SOLON & BEYOND: Quite a bit to tell you about this week

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

This week I will start out with these few small words of cheer! Cheerfulness is contagious, but don’t wait to catch it from someone else. Be a carrier! Author Unknown.

It is taken from a December 5, 1997, Carney Brook Chronicle: It’s nice to share with you again.

Since I have quite a bit to tell you about , I’ll get right to it … Benjamin Safford was recently presented with the Boston Post Gold Cane by Solon Selectmen, as Solon’s oldest resident. The cane was presented to him at his home on York Street where he has lived for the last 25 years. Two of his daughters, Glennis Rogers and Gladys Rogers and his granddaughter , Linda French were present.

Ben was born in North New Portland on April 29, 1904 , the son of Russell and Emma Jackson Safford. He went to school in Dead River , then to Anson Academy for one and a half years, and Kingfield High School for one and a half years, He married Methyl Morris on September 30, 1922, and they had four daughters: Glennis Rogers and Gladys Rogers of Solon, Betty Wyman of Stratton, and Elsie Laughin of Raymond.

Ben worked as a watch on Mt. Bigelow from 1922 until 1930 and brought a truck and worked on the roads in Dead River. While working the roads in dead River. While as a watchman he took courses in drafting . blue print reading , and surveying from the international Correspondence School. He worked for Glen Viles building a cookroom, dining camp, and guide camp at West Carry Pond.. Ben also trapped and had a Maine Guide license. During World War 2 Ben and Methy moved to Scarborough where he worked at the South Portland Shipyard, on Portland Harbor defense, and a large seaplane hangar on Long Island .He worked for W,H. Hinman as a boss carpenter for over 26 years , worked on the Dead River Hatchery several bridges in Bath and Augusta , the Veterans Bridge in Portland and the Old OrchardSewage Treatment Plant , as well as working at both Brunswick Naval Air Station and Limestone Air Force Base. After he retired Ben wrote a book Some History of the Dead River Valley, which sold over 290 copies. He joined the Masons and OES at the age of 21 and has ben an active member ever since. My love and best wishes go out to Ben.

And now to end this weeks story with another one I had written about something totally different. (also in that same paper.) And so now I’m going to end this column with a wild story and possibly you skeptics won’t believe it! I have always heard the phrase, “gnashing “of teeth, “but had never actually heard the sound until last evening out under my clothes line. I was starting to take my clothes off the line when I heard the sound behind me. Turning , I looked eye ball to eye ball with one of my backyard wood chucks. It looked like rain and I wanted to get the clothes in so I threw a large object at it and hit creature but instead of running away like he was supposed to do he charged me. I took off running for the house as fast or faster than I did the time I tried to catch Clarence’s run away truck! I caught two of these critters last year in a Have- A- Heart trap but I,m not sure that I have that much heart where these pests are concerned this year.

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I would like to get the recent results of the voting at the polls on November 2 out to the people in Solon. The results were sent to me by Leslie A. Giroux, town clerk and tax collector, register of voters and deputy treasurer,, on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, at 8:33 p.m.

Question # 1 – Citizens – Initiative: Yes – 275, No – 95. Question # 2 – Bond – Issue: Yes – 221, No 144.

Question # 3 – Maine Constitutional Amendment: Yes – 246, No – 121.

Another piece of recent news was very much appreciated was about a Holiday Craft Fair at the New Portland Community Library, to be held on Saturday, December 4 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. They will also be hosting a bake sale at this time in the library. Tables still available for $10. Contact the library for more information or reservation! Please note – they currently have lots of National Geographics for the taking. They are located in the entryway.

Contact information: Sheila Atwood, Librarian, New Portland Community Library, 899 River Road, New Portland, Maine 04961. 628-6561.

Many thanks go out to Carol Dolan, also, who sends me news quite often.

Now for something different, and I hope if you need some cheering up, that what I am going to write is from one of my favorite books, called Sunny Thoughts: Words to Keep You Smiling, Shining, and Looking on the Bright Side. It is written and edited by Suzanne Moore.

The following is called An Introduction: I hope it helps any of you who may be having a bad day. Everyone has those days when it feels the sun has forgotten to shine – days when nothing feels right. And so I’ll send these words out to those of you who may be feeling down. (I used it in an attempt to cheer someone up in an article I wrote back in October 14, 2010: “Real optimism is being aware of problems but recognizes the solutions, knows about difficulties but believe they can be overcome, sees the negative but accentuates the positive, is exposed to the worst but expects the best, has reason to complain but chooses to smile.” The above words were by William Arthur Ward.

