Sunday, April 19, 2015

40 Years

Where were you 40 years ago tonight April 19, 1975? Can't remember?
I sure do.
I was at the Portland Club with Elenka and our families. Now, I know where Judith, Anthony, Marchin, Joanne, Connie, Irv, Joe, Candy, Vera, Lisa, Anna Marie, Patty, Peter, Tom, Charlie, Judy, John, Irene, David, Jennifer, Susan, Lisa, Ron, Joy, Peter, Gina, Steve, our parents, grandparents and many, many other friends and family were. It was a long-awaited, memorable evening. The next morning we were off to Bermuda and the rest of our life together.
But where were you?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Beyond Glass

That round darkened spot might be me. I'm shooting through some glass 'darkly' at a closed bookstore here. If I'm near a bookstore I have to venture in. Not always to buy, but I'm a pretty 'good looker'.  Elenka just rolls her eyes; I'm sure. She's already told me I have to start clearing books out of our den. If I lived alone, I'd probably be a hoarder. Sometimes I can't stop. Good thing I married. The den is the next room we'll tackle; she claims. Of course she's been saying this about the den for about 5 years now. I know why. It's a daunting task with all the books and all. The rug has got to go and the walls need some paint. It'll happen in the upcoming future. We've just completed rearranging and painting our upstairs' rooms, and in the process throwing out junk. 
Funny thing about junk.
At one time, junk seemed so valuable.
Time tends to alter, at one time, invaluable sentimental items.
How does sentimental become garage sale fodder so fast?
Time just ain't hours, minutes and days.
There's something else at play here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Trellis

Well, I see spring is on the way. There's a bit of green poking through even up here in the Northeast. I guess our long, frigid nightmare is over. Of course, around here the disappearing  snow always reveals lots of jobs to do. Spring can be a big guilt trip for me. Lack of snow can leave an ugly world for a week or so. As Kramer said to Jerry after Cosmo had been smoking a pipe for a week straight and his teeth turned brown and his skin wrinkly, "Look away, I'm hidieos."
The snow is off the deck.
The grill is near firing up.
However, a blanket of white still covers the garden.
But...
Birdhouses are being hung.
Fertilizer being spread.
The lawn tractor is getting a tune-up.
Things are looking up.
Finally.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Speed Limit

Well, we all have our limits.
There was a time when I felt I had no limits, but Mom and Dad reined me in. The 'outer' limits probably wouldn't have been my best choice anyway. I remember when I was about 14, Mom asked what my future plans were going to be. I looked at her right in the face and and said, "Make me a bologna sandwich and watch The Price Is Right'. I was pretty naive back then. I guess we all were. Luckily I had a plan and got my act together. Now, I'm sitting back and wondering where does time go. How did I get here so fast. The other day, Elenka asked me to check the expiration date on a bottle of soy sauce in the fridge: 'Best used by March 2016' it read. I just hope my 'date' is quite a few years beyond that. I feel pretty good, but in this world we all know our 'conclusion' could meet up with us at any time.
'Watch those speed limits' I guess is a good mantra to follow. The last time I got a ticket for exceeding the limit was about ten years ago.
Sunday morning 6 AM.
On my way to get the paper and a coffee.
Driving Elenka's Maxima.
65 in a 50.
I blamed it on her.
"Your car is just too darn fast."
Got no sympathy.
I paid the fine.
Mind your limits.
Live.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Muddy Sticks

We came across this scene a weekend ago coming back from our 'adventure' out to Owl's Head. Just a couple of acres of rotting trees in water. It probably once was good tree growth and then man rerouted some water flow and bye bye trees. Well, that's my 'I have no idea what I'm talking about but it sounds pretty good to me' take on what I'm photographing here. I think we've all seen man intervening in nature before not bringing good results. I must say it would be a good place for owls though. I've always been fascinated with them, and this late winter Elenka got me checking out the owl cam at Skidaway Island, Georgia. I wouldn't mess with owls. The owlets look cuddly sitting there in the nest, but they age into nasty birds. I've learned quite a bit of the natural history of the bird recently from Elenka and various avian research sites.
Did you know that owls don't build nests?
Most often, they take over (steal) nests that other birds have built.
Not very nice.
But I'm not going to debate that fact, if I ever come across one face to face.
They will attack!
"Nice nest you've got there."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shell Game

