This has been a week of milestones for me.

I finally started using my Christmas present, a membership to ancestry.com. Bit by bit I built my family tree all the way back to one John Billington born in 1580 in England. He died in Plymouth, Massachusetts in September of 1630, making me a Mayflower descendent. My father was John Billington as well.

The other milestone goes back to June 3, 2021. It was then that another Englishman, David Grima, escaped from his cement tower and left me this space on page 5 every week.

I began with the true story of a gas station ashtray. (This week plans are in motion to have Harry French’s ash tray displayed at auto parts stores on Park Street on a rotating schedule.)

My stories fall into three categories:

THINGS-

THE EGG-O- MAT

A WOODEN LEG

MUSEUM PILLOWS

THE CUPBOARD CODE

CAMDEN PANTS

NOBLE WRECKS

PEOPLE-

WINOLA COOPER

JOHNNY MONROE

LADY HOUDINI (DORIS LA TOUR)

CAPTAIN OTE LEWIS

FRANK WINSLOW

W.O. FULLER

KARL HURD

HISTORY-

BERRY BROTHER’S STABLE FIRE

OPENING OF THE BAY POINT CLUB

ROCKLAND’S PARROT RIFLE

ROCKLAND FOOTBALL

HISTORY OF MY COFFEE CUP

Even a recipe for Brown Rice Burgers.

All of my stories are available for you to read on the VillageSoup website, under the opinion banner. Once you see my face click on GROUNDKEEPER. It has a hyperlink to all my stories, in order, all the way back to Harry French’s ashtray.

Groundkeeper, you say?

AYUH.

Many years ago, I created a Twitter page with the handle @groundkeepa. For me it holds a double meaning. When I was ten, I was Captain Ote Lewis’s right hand man at the Lobster Festival. I loved ALL his lobster stories. Especially the story of the old lobsters who stopped shedding their shells and migrating in and offshore. They got to be big and held dominion over a small piece of ocean bed. They were GROUNDKEEPERS.

The other meaning, someone who takes care of grooming his surroundings, is certainly something I will cop to as well. Every week in growing season I mow the better part of an acre of lawn.

All of my equipment is Rockland Tiger Orange. My riding mower is named the General Berry, in honor of Rockland’s Civil War General, Hiram Gregory Berry.

When General Berry led his troops to attack he would order them to press forward “DOUBLE QUICK.”

Saturdays at 3:45 p.m. I make my way to the dump as General Berry ordered.

Speaking of our dump, there is talk of bringing Wink’s Place back. For those not in the know, Wink’s is a swap shop. These are not uncommon to Maine dumps. Ours got shut down by a fracas. If Wink’s is to return it will have to be staffed. Perhaps we should hire a referee.

There was some interesting feedback on my stories about the Williams Quarry. I ran into someone who currently lives in the Williams mansion overlooking the Quarry. He told me that President Taft, after viewing the “deepest limestone quarry in the world” from the Pleasant Street Bridge, visited Col. Timothy Willams for tea. There may be a photo…

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

Doris La Tour Courier-Gazette archives