Hope you are out enjoying the beautiful colors of Fall.

SOLON & BEYOND: I’ve been feuding with my computer

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

Sorry I haven’t had anything in the paper for a few weeks, I have been feuding with this computer, big time, so I am crossing my fingers, and praying that it goes this week!

When I wrote one of the columns, I think the following news didn’t get in about a couple of items from the Solon Elementary School. Bus questions or concerns? If you have general questions or concerns? If you have general questions about busing, please call our transportation Director Lorie Agren at 431-8812. When your children are on the bus and you have concerns about pick-up or drop-off, please call Bonnie White in the morning at 696-3100 or Candy LeBeau in the afternoon at 635-2209, and they can radio the bus driver.

Staff member in new position is Mrs. Amanda Deleonardis who has moved from her position as a Title I ed tech to a teaching position as a learning interventionist at our school. This new position, funded by coronavirus relief funds, provides us with more support for students needing interventions in literacy and math to help them to be successful.

I am pretty sure that I might have sent this before, but just to be sure, it is: Need a Christmas present? Please order by November 15 to allow for timely delivery as there are delays with USPS. Contact Emily Quint 635-2231

The following are for sale: Embden Town of Yore book, $40 ( +$ 5.50 if shipping is necessary) Original price was $60; South of Lost Nation book with Index $20 ($4.50 if shipping is necessary) South of Lost Nation ( Index only $3 ( $4 if shipping is necessary) Afghans (2004 Bicentennial) $25. ( +$9++ if shipping necessary) Embden Map (Historical) $2 + shipping, and Embden Map ( Streets and Roads) $ 2) .

The above is all the recent news that I could round up. I did start up the “teacher-less painting club a month ago at the Skowhegan Adult Ed classes, several people have asked how many years I have been doing that. I really don’t know for sure but I found some information on a poster I had made about that club. It was an article I had written for The Town Line back on April 13, 2006, with a picture they had taken of club members at that time. That was a meeting when we were going to come up with a name for this club, so it has been going on for some time before that. I came up with the crazy idea of calling it a teacher-less-painting club. When I arrived the first night I was given the attendants folder with M. Rogers, “Instructor” on the cover. The first night those who attended were, Suzanne Currier , Shirley Foxwell, Linda Sullivan, Gerda Pilz Betty Dow, Dana Hall, Linwood Turcotte, Peter Foxwell and me. There have been many, many wonderful painters and friends that I have met over those 15 years and I hope they have enjoyed it as well.

The times have changed so much in the last few years and when I started going through old newspapers it was very evident. There used to be so much local news about what everyone was doing, etc., but that has all changed. I still enjoy trying to find different things to write about…… and when I found this old, old letter that I received back in 2007, it made me feel really good. It is from Ron Colby, a person I had never met, and still have not. He wrote, “Hi Marilyn, My name is Ron Quimby, I live in China, Maine. I am married and have a 14-year-old daughter who attends Erskine Academy. I wanted to write to let you know that I love all of your articles in The Town Line. I work at China Middle School and at a store at the head of China Lake. I always grab a paper as soon as it is delivered to our store and look for the Somerset County News where I know I’ll see an article from you and Percy, too. I enjoy all your news from the Solon area. You are a very interesting person and I hope you keep writing for a long time. Keep up the good work! Thank you. Ron Quimby.”

I was very pleased when I came across that old letter and if he is still reading my columns, as I hope he does (when I get the best of this machine of mine and it gets printed). My many, many Thank you goes out to Ron Quimby.

SOLON & BEYOND: Pine Tree 4-Hers meet in September

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

The Solon Pine Tree 4-H Club met on Saturday, September 11, at the Solon Fire Station. In attendance were Kaitlin Delarma, Jillian & Desmond, Robinson, Katelyn & Devyn DeLeonardis, Isabella Atwood. There wasn’t any craft project during this meeting. Members re-tagged their projects to exhibit in the New Portland Fair.

Members received their fair money from Dover and Skowhegan fairs.

