CAMPOBELLO ISLAND – 21-22 July 2014

Welcome Back to Roosevelt Campobello International Park, NB, Canada! The program I am attending, “The Roosevelts on Campobello Island,” has been designed to give attendees a feel for the influence this place had in forming the make-up and decision making process of the President and Eleanor.  For me, it has also provided an insight into one of my interests – the development of the summer vacation, and summer resorts.

In 1767 Captain Richard Owen was granted the island for service he rendered in the Royal Navy.  Settling the island in 1770, it remained in tight control of the family for over 100 years, essentially run as an independent country.  In 1872, descendent Captain Robinson-Owen began trying to sell the island.  The family control ended in 1881 when his widow sold the south end of the island, along Friar’s Bay, to American investors for $1,000,000.  The new Campobello Company planned to build a summer resort.  Three hotels were built between 1881 and 1883, and the land was divided into lots to sell for summer “cottages.”

The Roosevelt Cottage

The Roosevelt Cottage

James and Sara Delano Roosevelt first visited the island in 1883 staying in one of the new hotels with their one year old son, Franklin. They liked the island, and bought ten acres on the bay to construct a cottage, which was completed in 1885. Yearly summer visits began. Eleanor first visited in 1904. Franklin and Eleanor were married the next year, and in 1909 Sara purchased the cottage next to hers for the young couple.  Summer visits continued, but were few in the 1930s.

The hotels closed by 1910, and not many of the lots had been sold or built upon. Campobello Island as a resort faded as did many such resorts, falling victim to many factors including the servant problem, income tax, the motor car, and the first World War.  Even though an ideal resort location (which I can now attest to), Campobello Island is just too far for the wealthy from Boston and New York to have travelled to, and too far for weekend excursions as the automobile became “king.”

It is hard to believe that I just finished the second day – the days are so packed, and I have been cramming myself with learning.  I did not know anything about FDR and Eleanor.  Monday we had extremely informative lectures on the history of the island, and the uniqueness of the Bay of Fundy and its tides.  We have heard about the area’s influence on the thought processes of FDR and the First Lady. Several books on the couple are in the lecture area for perusal, and following the speaker’s reading of a few passages from a children’s book, ELEANOR by Barbara Cooney, I finished it on a break.  Childrens books can often give an adult a fast snapshot of a subject because they are succinct and to the point.  Wow, what an education this provided me on Eleanor’s life up to marriage.

In the afternoon we toured the island.

At the northern tip of the island, this becomes an island as the tide comes in

At the northern tip of the island, this becomes an island as the tide comes in

Light house on this island

Light house on this island

Lichen and iron fitting

Lichen and iron fitting

Below is Herring Cove, a favorite picnic spot of the Roosevelts

Herring Cove

Herring Cove

And this observation platform is at Eleanor’s favorite spot where she was photographed in 1962, three months before her death



Vera Calder

Vera Calder

Tuesday morning began with a fascinating film, “The Living Tides of Fundy.”  We then had a “morning with Vera Calder.”  Her grandmother and mother worked for FDR, and, at 84, she too remembers Sara, Franklin and Eleanor. Her grandmother was considered family having been housekeeper for 40 years at the various Roosevelt homes.  Her stories brought to life those times here at Campobello.


An afternoon two hour cruise in the bay followed.

My humble cottage from the bay (note my oval window)

Hubbard Cottage on Campobello island

Hubbard Cottage on Campobello island

“whale watching” was not as successful as it could have been, but I have included one image below of the six whales I saw just below the surface.


Dinner this evening was at St. Anne’s Church following a tour of the church built in 1855 by the Owens, and attended by FDR’s family.  The evening concluded with a member of the Passamaquoddy tribe discussing his tribe’s routes in the area, and the birch bark canoe FDR had made by a Native friend.

Most of tomorrow is an “explore on your own day,” so who knows what Ray will end up doing.

Good night from Atlantic Time – yours, RAY



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Many months ago I signed up for a Road Scholar Program, “The Roosevelts on Campobello Island: Life at the Glorious Edge.”  Part of the reason was to delve more into Maine back roads coming and going, but I have been so busy in 2014 that I did not do adequate preliminary planning — but I still manage to explore and learn.  The almost eight hour road-trip (with some pikes that cannot be shunned in need for time) I broke up into an overnight half-way to the Canadian border on the eastern most point of the US (gee, and I have even lived at the southernmost point of the US)

Saturday 19 July, leave “44” at 8:30 and cut across NH on Route 101 to pickup I-95. At Portland bear right onto I-295 exiting on US Route 1 at Brunswick to head to my afternoon destination, the Maine Maritime Museum.  One gas stop, and, OF COURSE, stop at Maine Welcome Center to collect travel literature, and arrive at the museum about 12:30, just in time to grab a sandwich and join the 1PM docent lecture and tour.

RAY RECOMMENDS – an afternoon or day at the Maine Maritime Museum – (actually HIGHLY RECOMMENDS)

ME-1The museum is located on the original site of the Percy & Small Shipyard where large four-, five- and six-mast wooden ships were built, including the world’s largest wooden ship, the Wyoming – a schooner (schooners were built with rigging requiring smaller crews than sailing ships, and moved cargo up and down the coast – usually coal in the early 20th century). Most of the shipyard’s original buildings, plus tools and equipment are still in place. In the center of the yard, a full-scale metal sculpture of Wyoming’s bow and stern gives visitors a sense of the enormous size of the ship.  The Bath Iron WorksME-2 shipyard is just up the river.  Here one fourth of our WWII destroyers were built – one launched every 2-3 weeks.  The new “stealth” destroyer, DDG-1000 THE ZUMWALT, was in view.  Zumwalt was the Chief of Naval Operations when I was a young supply officer.  The museum, its buildings and museum deserve more time.  I learned a great deal in the lobster building, and wanted to share the placards below telling that story.  Click to open up a “slide-show” to read along.




A History of Lobstering in Maine

I drove around Bath (nice) and continued north on US 1 to Wiscasset, billed as the “prettiest village in Maine.”  I picked up (when illegally parked) a great walking tour brochure titled THE MUSEUM IN THE STREETS, but sadly without parking (it was a busy little village) I could not take in all the historic architecture (next time – off season).  It was then time to cut over back roads to my B&B in Jefferson but a little sign caught my eye for a left turn “WW&F RR 1/10 mile.”  The small museum was closed but two gentlemen spent some time telling me about their work restoring the narrow gauge equipment of the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway.



My hosts back to work on the roof to an engine they are restoring.

My hosts back to work on the roof to an engine they are restoring.

What followed was another wonderful B&B experience at the Clary Lake B&B. Rick and Linda were extremely cordial, and their 160 year old farm house was impeccably restored, furnished and clean.

For the next half of my trip to Campobello Island I struggled and struggled with a route still having 3 1/2 to 4 hours to go and needing to arrive around 3PM Atlantic time — there was just no time to serendipitously explore and I could not to be tempted – you know me by now.  But I decided to cover as much of US 1 as possible cutting back down to Waldoboro and then go through Rockland, Rockport and Camden.  I had been through once before in mid 1980s.  These busy, resort artsy communities are not Ray, so I am glad I traversed to learn that, and need not return that way this trip — but possibly that area will be a separate trip sometime to do it justice.

ME-16Heading further east however, towns became more to my liking, and Belfast and Searsport deserve return visits.  And then I arrived at Fort Knox (no Dorothy, I did no spin off to Kansas – oops that is Fort Leavenworth).  Besides seeing the fort, I also must return to go up the observation tower overlooking the Penobscot River which is part of the new bridge finished in 2007.


A View on the new Waldo-Hancock Bridge

A View on the new Waldo-Hancock Bridge

Once you pass the turnoff to Bar Harbor (Route 3), there is more and more openness and less population.  The terrain is more open and as you approach Lincolnville and Machias it is evergreen country.  Then I remembered, when inspecting the Cutler Naval Station in the early 1980s I was told that the sailors were busy each fall “tipping.”  Tipping is cutting boughs to be made into Christmas Wreaths, and I passed several such plants.  For nostalgia I cut down to the base which is still in operation as possibly the most powerful radio station in the world but sending signals to submarines.

