Aroostook County

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Bill White grew up on a farm in Ludlow, Maine in the 1940s and 50s. His grandfather, Nehemiah, lived in a cabin on the property. And Bill says Nehemiah was important to him for many reasons – two stand out.

First, he instilled in Bill a love for the outdoors. So much so that bill became an environmental scientist. And second, Nehemiah was exactly what a young boy needed growing up – even though it drove Bill’s mother crazy.

Bill was interviewed at the Houlton Historical Society in the fall of 2010.

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Basket makers George Neptune with his grandmother, Molly Neptune Parker (photo by Peter Dembski).

George Neptune is a master basket maker. That’s quite an accomplishment for a 21-year-old – the title of master is usually bestowed on older practitioners. For generations, the Neptunes have kept alive the traditional art of basket making. George is the latest generation. He learned from his grandmother, Molly Neptune Parker.

George Neptune was recorded at the 2010 American Folk Festival.

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13Tom Cote

2 Cote stump man 14 Cote carving

 

Tom Cote of Limestone, Maine comes from a long line of talented woodcarvers. In fact, his great, great grandfather, Jean Baptiste Cote of Quebec, carved church altars .  Tom learned to carve wood from his mother and now he’s teaching his grand-daughter.

Tom only uses hand tools – nothing motorized. He works with mallets, chisels, and knives and he can carve anything from toothpicks to… donut turners.

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Tom Cote was recorded at the American Folk Festival in Bangor in 2010. Photos by Peter Dembski

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Sometimes when we interview folks for Story Bank, the stories we hear are more like snapshots. Audio photographs. One by one, they don’t say a lot. Strung together, they make well-rounded image of a life.

So it was with State Representative Joyce Fitzpatrick. Joyce spoke to us about growing up poor in Linneus, Maine.

Joyce Fitzpatrick was interviewed at the Houlton Historical Society in 2010.

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Kay Bell reminisces about the German POWs housed at a prison camp in Houlton during World War II.

It’s hard to imagine, but during World War II there were a handful of German P.O.W. camps in Maine. German soldiers were captured, brought to the states, and taken to places like Houlton. Kay Bell remembers. She says P.O.W.’s worked on her father’s potato farm.

Kay was recorded at the Houlton Historical Society in the fall of 2010.

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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.

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