I love seafood.
There, I've said it.
Believe it or not, my love affair with seafood began with those nasty, frozen fish sticks on Friday nights on Stevens Avenue. Growing up, at our once a month night out at the The Village Cafe or the Sportsman's Grill (long gone), I always seemed to gravitate towards their fried clams. Let me be brutally honest here. Before The Village closed a few years back, I probably sampled their cuisine hundreds of times, and I can truly say that
their renowned fried clams in batter was the ONLY thing I ever ordered. Kinda sad too, because I heard that their Italian entrees were scrumptious. Friday's menu, in the dorm at college, always featured fish in multiple displays. I loved it. I sampled everything. These days clams, mussels, crabs, lobstah, scallops, shrimp, tuna haddock, salmon and I could go on and on are all welcomed on my plate. And I'm not partial to Fridays anymore. I'll dine on seafood 8 days a week. This boy is not proud. However I do, it's sad to say, monitor my 'fried' intake. I could do better... I'm trying.
Our 'go to take out' used to be the Clam Bake on Pine Point Road.
However, these days Ken's Place, just down the road aways, is where you'll find us.
We always 'hit' it in early May before the influx.
It's tradition!
"Make mine fried clams in batter, please"
I LOVE seafood.
Did I tell you that?

Footnote to life: Where did Elenka and I go on our first date?
If you said The Village, take a bow.
What did I have?
If you said fried clams in batter, take another.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ice Receding

I've always been intrigued by the names of places as I travel. Heading DownEast last weekend, we crossed these names: Sheepscot, Madomak, Wiscasset, Newcastle, Edgecomb, Damariscotta, Alna, Bristol, Nobleboro, Bremen, Woolwich, Round Pond, Friendship, Cushing, St. George, Martinsville, Port Clyde, Sprucehead, Owl's Head, Rockville, Glen Cove, Rockport, South Hope, Hope, Winslows Mills, Thomaston, North Waldoboro,  Waldo, Lincolnville, Union, Stickney Corner, Knox, Megunticook Lake. A trip down Route 1 (DownEast that is) will get you these and many many more.
It was a great time.
Traveling along the 'blue highways'.
The names were wonderful too.
Woolwich.
Names like this never get old.
Just say it.
Woolwich.
*don't pronounce the 'L" though.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cemetery Fence

I like cemeteries.
I'm drawn to them.
Be it one of the largest sprawling sites in New England or a small one lost on a country road hemmed in with a white picket fence. As you can see by this image, there's still a lot of brown around, but white is fading away. We might get a spring yet. Here's hoping.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Weathered Buildings

When we moved into this place in 1977, it had a chicken coop at the top of the rise out back. It was small about the size of this building on the left. We never had any rooster cock-a-doddle-doing or chickens passing on eggs for that matter. Until the roof caved in, I used it to store my wheelbarrow and garden equipment. It also served a useful purpose as a backdrop for some family portraits, but that's about it. I knocked it down a few years later to expand our small garden, and to this day this section remains the most fertile area around. Yes, I've got our garden on my mind these days, even as I wait for all the snow to vanish. Took a walk up back to check on out outbuilding the other afternoon. Both have survived another winter well.
Getting a bit anxious to turn some soil.
And that no chicken sh%t.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Puzzling Look

