READFIELD — Summer resident Alfred Jacobs, 92, climbs mountains, bikes to the post office and swims in Lovejoy Pond.

He follows the sun and the warmth: summers in Maine, winters in Puerto Rico, and shoulder seasons in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

This past week was a little too hot for a pedal to the Readfield post office or to bike the 7 or 8 miles around the pond, so Jacobs took a few turns on his mountain bike on the gravel road at the former Camp Menatoma, where he has owned the Chipmunk cabin since 1984.

“I put quite a few miles on this old fellow,” Jacobs said, taking off his bicycle helmet and giving the wide, comfortable-looking bike seat a pat before storing the bike near the stairs to the rustic log cabin. “I used to ride to Mount Vernon, but now it’s a little too far.”

Jacobs joined the Army in World War II from Pennsylvania, where he was employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad as a tinsmith’s helper. He served in New Guinea and the Philippines with the 795th Military Police Battalion in 1944-45. He recalls being required to take shelter in the Hong Kong Bank building in Manila and the changeover there from driving on the left to driving on the right with the arrival of U.S. military vehicles.

After the war, Jacobs, like millions of other veterans, went to college on the GI Bill. He graduated from the Lowell State College in Lowell, Massachusetts, later known as the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and went on to teach music in Massachusetts and later for 22 years on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, retiring from there in 1984.


“I still get a pension from the Virgin Islands government,” Jacobs said.

Hurricane Hugo, which devastated much of St. Croix in September 1989, tore the roof and jalousie windows off the Jacobses’ St. Croix hillside home while they were in Maine and brought an end to the Jacobses’ island life. They then bought a home in Stuart, Florida, not far from West Palm Beach, for their winter home, and they continued to summer in Maine.

Earlier this week, he and his two sons spent a day climbing Black Cap Mountain in Conway, New Hampshire. That was Jacobs’ third ascent this year.

Mountain climbing is one of Jacobs’ passions, and he has a collection of photos showing him atop a number of mountains. One pictures a younger Jacobs with an even younger Milton Wright atop Mount Katahdin. Jacobs points to Wright’s photo, saying, “He introduced me to most of the mountains.”

Jacobs last ascended Mount Katahdin via Cathedral Trail at age 71.

“I couldn’t do it now,” he said.


He climbed Doubletop Mountain, also in Baxter State Park, at age 80. In his late 60s, 70s and 80s, he bagged some 20 mountains a year.

A back problem prevents Jacobs from doing too much strenuous activity these days, but he likes to sweep the pine needles off his front steps, and he used a lopper and a weed-whacker to clear out the weeds and brush from the exterior of the nearby split-log laundry building. He and others share some of the work around the various community buildings.

Everyone says hi to Jacobs as he walks along the pine needle-covered path to the shared waterfront to point out his usual swimming route.

“He’s the best; he bikes almost every day,” said Beth Green, who has had a camp near Jacobs’ for 20 years.

“The neighbors kind of keep an eye on me,” Jacobs said. “I’m the oldest one in the whole place.”

There are more than 20 cabins in the former boys’ camp. Jacobs and his wife, Sally, who died in 2009, bought the cabin after seeing an advertisement for it in The Christian Science Monitor.


Jacobs loves summering in Maine.

“It’s a beautiful place,” he said. “I think Maine’s got so much beauty.”

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]

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