EVELYN (FLOOD) POTTLE
IN THE BEGINNING
My great grandfather, Peter Flood, was born August 25, 1778, On June 12 he married Lucy Snow. They were blessed with ten children, one of which was my grandfather, Wesley, who married Mary Jane Burns from St. David, New Brunswick. He died in 1845.
Even though we have no record to prove this, but from my parents it was told there were three young men who came into Eastport by boat, and then travelled on to Alexander before settling down. One was my Great Grandfather who started a store, the other two were a Frost who settled on the flat and a Stephenson who started a saw mill on Pleasant Lake.
We know very little about my great grandparents except for the connection of their children. Levi, the youngest, fought in the Civil War. He married Mary Webber from St. Stephen after he returned from the war. He spent much time with my Mother and Father especially, his last days with them. George, an older son died very young at the age of 50. His family was very close to my parents also. Dan's son, Dan, in his late years, also spent a few weeks one summer at the old homestead. I was in my early teens and I was thrilled to talk with him, but being of such an early age I didn't realize how precious these recollections were, but if I had only made note of them how much they would add to happy memories! Dan's family had changed their name to Floyd.
My grandfather, Wesley, who I suppose, inherited the farm and store from his father had five sons: Willis, Gorham, Lincoln, Frank and Arthur. His wife, Mary, died at an early age (48) with TB, which was so common in those early days. She came from a family of high ideals and her home portrayed the same, as the older generation related. Even though I wasn't born when she, nor my grandparents died, I enjoyed listening to the tales so precious to me. One lady said she was so neat you could eat off her kitchen floor (white wide boards). She said she helped pick their hens which was done in their kitchen, but Grammie always scrubbed it with sand and it was white as snow afterwards.
Grandpa was remarried after her death to Angeline Crafts. Even when I was young, I admired that place. The beautiful view of Meddybemps Lake and the heath. My Uncle Arthur lived on the farm at that time. I loved to visit the home to admire the furniture of rich red velour which was so interesting. Then, the dishes and silverware in the dining room seemed to be too good to use, even on special occasions. Uncle Arthur was married to Annie Johnson. He died July 31, 1939. This historical home burned in 1957.
Grammie Flood had two sisters from St. David's, N.B. who use to visit us for a week or two when I was small. All I can remember is their beautiful satin dresses, trimmed in yards of white lace. To me they were ladies. As mischievous as I could be, I knew better than to be anything but polite to them. I adored them in my offish way, but thinking about it today, how I wish I had found out more about the family.
My Grandfather made shoes (moccasins). It was said that Grammie once remarked, "Every child has a pair of shoes except our children." Mother made moccasins for small children. I think the last pair she made was for Raymond's son, perhaps, Russell.
In 1908 Mrs. Martha Conick, who lived on the other side of the road, in fact the place where Doris and Raymond lived, came to live with us. She lived alone and had pneumonia three winters in succession, and mother had taken care of her each time. To me she was a good sport for an elderly lady of 90 years. She enjoyed us young folks. I can see George now, pinning a piece of paper on the wall where her shadow was and then tracing her picture. She knew he was doing it, so she sat very still until he finished. She didn't have any teeth, so it wasn't a very good picture. To me it didn't show her sterling qualities, as it was too ugly, but she laughed and thought it a joke. She didn't want me to grow up, so she said she was going to put a brick on my head so I wouldn't grow any taller. So, now, I use that as an excuse for being so short. I, as well as the rest of the family, respected her and thought a lot of her. I will never forget the day she died. Mother and Dad had gone to the St. Stephen Fair, their yearly custom. Mary, George's wife, was left to keep house. It was a sad thing for Mother; she didn't realize Mrs. Connick was that sick, even though she had had a cold. I came home from school and found she had passed away to that home above, my first experience with death, which was so hard to comprehend at so early an age of nine years.
Dad brought me back a Teddy Bear which I have treasured all these years. All the children have played with it, so the excelsior had lost its firmness, but yet to me it was precious. This year (1992) a salesman offered me $30.00 for it. After much thought and debating in my mind, I sold it. I couldn't help but cry as it was just one more thing held dear between my Dad and me.
I being the youngest of the family, Mother called me her baby even after I was married. Of course, she didn't mean it as it sounded. How does a married lady feel when your mother introduces you to a stranger, saying, "This is my baby." I don't remember my parents making a baby of me. If anyone babied me, it was my older brothers and sisters.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS
I remember Bert and Ella, when they stayed with us, use to want me to get in bed with them and then, they'd get me to tell them stories. They no doubt were about my imaginary playmates.
Mother let Bert and Ella live in Mrs. Connick's home. They had three children, Leona, Lawrence and Emogene.
