Saturday, June 25, 2011

1984 re-visited and 1985

Me and CJ move a spruce- 1984 A lot of hard work
That's the same tree in 2003 - glad we moved it when it was small!
  The year started out a lot busier than the last one, holy cow!  Not long after Hollie was born and Floyd came to stay with us we decided to do some renovations.  The kitchen and the "storage room" behind would be gutted and rebuilt as the kitchen with a laundry included, a deck with an accessable ramp would be added on, and the heating system would be upgraded with a new boiler.  Now that's a lot for a now one income family to take on.  At least it costs less 25 years ago.  We were able to get a line of credit on the house and get the job done.  Good workers do good work, it was done sooner than I expected, the job was done and it was great.
  My work at the School Department was going well, it really was a great group of people, the Superintendent left and we got a real winner.  He was one of the most fun people I've ever worked with, life is good with a good boss; and a great wife. 
Hollie with Floyd, it may be the last time she "kissed" anybody.
Hollie at 10 months
Here I am with another one of my "dream" cars, a '39 Buick.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Hollie, Dad and Tigger
  1984 is an easy year to remember, I became a Dad, was hired twice and my friend Floyd, who had taken me in a few years back, needed a home and we let him have a bedroom and bathroom upstairs, on the other side, it worked out very well.
  First I was hired at Holmes Distributors, they sell parts and pieces to electricians, and also carry equipment to computerize factories.  I worked in the accounting office.  The man who hired me had the same job in the Marine Corps as I did in the Navy - that got me in the door.  The purchasing officer left and I wanted the job; instead they hired a "pretty face", then asked me to train her - I left instead. (That's a long story in short form)
  I was hired by the South Portland School Department to work in the business office, part of the Superintendents office.  It was a pretty fun place to work, good people and the work was interesting.
  On December 5, 1984 Hollie Ann Grant was born at Maine Medical Center in Portland - the 26 years after have been a very interesting journey.  Hollie was a "good baby" about two hours a day, she had colic and cried the rest of the time, unless she was moving, or being moved.  Linda put too many miles on at least two strollers, they literally wore out.  We pushed her around at all hours of the night.  She would sleep in a car seat that we put in a living room chair.  Things did improve after some months time - almost.

Well folks, the program isn't working at its best this morning so there are no additional photos to show, I've tried loading them with no sucess.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


The U S Coast Guard training bark Eagle visits Portland
  You know I now realize it's hectic having a full time job, being a full time student and raising a family that now includes three (in 1983)  children (thank God they're grown up); but in 1983 it just a part of the deal.  Shortly after we were married the entire family went to counseling so we could all adapt to each other, none of this proved easy.  The time came for the first meeting and we had to round up Jon, we almost had to tie him up, and get him in the car.  Oh! What fun we had!  One of the suggestions Rocco made was for Jon and Rhonda to have a "Fight Room", so we designated an upstairs room for that purpose, they had a good time, we could hear them through the grates for the heating system.
  Linda and I did take one overnight away from the hectic pace for a weekend alone.  We went to Camden, climber Mount Battie (or drove up) and had a great visit with Yvette Byrus, a most gracious hostess.  Then it was back into the fire.
  I think in school that year I was studying Finite Math, which by itself was a challenge, in the uproar that was home, and still going to "those meetings", Linda was still working nights at Maine Medical Center as a nursing assistant.  There were good times for all!  At least I don't think anybody was arrested in 1983.