Your choices are endless!
It's just like being in a penny candy shop. Where do I start?
From New England covered bridges in autumn, large sailing vessels tossed upon seas, celebrity faces, interstellar images, iconic sports photos, classic album covers like the Beatles and Pink Floyd, famous art reproductions, pictures of old TV shows, animals domestic and exotic, fancy race cars to candy wrappers and on and on and on. Name the subject and you can find jigsaw puzzles on the topic. I guess they are still pretty big today. Back a ways, Mom always had one set up in the den that she worked on, and on school snow days, she always seemed to want to get one up and running. She and her friends would pass them around. I never saw the draw the way she did. Her cousin Beverly, in Florida, did them constantly and would have them laminated and hung throughout her house. I thought that rather strange. 
Puzzling to say the least.
"Get the edges done first", Mom would say.
To me, they always seemed a bit overwhelming.
1,000 Pieces!
The cover screamed at me.
However, I was always good getting those last ten pieces in their places.
Now, that was fun.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

April's Deck

What time is the bar-b-que?
Someone chuckled last week when I mentioned that in Maine April is a winter month. Well, all I can say is what do you call it when on April 9 you wake to 3 inches of wet, disgusting snow?
I say, "C'mon, Man!"
It's April!
Want to understand why they call it the cruelest month of the twelve? Take a long look at what I'm dealing with this morning. I know what did it. Yesterday, with plenty of brown grass peeking stems for me to see, I went out and foolishly bought two bags of fertilizer for the lawn.
There! I cursed myself. That'll teach me not to be too over-confident.
Maybe is was that 'snowy' owl's fault. Can I lay some blame there?
Light drizzle is falling now.
Today's 'deposit' won't last too long.
Off in the distance, I hear Elvis.
"Don't Be Cruel".
Just a couple of questions left then.
Do you want cheese on your burger?
Relish?
How many hotdogs?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Snowy Owl

"It's a bird. 
It's a plane.
It's ..."
No, it's a bird. 
Of course, it's a snowy owl! Now because millions who read this blog wanted to see it. Ta Da! After all the winter weather this year did you think we might be trying to track down a summer owl of sorts? As related yesterday, we had just about given up our quest for a sighting at Biddeford Pool, when heading out along a road traversing the marsh with a few summer beach houses, we spotted it atop a house. Pretty cool. We had it all to ourselves for about 10 minutes. Over the last 4-5 years, there's been a bit of invasion of these birds in Maine. Increasing populations and a lack of food has driven them south in the winter. I read recently that they have even been spotted as far south as Georgia and Florida in recent years. This one was probably searching the nearby marsh area for rodents, small mammals or sea birds.
There.
My work is done here.
Owl fever.
Catch it!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Room 2

This past weekend we spent in Rockland at The Berry Manor Inn Bed and Breakfast. We left Portland about 10AM Friday searching for that snowy owl in Biddeford Pool south of the city. There was a bus load of kids and honest to goodness real birdwatchers with big telescopes near where the bird had been hanging out. No luck there. We had decided to head back to the Jetport to look for the other one, when driving  across an open stretch with a few beach houses we spied something on a roof. At first I thought it was a small white chimney, but on closer examination we realized that it was indeed The Bird, just sitting there twirling its head for us. Eureka! Pretty darn cool, even for this guy. We were lucky. The bird all to ourselves. We sat and watched for about 10 minutes and then moved on. Pretty proud of our 'conquest'. Now, it's just under two hours to get to Rockland, so we had about an hour to kill before check-in. We parked on Main Street (doesn't every town or city have one?) and took a casual stroll. Soon though, we were settled into our favorite room and broke out some cheese, crackers, dip, grapes and of course a bottle of Asti on ice.
Our breakfasts, each morning, were wonderful and set us up for our days.
Want some relaxed luxury in DownEast Maine?
May I recommend the Berry Manor Inn and its 'elegance and grandeur of the Victorian era'. 
Innkeepers Cheryl and Mike and Room 2 will treat you right!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Play Ball

