Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The Hill, Libbytown, Morrill's Corner, Rosemont, Woodford's Corner, Bayside, Stroudwater, Nason's Corner, Deering Center, Riverton, Lunt's Corner, the West End, Kennedy Park, Eastern Prom, Parkside, North Deering, Gorham Corner, the East End and Back Cove are just a few of the delightful names for neighborhoods around the city. Most of these go back a ways and have their own little, interesting histories. During my high school years, we lived on lower Coyle, just a 'skip and a jump' from the the water. I remember being a bit hesitant moving from our house on Stevens, with all those friends and childhood memories to the huge house near Woodford's Corner. But it really didn't take me long to fall in love with the beautiful home that over-looked Back Cove. Evenings, I often took walks on the myriad of streets that surrounded this area. This building, with its clock tower, is the most recognizable site at this five way intersection. Most of my early mornings, before classes, were spent nearby, acquiring my love of a good 'cup of joe' at the Dunkin' Donuts with the guys.

Monday, March 30, 2009

McLellan House

Some buildings in this city are just plan beautiful to look at. Here's one. At the corner of Spring and High, the three story, brick McLellan House was built in 1801 for Major Hugh McLellan, at the time the owner of Maine's largest shipping fleet and founder of the first bank and first insurance company in Maine, for a mere $20,000. In October 2002, the fully restored Federal-era building, was reopened by the Portland Museum of Art. Often called "a monument to Portland's first 'golden age', the decades between the physical destruction of the city during the Revolutionary War and the fiscal disasters brought on by the Embargo of 1807 and the War of 1812", I've visited it a couple of times, since the reopening. If you enjoy the historical significance of old buildings in a city, this is a stop one must make in Portland.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


My brother lost a longtime friend this past week. When I got the news, I just stared at the screen. Lots of memories of my brother and TK doing crazy stuff growing-up flooded back. M- and I got together later that evening and took a drive through his old neighborhood. TK lived, basically, on the campus of what was then called Westbrook College, with an enrollment of just the 'finer sex'. Across from his house in winter, the college would flood the area and turn it into a huge skating rink with lights. Playing pick-up games of ice hockey with the girls was great fun. Some excitement... night skating under the lights with college girls. On All Hallows Eve, the dorms that lined both sides of Stevens Avenue were places to fill your trick 'o treat bags to the brim. Climbing the stairs and going room to room , dorm to dorm, I thought was so cool for kids of ten or so. I remember it being my first peek at what college dorm life would look like. I couldn't wait!
But 'back to now', M- and I went, grabbed some dinner and raised a glass to a friend. Driving home a wave of sadness overtook me, as I thought back to what for TK, M-, myself and others we could entice along, had become a summer ritual- driving to Hampton Beach Casino and taking in a Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes concert and all the 'side-lights' that come with it--- Italian sausages, cigars on the beach, and TK talking to about anyone who would listen etc... ah, he will be missed.
TK, everyone knows what you are doing today--- playing that great golf course in the sky(with no 'goofy golf'), so--- hit 'em straight my friend.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


A favorite building in the city- that old hotel, as I referred to it when talking to Dad. The family often walked by it on our way to the, now torn down, Sportsman's Grill for a family dinner. On Congress, at the bottom of the hill as you start up towards Maine Med, sits the Inn at St John. Built in 1897, this old Victorian inn/bed and breakfast, gets good recent reviews from the NY Times and DownEast Magazine. Back then however, I always remembered it for its somewhat seedy-looking characters going in and out- a good setting for that detective 'who dunnit'. Now, it's quite interesting and attractive from the outside and inside, if pictures don't lie. Happy Saturday... when the fog lifts!

*Happy B-Day today to Mom P- down in sunny Oveido! Whew! I think that'll do it for March.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
*from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
There are certain passages in literature that just clicked from my high school and collegiate years, and this is one of them. I was, from the first viewing, intrigued by every stanza and twist and turn this ballad took. Living along the rugged Maine coast all my life, this writing of Coleridge(his longest) left an indelible marking upon me for life. The sea: the mysticism and gothic nature of this great wonder, especially while walking along it's edge on a moonless night, just sends shivers up my spine, and I harken back and long to read these lines again.
* click on to enlarge and view the 'slice' of blue in the distance.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rust Farm

By August, the corn will be high right to the crest of this hill here on this farm, just off Rt. 25 coming out of Gorham. I love this view of the bleakness of a cold March morning, with that vague aroma of mud, as the sun attempts to break through. If Dickens wrote a country story, he'd love this setting, I bet. In some strange way, I find this view gives off a comforting feeling this time of year... a time of longing for warmth.