At the Skowhegan State Fair, the club received a blue ribbon on their Educational Exhibit and four members received Best of Show with their projects. The club also received the People’s Choice Award at the Skowhegan Fair. The October meeting starts a new year of 4-H. Children nine years old and older are welcome to join at the next meeting to sign-up.

Next meeting will be Saturday, October 9, at 9:30 a.m., at the Solon Fire Station. My many thanks go out to Hailey Dellarma for sending the above news about the club.

And I also received a very welcome letter from the Solon Elementary School: The Principal’s Message: Welcome back to school to students who have been with us and those who are new to our school. We hope it will be a great year! We continue to follow the Maine CDC recommendations regarding physical distancing (three feet), hand washing, and symptom screening. Parents have the option of whether they want their child to wear a mask, although masks must be worn, by law, on school buses. Our goal is to keep our students and staff healthy and safe and to keep our school open.”

The principal can be found at Solon Elementary School on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons and Tuesday and Thursday mornings. At other times you can find him at his other school, Garret Schenck Elementary School, in North Anson. Secretary Mrs. McFadyen will be happy to help you get in touch.

Mrs. LaChance is our lead teacher again this year so she will help with a number of things including planning activities and handling discipline. We appreciate your support of your children’s education. Let us know how we can help you.


We want to thank people and organizations who have donated school supplies to our school this fall. Mrs. Ann Jackson, New Hope Women’s Shelter Madison Health Center United Way of Mid-Maine, thanks for your support!

We have several new staff members who joined our team this fall. We hired a new first grade teacher, Ms. Rachel Layman, to replace Mrs. Carol Campbell, who retired last spring. Ms.Layman, a Solon native and Carrabec High School graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Maine at Farmington. Last year she worked at our school in the pre-school program.

MS.LAYMAN: In Tittle I we have a new staff member. Ms. Samantha Taylor grew up in Anson and graduated from Carrabec as well as the University of Maine at Farmington with two bachelors of fine arts degrees, one in visual arts and one in music. She will work with Mrs. Rogers to support students in their learning. We also have a new physical education teacher, Mr. Paul Caplan. Mr. Kaplan graduated from Carrabec High School and the University of Maine at Presque Isle. He will teach P.E. at Solon, Garret Schenck, and CCS to students in grades K.-5.

STAFF MEMBER IN NEW POSSION: Mrs. Amanda DeLeonardis has moved from her position as a Title I ed tech to a teaching position as a learning interventionist at our school. This new position, funded by coronavirus relief funds, provides us with more support for students needing intervention in literacy and math to help them to be successful.

I will finish that one up next week.

Now for a quick word from Percy: “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.”

SOLON & BEYOND: A few words from the Carney Brook Chronicle

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

This week I am starting out with a few words from an old July 14, 1997, The Carney Brook Chronicle. It begins: I promised you there would be a sequel to my last column’s wild woodchuck story, but it’s just like one of those movies where you have to guess at the ending. I have not seen that vicious varmint since. (The day that I wrote the column I wanted to use the word “varmint” as an apt description of the woodchuck . I just hope the I just hope the animal didn’t have rabies and crawled off and died. When I called the warden service they thought that was odd behavior for a woodchuck. Animals always tend to like me but there is a question with some people. Those of us who “tell it like it is” aren’t as popular as those with numerous faces.

The following words are from another Carney Brook Chronicle on September 26, 1997 paper. Talk about an early start, here I sit at my typewriter at 2:30 a.m., on Tuesday morning! This is the first for me, but I turned and twisted since midnight so I decided to start the day early. I laid in bed thinking, what shall I write and how shall I write it? so here goes…! I received the official notification from the selectmen last evening that the “Welcome to Solon” signs that they had painted would be unveiled on Monday morning, September 29. I was told that the selectmen were going to have signs made several weeks ago and had tried to convince them that they should let the people vote on what would like to say on the signs since we’re having a special town meeting, and these signs were to represent the town. When I had been told about these welcome signs I asked how much they would cost and was told $400, and when I asked what account that sum would be taken from, Smiley said, “Scrap metal”. Since I am a firm believer in democracy and the right of the people to vote, if given a chance, this entire matter has disturbed me greatly. But it has also proved to me beyond a reasonable doubt why apathy abounds in our country today. At this point some of you are probably saying, ” Why doesn’t she go back to bed? I had, and as I laid there thinking, why can’t I go with the flow and not care, as is the tendency these days. I think the question was answered by a quote from Thomas Jefferson. “In matters of principle, stand like a rock, in matters of taste, swim with the current.”

