SOLON & BEYOND: The art of tearing down barns

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

This is the second time that I have had to write two columns in one week for one reason or another. This one is for October 15 and I didn’t get what little recent news I have received in time to get them in the paper they should have been in. Anyway: in order to let you know what has been going on I am going to print them.

As you know, I have been using articles about events that happened mostly back “in the good old days,” such as the one on dowsing, that I got an e-mail offering me a job. And have received other interesting comments, many thanks go out!

Have received two wonderful visits from a friend who has a business of tearing barns and buildings down. Perhaps some of you know Jeff McAllister who grew up in Caratunk and now lives in Bingham. He has been collecting old things like bottles, etc., for many years and has a business of tearing down old barns and buildings. He has visited us a couple of times and it is very interesting to hear about what he enjoys doing in his job. I asked him how many buildings he had torn down and he said 34 buildings and two dozen barns, within 52 miles, he chuckled and said he gets a “minimal wage!”…but you can tell, he loves every minute of it!

Being at the age that I have now reached, I love hearing about his interest in old things. Guess he could see that, and yesterday he brought down three pages he had written about “How to Tear a Barn Down,” that he wondered if I would want to write about in this column. Right off quick, I said “Sure”, but then I asked him if he wanted to share this information because it might take some of his business away when they learned how to do it, he still said “Yes.” I told him I was limited for space so all of it won’t be in this time.

In Jeff’s words, “Anyone can tear a barn down. Simply hook a chain onto a girder or plate and pull with a 4 x 4 truck. Every action has a reaction. If the barn is post and beam and mortised and tender the reaction of pulling with a 4 x 4 from either a girder or plate will be damaging to all lumber involved. The pinion with a hand made wooden peg which goes through the beam will tare wood out from connected beams, this being done this way is TEARING the barn down.

How Jeff Dismantles a Barn.

My number one objective is to salvage all useable lumber. I prep the barn for what I call a controlled pull. The general public doesn’t give me barns in good shape. Either the roof is bad or foundation has given away. First I look over the barn for safety sake. Is it safe to go into? Is the barn spreading, meaning the walls are kinking out. Are all the pinions and pegs solid? If the rafters are solid and still pegged into the plates it’s O.K to work on the roof.

The following is my way of prepping a barn for my controlled pull. First I take out both gable ends. If it’s too high for my ladders I push out the gable ends so as to bypass when I pull the roof down. Next I take out all supports that are vertical up to all rafters. Now after all this is done, I am now ready to hook my chains for my controlled pull. I run my chains along the inside of the plates behind all the rafters. Now I am ready to pull, and 90 percent of the time the roof will collapse flat onto the girders, Then I am happy it’s not now a big barn.

That is the first page of the article about How to Dismantle a Barn, by Jeff McAllister. ( I’ll be waiting to hear how many of you are going to try it?) Will be putting in the rest of it next week if there is room.

Just so you know, the Neighbor to Neighbor Thrift Shop in Embden is NOT accepting donations for the next two weeks until Wed., October 21.

Please note the Thrift Shop is open Wednesdays 9 a.m. – noon and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. When the library is open the Lending Library is open. Also the People Who Care Food Cupboard is open on Saturday from noon – 2 p.m. Also on Wednesday is: Sewing 10 a.m. – noon and Bone Building from 9 – 10 a.m.

Also from Carol: We are cancelling the October 12, 2020, Embden Historical Society meeting on “Embden’s Changes Over the Last 200 years.”

And now for Percy’s memoir from a clipping when I was writing for the Somerset Gazette back in 1996, before Percy! This week I’m going to end with some more advice from Boogar Hollow. Now keep in mind that this book was published in Lindale, Georgia, so the dialect is different from ours. As a reporter I believe strongly in this one… “You can lose plenty while jumpin’ to conclusions, but muscles ‘n strength come from diggin’ for facts.”

SOLON & BEYOND: Solon Elementary news

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

Will begin this week with more Solon School News! Food Facts: We are pleased to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students again this year under the district’s community eligibility program. Students can buy milk or juice for snack or to go with a cold lunch if they wish to for 30 cents.

Again this year our students will have healthy snacks provided through a Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Grant Program every day. Parents can also send snacks with their child if they wish to. We appreciate healthy snacks!

On each day that students attend school while we are using the hybrid model, they can choose to pick up a take home breakfast and lunch for the next day when they will be learning at home. The menu for take-home meals is included on the menu for in-person meals.

