The house on a pond had a handcrank phone when we first moved to this rural Maine town. Oddly, the phone was not antique. Its use had been discontinued the previous year, only a few months before. It looked like a rotary phone, black, boxy, leaden. Even the rotary phone we might now consider almost an antique — but in place of its dial was a crank. Something your hand would wring to get the attention of the switchboard operator in an office in the village. At that time, not being an antique phone, it was yet a remnant of the original smart phone, invented by Alexander Graham Bell. We lived just outside the village possessed of the last handcrank phone system in the United States.
We do love these beauty old places. Here’s one discovered while out biking above hidden Labrador Pond. You can see, outside the wall, some are also buried–perhaps according to an old custom of sorting sinners from the saved? Or perhaps it was just that the family cemetery had no room for others?
“The first apple tree of Livermore Township was probably planted on a quiet hilltop in western Maine, during the Revolution. The new pioneer, who had laid out the town with the aid of few, was already an old man by some standards, perhaps fifty. Maybe he stood awhile regarding the three brown oval seeds with pointed tips, held in the palm of his calloused hand. Within each seed was the tiny embryo of an apple tree.”
While I was working on Maine Metaphor, the late Billie Gammon, founder and director of Washburn-Norlands Living History Center, commissioned me to write this little history of local apples and their connection to the nationally prominent Washburns.