High School Years

Love Letters of WW2 blog and book project content about high school life at Deering High, Portland Me. in the 1940s.

Writer Scores Victory Scrapbook 1943

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, High School Years, Historical Portland, Media, Photo, Portland Maine, Vintage Style, WW2, WWII Letter | 0 comments

Writer Scores Victory Scrapbook 1943

I remember as a child my father coaching me to catch the ball. “Keep your eye on the ball,” he’d always say. I was fortunate to spend several days with my mother over Christmas. I was organizing her front closet and delved into another old trunk. I found a scrapbook. I’d seen it before. We all have. It needs care and preservation so I brought it home to look at. I’m sure glad I did.

My dad made it. It commemorates his sports life at Deering High and Bowdoin College during 1942-1943. It’s ironic because I’m the one person in my immediate family that didn’t become a jock. Not for lack of talent. In high school I excelled in ballet and modern dance. I was also an equestrian in high school. But I preferred the pleasure of riding my horse to the hassle of competitions. I won a ribbon here and there in sports, one for swimming, a couple with my horse. But I never followed baseball or football. And I went to an all girls high school so that put a damper on things…I wanted to be a cheerleader. But not for all-girl volleyball.

My two older brother’s were basketball jocks in high school. My cousin Pete Ladd (on Arline’s side, her sister Ruth’s son) pitched for the Milwakee Brewers in the 1982 World Series. Nothing is more thrilling than watching your cousin pitch on TV.

So here I am, a non-sportsperson writing about my dad’s sports life in high school and college. Thank goodness Dad made this extraordinary catalogue of newspaper clippings from important games and turning points during the war.

Newspaper clipping 1942

Densmore Celebrates Birthday Beats Blue in a Post Stadium Tilt.

How much help can a writer expect? It’s amazing to think that in those days being a high school sports star would get you regular press coverage in the local news. My parents were both featured in the local Portland newspaper at various times including Arline with the headline “The Deering Girls had a Hoop Season”. I never realized she was that serious a player.  It’s super to see my dad like a Titan god killing the competition in a “hurling duel”. Dad in a duel! He truly is a star.

And then it’s incredible to look at his selected clippings from that most historical year at Bowdoin including watching each athlete leave, alone or in groups, called away to service. There’s a clipping of Mrs Roosevelt from the speech she gave at Bowdoin. Eleanor declared that the war would make you a better citizen.

Newspaper Clipping 1942

Densmore Best in Hurling Duel

Eleanor Roosevelt Speaks to 1200 at Bowdoin College

Eleanor Roosevelt Speaks to 1200 at Bowdoin College

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Robin William’s Death, Like Vets, From Psyche Meds

Posted by on Nov 9, 2014 in All Blog Posts, High School Years, Media, Medicine, PTSD | 0 comments

Twenty-two war vets commit suicide every day in the U.S. If vets could sue the VA maybe we’d have more of them. In  2009 I founded a pilot program, Los Angeles Veterans Acupuncture. I ran it for two years. The V.A. blocked free acupuncture at every level. But I ran a clinic down the street from the V.A. and with Emperor’s College helped war vets diagnosed with PTSD to heal using acupuncture and holistic medicine. The V.A. wanted them on psyche meds.

When Morris’s mind wavered while deployed during WW2, he called it Nostalgia Complex in a letter. He had just returned from a long jeep ride to General MacArthur’s palace in the jungle. Nostalgia Complex is a good way to describe PTSD. Too many vets are on psyche meds. And apparently too many drug rehabs over-prescribe them.

The coroner’s report on Robin Williams shows two psychiatric medications in “therapeutic doses”. One was in his blood, Mirtazapine. WebMD says this drug is used to treat depression. It also kills people with depression. The other drug mentioned is Seroquel, which was not in his blood, but by his side along with his iPad open to several sites offering information about medication. Both drugs that Robin was prescribed have side effects of suicidal ideation and suicide. Suicides like Robin’s, caused by doctor prescribed meds as evidenced by the manner and style of his suicide, are not uncommon.

Medical malfeasance starts with the manufacturer. Robin’s ipad was open to several drug info sites. This indicates someone trying to get info. He had complained to his wife he didn’t like how they made him feel. He had stopped Seroquel. He must have been trying to get of them. Getting off psyche meds can cause worsening symptoms and can be the most dangerous time. Below is Dr. Breggin’s testimony about war vet suicides linked to psychiatry meds. There is no doubt in my mind that psychiatric drugs were responsible for Robin’s death.



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Arline on a Maine Beach

Posted by on Jun 25, 2013 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, High School Years, Photo, Portland Maine, Vintage Style, WW2 | 0 comments

My mother, Arline, is second from the RIGHT. She’s…let’s just say it’s her birthday today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET ARLINE! You are so beautiful, always and forever. Glamorous.

Teenagers on the beach 1940s

Arline on the Beach 1940s

Far R is her best friend Peg, and to Arline’s L is Peg’s older sister, Virginia. Far left is Marty Lee, good friends with Arline and my dad, Morris. Marty lived across the street from Deering High where they all went to school. Higgin’s Beach is a popular hangout in the Cape Elizabeth area of Portland Maine. This photo was taken at Higgin’s or at Harpswell shore where Peg’s family had a home.

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1940 Friendship Hug

Posted by on Jan 8, 2013 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, High School Years, Photo, Portland Maine, Vintage Style, WW2 | 0 comments

1940 Friendship Hug

Visiting home with a Hug Arline  and friend Marty          c. 1945

Of the 320 letters in the hope chest a few were from Marty, a close friend of Morris and Arline’s.
Marty dated Arline’s best friend Peg. Peg and Marty’s relationship did not survive the war.


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New Year, New York, New Letter

Posted by on Jan 1, 2013 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, High School Years, Media, Photo, Vintage Style | 0 comments

It’s New Years Day 2013. Once in a while these blogs get more present tense.

“This is the year you learn to text, Martha.” Lightly my girlfriend adds, “You’re the only person I had to call!”

Texting is an immediate way to convey love. But a text not so enduring.

Dad, 4th from Left. NYC. Athletic Event c. 1942.

I contemplate the lost art of letter writing. I scanned this shot of my dad today. The actual photo is small. But the scan was large enough that Arline, my mom, could identify the fellows. Morris’s best friend Marty Lee is far right. “Wow,” I said to Mom, “Dad sure looks great! Look how they’re dressed up and they’re only in high school here. ”

“Your father loved to dress up!”

Spending time with my mom as she recovers from surgery is just the close-up intimacy I need to garner meaningful details. 1940s style like above extended to love letters. Classy, personal, collectible.

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High School Graduation 1942

Posted by on Dec 15, 2012 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, High School Years, Photo, Portland Maine, Vintage Style | 0 comments

This is vintage style. Deering High School in Portland Maine had a five year program in the 40s. My dad, Morris, was a year older than my mother, Arline. He did the five year program in order to graduate with his love. That’s what he told her anyway.

High School Graduation

Arline is modest about her age…late 80s. She’s so peppy however that her physical therapists say they are worried she’ll “over do it” going home tomorrow after three weeks in hospital post broken hip from a fall. In high school she was one of the “sports girls” as she puts it.

Mom and girls had to merge into all boy squad

Mom and girls had to merge into all boy squad

Arline organized the first female cheerleaders at Deering High School in Portland Maine.  Dad was a jock, played Varsity football, baseball, basketball and track. The girls had to merge in with the all boy cheerleader squad. It was a challenge for Arline to convince the principal to let girls be cheerleaders.

Looking forward to being your nurse mom, traveling back to the 40s this 2012 Christmas.

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