Sent in from neighbor Ben Hatfield:
In my youth my family moved all over the country. New York to Wisconsin, Wisconsin to Alaska, Massachusetts to Maine. More often than not there would be a welcome wagon, or some sort of community greeting. The gift basket with coupons, a phone book, the dog catcher’s number, and a directory of who did what in town. No, I don’t want to be on this committee, but I have wondered what Montville’s welcome wagon would consist of.
Maybe a visit from the town elders with a basket of goodies from the town. There would be a map of the town, a town report, employment opportunities, and town etiquette.
On the map would be a clear line between South Montville and the rest; North Montville, Montville Center, Halldale Road, Peavytown, and The Kingdom. I also feel that the map would have been drawn up in the 1960’s, so the old dump would be on the map, but crossed out, with an arrow to the transfer station. The Town Office moved. The Grange crossed out, then Community Center penned in and crossed out and then Grange put back in. Also on the map is a clear difference of what is a dirt road and what is paved. Now the new home owner might think that this too is outdated information from the old days, but there are clear arrows of what direction to go in and the speed needed to get to a paved road if your road is ever posted. There is also a color code on the roads. This will tell the new resident approximately when the road will be plowed and how well. The town line is delineated by the snow on the road.
A town report would also be given. It would come with the explanation that we all go to town meeting. Not only do you get to see people from the other side of Route Three once a year, but it’s taxation with representation. With only 1,000 people and with 7,000 acres of Frye Mountain out of the tax base we all need to pay up (and there is no shame in having your name on the delinquent list, we have all been there.) Only the people who show up get to bitch. At town meeting there is a town lunch. You will bring a dish, and put your name on it, or you won’t get it back until the Fire Department yard sale in the summer. Then you will have to pay $1.00 to get it back. On the other hand, the Fire Department has a huge, tough, thankless job, so don’t put your name on the dish, and buy it back to use the next year, because our friends and neighbors who volunteer need all the support that we can give them. Here is also the number to the animal control officer. Remember that it’s for animals out of control. If you see a cat or dog on the side of the road (in control of themselves) it will probably go home on it’s own. In fact as a new resident, you should probably get to know the cats and dogs in town by name, they don’t always obey if you don’t call them by their names. If on the other hand there is a frothing skunk in the yard…… call. Or shoot it then call, your choice.
Field Day is also a must. The shortest parade in Maine. Three tractors, a race car, a few bikes, fire engines, and a goat. The cake off entree is free, the judging costs you. The winner gets a wooden spoon, flowers, cash, and bragging rites. There are kids games, and a lumberjack competition, and chicken barbecue. (Okay, it’s all the same people doing all the same stuff, year after year, please come and help. Save us from ourselves).
There are at least two places of worship in town. One in South Montville and one on Halldale Road. Well okay three, if you count a walk in the woods, with or without a gun.
Employment in town? We ain’t got none. Even the farmers in town go out of town to sell. Dino has the 10-4 but we all know that some of his income comes from Liberty. Sure there are carpenters, plumbers, clerks, teachers, real estate brokers, wood cutters, jewelers, but we are all just a bedroom for money someplace else.
So what do we have? A couple of summer camps, art workshops, auto repair, hunting camp rental, more headstones than live people, more trees than money, and more buildings fall down each year than are built.
So welcome to Montville, the way life is.
In my mind I see the ghosts of Marnie Sewell, Charles Bragdon and Lewis Newell showing up in the dooryard of the new arrival. They would have the basket of papers and goods. The town report, blueberries from Twitchell Hill, seedlings from the greenhouses in town; Produce from all the market farms around; beef, pork, lamb, and eggs from the roadside; and a baggie from the medicinal herb farm.