Portland Maine

Portland Maine is centerpiece of Love Story set 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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Christian Science at Bowdoin College

Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Christian Science, Holiday, Media, Portland Maine, WW2, WW2 Love Letter | 0 comments

Young people impress me. I hope if I ever visit Bowdoin College that it will be the best the trip of my life.

Bowdoin College Tea Cup

Chai Brew in Bowdoin China Teacup

I spent two years traversing history to meet my parents in the 40s. It started with 300 love letters from my dad to my mother. Arline had a fall soon after she gave me the letters. I nursed her  for two months over the 2012 winter holidays. Two years later I’m back on extended visit. My chai tea multi-cultural brew is delicious in old Bowdoin teacups.

Family history research dropped me at the door of Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910), founder of Christian Science. It started when my eye caught a first edition of her CONCORDANCE to MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS at a thrift store.

Concordance to Miscellaneous Writings

CONCORDANCE to MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS by Mary Baker Eddy

In Miscellaneous Writings (1883-1896), in Easter Services, there’s a sermon by a “former member of the Congregational Church”, a Bowdoin Graduate named Rev. D.A.Easton. “He left his old church…because he was not satisfied with a man-like God, but wanted to become a God-like man.” What Easton found in Christian Science surprised him.

Google is like a concordance. I googled Bowdoin and Christian Science. I got: “Student Lecture Series Debuts with Talks on Christian Science and Squirrel Diabetes”.   The 2013 article highlights “Food for Thought” lectures. The twice a month talks are presented as a fun study break “for students to talk about anything they want to”. The speaker on Christian Science, Alioto, refers to her faith as being in the category of Bowdoin “topics such as religion — ones that students tend to view as taboo or uncomfortable”. Her talk was titled “Go Away…I’m Healing”.

In other old news Bowdoin made headlines last year when it ousted a Christian Bible study group’s leaders, despite student protest. Chapel was mandatory at Bowdoin in Morris Densmore’s day, the 1940s. Important and serious talks were held there. The September Commencement of 1942 graduated sixteen “Accelerated Seniors” at Bowdoin. Three degrees were conferred in absentia for the men already in the service. That left only thirteen graduates in attendance. It was a small Commencement, first time in Bowdoin’s history the ceremony was moved to the chapel.

Critical thinking requires intelligence plus an open-mind. In an earlier blog I jotted about how WW2 was an attack on liberal arts and critical thinking. To understand Christian Science takes an open-mind.  In Christian Science the Bible is explained in mystical intelligent context.  C.S. is a good fit for Bowdoin.

At the Food for Talk debut students “flooded in”. No short thirst for knowledge there. The squirrel diabetes lecture was presented as comedy. But when Alioto shared about being a Christian Scientist, finally in her senior year, apparently sort of outing herself as a Christian to the community at large “Her anecdotes and reflections on life as a Christian Scientist on a college campus inspired a stream of questions from the audience, as well as a discussion about the presence of religion in the Bowdoin community.” Yea, a mid-course correction. She welcomed the “gifts” of intellectual curiosity.

Christian Science was no squirrel in 18th century New England. Here’s a link to a film about Mary Baker. I dismiss commentator views that C.S. was more applicable before modern medicine. In light of modern physics and my own experience as an RN and acupuncturist, C.S. Divine Mind fits better than ever our modern days. I ponder God. I sure am thankful for great minds like Mary’s, for her teachings, for my Bowdoin heritage and beautiful Bowdoin china.

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Easter Bunny Leaves Love Letter

Posted by on Apr 20, 2014 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Holiday, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Media, Navy, Portland Maine, Vintage Style, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 2 comments

Easter falls on the 1st Sunday following the 1st full moon after the spring equinox, between 3/22 and 4/25. Copy that?

I went to church with Arline last week. I used to go, and was once a Christian. I walked out of the church when a substitute minister started preaching against abortion from the pulpit. It was too much. But I loved the service last week, the organ, the choir, the people greeting each other saying “Peace be with you.”

In 1945, Easter was April 1st. This year it’s tomorrow, the 20th. I pulled one of my father’s letters from April 20th 1945. Morris had been stationed in the South Pacific 5 months. He was engaged to Arline. They did it in letters. He sent the news of their engagement to his parents in a telegram. Arline had been at his folks home for dinner. In the letter Mose asks, “What were your first feelings when they read the telegram?” Awesome! Then he details his future pay as a lieutenant.

let4:20:45:crop

Morris’s memorial service was April 1st, 1999. I remember him every April Fools Day. He had a dry sense of humor. He had a way with puns. At the memorial service his brother Henry said, “Morris was the last of the good guys.”

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Love Letters to 1940s Bride

Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Photo, Portland Maine, Vintage Style, WW2 | 0 comments

1940s photo of my mother and dad getting in to a car first time as husband and wife.

Photo 1940s Honeymoon

Off for the Honeymoon!
First trip as Man and Wife. c. 1946

Morris married Arline soon after he returned from WW2. Just noticed something,
these are the highest heels I have ever seen Arline wear! Arline held to
the values of her day and peers including modesty, not too much make-up and no smoking.

Her wedding dress is still in the Hope Chest. But not the shoes. Wonder if she
ever wore them again…I want to hold The Shoes in my dream. Let’s see what happens.

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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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Memorial for Ruth Ladd

Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 in 1920s and 1930s, All Blog Posts, Portland Maine, Vintage Style | 0 comments

My mother called tonight. Her sister Ruth, my Aunt Ruthie, died today.

The sisters were very close and shared a bedroom in junior high and high school. Like my maternal grandmother, Mattie–also called Martha, Ruth played the piano by ear. Ruth was just a year and a half younger than Arline. They were both born after Mattie was 40. She called the girls her “two surprises”.

Ruth was a lovely person. I’ll always remember her easy encouraging laugh. She never left Maine. In the 60s my family would visit her and my cousins in Portland Maine in the summers when Morris had his two week vacation from the bank. We drove back every year, from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Maine. It was a two day trip through Canada, New York, New Hampshire in our blue Ford Station Wagon.

Ruth is survived by four children and several grandchildren.

In the photo below Ruth is in front on the pony. Arline was born in 1924 so this must be early 30s.

Ruth and Arline on Pony

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