My mother, Louise Adele Johnson, was born in Machias, Maine and a life-long resident. She lived elsewhere just twice in her life, the first when she and her mother Harriet moved to Portland in 1938. She lived there until early 1943 when Mom married. Then she was off to Newburgh, NY for two years while Dad was stationed at Stewart Field Air Force Base. When Dad was discharged from military service in 1945, they returned to Maine and lived in Calais for a year. Dad worked at the mill, saved money to start a business and cut the logs for a small home in the garage of their rented home. At the end of that year, Dad built a log cabin on Dublin Street in Machias where they lived until he finished the building for his business with an apartment on the second floor for them and my brother Jim. In 1949, another son joined them, my brother David. By then, Dad had nabbed the Buick franchise and had a thriving business, Rier Buick Inc.
Portland was an adventure for Mom. Perhaps following the Johnson tradition of horses and harness racing, she joined the local horse club, Abenaki, in 1942. There she made many friends, including her life-long friend Louise Bryce. Their lives became very different: Mom married, had three children and lived Downeast; Louise remained single and lived in Gorham, not far from Portland. All the same, Mom and Louise stayed in touch all their lives. Toward the end of Mom’s life, she couldn’t find Louise. Her letters had stopped. But, Mom sat with the old photo album on her lap, looked at the photos of them together. “We had so much fun together,” she said with a smile, warmed by the memories.
It’s easy to see just how happy Mom was at this time in her life, time spent with new friends and horses. It was her last year as a single woman.
The newspaper announced the new members of the Abenaki club. Mom was appointed corresponding secretary.
Photo on the right below. Mom and her dear friend Louise Bryce.
It appears there was some horsing around…