We continue to offer a food hub at our school on Mondays. If you wish to pick up meals for each of the children in your home on those days, please contact Mrs. McFadyen in our school office to let her know how many you will need by noon on the previous Friday. You will receive five breakfasts and five lunches for each of your children. You can pick these up between 11:15 and 11:45 a.m., on Monday mornings at the school (on Tuesdays if Monday is a holiday). If you have children at home or in CCS or CHS, you can pick up all of their lunches here for your convenience.

Please call us at 643-2491 if you have any questions.

Welcome to new staff: We are excited to welcome new staff members to our school this fall.

With the retirement of Terry Corson last spring, we have a new fifth grade teacher, Stacey McCluskey. Mrs. McCluskey has taught for 19 years at Central Elementary School, Carrabec Community , and even a year at Solon Elementary School. We welcome her back!

Our new music teacher is Lindsay Burke-Cinsov. She will teach K-5 music classes and will also teach band and chorus. She has 19 years of experience as a music educator, mostly recently in Farmington. We are pleased to have her on board.

Teaching our preschool class this year is Jennie Mirlocca, who started her teaching career at Solon Elementary but then taught preschool in Kingfield and at Garret Schenck. We are happy to welcome her back to Solon.

Misty Jerkins has joined our staff this fall to be an additional daytime custodian. Her job is to disinfect and sanitize throughout the school from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., each day. She is working hard to keep our school clean. We welcome her to Solon Elementary School.

Received the following e-mail from Norm Kalloch: “Dear Marilyn, My name is Norm Kalloch and a director of the Arnold Expedition Historical Society. We are offering a car/walking tour of Benedict Arnold’s march across the Great Carrying Place Portage Trail from the Kennebec River to Flagstaff Lake, Sunday, October 11.

“I was hoping you would be willing to mention this tour in one of your columns in The Town Line newspaper.

“ Thanks for your consideration to do this. If you do decide to do so and need more information or clarification feel free to e-mail me. Norm Kalloch; West Carry Pond.”

I have e-mailed for more information about what sounds like a wonderful, interesting idea is something I would like to attend very much. But …… I don’t walk as many miles as I once did, and I will print the facts if I get the e-mail in time for anyone who might also want to attend.

And now for a short memoir from Percy: An uncommitted person is a person without direction in life. He is like a ship without a rudder, and plenty of power but no direction.

SOLON & BEYOND: Solon Elementary School news

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

Can’t begin to thank the Solon School News person who sent so much school news for me to send out to all you faithful readers, it made my day!

The following is the Principal’s Message: “The Solon staff and I wish to welcome our new students in grades Pre-K-5 and their families to our school and to welcome back those who have been with us before. I hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful summer.

“This will be a new kind of school year with new health and safety procedures and more online work for both in-person and remote students. We appreciate the great cooperation and super attitudes we have seen in our students and the support of our parents/guardians. Together as a team we can make this a great school year despite the changes necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am the principal of both Solon Elementary School and Garret Schenck Elementary School so I split my time between the schools. I am here for half of each day. Our school secretary Mrs. Tanya McFadyen can help parents with any issues they may have and can help you make contact with me if you wish to.

“Mrs. Jennifer LaChance will serve as our lead teacher and will help me with schedules, planning, and discipline issues.

“Please contact us if you have any questions. Teachers are reaching out to parents to be sure you are comfortable with navigating through our digital platforms Seesaw and Google Classroom to access your child’s assignments on their at-home learning days or on all days if your child is a remote learner. Thank-you for your cooperation. We look forward to a great new year.”

Back To School News! Fifth Graders Learn FLAGETOQUETTE. Custodian Chad Hebert shows fifth graders Lane Frost, Isabella Atwood, and Paul Craig how to raise and lower the American flag. It is our tradition that fifth graders are responsible for the flag every day.

There will be a drive-thru food give-away, sponsored by RSU #74, Tuesday, October 6, 1:30-3 p.m., at Carrabec High School. Drive up and pick up a free box or bag of nonperishable food. Open to all families regardless of residence, income or whether or not you have children. Food donated by the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

Need Help With Remote Learning? Do you have questions about our digital platforms and other aspects of your child’s at home learning whether he/she is a hybrid student or a remote learner?

Join us for a better understanding of how to help your child when he/she is learning at home. Thursday, October 1, at 6 p.m., at Solon Elementary School; Masks will be required.