*Happy B-Day wishes going out to nephew Z- down there in Portsmouth today. Didn't I tell you this month was loaded with birthdays for us?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Lighthouses on Parade was an art project around the Southern Maine area, during the summer of 2003, where local companies, organizations, and individuals sponsored unpainted lighthouses. There were 100 of the ten foot structures sprinkled throughout the area. Maine artists, then, designed them to create works of art. These embellished Maine icons were everywhere, it seemed, around the community. At the end of the project, the lighthouses were auctioned off to benefit local charities. Throughout the country, there were many public art projects like this. I've heard some cities created colorful butterflies, horses and the the such. Here, many that are still surviving around the city. This one sits upon the front lawn of King Middle School on Deering Avenue.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Now as I remember it, I first met P- in a seventh grade Confraternity class at St. Joes, while we were seventh graders--he at Lyman Moore, me at Lincoln. We reconnected later in high school, and as they say, the rest is history. Our lives have taken us in some different directions, but we've stayed close. We often get together for Sunday morning coffee at a favorite stop to catch up on the latest 'news' and make plans to do stuff. These times together often involve some loves: good talk, art, music, books, poetry and a small, but strong circle of friends. Add another long time pal, and ya got the 'apostles', three of a kind! Today, it's a Happy Birthday to P-. Enjoy your day, my friend!

Monday, March 23, 2009


On our Maine license plate, it reads Vacationland. There has always been plenty of healthy debate about that slogan among us natives. In this lingering tough economy, even the Maine Tourist Department is touting, instead of vacations out of state, that residents consider 'stay-cations' within our state this year, taking a clue from our out-of-state friends. With that in mind, these days motels and hotels up and down Rt 1 are all busy sprucing up, outside and in and readying for the upcoming tourist season. Now, I got a kick out of the front of this house. Apparently, even these Rt 1 bird condos are at the ready! The Vacancy signs are out in force!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


This morning: an assignment! Ok, get your Maine Atlas and Gazetteer out for this one. Took a ride south yesterday afternoon along the blue water, to Biddeford Pool, Fortunes Rocks, Goose Rocks Beach, Cape Porpoise, Cape Arundel all the way to Gooch's Beach, where they were having an afternoon of Family Kite Fun. Great names, huh! It took me back some days. Back to Gulliver's again and our March afternoons of kite flying. First, it was off to White's 5 and 10 Store to purchase the cheapest kite we could find, put it together and get it up. To be perfectly honest, we put more money into buying string than kite. Lots of string! Of course, the object was not how bright and beautiful they looked, but how high we could get them up. We'd blot them out of the sky with our thumbs; they'd be up so high. Wonderful fun! But two days max, then it was off to clearing off that baseball field in our back yard and some serious spring business!

Kites 2

It was quite cool along the water in Maine yesterday. I like the composition on this one, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Rock

So, I'm driving down Rt 1 this morning, and the sun's coming up. There's a gentle breeze blowing these reeds around to my right, and this image grabs my eye. And now that Paul Simon song is in my head... those last two lines... Have I figured them out yet?

And a rock feels no pain;

And an island never cries.
I Am a Rock
Paul Simon

Friday, March 20, 2009

Along the Saco

Serenity now! Serenity now! Spring comes to us this morning at 7:44 AM. Finally! Along the Saco River, the ice and snow is still around but disappearing fast. Canoes will soon replace the ice chunks floating just below the dam. Around our place, work gradually moves from stocking the wood stove to cleaning up the debris left behind by the winter's ice storms. There's not a lot but enough... to keep me busy. But it's spring, and that's a very good thing!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


The front of Harbor Fish Market is often painted and photographed and is one of the iconic scenes of the working waterfront. Here's a shot of a side that few see, unless you're walking the short alleyway towards J's. It's not one of the pretty views. Piled up lobster traps, noisy gulls, unpleasant smells and a narrow angle of nasty water bombard the senses, but it can be a field day for the camera.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let 'er Run

I'm sure you've heard of the 'running of the bulls' at the nine-day festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain. Well, in these parts- the northeastern part of the country and Canada, after surviving another miserably cold winter, we yearn for something we call spring and the 'running of the sap'. Yes fans, cold nights and warm days just the delightful recipe for the release of the sugary nectar of the sugar maple trees. Collect gallons, gallons, and gallons of the sap, boil it down in your maple sugar hut and finally... maple syrup! Ah! This Sunday is Maple Sugar Sunday here in Maine, so throw the kids in the backseat of the family automobile and head for the country and a maple sugar shack. It's time to enjoy a delicious concoction of homemade ice cream and hot maple syrup. You won't be disappointed. We always went to the Lovers Lane Sugarhouse in Gorham. These maples are on the side lot of a great white farmhouse on Rt. 35 near Standish.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Eirinn go Brach!

