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Living in Maine

By Marjorie (Schultz) Bullard

Edited and shared by her son Jay Bullard


On a cold rainy morning in May 1989, the descendants of William and Nina (Bowerman) Schultz gathered at Sangerfield Village Cemetery to attend the burial of their younger son, Sieferd B. Schultz.  Later the family met at our home in Guilford to get warm, to have something to eat and drink, to look at old photos and snapshots and talk about our life in Maine.

The grandchildren had many questions about our moving to from Mayville, Michigan to Maine and especially about the houses we had lived in after the move to Maine.

Sometime later I wrote a short article and showed it to several of my family.  Most of them praised it, but, “Well,” it is good, or, why didn’t you put in this or I wish you had added that.  So, this is the revised edition of my first attempt.

Our Journey from Michigan to Maine

In August 1924, Bill and Nina Schultz with their four children, Doris, John, Sieferd and me, Marjorie, left our home in Mayville, Michigan to start a new life in Guilford, Maine.   Bill had been working at the Chevrolet plant in Flint. He stayed in Flint during the week and came home weekends, but that wasn’t an ideal situation with mother being alone with four children most of the time. Before working in Flint, he had been employed by Lloyd Cartwright, the owner of a general store in Mayville.  A few years before Mr. Cartwright had bought a new business in Maine, the hardwood products mill in Guilford.  He offered Dad a job and that was the beginning of a new life for all of us in Maine.

After packing our belongings and paying the last visit to all our relatives, we set out. We traveled in a model T Ford, Dad, Doris, John, Sieferd, me (Marjorie) and Mother, seven months pregnant. Yes, we were crowded.  The car was only two years old, but cars, especially tires, wore out quickly those days.

Niagara Falls - Photo by Shelby L. Bell (CC BY 2.0) via flickr

Niagara Falls

The first day we crossed Lake Huron on a ferry and were then in Ontario. From Ontario, we came back into the United States at Niagara Falls.  What a thrill that was.  The falls is a beautiful place to visit for anyone, but for a family who had never been outside the state of Michigan, it was very exciting. As for me, the big attraction was the huge building housing the Shredded Wheat factory. Yes, Shredded Wheat is still my favorite cereal.

I am not certain where we stayed each night, but I do know we stayed nights at farmhouses and homes that catered to travelers, charging a dollar a bed. Needless to say, we doubled up.

We made our way East through New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire and finally into Maine. The trip through those states had both amusing and depressing moments. We had many flat tires, one after another.  Lots of tires to patch and put back on the wheels.  One morning we were sitting in a restaurant eating our breakfast when we heard a tire blow; we laughed and said, “That wasn’t ours.” Imagine our surprise when we left the restaurant.  There sat the car with a flat tire.  Back to work Dad and sons.

Another thing that was new to us coming from a flat area of Michigan was all the hills and mountains in Vermont and New Hampshire. Many times Dad had to turn around and back up the mountains. To all of us, this was our first sight of the Atlantic Ocean. I couldn’t see much difference between the ocean and Lake Huron. My sister Doris and I had been given some change and bought a souvenir. Doris bought a sweetgrass basket and I still have my small vase with butterflies painted on it.  This was our first day in Maine. And the place was Old Orchard. That afternoon we drove to Waterville and stayed overnight at a farmhouse nearby.

The next day, the twentieth of August, and Doris’s fifteenth birthday, we arrived in Guilford.  We were expected, for Mr. Cartwright had made all the arrangements.  We had our furniture transported by railway car and had a house rented for us.

Settling in Maine

Our first house in Guilford was on the back road to Abbot. We had a busy afternoon moving in and getting settled. We lived there for three months and I remember it as a happy time.  The house had both front and back stairways, something new to us and all children like to travel up one way and down the other.  We also got acquainted with our neighbors and they made us feel very welcome, especially Charles and Mary Adams. We were very close to them until they died.

In September we children started school in Abbot.  I remember riding to school in a horse-drawn school bus. At least I did, but when I mentioned it to Doris years later she said, “You did, we older ones had to walk.”

On September 28, our sister Gertrude Merlene was born.  What a pretty baby she was with her curly brown hair and brown eyes.

Pick Mill in 1938 - Source: Puritan Medical Products Company, LLC - used by permission.

Pick Mill, Guilford, Maine – 1938 – Image courtesy of Puritan Medical Products, LLC.

We lived in that house until Thanksgiving weekend and then a house was found for us in Guilford. This was a two-family house on High Street across from the Gene Genthener Farm. We lived in that house for the next nine months and then moved to the square house on School Street opposite the Pick Mill. We stayed there for ten years.  When Dad first went to work in the Pick Mill, he worked in the warehouse, getting acquainted with the products. But about this time he was promoted to foreman in the packing department, a position he held until he retired the last of October 1952.

