Look at all that front lawn I had to mow down there at Katahdin Lodge and Camps, in the summer of 1969. Anytime Finley Clarke's Nephew, David Robert Crews - that'd be me, anytime I was living and working at Finley's Katahdin Lodge and Camps, I was the Lodge's sole grass cutter and weed whacker. I wouldn't have it any other way. And my Uncle Finley and his wife, my Aunt Martha, both completely agreed with me.

This free blog has been converted into a poor man's web site. Read it from top to bottom, then hit the link to the bottom of each page for Older Posts, and keep repeating this as you read on to the end of it.


Fittin’ In With The Locals Wasn’t Easy

If at least the past two, no, three generations of your family hadn’t been born and raised within oh, say sixty miles of the town of Patten, then you would always be “from the outside.” I respected that. They had a tough life up there livin’ in the woods. When there were local jobs available, the work was usually fairly hard and definitely dangerous. If they became injured or ill, it was their family, friend, or neighbor who drove them the hour or more it might take to get to the nearest hospital. Those folks up there relied on one another for their survival. Everybody looked out for each other.

The kids from Patten and the other small towns in the area would often go to each other’s dances and parties. And I went to most of them too, often with my best friend Gary McCarthy--we picked up some sweet babes together.

Early one relaxed, mid-summer's Saturday evening, just before the night's teen fun and country kid style action was about to commence ta' happening in Northern Maine, Gary and I were sitting and sipping sodas on swivel stools at the lunch counter in the Patten Drug Store.

Gary turned to me and said, “Dave, if you get into a fight with a guy from another town, then by jeeze, it’ll be me and you against him back to back; I’ll fight any of his friends who try to hit you from behind. But! If you get into a fight with a guy from the Town of Patten, it’ll be him, me and the rest of the town against you.”

I had no problem with that—I admired them for the way that they stuck together.

Patten had a permanent population of under two thousand people, and the ten or eleven mile ride from town up to the Lodge was very sparsely populated. Finley and Martha Clarke were from Sparrows Point, Maryland, but they were popular with a good number of that small population of local Mainers. Company often dropped in at the Lodge during the evenings and on Sundays. There were great games of cribbage, and some of the best conversation I’ll ever experience.

Ya’ weren’t supposed to believe all of the tall tales that they told as being fully factual, but you really enjoyed hearin’ ‘um.

Photographs by David Robert Crews

Hangin’ around on a Saturday Night at Ballard’s Citco Station in Patten. I took these shots with my first and very inexpensive 35MM camera to show my family and friends back home in Dundalk, Maryland what it was like on a typical Saturday Night hanging out in my new small town.

That’s me second from the left and right where I wanted to be. This was at the girl all the way to the right's birthday party, which happened to be the night before I left for U.S. Army basic training. The girl, Deanna Caldwell, was the first girl I dated up there. Then one night, because I had gone out with Deanna three times another girl wouldn't go out with me because, as the new girl told me that night, in Patten three dates meant that you were going steady. I wasn't ready to settle for one certain girl yet in a town with so many sweet, attractive, teenage darlin's, so I never dated Deanna again. That is my old friend Arnie Ballard enjoying a cuddle with Deanna, and I think that the girl between Arnie and I was Jughead McCarty's steady girlfriend, I just can't remember the pretty girl's name.

Copyright 2006 David Robert Crews


Everyone Respected Finley’s Ability To Outwork Anyone

My Uncle Finley K. Clarke, Fin, was usually the first one to start working and/or hunting in the morning, and he was at it all day and all through the evening till well after dark. He had a saying that I have been in tune with since long before I ever heard him say it, "If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right."

He had bought the lodge in 1965 with money saved up from working a lot of overtime layin’ brick at the Bethlehem Steel Mill in Sparrows Point, Maryland. All of the guys at the mill called him, "Loud Mouthed Finley Clarke."

Where ever he was, he would often let lose a steady, bombastic, tirade of facts and opinions towards any person who happened to be near him. He’d tell anybody just what he thought of them. It didn’t matter if they were paying hunters, local Mainers he did business with, or powerful politicians. He also had a subtle way of forcefully raising the volume of his voice, just slightly above everyone else’s, to the point where all ears within hearing distance of him unwittingly tuned into what he was saying and he became the center of everyone's attention.

When I was working at the Lodge in 1977 and 1979, I overheard my Uncle Finley tell some hunters a story about the time that he was down at the Maine State House in Augusta and was waiting out in the crowded State House lobby for a legislative session to begin when one of his numerous adversaries asked him, "Well Finley, what are you down here for this time?"

Fin replied with something about, "Well let me tell you. I’m tired of the Indians and the niggers and…..," and I wish that I could remember the rest that he had repeated of what he had said in the State House lobby that day; he always ended the story with a huge smile on his face as he said, "And you should'a seen them all moving away from me, heh-heh-heh."

Finley had been going down to the State House all through the 1970s to fight for new laws and better funding for the roads and other infrastructure around the Patten Maine area. Finley did do some good—he got the one bear killed per hunter per season and no cubs killed laws on the books. During those times in the legislative chambers he was witness to a lot of legislative action about the Indians up in Maine fighting for the rights promised to them in old treaties with the United States, and the Indians were finally winning what was theirs to begin with. Finley hated that.

Many people loved the way that he acted, but he made a lot of life long enemies.

I marveled at how he never got into fisticuffs with other men. But, then, he was well over six feet tall, weighed about right for a well fed, hard working man, and was an expert with fire arms. He kept his many guns cleaned and well oiled. That being said, Finley never threatened, nor insinuated that he would physically harm anyone.

He had won a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star in the Korean War. He was a war hero, but he said that he "never did anything more than any other man over there."

The depth of admiration, respect, or hatred which he received from other people was amazing.

Photography by David Robert Crews

Fin surrounded by family and friends on a Sunday afternoon at Katahdin Lodge during the spring of 1969. That’s Gary Glidden on his Triumph 650 Motorcycle and his wife Cathy in the background with the helmet on, Marge is on the back of Gary's bike and her husband Morris is standing in the doorway. Morris and Marge were old time Mainers who were very good friends with Fin and Marty and frequent visitors to the Lodge. I really enjoyed their company. Marty is standing behind the motorcycle.

That’s Fin lookin’ at ya’, me with my back to ya’ and two hunters who volunteered to help cleanup after my two weeks of splittin’ wood 9-10 hours a day for the 5 weekdays of each week. I was in some kinda' good physical shape, no doubt about it.

During the Korean War, Finley had spent the better part of a full year over there, fighting hard, on the front lines. He experienced the complete deal. Death was all around and all over him at times. As a result of the time that he spent in that war,

Finley had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I know the signs of war induced PTSD.

I am a Vietnam Era Army Veteran. I know and have known several Vietnam combat veterans who are victims of war induced PTSD. A few I have known for years and others were fellow patients with me in Veterans Hospitals, when I spent a total of six months in three different VA Hospitals, because of my non-service connected degenerative back disease.

Combat connected PTSD has a certain flavor to it, or a distinct, intense style, you might say. Instant overpowering anger is one of the outwardly visible indications of that disorder.

I once saw a hospitalized Nam Vet pick up the heavy, metal, bedside hospital cabinet in his room and throw it out the door of his room and across the hall against the opposite wall—just because the kitchen staff had put a little pile of horseradish on his dinner plate and he had instructed them not too. Later that week, that hospitalized Nam Vet was napping in the middle of the afternoon, and he had a reoccurring, combat related nightmare. Several nurses stood at his door gawking in on him, as I walked by and saw him in there tossing and turning and moaning and groaning ferociously. It appalled me to see him suffer while they stood there grinning in at his bad nightmare. I spoke to him about it later, and he got real upset, because he had told the hospital staff to wake him up and stop that dream when it reoccurred. The dream was about the moment that his best friend was shot through the head and had died in his arms there in a muddy, bloody trench in Vietnam. That Nam Vet had PTSD.

Other Nam Vets I know have let loose with similar angry actions when I was there to witness them. I understand them about as much a person who's never seen combat can, but not everyone does.

One old Nam Vet ex-neighbor of mine, Joe S., who gets a 100% combat related disability check each month from the Veterans Administration, has a terrible drinking problem. While getting drunk in rough bars, Joe has had his nose broken five times, his neck broken severely once and his ankle stomped on and cracked.

One time Joe started going off on an uncalled for tirade and acting crappy at a keg party we were at, and I had to jump on the back of a big ignorant jackass to pull that asshole off Joe and keep him from pounding half-crippled-up Joe into the earth; and the big natural-born asshole who was beating Joe up was an old long time drinkin’ and druggin' buddy of his. More than once, I have had Joe go off on an angry tirade towards me over some harmless thing I said to him which was immediately twisted all out of shape in his mind, and I had to control myself and not knock my Nam Vet buddy to the ground myself.