And now for one more bit of information about a really good friend of mine. This in the December 5, 1997, Carney Brook Chronicle. On November 10 Benjamin Safford was presented with the Boston Post Gold Cane by Solon Selectmen Charles Johnson, Robin Robinson, , and John Sillars Jr.’ as Solon’s oldest resident. The cane was presented to him at his home on York Street where he has lived for the last 25 years. Two of his daughters, Glennis Rogers and Gladys Rogers, and his granddaughter, Linda French were present.

Ben was born in North New Portland on April 29,1904, the son of Russell and Emma Jackson Safford. He went to school in Dead River, then to Anson Academy for one and a half years, and Kingfield High School for one and a half years. He married Methy Morris on September 30,1922, and they had four daughters: Glennis Rogers, and Gladys Rogers, both of Solon, Betty Wyman, of Stratton, and Elsie Laughin, of Raymond. Ben worked as a watchman on Mt. Bigelow from 1922 until 1930, brought a truck and worked on the roads in Dead River. While working as a watchman he took courses in drafting, blueprint reading, and surveying from the international Correspondence School. He worked for Glen Viles building a cookroom, dining camp, and guide camp at West Carry Pond. Ben also trapped and had a Maine guide license. He was a very busy man and had several other jobs as well. After he retired, Ben wrote a book, Some History of the Dead River Valley, which sold over 290 copies. He joined the Mason and OES at the age of 21 and has been an active member ever since. My love and best wishes go out to Ben.

And now for Percy’s memoir: Life’s Rainbows: Oh, I wish I had a rainbow, I am waiting for a sign, To brighten things around me, Leave the shadows all behind. Then I put aside the wishing, And the waiting time is gone, Now it’s time to make things brighter With some rainbows of my own. (Mildred H. H. Bell)

SOLON & BEYOND: It doesn’t pay to get a swelled head

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

It doesn’t work to get a swelled head, take it from one who knows! I just called Roland thinking I could ask him if he would use last week’s column that didn’t get printed, in this weeks paper? His answer was, “I never got it.” And this is why, I had stopped calling every week to make sure it had gone and he had received it! My head had gotten swelled thinking I was getting better with my using the computer. And so, I first want to thank Roland for not firing me, and my apologies to those of you who may like to read my mostly “Old” news, and would you please pray that my ability to use that wicked machine will finely improve.

Today, I’m going to use some quotes from a book that I have. This one is from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: “I may be old but I haven’t stopped growing yet.” Another one that might apply to those of you who are growing old: “O Lord, may this be true of me. As I age, may I also grow wiser in Your knowledge and wisdom, and live fully in Your Spirit. Amen.”

I’m going to take this advice from the book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. And it starts this way: “Let Others Be ‘Right’ Most of the Time. One of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself is, ‘Do I want to be ‘right,’ – or do I want to be happy?’ Many times, the two are mutually exclusive! Being right, defending our positions, takes an enormous amount of mental energy and often alienates us from the people in our lives. Needing to be right – or needing someone else to be wrong – encourages others to become defensive, and puts pressure on us to keep defending. Yet, many of us (me too, at times) spend a great deal of time and energy attempting to prove (or point out) that we are right – and/or others are wrong. Many people, consciously or unconsciously, believe that it’s somehow their job to show others how their positions, statements, and points of view are incorrect, and that in doing so, the person they are correcting is going to somehow appreciate it, or at least learn something.” Wrong!

Think about it. Have you ever been corrected by someone and said to the person who was trying to be right, “Thank you so much for showing me that I’m wrong and you’re right. Now I see it Boy, you’re great’! Or has anyone you know ever thanked you (or even agreed with you) when you corrected them, or made yourself “right” at their expense? Of course not.

The truth is, all of us hate to be corrected. We all want our positions to be respected and understood by others. Being listened to and heard is one of the greatest desires of the human heart. And those who learn to listen are the most loved and respected.