A lot happened in those ten years. On August 17, 1927, mother gave birth to Patricia Jean.  She was as pretty as Trudy but had blonde hair and blue eyes. We always called her Pat or Patty.

By 1933 our family had shrunk to Dad, Mom and we three girls at home.  But we had gained three in-laws and three grandchildren and by the end of March 1935, four more.

In June of that year, I graduated from Guilford High School.  Soon after I went to work in the mill, twelve dollars a week. Lucky me. That summer was the last of us living on School Street because Dad and Mother bought a big house on the corner of Summer and Pleasant Street from Luella Littlefield. That house would remain in our family for the next 61 years. The house had nine rooms, two stairways, halls upstairs and down, a bathroom, a pantry, a glassed-in porch and a shed all under one roof. In addition, there was a garage and a two-story shed with two smaller sheds attached to it. Of course, we didn’t have furniture to fill it up but we added other items as we could. I had the big front room upstairs and to go with my bed and dresser, I bought a couch a chair and a desk.  The desk I bought from Wards with the money I received at graduation time. Twenty dollars from a scholarship, two from John and Harriet, two from Mama Adams, and I can’t remember where the other dollar came from. Yes, the desk cost twenty-five dollars. Imagine my surprise when I walked into Wards Store just before they closed and saw a similar desk priced at 325 dollars. Inflation…I also bought a cedar chest. That twelve dollars weekly went a long way.

A New House

We moved into our new home the Saturday before Labor Day. At that time the house was painted dark brown and had a circular driveway around it. Below that was a large area where Dad would have a large vegetable garden every year and Mother had a flower garden. She grew beautiful sweet peas, I can smell them now. What she really cherished was her gladiolus. When we think of her, we think glads.

The heating was with wood stoves, a big one in the den, another in the living room, and in the kitchen a black iron cook stove. Upstairs was another wood stove.  What a cold house that was.

Jay and his mother - 1945 - From author's collection

Jay Bullard and his mother – 1945

The big change in our lived came from having more room to have get-togethers and we had many, some planned, others impromptu. I remember Sunday night card parties. Cards were a big part of our life, sixty-three, Michigan Rummy and of course, cribbage. I almost forgot solitaire, at least for Mother and me. Mostly the family just dropped by. The grandchildren loved those stairways, up and down, up and down, trying to hide from the others or scare them. Another reason to visit was Grammy’s big glass cookie jar in the pantry. Everyone knew Grammy baked sugar cookies on Saturday. Years later, when my nephew visited my husband and me, he kept going to the pantry door and standing there looking for something. Finally, I asked him what he was looking for. And he said, “Where’s Grammy’s cookie jar.” The next time he came, I hurried to make a batch of cookies, but anyone could see they didn’t measure up.

Another attraction was what the children called the playroom. This was the open chamber over the dining room. The playroom was unfinished and mostly used for storage.  The Christmas before we left Michigan, the man who was our next door neighbor there had made a doll’s bed, table, and cupboard. Along with Trudy’s and Pat’s dolls and playthings, it was an ideal place to spend hours and probably gave the adults a better chance to play cards. And in the summer we had a great attraction. The well with a pump, always ready to be pumped. Oh, the water fights, many of them. All the kids were always ready to gather there.

The County was gradually recovering from the Depression, everyone was working, life was getting easier and I gave my mother the princely sum of three dollars each week from my twelve so she would have more spending money. She joined the Grange and Farm Bureau, now Extension. That organization met at members’ homes in a rotation for dinner and meetings. Mother was great at handicrafts such as crocheting and had our home fixed up so that she and the rest of the family were proud to have guests.

We also had some of our relatives from Michigan visiting occasionally. I remember those years as a happy era. Most of the family was working, seemed to be happy and life was good. I married Edwin Bullard and moved to Dexter. The Mountains lived there and Edwin had his Father and Mother, two brothers, Albert and John, a sister Ina and best of all two grandmothers and a grandfather. I had never known either of my grandmothers so that was wonderful for me. In June 1938, we had a son Phillip. He was born in the front bedroom of the family home and Mother took care of me, the same as she had done for the births of all her other grandchildren. The next year John and Harriet had another daughter, Barbara. That was the last time Mother was a midwife.

World War Two started in September of 1939 and times began to change, business began to pick up. In 1940 Edwin and I had another son, Edwin Junior (J.R.) in October.  He went by various nicknames until he was about eighteen and told us he wanted to be called Jay. He is still Jay to this day.