Solon PTO Fundraiser Update: The Solon PTO will continue where they left off with a spring fundraiser that was halted by the coronavirus in March. Students were selling calendar raffle tickets during the month of March with the drawings scheduled for the month of April. When the school closed on March 16, the fundraiser was put on hold.

Your child has received new calendar raffle tickets to sell in September for drawings during the month of October. If your child sold tickets and brought in the tickets and money in March, those tickets will be entered into the raffle. If you sold tickets but didn’t get to turn in the tickets and money, please send these in soon. They will be entered into the raffle along with new tickets sold by students this fall.

Even though the Embden Historical Society hasn’t been able to meet so far in 2020 due to COVID-19 and it doesn’t look good for the remainder of the year, dues were due in August. If you would like to join, please send your dues for $3 per person payable to Embden Historical Society, c/o Treasurer, Bob Donovan, 547 Dunbar Hill Road, Embden, ME 04958. I am planning to contact the speakers we had lined up for 2020 to see if they would be willing to hedge a bet it would “be a go” for 2021. This e-mail was signed by Carol Dolan with the words Thank you. Stay safe…. and thank you Carol for sharing your news!

And now for Percy’s memoir: When you are offended you have a choice of several reactions. You can ignore the situation and leave conditions unchanged; you can move away and avoid repetition through escape; you can retaliate and lower your standards to the level of the wrong-doer; or you can forgive and in that way try to heal strained or broken relationships. But in order to do this, you must be prepared to forgive frequently enough for your love and goodness to win their way into the hearts of the one who has wronged you.

SOLON & BEYOND: An old note

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

Received a notice from Roland on September 15 that he needed columns early for the September 24 paper, so I hurried to find something to write about. Have thought often lately about how much I have loved writing for different papers over these many years….. In looking for something to write about, I came upon this letter I had received back on September 21, 2003, and it said it was from “An Old Lady Just Checking In to Say Hi.

“You don’t know me, but I have to write and tell you how wonderful I think your ramblings are in Solon and Beyond as in the Somerset Gazette. As soon as I get the paper, I scurry to your section and read it first. You cover the area so well, I can not imagine how you even have a moment to yourself.

“I am not from Solon, but in 1942 I was born in Bingham. My last residence in 1961, when I graduated from Good Will in Hinckley was in Cannaan. But we were nomadic and I have lived in North Anson, Madison, East Madison, Cornville to name a few.

“But to get back to your articles….. you show such love of the people you write for/about … how the town must love you!! I love you and I don’t even know you!!

“My husband retired in June and we sold our home in Alabama, and in July moved into a lovely new home in Lexington, South Carolina. David has family here and nearby in North Carolina.

“We try to visit Maine every year, and indeed, next week we are driving to Maine ….. first time driving there in many years… we have always flown since our kids have grown. We want to get up to Presque Isle and see the potato digging…. we understand that is a sight to see. The weather there has not chilled enough for us to enjoy the leaves changing colors but that is OK.

“I am a retired federal employee and David is retired Army. Now we are both just chilling.

“During our visit in Maine, I would like to meet you and give you a hug… your articles make me feel that I have known you forever!”

The paper I took the above from was dated Sunday, September 21, 2003. I wonder if they still come to Maine? I don’t remember ever meeting her, but her kind words were very much appreciated.

Now for Percy’s memoir: And it starts… “How to live a hundred years happily: 1. Do not be on the outlook for ill health. 2. Keep usefully at work. 3. Have a hobby. 4. Learn to be satisfied. 5. Keep on liking people. 6. Meet adversity valiantly. 7. Meet the problems of life with decision. 8. Above all, maintain a good sense of humor, best done by saying something pleasant every time you get a chance. 9. Live and make the present hour pleasant and cheerful. Keep your mind out of the past, and keep it out of the future.

SOLON & BEYOND: Rafting on the Kennebec in the ‘old days’

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

The only recent news I have received in time to get it printed is the following: Support your community. The Embden Community Center’s Neighbor Thrift Shop needs your help. Volunteers are needed in the Thrift Shop on Wednesdays 9 a.m. to noon, and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All Thrift Shop proceeds support the ongoing maintenance of the Community Center. As a volunteer you will get a first look at the fabulous donations we receive and a discount on your purchases. Thanks so much Carol.

In order to get any news in on time, I have to receive it by Sunday.

