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Seventy-five year old John Connors is a master boat builder from St. Francis, Maine. His specialty is the bateau, a wooden river boat.
Seventeen year old Chase Jackson, from Allagash, Maine received a Traditional Arts Apprenticeship award from the Maine Arts Commission and is studying bateau building with John. Chase is learning the intricacies of a unique craft.
John agreed to be interviewed by Chase for Story Bank under one condition — they not talk about boat building! Instead, John, motivated by the economic difficulties facing Maine and the nation, wanted to pass on stories to Chase about the Depression and the impact of WWII on northern Maine. We feature their chat on this edition of Story Bank Maine. Chase and John recorded this interview in the Story Bank Maine recording booth at the 2008 American Folk Festival.
Gemma Laser knew she was raised differently than most kids her age in Dexter, Maine. Gemma’s parents moved to Maine in the 1970′s as part of the back-the-land-movement, when thousands of individuals and families left urban and suburban lives for a rural, environmentally centered lifestyle.
For Gemma, this meant she grew up without the “trappings” of modern life. For instance, she and her family lived in a passive solar, earth berm house with horses and an organic garden. She says “For me, it seemed like the world because it was this wonderful community and I didn’t know anything else and now, looking back on it, it is very different.”
Gemma recounts some of her experiences on this edition of Story Bank Maine. She was interviewed in the Story Bank Maine mobile recording booth at the 2008 American Folk Festival in Bangor.
L to R – Meredith Dondis, Ruth Small, Sam Small, Edith Dondis. Photo by Kathleen Mundell.
Maine has a small but long-standing Jewish population. There are significant Jewish communities in Portland, Waterville, Biddford, Bangor, and Houlton.
Sam Small says you had to be a genius to survive and thrive as a Jew in a small town in rural Maine. Sam and his good friend Meredith Dondis grew up Jewish in the coastal town of Rockland. Now in their 80′s and 90′s, they both still live there. And, on this edition of Story Bank Maine, Sam and Meredith recount a few tales of early Jewish life. They were interviewed at Sam and Ruth Small’s home in 2007.