My father always wanted his family to have an education. Even though Bert only had an 8th grade education, he taught school a few years, and also served as superintendent once, Finishing Grade School in those days, one was more qualified than most High School students today, except for foreign languages.
Bert and Ella taught school. When Emogene was born, Ella took the ferry at Eastport to go to Lubec to visit her parents. She got a cold and was never well afterwards, as it developed into T.B. At this time, Bert was working at the Woodland Mill. Leta and Geneva watched Ella and the children in the summertime. When school started, Bert hired Lima Carlow to care for them.
The year Emogene was three, she and Lawrence were playing in the shed. Lawrence was using a hammer hatchet and as Emogene bent over to see what he was doing, the hatchet part gashed her eye. Bert took her to the Doctor in Calais who couldn't do anything for her, but suggested taking her to Bangor. Ella was too sick for Bert to leave at that time. Ella passed away a few days after, on December 22, 1919. The day after Christmas, Bert took Emogene on the train to Bangor to have her eye operated on. Mr. and Mrs. Keith from Cooper, who were living in Bangor at the time, invited Bert to stay with them which was surely a blessing to him. Dr. Cloud operated on Emogene's eye. (in 1991 her Doctor in Presque Isle said he was amazed at the operation that had been performed by Dr. Cloud at that time. It was just a marvelous operation, so many years ago. She has been able to see fairly well even without glasses.)
That same month, Bert was training a foal he had raised. As he was going out through our yard, the foal went so fast around the corner they tipped over, breaking the foal's neck. Bert was so heartbroken - three things happening in less than a month. The family lived with us until he married Eva Seavey in 1927.
During Bert's last year he boarded at a home in Calais. When I'd go up to see him he'd want to come down for the weekend with us. Sometimes, Harold would suggest for me to go get him, as he always enjoyed hearing the hunting stories Bert would tell. Bert died November 27, 1979 at a Nursing Home in Calais.
George was forever taking my picture. Before the scenes ended, I sometimes would be crying, as I had to stand just so. He'd say, "Hold your head up. Hold that stomach in." What a struggle! No wonder I hate to have my picture taken today.
George went to school until he was 18. He considered he'd gone long enough, so he took his axe and went in the woods to cut wood. When he saw all the others going to school, he threw down his hatchet and went too. Probably it was to meet the teacher, as he always was a good friend with them. He met Mary when she taught there. I remember Barbara Linton who use to be very kind to me, would walk part way home with me. The day George went away to marry Mary Buck, she cried now and then. I being only seven could not understand why she was crying. I often wonder if she was in love with George, or was it his lively, sunny disposition. His last year of school he wrote a poem about his 13 years of going to school. I sure wish I could remember it.
George and Mary lived in the two front rooms after Mrs. Connick passed away. I use to go in to visit them a lot, and to play with Hayden. Mary use to play the organ so she showed me how to play my right hand notes. I liked her vegetable soup.
Later when they lived in Cooper, I went down to help when Jeannette was born, also when the twins were born. It was good they had a washing machine. It took all day to wash and hang out the clothes.
George and Mary were so happy with their big family, so it sure was a sad time when we got word of her passing away. They had had dinner with us the night before she went to Boston for her operation. We were truly overwhelmed, and wondered just what George and the family would do. It was during the years of the Depression. Again God knows and understands. Through it all, they have done remarkably well.
Kathleen was only 13 when her mother passed away. There were eight besides her to wash and cook for. Mother and I helped all we could, but none of them would come to live with us, as much as we wanted them. I remember bringing up Dorothy once, but when it came bedtime she cried so we had to take her home. Sometimes Kathleen would come up with the washing when their machine was broken. It sure was hard for a girl so young, but that was her wish. She sure was a special young girl to do it at her age. As Rolfe said in his sermon once, "She was not only a sister, but a mother to us." Then George married Olive Edgerly, a very fine person, too. They were married just a year. She passed away on their anniversary. George passed away December 3, 1977.
Cora bought my first doll, which wasn't a homemade one. Cora was working out when I was very small, so I remember her after she was married and they would all come home. One Christmas we had the whole family, even to Uncle Gorham. There came a big snowstorm, so the men went home to do chores. I remember Raymond went with Roy, but I don't remember who went with the rest. Each bed was a full house that night, but it was fun. I was 13, and Mother always wanted to buy me a real doll. I guess it was the first time she felt they could afford it. I wanted a new dress, so what a disappointment to me. I cried, but not so the rest knew about it. At that age I did not feel like playing dolls. I have it today, such as it is.