I had to control myself many times while working for my uncle and not knock him to the ground either. My uncle wasn't half crippled up though and he was a lot bigger and at least a little stronger than me in 1968-69 when I was 18-19 years old and he was about twice my age, so unless I managed to knock his lights out for a few minutes he would have gotten back up off the ground and I may have been pounded into the earth myself.

Finley often displayed the same type of anger as that hospitalized Vietnam Veteran had.

Finley Clarke was infamous for his angry outbreaks. It happened almost everyday and in anyplace at any time in front of anybody and to anybody. He would throw things around a lot. Things like salt and pepper shakers that had become clogged up a bit got thrown in the trash, mail that came to the Lodge in his name often got thrown right into the trash, and he usually never even looked to see who had sent it to him. Tools, pieces of lumber, and other things he might be working with got thrown around. He once threw an old tire at me from the bed of a pickup truck, because it was in his way and I did not see that it was in time to remove it from there before he got his hands on it. His never ending inner drive to work harder than everyone else and do everything exactly right may be at least partially a symptom of his PTSD.

When my Uncle Finley came home from Korea he was asked to go on a live TV program and be awarded his combat medals with his whole family there on the TV stage along side of him. My Grandparents, Finley’s younger brother Nelson, and my mother all went out and bought nice new clothes to wear on that TV show’s stage. They were all excited about it. But Uncle Finley couldn’t deal with it, he canceled out on that one. That was when he first said that he never did anymore than any other man over there. He also said that to me, and several paying hunters, one sunny afternoon in 1979, when we were all standing in the driveway at Katahdin Lodge, and I mentioned to the hunters that he had earned those three meritorious combat medals.

Several years before my mother died, she told me about that no show on the TV program, I told her that Finley had PTSD, and she said, "Oh, he was a mess back then when he first came home from Korea."

My Uncle Finley Kenneth Clarke had combat related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Copyright 2006 David Robert Crews


Martha Clarke Was A Working Class, Steel Mill Town Woman

Photography by David Robert Crews

My Aunt Martha Clarke, Marty, knew that working in her husband’s business afforded her the opportunity to attain far more financial success and social prominence than she ever could by working at the office job which she had held, in the same steel mill Fin was layin’ brick at, when they had moved to Maine.

Marty never had any children, but I believe that Fin and Marty were securely in love and that they made love often. I don’t know if they had ever discovered what the unfortunate, medical reason was which had prevented them from conceiving a child.

At the lodge, Marty was head cook and bottle washer, did all of the chores that a hotel maid does, and handled all of the business correspondence, bookkeeping duties, payroll, and telephone traffic. She could hold her own in just about any conversation ever heard at the Lodge, and her propensity for telling dirty jokes was famous. She got along well with most of the hunters, but she would often gossip about a few of them after they left, and sometimes it was for a long time after the hunters left.

Unfortunately for all of us who worked at the Lodge, Marty never showed any appreciation for the hard, dangerous, multi-faceted work which we guides did for her financial gain; she cheated us out of our pay and/or time off from work anytime that she could get away with it. I have heard from friends of mine in Maine and also my family down in Maryland that Fin’s favorite hunting guide, John Birmingham, had quit working at the Lodge after Marty had refused to give the man a raise in salary which Fin had told the guide that he was supposed to have received and that John had definitely earned. John is one of the most competent, most highly regarded woodsman in Northern Maine. He is the best shot who I have ever seen shoot a firearm. John Birmingham is as good as they get when it comes to Maine Hunting and Fishing Guides. The most defining detail about Martha Clarke which that situation exposes is that John was at the time, and always will be, the closest to being the son who Finley always wanted.

One thing that Marty hated to see was Fin or any of us guides taking a well deserved break during the day. No matter how long we had been out there working or how hot and sweaty and dirty or cold and wet and dirty we were when we sat down in the Lodge for a break she'd usually try to saunter on by and prod us about some pending or partly completed task.

Even during a blizzard she only allowed me to come into the Lodge to warm up for ten or fifteen minutes after every two or three hours of plowing fast falling snow. Fin had been out of state on National Guard duty when a big blizzard struck and three feet of powdery snow fell on top of two and a half feet of hard packed snow in two days. After I had plowed snow all day, most of the night, and through the next day during that blizzard, my aunt had pointed out the healthy red complexion on my cheeks that the wind driven snow had given me. Then she said to me, with a squint on her face, "Now doesn’t that feel good? Do you know how much it would have cost me to hire a bulldozer and its operator to come up here and clear all of that snow off of the driveway after the blizzard ended if you hadn’t kept it plowed? A hundred dollars."

Conquering that ferocious storm felt great to me!

It was tough going though: I had to jump off the tractor now and then to crawl down under it and put the chains back on the tires; the snow banks around the Lodge's horseshoe shaped driveway got too high for the tractor's wide, hydraulic scooped manure bucket to lift up over them when I had to dump a full load of snow out of it, so I had to take the buckets of snow across the two-lane-macadam-country road out front to dump them. Fortunately there was no through traffic at all on it during the storm.

But I had to constantly be on the lookout for those huge flying wedge snowplows that they use up there. Those humongous machines pretty well had the right of way most of the time, and one of them could have killed me in a collision between the two of us. Them fellers and me had the road out there in front of the Lodge to ourselves for about two days straight.

Right there a short way down the road south of the Lodge there is a good sized blind hill. It has a wicked quick drop over a rather sharp edge when driving south past the Lodge, and any vehicle driving north past the Lodge comes haulin' ass up over that hill top at a good pace, because there is another hill of that same height and shape about a half mile past the first hill, so either way ya go it is down one hill fast and then a vehicle gains great momentum to send the driver up the next tall hill fast and smooth. When the drivers are down near and at the bottom of the deep dip between the two steep hills them drivers can't see if any vehicles will be coming at them in the other lane, and maybe hangin' over the double yellow lines a bit dangerously into the other driver's lane. Nor can a driver who is down in the dip or climbing quickly up the next hill see any large, furry obstructions innocently stepping out of the deep woods on both sides of the road.

Any driver heading north who wants to pull into the Lodge's driveway has to begin to slow down as soon as they crest the hill, and then they turn left into the driveway. But any drivers heading north who are not stopping at the Lodge usually come flying up over the crest of the northern hill top at a good rate of speed, even though they had just climbed way up a steep hill, because they had just rolled fast (and easy on the gas) down the equally sized and shaped southern hill, which had given the vehicle a "fire the booster rockets now" effect. And the solid gripped feeling of the forward pull of the gravity at the bottom of the dip gave it all a naturally added, smooth flowing, thrilling inertia which was damn near inebriating.

When them there humongous bladed snow plows came by the Lodge heading northbound, charging madly, they looked like prehistoric, big and hefty, recently shaved Mastodons heading for warmer latitudes. Those snow plume spttin', northbound heavy metal beasts flew down the south hill, and then up the north hill, and then they snowblasted on by the Lodge at a steady rate of speed. If I was out there with that tractor cross ways on the road, being all blurred out looking due to the sideways flying snow, and sitting there with the tractor's front bucket held out as far as I could force it over top of the ten foot and higher snow bank on the opposite side of the road, the many, many moments whenever I was in that position the snowplow drivers coming northbound down and up over the hill did not have enough time to stop before they plowed into me.

Sadly, that poor excuse for a loving, caring, kind and considerate Aunt Martha of mine never thanked me in any way at all for my long hours of hard, dangerous work out in the freezing cold nor did she ever tell anyone but my equally ungrateful Uncle Finley that I had done all of that plowing by myself. And she had only told him because he had seen on the TV weather reports that the storm was hitting us and it was obvious that someone had to plow the driveway so he had called her to make sure that it got done. He never asked her to put me on the phone though so that he could thank me for being there way up in the woods when he and his wife needed me or to tell me that I was doing a great job for them or to acknowledge that I had most certainly, successfully entered the domain of men in Maine who were not afraid of working hard outside in the roughest weather.

When I first lived and worked for my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley, my life was ruled by the mistaken, immature impression that family members are always nurturing to, supportive of, and loving towards one another.

Photography by David Robert Crews

John Birmingham in front of Katahdin Lodge's Land Rover (a real Land Rover) in the winter of 1969. John was home on leave from the U.S. Army, before he went to Vietnam. But before he entered the Army, he worked for Fin and Marty as a hunting guide. I learned how to drive a standard transmission with a stick shift in that old Rover. Notice the pile of snow up against that old wooden building in the background, it got there when Finley and I had shoveled it off the roof when that roof was about to cave in from the weight of four foot deep snow.

Photography by David Robert Crews

Marty going snowshoeing back to Hale Pond with Chet and Susan Chase. Chet was a teacher at Katahdin High School. Notice the piles of snow on either side of the door back there, they got there when I shoveled off the Lodge's roof every single time it snowed that winter.

