I have a bad habit and I was told I could break it if I really tried. I am not sure if I want to even try and that is the problem. Ever since I started school in 1950, I had to walk over a mile to school. This and the fact there were a ton of us kids in the house just meant I had to get ready early in the morning. Then when we moved to the farm in Livermore Falls. We had to walk over a mile to catch the bus at 7:30. I had to make sure all of the animals were taken care of before I could have breakfast. This wasn’t too bad. I would get up early and start the kitchen stove and then go to the barn. When I got back from the barn, breakfast of nice hot oatmeal was ready. That is a memory I want to keep. Nice hot oatmeal with raisins and topped with fresh cream. Maybe add a dash of cinnamon and sugar or throw some blueberries on top of all that.  Then I had to get ready for school and the trek to meet the bus.  This just required my day started early. Now, you folks are going to have to excuse me because here is a fact that I cannot remember. After we moved to Rangeley in ‘57 I started delivering papers. I honestly cannot remember when I started this big money-making job. I made a nickel a paper, so it was important to get as many customers as possible. I had 40 customers to start with and I made a monster two dollars a day.  This was big money for me. With $14 a week I could buy a lot of stuff.  This was almost the same thing Dad made when he started working in the woods. But I had to get up before four to deliver the papers on time.  This little habit stuck with me all these years. I still remember all of the names of my customers and I dare say not a one lives in that same house now. Now, if I had smoked a lot of this new-fangled weed when I was younger, I can understand my short memory problem.  I did try cigarettes (one day) and I sampled corn silk and grape vines and stuff like that because it was free. But I gave all that up after I hit sixteen years of age. Heck, I have three or four quick squares just because I could not remember where I put the darn things. I am told this is an age thing, so I feel better about that.      Delivering newspapers in the ‘60s I got to watch a lot of changes in Rangeley. At first when we moved to Rangeley, I was known as one of those that moved in from away. After explaining many times that my Grandpa worked on the railroad when it was here, and he plowed the roads with an old wooden plow I slowly became a native. As a native, I have watched and at times taken part in all that Rangeley now offers that was not available in ‘57. As a youngster, we could go swimming at the town dock or fishing on the footbridge, but that was about it until you were old enough to caddy at the two golf courses. There used to be three golf courses in Rangeley, but as the tourist industry changed so did many other things in this area. A lot of times it took three or five years for an idea to become reality in this little town of ours. The Town Park Commission became Parks and Recreation. This allowed for major changes in what the town had to offer. Fishing was always here but along  comes snowmobiles and cross-country skiing. Trails used to be made with snow-shoes and a brave individual. They are now groomed to a nice fine wide trail. Even mundane things such as the town dump has moved twice and is now a Transfer station that one can actually find treasures if they want. Hunting and sports enthusiasts were just gathering in small groups and now they have an actual building to hold events. All of this is greatly dependent upon people from away. As they visited Rangeley and began to build houses to stay longer, they wanted more to do. Our society in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s used to be mostly dependent upon the wood harvesting industry. Our little town is now geared up almost totally to the tourist industry. This is in one way great for the younger people of Rangeley. They have a lot more choices of what to do with their summers. My only choice was to work and give my parents the majority of the money I made. I was allowed to save some for school clothes. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing to allow teenagers to be a bit freer whereas we had to work. As I wander in my mind (I do this at times) of places that were but have gone it is a bit saddening. Great buildings that beckoned to visitors are torn down or accidentally burned and not rebuilt. Major tourist cabins are now individually owned and part of an Association. This is all part of progress and all of us need to change and welcome it. Talents come and go every year and as a native we should enjoy their being here and make full use of their talents if they desire. But also, the visitors have to keep in mind, we are old school and at time stick in the mud people who resist changes from away. I think this is called progress and co-operation.  Let’s all enjoy these fine woods and mountains in the great spirit of friendship and respect.

Thanks Ken W retired old mountainman


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.