SOLON & BEYOND: A little knitting news

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

I’m going to start out with one of these 40 tips for a Better Life-2008.

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant. From time to time, I will use some of these suggestions to keep you happy in these troubling times. As you can see, I used this bit of news back in 2008, but I feel it is worth repeating. Number 2 is sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

Now for what little recent news I have received for this week… The Embden Community Thrift Shop will be open April 17, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Masks required. No donations will be accepted that day.

The only other e-mail I received to share with you is one that starts, Local Yarn Store (LYS) Day is coming up on April 17! This day was originally established so folks could show support for their local shops, but at Happyknits we’d like to show our gratitude to you for the support you provide us all year long. We’ll be giving away a $50 gift certificate to one lucky person who makes a purchase between Saturday, April 10 and Saturday, April 17. And Berroco Yarns is throwing their hat into the ring with an offer of a free 7-pattern ebook with the purchase of any of their yarns from our shop on LYSDay.

This week, I’m going back in time, again, this time in a bit of news I had written ( it doesn’t say what paper I was writing for at that time; but it starts like this: “Mary has been cleaning in her nursery school getting ready to open it again and when she took an old linoleum in a closet, underneath was an old Independent Reporter, dated July 21, 1921. In this old paper there was one article I had written entitled, “We All Have It”(this was written 62 years ago!). Then add on all the years since that paper came out.)

At that time, I wrote “We All Have It” and it goes on to say, We mean, of course , the speed mania, wish I could print it all but it rather lengthy – written by an editor who took a drive of 180 miles to observe the speed mania on the highways. It starts out like this …..”We all have it! We mean of course, the speed mania! No one can drive the public highways without being impressed that every man and woman and many children are afflicted with speed mania. It is a dire and dangerous disease . It is just as sure to lead to death as a cannon ball. This speeding is a disease just as truly as small pox is an affliction.

It ends with…”What’s the remedy?There is but one! That is for a law prohibiting the manufacturing of cars beyond a medium speed limit. The ordinary car one meets on a highway has a speed limit of 30 to 40 miles and many of them can tear along at the death-inviting rate of 60-70 miles per hour! We hold life so cheaply that unless these high speed cars are prohibited by law, not only hundreds but thousands of our people will die upon the public highways. Mangled and bleeding amidst the sand and dirt of the earth without an opportunity to arrange one’s business or say goodbye!

That was the end of that story, and I’m sorry to say it didn’t tell who had written the story that I copied there. It goes on to tell about the following: There was a headline that said, “Officers Capture Alleged Moonshiners In Woods South of Madison.”

Now here is Percy’s memoir written by John Greenleaf Whittier: from the Eternal Goodness: I know not what the future hath Of marvel or surprise, Assured alone that life and death, His mercy underlies: And so beside the Silent Sea I wait the muffled oar; No harm from Him can come to me on ocean or on shore. I know not where His Islands lift Their fronded palms in air; I only know I cannot drift Beyond His love and care.

SOLON & BEYOND: New Portland library to hold cutest pet contest

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

Received the following email from Carol Dolan and my many thanks for this recent news! She wrote: I’ve been asked to circulate the following from the New Portland Library Cutest Pet contest. Our activity for April is the “Cutest Pet” contest. Our pets have given us unconditional love, have been our faithful companions, and perhaps our best company over the past year. Pets include dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, pigs, you name it.

We are accepting entries throughout April; $5 per entry with a chance to win $25. Fill out an entry form telling us why your pet should win and submit a picture to the library. Winner will be chosen first week of May. The picture will be on display and will remain up for a time in the library to cheer us up.

They are located at 899 River Road, in New Portland. They are open Tuesdays and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. – noon and Sundays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Call us at 628-6561. Sheila Atwood; New Portland Community Library.

The old news this week is from an Old Somerset Reporter: “Somerset County’s hometown paper for 145 years.” This one was published January 31, 1985, and I was writing for it at that time.

The following officers were elected at the annual meeting of the Solon Federated Church held Friday evening at the Methodist Church Vestry. Clerk, Constance Hopkins; treasurer, Ellen Hills; Finance chairman, Marilyn Rogers; spiritual advance chairman, Gordon Ripley; pulpit decoration chairman, Peggy Rogers; benevolence chairman, Catherine Starbird; music chairman, Gordan Ripley, Sunday School Superintendent, Mary Walz; auditors, Perley Loomis and Albert Starbird.

