On Aug. 9, I thought it would be fun to look in my diary for 1955 and see what I was doing on that day 66 years ago.  I’d gone to Rockland and had a tooth filled. It cost $2.50. It made me think that you might find it interesting to see how a Maine coast boy spent his waking hours back when Eisenhower was president.

At the time I was stationed in Rockland on the Coast Guard Cutter Laurel. My weekdays were spent bobbing about here and there along the Maine coast. On weekends I patched flat tires and struggled to keep some kind of a wreck of a car running. Almost every night ashore was spent at a dance hall or the roller skating rink. There is mention of driving 100 miles an hour and 107 miles an hour. One day I hitchhiked to Boston, bought a package of gum, visited a relative and a girl, hitched home and went to a dance.

• Aug. 20, 1955: “Got up at 9 or so and got my Model T out. Went out to the garage & changed a flat tire three times. It still leaked so I went home and found another one. Came back to the garage and patched a few leaks in this tube. The more leaks I patched the more it seemed to leaked. In desperation I put one more patch on and counted them. I had put twenty five patches on that tube.”

• Aug. 21, 1955: “… others went out and got in what was left of an old horse buggy. Del Merrill and I rode on back. Another kid steered. We were towed by a jeep occupied by no less than 12 kids. Halfway a wheel disintegrated we were going along at quite a clip. I still had wits enough to make a date with Del for Saturday night before the whole thing collapsed.”

• Aug. 26, 1955: “Someone put a bomb on my car. It smoked something terrible.”

• Sept. 19, 1955: “Drove the ply all the way home in low gear.”


• Oct. 3, 1955: “We left for Biddeford Pool. Had a flat this side of Portland.”

• Oct. 5, 1955: “Wiley wants to buy my Ply. He will give me $30.00 & 20.00 for the next two paydays which will make 70.00.”  “Had a flat on flat ledge hill.”

• Oct. 7, 1955: “Wiley paid me 30,00 on acc. I paid King 2.50 I owed him.”

• Oct. 8, 1955: “Ate donuts … drank a quart of Root beer.”

• Oct. 9, 1955: “Came to Alfred Erickson’s where the right front tire blew.”

• Nov. 5, 1955: “We went way up back of Rockland & the battery went dead. Pushed it down a hill but it didn’t go. I struck out for Rockland with a red raincoat & a swabby hat covering me.”


• Nov. 6, 1955: “Got to bed at 8:15 after a very active night. I was riding with Cole when his car quit way up behind Chickawake lake. I walked 5.1 miles and got my car & towed them out. Got to my car at almost 5:15. Coles car is boiling & I have a very slack tire on the left rear. Pumped the tire up and came home at 6:20. Put my feet in the oven & sat there till 7. Had a couple of dishes of cherries & Jim took me to work in the Jeep as the Buick has a flat.” This was a Sunday. I slept on the ship all day and in the late afternoon I was roused out when some of the boys set off the general alarm bell. There were no adults (38-42) aboard. O’Hagan, the officer in charge, was a boy our age but he had gold on his hat. He called a muster. When he came down into the crew’s berthing area “there was a hangman’s noose at the bottom of the ladder.”  I remember that one well. The next day Kennedy drew a cartoon of a shaking O’Hagan coming down the ladder with a pistol in his hands. The caption was “Semper Parating.”

I am surprised to discover that my diary reveals a mindless, unfocused boy who had an eye out for girls, ate junk food and drove too fast. It renews my appreciation of my parents and older friends – like Russ Thomas who owned the local garage, gave me employment, and kept me going.

After reading page after page of what I was doing when I was 19, I have concluded that there should be two options for a boy when he turns 15.

His parents could arrange a marriage for him and have him apprenticed out to learn a trade. This would not only keep him busy day and night, but also would eliminate the need for thought.

He could also be locked in a cage and fed through the bars until his frontal lobe evinces signs of development.

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at:

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