I am excited to announce the publication of Snowman and Paperboy. This is a memoir of my best childhood friend and me. The adventures take place in and around Cape Neddick, Maine. It is available for purchase on Blurb or by contacting me. Happy reading!
First Chapter of Snowman and Paperboy
Snowman and Paperboy
Growing up in Cape Neddick, Maine, in the 1960’s was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with place and people. The Great Depression was in the distant past, the post war boom was beginning to wane. America was moving forward amid the assassination of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., the Vietnam war, LSD and Moon walking. Being born in 1960, much of the cultural revolution was in full swing and beyond my comprehension.
The JFK assassination left me with vivid memories of my mother sobbing in great despair. She was on the sofa, in front of the black and white TV in our living room. I was too young to understand or comfort her, though I offered myself for her to hold as she did so often for me when I was inconsolable.
The America that I was born into was mobile. Almost everyone that I knew had cars, flew on planes, and took vacations. From what I knew, only dads worked and things were good. My father was a trustee at the Cape Neddick Baptist Church. Naturally, this was where I would learn to worship and begin to learn what community was. Not only would I go to Sunday school, but also the following church service. Additionally, I had a choice of attending Sunday night or Thursday night prayer service.
I struggled with Christian theology and the idea of Jesus being sent by his father to forgive our sins. I was told if I gave my heart and soul to Jesus and accepted him as my personal savior, I would receive eternal life. In fact, I more than struggled with this requirement for salvation, I was tormented. In Sunday school I learned it was a mortal sin to use god’s name in vain. I was undeniably a sinner, as the neighborhood kids taught and encouraged me how to swear up a storm. I was guilty and I didn’t understand how to make the leap of faith and felt doomed to hell. The struggles were never erased but my fears of eternity in hell were overcome. I was baptized below the choir floor in a tank of cold water on a cold night. My experiences at the Cape Neddick Baptist Church were not all traumatic, however, and what I enjoyed most were the church dinners.
Maybe monthly and especially during the colder months members would assemble in the church vestry. Each family would bring a dish to share at a table. There were five or six tables and I quickly learned which table to sit at by knowing who brought the best food. My favorites were the casseroles. Most people brought casseroles. I think most were made with Campbell’s soups as the main ingredient, like cream of mushroom, cream of potato, cream of asparagus. They were enhanced with canned clams, chicken, unrecognizable meats and other unfamiliarities that I found to be delicious. My mom never cooked any of these dishes and I could not get enough.
When we arrived for these dinners, the designated ladies would already be busy in the kitchen, heating rolls, pouring beverages, setting the tables, chatting and being sure everyone was happy. At the prescribed time or when everything was set on the tables, we would have a blessing, which was never quick enough for me and then we commenced eating. The ladies would keep an eye on whose plate their dishes landed on. I would be occasionally asked, “Oh my, Kevin, you must really like the clam casserole?” or, “Kevin, don’t you like the string bean casserole?”
There were quite a few other kids attending these dinners. My best friend was David Hilton. We would sit next to each other when possible. His mom Janet, and his grandmother Edith Hutchins, were fixtures in the church. I never saw his dad, Alva, in church, until much later in my life—at my sister’s wedding.
When I was about six years old, David’s mom and my mom made a play-date for David and me. We became quick friends. I was often invited to David’s home to play. There was never a dull moment. Janet was a pianist for the church and would often practice when I was visiting. She had a piano in a den and I would wander in to see how she accomplished such amazing sounds. I had never seen anyone play up close and she played so skillfully, her fingers dancing over the keyboard mesmerized me. She offered to let me try on occasion but I was embarrassed by my obvious inability. Also, scattered around the den on numerous sketch pads were drawings of women’s faces that I did not recognize. These drawings, created by Alva, I found as captivating to contemplate as the music played by Janet. The room held a level of creativity that was absent in my own home. I never knew any more about the drawings than what I saw as a young child but understood Alva to be an appreciable artist.