Other news in this paper was: The blood pressure clinic will be held Monday, February 4, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Methodist Church Vestry.

That paper ended with these words: “Just want any of you who may have passed by last Thursday when I was stopped beside the road talking with that big handsome fella in the New England Tel. car to know I wasn’t having a secret rendezvous; that was my son, Mark! You know how gossip gets started.

This is going to be a rather mixed up column this week, I just came across an OLD Somerset Reporter, 1976, with lots of information about long ago river driving which I find really interesting, and hope you will, also. Won’t be able to get it all in this week. Will start with this story called Bert Morris remembers: Long logs and good men, West Forks – Bert Morris has lived his whole life near the Kennebec River. He was born close to its banks in 1889; he started driving logs in its headwaters when he was 15; he guided fishermen through its rapids and he still lives beside the river today.

If he was trying to be melodramatic, Mr. Morris might say he “loves” the Kennebec. But he doesn’t talk that way. His reminiscences are straightforward and factual. He talks about the river and the forests around it with an understanding that can only come from a lifetime of experience. He doesn’t need melodrama.

He started driving at 15 years old. Mr. Morris served as foreman for the Kennebec Log Driving Company for years. It was a post he earned. When he started, at age 15, he began at the bottom. “They started me out on a big, wide boom, maybe four or five feet wide. The logs went down a sluceway – long logs they were – and there were four or five men on each side with long pick poles to keep them straight. They could run a raft through pretty fast; everybody kept to his business,” he recalls.

That first job, with a driver named Daniel Burns, was at Indian Pond. After four years there, Bert Morris went to work for Jim Kinsley, on Moosehead Lake, a post he held for five years. “They towed the logs through Moosehead Lake with those big boats then. Then we’d sluice them into Indian Pond. That’s where the wind would start to work on them, and they’d pile up and jam, he remembers.”

That’s all the space I have room for at this time, if I’m going to get Percy’s memoir in. His memoir today goes way back in time also, and is called Practicing Penmanship : You may recall the copybook of schoolboy days with its well-worn look, And its rounded script of chaste design, That topped each page in graceful line. We took our stance all set to go, With a toe hooked firm in the seat below, And with vice-like grip on the old steel pen, We wrote up hill and down again, Carving our way at a creeping pace, With many a pucker and painted grimace, As over and under we wrote sage words, That meant far less than the singing birds, We could hear outside, as with labored scrawl, We did our stint at the master’s call.

SOLON & BEYOND: The time I let Percy write the column in my absence

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

I would like to start this column off with an apology: I am so sorry that I couldn’t get the story that was sent to me from the New Portland Library, but I didn’t receive it in time to do that. It was called a Breakfast Bake, Book and Movie Sale! Hope you had lots of people attending, it sounded like a really fun time!

Now, I would like to thank Roland from the bottom of my heart, for leaving Percy’s picture beside mine on our column, for all these years. For those of you who don’t know, Percy died quite a few years ago, and I still miss him every day, he was a very remarkable animal! I came across a small clipping that I found recently dated The Town Line – January 3, 2008, with only Percy’s picture; (Percy was alive and well at that time, and I had let him write our column that week because I was down in sunny Florida!)

Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy!

This is Percy wishing you the happiest of New Years! I am missing my human, she has been down in sunny Florida since before Christmas.

I am thrilled beyond belief that she is letting me write this column again, since so many of you have told her that you prefer my writing instead of hers.

Since I don’t have any real news to share, I have been reflecting on what subject to write about, think perhaps Happiness might be a good topic to delve into. Our by-line each week being, “Don’t Worry be Happy, and she’s been using it for years, before I started helping her. Does that make you stop and think just how happy you really are? Some quotes I can think of are, “Cheerfulness greases the axles of the world, ” “Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself,” “True happiness consists in making others happy.” But the one I like the best is, “There are two essentials to happiness: something to do, and someone to love.” It gives me great pleasure to behold the sappy look on my humans face when I lavish her with love, (I curl up in her lap and put my paw as far around her neck as I can and sing at the top of my lungs!) That is pure ectasy, and makes me happy also.