Those of you who read this column, know that I have been going back in time to hopefully send out news of the Good Old Days that you might enjoy in these troubled times. This week this news was published in the paper that I was writing for at that time….. the Somerset Gazette, in Skowhegan, on October 8, 1993, entitled, Rafting & More The Kennebec River, by Marilyn and Chandra Rogers.

“It came right so that I could go down to the Evergreens Campground on Wednesday morning and watch as students from Carrabec High School started on their journey down the Kennebec. The river lay heavy with a cold fog as guides from Unicorn Rafting Expeditions made sure the 36 rafts were ready for the young voyagers about to arrive in their assigned school buses. As each bus arrived, names were called for the students to embark in raft number one and so on down through the numbers and students waded in, rather gingerly at times as the water was crisp that morning. Everything was very well planned and the students were great. I heard the guy calling off the names of the students exclaim, “This is fantastic!” Along with the fun and comradeship, the students learned of the importance of the river economically and environmentally to this region.

I wanted to get an idea of the trip through a student’s eyes so asked granddaughter, Chandra to write her views of this different learning process and she said she had thought of writing a letter so that you, the taxpayer, wouldn’t be disturbed at this new method of teaching and I think she puts it so well as she writes. (The following words are written by Chandra) … “Rafting on the Kennebec”…. When I first heard the idea of the whole school of Carrabec rafting the Kennebeck River, I was surprised and excited at the same time. The idea of a whole high school working together as one unit was something new and different at Carrabec.

The week started out with a day trip on Monday of traveling around the Kennebec region seeing sites of importance and landmarks. Mixed in alphabetical order, we traveled on several buses to different stops of interest. We then all learned about Wyman Dam, eating there at lunch. The last stop was at the Piper Farm. We had an entire tour and saw many demonstrations on the care of cows, soil nutrition, farming equipment and how the river affects the land and soil around the farm. The trip ended with everyone receiving a hayride back to the farm.

On Wednesday, everyone arrived at school dressed and ready to go in warm clothes for our trip down the river. We then met with our rafting crew and waited to be told to get on the bus. When they called my boat, #27, we received our lifejackets and paddles and started off. When arriving at Evergreens Campground we were directed to our boat and jumped in to start our trip. Working together, the students paddled along in the direction of the lead boat, which had a guide. Then we traveled along the gently flowing river for quite a time until we reached an island designated for eating the cookout lunch prepared by the cafeteria cooks. After relaxing and talking with friends, we shoved off to continue in the last hour of our trip. When we arrived at the dump road in North Anson, we paddled the rafts to the indicated finish line. Then the students worked together to dump the water out of their rafts and they were loaded onto a trailer.

The whole trip was great fun for everyone and taught us much about the river being a recreational resource and that teamwork can be developed even if you aren’t with your closest buddies. I want to thank everyone that was involved in making these two trips possible and taking that risk of doing something new and exciting to bring all the students at Carrabec together as one, Signed, Chandra Rogers.

Knowing, Chandra, I’m sure she did really enjoy that experience to its fullest!…… and you know, as I typed that whole 27-year-old report I thought of a brilliant idea! I’m going to tell Chandra that if I ever get the good sense to quit writing, or even before!) she should be writing……? what do you think, Roland?)

Now for a brief memoir from Percy: To know Love is to know Life; To give Love is to know Happiness.

SOLON & BEYOND: Life as a precarious Lombard tractor steersman

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

Here it is already time to write another column for The Town Line paper after spending several days up in Leif’s special place, Aroostook County. He grew up there and many of his relatives still live there, so we went up and spent quite a lot of time visiting with all of them. His family is truly special and lots of fun like Lief, and we truly enjoyed all the laughter and love that was there.

There were much more beautiful colors in the trees up there than we have down here yet. The vastness of the landscape is overwhelming with its beauty. We both had a wonderful time and think about how we should go up more often, but the long…long…drive up there is very tiring for both of us.

Was also hoping that I would find lots more recent news like some of you sent for last week’s column, but no such luck! And so when I looked through my old stash of “History” I came up with this article that Robert Krumn wrote for some paper called Steer for Your Life – Sam. “Some people have never heard of a Lombard steerman, but then, there aren’t many of them around anymore. Before World War I, however, the men who steered Lombards were as much heroes to youngsters in Maine as astronauts are to kids today. They lived dangerously, walked with a swagger and made up to $4 a day – for as long as they steered, which wasn’t too long for some of them.