SOLON & BEYOND: Airplane modelers hold fly-in at North Anson

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

This is also recent news: On Saturday, August 28, Lief and I attended the annual club picnic at the North Anson Pines Field. Some of the ones that attended were from both clubs: Kennebec Valley Model Aviators, from Sidney, and Franklin County Aircraft Modelers, who sponsored the picnic and fly in at their field. I was very impressed watching all of the many planes being flown. It was a perfect day for this event, with no wind to bother the planes and the food was great. I found out some names of ones who attended, but I’m not going to print them because I’d probably leave out some and get in trouble, was told there were between 25 and 30. It seemed to me everyone was enjoying themselves immensely.

Now for some old news from an August 3, 1988, Skowhegan Reporter. It starts with these words, SOLON “The Friendliest Town in the State” with hearts on either side. Good morning my friends! God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference. I don’t always live up to this favorite prayer of mine, although I am practicing the power of positive thinking to the limit! I kept saying all last week in GRAMS, “It can’t possibly be this hot!” But I survived, and only closed 15 minutes early two of the days. It isn’t condusive to enjoyable shopping when the water runs down and drips off the end of their noses, even for a born shopper! Several people have suggested that since I am becoming so liberated I should wear a bikini while on the job, but since I have put on several pounds in certain places, I’m afraid a bikini wouldn’t contain it all!

Now for the second part of the prayer, I had the courage to try and change Central Maine Power’s mind about their rates but not the wisdom to know I couldn’t do it. I have proved a point to myself, it is possible to live quite happily without the modern convenience although I’d advise people to stay up wind from me after a hot one!

Came across this little bit of old news that I started out in a Carney Brook Chronicle, in June 13, 1997 paper. Hi, it seems like ages since I sat down to write this column and this morning I feel even more fortunate to be able to share with you after my close encounter with a moose the other evening.

I was in a hurry to get home after being away all day and there is no doubt that I was driving faster than I should have been when rounding a curve on River Road, and there right in front of me was a large moose. I very quickly applied the brakes and to my dismay a car was approaching from the other direction and the moose was sandwiched between us. My fear was that he might charge at one of us, but instead, he climbed a steep bank and I continued on my way with my heart going pitter-patter.

All of that took place after Frank had died and I was alone for 16 years.

There will be a meeting of the Embden Historical Society on September 13, 2021, a 6:30 p.m. Program at 7 p.m.. The program will be about Properties, Trails and History of Somerset Woods. Chairman will be Carol Dolan with a slide presentation by Dr. Ann Dorney, at the Embden Town House, 751 Cross Town Road, Embden.

The following is Percy’s memoir: To speak of life’s beauty as the thoughts would dictate; To work and help others as love would relate; To cherish our friendships…Some tried and some true; To manifest God, in the things that we do. To lend hearts in service, Ah,! that is the core Of what God has created each one of us for. (words by Roxie Lusk Smith).

SOLON & BEYOND: Painting Pals revisited in old article

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

I came across this March 25, 2010, issue of The Town Line newspaper with those who paint together, stay together article written by Lyn Rowden. “Welcome to Painting Pals club,” greeted Marilyn Rogers when my son, Aaron, and I turned up at MSAD #54 Adult Education to see what this unusual little club in Skowhegan is all about.

They have been getting together weekly for years to express themselves and share their talent and hobby with each other. We enjoy art so we came to take a peek. Expecting rudimentary student art in progress I was surprised to find high quality artwork in various stages of completion set up on personal easels all around a large science lab. The intensity of the artists was impressive, as well as the obvious camaraderie. Members worked amidst the delicate scents of oil paints and the brownies graciously provided by the Life Skills class next door. That may sound strange but to us artists it was delightful. Marilyn invited Aaron and me to take up a small canvas and some paints and join the Painting Pals for the evening while she told us about their group.

It all began about four years ago, when the adult education art teacher, Peggy Riley, was leaving. Her students had formed such a close community they wanted to stick together and keep on painting. But how could that be possible when they came from all over the district and had no art teacher.

One member, Marilyn Rogers, of Solon, was relaxing on a beach far away in Florida when she dreamed up an idea. Upon her return she asked the adult ed department if she could rent classroom space for the same cost as a class would, to use it as an art forum, for experienced painters. The school was so enthusiastic they offered them the room for free. They had to have a name so the group came up with “Painting Pals Club”. Today, for business purposes the school charges a small fee but all the members are willing to pay for this opportunity to paint, critique their art, and encourage each other.