As I have told you before, the first thing she does when she gets up in the morning, even before she gets her breakfast, is to give me my dish of tuna fish, such love is beyond measure. Do I appreciate it ? You betcha! But must confess, I’ve been misbehaving ever since I heard her telling someone on the phone that she was going to Florida. She gets pretty upset when I do things I know I’m not supposed to but she comes around when I make up, unconditional love is the greatest!

Are you gaining insight about finding happiness from my words? I do hope so…. but to continue, with more wise words. When you do the things you do with love, you give life a gleam that most people only carry a glimpse of. Your attitude affects the outcome of so many things. Smiles inspire smiles. Reaching out brings people in. Looking on the bright side doesn’t entail being naïve and donning rose-colored glasses. It simply means leaving the cynicism and complaining to someone else, someone who will spend their whole life wondering why good things don’t come their way.

Being a positive person, someone who looks forward to so much, is not only rewarding, it’s refreshing. The wisest people on earth are those who have a hard time recalling their worries….and an easy time remembering their blessings. Now, my human has edited what I have written to share with you, but, will it get by the real editor? Have been told that she asked him once how much mushy stuff he would let her get away with. I’m pretty sure he likes me best and hopefully some of you have told him that you like my writing better than hers.

Anyway, my human and I would like to wish you the Happiest New Year ever! Signed by Percy. Editor’s note: Percy got many of these quotes from different books.

Just to let you know, to those of you who read this column, Roland has let me get away with lots of mushy stuff over the many years he has been my editor. and, I appreciate every bit of it! As far as Percy saying some of you like his writing better than mine…. that hurts!

SOLON & BEYOND: Pine Tree 4-H Club still active

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

I am so happy to have some recent news to share with you this morning. And I would like to thank Hailey Dellarma for sending it.

Solon Pine Tree 4-H met on Saturday, March 13, at the Solon Fire Station. In attendance were: Cooper and Kaitlin Dellarma, Lindsay and Charlotte Hamilton, Jillian and Desmond Robinson, Katelyn and Devyn DeLeonards, Autumn and Matt Ladd, and Isabella Atwood. There wasn’t any craft project during this meeting. Demonstrations were given by the following members: Devyn DeLeonards and Matt Ladd: DIY Knife Sharpener; Isabella Atwood: Guinea Pig Treats, Charlotte Hamilton: Fabric Guinea Pig Shelter; Linsay Hamilton: How to make a rope halter; Katelyn DeLeonardis and Autumn Lass: Kiss Cookies.

New News:

The club raised $209 on March 6 for the Solon Food Cupboard. The club members will be thinking of a possible Educational Exhibit for the Skowhegan Fair. The next meeting will be Saturday, April 9, at 9:30 a.m., at the Solon Fire Station.

I am so very pleased that the Solon Pine Tree Club is still going on for the young people in Solon, it is a wonderful group.

I also received an email from Margaret Chase Smith Library: It was this time a year ago that COVID-19 was beginning to shut down daily life in the United States. Since then we have all had to adapt to the new normal of restricted movement, limited capacity, and social distancing. While we have made progress, and hopefully crested the peak of the pandemic, the library is still operating under restrictions that will once again not make an in-person Maine Town Meeting possible this spring. They will, therefor, use the same format as last spring and offer another Zoom event. They are sticking to the original theme, although in greatly extended form, of using the Maine Bicentennial as a time to assess where the state has come from, where it is now, and where it should be headed in the future. Professor Liam Riordan from the Department of History at the University of Maine laid the groundwork last May with his lecture on Maine’s origins as a state. Next up on Friday, April 9, at 10 a.m., will be Bill Green. Drawing upon his four decades of experience as a broadcast journalist for WLBZ in Bangor and WCSH in Portland.

