Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sonny's Sunshine Corner

February  17, 2015

Yes, I know it's been a long time since you heard from your favorite blogger, namely, me. At least I still hope I am your favorite blogger. Nanci and Butch and I have been busy settling into our new home here in Warren and coping with home improvements. We have a long ways to go yet, but I look forward to making this home our very own with our own ideas implemented.

We enjoyed the holidays with family. It's been a long time since I've been home at Thanksgiving and Christmas and I enjoyed it immensely. We hope to have many more opportunities to be with family and to invite them all here for a barbecue on our big deck this summer.

The winter in Maine hasn't been very bad so far. Nanci is learning how to drive in a snowstorm and does quite well with her new Subaru 4-wheel drive. All the drifts that were piled upon the deck just last week is now all gone with all the rain and wind we had yesterday. Such is life in winter in Maine.

Physically, I still have my problems as most people my age do. The doc said yesterday he didn't want to do an operation on my back at this point. That's fine with me. I am now dealing with some vascular problems and will get some compression stockings soon.

The right thumb is another question. As you remember, I had to curtail my typing because of problems with pain in that thumb. It will be x-rayed next week and I expect the doc will operate on it. I've been putting it off because when I had it done years ago it was a big nuisance to have my dominant hand unusable. I want to get it over with, however, so that I can finish the book I'm working on and go back to bringing you stories on this blog.

If you read the story I presented in December about the Millay house on Broadway, you know that at the present time it does have backing from a group, so things will progress on that front very soon I should expect. If you care about preserving Rockland's history, ask at the Historical Society located up at the Rockland Public Library about how you can help. I will try to get more involved myself soon, probably after the winter is over.

Cousin Mary Sue of the Hilton Homestead in Bremen, which I have written much about on this blog, visited yesterday so we could discuss her using her considerable artistic talent to paint a mural on two walls of my office. I miss the murals I painted myself on the walls of my office in Georgia. Of course she will do a much better job than I did.

Since I last communicated with you here, we have had an addition to our family with my great-great nephew. He is the son of my great-niece Danielle and her husband Haydn. The baby's name is Ezra Theodore Deal. The middle name is for my late brother Ted, whose column, "Fish and Chips" has appeared in this blog. We all miss him and agree that the newest baby has a wonderful name to live up to.

Nanci and I look forward to the spring and summer in Maine. It will be her first and I have so many favorite places in this area to show her.  We both look forward to it. Meanwhile we will cope with Maine's winter with the rest of you. I'll see you again soon I hope. Butchy says, "stay warm."

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Flowers &


The perfect gift for that special someone

Flower Goddess

Has moved

The Flower Goddess has  not gone out of business as previously reported here.
They have moved to the corner of Lindsey and Main streets in Rockland.    

Stop by the Flower Goddess to pick up a unique gift for those special people on your list who love the smell of flowers and also the smell of a new real book in their hands.

Laurie Tracy will be glad to help you pick out the perfect flowers. She also has my book, The South End  on hand to add a special touch to your gift of flowers.

Stop by today.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Guy Who Knows a Guy

As many of you know I bought a house over here in Warren this fall. When I said I was moving to Maine I got expressions of disbelief from most everyone I talked to. “Are you crazy? Don’t you know how cold it gets up there…brrrr they get all that snow…etc. etc.”

Well it’s been over 30 years since I had to shovel snow so maybe I was being na├»ve, but darn it, I missed Maine and was becoming increasingly homesick for home and for my family and dear friends here.

So Nanci and I threw a bunch of stuff away we really didn’t need anymore; got in touch with the good folks at Mayflower; and after a marathon trek north with poor Butchie stuffed in a carrier day after day, here we are.

As soon as we arrived we began to get advice about who to hire to do the many things necessary to live out here in the semi-country of Warren. My old South End friend, Jane Ames Sylvester, who married into another branch of my family, has lived over this way for years. She knew who to contact locally in order to get our garbage picked up and get our driveway and path to the house plowed in the winter.

Just call these phone numbers she said. OK, that sounded easy. So here’s where the title of this story “A Guy Who Knows a Guy” begins.

She said to call either this number or the other one to get a plowman. Well the first number I called resulted in a no go as he didn’t have any more room for winter plowing customers. The second number I called involved called the granddaughter to relay the message to the guy who actually plowed. I couldn’t call him directly for some reason which I forget. “Well” he said, when he called, “I can’t handle any more plowing this winter…however, my son would love to get the job as he does other homes on that road already.” So that was the first…”I know a guy” instance. The son, “who would love to get the job” finally called me a week later and very enthusiastically accepted the job. Problem solved.

Jane’s suggestion for a garbage man was right on and very easy to set up. Evidently, Wayne is the man to call in Warren to handle your garbage. You just have to leave him the required money taped to the garbage pails every Friday when he picks up. By the way, do you know how fast a taped envelope with money in it would disappear if it was taped to anything outside your home or apartment in Atlanta?

