manza: No.
John Foley: They can take over in no time.
Jane Manza: And, this used to be the Hatfield place and so in one place - I guess itís where the hen house used to be - that grass probably four times, five times faster than any other.
John Foley: Hen houses always have the capacity for that.
Jane Manza: And thatís where I can grow the best trees and shrubs the fastest.
John Foley: Now, did the Hatfields have a mill here? Or they had a farm or what was it?
Jane Manza: It was a cedar mill.
John Foley: Ok
Jane Manza: From this pond where the lake empties into what they call Sixteenth Stream, which I canít quite understand because it goes - it empties in - itís called Sixteenth Stream, to my knowledge, but then if you walk down into the woods say about 1,200 feet it goes underground.
John Foley: Really?
Jane Manza: So, you kind of lose it, but then it comes back up again.
John Foley: Oh, my gosh. It goes right underground.
Jane Manza: It does.
John Foley: Iíll have to go down there sometime.
Jane Manza: Psych it over.
John Foley: Thatís quite interesting.
Jane Manza: So, Iíve never been - I guess what Iíll have to do is come up - go into Meddybemps Lake and come up Sixteenth Stream and see how far it takes me and then hike the rest or portage the rest of the way.
John Foley: Thatís interesting.
Jane Manza: Itís just a small stream.
John Foley: But, itís quite a difference in elevation from here to Meddybemps. Isnít it quite a bit lower?
Jane Manza: I would say it is because - - -
John Foley: I know the - the ground slopes down but I donít know how many feet or anything. I think it is quite a - quite a distance.
Jane Manza: Well, there is a noticeable difference from the pond - from the lake that comes down this little stream and into the pond. Dad tried to make it into a pond with - I think he might - I donít know if he was going to make - generate electricity there himself. So he put in a cement wall trying to keep back Mother Nature but sheís pretty well worn that away.
John Foley: It didnít work.
Jane Manza: (indistinct words) that again. So, weíve bolstered it up with some big blueberry rocks - big rocks that came out of the blueberry field - trying to save it but sheís still wearing away at it. But, that drop is probably, I donít know, twelve feet maybe.
John Foley: Yes, itís quite a bit.
Jane Manza: It is quite a drop. It is enough to generate some electricity if anybody got it hooked up. But, as of now, itís just draining itself. Itís pretty - the pond gets pretty full in the spring with the ice runoff and we have lots of rain.
John Foley: Now, the stream itself from - from the lake never dries up probably. Itís probably always running all - all summer too probably, yes.
Jane Manza: Um.
John Foley: Yes, just not as much flowing, I guess
Jane Manza: No. There is a dam, and the - thereís a Pleasant Lake Association. I guess they - - -
John Foley: Control - - -
Jane Manza: - - - control the dam - - -
John Foley: Control the dam.
Jane Manza: - - - or - - -
John Foley: To try to keep the level stable, I suppose in the lake. I donít know.
Jane Manza: So we donít touch that. Itís just - whatever comes in, it flows through there - through the pond. So - - -
John Foley: Well, itís - I donít know - got anything you want to share or add or, you know, about your family or background or the past or the future, or anything, you know. I - I usually ask that question just to - to keep things open if - if anything comes up or anything that you want to add. And, you could do it at a different time, too, if you thought of something tomorrow or something, you know - - -
Jane Manza: Um-hum.
John Foley: - - - we could add it, but if youíre all - you know.
Jane Manza: Hum. Ok.
END OF TAPE