After running a photo of the 1972 Odd Fellows Rockland Little League team, we received several emails from alert readers, but who all of those boys are remains in doubt. Among those who wrote into us were Peter Grant of Waldoboro, Cheryl Frontin Kelley and David Winchenbach.

Here’s what we’ve got now: front row from left, Steve Heal or Carlton Murphy, Dicky Kelley or John Murphy, Kenneth Wilson, Peter Malcolm, Walter Foster; and back from left, Peter Grant, Rene Kelley, Charles Brown, Sean Raye or Tim Wilson or Russell Prescott, and Charlie Stone on the end. These aren’t sure, just some of the thoughts on the matter.

What we have proved is that if you said then, “In 40 years, no one will care?” you were wrong.

Cooper concepts

We also got comments on last week’s picture of a cooper making a barrel from Peter Lammert of Thomaston. The abridged version follows:

“The only living cooper that I know is Mel Wallace from Friendship but when he went to work for Joe Vinal’s company, Warren Barrel, they were no longer making barrels for shipping lobsters, another one of Rockland’s exportable commodities. These barrels were called ‘slack cooperage’ as liquid inside could seep out, which suited the need to keep lobsters cool but not drown them in the water from …the melted ice. If you look closely at the cooper’s left hand, the one he has a palm guard of leather strapped on it, there is an inch-wide piece of wood that is nailed to vertical pieces. This is one of several such panels, usually made out of any softwood available in the cooper’s shop, that was nailed inside the barrel to separate the crushed ice, that was poured between these panels and the inside of the barrel, to keep the lobsters cool on their trip to wherever.”

“Tools present in the picture include: raising hoops used in ‘throwing a barrel’ on the branch crotch on the right side of the window; the bench windlass used to tighten the staves together while adding hoops; above the rope on the left side of the windlass is one of two coopers adzes in the picture (one end was a specialized hammer and the other in very tight curve was an axe used to make the unique notch in the hoop that was used to hold it in a circle; in front of the cooper’s head, hanging from a branch crotch on the left are draw shaves, each used for removing wood where it wasn’t needed and behind the cooper is a large supply of hoop stock, which was usually made from either brown ash or elm. Bundles of hoop were usually stored in long vats of water to keep them pliable.

“As the barrel was created, the cooper would take a strip of elm from the circle of hoop stock, place it around the barrel where he wanted it to go, chop off the unwanted end with the hammer/adze and then nail it together with two galvanized inch long nails which were then clinched over in the back. The cooper then pounded the hoop into place with the hammer end of the tool. Each hoop had its own name depending upon where it was placed on the barrel.

“Trawl tubs originally stored the long fishing lines used out of dories. The wood box in the Camden National in Thomaston is one of Warren Barrel’s trawl tubs.

“Many if not most coopers shops had barrel stoves that had a huge upside down funnel shaped smoke gathering flues over the stove. Once the staves were gathered in their two ‘raising hoops,’ the open barrel was placed over this stove while the cooper would put the hoops over the previously heated barrel, to allow the heat to soften the staves to allow it to form the typical barrel shape.

“There is a huge amount of coopering tools in the Matthews Museum at the Union Fairgrounds in Union. Almost every farm in the area had a coopers shop as the need in Rockland, Rockport and Thomaston for casks in which to ship the slaked lime to the cities along the eastern seaboard was great. There are some pictures in the Eastern Illustrating collection of hay wagons well freighted with lime casks stopped on Route 1 near the mall in Thomaston. There is another picture of thousands of casks or barrels, stacked beside railroad tracks but I don’t remember the caption on the picture. Not only lime was shipped in wooden casks, but apples were also sent towards Boston in barrels padded with hay and many of these apples were grown in Union. Must be where that famous saying came from.”

Lawn art

Ingraham’s Hill in Owls Head is home to an increasingly famous lawn ornament. On the lawn of the Oliver residence is a goose statue that has emerged in the past couple of months from the obscurity of a mere piece of “lawn decoration” to that of “Lawn Personality.” The goose statue stood rather plainly when first put in place by Debbie Oliver in the spring. One morning, the Olivers and people driving by the home noticed that the goose was sporting a “dew rag,” artfully put in place by persons unknown (but there are suspects!). The Biker Goose quickly found itself featured on Facebook. Since that time, the goose has been nattily outfitted, we assume by Debbie, in a bright yellow slicker, rain hat and umbrella to protect it from the drenching rains we endured, a cap and gown to celebrate high school graduation season, and now a Boston Red Sox T-shirt, that we guess is to show that not all faith has been lost! The Black Cat is curious to what future wardrobes might consist of as we can think of many options. For now, the Cat, along with countless other drivers, takes a quick gander (pun intended) as we drive by the crest of Ingraham’s Hill.

If you would like to contact the Black Cat with an item of interest, please email to with “Black Cat” in the subject line. You can also snail mail items to 91 Camden St., Suite 403, Rockland, ME 04841.