Downtown Cutler -- note the tide variation near the Bay of Fundy.

Downtown Cutler — note the tide variation near the Bay of Fundy.

Following really back roads past the village of Cutler I arrived at downtown Lubec, Maine and the location of the bridge to Campobello Island.

Downtown Lubec, Maine

Downtown Lubec, Maine


Bridge to the Island.

Bridge to the Island.

I checked into my Road Scholar program and received the keys to Hubbard Cottage in the park.

My room is the window on the second floor (left) and bathroom window the first dormer on left.

My room is the window on the second floor (left) and bathroom window the first dormer on left.

And I am currently writing this in the properly restored Victorian living room.

View from where I am sitting (and also strongest WI-FI spot)

View from where I am sitting (and also strongest WI-FI spot)


View from dining room to the bay and Maine.

View from dining room to the bay and Maine.

I have this entire house along with three other attendees, and it is grand.

And now it is time to experience life as a Rusticator sometime in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — more to come, and thank you for reading, as always, yours, RAY

GOOD NIGHT – Monday 21 July
More to come


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REPEAT PERFORMANCE – Yes, so many people who missed the June date have asked Jan and I to give our presentation again.  And we are scheduled for Thursday, August 28th at 7PM at the Walpole Town Hall.  If you would like Jan or me to send you an email reminder, or give you a call, please let us know.  See you on the 28th for another fun evening.

On June 24th, Jan and I presented at The Walpole Historical Society our talk, “The Making of AS IT WAS…AND STILL IS… WALPOLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE.”  I asked my friends at Fact8-TV — Falls Area Community News TV (Bellows Falls, Vermont) —  if they would like to tape it to show on their channel and have available on the website.  The Executive Director, Jake, has always told me he “needs content” and he readily agreed. He sent Melissa over to tape our talk (I am getting older – Melissa and I were in plays together when she was in high school – she is now a college graduate).

Well, our talk is now on-line, and if you have 58 minutes and one second, you may wish to watch.  Jan and I have already been asked to “go on the road” and give our presentation to others, and we are anxiously looking forward to doing so.  If you have a venue where you would like us to make our presentation, just let me know.

So, click on the link I have attached to this line, and it will bring you to the video of the presentation.  Once the page loads, click on the arrow to start the presentation.  And, if you wish, just click “back” to return to this page.

If you would like to hear Jan and me in person, email me and I will let you know where we will be and when.  And remember, my book is but $20 ($4 shipping) and just contact me for a copy.  Thank you, RAY





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Thirteen plus years in the making, but worth the wait.  One of those “crowning moments” in my life.  CORNELIA (aka a replica of a 1906 Cretors No. 2 Sidewalk Popcorn Wagon) finally popped away, and for a good cause.  I did not want to “sell popcorn” but wanted to give it away for a donation to the two local food shelves – The Fall Mountain Food Shelf, and Our Place Drop-In Center.  These two organizations have received our A CHRISTMAS CAROL audiences donations the past six years — now over $20,000.  And, this evening (thank you Walpoleans) CORNELIA received a tad over $300 in donations for these worthy causes for almost 300 servings of popcorn.  I brought my stool along to sit down – and never was able to sit once. What can I say further?

The rest of this weekend I will be in front of my home, with AS IT WAS…AND STILL IS – WALPOLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE — my new book for sale.  And CORNELIA will be there too, ready to accept your donations for more tasty popcorn.

So, here are some images and a video from this evening.


Guess who this is – complete with outfit I have had for over 30 years.



FIREWORKS – away – yes “downtown” Walpole




Goodnight, Walpole — See you tomorrow.




And, a video, complete with music.

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WALPOLE OLD HOME DAYS 2014 – Full Schedule 25-29 June 2014

In the past few days I have had a large number of “search hits” on SHUNPIKING WITH RAY with people looking for information on this year’s Old Home Day celebration.  That was because my mention of it in my posts for AS IT WAS…AND STILL IS… WALPOLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE.

So, to help, I woke up this morning saying, “Ray, post the full schedule for out-of-towners looking for details to enjoy our weekend.”  So, below is the full schedule.  And when in town, do stop by a take a look at AS IT WAS…AND STILL IS… WALPOLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE.