Play Ball!
I had a couple of gloves growing up. This was one of them, an early version, a Wilson Al Kaline autographed infielder's mit. Later, somewhere in Little League I got another. It was much more yellow in color, and I think it was a Jimmy Piersall (still holds a Sox record for 6 hits in a 9 inning game) outfield model. He played centerfield for the Red Sox back in the 50's with Williams and Jackie Jensen on either side and was a certifiable nut case. Whoooops. I shouldn't use that term these days, but if you've ever seen his life story "Fear Strikes Out" starring Anthony Perkins you'd know what I was talking about. Side note here: Marchin and I got his autograph for real at our local A&P grocery store one afternoon. He was  a spokesperson for Cain's Mayonnaise, if you can believe it. He was sort of a baseball folk hero of mine. I loved how he displayed reckless abandon while patrolling center. He must have been good. He achieved two Gold Glove Awards. If you know anything about baseball and the Sox, right about now you're probably saying something along the lines of Piersall? Is he crazy? Birdman, not Piersall, that is. Growing up, I had my favorites who I followed. And for the most part they were of the eclectic and obscure sort.
Don't get me going on Dalton Jones.
Sox open today against the Phillies.
Let's hope they are straightened out and ready to play.
2012 Last Place... long summer.
2013 World Series Champs!
2014 Last Place... long summer.
Get the picture?
In his autobiography, Piersall commented, "Probably the best thing that ever happened to me was going nuts. Who ever heard of Jimmy Piersall, until that happened?"

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Armed Entrance

Let's get something straight right off the bat.
Most of my images are taken with a Nikon camera not a cell. But I have weaknesses too. Last evening we had dinner at In Good Company on the road. Most days and nights when I'm out on the town, I'm not luggin' the big camera. I'm not one who likes to photograph my food either. I picture my friends and guests and pieces of the interesting eating environment. Last evening Elenka dined on some kind of green salad, raisins, warm blue cheese, and crostini. She also had a side of deviled eggs. The entree was delicious, but what caught my eye was what was in my line of sight over her shoulder in the doorway. That's it. That's all. Well, the arm, the plant, the lights, the handle the entrance, the yellow. Oh yes, and all the murmuring of conversations about the room. Delightful. Me? Sure. I had some sort of scallops on a plate of stringed squash and a sprinkling of green beans. Delicious also.

Happy Easter to all!
Hope to bite off the 'head of a chocolate bunny' soon!
Keep all jelly beans away from me too!
Especially the black ones.
Later, 'annie's mom' is doing the Easter ham.
mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Later still, I will be settling in to view episode one of the FINAL season of MadMen.
Now, that'll be a day.
I'll be beat.
Bed.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lost Shoes

Lost?
Found.
Hey, it was a long winter around here. Things disappear. Others appear after the snow lifts. I came across these down on Commercial Street. All I can say is it must have been a 'hard night's night'. Spring is a time for new beginnings. New starts. Lose weight. New relationships. Start running. Take classes. Join a gym. New car. Go on a cruise. Buy a house. Often, what we come across on a whim can change our lives forever... or at least head us in a new direction that bodes well for one down the road. 
So Cinderella, get yourself a whole new you!
I'd start with a new pair of shoes, Cindy.
"I can call you Cindy, right?"

Friday, April 3, 2015

Yellow Tables

All points bulletin-
Searching for customers...
These retro-looking metal kitchen tables seem cast right out of the 50's and look at home amid the wifi and cell technology of today. A perfect blend? Not so fast. That might be part of this place's downfall. The Merry Table Creperie, a small bistro, on Wharf Street was a lonely place when we visited on a cool fall afternoon. This gent was the sole inhabitant of the restaurant besides us, and he was in no real hurry to order any food. Lost in a texting frenzy. Later, a couple of gentlemen cozied up to the bar and ordered martinis, but that was about it. I do believe the establishment has closed over the killer winter and based on our experience, I'm not surprised. Opening restaurants is a tough business. You've got to put fannies at these tables. I checked it out online. Each of these vintage-like tables go for about $400. There were about 15 scattered about. The chairs cost about $250 per. At 3-4 per table that adds up.
In my retirement, I don't plan to open a little, cute 'hole-in-the-wall diner near the water.
Making it in the food service world is pretty competitive and cut-throat.
I'll leave that aggravation to someone else.
I'll visit, but not attempt to run. 
Nice walls though.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Jetport Traffic