Finley was my mother’s younger brother. Our family was very close when I was growing up, and both my mother’s and father’s families knew Martha’s family, so my entire family’s relationship with Martha Clarke stretched back long before I was born. Marty lived next door to my mother’s and Finley’s family in the small, friendly, crime free mill town of Sparrows Point, Maryland. Marty was like a sister to my mother when they were growing up. Fin and Marty knew my father’s family, the Crews side of our family, for their entire lives because for many years they had all lived in Sparrows Point too, and most of the families down there knew each other the same as families usually do in all small towns anywhere in the world. Both of my parents and Martha grew up "on the Point".

After my parents got married, and then Fin married the girl next door, Marty, we had all lived close to each other and visited each other’s homes frequently. From the day I was born till 1965, when Fin and Marty moved to Maine, we saw each other on every holiday at my Grandparents Clarke’s home, except for our family’s annual Fourth of July picnic, which was held, by my parents, every year at my house. Those were great get-togethers complete with huge home cooked meals and lotsa' family fun. Uncle Finley (called Uncle Kenneth by us back then) and Aunt Martha came to every birthday party given for me, my two sisters, mother and father which were held every year at my house. My Uncle Kenneth was in the Army Reserves and during a few of his frequent visits to my home when there was no party going on, when I was a young kid, he used to bring me really cool army stuff like real steel helmets, a combat back pack, and a periscope from an army tank. He also used to build little plastic scale models of army vehicles, and when he got tired of displaying them in his Dundalk, Maryland home, he gave them to me to play with. We were all as close as a family can be.

I lost those wonderful family ties between my aunt and uncle and I when I tried to live with and work for that pair of selfish people up in the Great North Woods of Maine and to have the finest kind of a time with them two natural born ingrates and the local population of fun loving Mainers and other good folks who came up to enjoy the hunting and other outstanding outdoors recreation opportunities up there.

Copyright 2006 David Robert Crews


In May Of 1969, I Was Still Living And Working At The Lodge, But I Wanted To Leave There To Go Join The Merchant Marines

Somehow or the other Fin, with Marty's approval, had convinced Game Warden Ted Hanson to give me a Registered Maine Hunting and Fishing Guide’s License.

One day during May of 1969, Ted drove up to the Lodge, walked in and sat down at the long dining room table there, as our visitors often did, and Finley told me to sit down across the table from Ted and that Ted was a game warden who was there to give me my test for a Registered Maine Guide’s License. Ted asked me a batch of required questions which Fin gave most of the answers for. The only question I can remember is, "Can you cook and bake over an open fire?" Fin was standing there behind me the whole time, and he laughed lightly as he said over my shoulder to Ted, "He’s learning"; I was pretty well at a loss for words the whole time anyway. But that question struck a cord in me, because I was interested in learning how to cook over an open fire and especially bake delicious homemade goodies, because some Mainer friend of Fin and Marty’s, whom I was playing a game of Cribbage with at the Lodge one day, had told me about one of the most famous old time, long dead, local Maine Guides who used to bake the most delicious biscuits on a campfire. I never did learn to bake over an open fire, but I can sure as hell cook good meals over a campsite fire. The questioning ended right after Fin informed Ted that I would only be employed to guide bear hunters and not deer hunters or fishing parties till I had learned a lot more about the vast woods of Northern Maine and I had become proficient at the profession of being a Maine Guide. And I was handed my Registered Maine Hunting and Fishing Guide’s License for the year of 1969.

It was a complete surprise to me.

Welp’, the way that it was for me at the time was that I loved working in and just being out in the woods, I loved the Patten Mainers, I loved my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley, but now I was really stuck at the Lodge for I didn't know how long. Because by having them two finagling relatives of mine get the game warden to give me a professional guide’s license, Fin and Marty had underhandedly let me know that I was expected to stay and work at the Lodge through the entire upcoming summer bear hunting season.

If I had refused to accept the guide’s license and told Fin and Marty that it was time for me to go join the Merchant Marines, before they were ready to let me go, it would have incited them into raging anger. Fin and Marty relied on my help to keep their business going. The main reason that they needed me to stay and help them to keep their business going is that most of the local Maine men didn’t want to work at Katahdin Lodge, because Fin would frequently verbally abuse any of his guides who didn’t walk out on him the first time that he yelled at them. He cussed and hollered at me every single day. I was only 18 years old–too young and too confused by Fin and Marty’s bull crap to know how to stand up against them.

One part of the reason that I stayed and accepted the guide’s license along with that professional Maine Guide’s position at the Lodge was that I had no money to go catch a bus or plane to leave, because my aunt and uncle hadn’t paid me a weekly salary. I was painfully aware that if I left against their wishes that they would never give me the money that I knew I had earned from them, and they would have told me something like, "hoof it on back home gahdamnit if you don’t appreciate all that we are doing for you."

Grant it, I appreciated having the opportunity to get to know the local Mainers, to date sweet and pretty Maine girls, to ride snowmobiles and learn to walk on snowshoes, to spend time out in the woods. But I had an obligation to serve my country in some military manner, and I was determined to choose my branch of service before the U.S. Army or the U.S. Marine Corp drafted me. I love my family and my country more than life itself. I have been ready to die to defend my country-my family ever since as a child in elementary school I got a grasp on the meaning of our necessity to continually be on guard for our freedom. The only reason that I was intent on joining the Merchant Marines to stay out of the Vietnam War was because it looked to me that that war wasn’t truly defending my country from communism.

Had I left to go join the Merchant Marines, as I had told that pair of selfish, self centered individuals that I had planned to do before and all during the time I was living and working at their business, my aunt and uncle would have made a big, bad deal out of it amongst our family—them two would have turned everything around to their benefit and vilified me. Fin and Marty would have told everyone something to the effect that I had quit on them when they needed me most and that they had treated me like a son and given me more than I deserved. This would have caused a great rift within our family if that had that happened, because some of my family members would have sided with them two and some with me.

My Grandmother and Grandfather Clarke believed that their son Finley was God’s gift to the planet earth. Ever since Finley was a little child his parents had taught him that he was better than everyone else. To my knowledge, Finley K. Clarke never in his life outright admitted to doing anything wrong. Finley’s parents had visited the lodge while I was working there and had seen how horribly he was mistreating me, but they didn’t care.

My father’s side of the family wasn’t aware of just how bad my situation was at the time. If my Grandmother and Grandfather Crews had known that I was being so thoroughly abused and cheated by Fin and Marty, they would have gotten mad as hell at all of the Clarkes. Both sides of my family had lived within a few miles of where I grew up in Maryland. We all visited each other frequently when I was growing up.

The bottom line here is that I had to stay at the Lodge to avoid starting a family feud. It was put upon my young, yet worldly, shoulders to suffer and sacrifice silently in order to keep our families together.

Very Old Photograph by A Very Young Davy Boy

This is my Grandmom Crews on the left and my Grandmom Clarke on the right at a family picnic in my backyard in Dundalk, Maryland.

One thing that really hurt me deeply, about the situation in Maine, was that I could never allow my Grandmom and Granddad Crews to come visit me at the Lodge. When Fin started in on his daily verbally abusing me, my paternal grandparents would have gotten thoroughly upset and told Fin and Marty just how lousy of a pair of relatives that they were for the way that they treated me.

My Granddad Crews was a fisherman and not having the pleasure of showing him some fantastic fishing and other fine times in the Great Outdoors of Maine is a loss that I can’t seem to get past. He was an old West Virginia mountain boy, who worked most of his life in the blast furnaces of the steel mill that Fin and Marty had worked for. He retired as the foreman of the two largest furnaces there. Those foremen were good with the men, good with a shovel and good with the overhead cranes, in a hot, dirty and very dangerous place–all around about the hardest working men I ever knew of. He was just the kinda fellow that my older friends in Maine would have enjoyed getting to know. He was a self taught car mechanic, and he would have tried to get into working on the Lodge’s trucks or something, if he had come up to stay there with us for a week or so.

My Grandmom Crews was a Welshwomen who came to America, during World War One, as a US Army Captain’s children’s nanny. She was about as good as they get at home cooking and other homemaking skills. She would have fit right in with the country women who worked for Marty at the Lodge. My Grandmom Crews would have pitched in and helped around the Lodge, if I could have invited them up for a visit. She would'a definitely had to get into that kitchen and cook something for the crowd at the Lodge. She and Granddad would’ve made some good friends amongst the Mainers I knew.

Fin and Marty haven’t spoken to anyone on either side of my family for many, many years. It is a gahddamned shame that my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley had to be so greedy, self serving, and ignorant that they destroyed all relationship with my entire family.

Copyright 2006 David Robert Crews

A Great Partnership Developed between Myself And Another Hunting Guide.

Gary Glidden became my mentor when he came back to work for my uncle a few weeks before the 1969 summer bear season opened. He was the finest kind of all around woodsman.

Outdoorsman like him don’t get lost in the woods, and they’re never at a loss for telling a good story

Gary and I spent many hours driving around together putting the bear bait out in the woods, showing the hunters where to sit and watch their bait, coaching them on how to hunt for bear, and making sure that the hunters were safely out of the woods each night after legal hunting hours were over. We were always admiring the scenery, talkin’ about everything and everybody, and stopping now and then to enjoy doing business with the local merchants. Gary introduced me to some of Patten’s most interesting and unique local characters; he taught me a lot about how to live a good life up in Maine.