I stayed with Cora when Eleanor was born. I guess I wasn't much help as I got Tonsillitis, but with the family helping, we got the work done while Cora was in bed. Once, when I visited Cora in Perry, I enjoyed skating with hers and the neighbor children. We were playing tag. I didn't have any skates so they wanted me to be "It ' " I fell on the ice and hit a rock. You should have seen my black eyes. Cora was determined I'd go to Grange with her just the same. How everyone laughed. After I moved to Perry, I would have felt very homesick, at times, if I hadn't had her to visit. We became very close.
Cora came up home several times after Mother had her stroke. She was a great help. She also took Mother down there for a week when I was sick. We had so many happy times together. After I came to Perry, she would come over and it was like having mother there, she resembled her so much:
After she went to live in Calais with Lila, she came to visit me often. In fact, one winter, she stayed with me while Lila and Harland went to Florida. I wished she had stayed right here. Anyway, I tried to see her two or three times each week. She was a dear Christian person. I never heard her complain. I was with her when she passed away, April 29, 1990.
Marcia was the studious type. She taught school when she was 16, and she married Harold Cousins. I, being 13 years younger, remember her better when she taught in our district after Horace and Vera were born. Mother took care of them. Marcia was so afraid Raymond would get through school and not know his arithmetic. Then, the winter before I passed for High School she wanted me to spend the winter with her, so she could teach me how to cook. Did I hate that cake baking! A piece of lard the size of an egg. What kind of an egg? I had gathered eggs of all sizes - a turkey's, goose and hen's. Those cookbooks are such a blessing to me now. Nevertheless, I've always been glad for those few weeks with her. She was a person who possessed such sterling inner qualities, trying to make someone's life richer. (This is how I thought of her.) Then, I spent one Fourth of July with them. We were going up to Pocomoonshine Lake on a picnic. The night before, Marcia put peanuts in the oven to roast. Harold went to the barn before going to bed, he came rushing back saying, "The barn is on fire!" What an exciting time! Marcia drawing water from the well and I carrying it to the barn. Harold, her husband, dousing it on the haymow. He had a hard time to get me up the ladder, as I was never one to climb. At the last, I was running up.
When it began to get worse they sent me through the woods to a neighbor. How I ever made it was only the Lord's works, as I had never gone through there before. I collapsed when I got there, but Kenneth McPheters went back to help. The barn and cattle were saved anyway. The peanuts were rather burnt for our Fourth of July picnic. Marcia died July 30, 1924.
Etta was a second mother to me. I spent many memorable times with her and Clarence on the Frost place. Once Mother said to them after I had stayed there a few days, "Was Evelyn homesick?" Clarence said, "All she needs is a pencil and paper and she's all set." I guess I was always up to fun, for I well remember Etta's kitchen was made so it had lots of corners making it hard to scrub on one's knees, so Etta said I could scrub the corners. Of course, I knew she meant the whole jutted in part, but yet I cleaned the little bit of corner. I guess I just had to hear her laugh about it, also to hear her say, "You knew, Evelyn, what I meant!" I couldn't deny that. She always gave me good advice in regard to the ways of life, and I always felt free to go to her. Even after I was married, we spent many happy hours together, going to Calais shopping, and no matter what I was doing or she, we seemed to be in it together. When Clarence died at Togus I was with her. She and the family stayed with us from February to May that year. Hilton died in May and Harold and I were just so happy they were with us. Two deaths in three months, what a sad time for all, especially Etta. We can only say, "God had a reason, but what?" Then, it was all too short a time, four years, before Etta, too, passed away on November 13, 1943. It seemed as if a part of me went, too, for she had been like another leg to lean upon. Then again, I asked myself, "Why, again?" I hope I have given to the family some of the same happiness that Etta and Clarence gave to me.
I remember when Clarence was in the service, at the time he was wounded, how his parents use to come home to see if Etta had had any word from him. Then, at bedtime, (she and I slept together), I've seen her kneel beside her bed to pray. I had said my prayers twice and she was still there. So I asked, "Etta why do you kneel so long?" She said, "I was praying for Clarence." That was a message to me - we need not only to say our prayer, but pray for special needs.
Etta was with me when Clifton was born. I guess our days weren't complete without talking or seeing each other. I'm glad for the happy memories, if not, the sad ones would be just more than I could bear.
Raymond was always a tease, and full of fun. I remember how he and his dog, which he had made a harness for, would go to the store for a bag of grain. He was about 14 before he grew like other boys, but all at once he shot up to be a man. Raymond had a good singing voice.