Sam White, my 81-year old neighbor in Alaska, is almost a legend in that state as one of the original bush pilots and early game wardens. He started flying open cockpit planes over untracked wilderness and arresting wild-eyed poachers in the late 1920s. Either job would have been adventurous enough for an ordinary man, but Sam is prouder about the years he steered a Lombard Steam Log Hauler through the forests of Maine than of all his later years of adventure in Alaska.

A steamer log hauler was the original crawler-type overland vehicle. It was invented by a homespun mechanical genius named Alvin Orlando Lombard, the precocious son of a back-country sawmill operator. Lombard didn’t consider the log hauler to be his greatest invention, but a lot of other people did, for it revolutionized the logging industry. Prior to steam power, lumbermen could only transport logs by river drives or horse-drawn sleds and drays. The log hauler allowed them to move logs from one valley to another, thus opening up previously inaccessible stands of timber.

Sam will never forget his first look at a Lombard.

It was in Eustis, Maine, one afternoon in 1901. At four-and-a-half miles per hour, a Lombard – with its rapid exhaust and musical whistle – sounded like a train going sixty. As there were no train tracks nearby it was obviously something new and exciting, so Sam’s teacher dismissed class to watch the first two Lombards ever made clatter past. Sam was enthralled; he had never seen anything nearly as thrilling as those 20-ton monsters. He set his heart on becoming a Lombard engineer.

In those days a boy didn’t have to wait long to become a man. Sam started working in the woods during his fourteenth winter. He was a swamper first, not a steersman, but at least he got to listen to the steersmen’s yarns when the lumber crew gathered around the heater in the bunkhouse at night.

For a youngster, Sam was big and strong, and he soon progressed from swamper to bucker, then faller and loader. The work was challenging and the pay was good. In 1908 Sam came out of the woods after 91 days with $91. Lumbering was winter work, so, in between seasons, Sam got what schooling he could and worked at his father’s farm and sawmill. He still had an itch to be a hero, though. His opportunity came in 1914 when the woods boss asked him if he was ready to try steering a Lombard.

Sam, of course, considered the request a great favor, but, actually, there weren’t too many woodsmen eager to take the job. The pay was good; better, in fact, than that of the other three crewmen – the engineer, the fireman or the conductor. But the chances for spending the pay weren’t too promising.

Lombards didn’t have brakes. Mr. Lombard wasn’t insensible to the dangers of going downhill without brakes. It was just that brakes wouldn’t work with a Lombard log hauler followed by 15 or 20 sleds full of logs. Brakes in front would cause a jackknife; brakes in the rear weren’t practical.

This didn’t cause the engineer, the fireman nor the conductor any great concern, because they could jump. But not so with the steersman. He sat wrestling a large iron steering wheel, in a little open shed, on the very front of the steam engine. It was too far for him to jump sideways, so he either steered or got squashed between the boiler and any tree that got in the way.

I’m going to end there for this day, as I’m afraid I’ve gone over my space already! I’m wondering if any of you men can even remember those old Lombards?

Just a short memoir from Percy: entitled Choice: Our lives are songs; God writes the words And we set them to music at pleasure; And the song grows glad, or sweet or sad As we choose to fashion the measure. (words by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.)

SOLON & BEYOND: Marijuana ordinance public hearing set

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

There will be a Marijuana Ordinances public hearing on Wednesday, September 16, at the fire station at 6:30 p.m. If input at the public hearing results in the ordinance committee deciding to further revise these draft ordinances, another budget committee meeting and public hearing will be required. The budget committee meeting and public hearing will be held on September 23, at the town office at 6:30 p.m., with the public hearing immediately following the budget committee meeting.

There will be a special town meeting on Saturday, October 3, at the Solon School at 10 a.m.

Again my thanks go out to more real up to date local news. The New Portland Community Library will begin its Sundays hours September 13 through May 31. Hours are 1 – 3 p.m. Closed September 6 for the Labor Day weekend. So the hours will be Sundays 1 – 3 p.m., Tuesdays 9 a.m. – noon, Wednesdays 4 – 6 p.m., Thursdays 1 – 3 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. – noon. The “free table” of books is just inside the door. All library items can be checked out for up to two weeks. We have plenty of new books and some DVDs to browse. Please come in and enjoy one of your free community services!

