I dedicate this website to the memory of my dear mother Doris Harmon, seen here in one of her high school pictures.  I expect to see her again.


To my sweet wife Gloria who is a great source of joy to me every day.


Chick's Lubec Days




Somewhere along the line, someone started calling him Chick -his real name was Charles. There were others in the town who had the same nickname for that name, so perhaps it was just a normal practice, anyway that’s all the name he knew except when his mother spoke to him. Chick started life in Lubec, Maine, but was soon whisked off to Bath where his earliest memories began. He lived on High Street in an apartment over a general store. No memories survive of a dad in the home. The refrigerator salesman had found another woman and Doris had become the victim of divorce being left with two small children and no means of income. The story of how she managed during those couple of years that they tried to survive in the city passed away when she did. Complicating the situation was the fact that Chick’s sister Mona had to have major surgery during infancy when her bowel telescoped. Dr. Winchenbaugh became almost a household word during those days and the trips to the hospital were many. For many years later Mona would often repeat the little saying, "‘til hurts, that’s what the boys say". Kay Brown was a friend to the family in those days and her son Gene was a playmate for Chick. Across the street was a nice lady named Jennie Melcher. He used to say, "Jennie melts your heart like butter". Up the street was a nice home that had a little goldfish pond in the yard and Chick liked to go there to see the fish. One of his special treats as he played on the large back deck was when his mother gave him his favorite cookies, Oreos. One day while playing on the high steps that led up to the deck, he fell over the side and landed softly in a dahlia bed. Another fall was not so fortunate when he fell with the handle of a toy hatchet in his mouth and it was pushed through the roof of his mouth. He remembers that Mona would often have a type of seizure which caused her eyes to roll back in her head. These events must have been difficult for a young mother with two children to care for. The time came for Chick to go to school which was a bit of a walk from where they lived, but somehow he found his way back home at recess. This pretty much told the story of how he felt about school most of the time.


Memories at Bath were very few for about the time he was ready to enter first grade, his mother decided to move back to Lubec where her parents lived. I guess that life for a single mom in the big city was just too hard. Kay Brown furnished the transportation as he remembers and it so happened that they moved in the middle of a late spring snowstorm. On the way in the blinding snow they got off the road and when they got out to check where they were, they found that they were about to plunge over the embankment of a gravel pit into which they had mistakenly driven. This was only one of the many times he remembers being providentially delivered from harm. Not much was remembered about the short period of living on the Ridge next to his grandparents home and by the time he was ready to go into the 2nd grade his mother had moved them into town, only about 3 miles further East. One of the things that he did remember was how he liked his teacher at the Ridge, Stella Burhoe. The brief time he had gone to school in Bath seemed to put him in advance of some in his class and he was asked to help in this one room school by working a bit with the slower students. That was something he liked and it was the one time in his life when he seemed to be ahead rather than behind the others. Speaking of Stella Burhoe, this would be a good place to tell about how she became somewhat of a heroine. There was a school picnic at Gardner’s Lake that year( 1936) and Chick was invited along with several members of the family. Calley London was showing the kids a good time by taking them for a ride in his outboard motorboat. About the third trip out something went wrong, the boat upset and 13 children were drowned. Miss Burhoe distinguished herself by rescuing some of the children. It so happened that Chick came near being involved in the tragedy as he was almost a passenger on that ill-fated trip and would have been if his mother had not pulled him back just as Rowena London was helping him over the side. Why she did it was never really determined, but it certainly seemed that he was providentially spared again.

The Ridge was later to be home all during his high school days when they had again moved into the same old house that was their home for the year or two after living in Bath. Not much is remembered about that period of life and what is remembered somehow got confused with living back there later. It was here on the Ridge, however, that his "grammie" and "grampie" Libby lived, and that was very important! George Libby had built his home here, just three houses over from the school toward town. There was a path that went from the school right through the dooryards of Will Allen’s house and that of Grover Wilson. This meant that one did not have to use the main road which paralleled the path about a hundred yards away and it also gave one a nice view of the cove down back of the houses and of Hanimuller’s point. It was a quite a way down to the water across the cow pastures behind the Reynold's farm - at least for the short legs that he now possessed. It would still seem long when he would carry his clam roller full of clams dug in the cove at low tide a few years later. But grampie and uncle Henry, one of Chick’s mother’s older brothers must have lugged a lot of them up that hill for they had sort of made a business out of shucking clams. There was a small building in between their house and Chick’s where they did the undressing and after putting the clams up in canning jars they lined them up on shelves where they sure looked pretty. Pretty also would be the description of his grampie’s driveway all covered full length with the white crushed clamshells. Grampie also kept his "banana blue" car (as he called it) in the garage. It was sort of his pride and joy. The driveway was quite long as all four of the houses between the school and Billy Reynold’s house set back from the main road which led from Whiting into Lubec. Each lane got a bit shorter as you got nearer to Billie Reynold’s so that his house was quite close to the road, and then all the houses after that all the way to the standpipe were a normal setback. The standpipe was a familiar sight as one would drive into Lubec. It was part of the water supply and it stood on the highest point on the Ridge and right across from Pumping Station road which of course led south for about a mile and a half to the huge reservoir that supplied the water for the town of Lubec. Later Chick would learn that the brook that ran through the pumping station grounds was a good place to find a trout or two. It was on the corner of Pumping Station Road and right across from the standpipe that his uncle Roland and aunt Virgie had a Mom and Pop store. They had four children, Chick’s first cousins, Leon, Walter, Nola and Lorraine. The boys were older and he never did get to see much of them, but the girls were about his age and pretty and he always liked being around where they were.


The photo above was taken later about when Chick was living back on the Ridge and going to High School --but it shows his grandfather's house (over his head), the garage where the clams were shucked, Grover Wilson's house , where he earned money mowing the lawn, and Will Allen's house.  The Ridge School where he went to 1st grade was just beyond the Allen house.  He is standing right in front of the old house (not visible) where he lived in those days and he walked to school on a path across in front of these houses. 

Below is his dear old grandfather who owned the "banana blue"  car which lived in the garage just over Chick's shoulder along with the clams.  Later the Masons moved back to the Ridge after living in town and in South Lubec, and after his grandmother died they moved into his grampie's nice old house to sort of take care of him.

There was someone else who lived with his grammie and grampie and uncle Henry. His name was Merrill and he was also a first cousin, Henry’s son. His mother Ruby had died and Chick didn’t remember when but it seemed it was long before his time. Merrill chummed with the bigger boys in the neighborhood and was not much interested in kids his age. They all liked to play baseball over on the Mapletree road about where Gene Sprague built his house. Chick got to see them play once in a while and he liked it very much. Merrill comes into the picture later and it’s a sad story!

A 1940's view of Lubec.  The star marks the location of the apartment house where Chick lived. 


Probably it was due to the fact the Chick’s mom had to work to support the three of them that she decided to move into the town of Lubec, just a few miles from the Ridge where her parents lived. His mom worked as a clerk in several of the stores in Lubec, one of them being Dodge’s Clothing store. Don Dodge the owner was a brother to Carl Dodge who managed the A&P. Helen Dodge, Carl’s wife became a life-long friend of the family. They had two sons Carl Jr. and Lee but they both were several years older than Chick. Later the Dodges moved into Gertrude McNevin’s house which was right down in front of the big apartment house that Chick’s family moved into from the Ridge. They had the apartment on the second floor and it was a pretty good place to live compared to the old house they moved from. It had a flush toilet whereas the old place only had an outhouse. Come to think of it, I believe that the Carl Dodge family lived downstairs under them before they moved to the McNevin house.