Marilyn explained this group does not have a teacher and is not for beginners, but that was obvious from the beautiful paintings being worked on by each and every member. Landscapes, flowers, portraiture, still life, and animals in action – every subject matter was being depicted in oils, watercolor and acrylics. Most agreed that at their weekly meetings is when they get most of their artwork done. Suzanne Carrier, of Skowhegan, is working on a very large canvas depicting the Disney castle, inspired by a recent vacation. She explained how coming to this club each week helps her make time to do what she loves doing, to get out her art supplies and paint. “People don’t have time to paint, so this is ideal,” said Shirley Foxwell, of Norridgewock, who was working on a floral piece and also enjoys portrait painting. She like others took time to visit with their fellow artists to watch the progress, offer advice and become inspired in this self-directed “class.”

Many of the artists are prize winners, and not hard to see why. Exquisite detail marks the work of Don Albertine, of Lexington, in his flowers; likewise in the feathers of an eagle by Richard Greenstreet, of Madison, in the house by Gerda Pilz, of South Solon; and in the precise work of Lief Bull, of Solon. A softer palette was deftly applied by members Marilyn Giroux, Linwood Turcotte, of Norridgewock; John Alsop, of Cornville, Donald Berry, of Embden; Dr. Alex Paqulski, of Skowhegan; and Barry Dana, also of Skowhegan. By the way, Aaron finished a miniature landscape based on a modernistic set design he had done. I had time to get in just enough brush strokes to recall how wonderful oils are and to be inspired to do more. Thanks Marilyn and Painting Pals Club.

As far as I know, the school will be offering the Painting Pals Club again this year; Lief and I are looking forward to seeing all you former members, and new ones who love to paint!

The following is from Somerset County News, also back in the same paper: And it starts out with these words Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy! I thank all of you who have commented on my column in the March 11 issue, or who attended the Solon Town Meeting, it is very much appreciated. I heard from people in other towns, by phone and e-mail and people in Solon. One person who is a member of the Solon Budget Committee, called and said they wondered how the machine was paid for, but didn’t have the nerve to ask.

All of this took place before Percy came into the picture, but as you all know he is honored each week by Roland with his memoir: Don’t wait with longing for the day When better times might come your way. Discard the fears that may depress; Live now and garner happiness. It’s such a waste to dwell on gloom. Though you have problems, find the room For loving when the path is rough; For laughter when the going’s tough. To fully live means you must face Whatever comes with humble grace. And if you mourn, turn it to praise. How much to do, how few the days! ­ by Amy C. Ellis.

SOLON & BEYOND: The day I was “raked over the coals”

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

In last week’s paper I mentioned that I had upset some people with my way of writing the truth. One of the many papers that I have written for was The Carney Brook Chronicle, out of Bingham, back in 1997. I came across the paper that I had written for and on October 24, 1997, on the front page it states: Solon Selectmen Subject Chronicle Reporter To Third Degree At Town Hall. (Editor’s Note: The following is a first person account by Chronicle reporter Marilyn Rogers on a meeting she was invited to by Solon Board of Selectmen.)

One of my favorite past times is trying to hear both sides of every story, so several months ago when I heard a story about our Solon Selectmen I went to the town office and asked them if it was true, and they admitted to it and said it was a big joke. I was put down big time when I said that I thought selectmen should be above such things. What they had done was sign the name of someone who complains a lot to a note they had written. My words were, “This is scary, I’m down here complaining a lot, what are you going to do to me?” Charlie Johnson, First Selectman, replied, “Oh, we wouldn’t do anything to you.” Not true!

Nearly every Monday morning I have either gone to the town office or called to see if there was any news to be printed. A week ago on Monday morning I was busy making cats for a craft fair when the phone rang and it was Robin Judd, Second Selectman, stating that they had some news for me and would I come down and get it. Not suspecting a thing I walked into one of the worst possible scenarios a taxpayer and reporter could be put through.

When I got to the town office I noticed several Chronicles and Somerset Gazettes, all highlighted, laying on a table, and was asked to go to the conference room with the three selectmen. Charlie, with the support of Robin and John (Smiley), Third Selectman, proceeded to rake me over the coals about what they called “negative reporting”. It was a lengthy session of ridicule of my ‘old-fashioned ideas and beliefs’… even an attack about news they themselves had given me the week before. But the statement that brought the worst verbal abuse was one I had made in this paper (Chronicle), I am a firm believer in democracy and I had gone on to say that I thought the people in Solon should have been allowed to vote on the new recently erected town signs. I then went on in my column, to state my opinion on why apathy abounds in America today.