On the hunt...
For the last couple of years, Elenka has made her late winter calendar move a bit quicker by occupying herself with 'bird watching' in Iowa. No, you don't have to go back and read that last sentence over. You heard me right. Bird watching. Iowa. Eagle nest viewing to be more specific. The Decorah Eagles webcam. Have you heard of it? I must admit. It is quite mesmerizing to watch. As of this morning there are two baby eaglets born last week wiggling around in the nest and one last egg awaiting a 'piping'. So why are we looking at a photo of the Portland International Jetport this  morning? Well, you see she's had so much fun tracking the eagles over the last few years that this winter she added a Great Horned Owl cam on Skidaway Island, Georgia to her rapt viewing repertoire. I must admit she got me hooked on that owl cam thing. The two baby owlets were a riot goofing around, flapping their wings and 'branching out'. But why the Jetport? Well, there have been snowy owl sighting there and in an area near Biddeford Pool to the south. 
So tomorrow morning we are heading off on a snowy owl hunt. I'll be chauffeuring, and she'll be manning the binoculars.
Ha! While the rest of her family is enjoying an Easter in sunny, hot Florida (86 today), we'll be out chasing snowy owls in 40 degree weather and the chance of rain.
What's wrong with this picture?
A hunting we will go...
The things I do.

http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles


http://hdontap.com/index.php/video/stream/great-horned-owl-cam

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Theme Day- My Camera: Shy Self-Portrait

Today, April 1, 2015, is Theme Day across the world-wide CDP blog community (citydailyphoto). The theme this month is "My Camera: Shy Self-Portrait". This was an easy one for me. You know I love to play hide-n- seek. Now you see me; now you don't. I also enjoy having my picture taken too. They don't always make it for all to view in the 'real world', but that's another issue altogether. This photograph was taken last Saturday morning. Note snow on hat. No accumulation, but yes it came down intermittently all morning. Heck, April can be a winter month too in Maine, and that's no April Fool's joke either. Cruel, but no joke. We'll see.
And now a bit of music to go with the hat:
Check out Lucinda Williams new CD,"Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone".
This gal can write! 
Also: my buddy Dwight Yoakam's new one hits stores April 15th, "Second-Hand Heart".
They'll both be playing in my truck soon.
My domain.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sebago Shacks

Last week, when I posted the retrospective on all the houses I inhabited while growing up, more than one person commented on the seemingly remarkable fact that I had lived in Portland in all those houses. I never really thought about that. I guess we did move around a bit. And now I live in a house of my own that we've been in it 38 years and counting. What's that all about? Did I learn a lesson moving around into all those homes? I did mention that change is not easy for me to 'conquer'. Then or now, still. In all those years in all those houses though, I have never kept an ice shack on or near Sebago Lake, as seen here. Grew up a city boy. Now that city guy is all about country, but you won't find me ever huddled in one of these shack in January with temperatures huddling in the teens. No siree, Bub!
btw: Your shack ends up in the drink in spring?
You haul it out; you pay the fine.
That would not be good for my wallet, or my self-esteem for that matter.
Not a big fishing fan.
Don't embrace the cold either. 
Lethal combination... for me.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Our Brackets

*At the risk of boring most of my readers, today's blog will be about my NCAA basketball brackets.

How are YOUR Brackets doing?
Mine? Thanks for asking. After 60 games, I've had 37 winners and 23 losers. Luckily again this year, I'm doing it just for fun. No $$$$$ involved. Now in the past at work, UNLV('90), University of Arkansas ('94) and Kansas University ('08) have sent me home with over $120 in my pocket. I always pick my spots. I'm not a basketball fanatic. I follow NCAA basketball through the winter on the peripheral only. My favorite conference is the BIG10. There are 4 teams left Wisconsin, Kentucky, Michigan State and Duke. Two BIG10 teams are left Wisconsin and Michigan State. The University of Kentucky is 38-0 and the odds on favorite to take it all Monday April 6 in the National Championship Game in Indianapolis.
Like I say, I play it for fun (37-23).
Elenka played again this year too (28-32).
No idea what she played it for.
My selections were based on records, logical guesses and a few long shots.
Before she made her choices, I offered some suggestions.
She wanted NO part of my help.
Elenka's choices were made based on states she's visited or would like to visit.
She STILL ended up with 28 winners so far.
Yikes!
So much for the odds.
I'm shaking my head now.
How does she do it?
*btw Yes, I've got UK in that last game.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dog Park

