Ducktrap Chronicles .... soccer and cross country .... feeding multitudes

This Week in Lincolnville: Friendship

remembering a happy time
Mon, 09/09/2019 - 1:45pm

The call that came last evening wasn’t unexpected; a good old friend, Peggy Bochkay, had died a few days ago. We hadn’t stayed in touch much the last several years, though a few months ago we’d had a long talk that involved much laughter and reminiscing. Peggy, in spite of suffering declining health for decades, stayed positive, an upbeat, “I can do anything” kind of woman. I admired her from the first time I met her.

Only I can’t recall that first meeting. Funny how someone can slip into our lives unannounced, and before we know it, a bond has grown, and we call each other friends.

Peggy and Rich moved to Lincolnville around 1990, to a house on Chester Dean Road overlooking Coleman Pond, then and now, a quiet, dead end dirt road off Slab City. Rich, a pilot for FedEx, was often away, and Peggy did what I imagine she always did, set about making friends in her new town.

CALENDAR 

MONDAY, Sept. 9

Schoolhouse Museum Open, 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road

LCS Soccer, 3:45 p.m., Searsport

Recreation Committee, 6 p.m., Breezemere Park

Special Town Meeting followed by Selectmen meeting, 6 p.m., Town Office


TUESDAY, Sept. 10

Oldtimers Lunch, 11:30 a.m., Lobster Pound Restaurant

Recreation Committee, 5:30 p.m., Town Office


WEDNESDAY, Sept. 11

Schoolhouse Museum Open, 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road

LCS Soccer, 3:45 p.m., LCS fields


THURSDAY, Sept. 12

No Soup Café: Bike Maine Comes through Lincolnville

Conservation Committee, 4 p.m., Town Office

Cross Country Meet, 4:00-boys, 4:45-girls, CHRHS


FRIDAY, Sept. 13

Schoolhouse Museum Open, 1-4 p.m., 33 Beach Road


SATURDAY, Sept. 14

Intro to Pickleball and Open Play, 8-10 a.m., LCS Outdoor Courts, 523 Hope Road


EVERY WEEK

AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at 12:15 p.m., Wednesdays & Sundays at 6 p.m., United Christian Church

Lincolnville Community Library, open Tuesdays 4-7, Wednesdays, 2-7, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 706-3896.

Soup Café, every Thursday, noon—1p.m., Community Building, Sponsored by United Christian Church. Free, though donations to the Community Building are appreciated

Schoolhouse Museum open M-W-F, 1-4 p.m.

Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway

United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m., Children’s Church during service, 18 Searsmont Road


COMING EVENTS

Sept. 21: Indoor Flea Market

At that time the Lincolnville Historical Society was ready for some new blood. Jackie Watts (another old friend often on my mind) had founded it in 1975 at a meeting in her living room. There were probably half a dozen of us invited that day; I wondered why I was included, relatively new to town at a time when being “from away” was suspect. But Jackie had an intuitive sense about people, and later she’d tell me she knew I’d come through eventually.

I must have been a disappointment, though, in the beginning, because I didn’t follow through. I was having babies in the 70s, and raising them in the 80s. There was no time to think about town history.

Jackie, however, was a whirlwind of activity during those decades, writing and publishing four scrapbook histories (which are still available), and with her cousin Isabel Morse Maresh, copying and printing the town’s B-D-M (birth, death and marriage) records, reprinting years of the Camden Herald’s Lincolnville-related articles, and compiling their family’s genealogy in the Lermond and Young books.

Along with Isabel, Barbara Tarantino, and Nancy Heald Jackie was organizing Founders Day events at the Grange each October, complete with speakers which were videotaped, displays, and of course, a bean supper to cap it off.

What had eluded her was a physical location for the LHS. For a few years she tried to make the little brick building, across from the General Store and owned at the time by the telephone company, into a museum. But it was too damp and had no heat; it was no place to store historical artifacts.

