We were taught how to use the abacus in Maine. Meanwhile, the neighbor next door was writing music with a computer at Bowdoin College. This was 1965. He took us to see the computer…it was the size of Long Island. The first school I went to in Maine was on an island off the coast. We lived three islands off the coast, so we bused over an entire island to get to school. Area’s rich now, apparently, full of Boston summer homes and movie star money, but back then it was all poor lobstermen and cod fishermen on the water, farmers inland, plus the Bath Ironworks where my Dad worked. The second school I went to was a one building brick structure kids’ grandparents had gone to the same school. Winters were harsh. I remember walking home from school through sandy fields during gales, ouch. I remember snow on Mother’s Day, and the best creepiest Halloweens ever. Loved it there–3rd grade was the only time I spent an elementary school year in one school. (I’d been to five in 2nd grade…well four, went to one twice..started in San Diego, wound up in Maine with a detour to Tacoma.) Oh yeah, I remember seeing Minnie Pearl and ox pulls at the county fair, and I hated cod liver oil. Once the snow cleared kids played viciously competitive marble games everywhere. Tough bunch, Mainers, civil war monuments in the cemeteries, huge things, and they were still fiercely proud of their Abolitionism…Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin in our town there. We almost settled in Maine, in which case I’d be one of the people Jeff Foxworthy jokes about and you all would never know me, or me my wife, which is too scary to think about, or weird to think about anyway. When you move constantly your life is like brownian motion, seemingly random, to a kid anyway, but always an adventure. I loved it.


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