Chick soon got to know the neighbors and one of the things he really enjoyed was visiting all the old people. That is, they seemed old to him but they probably weren’t really that old. There was Mina Cumberland, the Bottomlies, the Browns, Mrs. McNevins, and the Clarks. As he made his rounds he always told them, "Mama says to send me home if I’m bothering you". There was a little lane that led down from his house, past the Bottomlies and out to the street. It passed by the Dearborns who were the trash collectors and Chick always liked seeing the friendly faces of Doris and Penny who were adult brother and sister. Penny was as brown as one and that is probably where he got his nickname. Across the street was the Owens place and it was a small farm where he could get milk and eggs when sent by his mother to do so. Down a short side street off of Pleasant Street and right down in front of the apartment house he lived in was were Robert Searles lived. He and Chick were pretty good buddies and Chick used to enjoy going to the Searles’ house to listen to Robert’s father scare them with his ghost stories. They didn’t have electric lights so the kerosine lamps casting their shadows provided a good setting. Up over the hill going out of town on Pleasant Street was another of his friends, Alfred Kelly. Later Alfred reminded him of the time they made a camp down at Chick’s house and getting under it they walked it all the way up to Alfred’s. A Denbow boy across the street once kept them "pinned down" inside of it with a BB gun.  (Alfred later married Delora Huntley from South Lubec.  Delora was in Chick's grade in South Lubec where his family late lived.  Al spent many years in th armed services and after retirement he and Delora spent many summers at the RV park on Diamond Head.) Also across from Alfred’s house was Johnny Morrisons store where Johnny’s friendly round face and accommodating air made you feel welcome even if you were only a kid. Right next to Alfred’s lived the Larrabee family. They were relatives of Chick’s from the Machiasport area. Ethyl, a sweet elderly lady, was very deaf. Her son lived there with her and he was deaf also and they both spoke in that flat tone of voice that is often characteristic of folks with that particular affliction. Floyd had always been a friend of Chick’s mom and in younger days there might have been more to it than that. Floyd’s daughter lived there and she was close to Chick’s age. Her name was Sandra. Ethyl always was pleased when anyone came to visit, but Chick didn’t enjoy going because it was so hard to communicate. In later years he found it more enjoyable being around such people after he learned to speak up but you know how kids are. "Ve grow too soon oldt and too late schmart", as the Pennsylvania Dutch would say.

There were two more friends that lived up near the Kelly’s, one was his chubby freckled faced girl friend Irene McCurdy with her fiery red hair braided in two long pigtails. The other was the daughter of one of his mom’s friends Kay Boomer. When they went to visit he always gave Jean a parting kiss. Chick had two big ears, one on one side of his head and appropriately one to match it on the other. The barber that he always went to liked to tease him and one day he said that Chick looked like a taxi -cab going down the street with both doors open. There was always a bully around to take advantage of Chick’s natural good nature by picking on him and the truth was that he not only didn’t want to fight, he was afraid of being hurt. One day when he was being challenged right in his own yard by Mike, the bully, his mom came out and encouraged him to fight back. He did and the results were good. He often dreaded, however, the walk up the hill to the big town school where he was now enrolled in the second grade. There were always bigger boys that would lay in wait to fight with him. This was just something he had to live with and there would be many encounters with such bullies before he reached high school. On the way to school he would pass the big house of the Peacock’s. Carroll Peacock was the owner of one of the big sardine factories in town.

NOTE There were over half a dozen such plants in Lubec and his grandmother worked sometimes in one of them. When a boat came in from one of the weirs somewhere around the shoreline, a whistle would blow "for fish" and the ladies that worked packing sardines would hurry and get ready to be picked up by the bus of that particular factory. Everybody knew the peculiar whistle for his or her factory and during the packing season, these sounds would be heard often.

Then there was the Pike residence right across from the school. They too were owners of one of the factories. They had a parrot and it was usually out in the big thatched roofed parrot house where the kids passing by could see and talk to it. And the parrot would talk back, too!

Not much took place at school that was very enjoyable. You had to go to school, so he made the most of it. He did enjoy playing games, and he liked it when they played The Troll under the Bridge game. He liked his teachers well enough. Ruby Blanch was nice and Mrs. Miller wasn’t too bad either.

School Daze

NOTE Ruby Blanch later married a Marston and as Ruby Marston she later taught Chick in his first year of high school. She was the best English teacher he ever had and he often would stay ;after school and get help that she was always willing to give. After losing her husband she would marry Ronald Johnson his science teacher. Augusta "Gusty" Miller had a son Carleton who was a good baseball player. Basil, her husband had a store just around the corner on Water Street. Carleton married Chick’s aunt June (Comstock) Libby’s sister "Mim". She was a very pretty girl in Chick’s estimation, but a bit too old for him - besides he had Irene and Jean and Nola and Lorraine, girls more his own age, to like.

In the fourth grade he didn’t get along too well with his teacher Marvle Fanning, but he made the best of it with his mom’s encouragement. One thing he really liked about being in town was the fact that there was a neighborhood candy store, Zwicker’s, not far from school. In fact it was right beside his great uncle and aunt’s house. George and Mae Mason were his father’s aunt and uncle and quite often if he worked it right and stopped off for a visit to them first, they just might give him some spending money for the candy store. (His favorite was a nut caramel bar on a stick that was kept on ice, or a package of walnettos). Once when living at the Ridge the first time, he had tried to spend an overnight with uncle George and Aunt Mae but he was so homesick that he had to be taken back home by their son Norman. Aunt Mae was so large that she really didn’t have a lap to sit on, but even that wouldn’t have helped. It was a terrible experience! It was probably during a visit to the George Mason’s home years before that Chick’s father Edward had met and wooed his mom. Once in a while when walking down past the can plant Chick would see another big sardine factory. It was Booth’s, or factory "B" as it was commonly called. There was a long row of factory houses for the workers and there being ten of them they were often jokingly referred to as the "ten commandments".

Chick's Great Uncle George Mason holding Chick's father

NOTE George Mason was a master mechanic at the American Can Company where the cans were made to supply the sardine industry. Later Chick was to get a summer job in the can plant filling the big cartons with cans as they came off the assembly line. It always surprised Chick when the machines were turned off to hear the rumble that the steel wheels on the carts that were used to transport those cartons made on the cement floor. When the machines were running the carts made no noise at all! No effort was made in those days to protect the ears of the workers and it was no wonder that many of the men who worked there became deaf.

What he didn’t like about school was more than made up in his love for going to the movies. Down on Water Street there was the old Eagle Theatre where Saturday matinees were the joy of his life. There was nothing better that going to see a western movie and also see another exciting episode of the Lone Ranger. "Hi, ho Silver away!" Chick would leave the Theatre and ride his make believe horse all the way home, slapping his side to make the horse go faster. From that period on his favorite game with his friends was to play "cowboys". Later in South Lubec the terrain would be much more conducive.

Chick always liked visiting the stores on Water Street. His mother would often take him and as he got a bit older he would venture in to visit on his own, He liked Mr. Flowers at the shoe store and the smell of Natt’s Confectionary store was out of this world. Little did he know that a few years later he would be manning that soda fountain himself, or playing the part of Santa Clause at Unobsky’s. He liked the smell of coffee being ground at the A&P market. He wondered what Rexall meant over the door of the drug store on the corner. There was the Wilson’s 5 and 10 cent store and Dodges where mama worked. Up the hill on another street was the band stand right next to the building that would be the new movie theater. When this new movie-house burned, the old one called The Eagle theater was refurbished and reopened. It was run by Ronald Warren. He was the projectionist and his wife Ethyl took tickets. One of Chick’s big disappointments of life involved this movie hall, but that’s getting ahead of the story a bit. Another special store in town was Fred Kelly’s bicycle shop. We’ll learn more about that too a little later.

Behind the apartment house was a lane called Hunter Avenue which got its name from a family named Hunter that lived next to it in the 1800's, and that is how one would approach where he lived by car and it was also the way into the Clark’s house. Roger Chipman lived across from the Clarks and Chick liked his little moustache which was always so neat. At this time on the lower corner of Hunter Avenue there lived an elderly couple _________ and they would occasionally hire Chick to do odd jobs. Another way to earn a few pennies was to dig the unburned coal out of Mr. Bottomly’s ashes that he threw out into his yard, and sell them back to him. This was probably an accommodation but ignorance was bliss. Later Chick saw another side of this friendly neighbor when as the Superintendent of the Lubec School Department he would visit the school in South Lubec.