The final talk in the Maine Bicentennial town meeting series will also be via Zoom on Friday, May 21, at 10 a.m. “Thank you for staying ‘in this together’ through these unprecedented times. While the internet and Zoom have been indispensable tools during the pandemic,” said Director David Richards. They look forward to the day when they can welcome back everyone without the need for contact tracing forms, face masks, and social distancing signage. Now for a short explanation of why I didn’t have a column last week: Lief and I had gone to see if a store had the airplane models that he likes to put together and I had gone with him. There was a long flight of stairs to climb, and I made out just fine, but on the way down, I got to only two or three stairs left, and I don’t know what happened, but I fell, and I have a lot of black and blue places on my body. So I had to spend a few days in the hospital! It is great to be back at home and I’ll try to be wise and stay off stairs, ( for a while.)

My many, many thanks and love go out to all of you who have called or sent get well cards, it means a lot!

SOLON & BEYOND: Forty is the old age of youth…

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

I’m going to lighten up this morning after putting in so much about all the heartache and sadness of the flooding of Flagstaff. I’ll start with this little saying I found; “Forty is the old age of youth; Fifty is the youth of old age. As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.”

I am taking it from a yellowed old age clipping I found. It doesn’t have a year when it was printed, and it doesn’t tell what paper I was writing for at the time (but it certainly wasn’t The Town Line.) It starts out with these words: “I am going back in time again but only 62 years this time. Mary has been cleaning in her nursery school getting ready to open it again and when she took up an old linoleum in a closet, underneath was an old Independent Reporter, dated July 21, 1921. On the front page was the headline, “Old French Farm had Bridal Party. Earle Spaulding Wedding to Miss Esther French, Great-Granddaughter of Pioneer.” Couldn’t find any other Solon news, the closest being South Bingham and vicinity. Under the heading it said, Mr. and Mrs. Harry French are parents of a baby son, Carlton, born July 8. Albert Gehrker Sr, and family are enjoying a nice overland car. Albert Gehrke Jr. has bought the place where Harold York formerly lived and has moved his family there.

There was quite a bit of Stratton news and items from such places as Mainstream, Larone and Quinnebasset and with over 30 towns having columns. There was one article entitled, “We All Have It ” (this was 62 years ago!) Wish I could print it all but it is rather lengthy, written by an editor who took a drive of 180 miles to observe the speed mania on the highways. It starts out like this

“We all have it! We mean, of course, the public highways without being impressed that every man and woman and many of the children are afflicted with speed mania. It is a dire and dangerous disease. It is just as sure to lead to death as a cannon ball. This speeding is a disease just as truly as small pox is an affliction.” It ends with: “What’s the remedy? There is but one! That is for a law prohibiting the manufacture of cars beyond a medium speed limit. The ordinary car one meets on a highway has a speed limit of 30 to 40 miles and many of them can tear along at the death-inviting rate of 60-70 miles per hour! We hold life so cheaply that unless these high speed cars are prohibited by law, not only hundreds but thousands of our people will die upon the public highways. And what an awful death! Mangled and bleeding amidst the sand an dirt of the earth without an oportunity to arrange one’s business or say goodbye!”

There was a headline that said “Officers Capture Alleged Moonshiners I. Woods, South of Madison.” The paper then was the size of the daily paper now but with much smaller print. This issue had 14 pages and on the front it claims to be Maine’s Best County Weekly, Cost was 5 cents per copy or $1.50 a year. The correspondents didn’t get their names put in under their towns except Athens, and it said Bunker Hill-Athens. Does anyone know if that was a person’s name or a place there? Guess I’ll go put last week’s The Town Line under a linoleum someplace and in 50 or 60 years someone will find it and they’ll say, “Who was the nut writing Solon news way back then?

Hope all of you in Solon received 2020 Annual Report last week telling about the annual Solon Town Meeting, on Saturday, March 6, 2021, at Solon Elementary School. Election of town officials; 8 a.m. to noon. Town meeting is at 1:30 p.m.

Perhaps I’ve been back in the dark ages too long with what I’ve been writing about lately, because I haven’t had very much recent news sent to me, what do you think? Anyway, I came across a poem I had written back in 1943. On the outside it says Marilyn Houston English 1, Oct 4, 1943. The name of it was Saving Gas:

Some people go to the movies in cars, and that is luck,
But we have to go in a breezy old truck.
What do we care, if we only get there,
With many a song, our singing is rare.
We don’t have much style, But we have lots of fun,
The people of Stratton always know when we’ve come.