The only time he'd sing was riding in his car, how I loved to hear him sing, "Throw Out the Life Line". He was always teasing me. He'd say, "You have the biggest mouth. Who do you get that from?" He'd keep it up until I cried, then, he'd walk off. He did that even after I was married, but then, I was wiser and would say, "I know it, and I got it from you." He was going to teach me to drive a car. I'm glad I didn't teach school his way, as he'd say you're driving so go ahead. He didn't explain one thing, so you just learned by trial and error. I sure hated those cars I had to crank to get started. When I was going to High School, he and Doris came out to get Nola Frye, Irma Allen and me. Coming home in Baring, we had a flat tire by the railroad track and the car upset right on it's top. It threw us girls out the windows. Raymond was trying to find me, but I had sat down on a rock and I couldn't speak. We sure had a lot of black and blues the next morning.
Raymond loved to hunt, as much as my father did. I don't think Harold cared too much about hunting but it was just to be with Raymond. He missed Raymond a lot when we came to Perry, but we always have to pick up the pieces and go on, as the Lord would have us do. Raymond died August 1, 1971.
Leta worked out before she was married. She and I were about the same size, so I could wear her clothes sometimes. Little sister wearing big sister's clothes, especially when I went to High School. I stayed with her and Ralph my first year of teaching. Leta was a great cook. My how good that frozen deer steak tasted! Then, I hated carrots before I lived there. Mother always fried hers as Dad liked them that way. Leta boiled them with lots of cream and butter. I enjoyed that year with them. There were card parties, ice cream, and lots of young people around. How wonderful it is to become a part of our loved ones, as we grow older. When one is a child we keep busy playing, helping with chores etc. We had little time to know each other's likes and dislikes and our fun was always what we shared together. So, sometimes we grow closer together in later life -, as was the case. Leta and Ralph were so happy just being together, interested in their home, family and doing much for their friends and community.
I wish I could have taken care of Leta in her last years. I tried to get her to stay with me some, but she enjoyed her own home. I'm glad I persuaded her to go to Shirley's with Clayton, Thursa and me. When she was in the Nursing Home she had Dementia, but always seemed so happy. She thought everyone was a member of her family. I visited her two or three times each week. I'd go with her to the sing-alongs there, which she enjoyed so very much. Leta died December 13, 1990.
The only thing I can remember about Geneva when we were growing up, she was the last one getting ready for school. It took her forever to get her hair just so. Then, she wouldn't wear a dress more than once without having it washed. Leta use to say, "I'll dip it in the water and then rinse, there is no dirt on it ' " I remember when she was getting married to Kenneth Jones. She was just 18 which I thought was too young. I went to my closet and cried and cried. I don't think she had worked away from home like the others. I was almost most four years younger, and she being older for her age, we had little in common, at that time. The summer before my senior year, I went to Winterport to keep house and take care of Shirley while Geneva was in the hospital. I stayed about a month. Even though we didn't do much after she got home, we had lots of laughs and fun just being together.
After Geneva and Kenneth Jones were parted, she worked for the Mardens in Winterport. I went to visit her and Shirley for a couple of weeks. There were lots of boys who use to come to see me. One was Eugene Marden. I had also met him when I stayed at Geneva's the year before. After I went home he came down home to visit. He and Raymond went hunting together. A lot of her friends were my friends. We kept in close touch, even after she went to work in New Jersey. She was always thinking of others.
She and Bill Browers were married in April before Harold and I were. She liked nice things, so as I couldn't find a wedding dress to suit me in Calais, she picked one out for me in New Jersey. How many sisters would you want to pick out your wedding dress? It was better than I could have done. After she married Bill Browers, they came home every summer for a few weeks, so we had many happy times together.
I'm so glad we (Clifton, Betty, Merrill, Basil, Barry and 1) visited them in Lansing, Michigan. It was the April before she was killed in an automobile accident in Kentucky. As we were planning to go, there seemed to be so many setbacks that at times Clifton would say, "Let's wait until later." but something seemed to say, "I must go. " Geneva even said while I was there, "This might be our last time together." It was a precious time, and very memorable, as all of our fun together was. Geneva died October 20, 1961.
Many times I've seen my mother make a nightgown or dress for one of us after supper. Her hands were always busy cooking, knitting or sewing, etc. She brought us up to do chores that we could do - washing dishes, etc. We had to do it right, too. I recall one time I had to get out of bed to do the sink which didn't meet her inspection. It was a black iron sink which had to be wiped very dry so it wouldn't rust. At the time, I was sure it wasn't my fault, but I hadn't better say so. After dinner, every day, the kitchen fire went out, one of the older girls had to black and polish the stove. The more they rubbed the greater the shine, and we didn't have rubber gloves either. I know when I had to do it my hands would get very sore. Today they'd say you are allergic to the blacking, but, then, they called it salt rhyme. Then the lamps had to be trimmed and cleaned each morning. I didn't mind these things, but I always dreaded the Separator, which had to be washed. Whether I dreaded it or not it was a job that had to be done twice a day.