His wife, Cathy, worked in the lodge for Marty, and Cathy became a treasured friend of mine too. In the small town, close knit community that I was living in up there, one word from Gary or Cathy that I was any kind of a risk factor to the local folk’s safety or well being and Fin would have had to send me away from there.

During the summer of 1968, when I was visiting the Lodge while on vacation, Gary had given me my very first introduction into the social life of typical Patten teenagers when he had two of his sisters have one of their boyfriends drive them up to the Lodge to take me out for an evening on the town. The full story of that very memorable summer evening of my life is written out in full in my short story named The Day I Fell I Love With Patten Maine.

Photography by David Robert Crews

Gary and Cathy Glidden, and I do believe she's a goosin' him!

Photography by David Robert Crews

Katahdin Lodge and Camps on a Sunday afternoon in 1969, as seen from Bobby Smallwood’s plane. Old photo from my first 35MM camera. It was inexpensive, but I like some of these shots that I got with it.

I was with Bobby Smallwood’s daughter Barbara, my steady girlfriend, one Saturday evening, parkin’ out in back of a potato field when Bobby and Gary flew over us at treetop level; they were out lookin’ to see wildlife comin’ out to eat at dusk time, which Bobby often did in that two seater plane with Gary, or Mrs. Smallwood, or my Uncle Finley, or other folks. Holy o' jeezus that were some scary night when I took her home after our date (15 minutes early instead of 20-30 minutes late that time), but Bobby never said nuthin’ to me about it till I went down there the next afternoon to see Barbara on our regular Sunday date. I walked into their house through the kitchen door and her mother said a normal pleasant hello to me as she continued preparing their usual big Sunday supper, then bravely, but a might bit meekishly, I eased on in towards their living room where Bobby was sitting and reading the Sunday paper. Ole' Bobby dropped his paper down a few inches, looked up at me with a big wide smile on his face and said, "Well hellooo theah Dave, ya been in any potato fields lately ?" And that were all!

I had already seen Gary at the Lodge that morning, and he hadn't spoken to me he simply had grinned at me, real big and broad, that was very unnerving. All that morning, I had no idea who was in the back seat of Bobby's plane till Gary grinned at me like that, but I knew that it wasn't my uncle in the plane, because he hated to see me date Barbara and would have somehow made my morning quite miserable if he had even known about it at the time. Fin hated to see me with Barbara because Bobby was his best friend and Fin thought that I might get her pregnant and that Bobby would hold Fin responsible and then their friendship would end. Gary was all too aware of that brutally ignorant Finley factor, so he never ever said a word about it to my uncle, my aunt, or anyone else at the Lodge.

I never heard a word about it from Barbara's mother, but miracle of miracles in the normally faster than a radio signal small town gossip circuit it took two weeks before Finley heard about it. That was because Gary, Bobby, and Mrs. Smallwood were protecting me from Finley, but they each had to eventually tell someone the story, because it was just too hilarious for them to keep to themselves--can't blame 'um for that. When Fin found out, he really rubbed it into me, and for a couple weeks every new group of bear hunters heard about it during the week. I could easily detect that there was a barely perceptible weird, evil tinge to his voice and mannerisms when he was doing the rubbing in on me, because Fin seriously, viciously, hated it that I was dating Barbara.

Copyright 2006 David Robert Crews

When The Paying Bear Hunters Started Coming In

When the paying bear hunters started coming in, Fin And Gary Told Me That Our Most Important Responsibility As Their Guides Was To Protect Them From Their Own Mistakes. Even though most hunters were competent individuals, they were all handling loaded firearms, and there was a great, expansive forest to get lost in where we took them hunting. We three Registered Maine Guides strictly enforced all of the rules of safe, legal hunting. We also did our best to see that everyone enjoyed themselves and had a lot of laughs.

Most of our paying guests had a real good time in Maine. We had many satisfied customers in 1969, and our hunters got over half of the bears reported killed in the State of Maine that year.

Some of the hunters liked my wild and wooly ways so much that they gave me an open invitation to visit them if I was ever in their hometown.

Unfortunately, some of our paying hunters felt great animosity towards Fin, because he had verbally assaulted or offended them at some time during their one week stay at the Lodge. Some of them had spoken to me about these incidents when no one else was around but the other hunters who agreed with them. Those hunters had witnessed the way that Fin and Marty treated me, and they didn't like it. They were all aware that Katahdin Lodge provided honest-all-out-effort bear hunts with clean, comfortable lodging and lots of good homemade food to eat, but for the money they had paid Fin and Marty they expected to be treated with complete respect at all times. Then after a few days of experiencing the way that Finley talked to some of them at times, and they felt that they had gotten to know me well enough to realize that I wasn't happy about that bullshit, they spoke candidly to me about it. That was a difficult aspect of my adventures in Maine to stomach; Finley was after all, first and foremost, my uncle.

Fin took this photo of Gary and I, because it was the first time that hunters at Katahdin Lodge had gotten 4 bears in one day.

That’s one my favorite hats that I have on, a green Efrennam Crusha’. I wore outa’ few of them, and I still have the last one I bought in Patten, and it’s some kinda’ broke in, let me tell you.

Photography by David Robert Crews

This is up over Rt. 11, about halfway between the Lodge and Patten, looking out into the Great North Maine Woods that stretches out for 90+ miles behind Katahdin Lodge.

Copyright 2006 David Robert Crews

Despite All Of The Fun And Success I Was Having, I Often Felt Miserable

Everyday at the Lodge I was the brunt of loud, devastating verbal abuse from my Uncle Finley. Both Fin and Marty belittled and embarrassed me in front of everyone. They did that to cover up the fact that they owed me a lot, and they were too selfish and self centered to admit it. The abuse got worse as my guiding skills and abilities improved, and their debt to me increased.

Fin and Marty nicknamed me "nummer", as in ‘numb brained’, because Fin would be yelling and hollering and cussing at me right up in my face and the only way that I could keep from sluggin’ him in his teeth was to sort of block it all out and go numb. Sometimes he’d yell at me to cover up his own blunders and put the blame on me. Like the time he took my brand new Triumph 250 Motorcycle out for a ride and destroyed an engine part because he was showing off in front of everyone by racing down the road at full throttle.

A manufacturer’s sticker on the bike’s speedometer read, "do not drive this motorcycle over 50 miles per hour for the first 500 miles." The bike died on him when he was doing over 70 mph with a mere 71 miles on the odometer.

When the bike died, Fin was passing Harley Libby who was driving his pick up truck with two or three of his sons in it. Fin and Harley were both driving up Rt. 11 towards the Lodge, and that old native Mainer Harley always drove that road at 65-75 miles an hour. Ole’ Harley Libby had stopped and put the bike on the back of his truck and given Fin a ride back to the Lodge. When the truck pulled into the Lodge's driveway, I was out there working in the yard with a shovel in my hand. A few of the hunters came out of the Lodge to help take my broke down motorcycle off the back of the truck, and when Fin saw them coming out of the Lodge he walked over to where I was standing there getting quietly pissed off about him screwing up my brand new motorcycle and that G.D.S.O.B. Finley started chewing me out viciously.

He kept saying "That’s your g**damned motorcycle, and it’s your g**damned fault!!"

At the same time he was quick checking over his shoulder to make sure that Harley, his sons who were with him, and the hunters were watching me get the blame for it all. Loud mouthed Finley Clarke looked like a pigeon peckin' on freshly scattered feed while glancing all around to see what other birds might try to take some from him. It was right f***king soul shattering for me.

I woulda' never hit my Uncle Fin, or any man, upside his head with the shovel I had in my hand at the time, though the thought of doing that did zoom right through the middle of my mind, but that loud mouthed bully never knew how close he was to having me knuckle-punch a few of his teeth out. I just stood there with that shovel's handle in my hands while looking him straight in his face, and feeling numb; as I did I kept glancing from his evasive eyes down to his flapping mouth. He had some bad cavities in his front teeth, which I knew would cause them rotten pegs to break off if I punched him as hard as I was considering doing. Fin was a big man, but I was a hard working young man at the time, and I was in plenty good enough shape to knock him off his feet with one justifiably angry, mighty swing of my fist. It would have made a bad situation worse though, so I kept quiet till he got through acting like a self centered pigeon and walked into the Lodge.

Then I went back to doing his shovel work for him again.

Photography by David Robert Crews

My Triumph 250.

In August Of 1969, My Army Draft Notice Arrived In The Mail At The Lodge

In August 0f 1969, my U.S. Army draft notice arrived in the mail at the Lodge. It was a great relief. I was saved from my desperate dilemma. My draft notice was my ticket to get away from Fin and Marty.

If I let the Army draft me, I was afraid that they would probably put me in the infantry and send me to Vietnam. I based my fear on the fact that people all around the world knew that an infantryman in Vietnam had a short life expectancy.