I got an A- for the above poem. But I can’t begin to tell you about all the fun we had going to the movies in my Uncle Perley’s BIG Old Truck; on cold winter times or the hottest of summer days! Flagstaff truly was a wonderful place to grow up, and to have lived in for a few years after I was married.

And now for Percy’s memoir in these difficult days: When things seem hopeless, trust God and do what’s right. First think: God is on my side! He wants to help me. Second say: I will rejoice and be patient through this hopeless situation. Next pray: ask God to help you trust in him. Finally obey patiently, wait, for God always keeps his promise, so you can depend on him to help you.

SOLON & BEYOND: Fires raged all around the town of Flagstaff

Flagstaff circa 1947. Three years later, whatever was left behind from three towns was buried under 80 billion gallons of blue water. (photo from Saltatavist.com)

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

Have been looking through my old scrapbook about living in Flagstaff in the time before having to move because of the dam that was being built and reading about all the fires that threatened us. Some were worse than others: One of the old papers that I have reads: Farm Homes Destroyed. Flames which consumed three farmsteads and several small camps in the Dead River region brought on an evacuation. About 37 families were said to have left their dwellings. Meanwhile Burbank, armed with a portable pumper, defied the flames and refused to leave his Dead River home.

He lives with his wife, son and visiting daughter at the upper end of Dead River Plantation, about one fourth of a mile from Route 16. At times the buildings were encircled by nearby fires, but Burbank kept the dwellings well watered down with the pumper. Water is obtained from the Dead River in the rear of his home.

Nine permanent families and several power project workers made up the evacuation. Furniture Piled High: The furniture of about 17 families was piled high in the yard of Robert Hall, a former town officer of the Dead River, who recently moved to Lexington. Huge billows of smoke shrouded 4,150-foot Mt. Bigelow and observers were unable to determine how far up the peak’s side the flames have reached, according to the Associated Press. The smoke was visible in Bingham, 20 miles distant.

Another fire in Flagstaff that was printed starts with these words: On Thursday afternoon fires began to get out of hand and by 5 p.m. the fire above the village had advanced to the Walter Hinds’ farm, a distance of a mile, with a strong wind blowing the flames and smoke swiftly toward our town. It looked very serious for about an hour and many were the boxes and suitcases packed with valuables to be ready for instant evacuation of our homes. But a slight shift in the wind and quick action of the firefighters changed our fears to just concern. On Thursday and Friday the same thing happened – morning would find us hopeful that at last the fires were under control. By noon the smoke would be back and rolling in billows and state fire trucks, Central Maine Power men and out of town firefighters would begin rushing about in their efforts to control the fires which threatened to become very serious for the town. Late Saturday afternoon a new fire on the Plains in an old lumbering area began to grow and advance swiftly in spite of all the efforts of the firefighters. Again the road was closed and people began gathering their valuable papers and precious belongings into bags for a quick get away if necessary. A fire at the foot of Flagstaff Pond had advanced to the foot of Jim Eaton Hill and in the old cutting of several years ago, going to the top of the hill and down the east side. It was gaining in seriousness, and the guests at Camp Adeawanda at Springl Lake were evacuated, upon the advice of the fire wardens, to the Green Farm, in Coplin.

I can’t begin to describe how really terrible that time was for everyone during all the fires and knowing that we were going to be driven from our homes because of the building of the dam!

Sorry to write such a dismal column but the proposed Central Maine Power Co. Corridor brings back so many memories. It hurts my heart the most, that so many of our beautiful trees will be cut and it will destroy the beauty of Maine. … with no benefits for Maine people.

In going through all my old papers I came across this e-mail from The Town Line paper dated December 2, 2003. Had not been able to remember when I started writing for it (But it was evidently a letter I wrote asking some questions, like do you want pictures, and if so how often, etc. ?) When Roland called and asked if I wanted to write for The Town Line, I asked him if I should write the same kind of column I had written for the Somerset Gazzette. He said, “Yes”.

Some day when I get time, I’m going to try and figure out all the papers I have written for over all these many years. I have written for The Town Line longer than any other paper and it is fun, (my goodness, I didn’t remember, it has been 18 years! What other editor would let me put in my dead cat’s memoirs?!