In winter, after the supper dishes were done, we spent many happy evenings. I remember how Dad used to play "Stillness" with us. No matter how I tried to keep from laughing, he would make up a face and sure enough I was "It". Then Raymond would play a Jew's Harp and Etta would play a Mouth Organ and we would have square dances in the kitchen. Mother and Dad enjoyed it as much as we did.
The young folks in the neighborhood use to come in for games. There were Checkers, Dominos, Donkey and sixty-three. We'd bring up a big dish of apples, which had been gathered from the orchard in the fall. They didn't last long. Then we would pop popcorn. We didn't need TV or radio, we made our own fun. When 9:00 RM. came Dad would say, "That's it. Bed time' " The boys (neighbors) would grab their coats and off they would go, but they'd be sure to be back the next night or so.
I had only one girl friend my age around home, but we didn't visit back and forth, as we lived about two miles apart. The house was always filed with sisters and brothers and their children, which always seemed more like brothers and sisters to me, as they were nearer my age. There were many boyfriends coming in the evenings to play games, etc. So, when I grew up, I had many boyfriends - no steady one until I met Harold Pottle, but yet, I can hear my father say, "Which Harold is it tonight, taking you to the dance? " I had a very happy, young life. When I was 12, 1 passed for High School, but Dad wouldn't let me go as I had to board at Calais. Then when I was 13, he said no again. The next year, I said, "Dad, I want to teach school, and I'll have to pay my own tuition if I don't go before I'm 2l." So, he made arrangements with Aunt Mae to pay for my board in vegetables.
What a year I had! I don't mean Aunt Mae wasn't good to me, but she and her friends use to pray to the pictures of dead people on the walls. I had a hard time to study. Then one weekend when I returned back, I found her on the floor at the top of the stairs. I thought she was dead, so I ran across the street and got a lady to come over. When we got there, she rose up. Was she ever mad at me! In the spring she moved to the Gayton house. Was I ever glad! She could be a good sport, but one time I had to make a cake for the cooking contest. I had put the eggshells in the stove, and when she found it out, she said my cake would fall and sure enough it fell, as she opened the door of the oven and slammed it real hard. I made the frosting and one couldn't tell it had fallen. She wanted me to make another, but I said, "I won't get a prize anyway." Could you believe I got first prize, as they only sampled the side? Aunt Mae said, "Who ever heard tell of getting a prize on a fallen cake."
I well remember my first day at Calais Academy. How did I have the courage? I had been to Calais just once (to have a tooth out). I had attended rural school with perhaps 1 0 or 12 pupils. But this first day in September, 1923 1 walked alone from Milltown to Calais. Here I stood in line with 200 or 300 pupils. All at once Nellie Perkins (later called Jackie Jordan) appeared at my side, "Evelyn what are you doing here?" She had lived in Alexander and said she had seen me at the Alexander Grange Hall at a Fourth of July celebration, but I didn't know her. Nevertheless from then on we were friends.
We had much fun during those four years. I visited her home many times, and she spent evenings with me. I remember one night when I was at McGarrigies' and we tried practicing the "Jitterbug" in front of a mirror. We saw Uncle Gorham coming up the street, as when he was in Calais he would call on me. We locked the door, so he wouldn't know I was there. Afterwards, I felt so bad as I loved my Uncle Gorham - he was a very kind dear person to me. In a few days he came again to bring a lovely red scarf that he had for me and joked about my locking the door. Oh well, he use to play jokes on me, too.
Jackie and I were always together at the socials. When we graduated, she wanted to go to Machias Normal Summer School, same as I did.
All my high school days are very memorable. I worked my board at Rose Wasson's my second year. I had to stay out every other week. I feel I did much work for my board. Sometimes I ironed until 1:OOA.M. as she had a three year old daughter who wore starched dresses, also a son. Her husband was a Sea Captain and she was lonesome and went out a lot evenings. Then, I had never had to split kindling before, but a furnace fire had to be started many times.
My last two years I stayed at Phil McGarrigles. I worked part of my board. They were so good to me. They would go to early mass on Sundays, so I could attend Sunday School and Church. So, every other Sunday when I stayed out, I attended Church, Young People's group, etc. in three different churches with different friends, but I liked the Baptist Church best. My last year of High School I house cleaned for Mrs. McGarrigle, as she wasn't well that year. They were very dear to me.
I finished High School in June and went to Summer School at Machias to get my diploma to teach. I had accepted a teaching position at Charlotte. Bert took Nola Frye, Benjamin Perkins and me to Bar Harbor to visit Uncle Gorham for the Fourth of July (1 927) and I got Tonsillitis. I missed ten days of Summer School at MNS out of the six weeks. I was sure nervous that I wouldn't get my diploma to teach, but I passed with flying colors.