'May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of St. Patrick behold you.'

Monday, March 16, 2009

At the Park

There's not much going on at Pleasant Street Park these days, unless you like leftover snow, lots of graffiti, lonely footprints, empty playground equipment and gray skies. But spring comes Friday, so 'changes are in the wind' here.
*another March birthday for us... Happy B-Day I-.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Morning Breaks

This Morning
By Raymond Carver
This morning was something. A little snow
lay on the ground. The sun floated in a clear blue sky.
The sea was blue, and blue-green, as far as the eye could see.
Scarcely a ripple.
Calm. I dressed and went
for a walk -- determined not to return
until I took in what Nature had to offer.
I passed close to some old, bent-over trees.
Crossed a field strewn with rocks
where snow had drifted...
All the things I hoped would go away this morning.
The stuff I live with every day.
What I've trampled on in order to stay alive.
But for a minute or two I did forget
myself and everything else. I know I did.
For when I turned back I didn't know
where I was. Until some birds rose up
from the gnarled trees. And flew
in the direction I needed to be going.
* Raymond Carver is a favorite of mine. I thought this one poignant this morning.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bean Boots

It's a rite of passage in this rugged state. If you live here, especially in the country, you own a pair... bean boots. Leon Leonwood Bean, avid hunter and fisherman from Greenwood, Maine founded L.L. Bean in 1912 and developed a waterproof boot (a combination of lightweight leather uppers and rubber bottoms), that he sold to hunters. The rest, as they say, is history. Here, next to our wood stove are three generations in our family, my grandfather's(A. Gallant from PEI), mine(both the uppers and lowers have been replaced over the years, for FREE by the store) and J's (a Christmas gift last year). They are good for anything... I've even heard they've become, somewhat, a fashion item. Go figure! Lookout Heidi Klum!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Burying Ground

Friday the 13th? Do you feel lucky? The fear of Friday 13 is called Paraskavedekatriaphobia. For me, it's just another day. Hopefully, you won't end up in a place like this today. Here's one on the most peaceful places in the city, small but so beautiful.
Stroudwater Burying Ground-'this slope was used for burial beginning in 1727 A. D. and contains many unmarked graves. The earliest recorded stone is 1739.'(on posted sign at entrance)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fort Allen Park

A little snow, a little fog, temperatures still in the 30s but these two Civil War 4.5" siege guns sit proud atop Fort Allen Park on Eastern Prom this morning. I'm sure 'sebago' recognizes these cannons. She's told me she often played upon them as a child, growing up over-looking Casco Bay. For our neighborhood gang, it was Gulliver's Field. Located behind the old Westbrook College, it was our local playground. Now, but a barren plot, it once had swing sets, a small merry-go-round, monkey bars, a teeter-totter, three baseball diamonds and during a couple of summers, a daily recreation program, with an instructor. Youthful entertainment? Didn't have to go far. If I had my jackknife, I was set for hours.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Star Match

Driving on West Commercial, my eye is quite often pulled to these extended group of buildings. I guess there is just something about the juxtaposition of these beautiful pastel structures of the old Portland Star Match Corp., a now defunct match company that was founded in 1866, and the city's rugged working waterfront that intrigues me. In 1890, it was the second largest match company in New England. Does this happen to anyone else? Got buildings, sights or benchmarks on your daily routines that just beg for a glance? Why is this, I wonder?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I remember egg salad and sand at Willard Beach.
I remember piano playing echoing through large rooms.
I remember writing help on Sunday nights.
I remember the cow bell ringing us home.
I remember your welcoming love of Ellen.
I remember your calming voice during thunderstorms.
I remember oatmeal breakfasts almost every morning.
I remember rides to high school in your pajamas.
I remember watching the 'Life of Riley' with you.
I remember crossword puzzles late into the evening.
I remember our love of toasted-tuna sandwiches.
I remember dinners at The Village.
I remember that first trip to Rochester together.
I remember rides in the blue Thunderbird.
I remember family camping in Camden.
I remember all your snow day entertainment.
I remember making every Christmas morning special.
I remember rides to Lincoln on rainy days.
I remember everything you EVER did to help me.
Mom, I miss you today... on your Birthday!