Larry and Linda, Fall 1983

Mount Battie, Camden Maine - click

Mobile (cell) phones have changed since 1983

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


November 6, 1982
  The year kind of speed walked through.  I was so busy with work, kids and making meetings every day.  Then, smart move, I started going to college on Saturdays, hoo boy!  In between all of that I celebrated my first sober year in February, had a small men's group counseling session on Monday afternoon.  I am always early, I was always early for things in 1982 too.  So I sat in the waiting room at Community Alcohol Services and talked to whoever else was there.  A woman and her son were usually waiting at the same time, I spoke with them a little; the boy's name was Jon I didn't learn hers any time soon.  So, off and on, on Monday afternoon I would sit and wait with Jon and his mother, as time went on we talked a little.  Then, the woman started to show up at Saturday night meetings I went to, my good friend Ralph sometimes brought his wife Lila and the woman came with her.  I learned her name was Linda, eventually.
  It was May when Lila asked me why don't you ask Linda to the dance.  There were dances for sober people at different locations on occasion, this one was in Saco, but I had a car now, so what the heck?
I did ask Linda to the dance and we had a pretty good time, then we started speaking on the phone, and seeing each other.  Later that year, while on lunch break for a Saturday class, I asked Linda to marry me, she said yes.  Then the fun started, none of the children was wild with joy (let's put it that way).
  We were married on November 6th in a small gathering of family and friends, no alcohol was served, the children weren't happy that day either, but one smiled once, for the camera.
  My two kids moved to South Portland with me, Linda owned a house in Ferry Village that more than big enough for everybody.  Linda's friend and coworker rent the other side of the duplex.  Jon and Rhonda were enrolled at Henley School a short walk away - they were always soooooooo happy to be dragged away on opening day! :)
  So, as the year ended, I was busier than ever, and so was Linda.
Some of us are smiling!
The South Portland house, now, it was blue when we were there, and not as messy
Henley School, now a condo.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I'll explain...
  The end of a nightmare.  It was February 4th, I had been out drinking for three days, I'd started the spree with a special on dark beer at a place on Fore Street, when the end came I was at the Westfield.
The kids had been going to school, but Rhonda, in the second grade, wore the same clothes each day so the teacher found out I'd not been home and alerted the authorities.  Jeff told the social worker where I could probably be found, he was right of course.  I was seated at the bar when a man walked in and called my name, he motioned me to the lobby and said I was to go the next morning to Community Alcohol Services and ask for Dennis.  I knew the consequences and did as he "suggested", I met Dennis and he walked me, literally, to the detox center that had a bed open, just for me.  February 6, 1981 was my first sober day in a very long time, I haven't had to take a drink since and it's been 30 years, 4 months and 5 days (not that I keep track).
  While I was at detox, Dennis came and took me to the courthouse to meet with someone from the District Attorneys office and a Judge.  A very short discussion gave me a choice, treatment or jail.  Alcoholics are always looking for the easier way, I accepted the treatment.  I went straight back to detox and stayed well over the allotted 10 days, it was 17.  I was transported, by a volunteer, to Merrymeeting House, in Bowdoinham out in the country.  Rehab.  Rehab is supposed to be a 28 day program, this one was no exception, except that about half way through my time we were all sent "home" because it furnace broke.  I took a couple of guys to my, now empty, apartment for the four day break - none of us drank...well we did cheat, a little, we drank caffeinated coffee.  Everyone made it back except one, a pretty good indicator.  I finished up the 32 day 28 day stay (4 days out for the furnace), and returned to my place.  Jeff had been placed with the family of a friend, and Rhonda was placed with her teacher.  The State took six months to send them back, they wanted to make sure I'd stay sober.
  I walked or took a bus to an AA meeting every night that was a workday (I still had my job at the parking garage) and on weekends I could go to two or three meetings a day.  I collected my chips for 30 days, 60 days, four months and by the end of the year I was sober over nine months.  Some days were harder than others, but I made it.
  I had to buy some furniture and a car, it's amazing what money can buy if it's not all spent on booze or beer, simply amazing - things I didn't think I could do, got done!
Merrymeeting House, from the air.  It's changed since I was there.
Chips to mark your time, they didn't have all those colors in 1981.
Transportation at last, just like this one, 1979 Chevy Nova

Monday, June 20, 2011


Munjoy Street, Portland Maine
  After Jeff and Rhonda came to Maine we lived in an apartment on Munjoy Street, on Munjoy Hill, at that time a moderate rent neighborhood.  We couldn't afford to live there now that's it been "gentrified". 
Rhonda was in second grade, and Jeff was in the 10th, we didn't have much furniture, but I was still working at the Westfield.  I'd ride the bus down each morning, after the kids went to school, and drink, nothing about that was changing, yet.
  I got a new job as an attendant in a new parking garage, the hours were better and the pay too.  The work was tedious, boring and mind numbing.  One day someone took ticket 111-111, they took it at 1:11PM and left the garage at 2:09PM -- Holy Cow!! all added to eleven or eleven's in a series, I went to buy a lottery ticket, with number 111!  The winning number was something like 536, ha-ha to me.
  Jeff and Rhonda are very sociable people, they quickly made friends around the block, there was a store we could walk to, I still didn't own a car (no expense great than beer was my motto), they walked to school, and I could walk to work, or take the bus down, it really wasn't very far.
  Everything looked to be okay, at least to most casual observers, it wasn't - for sure.

Eastern Promanade and the view from the bus stop

Portland High School
The Portland Observatory.  Munjoy Hills' pride and joy, it was the tower
where people watched ships come and go, in the sailing days.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Monument Square, Portland Maine
  At the beginning of the year I started school at Casco Bay College to study accounting, I was doing very well, and drinking was decreased (for now).  I didn't make it through the year in good stead though, and by early fall, or late summer, was drunk and living on the street.  I had my Navy pension and that was enough either for a room or for drinking - it wasn't enough for both - I chose the drinking.  I lived in a field by the railroad tracks in the warmer part, and at an abandoned house in the "Old Port" district when winter came, I sometimes wonder how I made it without freezing.  As the year was winding down a guy named Floyd Jameson (who is now my brother) said I could stay at his place, so I was there for quite a while.  We met while drinking at our favorite hangout, The Westfield Inn, actually I got a job as the night desk person for the "hotel" part and moved there.  My children had been sent by Betty to live with me, they stayed with my parents for a while, but soon I had to collect them up and take care of them myself.  Jeff stayed with me at the hotel, and Rhonda was helped out by the waitress, who had some kids about the same age.  I remember one day I was drunk and was going to buy a toy for Rhonda and fell down onto a cars bumper (it was parked), I cut my chin and they lugged me off in an ambulance to the emergency room, I bought the toy later.
Cross Street in the Old Port had an abandoned house, and some wide doorways.
Sleeping in the field (that's not me, the clothes are too clean!
The Westfield Inn was sold and redone it's now the Inn at Saint John (for St. John St. nearby)