There was a big adventure that took place in the lives of Chick and Mona that occurred occasionally about this time. Doris had an older sister named Evelyn who had shared her name with Mona as a middle one. Evelyn was married to Harold Small and they were a bit more the socialites of the clan though they were not the least bit affected by the fact that they were included with the Warrens, the Peacocks, the Pikes on their social occasions. Aunt Evelyn and uncle Harold lived away at this time in Portland and they enjoyed inviting Chick and his sister at separate times to visit with them at their apartment on Congress Street right in the middle of the big city. The highlight of the visit was when they were taken to the Old Orchard Amusement Park. What fun they had! There were the "bumpity cars", the fun house with the rolling barrel that you had to walk through and the other unexpected surprises like the wind blowing up your pantleg. Nice gifts at Christmas and other acts of loving kindness made this aunt and uncle real special.

One of his young life’s most embarrassing moments happened when he was visiting his aunt and uncle in Portland. His uncle was at work and his aunt had gone on an errand and left Chick locked out of the apartment for some reason. He had to pee in the worst way and didn’t know what to do. He paced up and down the long hallway in the large apartment building where they lived hoping that aunt Evelyn would come soon. Finally he just couldn’t hold it any longer so he wet himself by the door. It was a terrible experience that he felt he would never live down, but his aunt and uncle, felling sorry for him, of course, comforted him and tried to make him feel better.

Early picture of Chick with his aunt Evelyn

Note. Tragically, when Chick was about twenty, while visiting his mother and stepfather at East Greenwich, R.I., just as they were opening their gifts on Christmas morning, a telephone call was received that brought the news that his uncle Harold had been killed in an accident while working on the new extension of the Maine Turnpike. He was an independent welder and, in order to finish a job he was working on, he decided to stay on after the other workers had gone home for Christmas Eve. No one knows exactly what happened as he was there alone. He was found on the ground under a partially completed overpass early Christmas morning. Whether he died in the fall or, being unconscious, he froze to death or perhaps had a heart attack, whichever the case, it was a terrible shock to everyone in the family. Immediately all thought of continuing with the opening of presents was abandoned and, after contact was made with one of his other uncles who lived in Waltham, MA, they all headed for Lubec to be with Evelyn as quickly as possible. Chick rode with Judith, his uncle Plaisted and aunt June’s daughter, and his first cousin. She was a few years younger but had her own car. During his high school years Judy and her family lived on the Ridge just beyond the standpipe and right across from the Pumping Station Road. Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Harold at that time were living in a small house on the left side of that road just two houses down. Next door was a mobile home where Chick’s folks later lived.





An important juncture in Chick’s life occured about the time he was passing into the fifth grade. His mother decided to move to South Lubec. Life in "crow town" took on many added dimensions. The family of three moved into a small house that was about a hundred yards north of uncle Jerome’s and aunt Christine’s attractive white farmhouse. Both were set high up and away from the road, about three or four miles down toward Quoddy Head Light Station, on the right side of the road looking out over Quoddy Bay. It was a ten cent house with a million dollar view. The reason why they moved was probably due to the Creaths being willing to rent to the Masons for a lesser amount than the apartment in town. Doris and Christine were sisters and were very close.


A third house owned by Jerome was also perched on the hill a few hundred yards further to the north. It was down over the hill from this house where the Minzy family lived that Chick had to go for water. Each day the buckets had to be filled so his mother would have water as there was no running water in the house. In the winter the hole in the ice got smaller and smaller until finally the bucket just wouldn’t go through it. Then uncle Jerome would have to go down and chip away at the ice. Bessie and Tip Minzy who lived next door had some girls and one, Betty, was about Mona’s age so they played a lot together. There were no boys in that family for Chick to chum with, so much of the time he played alone. In front of their little house was a steep bank and it was a good place to build roads and play with soldiers. He was about ten when they moved there and it was great fun collecting and playing with toy soldiers. He received some of them at Christmas and having been given a set of molds he was able to make some lead soldiers to add to his collection.

Mona and brother Chick on the lawn in front of Aunt Crit's house.  Dell Trenholm and her son lived in the house at the bottom of the lane on the right.

Along about the second Christmas an event occurred that brought a great deal of pleasure into Chick’s life and lasted until he went away to college. It all started with his uncle Jerome teasing him by telling him that he was building him a bicycle for Christmas out in the barn. Doris had a job in town as a clerk and she had to walk back and forth, or at least walk until she got a ride with someone. Carrying groceries at times, it was a tough life. She knew how badly Chick wanted a bike, and she had been paying Fred Kelly, who had a bicycle shop, for one and had it on lay away until it was paid for. It was brought home and hidden in the hay loft awaiting the moment of revelation on Christmas morning but Jerome, being the tease that he was kept telling Chick about building him one. Of course Chick was so used to being teased that in his naivety he paid no attention, but his Mom was so aggravated at his uncle that she could spit nails, because she was sure that Chick would go looking around in the barn and find it. Of course he didn’t, and on Christmas morning he was absolutely shocked at seeing it. Christmases were always memorable occasions for the little family, but this one topped them all.

After this, the bike and Chick were inseparable. He managed to get the handlebars changed for a set of steer horn type and to get a light and carrier for it. It was blue and white with balloon tires, and one of the best in the neighborhood. Later, after moving to the Ridge he had a great adventure on it, but that must wait till time catches up.

Going to school at old number nine brings both good and bad memories. It was a rough neighborhood and most of the boys liked to pick on new comers so Chick , who didn’t like to fight got his share of it. The "big" boys would go around the school yard beating on the shoulders of the younger kids, both boys and girls. A and R - were usually the instigators and it was probably them who put the others up to a stunt they pulled one dark night. Chick was playing on the Creath’s porch where it was light, when a voice called out, "come on down". He went down the lane, not being able to distinguish anything in the dark, when suddenly he was struck a blow in his left temple which knocked him across the driveway. Running for home and no doubt crying, he didn’t know until the next day at school who it was who hit him. The boy’s hand was swollen to twice its normal size, and he had big hands to start with. Then there was the time when Georgie Coggins bloodied his nose on the way to school, but later he and George became pretty good friends.

Note. Another good friend of Chick’s was Osbourne Greenlaw. His nickname was "Obbie" and he lived up a lane just the other side of the Urkharts with his grandparents and his brother Douglas. They were Seventh-Day Adventists and were very religious. Obbie had to quit playing early on Friday evening because the Sabbath started at sundown. They always had beans on Saturday night.

The school house was a typical two room building with the younger grades on the main floor under one teacher and fifth through eighth on the second floor. There was very seldom a dull moment and the teachers, by turns, certainly had their hands full with the upper grades. H. R. was the school clown, and what he couldn’t think of is not worth mentioning. For that matter, many of the things he did can’t be mentioned! Some days the chimney would be plugged with rags so the whole building would fill with smoke when the fires would be built in the big "Old Ironsides" stoves. He would get down front behind the teacher’s back and put her outer clothes on parading until she turned around and caught him at it. He was placed off by himself but unfortunately, next to chalk board so he chewed up the chalk and smeared it all over his face. In those days he certainly gave Iona Sinclair a hard time. Mr. Bottomly the Superintendent would appear occasionally from town and would get so angry that the light seemed to flash off his bald head as he would pound his briefcase on the teacher’s desk, demanding obedience. But it ran off of "Pedo" like the proverbially water off a duck’s back. But, things were about to change!

When Chick was going into the seventh grade, a marvelous thing happened at old number nine. Lo and behold, a man teacher for the upstairs grades! Mr. Crosby was young, good looking and had dark hair and a moustache. Very early in his being there, one morning at recess he was seen whittling on a piece of kindling wood. He had picked it  out from the"edgings"  that were delivered every fall from the mill in Whiting. This was a wide piece that he was working on and when asked what he was making he simply showed us that it was a big inch thick paddle on which he had carved the words, "I love boys". Mr. Crosby showed many times that he was unafraid to use his paddle on boys that misbehaved. They were brought to the front of the room, made to bend over the desk and he wholloped them good, as it used to be said. Chick never did get the paddle, but he saw it applied to the seat of learning many times. In fact, "Pedo" got it so many times that when he graduated from the eighth grade Mr. Crosby presented it to him with a big red bow around the handle. When asked what he was going to do with it H. said, "I’m taking it home and nailing it to the barn with a tenpenny spike so the old man won’t be able to use it". That was about the extent of his formal education.