Monday, March 9, 2009


32 days and counting? Will the cry of "Play ball" be heard this spring around here? I'm sure it will be, even though the diamond is still covered with snow and ice. Hadlock Field is the home of the Boston Red Sox Double A affiliate, the Portland Seadogs, and it will be hoppin' on April 9. Back aways... I remember my nightly ritual of falling asleep late, with just the glow of my old, gray Motorola lighting the corner of my bedroom, listening to those West Coast games and the hitting prowess of some kid named Willie Mays. The snow WILL disappear, April WILL come... Hope 'springs' eternal!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


The St. Joseph's Convent Motherhouse is located on Stevens Avenue, just a short walk from the church and the school we children attended in our youth. My oldest sister graduated from Cathedral High School in the city center and had to take a bus each day to get there. The Sisters of Mercy, who taught at our elementary school and at her high school, lived here in the convent. I remember, once or twice, going there with Mom to visit my dad's aunt Sister Dolores. Once we found her, along with about twenty other nuns, watching a movie in their movie theater. That many in one room... it's an image, I still can't shake.
*Anyway, this morning Happy Birthday Wishes going out to CAM, living in Lakeland! I thought you'd enjoy this photographic trip to your past!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Wicked Witch of the West: "You cursed brat! Look what you've done! I'm melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness? Oooooh, look out! I'm going! Oooooh! Ooooooh!"
This is probably one of my all time memorable scenes in all of moviedom. I try to catch the Wizard of Oz at least once a year. My mom and I once saw Margaret Hamilton eating lobster at a dockside take-out in Newagen, ME. Couldn't help but think of this scene when I saw these hanging and melting.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sacred Heart's Steeples

At the corner of Mellen and Sherman, you'll find the Church of the Sacred Heart. It became the third parish in the city, along with the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Dominics, with the first Mass celebrated in the church on July 4, 1915. What's my connection? Ready for this? Golf! In high school, along with delivering morning and evening newspapers in the Morrill's Corner area, my brother and I caddied at Riverside Golf Course. After taking a 'How to Caddy' course at the Portland Boys Club, my love of the game was born here. To 'get out'(caddy jargon for getting a bag to carry), you had to get to the course early. On a Sunday, this was a problem. We had to deliver about 80 papers(the Portland Sunday Telegram... before it changed to the Maine...), get to Sacred Heart's 6 AM Mass and reach Riverside before 6:45. At least it was a fast Mass! Sunday morning was pretty frenetic around our family. The early morning sun, rising over the beautiful rolling hills of this course, brought a certain amount of serenity to my teen years.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Raise a Pint

"But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."
-William Butler Yeats
Happy Birthday
-caught raising a pint at RiRa Irish Pub last evening.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Entwining Vines

While walking down State Street the other morning, I came across this intriguing doorway. Now, I'm sure, during July this entranceway looks beautiful, in full bloom, but this March morning uncomely is a word that comes to mind. To some, this door is a welcoming site, even though I'm sure more damage is being done to the stonework here, than help. Ah... 'One man's meat is another's poison'. It makes the world go 'round, I guess.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


This stranded bike reminds me of my JC Higgins that served me well from 3rd Grade right through high school. It was a shiny red one, with cool silver fenders and baskets on either side off the rear, perfect for getting around the neighborhood or delivering about 80 Portland Evening Expresses each afternoon. Of course, in weather like this, I rigged up my sled with two wooden crates, that I got at the A&P, and had no problem with those heavy Sunday morning papers. It was freezing at daybreak, but I found the faster I ran, the warmer I got. As I remember from those Jack London novels... it was 'survival of the fittest'!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Sentry

It's another snow day in southern Maine- all the way up the East Coast for that matter. Will this March Madness ever end? Another 10-12 inches are on the way today; snowing til late afternoon. A big maple on the property stands guard through all four seasons. This morning, it looks like it's a 'wanna be white birch', but really, its claim to fame is when it catches almost fire in its late autumn, bright, yellow-orange glow. Ah, snow days... I remember snow days, on Coyle, sitting on that large, cushioned second floor window seat and watching Back Bay slowly disappear in the falling whiteness and the slow crawl of traffic along the Boulevard. These were the days that Mom earned her stripes! Entertain four kids all day and not lose her sanity? Mission accomplished!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Theme Day: Glass

Today, March 1, is Theme Day on CityDailyPhoto, and I thought that this shot of 'Bull' looking off into the distance would work just fine. The world renowned film director, John Ford, aka Bull Feeney, (February 1, 1894 – August 31, 1973), with films to his credit like Stagecoach and The Searchers, How Green Was My Valley, The Quiet Man and the adaptation of the great American novel, The Grapes of Wrath has strong roots in this city. My connection? Bull's dad, John A. Feeney was born in the village of Spiddal, County Galway, Ireland. My Dad's family comes from this Irish town. This statue is located at Gorham's Corner, close to the Old Port.
ps. Click on picture to see the 'glass' better, or at least the way I saw it, when I took the picture. Ha!