Story Bank Maine records the histories, talents, and voices of people from all over the state. Inspired by StoryCorps, our goal is to listen and share narratives about Maine people and their places.
Story Bank Maine is produced by audio specialist Rob Rosenthal of SALT and folklorist Kathleen Mundell with music by Peter Dembski. Traveling around the state, we sometimes use a mobile recording booth, other times; we interview people in their home or community. We provide a CD copy of each interview to participants and all of these recordings are archived at the Maine Folklife Center. Several of these recordings are edited and produced for public and community radio. We also post these edited versions on storybankmaine.org where people can subscribe to the recordings as a pod cast.
Tuesdays With Molly Neptune
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.
German POW's in Houlton
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.
Something Attempted, Something Done
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.
The eels that live in the Kennebec River got their start far out in the Atlantic Ocean. All American eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda. The newborn eels drift north along the eastern seaboard. A bit mysteriously, they locate a river, like the Kennebec, and head upstream where they mature. Years later, the eels swim back to the Sargasso Sea to repeat the process.
Unless Bruce Berry was working. For over thirty-five years Bruce fished eels in Merrymeeting Bay. Four to five thousand pounds a week.
Bruce Berry was interviewed as part of the Merrymeeting Bay Oral History Project which was sponsored by the Maine Maritime Museum and funded by the Merrymeeting Bay Trust.
Worse Things You Can Get Into
It’s probably fair to say that Merrymeeting Bay is the duck hunting capital of Maine. Buster Prout can testify to that. He’s lived his whole life right near the bay in Bowdoinham and started hunting at age twelve, in the 1950s. And to say Buster’s an avid duck hunter and guide would be an understatement.
“Actually,” Buster says, “duck huntin’ is addictive I think.”Buster Prout was interviewed as part of the Merrymeeting Bay Oral History Project which was sponsored by the Maine Maritime Museum and funded by the Merrymeeting Bay Trust.
Not Just for Pretty
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. Tom Cote was recorded at the American Folk Festival in Bangor in 2010.
Listening with Deer's Ears
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.