An example of how the kids got away with things sometimes and one in which Chick was involved was the day the boys were sent off in the morning after a Christmas tree. They went off into the woods where someone had built a camp. There they spent the day laying around telling dirty stories and eating the only thing they could find which was a loaf of bread which they toasted on the cookstove and ate without anything on it. Finally it was time to get back to school before it would let out for the day, so they took the axe they had brought and they cut down a huge fir tree and dragged it for what seemed to be miles. When they got back they faced a talking to and the job of cutting the tree into a more useful length.

Across from the school was uncle Jerome’s pasture where he kept his horse, John, and his cattle. In the pasture were two outcroppings of ledge that stood about twenty feet high and were spaced just far enough apart to make forts for snowball fights. This was the scene of a great many "battles" as one can imagine and this is where the recess and noon hour periods where usually spent in the winter. It also made a good place to play ball when Johnnie, the horse, wasn’t around. The large old gray farm horse had been plagued so much over the years by the school kids that he hated children and would case them whenever he got a chance!   In the warmer months when school "kept", some of the kids who liked to swim would go down to the "crick" below the school and indulge. There was another ledge from which the more daring would dive when the tide was up. It was smooth and rounded and a favorite spot for evening gatherings too, where bonfires would be lit and the gang would gather. Sometimes the female teachers would have quite a time getting the kids out of the water and back up to school when recess was over. One in particular often switched their legs with a willow branch as they ran up the stairs ahead of her.

Mr. Crosby was famous for something else besides his paddle. He was musical and brought a new dimension to the rural school that had few innovations. Besides teaching some music, he also organized an harmonica band. All the kids bought Marine Band harmonicas and were taught to blow and draw and find notes. The climax came when their harmonica band was invited to perform before the Lubec Men’s Club that was held up over Malcolm Dodges store which was located near Pork Hill on the way into town. It went over well and Chick enjoyed it enough so that he kept up with the instrument and for the rest of his life enjoyed playing though he never got very proficient.

For four years Chick’s life was involved with the other boys and girls in Crowtown. He would meet them on the way to school for there was no bus and everybody walked. He usually went out through the back pasture where he had to crawl through the bars when he emerged on the road. He had a crush on Louise Kelly, however, who lived right near the foot of his lane and he would watch for her to leave her house and walk along with her to school. She was a doll, very prim and proper and seemed never to get involved in mischief. By the way, Chick got no encouragement from her at all. Right across from Louise’s house, that is across a little lane that ran between them, was the house where the Farmers lived. Bev Farmer was one of Chick’s special friends and they chummed together a lot. The lane led down towards the shore and passed a house owned by another one of Chick’s uncles. This was uncle Elwood Libby, (Mona called him uncle Bo) one of Doris’ brothers. He had married Carrie Doran who had lost her husband and was left with two boys, James and Gene. He was like a father to them and Chick often saw them around the neighborhood, but they were just a bit older and he never really got too know them well. James eventually became a captain on one of the passenger ships that plies the waters of the inland waterway to Alaska. Gene married a neighborhood girl who was the older sister of one of Chick’s friends, Delora. Later she married the friend, Alfred Kelly that Chick had known when living in town. He later joined the Navy from which he eventually retired. He and Delora still come home to Lubec with their motor home, parking it at Sunrise campground. Chick still goes to see them occasionally and they would reminisce about their childhood days. Delora had red hair and freckles and was always good fun. Sometimes the gang would congregate at her house and play parlor games. She had a friend, Dolly Burns who was also a regular part of the gang. Dolly (Winnifred) and her older sister, Lois lived up the road towards town. Across from her house there was a little country store that was operated by a dwarf called " Stubby" Hunt. This is where Chick would buy his penny candy and he was always intrigued with Clarence, his real name, who had to walk on a staging behind the counter in order to wait on the kids. There was a lane by the store that ran down towards the shore and this was the way to get out on the bar. The bar was a long grassy point of land that ran parallel with the South Lubec road from in back of the store all the way down well beyond Uncle Elwood’s home and where Chick lived. There was, however a jeep road leading out onto the bar from the lane in front of Elwood’s house that you could use to get out there at low tide. His uncle Jerome often went there with his truck to get beach gravel to bank his house with in the winter. The tidal water came up behind the bar and flooded the swale in between. It was kind of spooky on the bar because the grass was high and you could imagine all kinds of things living in it.

We will slip in Chick's mom's other two brothers here so that we have  pictures of all of her siblings.

Chick's uncle Elwood Libby is on the left in his W.W. I  uniform.  He bought Chick a second-hand 22 rifle and took him deer hunting once.  Chick was supposed to have Merrills 12 gauge shotgun after he was killed, but it disappeared out of the house and was never seen again. 

On the right is Chick's uncle Plaisted Libby along with Doris, Chick,s mom.  He was her younger brother and was married to June Comstock.  They had a daughter Judi and later lived up next to the standpipe across from Roland Libby . 

Also, behind the store there was a small fresh water pond, called the frog pond. It provided a great place for skating. Chick couldn’t enjoy skating, however, as his feet were always cold in spite of the big bonfire made with automobile tires, and his ankles were weak. His kind of outdoor winter sport was sledding, called sliding, out behind his uncle’s house on the big hill in the pasture that led all the way down to the brook. (The same brook that was the "Crick" down by the school where it crossed the road and flowed out to salt water.) Here many hours of fun was provided and he had a Flexible Flyer that would really go! In the winter you couldn’t ride a bicycle so one had to find alternative things to do. Of course, there was no T.V. , but there was radio, and Chick hurried home from school and put his ear to the speaker in order not to miss an episode of , THE GREEN HORNET; THE SHADOW, and of course, all his favorite cowboy stories starring Tom Mix, or Buck Rogers, or the Lone Ranger. Sometimes he would listen to some of the grown up stories too as he loved drama and could picture everything that was happening. He liked, JUST PLAIN BILL, BARBER OF HEARTVILLE; AMANDA OF HONEYMOON HILL, and MR. KEEN, TRACER OF LOST PERSONS. In the evenings he would tune in to any other dramatic programs he could find like, DEATH VALLEY, put on by Twenty Mule Team Borax, or LUX PRESENTS HOLLYWOOD.

A fun thing that he used to like but didn’t get to do very often was to go on the sled with uncle Jerome when he took old John out in the woods back of the house to bring in a load of firewood or pulpwood. Maneuvering the sled through the woods seemed quite exciting. Years later he could still hear his uncle saying, "back John, back" as he would try to hold the horse back on a hill. Of course he had to put up with the teasing, like the time Chick heard a sound and asked what it was, and was told that it was a tree squeak, which he thought was a kind of bird. When he had to pee, he asked his uncle where he could go to the bathroom, and for years after, his uncle would tell that story to anyone that came along.

In the summer there was hay to tramp on the old hay wagon even though Chick had hay fever so bad that he could hardly see. Once he got one of the tines of the pitchfork right in the arm as he jumped into a forkful of hay too quickly. Didn’t that iodine sting! One summer uncle Jerome even let him drive old John with the spike toothed harrow on a big field that Jerome owned on the Maple Tree Road, right near the big bend where it took off towards the Ridge up by Porcupine Mountain, a spot where Chick was to have the most momentous experience of his life, but that would be a bit later. As he remembers it, he pretty well harrowed that whole field and it made him feel quite grown up. His uncle was a fisherman as well as a farmer, and once in a while he would take Chick down to Hamilton Cove which was on the back road to Trescott. It came out over near Baily’s Mistake, (a cove where a mariner by the name of Baily mistook for another he was looking for). Jerome, in partnership with several other men (Bun Parker was one of them and there was also a pilot involved who flew a spotter plane) had a fish weir at Hamilton Cove. They had a nice camp there where they could watch the weir and it was in a wilderness setting.. The beach was gravel and there was lots of driftwood as this location was on the outside shore where there were lots of waves and high winds in the stormy winter weather. These weirs were where the herring were caught for the sardine factories of Lubec. Being a farmer-fisherman Jerome also raised potatoes and Chick, like his mom in this early picture, would help with the harvest. (black coat) (Plaisted-Left)

1914 picture of Jerome Creath

In back of the house there were big fields for pasture and across the brook, lots of woods for playing cowboys and Indians. There was one field entirely surrounded by trees that seemed to be completely round, and there were trees out in back of the barn and all along the jeep road to the back bars, mostly all spruce and fir. Pine seemed to be a scarce article and Chick always did wonder why they called Maine the Pine Tree State. They didn’t seem to grow very well in his part of the state. Of course the pasture was full of manure from the animals and wherever there was a pile there was usually a bunch of thistles. Uncle Jerome reached the epitome of teasing both Chick and his sister Mona once when they were quite young. He "salted" the cow flaps with nickels and then told them the they grew under the pies. He got quite a kick out of watching them out in the pasture turning the dry ones over to find the treasures under them. An then He told everybody that came along laughing about his clever trick.