And here is this week’s Percy’s memoir. “The Secret of Living”: Make each day a magnificent adventure. Accept the challenges that come your way. Seize each opportunity that you find. Without concern for what others might say. Experience each day with open arms. Savoring both victory and strife. Welcoming the good and the bad together. For only then will you know the joy of life.

SOLON & BEYOND: Yore Upscale Resale Shop is unique

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

How time flies! Here it is already February 15, as I sit here to write this column. I do have one wonderful item to tell you about: One day last week, Lief and I went to North Anson to the Yore Upscale Resale Shop which had opened last year on October 3, 2020. Hadn’t heard a thing about this wonderful place and would like to thank the person who shared this information (actually, I overheard someone talking about it, and my always big ears were open wide). It was on a COLD blustery day so I didn’t get too much information, but I intend to go back, the love and atmosphere in the building spoke wonders to this nosy long time writer. Anyway, this wonderful shop is in the building in North Anson that used to be used as a medical office as you go into North Anson from Solon. It is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and is run on donations and good hearts. They put things out daily, and every room was full of very nice things; many of them free. There were only two women working and they said that so far they have been doing well.

As we were leaving a young couple came in with a small boy with a grin from ear to ear, and one of the women said, “He comes in every week.”

I would say that much more is being accomplished by the love shared. I was told that four domestic violence families have been relocated with clothing, furniture, dishes and décor, etc. They have helped a few cancer victims with gas to get to places they needed to go. Bought food, donated variety of things to school, etc. Not sure of the name of the woman who is in charge of this wonderful place, but I will return and find our more.

That is all I have for recent news, and so I will continue to fill you in on old news, and it is more about Flagstaff and the ones who once lived there, and how they felt about being driven from their homes by the flooding of Flagstaff by Central Maine Power Company. I can’t think of very many of my friends and family that are still living to remember the fires and destruction that took place back in the building of the dam in the 1940s . This is one of many clippings I have of all that took place back during the days when the fires threatened their houses. This is one of them, “Flagstaff People Prepare To Leave Town Due To Fire.” It was written by Olena V. Taylor. She tells about the Old Home celebration and then goes on to tell about cleaning up after the celebration with these words, ” But we certainly couldn’t go back to normal, On Thursday afternoon, fires began to get out of hand and by 5 p. m. the fire above the village had advanced to the Walter Hinds farm, a distance of a mile, with a strong wind blowing the flames and smoke swiftly toward our town. It looked very serious for about an hour and many were the boxes and suitcases packed with valuables to be ready for instant evacuation of our homes. But a slight shift in the wind and a quick action of the firefighters changed our fears to just concern. On Thursday and Friday the same thing happened – the morning would find us hopeful that at last the fires were under control. By noon the smoke would be back and rolling in billows. Out of town firefighters would begin rushing about in their efforts to control the fires which threatened the town. Late Saturday afternoon a new fire on the Plains in an old lumbering area began to grow and advance swiftly in spite of all the efforts of the firefighters. Again the road was closed and people began gathering their valuable papers and precious belongings into bags for a quick get away if necessary. A fire at the foot of Flagstaff Pond had advanced to the foot of Jim Eaton Hill and in the old cutting of years ago, going to the top of the hill and down the east side. It was gaining in seriousness and the guests at Camp Adeawanda at Spring Lake were evacuated to the Green Farm, in Coplin, upon the advice of the fire wardens. But fortune smiled again. Sunday morning we awoke to the most welcome sound of all – the patter of rain. A steady downpour all day put out the smaller fires and diminished the ferocity of the larger ones. Now we are looking ahead to a more normal living and to the enjoyment of our last summer as residents of Flagstaff.

That is just one of the many heart hurting stories of the sad days leading up to when we would have to leave our cherished home town of Flagstaff.

There are many more! …. That is probably why I dislike the proposed Central Maine Power Co. Corridor through Maine. It will take away much of Maine’s beauty by cutting so many of our beautiful trees and the fires it may start in our most beautiful state.

I have many more stories that I could tell about the sadness of being driven from our homes in Flagstaff, and one of the things that makes me sad is that I am just about the last one left to remember all of what it was like when the above happened.

