Friday, July 27, 2007

Cemeteries of the Lake Region

Rt. 117 btwn. Denmark and Bridgton

In a previous post about a cemetery in Moscow, Haunted Hiker wondered aloud as to why people are fascinated with cemeteries. I didn't have a good answer at the time. As I've driven around the Lake Region, I've passed many small, rural cemeteries and it's given me pause to contemplate her question. For me, when I walk around a cemetery, I try to piece together the life of the person interred with only a name and a couple dates. The Sherlock Holmes portion of my brain kicks in.

Did they die young? Did they live past 100? Were they married? How long did one spouse outlive the other? Did a parent outlive a child? Did a woman and her baby die during childbirth? Did someone die in a war? Sometimes they are obvious, like the gravestone of a man buried in the ghost town of Grafton, Utah, which reads - Killed by Indians.

The other reason is that cemeteries are, obviously, peaceful and serene places. A soothing combination of grass and trees and quiet. It's a shame that we have to seek out the dead for such amenities.

Rt. 117 btwn. Denmark and Bridgton

Rt. 302 in Naples

Rt. 114 btwn. East Sebago and Sebago Lake

Rt. 114 in Gorham

Rt. 237 near South Windham

Rt. 302 btwn. Raymond and Casco

High St. in Bridgton

Rt. 117 btwn. Denmark and Bridgton

Berry Rd. in Denmark

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Route 1 Experience

Center for Furniture Craftsmanship

On Friday I had a rare day off, so I took a roadtrip to Rockport, ME to visit the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. I'll be taking a 12 week woodworking course there this winter and I wanted to check things out. Once I got north of Portland, I hopped on Route 1 at Brunswick. Route 1 runs from the Canadian border at Fort Kent, ME all the way down to the Florida Keys.

Prior to the Interstate Highway system, Route 1 was the major north-south route along the East Coast. Thus, you'll find a lot of quaint old motels, inns and roadhouses along the way. I particularly like the style of the old motels. There was usually a house of some sort that served as the office/living quarters of the owner or caretaker and then there would be a line of single level motel rooms lined along a semicircular driveway.

If you're ever on a roadtrip and have time to take a Federal Highway instead of the Interstate, I highly recommend it. It can evoke a lot of nostalgia for days gone by.

Rockport, ME

That's a lot of yellow


7 Mts. Motel in Rockport

Pioneer Motel in Edgecomb

Wiscasset, ME

Red's was the place to be

Downtown Wiscasset

Approach to 1st Congressional Church

Steeple through the trees

Antique shop

Montsweag, ME

Montsweag Roadhouse. Swayze would get his ass kicked here

Bath, ME

Bath City Hall

Bath Customs House

Cloud City? Nope, a steeple in Bath.

I bought one of each. Why wouldn't I?

Basically, chocolate cake with cream filling

Friday, July 13, 2007

Busting My Chops in Bridgton, ME

That's Durf in the window

A couple days ago I got into Bridgton for a much needed haircut. I stopped at an old-school barber shop on Main St. called Durf´s. Durf was born and raised in Bridgton. I sat down in the chair and Durf asked me how I wanted my haircut. Below is a paraphrase of our conversation. Durf has a standard Maine accent, which, to me, is a milder form of a New England accent.

Me - Taper it on the sides and back. Maybe use a #4 or #5...

Durf - Wait, wait. This ain't no beauty parlor. I ain't got no 4s or 5s. I got my clippers, my comb and I use my fingers to measure hair.

Me - Ohhhh-kayyyy....uh, just taper the back and sides and take some off the top.

Durf - What you're tellin' me is that you want a man's haircut.

Me - Yes.

With Baal as my witness, I was expecting to leave that place looking like Forrest Gump or Karl in Slingblade. It turns out that I got an excellent haircut that has prompted unsolicited compliments. Here's to Durf and my $10.00 haircut!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Camp Walden - Denmark, ME

Sand Pond

I've been at Camp Walden since June 10th. I'm staying busy, working hard and having fun. I found a little time last week to write a short story about camp. Hope you enjoy...

