Posts Tagged "Maine"

Martha’s Merry Maine Christmas 2017

Posted by on Dec 24, 2017 in All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Holiday, LOVE LETTER, Media, Vintage Style | 0 comments

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!

Merry Christmas 2017!

Merry Christmas 2017!

America is having a come back. So are some Densmores. In September of 2017 I moved my mother back to Maine. We rented a farmhouse in Pemaquid a couple months. During that time we bought a house in Brunswick near Bowdoin. Our new house borders a 300 acre working organic farm. We look out upon a great expanse of land, beautiful pasture and crops.

One afternoon in the fall of 2017 I was driving Arline on a back highway here. It was Saturday. The Brunswick escrow had just closed. I was driving Arline back to our rented farmhouse.  It would be our last weekend there in the Hope Woods. I turned on the radio and flicked it to an AM station.

There’s a radio station here in Maine called The Memories Station. 1960s songs were playing.  Watching farms go by, many with American flags, frame by frame the purity echoed. So here I am in an Americana paradise. Classic like a Palm Springs cocktail in the 1950s. Like a Las Vegas travel ad in the 1960s. Like a TV Christmas special in the 1970s. Time never left this place. It’s never left. Back roads and farms and quaint old houses. She’s here breathing. Oh America, why did it take so long? Like an old love letter.

I’d just been contemplating Love Story’s slogan that love means never having to say your sorry. The theme of “Love Story” sung by Andy Williams started playing. The second song after I turned on the station. Then came “For All we Know” by Karen Carpenter.

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King Chapel at Bowdoin, June 2016

Posted by on Jul 4, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Photo, WW2 | 0 comments

Bowdoin campus is quiet in mid-June. I wanted to get with the old guys of my father’s day, away from current campus culture. Of course you can’t escape campus culture. The first thing I encountered was a poster on the inside of every toilet stall door (in every restroom) to remind me, again and again, even after I just passed the same poster on the restroom wall–the only poster in the bathroom–that a long list of names of specially trained students is on stand by to help me come out of the closet and or if I think I might be the victim of a sexual assault. Every time I had to use the bathroom there was the missive that had nothing to do with me.

Bowdoin College, King Chapel Doors

King Chapel Doors at Bowdoin

Anyway, I slipped through two great old doors leading into the chapel. Antiques and art are everywhere at Bowdoin and always have been since the earliest days of the college.

When I got there a lady was playing the organ. The chapel is dark from absence of many windows. In place of any large stained glass, the chapel has gorgeous museum quality murals.

Bowdoin's College King Chapel

Bowdoin’s King Chapel

Bowdoin has been always the greatest of art collectors. The interior chapel is walled on its two long sides by giant murals of bible scenes. To compare, I thought back to my trip to St. Petersburg, to castles and cathedrals I’ve visited. And to rare Byzantine murals of Jesus and the Apostles on cave walls in Turkey. None is more perfect than the King Chapel at Bowdoin. It’s so well preserved it’s almost like a dreamscape. Absolutely awesome. Later I picked up a brochure about the chapel.

Just today, the 4th of July, the chapel brochure informs that I’m a Bowdoin community member. Yea! Bowdoin community is defined as alumni and their immediate family members (that’s me!), active or retired faculty and staff and their immediate family members, and members of the Association of Bowdoin Friends. I’m proud to be Bowdoin.

Bowdoin College King Chapel Centurion, stained glass

King Chapel Centurion

In homage to a bible story is the great centurion today. He stands as a stained glass window high above the chapel’s front doors.

Waiting for a campus tour, I picked up the “The Orient”.  An article by a self-described minority female student is about how it badly it feels to be subjected to Bowdoin’s oppressive colonialist imposition in portraits of old white men in Hubbard Hall. Rather than scholarship, four years of college for her was about a matter of feeling at home. She wants social justice. She wants the walls to reflect diversity, modern Bowdoin. Though I love Bowdoin’s heritage I understand how she feels because I used to feel the same way when I’d vist the bio-medical library at UCLA. In the lobby are huge portraits of founder white men in black scholar robes. Feels imposing, presumptuous, oddly out of place.

Bowdoin College King Chapel

Bowdoin College King Chapel

Excessive political correctness vs. free speech on college campuses directs me back in time to Bowdoin’s founding principles. Liberal arts at Bowdoin is defined best historically. True liberal arts is a science that trains Man how to think. No more, no less.

I noticed, and I may be wrong, but it seems there’s a mistake in the brochure. The description of the murals on the North Wall, starting from the door states “mostly” New Testament themes. That wall is ALL New Testament themes. The stained glass centurion is from the New Testament too. They’re all one theme. All Bowdoin.

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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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Bowdoin College Moonlit Pines 1943

Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Holiday, Vintage Style, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

It’s 1943. The WWII draft is on. For all he knows it may be his last Valentines season. Seventy years ago Morris finds exceptional beauty in a winter night at Bowdoin College. Moonlit pines weighted with snow glisten like Christmas Trees. He writes Arline a Love Letter a few days post Valentines day, “I have never seen Bowdoin as beautiful…”

WWII Letter excerpt

Bowdoin College Winter Night 1943

 

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Sailor who Never Went to Sea

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Media, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

Today is February 1st, 2015. I pull a WW2 love letter, the first one that matches the date, but 1943. Today lends itself to the fine the art of avoiding writing by reading sentimental old love letters.  This is how one writer spent her Super Bowl Sunday. Morris would be at the T.V. if he were here. But he’s now seventy-two years ago, the Morris who is at Bowdoin College in winter. His good friend has just been drafted, got a notice and is leaving. Morris is returning from the movie Casablanca and finds a sailor lying out in cold Maine snow:

Excerpt WW2 Love Letter

Sailor who Never Went to Sea. Image of WW2 Letter

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