The city has a couple dog parks. This one is on Valley Street, just below the West End. I took this early morning shot in late January. Don't panic. Even around here, the snow is saying bye-bye. I think most people love animals, to some degree. Marchin, as I remember, was never a real animal lover growing up, but Annie has won his heart... sort of. Bow Wow! I was listening to a radio station out of Boston the other day, and one of the guys went off on dog owners who have shirked their responsibility. Well, particularly owners who have neglected their 'duty' during the winter months. Now, even here in the Northeast part of the country, the snow is disappearing. However, the lack of snow is revealing a pretty messy and smelly scene. Seems that many dog owners, who diligently parade behind their pooch is the warm summer months with a scoop or a plastic bag over their hand, somehow think that if doggie takes a crap in the park or just off the sidewalk in winter's whiteness no 'pickup' is necessary. Apparently, they think the mess miraculously disappears before spring. 
Someone needs to give them a remedial course in pooch liability.
Winter Dog Care 101.
Just a simple reminder, that's all.
Big dog, big crap.
Little dog little crap.
It's all revulsion-filled.
Going for a walk with the cute puppy in winter?
Grab a plastic bag.
Hey, no matter if it smells or feels disgusting, gotta do it.
Like the pretty girl in high school.
Pick 'her' up! 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

5- Coyle Street

Why do we choose the roads we take?
Simple choices, can change our lives completely.
Case in point.
My parents purchased this home at 27 Coyle when we were still living on Stevens Avenue and rented it out for about 3 years to a family that Dad knew. My parents bought it for $13,000. That seemed a lot to me at the time. I struggled with the move away from Morrills Corner and many friends, but finally resigned myself that the move was inevitable. It happened. It was an ideal space for a family of six. We lived here through my memorable high school and college years. When we finally moved in, Mom let us select our own wallpaper. That was fun. My room was in the rear, second floor and I picked a treatment that featured Revolutionary War soldiers at attention. There were also cannons thrown in for good measure. When I headed off to college, my younger sister, Joanne, commandeered the room, and when I returned in the spring, I moved to the third floor. It was just me up there alone. I loved it. My room was in the middle of the side view on the third floor. I moved up a small TV, hotplate and some food. It even had a bathroom all to itself. It became my little world away from the craziness of the rest of the family. My oldest sister, Connie, called it 'the Monastery', and that was a perfect name. I'll end this with a funny story. When I graduated college with a BA in English, I needed to get my student teaching completed. I enrolled at USM and requested a  high school position, but all that was available was an 8 week internship at a middle school nearby. One afternoon I got a ride home with the first year art teacher. We were sitting on the front steps talking when Joanne came home. She rushed in the house searching for Mom. "Mom, Mom, do you see what's on the front steps... it's a girl... it's a blonde... with Mark. Mom, it's a girl!"
I don't make important decisions hastily.
And our lives take many twists and turns.
Mom and Joanne both got introduced that day.
Unbeknownst to them, they welcomed Elenka into our family that sunny April afternoon. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