With my plowing and garbage pickup taken care of I was on a roll and figured finding a carpenter, electrician, and plumber for jobs that needed to be done around the house before winter sets in would be a piece of cake. Right? Nope. Wrong.

Seems that the fall season is the very busiest one for these workmen. I began this quest by calling numbers I found in the ad section of The Courier Gazette where various people and companies who offer services can to be found. I was also given names by friends who “knew a guy” who did the work I needed done.

I made a long list of each category in which I needed work done: Electricians, Plumbers, and Contractors. I waited. I called others. Finally I was contacted by workmen for the various jobs I needed done. It seemed to take forever though.

All of the workmen I contacted had to come inspect the site before they would accept the job. And again, in some cases it was “I can’t take on another job right now…but…I know a guy…” Well you get the gist, right?

The plumber ended up “knowing a guy” who he worked with when his jobs needed electrical work also such as putting in a separate circuit for a dryer like I needed. I had semi-promised the job to another guy recommended by a friend, however, this guy was slow to respond, which is why I went with the “guy” the plumber knew.

I still have one of these workmen left who is working on my house. I will need to call back the wonderful electrician we had to reinstall some lighting when my contractor is finished with his job.

Might I say that “the guy who knew a guy” system we followed ended up being a pleasant experience in spite of the money I had to spend. I did find their pricing reasonable as well. I have found Maine workmen to be efficient, professional, and very dedicated to maintaining their reputation as a reputable person to call when you need work done.

I look forward to spreading the wealth among these dedicated Maine workmen in the future.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Saving Rockland’s Past

Birthplace of Edna St. Vincent Millay at
198-200 Broadway in Rockland, Maine
The Free Press of November 5, 2015 carried a disturbing story as its lead story on Page 1. The house pictured here is the birthplace of Rockland’s most famous person, Edna St. Vincent Millay. Although she grew up mostly in Camden, Rockland has its own claim to this most famous poet because she was born in this house on Broadway in Rockland.
As you can see from the photo, the house is in a terrible state of disrepair. It has recently gone on the market for a mere $88,000 in a short sale which means you pay for it in cash and make whatever repairs are necessary yourself. Such sales are usually grabbed up by those professional “flippers” out there who will restore such houses and then put them on the market.
However, it may be too late for the Broadway house as it has several major things wrong with it including the heating system and structural problems. It very well could end up as cheap rental housing, which ironically was the rental home of the Millay family when it was first built in 1892. Sadly there is also the possibility to consider that the structure will be torn down.
My own family claims its own connection with Millay as relatives on her Emery side. One of the Emery clan, my. grandmother Ida Emery,  was married to my grandfather, Frederick Sylvester, her first husband. She later married Roy Tolman, who was related to Isaiah Tolman, the first settler of Rockland. Henry Tolman Millay, Edna’s father, was descended from Isaiah.
I say all this because my family would be very upset to say the least if this famous house were to end up in the lost files of Rockland history and Rockland’s connection to Millay would be forever lost and denied to us.
Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in this house on February 22, 1892. Bells rang out exactly as she was born and they realized that she was born on George Washington’s birthday, thus the celebration with the bells.
The house on Broadway was a gathering place for friends and family before Edna was born. There were weekend card games and sing-a-longs. They described their home as D.E., or damn elegant. Look at it now with its peeling paint and you would never know such a famous person once lived there. The plaque placed on the outside of the house in 1935 by the Women’s Educational Club to honor the house for its historical value is now long gone. The folks who lived there during that time got tired of people knocking on the door hoping for a tour of the house or for picture opportunities. I expect that today’s “selfie” brigade would have driven them nuts also.
Edna’s hair was “Emery” red like the hair of many Emerys I have known in my own life. I have an autographed picture given to my Great-Aunt Mary Sue Emery, also a red head. I always hang it in my office wherever I live and use it as my own personal muse.
I write of all these family connections to emphasize how much she means to my family and how much it would personally offend me if any horrible thing were to happen to the house on Broadway.
It would be a shame and a disgrace if the city of Rockland and its residents who love its history were to ignore the Broadway house and just let the chips fall where they may.
So what can we all do about it? I urge you to contact my friend, Ann Morris, of the Rockland Historical Society, who is trying to come up with ways to save the house. They are looking to establish a foundation that could solicit donations which would eventually reestablish Millay’s birthplace as a literary landmark and might I also add myself, possibly a national historical landmark. Other activities would involve using the house as a cultural center possibly tying it in with Farnsworth Museum programs.
If you care about preserving our past and honoring probably the most famous person who ever lived in Rockland, please consider my words here. In the current era of Rockland’s artistic atmosphere there should certainly be room for the cultural programs that could be developed by using this most famous site on Broadway as a stepping stone to draw more literary people to the area for workshops and the like.
Let’s see what we can accomplish here. You with me?