Now for Percy’s memoir entitled Risks: To Laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To Weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To Reach Out for another is to risk involvement. To expose Feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place Dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss. To Love is to risk not being loved in return. To Hope is to risk despair. To Try is to risk failure. But the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing. They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live…. Only a person who risks is free. (I’m not sure who wrote the above: I had copied it by hand and the name written was Janet Rand; If by chance, Janet should read this column, I think it says so much and I thank you.)

SOLON & BEYOND: Going back to when Flagstaff died

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

It brought back many memories of what was happening in Flagstaff and the Dead River area way back then! It is taken from a very old paper, probably almost 50 years ago; yellow with age and ripped in places. There are no words left of what newspaper it was printed in, or who wrote it; (but it wasn’t me!) Some of the headlines say, Dead River Dam; Maine’s Hydro – El…words that finished some of that part were missing.

Maine’s hydro-electric output will be increased by thousands of kilowatts with the completion of a giant multi-million dollar project now in its initial stages at Dead River .

Already axes have sounded clearing away the heavy timber growth to open up the area where the engineers and construction crews will build a dam which will create a 26-mile long lake increasing the Kennebec River storage capacity by one-third. The entire project is expected to be completed sometime during the summer of 1950, culminating years of studies, surveys and preparations.

Like all progress, it will not be accomplished without some heartaches, for the waters to be backed up by the dam will cover the land on which is now located the little community of Flagstaff.

In 1944 the population of the sparsely populated plantation was given as only 97 and since that time most of these people have gradually moved away. Still the few remaining ones, sadly watched the preparation for construction of the dam which will inundate their land and that of their forefathers. But land purchases started 20 years ago and they knew that someday the dam would be built.

They will receive financial remuneration for their property losses but will look with regret as the waters slowly rise over the land of their childhood memories .

However, their nostalgic losses will be far outweighed by the benefits the new dam will bring to the rest of Central Maine in electric power output and river control.

Added Power Capacity: The Dead River storage basin will contain no generating equipment at its Long Falls dam but never the less will provide additional prime capacity from the Central Maine Power Company’s five generating stations on the Kennebec River.

This will amount to an estimate 17,000 kilowatts and capacity for periods of short duration up to 30,000 kilowatts.

Provisions will be made in the construction for the installation of a generating unit at some future time.

Situated between two high points of land split by a narrow flow of white water known as Long Falls in the southeast corner of Township 3, Range 4, the dam site is in part of Somerset County near the Franklin County line. This point is 20 miles from The Forks where the Dead River empties into the Kennebec River some 16 miles above the huge Wyman Station near Bingham.

Backing up from this 25-foot high 500-feet long dam will be a new lake created along a tortuous section of Dead River. In some places it will spread out over low lying lands and in others it will be confined by shaped, 26-mile long lake will rest on the new dam at Long Falls.

(The next couple of inches got torn off in this old paper sometime in its long life, so I will skip down a bit.)

Participating with the Central Maine Power Co. in the dam construction of the $4,800,000 project are the Hollingsworth and Whitney Co. and the Great Nothern Paper Co., both of which have plants on the Kennebec River. Thus far, work in the project has been confined to clearing operations and construction of roads into the site of the dam. The W.H. Hinman Co. has made considerable progress on the new road with the coming of Spring.

I will be continuing with more from that old paper next week, and probably some about all the fires that were around us during those sad days.

But as always; here is Percy’s memoir: Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance, self control, diligence, strength of will, content, and a hundred other virtues which the ungrateful will never know.

Don’t worry, be happy, especially on Valentine’s Day.

SOLON & BEYOND: The day Percy walked into my life

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

In my continuing effort to write a column without any recent news, I’m going to put in old news again! This one goes way back to February 11, 2005! Percy was still alive back then and we had started a paper of our own!”

It starts out, “Perseverance (Percy) Rogers co-owner of SOLON and BEYOND and I were going to go to Florida to visit some of my family. It starts out, ” Would like to introduce you to my partner and supporter, Perseverance (alias 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 boys 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) must confess, there is a slight power struggle between us as to to who is really the “Boss!”

I had quite a bit of town news in these small papers that I delivered. The old story continues with these words: “It is now early Thursday morning and we’re in the middle of a beautiful snow storm. I quite often write this paper during different times and days, am finding that it 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 uttering 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 up to 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 the Goodrich Road.” ( I’m sure that mystery has been solved long before this issue comes out in February 1, 2021!