Nobody should have been subjected to the treatment I received in the town office that Monday for stating a difference of opinion. Quite simply it was oppression, suppression, intimidation, and it was awful. I fought back tears for quite awhile but finally they flowed as I hurried out of that office, I do pay my taxes (thanks to GRAMS) and there is still freedom of the press, even in 1990s.

Back in 1765 John Adams made this statement about freedom: “Be not intimidated therefor, by any terrors from publishing with the utmost freedom whatever can be warranted by the laws of your liberty by any pretenses of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.”

SOLON & BEYOND: Uncle Jack’s Revenge, conclusion

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

As I promised last week, this will be the conclusion to the story about Uncle Jack’s revenge that began in last week’s paper. The story ended with these words: “This must have been what angered the Great Spirit, because the next morning the white woman was found in a state of shock, the wigwarm burned to the ground and Uncle Jack was gone.

She recovered and told how a huge stone had been rolled from the side of the mountain near the Old Man’s face and a voice had said that the white people would all be driven out and that the valley would be destroyed by fire and water. The soil would never again bear fruit and grass for the white man, and Uncle Jack would roam the slopes of Bigelow Mountain for eternity, as his soul could never enter the happy hunting ground. The poor white woman packed up her business and moved away and Uncle Jack was never seen again in the flesh.

Once in awhile a bit of fog will take the shape of an Indian as it floats across the slopes of Bigelow before it dissolves in the morning sun, and some times the shadow of his canoe can be seen on Flagstaff Lake as he paddles into the sunrise.

In 1950 the entire valley from the foothills of Mt. Bigelow to the base of Blanchard Mountain was destroyed by fire and water. Every white person was driven away. Even the graves were opened and the dead were forced to continue their sleep in another place. All the top soil eroded away and never again will grass and fruit thrive in this once fruitful valley.

Uncle Jack was once again the ruler. His bad medicine had beaten the white man. In 1964 the Flagstaff Corporation bought 8,000 acres of the old Dead River Plantation and made plans for a new town, but Uncle Jack gave them bad medicine all the way.

In 1973 a new plan was made and everything was going well for a four season recreational area. But the spirit of Uncle Jack still hung over the valley.

Consider…..the negative decision by LURC could NOT have been promoted by the testimony against the development given the Sugarloaf Mountain Cooperation and the citizens of the Stratton-Eustis area that was motivated only by jealousy and greed, and get into Somerset County.

The members of LURC could certainly see through this type of thing and would never, never, use their power to support such personal and political reasons. Nor could LURC’s decision been based on the testimony of the Fish and Game Department, with information compiled in 1959, stating that the resort might ruin the hunting and fishing in the area, The hunting and fishing has been ruined for 15 years.

The officials of LURC are mature, well educated people; too smart to be impressed by the testimony of the Natural Resources Council, who are against everything as a matter of principal, and who acted like a group of greedy little boys talking to Santa Claus, and who kept running back time and again to ask for something they had forgotten the first time around.

It seems most likely that sometime when the Land Use Regulation Committee visited the mountain as a group, that the evil spirit of Uncle Jack entered their bodies through the through the holes in their heads and his bad medicine made the negative decision, just as he affected the legislature before they granted Central Maine Power Co. permission to destroy the valley.

I could tell much more about Mt. Bigelow, the Horns Pond and the white woman that seduced away the secret but I wouldn’t dare. I am like many others in the State of Maine. I am afraid of that Eternally Damned Indian that still rules the valley.

* * * * * *

I have been trying to find different kinds of stories in the many different papers I have written for over these many years. Hoping to please as many of you as possible. That was the longest one yet. Sorry it took two papers to get it all in, but hope you liked it. Have made many friends and some enemies in writing, I am well aware that you can’t please them all. And quite often someone will ask me, “Are you staying out of trouble”? It brought to mind, the one time I shed tears when some people ganged up on me and I walked out…….telling myself that, “It takes all kinds!”

And here is Percy’s memoir about Challenges: A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers consequences.

