Truly Virtual Web Art Museum

Dinosaur Man J. Carr
"Jurassic Dinosaur Land"

 

Life in Maine - Maine Delights (Carr's Houlton is just north of Bangor)

 

January 2016

 

On 1/27/2016 7:13 AM, Harry Roper wrote:
Hello Rodney - This morning I drove up to Drake's Hill and took some pictures of Lucky Cardone's place as it it on a winter morning , and mailed it to you. Thank you for getting the pictures in the camera developed. I used all but 3 of them, I think. 
  The first three or four pictures are of our house in Houlton, with the FOR SALE sign in the porch window. This is usually the coldest time of winter, with the outdoors frozen and pure white snow everywhere, but this week it has been slightly above freezing and the snow has a rotten, dirty look close to the road.  The "for sale" sign is up in the porch window because we've expected about three more feet of snow than we've had lately.
  Almost all of the pictures are snapshots of the roadside (Route 2) at Jerry's place on Drake's Hill in Houlton. One picture shows all of it that is along the road. I don't think anything has been removed since Lucky died. 
   There are a couple of shots of the new Church On The Hill (Baptist) across the road from Lucky's place, with my car (a RAV4) parked on the roadside.  The distant mountains include Mt. Kathadin - there is a great view from this spot.
  The last three photos were taken at the Houlton Post Office, showing the snow mountain that has been piled up from the parking lot, and our picturesque brick Courthouse. That's me in the Chinese fur hat.  The snow pile in the parking lot is usually twice this large this time of year.

 

 

Hello Rodney, and happy new year! - I hope you and your family are well, and you are running some, but not too hard. We are fine, considering our age.  I am mostly writing to tell you that Jerry Cardone, the local "Dinosaur Man", recently "died peacefully in the local hospital surrounded by his loved ones". Well, you can't do better than that.
   Jerry's art works are all there, set neatly on the roadside opposite the Baptist Church, and piled in profusion behind. I will maybe send you a photo of what it looks like. I will also send you a copy of an article, and his obituary. Both were published in today's issue of the local paper, the Houlton, Maine  Pioneer Times: "The only newspaper in the world interested in Houlton, Maine."
   We are into serious winter now - down toward zero most nights, as is usual this time of year.  Thank goodness the price of heating oil is way down.  Our house is still for sale, in a buyers' market, apparently. It is listed with a local Realtor - Andy Mooers Realty. He did a nice video of our house, inside and out. 
Best regards, Harrison Roper 

 

 

 

Hello Rodney! I just found "Maine Delights", and watched it all. Good for you, and thank you for the detailed instructions - it worked! Yes there used to be a industry  in Bangor based on visitors with money to spend, a lot of them recently paid woodsmen, whose winter's tasks were completed when the logs they had coaxed downstream from the remote forests reached tidewater. This was where  where the sawmills, paymasters, and places of all sorts of entertainment were readily available.   That was Bangor, then.  it was also a time when automobiles were rare. 
   And thank you for your hint of the spectral resonance (ghosts) in such a  place.   You might have mentioned the Municipal  requirement to bring the old buildings up to code, which I understand is another major factor in the situation. 
  Houlton's 1910  downtown buildings continue to languish, despite efforts to bring them to life.  They were built to last. and they have lasted.....for what it is worth.  Meanwhile, the world has passed them by, and even WalMarts are closing in some places .........  But, to some extent, maybe Bangor is coming back; the old riverside railroad freight yard is now the location of a busy summer entertainment venue (rock and country music)  plus a casino and sports arena.  It still has a rarely used freight track right down the middle, however. 
   About 3 years ago someone bought a downtown Houlton corner building and stripped the old stores in preparation for installing a sports bar - then everything stopped - that place has been standing empty for two or three years, at least. More and more Thrift Shops and Gift Shoppes and the like are using the downtown stores these days, I think because the owners can get a tax write-off on the donated rent - anything to keep up the "established" rental value of the downtown Houlton properties, hoping things will turn around some day.
  I have just prepared  an envelope containing my "Piano" and the score of "El Caliente del Sol".  A very good performance of "El Caliente" is on U-Tube, under that title, and your dancer/piano teacher  daughter can play the piano piece for you. I am thinking each of these two pieces is unique, and a meaningful piece of music .....but don't  we think that of everything we produce, Rodney? And didn't Lucky Cardone feel the same way?  We know he did!  That's the way it goes.  
Best Regards- Harrison Roper    January 19, 2016