Percy died a few years ago, and I’m still missing his help, so I’m going to print his message in that long-ago paper: “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.”

(Editor’s note: After proof reading this week’s paper I would like to add the following saying told to me by a fiend. “Always make a mistake in something you do, it will give your enemies something to gloat about, and your friends won’t care!”)

To all of you who have lost a pet at some time, and still miss them, and need something to give you a good laugh, I hope this works: It is taken from a little book called The Last Laugh, and it says Epitaph to an unhappy marriage: “Within this grave do lie, back to back, my wife and I. When the last trump the air shall fill, if she gets up, I’ll just lie still.

SOLON & BEYOND: South Solon meeting house

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

Since I don’t have any recent news, again this week, I am going to put in a short history about the beautiful old church in South Solon, called the South Solon Meeting House.

The South Solon Meeting House was designed in 1841. A small group of men was responsible for the persevering and the financial assistance necessary for the business of building. A South Solon Meeting House Corporation was formed in 1841. The members of the corporation was formed in 1841. The members of the congregation agreed that a bond for the building be put up through the purchase of shares in the corporation. One church pew was to be considered a share. There were 44 pews and when the total number fell short of subscription, the unsold pews had to be purchased by a few of the already existing shareholders. The final price to build was $475. The building was completed before Christmas, and on January 4, 1843, the congregation assembled to dedicate the new house at the crossroads .

Underneath the new Meeting House Gallery, a stove warmed the winter air. Three ministers of different denominations took part in the service.

During the 1920s new highways began to appear throughout Maine, but South Solon did not lie on any direct or traveled route. It no longer had a post office; there was no “corner store.” After the schoolhouse was closed, the area was made part of the Solon School District, and the children taken to the village by bus. The Meeting House center of the life of a small rural congregation, stood inanimate.

The reopening of the South Solon Meeting House after 35 years of being abandoned is a story which begins during the 1930s, when a Maine Woolen Manufacturer named Willard H. Cummings and his wife, Helen Warren Cummings, purchased the fields which adjoined the meeting House land. Mrs. Cummings led a cooperative effort for the repair of the building. Because of the efforts and community interest, repairs commenced during the summer of 1939 with paint, shingles and other supplies donated, and labor willingly volunteered.

During the summer of 1940, services were held regularly every other Sunday afternoon. In keeping with the original proposition that the building be interdenominational, ministers of various sects were invited.

A bold turn in the history of the South Solon Meeting House evolved during the 1950s in a project of five years duration, the interior walls were decorated with fresco paintings by artists from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

(Information was taken from the book, The Story of A Meeting House, by Mildred H. Cummings, published by The South Solon Historical Society, 1959 )

Have told you that I am going through old papers in an effort to straight them out, I came across the following letter in 2012. I’m not going to put the name of the person who sent it, but it is one of the ones that keep me writing! It starts with these words… “I was especially impressed with Marilyn Roger’s column. The story started out tame enough with the news about the super map brought to the Solon Elementary School. The real treat came when Marilyn went on to describe journalism.”Always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice and corruption …These days so many news personalities (I am reluctant to call them journalists), fail to remember the original purpose of the press. The quote from Edward R. Murrow certainly reminded me of one of my journalistic heroes.

It was refreshing to hear so many words of truth from someone writing for a local “free” weekly paper. Someone once said, “The best things in life are free. (This news was in the free The Town Line paper!)”

The person who sent the above letter to me goes on; “I hope that people will always be able to enjoy the results of your effort to publish the truth, both small and large. I do wish you well and hope local folks continue to support your endeavors. My many, many thanks for those kind words that do keep me writing!”

And now for Percy’s memoir: May you have the grace to ask God: To give you judgment to see the right courage to choose the right, and willingness to follow the right; To build on faith rather than on doubts; To move forward in the hope of what can be accomplished and not be held back by what cannot be done; The possibilities in the new and not be paralyzed by the difficulties to be overcome; To discover a sense of mission that life may be important and purposeful for you rather than dull and purposeless; To measure values in terms of service to others rather than benefit to self—Ask always, Is there a better way?