A few days after receiving my draft letter, I went down to the Army Recruiting Office in Bangor, Maine and found out that I was probably going to be drafted into the Army in less than two weeks from that day. The best thing for me to do was to immediately sign up for the Army. This would give me the opportunity to choose an Army school to attend that would train me in a skill which I could use if I made it through the Vietnam War and back into civilian life. I chose Photographic Laboratory Technician School. The Army instructed me to report to Ft. Dix New, Jersey for basic training on November 17, 1969.

My first day at the US Army Photo Lab Tech School.

It wasn’t the Merchant Marines, but I was still going to get to travel and see new places. Best of all, I was finally going to be free from Fin and Marty’s ignorant treatment of me. The entire time that I worked for them, they never said one, single complimentary word to me about the outstanding accomplishments that I had made as a bear hunting guide. They never thanked me for doing anything at any time.

I had no way out of there, till my draft notice came; I didn’t have the money for bus or plane fare out of there; I never received a regular pay check. My weekly pay had been ten or twenty bucks on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon and the use of a pick up truck with a full gas tank to go to town.

In October of 1969, I left the lodge to go back to see my family in Maryland for a few weeks, before facing the possibility of death in Vietnam. The night before I left, Marty gave me $350.00 cash. She said it was what I would have had saved up if they had paid me a full salary. It wasn’t right. Ten months at $125.00 a week was the fair wage.

According to my calculations and after deducting the cash payments I received from Fin and Marty, I still come up with a figure of at least $4,250.00 that they owe me from 1969–not including accrued interest.

That calculation was done in 1969 money values, and I only used the 1969 part of their debt to me here, I have since then added what they also owe me from 1977 + 1979 then converted the amounts to year 2002 dollars, and I came up with $27,500.15 that they owe me. The amount has gone up since then due to inflation and now I want interest on the money.

I am a disabled veteran living on such a small fixed income, well below the poverty level, that I couldn’t and still can’t go to Maine and pursue this matter up there in person.

Copyright 2006 David Robert Crews

I Want My Back Pay And The Respect That I Earned

During the entire time that I worked long, hard hours for my Aunt Martha and my Uncle Finley K. Clarke, they never, ever said one complimentary word to me, or as far as I know about me, concerning the accomplishments that I made as suburban kid who became a Maine Guide. They never thanked me for the doing the multi-faceted, often difficult and sometimes bear-bait-stinky work that I did for them. They never acknowledged the dangers that I faced and survived daily - while working for them. That work required considerable natural abilities. It also often required me to either already posses or to learn various skills. It did not matter to Fin and Marty that I fell into the Northern Maine social life and fit right in. And those Mainers are infamous for not allowing people "from the outside" into their lives. Fin and Marty had no respect at all for the way that I handled their paying guests and showed those individuals good, safe, fun times in the vast woods of Northern Maine. Those two selfish relatives of mine have yet to pay me all of the money that they owe me.

While I was in the Army and stationed on Okinawa (thank god not Vietnam), I spent many hours mulling over the way that I was mistreated by my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley. I knew that I didn’t want to work at the Lodge for the rest of my life, or strictly in the hunting business, after I got out of the Army. I realized that if I didn’t work for Fin and Marty in Maine that they’d never help me to get a job at any other outdoors adventure outfitter anywhere or to start my own guiding business somewhere else. I used to think that after I was discharged from the Army it would be fantastic to travel around the world working for outdoor recreational businesses which catered to the kinds of campers, hikers, nature photographers, cross country skiers, snowmobile riders, hunters, etc. who like to eat meals cooked and baked over a camp fire.

But due to Fin and Marty’s selfishness, after I was discharged, I could not use my accomplishments at Katahdin Lodge to convince any outdoors adventure outfitter to hire me, because Fin and Marty would never have given me the honest employment reference that a responsible business owner would require before allowing me to guide their paying clients. The way that my aunt and uncle saw things was: either I came back to work for them for the rest of my life as their lifelong, subservient, under paid scapegoat and worked at Katahdin Lodge until they died and left most of it to me as payment for a lifetime of hard work, or I had to forget that I had ever become a Maine Guide.

I have often thought about what it would have entailed for me to bring a wider range of paying guests to Katahdin Lodge, which includes campers, hikers, nature photographers, cross country skiers, etc., but it was no use for me to think about that because Fin and Marty would never integrate non-hunting guide services into their business. They couldn't stand the company of people who were into any other outdoors activities except for hunting, they didn't like a lot of their paying hunters either, and those two were far too gruff and vulgar for the tastes of any paying guests except men and women who were in a hunting party frame of mind.

If my aunt and uncle had treated me fairly and allowed me to add other outdoors activities services to the Lodge’s hunting business, then I’d probably still be working at Katahdin Lodge during certain seasons and be financially secure and much healthier, Fin and Marty would have retired from that business in much better financial shape then they did, and the businesses that supplied the Lodge and its guests with what they needed to have great outdoors experiences up there would be a lot better off financially, too (from what I see on the Internet about Patten, Maine, the economy there is hurting).

I am a photographer, a writer, a tent camper who can cook good meals over open fires, a hunting guide who can also show mountain bikers, hikers, ATVers, snowmobile riders, bird watchers, cross country skiers, etc. a fun, healthy and safe time in the outdoors. During the past four decades, I have thought all of this through. I have even planed out things for the Lodge like various types of trails in the miles and miles of woods directly behind the Lodge, star gazer’s huts, a social hall, a movie theater with super comfortable sofas and chairs, space to sell Maine made crafts, trucks to take wheelchair bound clients hunting or out for wildlife photography, and a chalk board in the Lodge where all our guests would write down where they were going to out in the woods that day so that we could know where to look for them if they didn’t make it out of the woods safely that night.

Another part of the problem which kept me from bringing those other services into the Lodge’s business was that Marty had taken tight control of everything about the Lodge’s business but the outdoors work, and Fin needed complete control of that. They would never have allowed me to run a non-hunting part of the business, even though that would have brought in many more paying guests at the Lodge.

Even though I was a trained photographer in the Army, Fin and Marty never acknowledged that set of skills and natural talents, which I posses. In fact, one time when I was again working at the Lodge, during 1977, and a hunter at the Lodge asked me if I ever considered going into medical photography, Fin scoffed, sneered, and rudely said, "Who him, he ain’t smart enough."

My Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha took all of those great opportunities for me to be a lifelong Professional Maine Hunting and Fishing and Photography and Camping and Other Outdoors Adventures Guide from me, and my family, just because they wanted to.

At one point in time, Finley had written into his will that I was to receive two-thirds of his estate. To receive that inheritance, I would have had to become Fin and Marty’s spineless puppet, and that would have crushed my self respect and eventually all respect from anyone who knew me - especially any women who shared an intimate loved with me.

As an eighteen to nineteen-year-old kid working at Katahdin Lodge, I was very vulnerable and impressionable. My Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha knew me well and all of my strengths and my vulnerabilities, so they took complete advantage of my vulnerabilities to control, cheat and mistreat me. I fully realized this when I passed the age that they were when I worked for them, and I realized how well I know some young relatives of mine and their strengths and weaknesses.

When my close relatives lied about my well proven outdoorsman's abilities by telling people more or less that I was a numbed brained incompetent as a bear hunting guide, and then they cheated me out of most of the money and the respect that I had earned as their young, enthusiastic employee, and on top of that, they had verbally and emotionally abused me to the point that my very soul was battered to bits and my mind was too dazed and confused to be able to figure out how to heal myself, it felt as if I had been punished by my family and our society for not being the contributing, hard working member of society that I was.

After that heavy dose of demoralizing reality, I could not go on with my life as if none of that happened. I didn’t know how to, and that is one of my weaknesses. I wish that I was stronger in that way, but my strengths as a young man only included family loyalty, not the ability to fight with my family when they do me wrong. Some people will say that it is just too bad for me and try to walk all over me as my aunt and uncle had, but I tell you this, I have thrashed Finley and Martha Clarke severely - with the truth. I explain that in detail a little further down on this web page.

I have always believed that family members are all supposed to be loving, nurturing, good and fair to each other - unfortunately Fin and Marty treated me the exact opposite of that. No one else in my family ever said anything about this to Fin and Marty or to me. I know Fin was accepted by my family as a hardheaded, self-centered quasi-bully, but they didn’t have to allow him to do what he did to me when I was at such a young, inexperienced age. My reaction to that was to grow angry and resentful towards most of my family. I trusted no one. That destroyed my natural sense of family. It felt as if I had lost my family. I have stayed loyal to them, though. There were chances for me to sue Fin and Marty, which would have made a lot of trouble in my family because Fin and Marty would have said some mean things to my parents and others, and that might have pushed me to the point of raining brutal violence down upon my Uncle Finley. But I chose not to pursue my legal rights due to my family loyalty.

