Do you have any photos of the games we played in the neighborhood with lots of kids of all ages? Winter or summer. Playing ball at the Dodge field, gatherings at the field behind the Mace’s house running all the way to Emma Means’ backyard. The pond we skated on in the field in back of Cooper Street Extension. Sliding at St Regis or on the hill in Whitneyville at the top of the Crosscut road. Yard games. Our annual Memorial Day bike trip to six mile lake.
I’m writing a story about growing up in Machias in the 50s and 60s and all the adventures we had playing outside. I find that I have photos of kids, one or two at a time, groups of kids at birthday parties, but can’t find any of our outside activities together. I guess we were too busy to bring our cameras!
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5. Visiting the Gravesites of My Great and Great Great Grandfathers.
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Dad (James “Gene” Rier) and Mom (Louise Johnson Rier) loved to sail on the Sailfish. When I was small, Dad built a sailboat they both enjoyed on Indian Lake.
Dad sailing with my brother David in the Bucks Harbor Race, 1981. This is one of my favorite photos of Dad. Now that’s a happy face!
As kids, my brothers and I spent many hours on the Sailfish, and we continued to sail as adults.
Me sailing on Indian Lake about 2006.
My son, Jason, sailing on the Sunfish, summer 2018.
This year, as in other years, the Passamaquoddy Yacht Club taught children ages 10 to 17 the basics of sailing. Wonderful to see!
Me completing the boat captain course in Rockland, Maine. 2012. Now that’s a happy face!
Growing Up in the 50s and 60s, We Knew How To Have Fun!
Whenever our family visited Dr. Bob and Noni at their home in Lubec, there often was fresh blueberry cake in the kitchen this time of year. Mom made it too over the years. Now when I make this cake and the delicious smell wafts through the air, I am filled with memories. Noni’s blueberry cake recipe was published in my favorite old cookbook of Lubec recipes (1988). It’s one of my most valued cookbooks.
I made this cake for family visiting this week. There will be another before August is over.
Of course, I alter recipes a bit for the times. I use real butter, not oleomargarine, and substitute organic sugar for white. I cook it in an 8″ x 8″ pan so it’s nice and thick, wicked moist, adjusting the cooking time.
In my family, great recipes must be handed down. I taught my grandchildren how to make this blueberry cake. This is my eldest granddaughter, Hayley, learning how to make Noni’s cake in August, 2012. She was eight. Hayley won a blue ribbon and first place in the cake section at the Machias Blueberry festival.
Hayley baking 2012.
My grandson Odin, age six, won a blue ribbon for a two-crusted blueberry pie in 2010 and for several years afterwards. See that awesome story here.
I was outside on a porch break, so lovely in the Spring. I forgot to take my camera. The otter came in close and dove under the wharf. I waited nearly motionless for him or her to come up. Minutes went by. Suddenly the otter slithered up on the wharf to bask in the sun and feast on a fish head as big as my fist. Moments like this, one cannot capture except in memory. The otter stayed a good 20 to 30 minutes on the wharf. I got this shot later in the afternoon. He was swimming fast so the shot isn’t great. But, it was another beautiful day lakeside enjoying the wonders of nature!
From the book 200 Hundred Years of Lubec History, 1776 – 1976 by Ryerson and Johnson, published by the Lubec Historical Society. It can be found at the Lubec Memorial Library. It includes the history of all the churches in Lubec.
This summer, the Lubec Historical Society will be selling this book. It’s a great resource!
Saint Mary’s Catholic Church was built at the corner of Rte 189 and Chapel Hill Road in 1852 when there were about 50 Catholic families in Trescott. My great great grandfather, James Keegan Sr., and his family attended church there. The church was razed in 1882. A new church, Saint Patrick’s, was built at the corner of Rte 189 and Crow Neck road, two miles away from the Keegan home. The people had begun to move into West Lubec and Lubec and it was necessary to centralize a church. In 1887, Reverend Cornelius O’Sullivan became pastor of Machias and traveled to Lubec for 35 years.
Saint Mary’s Church At Chapel Hill Cemetery in Trescott. Painted by Bertha Calkins Walton from memory.
Visiting the Gravesites of My Great and Great Great Grandfathers. James Keegan Sr. and Jr. families.
Bringing Your Ancestors to Life: The History of Irish Immigration into Maine.
If you look carefully, you will see the sign below the shuttered windows upstairs on the right. Miss Means was my grandmother Harriet Means Johnson. Photo courtesy of Michael Hoyt.
A close up of the sign.
There is a woman in the upstairs windows on the left. She is not my grandmother. I expect the upstairs was divided – or perhaps she is a parent waiting for a child to finish their piano lesson.
This is the first photograph I have seen of Harriet’s studio in Machias, Maine. Before today, I did not know the location of her studio above the Machias Lumber Company on Main Street. The building is still there.
Harriet studied piano under the renowned Frederick Mariner who had a summer home on the Penobscot River. Mariner’s studio was in NYC but he accepted gifted students at the Bangor Piano School.
Harriet Putnam Means 1906: Graduation from Bangor Piano School
Later Harriet moved to Bangor, opened a piano studio there, then eloped with Ezekiel “Zeke” Johnson in February of 1908 – without telling her parents.
Read the Harriet stories, gleaned from her 1908 letters, here.
Even though I don’t like talking about myself, here’s a story about me.
Tampa Tribune. June 20, 1994. Front page: “Illness Turns Life in New Direction.” It’s a story about a young mother with five children, who lived in Whitneyville, Maine, pursued a Biology degree at University of Maine at Machias, became very ill with a disease called endometriosis, and then found a career in medical research. To learn more about my career after 1994, click on the “Author” link above.
In my life, the worst of times, led to the best of times. And, I’m proud to be from Downeast Maine.
Note: There have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis since this article was written.
What Will Our Descendants Say About the Earth We Leave Behind? Part II.
The Endometriosis Association
Endometriosis and Dioxins
Endometriosis: Complete Reference for Taking Charge of Your Health by Mary Lou Ballweg
Endometriosis: A Key to Healing Through Nutrition by Dian Shepperson Mills
This article is an excerpt from the book 200 Hundred Years of Lubec History, 1776 – 1976 by Ryerson and Johnson, published by the Lubec Historical Society. It is a great reference book to learn more about my family history and can be found at the Lubec Memorial Library.
A Short History of the Sardine Industry in Lubec, Maine.
A Story about My Dad’s Home Town.
and Jabez Pike. Lubec, Maine is rich in history. After the Revolutionary War, the location of this village on the sea, close to Canada and the Maritime provinces, offered a key location for smuggling goods that escaped American and Canadian/British customs officials. It was a land, a sea, and a people set apart from the inland regions of both countries. The residents worked the land, the seas, and all the valuable resources offered, as a means to survive and prosper. The artificially drawn lines of two separate countries and their taxes on imports and exports made no difference to these hearty people. This is story of Jabez Pike as written by his grandson Sumner Pike. It is an excerpt from the book 200 Hundred Years of Lubec History, 1776 – 1976 by Ryerson and Johnson, published by the Lubec Historical Society. It can be found at the Lubec Memorial Library.
To read more about smuggling off the coast of Maine and the Canadian Maritimes: