This Week in Lincolnville: What’s an Alley Arm?
What does the word flapper mean to you? Well, if you’re of a certain age, if you had a mother or a grandmother who came of age in the 1920s, you’ve probably heard the term. These wild and crazy young women wore their skirts above their knees and their stockings rolled down below them. They smoked cigarettes in slender holders, bobbed their hair, drank illicit booze in hidden cellars called speakeasies. “Joe sent me” you told the bouncer, and he let you in. I was convinced my mother had been one. She’d grown to womanhood during the 20s after all, therefore she must have been a flapper. I think the question annoyed her; she always denied it, though not the part about visiting speakeasies – “we all did that.”
Now. What’s a hippie? Who was/is a hippie? Did you come of age in the 60s? Well then, you must have been a hippie. I think I understand why my flapper question annoyed my mother. Hippies wore their hair long, they didn’t wash, women didn’t shave their armpits and legs, they all wore wire rim glasses and beads, and drove around in wildly painted vans. They did LSD and smoked dope, lived in communes where they freely shared their love. Oh, and of course, they were all at Woodstock.
But there was much more, and it’s the part that’s often forgotten. Hippies (and many who get tarred with the same brush) believed passionately in community, in “live and let live”, and in working together for the common good, pretty radical ideas for their conservative parents to swallow. Somehow the idea of hippies got all tangled up with the activists of the 60s, the young people protesting injustice, Vietnam, and marching for Civil Rights.
MONDAY, June 20
Schoolhouse Museum opens for the season, 1 p.m., 33 Beach Road
Conservation Commission, 4 p.m., Town Office
TUESDAY, June 21
Book group, 6 p.m., Library
WEDNESDAY, June 22
Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Office, televised
THURSDAY, june 23
Free Soup Café, noon-1 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road
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 763-4343.
Soup Café, every Thursday, noon—1p.m., Community Building, Sponsored by United Christian Church. Free, though donations to the Good Neighbor Fund are appreciated
Schoolhouse Museum open by appointment only until June 2015: call Connie Parker, 789-5984
Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m.
United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m., Children’s Church during service
June 29: Community Solar Farm program at L.I.A.
July 9: Annual Strawberry Festival
I came to Midcoast Maine in 1967, got a job teaching school in Rockland and lived in a little rented house just outside of Tenants Harbor. All right, I wore miniskirts and fishnet stockings, had a pretty riotous wardrobe, color-wise, but I was no hippie. I had a job for goodness sake. I did try to tone down the wardrobe (I have a vague memory that my understanding principal at Rockland Junior High, Jerry Malcolm, had a little talk with me about that), but what could I do about my two friends from Berkeley? Heidi was a friend from college and he was her boyfriend, and they came to stay with me in my tiny house that fall. All right. She wore wire rims and he had hair to his shoulders. It wasn’t long before it got back to me that “everyone in Rockland knew my house had only one bed.” Really???
Within a few years I’d left my “hippie” past behind and was living in Lincolnville with my new husband, having babies, and staying out of the limelight. Except for the rumors that went around about our being rich (apparently $15,000 was way too much to pay for that old farmhouse), and we were probably dealing drugs. Fortunately, there were many other folks moving into the area who were more exotic than we were, and Wally and I kind of blended into the background. He was principal of the school, and the most notorious thing I did in those years was show up at a school committee meeting in Wally’s barn jacket, smelling strongly of cow manure. Yes, I heard about that the next day.
Somehow, all this background into the 60s and 70s brings me to alley arms. Chances are you don’t know what they are or that they play a significant part in our rural roadways.
The year was 2001; the residents of the Midcoast and MBNA were locked in a dance — development versus jobs. The credit card company had been on a building spree all over our area, Camden to Lincolnville to Belfast for several years. The latest, and closest to Lincolnville, was happening on Ducktrap Mountain where Point Lookout was taking shape. Nearby residents watched truck after truck loaded with rock, blasted off the top of the mountain, driving down from the summit, as the wild mountain was tamed. Around the same time Lincolnville Central School was condemned, closed because of toxic mold. MBNA stepped up at our June town meeting and offered to build us a new school by Labor Day! And then they did it. To say that the company and townspeople had a crazy relationship is an understatement.