I began teaching at Charlotte in September 1927, and stayed with sister Leta. I had a boy fourteen years old and I was eighteen. I enjoyed my year there, but wanted to stay with my parents. It surprises me today, when I see children who can't wait until they are out on their own. Anyway, in February 1929, there was an opening in North Union Cooper School. I accepted that position so I could stay home. I taught there until June 1931, when I had to quit to stay home with Mother and Dad as he was having strokes and Mother was afraid to stay alone.
ROMANCE AND WEDDING BELLS
I use to go to the dances every weekend, sometimes at Charlotte or Pembroke with a different boyfriend, or my brother Bert. It was at Charlotte I met Harold. He had another girl there, but he danced the last dance with me and she got jealous. He used to like to take me to dances where his other girlfriends were. I think to make them jealous. He'd come up on Sundays, RM., as he had to tend the weir during the daytime.
The next January (1930) Harold cut wood for my father, and as I had no school in January and February, I happened to be down to Cora's to take care of her when Eleanor was born. Harold thought the world of my parents, also the family. In the spring and summer he fished the weir. I remember he wanted me to come down to see them take out fish. They put me in the dinghy and put the fish in on top of my feet. I almost jumped out of the boat. Did the men get a laugh! They sure knew I was a green horn at that! In August Harold asked me to marry him. I said "No, because a girl couldn't teach at that time if she were married." He said, "Well, I'll have to go to Hartford this winter to find work."
Geneva and Bill, who had married in April, came home for the summer. They too, tried to influence me to get married.
About August, Mother said I would have to give up teaching if I were going to take care of Dad and her for the home place, as she couldn't stay alone with Dad. I knew if I were not teaching, I'd miss Harold more than ever. I had taught school for four years. I loved it, but I loved my parents too, very dearly I often wonder today, how did I plan to take care of them and not work? I'm sure it couldn't be done today. Of course, Dad had the animals and the blueberrying business which Raymond took care of for him. Then, he hired wood cut to be hauled to Woodland mill as he had a truck.
If the Doctor had given Dad medicine for his high blood pressure, I'm sure he wouldn't have had so many strokes. We couldn't keep him from working so, then, he'd have another stroke. Dad was a kind loving father as my mother was. They wanted the best for us all. In those days one's family was one's fortune.
It was late summer before I decided to get married, and I've never been sorry for my decisions. Harold and I were married Thanksgiving Day, 1931. Dad passed away in December 1931. I couldn't have had a better husband. We had much happiness together. We were both willing to do much for our parents. Mother said to me once, "I couldn't have a son any better than Harold." Harold was also so very good to all my family, too. I think he felt they were a part of him, as I felt very close to his family, too.
THE LATER YEARS
Harold never complained those four years. I was tied down, as I never left the house except once for two or three days. Geneva and Bill came home, they made me go to Fredericton, N.B. for a weekend with Harold and the Stackhouses from Eastport (Harold hauled bricks for them). It was sure a relaxing time for me. We took in a movie and for once I didn't have to cook.
Every summer Geneva and Bill came home during that time - she tried to relieve me of some of my cares. It was a great help - - even their company was refreshing.
I was up and down every night, so you might say 24-hour duty. Harold got very nervous over it when I had a nervous upset. Well, I had two children, and expecting another, so he sure had a reason to be. I don't regret I did it; if I had my life to live over again I'd do the same. My parents had to care for me more than four years. The Lord was good to give me health, not only for that but to raise my children, too. I don't think anyone has had any better parents than I had. They were wonderful, and the best. Our home was open to all, both young and old. We always had plenty to eat, clean clothes and a clean, comfortable home. I'm sorry I didn't give them more praise when they were alive.
As I sit here alone this cold, February day and reminisce over my happy childhood, I can't help but feel sorry for some of the children with broken homes. Even though many of them have a great many more material things than I did, they don't have the love and security I had or felt.
The real reason my thoughts are on my parents today, Mother would have been 115 years old (born 1866) and Dad 120 (born 1860). They worked hard for us children, and they seemed to love every bit of it. I never heard them complain, nor fight. In fact, they didn't allow us to, either.
Mother passed away on Mother's Day, May 1950 (when she started choking). They had eleven children, eight girls and three boys. Grace died when she was six months old. Ethel, my twin, died at six weeks old with Typhoid Fever.