By 1990, Jackie was stepping back a bit, while fortuitously, I was getting interested. And that’s about when Peggy Bochkay came to town.

I remember the two of us scoping out the upstairs of the LIA (Lincolnville Improvement Association) building for a potential museum. It had been the one-room school that served all the children living on Atlantic Highway, on Ducktrap Road, and on Beach Road up to Stevens Corner (Youngtown Road intersection). A school at Ducktrap had closed in 1911 when population in that district declined.

The schoolroom was on the second floor where as many as 40-plus children, grades 1-8 were led by one teacher through reading, writing and arithmetic. The room had been unused since 1947 when the new consolidated Lincolnville Central School was built in the Center sending all the town’s children to one school divided into four classrooms, two grades per room.

Peggy and I unpacked the cardboard boxes that held the town memorabilia Jackie and others had collected, and arranged the stuff around the room. A few days later we came back to find everything put back into the boxes. Hmmm.

Old guard, new guard. Something territorial was going on. The group of elderly women (oh my, I’m probably older now than any of them at the time!) who were then running the LHS apparently didn’t approve of our scheme to turn the Beach school room into a museum. They also held the Society’s bank account, a tidy few thousand dollars.

But Peggy and I persevered, emptying the boxes out once more and began collecting furnishings – bookshelves, etc. to display the old tools, the collection of fancy hat pins, the photo albums, and all the rest that had been languishing in those cardboard cartons. Before long the treasurer at the time handed the bank book over to us, and Peggy and I, as we gleefully told each other, began “spending like drunken sailors.”

We figured that if we spent the money on building up the museum people would see we were doing something and more donations would come in. We were right. The more we invested in the organization, sending out a biannual newsletter to everyone in town, having the new Schoolhouse Museum open for regular hours in the summer, opening up for the annual LIA Christmas party, the more came back.

Peggy’s enthusiasm, her skill at keeping track of membership and connecting with the people who visited the Museum all contributed to its growth. First and foremost Peggy was a photographer, interested in the family albums people showed us.

These pre-digital photography/iphone/scanner days seem like ancient history now when reproducing photos is so incredibly easy and fast. Peggy devised a clever way to copy the old photos in those family albums. She set up a stand for her 35mm camera and photographed each picture using color film. The originals of course were black and white, but color film was much cheaper to develop.

She’d take the rolls to the drugstore (must have been, LaVerdiere’s, predecessor to Rite Aid, now Walgreens) and order double copies of each photo. With one set of photos she’d make an album for the family, returning the originals, which were often tiny snapshots pasted onto the black pages of a small, leather-bound album, along with a new album of those copies. The other set went into a notebook for the Museum.

Thanks to Peggy Bochkay we have dozens of family albums carefully stored in three-ring binders. And thanks to Connie Parker, each of those albums is now indexed in the front.

Jackie had been telling me about an amazing collection of old photos taken at Ducktrap which belonged to a woman named Connie Wade Gregg, a lifelong summer resident. By this time I’d become interested in a memoir I’d found in those original cardboard boxes, the recollections of a man born at Ducktrap in the 1860s, Horace Carver. The glimmer of an idea for a book was taking hold. But Connie Gregg wasn’t letting the photos out of her house. Peggy said, “Let’s go see her.”

So we did.

The three of us got along from the start, sitting around her kitchen table in the “last house in Lincolnville” where Connie Wade’s father had been born, right on the Northport line. Connie had the photos in a fish box, one of those flat, plastic boxes fish used to come in. People loved to get their hands on them to safely store stuff, the precursor to today’s ubiquitous plastic bins.

One by one we picked up the old prints and laid them out on the table, marveling at each one. Connie told us her father, Austin Wade had taken most of the pictures along with Will Davis, a Boston artist whose mother had come from Ducktrap.