Note - Sadly, his uncle and aunt were later to experience the loss of both of their children under tragic circumstances. Their daughter Lois married Wilfred Cline and bore him two children, a son David, and a daughter Christie. When Christie was born, Lois developed a bad case of peritonitis and died. Ivan, their only son was driving Jerome’s truck on one of their delivery runs to Bangor when the truck overturned in Black’s Woods near Cherryfield and he was killed. Jerome was with him and he probably never recovered from the tragedy. A few years later he lost his mind. Chick occasionally accompanied his aunt when she visited him at the Bangor Mental Health facility.

It was quite a ride into town on his bicycle but Chick did it frequently. Usually it was with several other kids from the neighborhood, and sometimes it was on Saturday to see the matinee at the theater. It was one of these times when a bunch of kids went to the movies that some of the seats got cut up. The owner, Ronald Warren was so angry that he refused to let kids from South Lubec into the movie hall unless accompanied by parents. Chick almost never got to go after that, even though he had nothing to do with the episode and knew nothing about it until told about it later.

As you can tell, it was quite a rough neighborhood where Chick lived. Some of the boys in the upper grades would show up at school with hard liquor or with guns. There was much immorality and even more talk about it. The fathers of some of his friends did nothing to discourage these things and in some cases rather encouraged them. It was important to him and to his future life for him to get away from this environment. Whether his mother realized this, or whether it was simply providential, it was decided in his eighth year of school that the family would move back to the Ridge next to his grandmother and back into the old house where they had lived seven years earlier.


Not much had changed except that the old house had gotten older. (The dead rat smell under the eves was worse than ever.) This time, however, it was decided that Chick, being older now, should have his own room upstairs. It was a one story house so that the second floor had slanted walls on each side of the room. There was a narrow ceiling in the middle, and a window at the end that looked out toward grampie Libby’s house. Grammie said she would help paper Chick’s room so his mom picked out some special wallpaper for the occasion. It was cowboy paper and stars on a blue field for the ceiling. When his mom got home from work she found that her mother had put some of the cowboy paper on upside down. Fortunately, there was enough so his mom corrected it and no one ever told Grammie.


Chick's sister Mona Evelyn and her good friend Betty Minzy waiting for the bus sitting on the banking around the old house.  The Minzys  who lived next door to them in South Lubec also moved to the ridge and into the same house where Mona and Chick lived for it was a duplex. It wasn't long, however, before Mona and Chick moved into the Libby homestead seen here behind Chick.  (shown a second time but this was the correct period for both of these pictures).(The house was straight  as gramp - the picture was crooked)

The move had been made during the school year but it had been worked out that Chick and Mona could finish the grade at South Lubec. There was a bus that carried high school students to and from South Lubec, and it so happened that it was being driven by a fellow from North Lubec, so it went right by their house every day. The driver was a friendly fellow named Jimmy McGibne and all the kids liked him. Chick wrote a poem about his rides on the old bus which was made with a wooden frame covered with tin.  Later the bus was destined to become a modern motorized hay wagon at Oscar Towse’s dairy farm, at North Lubec.

Our Bus 
Here comes the bus, oh what a fuss,
   We grab our lunch and run,
For we al l know, as in we go,
  That riding is such fun.
Set at the gears, for many years
   Is our good friend Jimmie.
The bus’s brakes, when once it takes,
   Sounds like a horse’s whinney
We hit a bump and go kerplunp;
   The old thing sways and swerves.
Does she lean and then careen
   When she rounds the curves.
But  Jim is steady and always ready;
   Then comes a shriek and a roar.
We come to a stop and off we hop;
   The happy bus ride is o’er.

That summer on the Ridge before going into high school was a memorable one for Chick. His grandmother, who was a Baptist and attended the Ridge Baptist Church, urged him and his sister to start attending Sunday School there. They did, and the young pastor fresh out of Providence Bible Institute, Sumner Crabtree, was a devoted Christian. The church experienced something of a revival under his ministry. He was especially interested in the children and youth and Chick enjoyed the special things they did together, like hikes to Porcupine Mountain. He became very interested in some of the things being taught about the Bible and was awakened to the fact that having been involved in some of the sinful things in South Lubec, he really needed to be right with God.

The opportunity came in late summer when a Daily Vacation Bible School was held at the church. A young couple who were engaged were invited to lead the event, George and Linda. George was Armenian with brown skin, large brown eyes and large lips, and a wonderful guy. When George sought him out after the morning service at church, and invited him to go on a walk with him after the noon meal Chick was pleased. The fact that he had no father to do things with led to his being responsive to this new friend and he was excited about meeting him and going with him. They walked down Maple Tree Road, then hiked up Porcupine Mountain, sitting down on the top of the ledges where they could look out over the placid country scene. It was late summer, and a wonderful time to be alive for a fourteen year old boy. After they had talked a bit, George took out his New Testament and began to explain the gospel to Chick. It wasn’t long before Chick was ready to do as George suggested, to bow his head and receive Jesus Christ as his own personal Saviour. This simple act of faith was a turning point in his young life.

Early the following Spring Chick was baptized by immersion just like Baptists and some other Christian denominations have been doing for two hundred years here in Maine.  This took place down at the Creek in North Lubec in May and the salt water was cold indeed, but he didn't seem to mind.  He had been thinking about being baptized but that was before he had accepted the Lord Jesus as his personal Savior,and things hadn't worked out.  Now that he was a Christian he knew that he was doing the right thing and was thankful that it had been delayed  so  it could be done in an orderly fashion.  Now he knew that baptism didn't make him a Christian, but it was what Jesus did for him when He died on the cross. 

Note.  Where Chick was baptized was right in front of great uncle Ed Ramesdell's skinning shed where he smoked herring in his big smokehouses and where  his Grammie and Gramp sometimes worked in the process.  Ed was his grandmother's brother  and this was only one of a dozen or more similar outfits around  Lubec where smoked herring were put up and exported in small wooden boxes made on the premises. Hazel and Frank Avery lived across the road.  Hazel was Ed's daughter,  his mom's first cousin.  Their children, Hattisue and Karl were Chick's second cousins They were both in Chick's class in high school. 

George was recovering from a breakdown of some sort and he decided to stay on for a while in Lubec while his fiancee Linda went on to another assignment. The pastor was scheduled for a vacation, so it was decided that George would stay in the parsonage while they were away. He invited Chick to stay there with him to keep him company and by that means he and Chick were able to spend a lot of time together. This influence was a big help to Chick as he faced the tests that would come to him on entering high school. Because he wouldn’t do many of the things that some of the other young people were doing, he often was made fun of and was not very popular. But he found a few new friends and having just moved to a new location, things were not as bad as they might have been.

Some of his new friends were; Raymond Fanning whose grandfather, called Billy owned the Reynolds farm next door, Sonny Hamilton who lived right across the road, Richard Ramesdell whose father owned the Texaco station across from his grand parents house and right on side of Sonny’s house, young Sherwood Prout whose father ran a big truck garden farm on the other side of Sonny’s. These were the ones in the immediate neighborhood. Richard actually lived on the North Lubec road a short way and right next door to Morton Mabee whose father owned Mabee’s drug store in town. Later he and Chick became friends too. Down towards town, just before going down into Sleepy Hollow where John Hunt had a garage was where some kids lived that Chick chummed with quite a bit. They were the Olsen kids and the Coreys. In back of Corey’s just down the cemetery road was a nice field for playing ball and there were lots of games played there during these years. Teddy Olsen was born with one deformed arm that only went a little below the elbow and had some tiny fingers on the end. He had to bat with one arm, but he was very strong and very determined and he did as well as anyone else.

The English teacher at high school was Ruby Marston, the same Ruby that had been his second grade teacher. She had lost her first husband and after a year or two of being at the high school, she and Ronald Johnson got married. He was the science teacher and Chick liked them both. He learned more grammar from Mrs. Marston than from any of the other English teachers that he was to have in the four years. He would stay after school and get extra help from her. It just seemed that he couldn’t follow the meaning of the rules in his textbook. As was said earlier, Chick wasn’t much of a student. He would take books home every night intending to study but there was too much else that appealed to him, so he never opened them. He did this all through high school. It a wonder that he passed, but he always did!

One of the things that Chick liked doing most as long as the weather permitted was to ride his bike. The main road going into Lubec was getting busier all the time and Chick’s mom was concerned about him being out on the road in the early evening. Once she told him that she was going over to Aunt Virgie’s and while she was gone he was not to ride on the road. (Virgie was her brother' Roland's wife , parents of Nola and Lorraine. They ran a mom and pop store on Pumping Station corner). Well, he kinda forgot and it wasn’t long before he went racing along the Ridge road towards Uncle Charlie’s store which lay in the opposite direction from which his mom had gone. He had on an old pair of rubber boots that were well worn in the heels and as he stood up and peddled fast, his foot slipped off and the handle bars turned sideways, flipping him up in the air. He landed on his chin and plowed a furrow in it. It wasn’t long before he was over at aunt Virgie’s on the couch and his mom was picking gravel out of the wound. With every piece there came a resolve that he would mind his mother the next time!

Uncle Roland - W.W. I

There was a nice grassy area in front of the house and a lot of time was spent there playing games of different kinds. Kick the Can was a fun game that was played often. Playing catch with Sonny or Raymond was another pastime. It was after one of these times that he composed a poem about the war. It was a subject that was on his mind a lot, especially after Merrill was killed. Merrill was a first cousin, son of Henry, one of Chick’s uncles. They both lived with his gramp. It was during his second year of high school that one day some relatives showed up at school and took him home early. It seems that his grandparents had just gotten word that Merrill was helping to load trucks onto an LST On Cebu Island, Phillipines when an accident occurred and he was crushed between two vehicles. The war was over by that time and his grandparents were expecting him to come home soon. They had worried all through the war that he might be a casualty since his duty often took him out of the motor pool into the combat area to repair vehicles while under fire. For this he had received decoration, but when he had made it through they breathed a sigh of relief. Chick's grampie had sat night after night with his ear glued to the old Philco listening to Gabriel Heater telling his good news or bad news "tonight" Now, this bad news was just about all they could take. It almost killed them. He was like a son to them for they had raised him in their home and now he was coming back in a coffin with a flag on top.



Pictures on left are, top - Chick's uncle Henry - his mom's brother;  middle- Merrill and his gramp (Chick's gramp too!) ; bottom - Merrill in uniform

Chick and Mona both were quite embarrassed about the looks of the old house where they were living and they hated to get off the school bus in front of it, so they tried to get the driver to let them off a bit further over, in front of their grandparents house. Little did they realize that this would soon be their home. It happened this way. Grammie Libby was seeing a doctor in Eastport and Eugene Sprague’s wife Peggy was driving her there for a checkup. On the way she had a heart attack and died in the car. This left a big hole in the family and Chick’s mom was especially hit hard with this loss. For the longest time she would tell him in the morning how she had dreamed about "mama". This loss, of course, was keenly felt by Emma’s husband George who was now left alone in the homestead. It wasn’t long before it was decided that the two lonely people should get together for mutual comfort and support, so Doris and the two children moved in with Chick’s grampie right next door and the old house was abandoned. Much later it was bought by Karl Ramsdell, Richard’s father and completely remodeled into a fashionable cape. Later Richard built a house down back of it in the field towards the cove.

Chick's Gram and Gramp at the time of their 50th wedding anniversary in 1938. She was nearly 74 when she died May 4th 1946, about a year after Merrill's death.

Along with the changes that came into his life when he became a Christian, there were now lots of new things happening after the move. It was nice to have a man in the home, who, though he was getting old was a comfort to have around. Chick’s mom took good care of them all and didn’t have to work so much out of the home as there was no more rent to pay and with Grampie helping with the food bill. She still worried a lot. When Grampie went off to pick raspberries down by Porcupine mountain she worried until she saw him coming up across the field across the road. She worried when the wind blew hard in the winter making the fire roar in the living room pot burner stove. There was a small hole in the top of the fire chamber and she would stand for long periods of time watching the flames through that hole. After Chick’s mom became a Christian and started going to church regularly her life also changed for the better and some of the things that used to bother her just didn’t any more. She always said that it was a result of Chick’s talking to her about the things he was learning at church that influenced her to take her stand for Christ at special services at the Ridge Baptist Church. Newell Smith was the evangelist at that occasion. He was a brother-in-law to pastor Crabtree’s wife Alice and was called "Smitty" by them. In those days churches often had special meetings lasting a week or sometimes two. In that part of Maine they were never called "revival services" like in the South, but they were much the same. There was always an invitation to "receive Christ as Saviour" given at the close of the meeting after a warm evangelistic sermon had been delivered. She responded near the end of the meetings and "walked the aisle" to receive the Lord.

Now that Chick was a Christian he discovered a new way of life at the little church on the Ridge. First of all, the pastors were such nice men and they were especially good to Chick since he was fatherless. There were lots of meetings to go to and though prayer meeting in Parker’s Hall seemed very long, he liked it and during Sumner Crabtree’s pastorate there were even some "cottage" prayer meetings and it was exciting to see how God was answering prayer for many relatives were being saved. Ken and Virginia Foss accepted the Lord about the same time Chick did and so did Bryce and Rowena Reynolds. Having all of these new Christians in the church gave it a real "shot in the arm". There were special Bible Study meetings held in various homes, mostly up on the North Lubec road. Chick, Mona and his mom went to most of these special meetings and since they didn’t own a car, they often had to walk. He remembers coming home quite late at night up over Blanch’s hill - it seemed like a long walk and it was very dark. Meetings were often held at Delia Tinker’s house or Roy Joy’s or even way up at Mallet’s as well as often meeting at Ken and Virginia’s. Delia was a new Christian but the Joys were not new in the church and they were related to Chick since Phila Joy was Hazel Avery’s sister and another daughter of his uncle Ed Ramsdell. Roy also worked at the skinning shed and was a deacon of the church. Roy also taught the boys class that Chick was in at Sunday School always greeting him at the door on Sundays with the words, "good morning brother Chick". Ben and Hazel Evelyn Joy were their children. After Alfred Mallet’s wife Beverley Ramsdell died, Hazel Evelyn became his wife. They lived in New Hampshire. Ben was wayward for many years, but eventually came back to the Lord and to the church. His dad would have been filled with joy. Beverley Ramsdell was Claire and Sabra’s daughter. These were all Chick’s cousins too. Claire was the barber Chick would go to after he moved back to the Ridge. He had a shop almost across from the church, and later he moved into the Libby house when Doris sold it and moved away.

Note . One of the real special things that happened at the church was when Ken and Virginia Foss decided to go the Providence Bible Institute where Pastor Crabtree had graduated and where later Chick would also graduate ( by that time it had become Providence Barrington Bible College). It was a real step of faith for the Fosses to do this since they had two children. Ken was a fisherman and worked for Garnet Green, his neighbor on the klondike peninsular. (This area got its name from a scam perpetrated a few years earlier by a company alleging to be able to extract gold from sea water). Ken said that often they did not know where their next meal would come from, but they never missed one as the Lord always supplied. They went on to serve the Lord in numerous pastorates

It seemed to Chick that the brothers and sisters in the Lord at the church were closer to him than most of the members of his own family. He always had a lonely feeling when the pastor was away. Pastor Buddy Nelson came to the Ridge Baptist when Sumner Crabtree moved on and he was a real good friend. He died quite young though it was after he too had left Lubec. One evening he and pastor Nelson went smelt fishing together. The smelts would come up into the brooks to spawn in the Spring. They caught lots of smelts but Chick was embarrassed to have his pastor hear all of the swearing and filthy talk.