The Legend of Billy Hunter

Alexandra was attending Camp Walden for the first time. She was 14. In her free time, she loved to walk along the shores of Sand Pond looking for driftwood and anything else to use in Arts and Crafts. One day, while walking along the shore of a cove, she saw a young boy in a canoe.

She yelled out to him, “What’s your name?”

“Billy Hunter,” was the reply.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m fishing. I fish every day during the summer.”

“Where do you live?”

“On the other side of the pond.”

“How old are you?”

“I’m 15.”

Alexandra walked back to camp thinking of Billy Hunter. She came back the next day at the same time and Billy was in the cove in his canoe. They talked again. Alexandra would shout from shore and Billy would reply from his canoe. This continued for a few more days and they became friends. A week after their first meeting, Alexandra brought a gift she had made for Billy.

“Billy, come to shore. I have something for you.”

“What is it?” he asked.

“It’s a gift for you.”

Billy paddled his canoe to shore as Alexandra anxiously awaited his arrival. It was their first face-to-face meeting. She had removed the hooks from old fishing lures, threaded them with a leather string and fashioned a necklace for Billy. Billy beached his canoe and walked toward Alexandra. She stood on her tiptoes and put the necklace around Billy’s neck. Billy looked down, cradled the necklace in his hand and marveled at his gift.

“This is the coolest thing I’ve ever gotten!” He exclaimed.

“I found these lures along the shoreline,” she informed him. “I thought you’d like it.”

“I like it very much,” Billy replied.

There was an awkward silence. Then, Billy leaned over and kissed Alexandra on the cheek. She blushed and shyly dropped her head.

“Well,” said Billy, “it looks like it’s going to storm. I’ve got to get home.”

“Will I see you tomorrow?” she asked.

“Yes, you will.” Billy answered.

Alexandra watched from shore as Billy paddled toward the other side of the pond. Storm clouds moved in and the skies turned dark. The wind began to whistle across the pond and the water became choppy. By now, Billy was halfway across the lake, but he was beginning to struggle. The storm was too intense. His canoe began to rock as it fought to reach the other side. The canoe then took on water and tipped over, throwing Billy into the pond. Alexandra screamed and ran toward camp to get help.

They spotted Billy’s overturned canoe from shore, but could not see him. Billy died and his body was never found. Alexandra cried every day for the rest of camp.

The next year, Alexandra returned to camp. The first week was stormy and it reminded her of Billy, but she held back her tears. The weather improved and she began swimming daily. She would dive from the dock and swim out to the floating platforms. She would dive from the diving board, splash with her friends and hurtle herself down the slide into the cool, refreshing water of Sand Pond. And each day, as she ended her swim, she would begin the short swim from the platforms back to the dock. But, halfway back, her legs would get heavy and she would struggle to stay above water. She would fight and fight for about 15 seconds, then her legs would lighten and she would continue on to the dock.

This happened for 3 days in a row and it always happened at the same time - at the end of her swim as she was swimming back to the dock. At the end of the fourth day, she stood anxiously on the edge of the platform wondering if her struggles would continue yet another day. She was nervous as she dove from the platform and swam toward the dock. Halfway there, her legs, once again, began to feel heavy. This time, however, she refused to struggle. She was determined to discover the cause.

As the heaviness ensued, she dipped her head below the surface of the water. Her screams could be heard from under the water. There, suspended under water, was Billy grasping and tugging at her legs, trying desperately to get to the surface to breathe life once more. For 15 seconds his face was riddled with terror. Then, he gently released his grip on her legs and sank slowly to the bottom of Sand Pond; his face now tortured with sadness as he descended into the murky depths.

Alexandra never swam in Sand Pond again.

Somewhere, between the floating platforms and the dock...