Fin and Marty took from me almost all that I have earned from them along with opportunities for a healthy life that had to include me being able to sometimes work in the woods of Northern Maine (a great expanse of woods that I still love to this day) guiding paying clients on outdoors adventures, and they robbed me of much more that I have a right to seek recompense for. They took the great times that I should have had sharing Northern Maine’s woods and wildlife, along with the memorable companionship of the finest kind'a Mainers, whom I was friends with up theyah' (the word "there" spoken in a Maine accent), and sharing all of that with the rest of my family. If I had been able to work at the Lodge for the bulk of my life, as Finley had desired, and I had considered doing so before the bullshit he and Marty piled on me got too deep, and we could have had my family members come up there and be guided by me on some fantastic Maine Outdoors Adventures, it could have made a huge difference in my life. This has all been a debilitating loss to me - for four fucking decades.

By the time that I entered the U.S. Army in November of 1969, I had become a young man whom I was comfortable with being, who I enjoyed being, who I was proud to be, a gregarious guy who possessed some useful abilities and marketable skills that are just right for a market that I love to work in. But my family had made it almost impossible for me to be him.

When I was in the Army, I was fortunate not to be sent to Vietnam, but my military experiences were way out of the ordinary. You will have to read about that to understand.

As a result of all this, after I was discharged from the Army I lived my life out on the fringes of my family and society as a rather uncommunicative, unproductive, depressed and lonely man for a long time. It was a cold, empty hearted way to exist.I am still more that way than not, and life would be much worse for me today if it wasn’t for the computer programs and the Internet that allow me to produce the stories and the web sites that I work on almost everyday.

Finley and Martha Clarke were both still alive when I first wrote this, but Fin has died. They denied owing wages to me, and they lacked appreciation for all that I did for them. They influenced some people to believe that I’m lying about all of this. Martha Clarke still maintains and expands on those falsehoods. It is time for me to clear my name and to be fully compensated. I want my back pay and the respect that I earned from Martha Clarke. I will pursue this as best I can till after Martha dies and the Clarke estate is settled.

This set of blog postings was created as a PowerPoint Presentation which I had sent printed copies of to Fin and Marty in around the year 2002. I never heard from them about it.

When this was first written for a PowerPoint Presentation, that I made, my Uncle Finley was alive, but he died on April 25, 2006. My nephew is friends with one of Marty’s great nephews, and the information about my uncle’s death came to me through that channel. No one in Finley’s family has ever been notified of his death by Martha Clarke.

I read Finley’s obituary in the Bangor Daily News. There was no mention of anyone in Finley’s biological family in it. But there is plenty about Marty’s family in it. Her family were generally sort of afraid of Finley, and they usually timed their infrequent visits to see Marty in Maine to occur when Finley was not there. Many of them live very near me, and I know that through the years Finley rarely, if ever, came around to visit them when he traveled in this area. He did visit some buddies of his around here at times but not hardly his in-laws. Finley never had much of anything to do with his in-laws.

Really though, as I think all this through, and I rehash about a talk that I had with my cousin who was probably the last one in my family to go visit Fin and Marty, and I read that obituary, and I do know from other sources that Marty set it all up so that she got everything for herself, which she and Fin had worked for, and then eventually for her family, I see now more than ever that it was mostly Marty’s greed that split our family up from Finley forever, at least on this good earth. I simply can’t understand how in-the-hell Martha Clarke could turn her back on my family after having been so close to us from the time that she was born till a few years after she moved to Maine in 1965. It ain’t Maine, it’s all the money that she and Finley were making when they ran their very own profitable business, Katahdin Lodge and Camps, along with Martha's desire to have Finley more for herself than anyone else.

Finley had the Lodge in his name, and when I was there in 1977 Finley and I rode down to the bank in Patten to deliver the final payment on the Lodge. But afterwards all the properties that they owned ended up in both their names. Which would be fine with me if Martha was willing to share what they had together with both our families after her death; but she made damned sure that that did not happen.

Let's face it, Fin and Marty had sent me out into the vast Maine woods to guide their paying hunters after a day or more of telling them that I was a numbed-brained incompetent not worth the food I ate at the Lodge, this means that those two ignoramuses were either lying about my proven abilities as a woodsman or blatantly risking those hunter's safety, plus mine and anyone else around me. When I was working at Katahdin Lodge, there was ample opportunity for me to have caused a deadly hunting or driving accident. One serious mistake on my part could have cost Fin and Marty everything. Nothing like that ever happened.

A question that I asked myself a long time before I began writing out this story is, "What the hell difference will it make to anyone else, is there any redeeming social value to it?"

There is something about my story that is important for other people. It exposes in depth some of the effects of verbal and emotional abuse. Those other people will understand the damage that it was doing to me at the time it was happening and what the life long residual effects from it is. This is a good case study about that type of abuse. It can help both other abused individuals and their abusers to understand better exactly what is going on in their lives. I figure that some abusive individuals have no idea what goes on in the minds of their victims; maybe I can persuade them to think about how serious what they are doing is and how close they are at times to having very violent things happen to them in retaliation. Victims of their abuse can take solace in knowing that they are not alone, when they read this story of mine.

I am bound and determined to write out the wild and fun parts of my Northern Maine Adventures. I also feel a deep need to write about the ‘woodsy’ stuff that I learned up there in the Great North Woods while working as a Maine Guide. In order for me to write about those good things that I have lived long enough to be able to write about, I am saddled with the task of writing about the bad things that I have survived long enough to be able to write about. If I wasn’t sure how important it is for some survivors of verbal and emotional abuse to tell the world about their bad experiences in depth, I would only be writing about the outdoorsman’s and maturing teenage kid’s part of the story.

Some people will ask why I think that this story is so very important that I am writing it all out such a long time after it happened.

First off, my aunt and uncle worked my psyche over so thoroughly that the resulting damage to my human spirit has never healed.

The next part of the answer is that after the damage was done, I spent time as a confused, depressed young man who had lost his sense of family and of self, and I also lost most of my emotional connections to society in general. Those terrible times were damaging in themselves. That prolonged and added to the damage done.

Too many people falsely believe that I had to have been the one who screwed up my career as a professional outdoorsman by not working hard enough for my aunt and uncle or by not being able to do the job. Fin and Marty have all the money and power, and I am a very low income and nearly powerless man. Americans always seem to respect the money and power the most and to move towards it when choosing sides in any debate about the facts of any matter. Some people in my life will never let me forget those falsehoods that they believe in, it still pops up at times during arguments or quasi-civil discussions. I need to set the record straight about who screwed up what, whether I get my back pay and respect from Martha Clarke or not.

I refuse to allow my aunt’s and uncle’s and other relative’s false version of what happened when I was living and working at Katahdin Lodge to be part of the legacy that I will leave to my younger relatives, and to the history of my family, when I die. This future factor is enough by itself to make me write out this story and paste it all over the Internet.

People tell me to remember the good and forget the bad; this is unrealistic; the human mind doesn’t work like that. The reason they say forget about it is because they view it as strictly my unfortunate loss, not theirs or anyone else’s.

It isn’t that way though, it has been and continues to be a great loss to my family, friends, female companions and society as a whole. I am developing this web site by myself. I took one basic Computer 101 class at Dundalk Community College, which is the only training in computer skills that I have. Have you seen my other web sites which are linked to this one at the top left of the page? I have great photographs and well written stories on them. I have a lot to contribute to this world of ours. I need to heal more because I need to give more. I have never wanted a free ride in life, I simply want what I have earned. I can do a lot more of what I do well should I finally receive what I’ve earned.

I need to do more of this kind of work than what I can do at this point in time, for my own good and for my family’s good. And I want to do all that I can for the benefit of society, no matter how limited my working abilities are because of my disabilities. To do all that I am capable of despite my physical disabilities, I need to heal as much of my damaged psyche as I can. That damage could be healed substantially if I were to finally receive the admission of the facts that is due to me from Martha Clarke. She may never give me any respect, but the truth leads to respect for me from others. The healing which would come from people’s new found respect for me would allow me to overcome my depression to some degree. Then I’d be able to handle more of life in general, to do more photography and writing, and to be a fully respected member of my family again.

These web sites, and other things which I have posted on Internet, prove exactly who I am. The problem is that very few people who know me actually know who I truly am. And many of them who know me better than most people do are so used to believing that I’m the person who failed in Maine that they don’t want to read what I have written.

When I drive down here in Maryland during a snow storm I never get stuck; that is because of driving skills which were taught to me by my uncle and a few lifelong Mainers, when I worked at Katahdin Lodge, in 1968-69. When I am out in the woods at night I absolutely love it out there, because I learned to love it and not fear the dark forest, when I was a bear hunting guide, in 1968-69. Those are two examples of the good that I still carry in me from those days.

When I tell some people about the psyche battering, bad experiences from my days as a bear hunting guide that still haunt me and still have a depressing effect on me, they say that it was a long time ago and that I should forget it and move on.

