The Maine Report...2014
Knox County — This is my annual report of the state of my home town of Rockland in the summer of 2014 when I visited this month.
Thank you everyone for the beautiful weather I had while I was home. We had a couple of thunder showers but they cleared up quickly. The little fog I saw in Spruce Head was like a welcoming blanket that gathered itself on the horizon over the water; proceeded to come inland; and then disappeared over the top of the cottage. Welcome home, Sandra…welcome home.
One day I took a friend who was visiting from Connecticut uptown to peruse the shops on Main Street. While she was doing that, I visited some friends. I stopped into the Reading Corner to say hi and to ask how their past year was. They informed me they were able to stay open at least and that made me happy. Independent book stores are having a hard time these days because of the existence of Amazon online. They have signed copies of my book, The South End, on hand, by the way.
I also stopped into E.C. Moran and had a nice chat with the present owner, Patricia Moran Wotton. We talked about the old days as I described them in a recent blog I did on the business. It is the oldest business on Main Street. The only other long-lasting business is the Strand Theater, which I believe is now a non-profit organization.
My mother worked for the company back in the 30s-40s, along with her two best friends, the Blackington girls, Audrey Teel and Dorothy Baxter. The three were friends from Kiln Hill when they were in school and maintained that friendship all their lives. Audrey and Dot worked for E.C. Moran for over 50 years.
Post Lobster Festival Main Street appeared to be busy and full of life. I noted two new businesses in the new ice cream store and the new popcorn store. I wasn’t able to visit either one but sure will plan to in the future.
One disturbing notice I saw on a bulletin board that stood in a doorway leading to the upper story of a building near E.C. Moran was a desperate plea by a veteran with a wife and young child who needed a place to live. He noted that the Veterans Administration would probably help with the rent and that he was actively searching for a job. If you come across that flyer, please see what you can do for them.
I was home during the Festival but was unable to participate because of my mobility problems at the present time. I was sorry to hear that there was an accident during the parade with one of the Shriner cars which jumped a curb and injured a couple of people. Main Street is so narrow that maybe we should re-consider inviting these mini-cars to participate. At least just limit them to one group instead of several.
Another disturbing note about the Festival is the fact that the city charged them a fee for the use of the grounds this year. What are they thinking? I know they want to be fair because they charge the other summer festivals rent, however, this is the 67-year old Festival we are talking about here. This non-profit organization contributes money every year to city causes. Is the Blues Festival, and the boat show, non-profit? I doubt it. No festival contributes more to the city during the year than the Lobster Festival. I expect that some long-time volunteers who have been faithful in their service over the years, and who now are thoroughly disgusted with the whole situation, won’t be there to help next year. What does that bode for the future success of the festival?
If the city wants more money from the festival, why not charge the carnival people a higher rate for the privilege of setting up and running their rides and games down at the landing? They take up a considerable amount of space AND they take all the money they make with them when they leave.
That’s my report for this year. To see more of my vacation adventures in Maine, please go to my blog at www.southendstories.blogspot.com. Thanks for listening.