Friday, July 27, 2007


This is the final installment of my transcription of my Aunt
Dot's thirteen handwritten pages of memories of her and my
Dad's childhood growing up in Oxford County, Maine during
the Depression years. This one shows ..well..a bit of a rebel
strain in them both. Man, if I'd known about this when I was
growing up, I'd have never let Dad live it down!

Up until now I've transcribed everything as written but for
this blog post I've edited two words(the reason should be
self explanatory when you see them) and the left out the
first and middle name of Dad's grade school teacher. My
transcribed copy in my records is unedited.

Our social life was rather sparce. We always looked forward to
the Young Peoples Meetings. It was a group that got together
once a week at a different home each time. We had a short
prayer meeting, played games and had refreshments. Our
minister, Rev. John G. Mantor picked us up and brought us
home each time.

Bud was in the Boy Scouts for several years. Rev. Mantor was
the Scout Master. Bud learned to swim really well during that

Fun at School--

Our grade school was only 2 rooms and all twelve grades were
taught by two teachers. The state changed the requirements

for high school graduates when Bud was in the eighth grade so
he was off to Gould Academy in the fall. Hazel had quit school
during the fall of her junior year but thought it would be great to
go to boarding school so she enrolled as a junior. Guess it wasn’t
that great for her because she quit GA in December and never
went back.

Bud gave folks at Gould a hard time. He wasn’t in to rules and
regulations and did some fancy bending of the rules. He was

caught smoking and was punished. He went into the pool hall
and was suspended for two weeks. Did another stint at home
but I don’t remember what for. After all that-in his junior year-
he came down with the mumps and was sent home again. When
he applied in the fall he was turned down so he didn’t graduate.
-The next year he joined the Army Air Force. During my senior
year I roomed in the headmaster’s home. During the whole 4
years he had never once mentioned Bud to me. It did my heart
good when he asked me one day- that last Spring- what had
happened to my brother. I was so proud I got real brave, for me,
and said, “Oh, he is attending Iowa State Teacher’s College". I
didn‘t bother to mention that the Air Force sent him there to
train for some sort of radio communication.

Back to Grade School

Basically we had some very nice teachers. Only remember one
that none of us liked and of course she was the one who stayed
for three years. Her name was * * Ritchie. One time the boys in
Bud’s class (there were 5 of them) each had to sing a solo -same
song- but each one had to stand in front of the room and sing-
The song went-

In the prison cell I sit
Thinking Mother dear of you-

When it was Bud’s turn he sang- (he was in the 6th or 7th grade)

In the prison cell I sit
With my britches all be sh*t

Miss Ritchie grabbed him -threw him down in his seat and
grabbing him by the ears- slam, slam, slam, his head kept
hitting the desk. Guess she was unhappy with him!

Another time- (I’m in 3rd or 4th grade) I was given an English
paper to write. I was to copy it from a book on the desk behind
me. I kept writing and not looking at the book. She finally
asked what I was doing. I told her doing my lesson. When she
came to look at it I crumpled the paper-ran down front and put
the paper in the bottom of the waste basket. She dumped
everything oh her desk and smoothed out my paper. It said
(about 5 times)

Miss Ritchie is an old b*tchie.

Bud worked several places during the summers-
He worked at road construction when the road below the dam

that went across the river was built.

He worked in the woods with Pop- cutting logs for lumber at
the mill and cutting, loading, and hauling pulp to be pushed into
the river to go to the Berlin paper mills.

There was farming to do for a neighbor so we would have use
of his pasture and hay for our cows.

Also worked at the saw mill.

Guess that is all I remember for now. Sorry this is so messy.

Love to you,
Aunt Dot.


Miriam said...

Bill, I laughed out loud when I read this! Whoo boy! That Mrs. Ritchie reminds me of my first grade teacher. She was an ex-nun, having had a nervous breakdown and left Church work. Whoever thought she would make a good teacher ought to have had his head examined! She didn't like children, and she had too much education (doctorate) to be of any use teaching a roomful of first-graders. Your dad and your Aunt Dot sure were full of spunk! Thanks for the laughs!

Bill West said...

I laughed too. It's just so out of character for the responsible adults they both became.

Glad you enjoyed the memories, Miriam!

Janice said...

I'm laughing here too! Why did those dysfunctional people end up teaching!!