I don’t want that bad shit to still haunt me. If that crap wasn’t still a depressing force in my life, I’d be writing this all out as a fun, fantastic and totally wonderful adventure story. Now that would make a great book and a movie for me to make a small fortune off of. The snowmobile scenes would be the best ever seen on the silver screen. And there’s a real life car chase scene for the movie too, plus other wild driving bits. That depressing bad crap has to be dealt with in my writings too, it’s the only way for me to ever move past it.

For many people, the only tangible part of the answer to the question of why I am writing about this decades later is that I am owed money - a monetary debt does not simply fade away or disappear. Some people just don’t care about how anyone else feels inside. The statute of limitations has past for me to collect this debt through a court of law, but that debt still remains.

I tried to open up a healing dialogue between my aunt and uncle and I in 2001 or 2002, when I sent them printed copies of three benign stories that I have written about my time at Katahdin Lodge. I had hoped that those stories would remind them of who I truly am, and get them to think things over and at least have some small degree of family contact with myself and our relatives on Finley’s side of the family. One story is about the day I helped an old woman who lived six miles north of the Lodge to deal with her home burning to the ground. The second story is about the time that a Washington, DC rocket scientist almost shot my head off when he lost his cool at a bear bait one night. The third is about the first time I went into the small Town of Patten with some other teenagers and had a real fun time meeting girls and almost seeing a guy get his head shot off by a jealous husband. When Fin and Marty refused to acknowledge the things in those true tales that I had done while working for them, it was as if they had done all of the hurtful, demoralizing, depressing things - that are detailed on this web site - to me all over again.

I need to contact as many people as I can who were witness to what my life was like in Patten, Maine, so that they can read what I say about it and verify or deny it. It is the only way to make sure that this story is set straight in the minds of many other people. The are plenty of people in my life, or who were in my life, who believe that it was my fought that things did not work out between my aunt and uncle and I. One or more of those individuals has even gone so far as to relate to me thoroughly false information about my life at Katahdin Lodge. I have the natural born right to clear my name of all falsehoods and to leave the true story of my life behind me, when I move on to the other side of my soul's destiny.

The facts that Fin and Marty publicly humiliated me many, many times and that they have always spread self-serving misinformation about my hard, dangerous work and other accomplishments at their business, to various people, gives me an inalienable right to do the same thing with the whole truth about all this. Unfortunately for those two fools, their ignorant, arrogant, public verbal assaults, insults and outright lies against me were my original inspiration to begin producing fair, intelligent, well thought out, factual written documents detailing my side of the story in ways that make them as available as they could possibly be to anyone in the public.

Ever since I lived in Maine I have often told stories about the wild and wonderful aspects of the adventures that I experienced there to my family members, friends, and acquaintances. Numerous times, I have held the rapt attention of many fine folks who loved listening to me tell my stories about Maine. It always ends with this question, "Why in the world aren’t you still up there?" Then I have to bum everyone out with the answer that my aunt and uncle were very emotionally cruel to me and would neither pay me the money nor respect which I had earned from them.

Copyright 2006 David Robert Crews

My Efforts To Communicate With Finley and Martha Clarke

The first 13 postings on this blog are based on a 13 slide PowerPoint Presentation, which I had put together back around the year 2002.

All of the blog posts on this web site explain a lot about my transformation as a kid, who was mostly a Rock n’ Roll, Blues, and Rhythm n' Blues fan, from the suburbs of Baltimore, who became a Maine Bear Hunting Guide. They also tell exactly how I was treated by my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley K. Clarke, who owned the hunting lodge where I worked as a Registered Maine Guide, Katahdin Lodge and Camps, in Patten, Maine. The important thing here is that I sent my Aunt Marty and Uncle Finley a printout of the PowerPoint Presentation, but they never responded.

Most of the photos on this web site are from that PowerPoint Presentation, but I have rewritten and added text to the slides, which are now the individual blog posts on here. Though I have rewritten it to a small degree, the basic information and message was already in them when they were sent out as printouts to my aunt and uncle up in Maine and also to a whole bunch of people who live in and around the area of Patten, Maine.

But first I had sent them all--Fin and Marty and many Patten Maine residents--copies of several stories about that time in Maine which I had written first. They are The House Fire, The Day That I Fell In Love With Patten Maine, and The Rocket Scientist. Those are three tales that I thought would remind them of exactly what I had done up there as teenage kid from Dundalk, Maryland and a bear hunting guide and how the history of it truly was. As opposed to my aunt and uncle’s twisted, self serving, self righteous version of how it was, which I have had to try to live with ever since the 1970s. If you haven’t read any of my short stories yet, read some of them to see what I’m talking about.

A year or two after writing my first stories about my Maine adventures and sending them to Fin and Marty, I wrote Then They Own You (published on The Daily Me as Katahdin Lodge 1979) and then sent a copy of that story to them, and to a bunch of Patten Mainers too. That story tells how my relationship with Fin and Marty came to a near murderous halt.

Because of Fin and Marty's refusal to face the facts and admit the truths in my written works about my times with them as their nephew and hard working employee, I do not know whether or not that they ever opened any of those mailed stories to them. But by me sending out all of those copies of all of those written works to the local Patten, Maine area barber shops, beauty parlors, the delicatessen, pizza shop, a bunch of post office box numbers in the Patten Post Office, to various hunting lodges, and also to several of the people who are featured in my stories or to their family members - by doing that I made certain that Fin and Marty would be asked about my written work and how true it is by any number of people whom they could easily come in contact with up there in their part of Maine. I made it so that Fin or Marty could not even go to the bank or grocery store without the possibility of having someone ask them about their lies, deceit, and abusive history of me, and asking them two about my claim that they owe me a lot of money.

Sometime back then, I made a phone call to my Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha. My Aunt Martha answered the phone, I told her it was me and she hung right up. There was no use trying to speak with them on the phone again.

In November of 2001, I began to send a series of postcards to my Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha.

In 1977, at Katahdin Lodge, I had witnessed my Uncle Finley angrily grabbing a handful of mail, that was addressed to him, he grabbed it out of his wife Martha's hand and threw it right into the trash can. He had no idea who any of it was from. He simply did not want to deal with any of it. That type of angry outburst is a true symptom of the Korean War induced PTSD that Finley suffered, severely, from.

So you see, not only was it extremely unlikely that either Fin or Marty would open up any mail I sent them, due to their refusal to face the facts and admit the truths in my written works about my times with them as their nephew and dedicated employee, Finley would not always open up any regular mail sent to him in envelopes. Consequently, I began to send them postcards.

Copy Of First Postcard Sent On Nov. 15 or 16, 2001

I put my return address on this first postcard, so that it could be sent back to me if it didn’t go through. I sent it expecting that either Fin and Marty still lived at Katahdin Lodge and Camps and still used their old post office box, or the card would be forwarded to them, or it would be returned to me with their forwarding address on it. It must have been forwarded to them, because I never got it back.

It says: You may believe that it was a privilege for me to work a minimum of 9 hours a day 6 days a week for you at Katahdin Lodge—driving thousands of miles over rough roads at high speeds—taking inexperienced bear hunters out into the vast north woods and helping them have an enjoyable and rewarding outdoors adventure without getting anyone shot - and not getting in trouble with the local folks which would have caused you great difficulty in your business. So here is my bill for services rendered: $7,000 for 1968-69 + $2,000 for 1977 + $350.00 bear bonus for 1979. Plus interest. Any amount over $10,000 will settle your account with me. David

The Next Postcard Was Sent On Nov. 28, 2001

This postcard was returned to me. But the Smyrna Mills postal workers surely knew where Fin and Marty had moved to, or they could have found out, because Fin and Marty hadn’t moved too far from the lodge - and the first card did go through. They had moved to 21 Bald Eagle Lane on Shin Pond in Mt. Chase, Maine, which is about 25-30 miles by road from Katahdin Lodge, but up there in the sparsely populated woods of Northern Maine, it’s almost in the same neighborhood.

The way that I figure it is, Fin and/or Marty had made a nasty phone call or visit to the Smyrna Mills Post Office and had bullied them into sending this card back to me with the "Moved, left no address" stamped on this one. Those two self righteous, arrogant, ignorant individuals - my aunt and uncle - could ruin anyone’s day, if they wanted to. I’ve seen it happen to others besides me - and it always turned my stomach. I am sure that a bad, sickening scene was made over my postcards - at the Smyrna Mills Post Office.

It says: When you did not acknowledge my father’s death I felt it within reason to want to slam my fist into your face a few times. He was your friend. (Finley’s brother Nelson had called and left a message on Fin and Marty's answering machine informing of my father's death.)

Not responding to my phone call informing you of my mother’s death was a sad thing for you to do (I had to leave a message on their answering machine). I believe that you did grieve over your sister’s death, privately. Had you come to her funeral I would have allowed you to came and go in peace.

She was your protection. I could not fully pursue my claims against you without causing her to retreat from reality further than she had.