And now for one of Percy’s cheerful little memoirs these difficult times! Deal omly with the present, Never step into tomorrow, For God asks us just to trust Him And to never borrow sorrow – For the future is not ours to know And it may never be. So let us live and give our best And give it lavishly – For to meet tomorrow’s troubles Before they are even ours Is to anticipate the Saviour And to doubt His all-wise powers – So let us be content to solve Our problems one by one, Asking nothing of tomorrow Except “Thy Will be done.” (words by Helen Steiner Rice.)

SOLON & BEYOND: Thrift store, community center re-open

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

I was very happy to receive two e-mails with wonderful news this week! The first one was from Mary Frear and she wrote, The Embden Thrift Store, at the Embden Community Center, is back in operation. The new hours are Wednesday 9 a.m. – noon and Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Only five customers can be in the shop at the same time, and everyone must wear a mask. No one will be allowed to enter without one. Thank you for your always interesting articles. Keep up the good work! Sincerely Mary Frear. ( Thank you, ever so much for your kind words, I shall treasure them!)

Also received an e-mail from my faithful helper, Carol Dolan, and she wrote, Changes at the Embden Community Center; The Neighbor to Neighbor Thrift Shop will be open Wednesday’s 9 – 10 a.m. – noon and Saturday’s 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., ( not open on Friday’s )

Other events: Sewing – Wednesday’s 9 a.m. – noon, and Bone Building, 9 – 10 a.m. Thanks so much, Carol.

This week, because the above e-mails are the only local news that I have received, I am going to print some of the Solon and Beyond news of February 11, 2005, from the newspaper that my cat Percy and I started in January 2005.

At the beginning, it starts with these words: Perseverance (Percy) Rogers co-owner of SOLON and BEYOND

Would like to introduce you to my partner and supporter, Perseverance (a/k/a Percy). On bad days he is right there to cuddle with me, with one paw as far as he can get it around my neck.

Percy started out as a frightened stray kitten and was rescued by a family on Route 43. They called and told me about this sweet little female kitten that needed a home and it was love at first sight. I named her Faith, but as luck would have it, on the first trip to the vet, I found out that a boy’s name was needed instead. After a short time this little kitten started his true personality and hence Perseverance, or Percy for short.

Percy has many talents besides being a good cuddler, he is always at the door to welcome me home, loves to sing, (Amazing Grace is his favorite song!) He has become famous and much loved for his good advice in the columns I have written. As you can see from his picture, he is very intelligent and he’s promoting this book of meditations – for-cat lovers. Oh yes, he thinks he is a mighty hunter and is still looking for the mouse that got away! (For those of you who didn’t get the January 21, 2005, issue of this paper, I told of his letting a live mouse loose at my feet and how upset I got at him.) I must confess, there is a slight power struggle between us as to who who is really the “Boss!”

There was a lot of local news printed and then it continues with these words: One of the things I have always enjoyed over the years as a reporter, is hearing from people and then sharing their news. It is now early Thursday morning and we’re in the middle of a beautiful snowstorm. I quite often write this paper during different times and days, am finding that this is a full time job. The reactions that I get when I tell people that I’ve started my own paper, are basically the same, total amazement! It affects me like that some days, also. One day this week someone said to me, “What are you trying to do? You’re giving this paper away!” True….and had hoped for a miracle of some kind, but when the miracle doesn’t materialize immediately, you compensate. Sometimes you have to eat your words, as in this case, never say ‘never’! I had tried to sell ads for another paper for awhile last year and couldn’t reach the goal set for me and so I quit. I remember saying the words, “I’ll never sell ads, again, ever ! Well, you will notice that I have started selling ads again, and my many, many thanks for those who responded so graciously. (And you know, I did receive a miracle, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined your wonderful response to this little paper, my heartfelt thanks..)

And so with your great support, I have decided to expand to Bingham. And so the first story from there will start with a question. Can someone in Bingham tell us Solon people the story, (what, why, who did it and more) about the, as we call it, “Mystery Light,” on the river? Going north, it shines from the island, soon after you go by Goodrich Road. When I heard about it, I called Glen Wing and he said he had never seen it. So being a person who has to be shown, I have been up both during the day and night to witness the mystery for myself. If anyone has any information about this would you call or e-mail me, I love a mystery. End of that story: I don’t seem to remember all of that happening, hope some of you will clear that up for me.