Meanwhile, Central Maine Power had come to the Planning Board with a plan to build a new substation on Searsmont Road, apparently to remedy a problem on Islesboro. However, they neglected to mention that the project included a new 40-foot high line that would run down Route 173 to Ducktrap Road to Route 1. And that such a line would require extensive tree cutting all along the route, including several 100-year-old trees, and the maples that line Main Street through the Center.
All hell broke loose the day they began cutting back the roadside just down the way from the new substation. The word got around fast, that a new, higher voltage line was coming through the heart of Lincolnville, and that CMP had begun without the usual public meetings. Remember Julia “Butterfly” Hill, the environmentalist who lived in a 1500-year-old redwood tree for two years? Rosey Gerry, whose daily drive took him right by the ravaged roadside trees, looked downhill and saw a line of ancient oaks that lay right in the path of the new line. Before the day was out, he’d decided he’d climb one of those oaks and refuse to come down. He works as a logger, and said he was surprised …. that his perspective on trees had changed. He woke up a “tree cutter,” but “little did I know I would become a tree shepherd.”
Next come those hippies. A clandestine group formed, seemingly out of thin air, and one night, dressed all in black (is my memory overly dramatic here?), they/we headed out with yellow tape and marked all the doomed trees (or ones we assumed would be doomed). It felt good. We weren’t as nimble as we’d once been, children of the 60s all of us, and some of us already had gray hair, but we knew how to get attention. The next morning people woke up to the reality of what CMP had planned for Lincolnville.
Next came lots of bad publicity for the guys at CMP — television crews, newspaper stories, letters to the editor, along with a lot of skepticism that this project was just for Islesboro. Wasn’t the new Point Lookout project destined to have some one hundred all-electric cottages? Though MBNA denied having anything to do with it, it didn’t hurt our cause to raise the question.
Did we stop the new line coming through? No, we didn’t. But thanks to the untiring research and badgering of Will Brown, the new power lines travel over the roadway in crucial places, instead of running through the branches of roadside trees (which would have marked those trees for cutting). Will discovered alley arms during his on-line research; they form a simple “L” at the top of the pole, instead of the traditional “T”, carrying the wires out from the pole. CMP first denied ever using them in their projects, then, after continued pressure, admitted that yes, they knew what they were, but they were too expensive. Finally, with a good number of people in town riled up enough to come out to the public meetings CMP finally held, the company succumbed and agreed to use alley arms instead of cutting trees. The two pieces of wood and the hardware required per pole to form the alley arm came to $40; when the project was all over, CMP officials told Will they’d actually saved money over what all that tree cutting would have cost.
Our house is on the new 40-foot tall line; though the line runs down Ducktrap Road from the substation up on Searsmont Road, there’s a spur line that comes to our house, just before Sleepy Hollow. In the past 15 years we’ve only lost power a handful of times. So what does that tell us? That CMP knew that what they were doing would be an improvement, and yet every time I look up at the top of a power pole and see an alley arm carrying the wire over the road, I know we tree huggers, hippies or whatever they called us, saved some of our town’s beautiful trees.
The library book group plans to meet this Tuesday, June 21, at 6 p.m. to discuss "Crescent" by Diana Abu Jaber , a love story involving a young restaurant owner in an Arab-American community in Los Angeles. This group always welcomes anyone to come join in the discussion and share ideas for other good books to read.
The library is looking for someone interested in volunteering to build a little free library, a dollhouse-size structure that the Friends of the Lincolnville Community Library would fill with books and maintain. The plan is to place it at Lincolnville Beach and keep it stocked with a small selection of popular novels and other good books that people may borrow for free. Anyone interested in helping with this project may call the contact the library. Call 763-4343 or email for more information.
The Lincolnville Community Library has been invited to be participate in a Maine women writers series this summer along with four other Waldo County libraries and the Penobscot Marine Museum. Each library will host a discussion on a particular author and Lincolnville has chosen Louise Dickinson Rich, a writer well known for her fiction and nonfiction works about Maine and New England.