SOLON & BEYOND: Uncle Jack and the revenge of Bigelow Mountain

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

This week I have some recent news which I am going to start with. It is about the dedication of a new name for the Solon, Embden Bridge and the subject is Jotham and Emma Stevens. This is the info regarding the bridge dedication which took place at the bridge on Sunday, July 25, 2021, with the following family and friends present. Debbie Veneziano, brother Rusty (Clayton) Stevens, nieces Ashley McGowan and Breanna Conners (her daughter Denver), June Ann Giroux, my dad’s sister and her son Skip Giroux, all were the direct descendants present. Rod Hatch from Embden was instrumental in making this happen.

Lief and I also attended this wonderful occasion on that beautiful day. (If anyone reading the above can let me know of any other news about the above please let me know.

This old news is taken from a Somerset Reporter, Skowhegan, Maine, January 31, 1974 : and it is called Uncle Jack’s revenge: Bigelow Mountain’s bad medicine, by Bob Dunphy. “Last October the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURK) held hearings to procure information necessary to zone the wildlands of Maine, including the Bigelow Mountain area.

The Flagstaff Corporation presented the plan to develop an 800 acre plot at the base of Bigelow Mountain. They had owned and paid taxes on 10 percent of the land for 10 years. They had spent more than $500,000 in preliminary surveys and had built more than eight miles of road long before LURC had been created.

The proposal would have met every pollution regulation in Maine today, in an area now free from human pollution, and would have served as a proving ground for all the new ideas on waste disposal, and with a master plan to comply with all the new laws and subject to the approval of all state personnel. It would have been compact with all new buildings; not a sprawl of ‘A’ frames, trailers, converted busses, slab shanties and farm houses that now extend from the Kingfield-Carrabassett Valley town line to Eustis on the other side of the mountain.

Actually, the Bad Medicine of Bigelow Mountain started many years ago. An Abnaki Indian called “Uncle Jack” told the Secret of Horns Pond to a white woman, and so angered the Great Spirit that he not only condemned the Indian’s soul to eternal damnation, but drove out the white people and destroyed the beautiful Dead River Valley as well. Uncle Jack had always lived in the Dead River region. No one knew how old he was but some people thought that he was the Indian that put out the birch bark maps that guided Benedict Arnold’s army to Québec and drove out the moose that saved the soldiers from strarvation at Flagstaff when their supplies were washed away by the flood. If this was true, no one ever gave the old man any credit for it, because he was always looked upon with fear and suspicion. But the old fellow was a true patriot and whenever they had a Fourth of July celebration at Flagstaff, he always moved his wigwam close to town.

The tragedy happened at the last celebration when the boys from Flagstaff had stolen the old Revolutionary War cannon from Stratton and were really having a Revolutionary ball. Uncle Jack was there for the fourth and someone gave him a jug of hard cider. This really turned the old man on and when a high-stepping white woman gave him the eye, he knew that this was the sign he had been waiting for ever since the white men had killed all the Abnaki women at Old Point. The old buck lost no time in escorting her to his wigwam. After much elbow bending and Indian wrestling he fell into a deep sleep. The white woman, kind soul that she was, decided that she would remove his moccasins and mittens to make the tired old man more comfortable. She could not get the garments off but she did awaken the old Indian in her efforts and he told her how they could never be taken off by anyone but himself. He told her how he sat in his birch bark canoes in the rays of the setting sun, looked deep into the pond and saw these fish sitting upon their nests keeping their eggs warm with their soft furry bodies. And how they used their short stubby tails to fan away ice particles in the frigid water that would have frozen to the nests and lengthened the incubation period and ended the life cycle.

He said that these tiny creatures would never leave the nests to feed and, if it took too long, the poor things would starve. He said that the fish could never be taken by hook and line as they fed only upon bits of reindeer moss and other lichens that were carried by the winds from the mountain peaks and dropped into the pond, and that the Indians must wait for the right moon when the summer ice would freeze at the bottom of the pond and carry these strange creatures to the surface. He told her how there would never be too many because they grew very slowly and many times only the tiniest fish would be left in the water near the shore when huge pieces of ice would carry great numbers of the larger ones to the surface where they would die from lack of air before the ice melted enough for them to get water into their gills.

This must have been what angered the Great Spirit, because the next morning the white woman was found in a state of shock, the wigwam burned to the ground and Uncle Jack was gone.

That is about half of this very interesting story and I will be finishing it next week. Hope you enjoyed it.