Walpole Old Home Days 2014

Schedule of Events

(Note: $$ indicates that tickets need to be purchased or cost involved. Otherwise, events with no symbol are free)

 Wednesday June 25th

WALPOLE OLD HOME DAYS 2014 – Update 11AM — the Block Party tonight will be on the Common and in the Town Hall … and, CORNELIA will make her “popping debut” right along with the festivities tonight.  See you there.

 5:30pm – 8:30– Block Party
hosted by Connecticut River Bank, N.A. & The Walpole Foundation
Connecticut River Bank Parking Lot with music by “The Illusion
TOWN HALL in case of rain

Thursday June 26nd

 Walpole Players – “A Long Weekend in New Hampshire”
Doors open at 6:30pm, curtain rises at 7:00pm.       $$

Friday June 27th

 9am to 8pm    Walpole Community Pool, Free to all


4pm to 6pm    Farmers Market
 ~Kids games and activities ~Local Vendors
Ray Boas’ book will be available then


5pm to 8pm    Talent Show sponsored by the Savings Bank of Walpole
Congregational Church
Awards given right after performance.


5:30pm  Strawberry Shortcake by Tom Murray
In front of Murray’s Restaurant        $$
To benefit the Helen Miller Theater


6pm to 11pm Friday Night Street Dance
sponsored by The Burns Family
Savings Bank of Walpole parking lot, across from the Tavern
Two Sets: First set 6-8pm
Music by local Country Musicians;
“Will Buchan, Shawn Keniston and Dwight Smith”
Second Set 8-11pm
Music by Rock and Roll Group  “Turn it Loose” 


 6pm to 10pm American Legion food booth   $$
Hamburgers and Hot Dogs


9:30pm  Fireworks
                             sponsored in part by Theodora Berg and Applied Bolting
Shot from North Road over Village

Saturday June 28th

 7am-9am Academy Breakfast

for all who attended the Academy and spouses.
Prizes for youngest, oldest, longest distance travelled
Tent on Historical Society lawn


7am to 9am “McGrange’s”
Breakfast Sandwiches by The Grange     $$
Town hall


8:30am 5K Race and Children’s Race (12 and under)
sponsored by Kris and Bill Tyson

Start/Finish at Walpole Town Hall, prizes       $$
(to benefit Fall Mountain running and skiing teams)


9:00am  Walpole PTG – Coffee, muffins          $$


10am to 8pm Walpole Community Pool, Free to all



Sponsored by John and Carol Hubbard  Foundation
Starts at Walpole School

Prizes for Most Humorous, Best Historical,
Best use of “Country” Slogan, Best Action,
Best Youth Exhibit, Best Business Entry



Hills Band Wagon
East Bay Jazz Ensemble
Keene American Legion (Bandstand)


10am to 4pm  4-H Petting Zoo – Walpole Common


10am to 4pm Common displays for Walpole Non-profits
educational, fundraising and food, Kid’s activities

American Heritage Tour  Bake Sale, Hot Dogs
FM Scholarship Fund  Ice Cream
Cub Scouts  Bake Sale
Fire/Auxiliary  Popcorn, Cotton Candy, Drinks
First Congregational Church Pie Sale
Walpole 4-H Clubs  Petting Zoo
Hooper Hill Hoppers  Fried Dough,  Sausage, Hamburgers, Fries, Onion Rings, Drinks
Hooper Preservation Fund Tee shirts, totes
Walpole PTG  Cheeseburgers, Grilled Cheese, French Fries
Pinnacleview 4H Rootbeer Floats, Milk, Hotdogs, water
Girl Scouts Bake Sale
Swim Group Strawberry Shortcake & Face Painting
Walpole Village School Shaved ice
Women of Walpole Gift Baskets, silent auction
Many more info booths on the common!


10am to 4pm  Children’s Play Area and Equipment Displays

sponsored by Cold River Materials Savings Bank of Walpole Parking Lot.


11am to 4pm Antique Vehicle Show
Historical Society Lawn
People’s Choice Award


12pm – 4pm Firefighters Challenge – Stone Church Field
Walpole Volunteer Fire Dept.