4- Stevens Avenue

Life pushes always forward.
But if we might only linger...
I've been out of this house just about 48 years. That alone is an amazing fact of life. The summer before I entered the third grade we moved here to 820 Stevens Avenue. We lived here until I entered my sophomore year in high school. These were the days my friend. Yesterday's house was something, but if these walls could talk what fabulous stories they would tell. The baseball diamond in the backyard, endless bike rides, hanging on the Nelson's porch, working at Edna's,  sledding on ice well after 9PM, hockey games on the kitchen table, discovering the fair gender, kissing hide-and-go-seek, initiations into the Skeleton Club, late night 'runs' through the cemetery, the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, night basketball games in the driveway, playing army, tenting out mischief, riding out a hurricane in our tree fort and on and on and on... But the best part, the most important parts were the faces I saw most on a daily basis. Adventure, adventure, and more adventures off into the twilight. There was Teddy, Susan, Eddie, Leo, Kim, Jill, Lynn, Judd, Judy, Brenda, Billy, Linda, Marty, Connie, Joanne, Cheryl, Scotty, Alana, George, David, Paul, Bobby, Lois, Buddy, Skipper, another George, me, and I've probably forgotten a couple.
Some people, places and things we NEVER forget.
Mention one of the names and so many wonderful memories come to mind.
We were so lucky to have found each other.
What a life we had.
And the music, the soundtrack...
I wouldn't trade in that experience.
Those truly were the days...
*Look a basketball hoop is still up. Really, the only thing missing is the wonderful wrap-around front porch. It was a beauty. My bedroom, second floor on right. I had a great view of all happening at the Corner.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

3- Washington Avenue

If you...
-love watching turtles sun themselves
-starting kindergarten
-building forts out of pine
-having birthday parties in the barn
-walking to buy penny candy with Dad
-listening to a Teddy Bear's Picnic on the radio
-climbing and exploring Elephant Hill
-making igloos out of ice-packed snow
-getting side-swiped by a car
-exploring the new house being built next door
-dressing up in your cowboy costume, six guns and all
-shutting your finger in a car door
-having a bedroom all your own
-seeing Dad pull in the driveway in the mail truck
-riding a school bus and punching a bus ticket
-having friends over for the night
-drinking lemonade on the front porch
-welcoming a baby sister and brother
-watching crows fly in the barn windows
-rummaging through cardboard boxes for old WW2 Bill Maldin cartoons
-climbing trees all over
-learning to ride my two-wheel bike on Lawrence
-driving Tonka trucks in Scotty's sand
-planting potatoes with Dad
-viewing rats raiding Mom's birdfeeder
-reporting to Dad about the huge tree that fell in Hurricane Carol.
... you would have loved 1022 Washington Ave.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

2- Allen Avenue

Chapter 2
Here we are at 199 Allen Avenue. We lived on the second floor, just the three of us. My years as a toddler were contained here. I really started making deposits in the memory bank in this two-decker. Dad was a salesman for Fuller Brush, and Mom worked part time as a waitress at a couple of Congress Street restaurants. This put this young whipper-snapper in the able hands of my grandparents serving as babysitters. I can remember having lots of fun turning the furniture upside down and with the help of blankets making little hideouts. We also played 'dress-up', where Nana Josie would dress me up with all sorts of odd ball combinations of clothes and snap pictures. This is the apartment where the classic shot of me covered head to foot in Grampa's over-sized clothes was taken. She called me her little Yankee Traveler, as I was draggin' an old suitcase around the livingroom too. I made my first friend while living here. Next door lived Billy H. We spent countless hours playing together, especially taking turns in his red pedal car. How I loved that contraption! Now, Allen Avenue was a main drag even back then, so Mom took precautions. She put me in some sort of harness mechanism and tied my to a swing set pole. Somewhere there is an actual photo that proves that deal was done. I wouldn't get away from there. Peter, a year older, had free range of the yard. I was tied down to restrict my movement. Like I'd get into any mischief. Right? Two houses down lived Sharon, my first real babysitter. She was in high school, and I fell in love. My first girlfriend? 
Dad bought his first new car while we lived here.
At least that's what he told me.
A black (weren't they all black) Buick.
While in the driveway, I'd sit behind the wheel and pretend to drive all over.
He parked it in that barn at night.
I wanted to investigate that structure.
Never got the chance.
Well, I can't remember ever getting in anyway.
I think I might have remembered that occurrence.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