The little church needed a janitor and Chick got the job. It consisted of building a fire in the big old furnace in the corner when needed and keeping the room clean. It wasn’t much but it did put a little spending money in his pocket and was one of the first jobs that he had. ( He had worked a little one summer on Lee Meyer’s dairy farm in South Lubec.) Later other opportunities to earn money came along. Sherwood Prout always needed youthful workers with strong backs to weed lettuce and other truck garden produce. Ten cents an hour wasn’t much but it was a further chance to earn a little money. When he wanted something extra he could always go down back of the house to the shore and dig a bucket of clams, selling them in the neighborhood. Then, about his second year in high school along came his first real job. Oscar Towse, a dairy farmer in North Lubec needed someone in the summer to help with the chores and Chick got the job. He didn’t want to miss church though it was necessary for him to stay right at the farm all week, but it worked out just fine. Mr, Towse had a milk route in town and had to go right by Chick’s house, so he rode the milk wagon to his home on Sunday morning and was picked up Monday morning to go with him on the route. His job was to go get the cows into the barn for milking which in the morning meant going out before daylight to find them. There were about 25 or 30 Jerseys and, of course, being Jerseys they gave very rich milk. The job of bottling the milk was also his so he had to fill every quart and pint glass bottle by hand from a single spout. Then too, there was the washing of the bottles which he did by pushing each bottle over a whirling brush that stuck out from an electric motor. This was hard work and made his back ache. It was soon found that he had a vertebra that slipped out of place and consequently he had to go see old Dr. Smith, a chiropractor, down in South Lubec, right near uncle Jerome’s where Chick used to live. Dr. Gene would lay him down and push firmly on the spot and the problem would be solved for a while. It got to the place where Chick could back up against something pointed and put it back himself.

During that summer Chick learned a lot of farm terminology. For instance, the "dead man" was a term for the device in the middle of the barnyard that held the block down when they were hoisting hay into the mow. It was done with the end of a rope attached to a vehicle which would slowly back up and by means of a block and tackle the hayfork filled with hay would be lifted into the air and be deposited in the upper reaches of the barn. It was necessary to hold the block down so the rope could be pulled straight back and so two posts were driven into the ground about a foot apart and the block was held between them near the ground by a cross piece. This device was referred to as a "dead man". Like any kid his age, Chick was anxious to learn how to drive, and I suppose the kindly Mr. Towse thought it would be nice to give him a chance. "The milk wagon is parked out in the barnyard, would you go and get it and bring it down to the milk room". Chick hastened to do it, excited by the opportunity to drive. The problem was that the wagon was parked directly in back of the "dead man" and He would have to reverse the vehicle before driving it forward. This didn’t go well at all, and suddenly the wagon lurched forward and knocked the "dead man" flat. There is no describing how badly Chick felt. He so wanted to please the amiable Mr. Towse who was being so nice to him, and he had rewarded him with making the extra work of having to construct a new "dead man", for Chick had really killed him!

There was another embarrassing incident that occurred while delivering milk in town. Mr. Towse, being a rather rotund individual, usually stayed at the wheel of the wagon while Chick did the delivery. There were various sized carriers for the glass milk bottles embossed with the farm name. There was a four, a six and an eight hole wire carrier with a handle in the middle. Once Chick had either the six or eight and it was full for he would go from one house to another before going back to the wagon to refill it. He put it down on the edge of the porch and started removing bottles from one end. Unfortunately, it was out over the edge a bit on the heavy end, and as he lifted the bottles for the near end, over it went, tumbling down the stairs and breaking the bottles. Oh dear, what a mess and, again, how badly he felt for he did so want to please his genial boss. What things adults have to put up with while the young learn by trial and error! Chick never cared much for school in the first place, but that was one summer he hated to see come to an end. It meant leaving his little room there on Oscar Towse’s farm and his first real job.

 The job that Chick really liked the best was working for Nat Calder at the Confectionery Shop on Main Street. The term for what he did was called, "soda jerk" and consisted of serving customers behind the soda fountain. He just loved to make all kinds of sundaes, sodas, shakes and floats. He especially liked making them for himself! There was a large room off to the left past the soda fountain where customers could sit around small marble topped tables in wire backed chairs and sip their sodas and eat their banana splits. Just inside the large open doorway was a jute box that seemed to be always playing. Some of the songs of the day were: Foggy River; No Letter Today; Doin’ What Comes Naturly; If I Were the Only Boy in the World; No Children Allowed; The White Cliffs of Dover; Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree With Any One Else but Me; and The Yellow Rose of Texas. As Chick served the patrons in the ice cream parlor, he heard these songs so many times that he had them memorized.

Natt was a jolly fat man, well liked by all the kids. His outstanding trade mark was his worn out wig which showed only leather in front due to all the hair being worn off. He always attended church over at Welsh Pool, N.B. and usually hired a boy to row him across the narrows on Sunday morning. Chick went over with him one Sunday to the Anglican Church. Chick liked him and never believed the stories that circulated about him because he was single.

 Because he took some rather strong medicine of his "hay fever", sometimes he would fall asleep on his noon hour down on Peacock’s wharf where he often ate his bag lunch. I was usually pretty good fishing off the wharf and sometimes you could catch a flounder. Even with a bit of paper on a hook you could catch a sculpin or a harbor pollack so occasionally he would do a little fishing.

Speaking of fishing, now that he lived on the Ridge and was in High School, Chick’s mom let him ride his bike or hitchhike out the road towards and sometimes beyond Whiting Corner to do a little trout fishing. East Stream was always good for a fish or two near the bridge. (He rarely ventured very far upstream). Orange River Dam produced some activity, though the fish caught there were considered junk fish. There were lots of yellow perch, sunnies, and suckers. The furtherist he went from home was Indian Lake or a brook  that crossed the road to whiting near where Peter Palmeter lived. (This might have been known as Lively Brook)

One time Calley London took him to the upper part of East Stream. When they got to the stream, it was lined thick with alders. How could it be fished? Simple said Cally, as he walked out into the water almost to his armpits. It was a new way to fish for Chick, but it was either learn quickly or be left behind. At first the water was cold and deep, but gradually it didn’t seem so bad and it did produce some nice trout.

Another time Cally came and got Chick and his mother’s permission to go pickerel fishing with him on an overnight at Rocky Pond. How they got there he couldn’t remember, but he never forgot the experience. They set up a little pup tent and then tried a few lures from the shore. The

The place was alive with pickerel and they almost jumped onto the shore when Chick reeled in a minnow lure after casting it just a short way with his old telescopic rod that had been Merrills or Uncle Henry’s. That night as they settled down to sleep, suddenly Calley sat up and let a hollar out of him that could have been heard for miles. Chick thought he must be dying and he would be left alone in this "wilderness". Calley was experiencing a "charlie horse", but it was soon over and they tried it again. I think it was a long night! But it was worth it for the next day Calley just maneuvered the boat so Chick could fish and taught him to "stiff arm" the pickerel right into the boat as fast as he could. He came home with an admirable string - the most fish he had ever caught in his young life. Bless old Calley’s heart, he sure gave a young fatherless boy a great time, and he never forgot it!

Note - Calley London was a good carpenter and every once in a while he would come and get Chick to go on a job with him when he could use a little help.  Later in life he also became a Christian and Chick would walk up to his home on the West Lubec road and sit and visit with him.He was a Maine Guide and was known as a skilled woodsman and hunter.



His picture of Chick and his Mom was chosen to go in here because it really shows what kind of shape the old house was in and why he and Mona hated to get off the school bus in front of it because they were so embarrassed.  His Mom is just posing here with his 22.  She was no hunter.

