by Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
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.
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- SOLON & BEYOND: The day Percy walked into my life
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