When Grace called me in 1953 to see if we could take care of Harold's father, all I could say, "I'll talk it over with Harold." Harold was so good to my parents - - I would do anything for him. We had cows, hens, etc., but we came in July. I gave up my school. Grandpa and I got along fine. I think he felt very close to me. The 27th of August we moved cows, horse, hens and things down, as we knew we'd be here awhile and Clifton and Merrill had to go to school. I use to get very lonesome at times, so I'd go out to Cora's. Harold missed my family too, when we moved to Perry. Grandpa would read a lot, and then, he'd tell me the whole story. Once when I took some molasses cookies in to him (in bed) to snack on, he started to tell me the story he was reading. I didn't want to interrupt him, so my cookies in the oven burned black.
I went along with him the way he wanted things done. It was his home. Why shouldn't it be as he wanted it? Once, when I was putting the beans in to bake, I got the pork from the cellar (salted). He saw me washing it off. He said, "No, no Evelyn! You should scrape it." So I did as he said. After that, I think he watched me. He would do anything for me. Once he was looking at a Sears catalogue. He asked me if I'd like a freezer. I said, "Yes, I think I might get one some day." Before canning time came, he ordered me a freezer. When I found he was going to get it, I tried to discourage him, but he said nothing and ordered it. I was more than grateful for it, and I told him so. Then, he kept telling me he was going to put this place in our name. I said, "No, Grandpa, we have a home. We don't need it, but we'll take care of you as we did my mother." He said, "You have boys and you are taking care of me." Several times he said the same thing and I gave him the same answer. I think it worried him. So, one morning he rang his bell about 5:00 A.M. Harold went downstairs, and he said, "I want a lawyer." He wanted Ralph Pottle, and Jesse, too. So, he did what he said he was going to do. I think I did all I could for him in those two years. I tried to make him happy, and we had a good kind of understanding together.
In 1954, the barn caught fire, by faulty wiring. We lost 100 pullets, three cows, three calves and two horses. Harold got penned in by one of the horses, and got out just as the barn fell. He was never well afterwards. As time went on his breathing got worse, but he would always make the effort to go to the weir, no matter how hard it was for him. It was so hard to see him in that condition, and there was nothing I could do. He never complained but was always thinking of others. He loved his family and enjoyed them all coming to see him, even when he couldn't get his breath to talk much.
I remember he wanted to go to Michigan. He wasn't too well. It was before they gave him oxygen. He had a hard time to get his breath, but we took a ride with Shirley and Don to see where Shirley worked and to see the Space Exhibit. He got worse while we were there, so he wanted to come home. I tried to get him to go to the Doctor, but he said, "After I get home." I drove home - he was so bad. I couldn't find a place to stay until we got to Schnectady, N.Y. I didn't sleep much as I wondered if he would make it through the night. The next day we got to Clifton's and stayed overnight, and home the next day.
In 1974, 1 was teaching in Calais. I'd have Harold's lunch ready before I left. I'd come home and find he hadn't eaten it. So, I said Harold I am retiring if you aren't going to eat your lunch. I retired in June 1974 and I am glad I did. I owed him all the love and happiness I could give him. It seemed our life together was so short, as we were always helping take care of our families. I've always been sorry I couldn't have done more for Harold's mother. She was such a dear, but I was always so busy. I didn't get down very often. Harold brought her up many times when he was hauling wood. She and Mother had many happy hours together. I just wished I'd been able to have more time with her, but then, how much time did I have with Harold? We were always working until he got real sick. Then, he had too hard a time to get his breath for us to communicate. Even though I've tried to make the best of things, part of me went too, when he passed away on September 11, 1977.
I have taught over 38 1/2years in the towns of Charlotte, Cooper, Alexander, Robbinston, Perry and my last 12 years, the 6th grade in Calais. I have also substituted in Waite, Pembroke and Robbinston. I have taught rural schools with all grades, even one year I gave ninth grade subjects to my niece, Thursa, who could not go to High School that year. Some of those 38 years I did not teach the whole year, but I substituted when my children were small, and when I took care of Mother and Harold's Father. I loved teaching, and it will always be a part of happy memories.
I wouldn't want to be teaching today. When they took Bible reading and the Lord's Prayer out of the school, it has changed the school entirely. I was teaching in Calais when it became a law. One of my girls used to bring her Bible to school and keep it on her desk. They won't allow that now. I never went to school without asking God to be with me through the day. Sometimes, it was at the kitchen sink, as I did the morning dishes. It sure gave me strength for the day.
I have so much to be thankful for in life, even though there has been many sad times. Besides having been blessed with the best of parents, a devoted, loving husband, my very dear brothers and sisters, also nieces and nephews which I have mentioned in my story, I am also blessed and very thankful for my three devoted sons.
