Here's more from the 1975 interview in Maine Profiles of my
Granduncle Clarence West by Lynne Franklin. In this excerpt
he talks about memories of P.C. Ripley's encounters with
game wardens and a school principal (the "school pa").
Clarence also recalls how he got his job at the Aziscohos
Dam with the Brown Paper Company:
"Rip and Walter Bucknam built two camps on the Little Magalloway
and in the spring of the year he would take parties.
Well, one time they got some liqour and about noon they decided to
have some fish. They went and caught 'em and by the time they had
'em dressed on the bank they see the game wardens peeking over
'Now Mister Ripley,' says one, 'you've been breaking the law. I'm
going to have to take you down.'
'Oh, no, chummy,' says Rip, 'me and Buck is having a party. We're
'Oh, no.' says the warden, 'you've got to go down river with me.'
'Oh, no,' says Rip, and he starts to grow a little bit. 'We ain't going
down.' They started to move around a bit and then it started.
Old Rip,he catched each one of them wardens by the nap of the
neck and he bumped their heads together and as he did he growled:
'We going upriver, we going upriver.' And he danced like a bear
bringing the wardens heads together bonk, bonk, and swinging
them out one on each side and then crashing them together again
and chanting: 'We going upriver, we going up river...'
I tell you they had an iron form in the hop here to make rings on.
It was two feet wide at the base and tapered up so you could make
any size ring and it was solid iron. I know it weighed 400 pounds.
Rip would take that thing and lug it around the shop and think
nothing of it. Now, Rip could be awful proud of his children even
if they didn't always deserve it.
His boy had a little trouble with the school pa here and the school
pa came up here to see his father.
Well, ol Rip, he talked with the school pa and I could see he was
getting madder and madder. He started stamping his feet and pretty
soon he went in and got that iron ring form and lugged it out and
layed it on the bench.Then he picked it up and set it down again,
stamping his feet, growling, and the school pa took right out down
'About fifty years ago I was working in the garage and I decided to
ask the Brown Company for a job. I wanted a recommend and I
went down to old Eugene Croyden, at that time Mayor of Lewiston.
He always called me Old Trapper and so I went over to the city
building and asked him if he'd write a recommend.
'Sure, Old Trapper,' he says and you should have seen him. He'd
stick a piece of paper in the typewriter and zzzzzzippp, bap bap bap
out he'd pull another one, smash it up and throw it in the trash. By
and by he got one to suit him.
I got another recommend from Carl Woodcock, one of the professors
at Bates College. I'd worked on a survey with him for a lawyer. 'Yes,'
he said. 'I'd be glad to write you one, but I'd rather not do it with you
looking over my shoulder.'
'Alright,' I says; and here it is better than 50 years later and I'm still
in the job that they had the recommends for."
To be continued....
((Originally published at "West in New England" 5Oct 2010))