During the early years of the 20th century, 1907 to about 1920, these two young men set about chronicling what was left of the once-booming village of Ducktrap. The lime kiln, sawmill, dam, sailing ships, the rickety-looking bridge, people working, shingling a roof, feeding hens, hanging up the wash, sitting on the front stoop – everything was interesting to them.

The original glass negatives were gone, smashed according to Connie, by her mother in a fit of anger. All that remained of the collection were these small, fragile sepia-toned images, printed by Austin, probably in Lynn, Massachusetts, his winter home. No wonder Connie was so protective of them. We left, excited by the photos, but discouraged that Connie wouldn’t let them out of her sight.

That evening Peggy called. “I’ve got them! I went back and talked with her, told her copying them would preserve them. She gave me the box!”

And so, Ducktrap: Chronicles of a Maine Village was born, with Austin Wade’s photos and Horace Carver’s words its heart. The months that followed were among the most fun I’ve had, and I suspect they were for Peggy too. We tracked down people to talk to, explored the cellar of the George Ulmer house with its owner, 90-plus year-old Alyce Amborn, rode in a boat up the Ducktrap at high tide with Tom Flagg (gone now too) who showed us what was above the dam. We scrambled down its banks trying to figure out how the sawmill worked, visited the Farnsworth’s vaults to pick out three of Will Davis’ drawings to reproduce, met Aline Davis Hulbert who led us to the Will Davis painting, stored in her barn, that become the cover.

As Peggy herself wrote in our forward to the book: “We are thankful for this glimpse of the past we were permitted to view. I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to work on this book, an experience that will last forever. The laughter we shared, and yes, sometimes the sadness we felt, made us better within ourselves.”

Rest in peace old friend.


Town

A special town meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the town office to vote to authorize the sale of the late Richard Rosenberg’s property, Tax Map 29, lots 28, 29, and 31.


School

The soccer team plays its first game Monday, Sept. 9, at Searsport. Their next game will be at home against Nobleboro, Wednesday, Sept. 11, game starts at 3:45 p.m.

The first cross country meet of the season will be held at CHRHS on Thursday, Sept. 12; the boys run at 4:00 and the girls at 4:45.


Oldtimers Luncheon

Some twenty-five years ago (maybe more) a group of folks who’d grown up at Lincolnville Beach met at the Lobster Pound for lunch. “Oldtimers” they called themselves, and there began an annual get together. Over the years the list of those invited grew to include oldtimers from every part of town, then summer residents counted too, and finally the “guest list” includes newcomers as well as oldtimers. In fact, if you live in Lincolnville, or grew up here, or have some other connection, you’re welcome! No need to have received an invitation in the mail, though if your name is on the list from other years you’ll get one. The group gathers at 11:30 a.m. at the Pound, lunch starts at noon. There are five menu choices with the price including beverage, dessert, tax, and tip. Hope to see many of you there!


Feeding Bike Maine

This Thursday, instead of the usual Soup Café, a team of volunteers from United Christian Church will be serving lunch to 450 cyclists coming through town as part of the Bike Maine ride sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. The average age of the riders is 62, with 252 men and 198 women. 339 are from out of state. Lincolnville is about the halfway point of the 51.7mile course. On the menu will be pasta with marinara and desserts from Dolce Vita Farm, baguettes from Dot’s, salad from 3Bug Farm, and local apples. Should be quite a crowd!


Bayshore Baptist Church

This Sunday, September 15, 6 p.m. the Violettes, a popular Gospel group, will be performing at Bayshore Baptist Church. Refreshments will follow. Bayshore is located on Atlantic Highway (Route One) just north of the Beach.


United Christian Church

Also on Sunday the 15th, The United Christian Church, 18 Searsmont Road (Route 173) cordially invites the community to Visitors' Day.  The service begins at 9:30 a.m. and will be conducted by Reverend Elizabeth Barnum. Peter Saladino will accompany the Wing and a Prayer Choir.  Following the service there will be a coffee hour held in the Community Building.