Dear Sun Spots: In “Murder She Wrote: A Little Yuletide Murder,” the author wrote “Jake can be jojeezzly at times…”

Despite talking to many Maineiacs, young and old, none has ever heard the term, although they suggested it may be a Down East expression or from our fishermen.

What can you tell me about these word derivations?

My wife and others in our area also enjoy your column and often discuss what we learn from it each day. – C.M.P., Mechanic Falls.

Unfortunately, Sun Spots has been unable to find an origin to this saying. Hopefully other readers out there familiar with this would be willing to share their understanding with column readers.

In the meantime, Sun Spots did check with Maine humorist and author John McDonald who says that according to the late John Gould’s “Maine Lingo” published by Down East Press, jeezly is a long-accepted Maine adjective and adverb. Therefore someone might say, “Don’t be so jeezly hard to get along with.” Or, “I never saw such jeezly poor fishing.” And in true humorist fashion, McDonald suspects that “jojeezly” is a variation of the same word from someone “who likes a little alliteration with their jeezlys!”

Dear Sun Spots: A mother of three, down on her luck, needs a hot-water furnace for a trailer. A donation would be greatly appreciated. Please call (207) 377-3611. – No Name, No Town.

Dear Sun Spots: Recently I picked up a treadle sewing machine at a lawn sale. On the head it says Minnesota across it. I was wondering where and when if was manufactured and if it has any value? – Bryant, Livermore.

Sun Spots has learned that The Davis Sewing Machine Co., founded in the 1860s, made Minnesota machines. By the 1880s, Davis was known for its “Vertical Feed” machines, which used a walking foot to feed the cloth under the needle. The company began producing machines with the more conventional, feed dog mechanism by the late 1890s. Davis was the principal supplier of machines for Sears, Roebuck & Co. between 1900 and 1912, including most of the machines that were labeled “Minnesota.” The Davis Sewing Machine Co. went out of business in 1924. You should contact an antique dealer or somebody familiar with antique sewing machines. You might also want to contact Cyr Auction Co., Route 11 North, Gray, (207) 657-5253, and Dan Boyd Auction Co., 412 Plains Road, Poland, 207-998-4083, both of whom offer free appraisal days.

Dear Sun Spots: I want to tile the backsplash in my kitchen but I cannot find any white ceramic switch-plate covers. I need one with the outlet and a switch combined and one with an outlet and two switches combined. Any assistance you can give is greatly appreciated. You have been a great help in the past. – Susan, Lisbon Falls.

Dear Sun Spots: Does anyone know where I could find an old-fashioned “farm-style” slate sink? I am interested in either a sink by itself or the type with the attached drainboard (sideboard). Soapstone style would also be fine, if in good condition. I can be reached at (207) 562-4652. – Sharon Pelletier, Peru.

Both of these readers may want to contact Decorum Inc. at 231 Commercial St., Portland, (207) 775-3346,, which sells architectural salvage that in some cases may be considered antiques. There also are excellent reproductions today, which Decorum sells in all periods, sizes and finishes. They commonly sell slate and pedestal sinks and claw-foot tubs. They also carry ceramic switch plates.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at in the Inform Us section under Press Release.

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