This message that Percy is approving this week is from his favorite book, What My Cat Has Taught Me About Life. And it says, “To get a grip on a job that’s waiting, dig in with determination. Work past that imposing start, and get hooked on a dreaded task. Nothing productive in this world happens without hard work. Sharpen your character with a little gutsy determination, and sink your energies into that next project.”

SOLON & BEYOND: Looking back at my attempt to produce a weekly newspaper

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

This week’s column will be taken in part, from an article I wrote when my cat Percy and I started a paper of our own, dated March 25, 2005.

It starts with these words: Good Morning My Friends, Don’t Worry be Happy!

This week I am dedicating this issue to friendship. Would like to start with these words from Thomas Hughes: “Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s best gifts. It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of one’s self, and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another.”

Would like to say once again how much I appreciated the many, many kind and encouraging words I have received from so many of you in response to this little paper. Tears of joy have formed in my eyes more than once at your appreciation for my efforts to bring you love and laughter via the written word. To a certain extent this is the way I have always written, some editors have let me get away with it, some have not ! (Being the editor of this paper, I got away with it.)

Could write a book about editors, have written under many in the over 40 years that I’ve writing. This is a neat example of some of the support I have received from loyal readers when I was having a problem with an editor. This was many years ago when I was writing for the Somerset Reporter. This lady in her middle 80s, who didn’t have a license to drive, hired someone to take her to the Somerset Reporter office in Skowhegan. She had whoever had taken her to Skowhegan go in the office and bring the editor out so she could give him a piece of her mind. She was a lady who only needed a few words to get her message across. She helped my case immensely! As I said, I could write a book, but only once did I ever quit writing (for a short time) because of an editor! ( Roland is the perfect example of a wonderful editor!)

Now more on this paper I had started: And since this issue is dedicated to friendship, I am going to print a picture of some of the SCCEBDMSS members. For those of you who have never heard what those letters stand for, we are Solon Chapter Chowder Eating Beer Drinking Marching and Singing Society members. And to set the record straight, we are not a boozing bunch! They don’t know I’m putting this picture on the front page, it was taken 16 years ago, (sorry I can’t print it here) but they were Gloria Barnes, Dorothy Brown, Marge Adams and Alice Heald.

There was quite a bit of local news in, as it was back in the time when every thing didn’t get canceled!

And then I wrote, “Some of you who have been picking up these little papers since the first issue on January 15 will know that I couldn’t afford to give them to you forever. This is the seventh and last issue of, probably the smallest and shortest lived newspaper ever. I do believe that the newspaper business is in my blood, and when I couldn’t get the news printed in the paper I was writing for at the time I decided to start my own paper. Knew I couldn’t keep giving them away forever and prayed for a miracle. As stubborn as I am, don’t know how deep a financial hole I would have dug myself into if the miracle hadn’t materialized! Next week you will be seeing Percy and me once again in The Town Line. Those of you who pick up that paper will have started to see how much it has improved since Roland Hallee has taken over as editor.

Just a few facts about this little paper I started, the first week I printed 62 copies with two pages in it on my printer. I distributed them to the three stores here in Solon and to Pinkham’s Elm Street Market, in North Anson. The next three issues I also printed on my protesting old printer, and they were now up to three pages. By that time I had started checking out the cost of having them printed professionally because I was having to buy a print cartridge for each issue.

The fifth issue had a picture of my faithful helper Percy on the front page as well as a couple of ads and was printed by Deck Copy and the distribution is up to 170 papers a week, and again I can’t tell you, my friends how much I have loved your support. Didn’t realize it was going to be a full time job, I had become an editor/publisher, writer, ad salesman, business manager and paper deliverer.

I am going to print my financial statement so that you will understand that it takes money to run a paper and I hope businesses in this area will take out ads in The Town Line to keep it in Somerset County. My printing costs for the seven issues published …$231; received $20 for ads, making a total spent of $211, this doesn’t include money for gas, all the time I spent writing, postage for all the papers I mailed out. I’m not trying to make you feel sorry for me, just hope you know how much I want a small weekly paper in this area.

I have made many friends through my writing (and a few enemies) but can’t stress enough how much I have loved your appreciation for this little paper.

This week Percy approves highly of these words by William Penn: “A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.” (Editors note: Have had more comments on how much you like Percy’s good advice, he is one smart cat, the only problem is he knows it!)

I told Roland I didn’t know as I could go back to being a writer after being an editor, but I’ll do my best. My many thanks and love, Marilyn.