12 noon Pet Show
Sponsored by Bonnie and Charles Casserta
Children’s categories: l argest pet, smallest pet, longest tail, costume class, owner pet look alike, most enthusiastic pet owner, cutest pet, judges choice award
Adult categories:  oldest pet, costume class, owner pet look alike, most enthusiastic pet owner
Roxy Memorial Trophy

12pm-3pm Hay rides around town provided by John Tarmey Jr.


6:30pm Baseball Game at the Hubbard Fields
Walpole Wild Blue vs. Claremont Cardinals
Free to the public
Concession stand will be open $$


6:00-8:15pm  Voting/Sampling for the Cookie Bake off – Hastings House

 7:30pm Lou Andreoli Memorial Jazz Concert        $$
Featuring: Atlas Soul
Hastings House Ballroom, two sets and refreshments available


Walpole Players

A Long Weekend in New Hampshire”
Doors open at 6:30pm, curtain rises at 7:00pm. $$

 Sunday June 29th

 7:30am-11am  Pancake Breakfast - Town Hall
To benefit Walpole Village School   $$


8:30am  Walpole Old Home Days Golf Tournament
Hooper Golf Club
To benefit Save the Hooper Committee         $$


Church Services:

8:30am St. Peters Catholic Church, North Walpole
10:00am First Congregational Church, Walpole
10:00am  St. John’s Episcopal Church, Walpole
10:00am  Walpole Unitarian Church, Walpole


10am – 8pm   Walpole Community Pool – Free to All


1:00pm  Amazing Race
Solve clues, perform challenges and tour the town
as you compete for prizes in the Walpole Amazing Race
in support of Walpole Village School.
Starts on the Common at 1pm             $$


4pm till sold out  Chicken Barbeque First Congregational Church     $$


5:00pm  Band Concert
Sponsored by the Boy Scouts of Walpole
The Walt Sayre Orchestra” – Featuring “Rebecca Holtz
Donation basket will be passed
Refreshments available    $$

***Presentation of parade awards and other drawings at intermission***


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Are you looking for some good old-fashioned New England fun?  The first Old Home Days celebration was in New Hampshire in August, 1899, to encourage former residents and friends to come home to visit, and maybe stay.  Walpole has held Old Home Days celebrations since that time — 115 years.  Now held every three years – this is the year.

Four days of festivities begin on Wednesday June 25th with a Block Party “downtown.” The curtain rises on The Walpole Players production of “A LONG WEEKEND IN NEW HAMPSHIRE” on Thursday, and Friday there is a street dance and fireworks.  Saturday is THE DAY with one of the largest New England parades you would ever want to see, events on the common and around town.  The festivities continue on Sunday.

Just as the week begins, Jan Kobeski and I will give a talk, “The Making of AS IT WAS…AND STILL IS…   WALPOLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE.”  I will discuss my collecting and the beginning of the idea, and Jan we talk about his design process.  So, join us at The Walpole Historical Society on Tuesday the 24th


My book is $20, and is now available, and I will be around town with it starting at The Walpole Farmers Market this afternoon, June 20th at 4PM

Cornelia will make her “popping debut” next week, but will cross over to the common this afternoon to hold the books.  So, please stop by, today’s weather will be ideal, and next week is so far looking good.


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UPDATE – THE LAST COUPLE MONTHS – Posted Flag Day – 14 June 2014

I know, I know, you have not heard very much from me.  The first half of 2014 has been great, and fun with LADY RAB (1931 Model A Tudor Sedan), CORNELIA (1906 Cretors Sidewalk Popcorn Wagon Replica), and my book.  The impetus for completion of my projects has been Walpole’s 2014 Old Home Days the end of this month.

I did take two breaks at The Red Lion Inn, and still have to tell you about the last one including the homes of two Hudson River School artists: Thomas Cole and Frederic Church’s Olana.  And I also experienced an overnight at The Woodstock Inn located in Woodstock, Vermont, and the half day I spent at the Billings Farm & Museum.  All museums highly recommended by RAB.  But I will get to that eventually, and eventually will get to traveling again after Old Home Days.