I will continue this quest for good old truth and justice indefinitely. David

I knew that my aunt and uncle would be very angry at me for sending those postcards. They deserved to be dealt with this way. They had angered me to no end, and had hurt and damaged our family more than I had ever imagined anyone could.

I was doing my best to make them so angry that they had to 'come out and fight', and either bring some kind of legal charges or lawsuit against me, or maybe one or both of them would come down here to my home and knock on my door. It may have gotten me shot, but it was well worth the risk. I had no money to go to Maine and bring a lawsuit against them, or to simply knock on their door and demand my money. And that really could have gotten me murdered.

My entire adult life has been lived well below the poverty line. My severe, debilitating depression has been horrendous, and it was partially caused by the way that Fin and Marty did me so much grievous wrong. I have never been in a financially healthy enough - or any other kind of healthy enough - condition to go to Maine for the purpose of pursuing a legal claim for reasonable compensation for all that Finley and Martha Clarke owe to me.

The following scanned in image is the back of a homemade postcard that had the above photo, of me wood splitting at Katahdin Lodge, on the front of the handmade postcard. Unfortunately, before I found out Fin and Marty's new address, I sent this one to the old Smyrna Mills address, even though I knew that it may not ever make it to Fin and Marty. And I left my return address off this one, because I figured that this would give the Smyrna Mills postal workers something talk about, and maybe some gossip about these postcards would reach Fin and Marty. They probably had gotten the first one, but they had been in their new address long enough not to need their forwarding address on file at the Smyrna Mills Post Office. Or maybe Fin and Marty had convinced the Smyrna Mills Post Office personnel not to allow anymore of my postcards or other mail to them to be forwarded.

Later on, I found out what Fin and Marty’s new address is, and I sent another version of this homemade postcard to them at 21 Bald Eagle Lane.

It Says: Remember this? I worked on that woodpile of yours for a minimum of 9 hours a day for 10 days. Plus I had several hours of other things to do at your lodge each day, including going out to track wounded bears. And you never had one good thing to say about any of it.

I was proud to be able to split the better part of 19 cords of wood in 2 weeks. I still love to split wood but I deserve a fair wage for doing it.



A Postcard Sent On July 16, 2002:

This is a scanned, copy machine copy of a postcard that I sent to Fin and Marty on 7/16/02. I sent them this one postcard, than weeks later sent them over twenty handwritten postcards that all said "YOU OWE ME $27,5OO.15." I sent fifteen of these particular handwritten postcards at one time, so they had to see and read something off of them before the cards went into the trash. I never heard from them about it.

If I am not owed anything by them than why did those two not pursue legal action against me to stop my postcards and stories from coming up there and to defend their good names?

Because they are guilty of all that I say in my stories, on my Internet sites, and said on those postcards.

Now it is just Marty who is alive for me to pursue to get my back pay. She is the one who was the main architect of their cheating me out of my pay anyway. If she was a fair minded person she would have paid me even if Fin had been against it. She didn’t always pay any of Fin’s hunting guides all that we had earned nor all that was promised to us guides by my uncle. I have been told by several reliable sources that Finley’s favorite hunting guide, John Birmingham, had quit because of that; but John is still like the son Fin and Marty never had. If she would not pay us when Fin said to, then she could have paid us when he said not too, because she handled the payroll and the Lodge’s bookkeeping ledgers. Not only that, beginning in the early 1970s, she wouldn’t even let Fin see the friggin’ ledgers.

Unfortunately, for me and my side of the family, Marty has worked things out financially so that she got all that Fin worked for, till she dies, and then somehow she has it so that no one in Finley Clarke’s family gets a thing. No money, no property in Maine, no old photographs of Fin’s, no guns, no hunting knives, no hunting trophies, none of Fin’s personal effects at all, including his war medals. My family gets nothing to remember him by and to share with our offspring and younger relatives who are direct blood relations to this interesting man who was a war hero and a famous Maine Guide.

I believe that John Birmingham and the other people who were Fin and Marty’s long time friends deserve to receive something from the estate when Marty dies. Martha’s family deserves their fair share. I simply want what I earned right now, and also what is fair from the estate for me and my side of the family. Finley became a war hero during the Korean War, which was a long time before he knew anyone in Maine, and I doubt that anyone on Martha’s side of the family feels that they deserve to inherit his military stuff. I believe that Martha Clarke should at least let my family have Finley’s medals and most of his military memorabilia.

But she needs to pay me the money and the respect which I earned while working for her right now!

I was a Registered Maine Guide who tracked wounded bears at night without a gun for the financial gain of her business, after a day of dealing with stenchin’ bear bait and helping paying bear hunters to satisfy their natural needs for a good, safe time in the great outdoors. What more could a person do to earn honest money and the respect that is due to them?

I sent about a dozen more different postcards, than what you see on this web site, to those two self centered, selfish relatives of mine. I told them just what the truth is. I had scanned copies of those cards into my computer, but the computer hard drive that they were on fried and died on me.

Those cards said things like "You are liars and thieves."

If you want Martha Clarke’s opinion on me, those postcards, or my stories and Internet publishings about her and her deceased husband, here’s her phone number and full address:

Martha Clarke
21 Bald Eagle Lane
Mt. Chase, Maine 04765

Ph. 207-528-2131

Feel free to contact her concerning anything on my web sites or in my short stories about My Northern Maine Adventures.

David Robert Crews
2727 Liberty Pkwy
Dundalk, Maryland 21222
ursusdave at yahoo dot com

Due to the facts that: several years ago I sent printed copies of all of my Maine stories to my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley and also to many local Patten area Mainers; and later on I emailed the stories to many folks all over the State of Maine; and then when my stories were published on the Internet I emailed and sent postcards to my aunt and uncle and also to many Patten area Mainers to inform them where my stories were published; some one or more of all of those Maine folks whom I contacted had to run into Fin or Marty now and then, here and there, and must have asked my aunt and uncle about me and the stories that I wrote. Due to those facts they have all had enough time to read and then deny or confirm any truths in them. So far, they haven’t declared to me, or my editors who publish my stories, or anyone else whom I am aware of that any of my stories are complete fictions from my imagination.

Here is a guide to those short stories:

The House Fire is a nice, but scary one (it scarred me when it happened that’s for sure). This one is for people of all ages.

The Day I Fell In Love With Patten Maine ain’t nuthin’ like you will expect, and it is a mind blower. It’s a real, small town, soap opera scene, and a teenagers’ thrill-a-minute experience.

The Rocket Scientist is a crazy trip about a genuine Washington, DC Rocket Scientist. I’ll let ya' be surprised by this one.

Bananastien is about young adults testing the limits in 1969 Patten, Me. Part of it gets real wild on the backroads.

Jungle Dirt is something that stands on its own. It was my first attempt at heavily fictionalizing a true story. It is about a Vietnam Veteran’s experience when he went bear hunting in Maine three days after coming home from Nam. It is a good story for all of us Vietnam Era Veterans and others who care about us, and how we were treated in America during the Vietnam War. Just about the only fictional parts have to do with changing the names and me making up some descriptive guesses about the Nam Vet’s mother and a small amount was expanded on to the guy’s step father’s description. Boss Hog on the Dukes of Hazard did look exactly like the step father though.

Easiest Way To Carry A Dead Bear is a nutty piece, but it does give a good hunting tip.

An Italian Nice Guy is a bear hunting story that is really a chipmunk story. It is actually good for kids to read. No bears are even shot at in it. It is fictionalized a bit, but mostly true. I expanded on what I knew about Tony (the Italian nice guy) and his family, but they had to be real nice people. Since publishing this story, I have exchanged some emails with Tony's family - Tony has passed away - and they told me to leave the story be just like it is, when I asked if they wanted me to change anything. They said they had great laughs over their memories of the event at every family holiday get together.

My VW Bug Trip To Maine has a bear hunting bit in it, but it’s a hoot, and the rest of it is a wild, funny and happy story. It was about a trip of mine to Maine while I was on leave from the Army just after I had graduated US Army Photo Lab Tech School, and before I went to Okinawa. It goes from Patten, Me. down to Dundalk, Md. and through a whole bunch of interesting experiences.

Driving Northern Mainer Style is a how-to article with a great story in it about the time I nearly 'bought the farm' on a sharp curve way up on the Washburn Road. A road that leads into Caribou, Maine.

Then They Own You (titled "Katahdin Lodge 1979" on The Daily Me) takes place in 1979, when I tried to work for my aunt and uncle in Maine one more time - at their request. They simply had no appreciation for anything that I did for them. They wanted me to work my entire life for them at Katahdin Lodge without receiving a salary and while they seriously mistreated me. I did have some great times at Katahdin Lodge, but it wasn’t worth the emotional abuse that they heaped on me. Neither my Uncle Finley nor Aunt Martha ever said one good word about the work that I did for them. To this day, they refuse to acknowledge what I did up there, when this suburbanite kid went way up into the North Woods of Maine and became a bear hunting guide who never made one serious mistake while living and working there.

Copyright 2006 David Robert Crews