This is a shot of Hanimuller's Point with the tide in.  When the tide was out, it was all emptied and the clamflats were exposed. It was a long walk up through these fields with a heavy bucket of clams.  In the background is Blanch's hill on the North Lubec road up over which they used to walk to go the meetings at the Foss's, Tinker's and Joy's

Not only did Chick like to fish, but he also liked to hunt and he got a chance to buy a single shot 12 guage shotgun one day while he was hanging around Carl Ramsdell’s Texaco Station across the road from his gramps house (that was now where he lived). He used to go down to Porcupine Mountain and hunt partridge with it and one time he got the thrill of a lifetime when he shot one out of the air on the wing. He remembers how the feathers flew. Down back of the house was a great place to hunt ducks and he would hide in the marsh grass and shoot at buffleheads, old squaws and whistlers. He learned that they were most vulnerable just as they set their wings to land and that’s when he would occassionally score a hit. One morning before school he managed to hit two ducks but he couldn’t wait for the tide to go down so he could retrieve them so he reluctantly had to leave them in order to catch the bus. When he got homet hat afternoon, the ducks were laying on his doorstep. It seems that his Aunt June over by the standpipe had been watching him through her binoculars out her kitchen window and she had gone down across the field and fetched them when the tide receeded. He was some happy to see them and thankful for his auntie.

Often when he would shoot at a flock of ducks and miss, they would fly out around Hanimuller’s Point and into the cove on the other side so he would cross the neck, scare them out on that side and quickly run back and try it again as they came in for a landing a second time. His big problem was that he didn’t have either a boat or a dog to retrieve with and no decoys to get them to land where he wanted them to. He decided to make a set of decoys which he rough-hewed out of a soft wood log and even made a swivel head for a couple of them. He had a friend Herbie Small whose grandfather, Mariner Small, had a dory. The only problem was that it was tied up at a wharf down town. One day he and Herbie decided they would borrow it and so they started rowing it all the way across Johnson’s Bay. It was ok until the wind came up blowing offshore and the tide was running out of the bay through the narrows at Lubec. The dory was so wide and its sides so high that Chick and Herbie had to sit side by side and each handle one of the oars in order to row it. The sides acted like a sail in the wind and they started being blown out towards Eastport. It scared them so, thinking they might get into the whirlpool called Old Sow that they started quarreling and could not manage to work together in their effort to keep the dory going in the right direction. They finally ended up going ashore way up at the head of North Lubec and had to haul the boat by its painter along the shore with one pulling while the other pushed it off into the deeper water with one of the oars. It was a harrowing experience for both of them and in spite of all the work they did they never dared to use it after that.

As has been mentioned, one of things that Chick like to do best was ride his bicycle and he spent many happy hours doing so. Most of his friend had bikes too, and they would often find fun things that they could do together. One time they planned a trip to Campobello. They would ride into town and take the car ferry across the Narrows,spend the day and come back later that day on the ferry. A couple of the guys didn’t have very good bikes so it was decided that they would rent some from Fred Kelly who ran the bicycle shop where Chick’s mom had bought his bike a few years earlier. Fred was a congenial old man whose only means of transportation was a bike of his own. He sold , handled, repaired nothing but bikes. The little party of about 5 or 6 kids got over ok on the ferry and spent the early part of the day riding all the way to the end of the Island and the town of Wilson’s Beach. All well and good, until Chick broke a peddle and one of the guys had a flat tire. They found someone who had a kit to repair an automobile tube with and managed to get a loan of the basic patch and cement needed. That done, they limped rather slowly the long distance back to Welsh Pool with the broken peddle. The Ferry was just leaving the Lubec side when they got to the beach where it was to land, only when it landed the operator told them that they were tying up the ferry for the day on the Canadian side and there would be no return trip that day.

What were they to do - they were so near and yet so far, it was a real pickle! Finally they went back a short way to a house where there seemed to be a lot of youngsters around and they spoke with one of the boys who was a bit younger than any of them. He told them that he had a dingy and that he would row them across the Narrows if they would let him and his siblings use their bikes until they could get back to get them. That was agreed except that two of the bikes were rented and had to be back at the bike shop that day. The boy finally agreed to make two trips which being round trips made four crossings. If you have ever gone across at this place, you know that except at dead high or low water, there is a very strong current running around the Lubec breakwater and it takes a good man to get back and forth. This scrawny little kid sure earned his bike riding privileges that day!

The worst part of the whole thing was that the Customs Office was closed and the boys were doing somethng illegal to come into the United States without reporting. They sneaked in and hoped no one saw them, and they were very chagrined to find out when they finally got home that one of the fathers had called the Customs Office when his boy did not get home when he was supposed to so they knew about it anyway. The boys were really scared Sunday morning when they had to appear early before the officers and tell them what had happened. Of course the officers probably thought it was a big joke and one of the most exciting things that had happened in Lubec at their post for a long time. When the boys got over to pick up their bikes the ragamuffins were still having a great time playing on them and only gave them up somewhat reluctantly. Oh yes, Fred Kelly was still in his shop when the rented bikes got back to him so that part ended ok. It was quite an adventure - sort of one like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn might have had, right!

School was the bane of Chick’s existence. He never could figure out how to do algebra. The teacher was also the Principal and he only showed up in the classroom long enough to put the next day’s assignment on the board. He hated history and civics. Recess and noon time were his favorite subjects. Mr. Johnson was pretty good as a science teacher and he didn’t do too badly in that, he even was awarded the Bauch and Lomb plaque what ever that was all about. French with Mrs. Sullivan wasn’t too too bad and he kinda wished that they had offered a third year. The smartest thing he ever did in high school was to take typing. Since he wasn’t in the commercial course and couldn’t take the double period that was required, it took some persuading for the powers that be to give the okay for him to do it. It meant graduating him with one half credit less than required, but he pulled it off. What had happened is that once again while hanging around at the Texaco station (Richard’s father’s) he talked to a salesman who had taken an old portable typewriter in on a trade somewhere in town and he said he would sell it for $5.00. Itwas one of those oldies in a wooden carrying case covered with something like vinyl and having a button that you could pull to make the keys stand up into typing position. Even today, Chick’s typing ability is not very proficient, but as he uses what skill he has while on the computer he is thankful that he got that old unit which helped him in Bible School in doing papers and still helps him today. 


He did like to play sandlot baseball, and so he went out for the baseball team receiving letters several years. He played right field and can’t remember ever making a catch, though possible he might have. He couldn’t hit , so they probably gave him a position so they could have nine players. He also went out for basketball but he wasn’t any better at that either, though he did get a letter one year. The coach was Mr. Johnson and he did the best he could with a bunch of young hooligans who all smoked and drank so much that they were only good for the first quarter and whenthey practiced they only passed the ball to their buddies - and Chick wasn’t one of them. But he faithfully attended all of the practice sessions even though he had to walk home all the way to the ridge afterwards. They practiced and played in the old town hall which was pretty small and when tournament time came around and they once in a blue moon made it in, they were lost on the regulation floor at the Normal School in Machias. He liked going to the tournaments, however, even if he did have to spend a good many hours wandering around the county seat trying to stay warm in between games when the gym was locked. The days when parents spent all their free time taking their kids everwhere had not yet been visited upon Washington County and Chick’s mom didn’t have a car anyway.

In the winter time something the kids all liked to do was slide with their sleds on the big hill back of the standpipe at Aunt June's house and also over on the North Lubec road.  Someone had a bobsled and this hill was really fast after a few cars had been over it to harden it a bit.  They could go down almost to the bottom and then veer off to the right and into a gulley that led right to the shore.  It was a long and wonderful ride, but a long pull back up the hill.  Things went well most of the time for there was little traffic in those days, but sooner or later the sand truck would come and that spoiled everything.  Ruby Blanch, Marston, Johnson tells about doing this same thing in an article in the Lubec Centenial Book.

Chick did have a high school sweetheart, only she lived in Princeton and it was a long hike to pay her a visit. They had met at the Baptist Youth Camp at Big Lake, Princeton. Her name was Margaret Carle and though he liked her a lot, when high school days were over they both went their separate ways, he to Bible School and she to Texas to live with her older sister, Roberta. They rarely met after that.


The big day finally came when Chick graduated from Lubec High School. He always worked in the summer and saved his money so he would have a little nest egg to help him get started at Bible School. He did have enough saved so that he did not have to work his first semester and that was a help. After that he had to earn his own way as there was very little help available from home. His church did help him some. The interesting thing  was that Bible School was the end of Chick. His room mate didn’t like it when some of the guys started calling him "chicken" so he started calling him Chuck and it stuck.

This story is continued on the Bucksport page and is the story of Chuck only once the church was established he began to be called Pastor Mason and in the last phase of his life after being married he began to be called what his mother named him, Charles.