Percy’s memoir is short and to the point: Service to a just cause rewards the worker with more real happiness and satisfaction than any other venture of life. (words by Carrie Chapman Catt.)

SOLON & BEYOND: The conclusion to The Burial of Flagstaff

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

This will be the fourth and final column about the Burial of Flagstaff. I have heard from some of you who said you have enjoyed learning about the sad drowning of the Dead River and Flagstaff communities, I was greatly pleased.

By November 1949, the waters of the Dead River were beginning to back up behind Central Maine Power Company’s new dam at Long Falls as the project moved rapidly toward completion. Miniature lakes dotted the 29 mile-long tract, where for the previous year and a half, hundreds of men had been cutting trees and burning brush to clear the flowage area.

Water was already nearing the highway in the vicinity of the Ledge House hunting lodge and camps once owned by the late Blaine Viles, of Augusta. Bog Brook had overflowed its banks to the point where it had lost its identity as a brook.

When all the miniature lakes and the brook would merge into a great lake would depend on the severity of the winter and the spring run-off.

While a few stout-hearted residents of Flagstaff had “banked up for the winter,” most of the town’s residents had moved away. A few had moved to Solon, some to Anson and one family moved to Kingfield.

Evan Leavitt stayed on for a few weeks because of his business, keeper of the general store, because of the trade of the flowage and construction workers who were living in the abandoned homes; Percy Parsons Jr. drove the school bus and carried the children of the workers to the school in Eustis; and Duluth Wing, the snow plow driver, had to keep the roads open for the winter.

The old village of Flagstaff had become desolate. Abandoned dwellings were over-crowed with workmen employed on the dam. Dooryards were filled with trucks and machinery. Houses had been moved, others were razed and salvage lumber was stacked all about.The yard of the little church was filled with lumber and machinery. Windows were out and the door was gone. The hillside cemetery had vanished.

From Dumouline’s set of camps the contractors with the largest crew of workers, 125 men, had moved from the Bog Brook location to the village of Flagstaff where the men were living in the houses vacated by the residents moving to new locations.

The Flagstaff schoolhouse, erected in 1929, was being dismantled, with some of the equipment going to the Stratton schools which most of the pupils from Flagstaff and Dead River would be attending. Other equipment was given to the town of New Sharon whose school building had recently been destroyed by fire.

At a sale conducted by former superintendent Julian Thompson, 32 people showed up to help dispose of the material in the school. Eight were teachers at some time in the past. Textbooks and library books, paper and chalk were given to those who wanted them and chairs, teacher’s desks, radio-phonograph, and other equipment was sold to the highest bidder.

By now, a larger segment of the former Flagstaff settlement’s population was building a new settlement on the Eustis highway, in the township of Eustis near Cathedral Pines.

They called the new community, New Flagstaff

On the bank of the North Branch of the Dead River at the head of the storage lake made by the dam at Long Falls, where the new village was built, in the shadows of Mt. Bigelow, a flag raising took place.

Through the loyalty and patriotism of 80-year-old Capt. Cliff Wing, who was Flagstaff’s oldest male resident, the flag pole from the old village had been salvaged after it had broken and fallen into the lake. Wing towed the fallen flagstaff up the lake to the site of his new home, some six miles from its original location.

A few weeks earlier, he had been on the lake in his boat and as he neared the location of the flooded Flagstaff, he saw the flag pole broken and in the water. “I had a feeling of shame and it seemed to me that I could hear it saying, “captain, how could you do this, how could you leave me behind? Forty-five years ago you helped to cut and bring me from the woods and erected me to stand for that which has been the backbone of Flagstaff history, its part in the great expedition of Benedict Arnold and his men who passed this way. Wing said.

“I made up my mind that it should not be left behind and with the help of Luther Wing, we towed it home.”

The pole which was once 60 feet in height, was now only 40 feet tall because it had rotted away and had been reset three times, each time losing some of its length. Wing expressed his hope that the flagstaff would always be maintained, and if at some point, would no longer be tall enough to serve as a flagstaff, it could be put in a museum for future generation to know of the traditional Flagstaff.

With the actual evacuation of the two plantations completed and without legal residents and municipal officers, the question arose, “What next? Just how will affairs be closed off? Will it require a special act by the legislature ?

On March 5, 1951, Governor Frederick G. Payne signed two emergency bills taking effect at once surrendering the organization of Dead River and Flagstaff Plantations in Somerset County. The two communities had been officially written off on that day.