But you know about LADY RAB  (have now clocked over 140 miles in her), but let me just fill you in on CORNELIA and AS IT WAS… AND STILL IS… WALPOLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE.


This week I traveled to Lawrence, Massachusetts to buy popcorn supplies and learn how to use my machine.  And, just now I attached the last item — the original style crystaline art glass POPCORN sign.  Earlier today I saw Stacey at the Post Office, and with a smile she said she has followed my Facebook popcorn posts, and could not wait.  So, once I have a few “guinea pigs” over for the first popping test I shall take a video, complete with calliope music, popcorn cascading, and Toastie the Clown cranking away.  Too much fun, don’t miss visiting CORNELIA this summer.



by Ray Boas
design by Jan Kobeski


Ray Boas’ new 128 page book, AS IT WAS…AND STILL IS – WALPOLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE, tours the reader through more than 125 years of history shown through 350 rarely seen images creatively displayed, all in full-color.  Based on Boas’ collection of postcards and stereoviews started over a decade ago, the book has been completed for publication in conjunction with Walpole’s 2014 Old Home Days celebration. The main section of the book divides the town into five sections each beginning with a map.  The postcards and stereoviews, with historical captions, are keyed to the maps.  Also included is a collection of historical articles written by Boas for THE WALPOLE CLARION, and a brief history of postcards further illustrated by Walpole postals.

Below are some sample pages, followed by a review of the book by Tara Sad that was published in the June 2014 WALPOLE CLARION.  Available at $20 a copy, shipping is available ($4 per mailing address) for out-of-town gifts.

Mail orders can be sent to Ray Boas, PO Box 757, Walpole, NH 03608 Phone 603 756-4545 –   email: Payment may be by check or Paypal.

The book ARRIVED – 3 June – and hidden away (hard to do) until release.


Boas and Kobeski will present an illustrated talk, “The Making of AS IT WAS…AND STILL IS… WALPOLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE” at the Walpole Historical Society on June 24th at 7 PM.  Plan to attend this fun evening.

The full-color book measures 11 inches by 8 1/2 inches






Tara Sad’s book review published in THE WALPOLE CLARION June 2014

AIW-9Again, available at $20 a copy. Shipping is available ($4 per mailing address) for out-of-town gifts.  Mail orders can be sent to Ray Boas, PO Box 757, Walpole, NH 03608 Phone 603 756-4545 –   email: Payment may be by check or Paypal.

Hope you got this far.  Now you know what has enjoyably consumed my time.  And, soon I may be able to share new adventures.

Yours, RAY


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I enjoy my quiet times at home, and have to remember to be productive and “tick” things off the list(s).  I am making progress and enjoy the sense of accomplishment.

Off and on I watched the Indy 500 (now over) and have been working on CORNELIA. For the first time since I bought her 13 1/2 years years ago I put on the canopy frame, and then opened the new canopy I bought 13 years ago and put it on. Next I will reinstall 3 metal panels I restored and repainted. Making progress, and only 32 days until her debut at Walpole’s 2014 OLD HOME DAYS.

Be safe if you are out and about, and remember why we have this “long weekend” – to celebrate and thank all those who have sacrificed the most so we may be free.



And, playing away (that is fun work) again on Memorial Day the 26th.  Finally I have put my Roastie Toastie Clown to work.

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Yes, I do travel in the right company.  Last week Rob asked me, “do you want to go to a Red Sox game, I have been given some tickets.”  If you know me, I am not sure if Red Sox are baseball and kick the ball or use a stick to hit a puck.  But, hey, a fun time out doing something you otherwise would not do.  I am in.  Rob owns the fantastic WALPOLE CREAMERY, and one of his vendors offered the tickets.


So, off Rob, Whit, Jerry and I headed today about noon for Boston.  It was raining, actually pouring – but we were confident and not concerned.  We parked at the end of Route 2 and hopped onto the T.  Arriving downtown we caught a bite to eat – actually a great deal to eat – oysters and big burgers, and then headed to Fenway Park to see the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Boston Red Sox.

We had box “membership only” seats.  And, as you can see in the pictures and movies were as close as you can be.  My internet search revealed that these seats run from $400 to $600 — and that is PER GAME not season.  Yes, I travel in the right company, and now will share the views I had from  almost on the field.