1- Devon Street

Got a good memory?
How far back can you go with it?
Do you remember your first dwelling?
I don't, and I have a pretty good memory. I've tried hard over the years to pull up something from this place: a room, an event, some colored wallpaper, friendly faces. But I've got nothing. I'm drawing blanks.
I entered the 'blue' at Mercy Hospital at 6:41 AM on a warm July morning. I've always been a morning person, and I blame it all on that early delivery. We lived in an apartment house on Devon Street in the area of Nasons Corner. My only real recollections of this place are contained in a 'baby book' my Mom kept, Baby Days. Some of my vital statistics were that I weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces, was 21 inches long and was delivered by Dr. Ham. I was christened at St. Joseph's Church on August 8 by Father Lappin, and there was a party in my honor at my grandparents' house in Westbrook. Later that month on the 22nd, I took a taxis ride to St. Joseph's Convent to be introduced to about a million nuns. My Dad's aunt was a nun, hence the connection. I could fill you in all kinds of other crap about my first year, but for now this will have to suffice.
Come along with me this week as I venture down memory lane and visit the houses of my youth.
Where all the 'trouble' began.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tapping Maples

Cold nights, warm days gets the job done!
Yesterday was Maine Maple Sunday. In years past, we've visited a few sugar shacks, but yesterday, although we thought about it, it was just too darn blustery and downright cold. I heard at one of the maple operations in the area that they use about 4 cord of wood to get their 'sweet sugar'. Can you just imagine how much maple syrup they bottle and sell? That's a lot of wood. My woodstove only gobbles about 2 1/2 cord all winter long. A little maple sugar trivia here. It takes 40 gallons of maple sap to get one gallon of pure maple syrup. If we had partook in the festivities yesterday, I probably wouldn't bought any syrup. What for, really. I'm not into pancakes. Once or twice a year, I'll get a bit frisky and want to make some blueberry pancakes, but that's about it. I can't remember the last time I ordered them at a restaurant. If I ever hit IHOP or Denny's for breakfast, it's usually for a big meal of eggs, homefries, wheat toast and some bacon or ham. 
As you can rightly see, I'm a sinner.
While those near me, from time to time, call into question my dietary habits, I think I'm pretty good.
Ya, I 'fall off the wagon' from time to time...
Pancaked!
Sweet.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bike Racked

Small country town livin'.
Gotta love it.
These island bikes apparently have been locked up for months at the ferry terminal. A couple more weeks of freedom (sort of), and if they are not removed by their owners, their locks will be cut. The bikes will be repaired, if necessary, and sold or given away by the city. Here are a few more pressing problems faced by small town police nearby.
1.) Suspicious person reported on Great Falls Road was the homeowner shoveling his driveway.
2.) Five domesticated ducks had been abandoned by tenent. Officer left some food. Will check back.
3.) Animal Control Officer checked on a bull. It had food, water, shelter and did not appear in distress.
4.) Caller expressed concern about horses left out in the snow on Dow Road. Officer found that the horses had food, shelter, blankets and water.
5.) New Portland Road caller said she might have lost 40 quarters but was not sure.
6.) Suspicious person on the bypass had pulled over,  because a friend was vomiting.
These were just a few of the recent calls recorded on a local Police Blotter.
Country towns around here get a lot of snow, but the days are broken up by some humor too.
Small town livin'.
Gotta love it.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring Stranded

Snow is melting in these parts, but looking day to day you'd be hard pressed to recognize it happening. This photograph was not pulled from my archives. It was taken yesterday, as spring broke. Like grass racing to be mowed in June, gaining those 8 pounds over the winter, or reaching another birthday, the refrain is usually the same. When did that happen? Heading into the city last night, Elenka and I both noticed that the snow cover is certainly, slowing receding. It's easy to see that the process though is lot slower on our front lawn and back yard then in other places along the way. Every year it's the same. No kidding. We must be in some snow belt region of town, because when we get hit, we get slammed. In mid-storm it's unrecognizable happening; however, during late March and early April when brown grass is rearing its ugly head on city lawns, we're usually still layered with melting snow.
Ah, but it's spring.
The daylight, still showing at 7 PM, tells me so.
A winter's grip...
This too shall pass.