When Clifton was born September 3, 1939 it was quite an exciting time for the families on both sides. We had been married almost eight years, so, (as everyone said, "One twin can't have children" they thought I was that one). I don't know who was the happiest, but I do know Harold was so excited, we had a hard time deciding on a name. Harold's father and mother came up early the next morning, as they, too, were thrilled. She was pleased we called him Clifton, as she had lost a son by that name, which we had forgotten about. Clifton grew up fast, as his cousins, Maxine, Hilda, and Betty, also Aunt Etta and family gave him a lot of attention.
He loved the outdoors, playing in the snow on the coldest of days. He loved to go on the truck with his Dad, helped around the farm, and when he was only nine he yarded out wood with "Bell" the horse. He learned to drive the car, so when he was only eleven, he asked me if he could use it to get the cukes. Instead of making one trip he made three.
He seemed to be interested in wheels and tires on trucks. He seemed to be able to tell whose car had been in our yard. Once when he came Home from school he declared Russell had been here. Sure enough he had been, Bill Dwelley said once, "That boy is going to be a detective." I kept still about that remark because I was afraid he might want to be one.
Clifton was in the 4-H, and won many prizes on gardening. After we moved to Perry, he got a 4-H started and was Vice Chairman of the group. He went to the Charlotte Baptist Youth camp two or three summers.
We moved to Perry the year he went to High School. No matter what was going on, he'd want me to go. He always seemed older than he was. Even from a child he was either helping his father or me. I never had to ask him he seemed to think it was his duty. He got good grades in school, but he was more interested in working, earning his own money. In fact, he had his first truck the year after he graduated.
After he moved to Hermon, he just went into more and more trucks. Basil and Merrill worked for him for awhile, too. As Merrill was President of the Maine J.C's. he was able to get Rights for hauling into all 48 states. His business got so big, that he just couldn't stand the pressure, so he sold his son Barry. Clifton has a beautiful home in DeBary, Florida.
Merrill was born June 5,1943. From a child he liked books, poetry and singing. He was only four when Leta had asked him to sing, "Jolly Old Saint Nick" at Charlotte. When he came home, he said, "Mama, I spoke "Jolly Old Saint Nick" I was afraid if I sang, I might cry. When he was five, he and Clifton sang, "I'm My Own Grandpa" and "She'll Be Coming Around The Mountain" at a school entertainment. They sang hymns, too, many times.
When Merrill was six he started school in the Sub-Primary for a half day, then, it wasn't long before he was put into First Grade and going into Second Grade the next year. At first I was against it, but then, I realized I had been having school with him previously, all day as he had no one to play with. He liked to draw pictures, and made me beautiful ones at school. He belonged to the 4 H, but he made wooden things. He also joined the Perry Grange and was Lecturer. He went to Grange Camp one summer, also two or three summers to Charlotte Baptist Youth camp. He did excellent in School, graduating from the U. of M. at Orono in Civil Engineering. He worked for the State Highway, Stone and Webster in Florida, Atlantic Builders and is back with the State again.
Basil was born January 3, 1949, the year before Mother passed away. He was a very good baby, requiring very little attention, and it was a good thing, as I wasn't very well, and with a sick mother things were very difficult. I went back to teaching after Mother passed away in May 1950 because the Doctor thought it would be better for my nerves. Basil stayed with his Aunt Doris during the days, and she always remarked how good he was. The Varnum girl had given him a dog, "Spot". He loved that dog, but I guess he was chasing deer, anyway, someone shot him.
He was only four when we came to Perry. He and Gloria use to play together. When she went to school, he wanted to go too, so I use to play school with him as much as I had time for, as Grandpa was sick in bed. When Gloria was home, he'd go over, and if she had shorts on, he'd come home put shorts on. If Gloria had pants on he'd do the same, but he would always fold his clothes and put them in his drawer. Once, he and Gloria were chasing a skunk under the barn and Basil got saturated. What a smell! I had to soak his clothes in tomato juice. When, I went back to teaching after Grandpa died, I had him in my class, even though I told the Superintendent, I'd rather not.
Once, when my nephews and nieces mentioned they had me in school, he remarked, "I did, too, and she was the only one I learned anything from." Suppose it was because he knew he had to learn it?
It always seemed the house was full of girls on Saturday. I guess it was because he was always full of fun, and he use to take them riding on his motorbike. but also, many women and even one of his teachers, use to say to me, "I just love that Basil." Basil was a great achiever, winning honors in Scholarship, Industrial Arts, also the Band (Drum).
After he and Mary were married he attended the Presque Isle Vocational School for a year. Then, they lived in Hermon where Basil drove trucks, etc. Then, they moved back to Perry where he is in trucking, foundation work, roadwork and also, he and Mary own the Seaview Camping area at Eastport.
I am very thankful for my sons' wives, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren who are very precious to me.
My sons and their wives, the grandchildren and great-grand children have all helped in making my life richer and fuller. May God bless them all as he has me.