Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end.
Not unlike every life. We celebrate our beginnings with a birthday once a year. Our end is usually written about by someone else accompanied with a headstone or an urn.
It’s that middle that clings to us as we age. Those are the years we try to remember.
Aug. 16 has several memories for me.
I was one of the summer kids. August was spent at my great-aunt’s house in West Gouldsboro. I learned to swim in Jones Pond.
1964 found me a 15-year-old guest of the French on the beaches of Normandy. I turned 18 in San Francisco. It was the “Summer of Love,” 1967. My father, a former Marine, prevailed upon me to go to the post office and register for the draft.
1969, living in the Virgin Islands, I didn’t know about Woodstock until I saw the pictures in Life magazine. For many, Woodstock was the end of the dream.
Olive drab was what I was wearing in ’70 and ’71 with the Army, training with an 8-inch self-propelled cannon in the dusty fields of Grafenwoehr, near Munich, in what was then West Germany.
After a two-day hitchhike from White Plains, N.Y., with an Army buddy I arrived at Chicken Mill, Aug. 16, 1972. We worked and stayed until November. I returned Aug. 16, 1976, to stay in Maine. John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” was popular then. I was 27 also.
After living in sin for a year and a half, Nancy and I got married, Aug. 16, 1981. It was a big feed. Both families were there, 26 people, lobsters, home-grown veggies and the justice of the peace filled the house. I turned 32. For several years after, the 16th was the yearly blowout at Chicken Mill. Rain or shine, Nancy and I would close the video store and family and friends would show up. It was an all-day party. The last 10 years or so it was just another day.
This Aug. 16, 2019, Nancy’s headstone will be delivered to the West Gouldsboro Cemetery. I will be 70.