The Lincolnville Library discussion will be on Wednesday, August 3, at 7 p.m. and will focus on three books: We Took to the Woods, a memoir about the time Rich and her husband spent living in a remote cabin in western Maine during the 1930s; The Coast of Maine, a history and guide published in 1956; and Start of the Trail: the Story of a Young Maine Guide, a novel for young adults. Everyone is welcome to participate in reading and discussing these books and the library expects to have extra copies available for check-out soon.
The other authors to be featured in the series include Mary Ellen Chase (Searsport Library), Miriam Colwell (Searsmont), Ruth Moore (Belfast), and Elisabeth Ogilvie (Winterport). Details on dates for those discussions should be available soon.
Strawberry Festival Coming Up
This year’s Strawberry Festival, sponsored by United Christian Church and held at the church grounds and Community Building, will be on July 9. This day is always a great day for everyone – parents with young children, teens, and everyone else. There’s strawberry shortcake and pie, puppet shows, music, a parade, hot dogs, children’s activities and lots more. Put the date on your calendar; if you’ve got out of town guests that day, bring them along. Lincolnville’s Strawberry Festival is one of those community events that those “from away” rarely get to see these days; they’re always impressed!
Community Solar Farm
A landowner in Lincolnville is ready to put up a Community Solar Farm for up to nine members, with each member owning a share of the solar array and the electricity it generates. A CSF provides a way to "go solar" for people who aren't able to put a solar system on their own roof for whatever reason - their roof doesn't face south, it's too shady, it isn't big enough or strong enough, or a solar roof would be out of keeping with the character of the house, or they're renters rather than owners.
If you’re interested in learning more, Chuck Piper of Sundog Solar will present the details at a program at the Lincolnville Improvement Association on June 29, 6:30 p.m.
Boat Club is 10 Years Old
Anna Piotti is back for her third year as program director at the Lincolnville Boat Club. Classes are held Monday through Friday where students learn to sail, swim, kayak and row on the warm waters of Norton Pond. There are partial day courses and full day courses. Details are available on the club’s website.
LBB Pick of the Week
The Lincolnville Bulletin Board has some interesting exchanges; if you have Lincolnville conections and want to join, contact Pat Putnam.
“This snapping turtle [see photo] was in the road along the curb on North Cobbtown Road near the dam this afternoon. It looked like it could not quite figure out how to get over the curb. After I took a photo of it smiling at me, I helped it over — counting all my fingers before and after. It was a big fellow and lunged when I picked it up so that I almost could not hold on to it — yes, I was behind it, holding both sides... it seemed much happier — as was I because I could leave with all my body parts intact.” Corelyn
“I guess today was snapping turtle egg-laying day. We had two in our driveway this a.m. doing their annual deposits of eggs...much to our dog’s disapproval. Fortunately she was able to stay away...” Jeff
“Good deed for the day :) Snapping turtles also dig on the side of the roadnear Black Brook on Slab City - maybe laying eggs? A "slow turtle xing" sign would be good down there.” Toni
“Good work, Corelyn!!!” Liz
“I'm guessing I should be feeling bad about now. But as I grew up with farm folk in Iowa, All I can think about is my Grandpa's Soup!!! Sorry.” UUade
Animals Seen Around Town
Fritz, our dog, and I scared up a hen turkey in an overgrown lawn the other day, along with about eight chicks. Mama flew off and her little ones took flight too, scattering in all directions. They were about the size of bantam chickens and flew surprisingly well.
It may be flying squirrel season as well. A friend told us about watching one soar out from under the eaves of her cottage looking like a gray handkerchief, mysterious in the fog. Later she wrote “Ever since I glimpsed that one flying squirrel a week or so ago, I've been hoping to see another. Last night in bed in the loft, I heard (as usual) scrabbling above my head. So I knew they hadn't left yet. This time I went to the window, and sure enough, I saw one sail from just above me. I waited then topped the ceiling, and no the one did the same. I checked the time — 9:52 — and tonight I may go outside and see if I can watch them from there, if it not too dark. They really do look amazing, the way they just launch themselves into the air and sail off. I figured out there's a hole in the metal soffit just above the window, and that's how they get in and out.