Click to start the video




Seventh inning Stretch – “the happy foursome!!!”


Yes, this close !!!


Thank you, Rob, for including me !!! And, thank you WALPOLE CREAMERY and its premium ice cream.


And, here is a bonus video, but before I say “good night” I owe you a big and long travel story from Stockbridge, Massachusetts to Stockbridge, Vermont from 14-20 May.  Lots to tell you, just cannot get it all done.  But you will get my email.  Bye, and thanks for getting this far, yours, RAY

Again, click to start the video

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If you tell everyone you are going to do something — then you have to do it.  My book went to the printer Thursday afternoon, and that waiting game begins.  I have another big project in the works with Barbara and her sister, but that will not fully commence until maybe six weeks.  So, what do I do???  Impetus to get the book done was Old Home Days the end of June.  I have had another project attempted for the last two Old Home Days, and even earlier for a 4th of July parade in 2001.  So, now this is the year!!!

In 1962, when first traveling  US Route 7 in my 1929 Model “A” Ford Roadster, I discovered in Great Barrington, MA, a Cretors Model “D” Horse Drawn Popcorn Wagon. APopcorn7 few more miles north another wagon was popping corn in front of the bank in Pittsfield, MA, where it had done so for decades.  A lifetime fascination began. The Model “D” is a very large machine, but Cretors made smaller sidewalk units.

Popcorn4In the summer of 1965, high school friends and I attended a “stock car race” in South Carolina.  Outside of an “old country store” I spotted a turn of the century Bartholomew “Boss on Wheels” Peanut Roaster.  I bought it, and arranged to have it shipped back to Connecticut.  I have had it since, mainly in storage. But used it often in the 1980s in parades and school functions, dispensing Popcorn.  It is in my blood!!

I found my replica Cretors No. 2 Popcorn Wagon on Ebay in January of 2001.  It was in Indiana, and of course Cathy encouraged me to get what I had always wanted.  The auction ended, I had won, and Cathy said, “alright how do you get it home.”  I immediately called the friend of our neighbor whose husband had his own small trucking firm.  “You want him to get what and where,” she asked.  “I just talked to him, and he is about 50 miles east of there now, let me catch him and turn him around.”  And, my popcorn wagon was “home” two days later before my check even got to Indiana.

There had been modifications over the years, but I knew the company that made these Popcorn3authentic replicas was still in business, and soon I had purchased everything I needed to have my machine as it left the factory new.  The plan was to have it ready for the small 4th of July parade in our little village of New Preston, Connecticut — but that did not happen, nor the next year because we had begun our transition to New Hampshire.  The popcorn wagon was one of the first things moved to NH, but relegated to storage in the garage surrounded by boxes, and boxes of books.  But in the last 5-6 years those boxes have dwindled, and I could find the machine again.  Many times in the past I offered it to the local bank who sponsored a “block party” during Old Home Days to give away popcorn, “if I get it done.”  But getting it done did not happen.

Popcorn1But when I redid the garage this winter to make room for LADY RAB along with BLACK BEAUTY and BLUE BELLE, all of a sudden there was room to admire my popcorn machine, and even to work on it.  So yesterday “she” came out center stage (guess she needs a name also) and all the pieces I had disassembled 5-6 years ago sorted through to refresh my mind with what I was planning to do at that time.


10AM Monday update — suggestions are flying in:  Carol suggested “Cornelia” and Barbara came in with “Maizie.”  Barbara then said – “I vote for Cornelia.”  We may have an immediate winner!



There are six weeks to Old Home Days and the various events that I can give away popcorn (with a donation can for the local food shelves), it could be used to attract attention at Barbara and Rob’s Walpole Creamery, and then there is our big Labor Day event that is in the works (that is what you call a teaser).

And the fun continues.  More to come, of course, as always, yours, RAYPopcorn5


This is a reproduction of the Cretors No. 1 Sidewalk Unit – the next size larger than my Cretors No. 2.  This particular machine was in use in the Frontier Area of Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, in the 1980s.  My daughter, Julie, is making an important purchase of popcorn – circa 1982.

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