 

 

 

Hello Rodney -Hillview Avenue is on the edge of our part of Houlton, and I can't quite place the lot's location. Our part of Houlton used to be edging into farm land, but it was relatively poor, rocky soil. and over the years only the very best fields have continued to be cultivated.  We have 90 acres of land that was not-so-good farming land, and most of it is just like in the pictures - trees, some of them apple, and others birch, hemlock, pine, maple, various bushes, ash, beech etc. - called "mixed woods", nothing special. There many small areas  of land, here and there on hillsides, that are in just bushes, and there are small spots  where there is very deep soil that have such vigorous grass that nothing else grows.. 
    The old fields are always in the process of  becoming "old growth", or what is called "virgin forest';   huge trees that have lived their entire lives in forest, and so they have tall, straight trunks. Such such forests once covered every acre of Maine; now, they are rare - we have just a half acre of "old growth" woods, plus some huge maples and ash that (I think) were never cut because they are standing on a steep slope and it is dangerous to cut them down and do anything with trunks that weigh tons.  The very gradual process, from an abandoned field to "old growth," takes about 150 years, and every bush and tree is taking part in the transition, all the time.
   The apple trees in the photos  are "volunteer". or wild, and every apple has a worm. Some years, the "wild' apple trees, all volunteers from old farm orchards, are weighted down with apples, and they all fall to the ground, but when spring comes every one of them has disappeared.  Deer,moose, racoons, mice and other wild animals find every one of them over the winter, and leave the seeds scattered all over the place..
Rodney, I am glad to write about all this. and I thank you for reading it.     
Harrison Roper   

 

 

 

Right now our house's back yard, and the whole town, is under about six inches of snow. It was about 16F today; it is 8F right now, and getting colder. This is normal. Thank goodness the price  of fuel oil is down to $2.05 a gallon; it was about $3.75 a gallon last year at this time.  We have to live with this kind of weather for about 10 more weeks before the grass begins to be green, as in Andy's video, which was made in August.
    I will bring my digital camera to life, or borrow another,  and take some pictures of Jerry's place from the road and send them to you.  I hope you're not serious about coming all the way to Maine to see his place; surely your family will needs all that ticket money in the future, if not now.
   I would not say Jerry "fought" tradition and conventionality.  He simply was, quite honestly, himself, a bachelor living his own life. 
   The pastor (Randall Burns) of Houlton's large new Baptist Church, "The Church On the Hill", which is across Route 2 from Jerry's place, invited Jerry to attend services there, and maybe he did attend. I have not heard any gossip about Jerry.   I really doubt anyone will do anything with his stuff for months - Houlton is definitely not in a building boom nowadays. There are about 30 houses for sale in town, and ours is one of them.

 

 

 

  Jerry Cardone did not "fight" tradition; he simply did his own thing, which was very visible, and very unconventional. I never heard him say anything bad about anyone else's beliefs of lifestyle. He was known for being cheerful and friendly, and I don't think he ever hurt a soul; he was one of Houlton's characters.  
   The Pastor of the Baptist church across the highway from Jerry's property (known as "The Church on The Hill', Pastor Randall Burns)  was friendly to Jerry and invited him to attend services, and maybe he did attend.  I know that Pastor well; I taught his daughter violin for a number of years. She is now a nurse, in Tennessee.
   I will be getting my camera going  and take some pictures and send them to you. I really don't think anything sudden will happen to Jerry's stuff, not in the dead of winter, which is now.  Houlton is not a booming place these days. 

 

 

 

Hello, Pygoya!  Our fall colors are at their peak now, all over Maine.  There has not been a "killing" frost yet, and that means very few of the leaves have fallen. The swamp maples are all red, and the sun is shining through the golden leaves in town, and today the sky is all deep blue.   I remember conditions like this from my Freshman year in Haverford, Pennsylvania.
   Marilyn and I are into our second year in this apartment, and our house is listed, but has not been sold yet. Moores Realty in Houlton has a nice video of the house on the internet.  In August, in our new RAV 4, we  did some successful driving all  over the eastern USA, visiting old friends and our colleges.  I am hoping we won't have to keep our house heated for another winter, but if we have to, we will do it.
   We are well, and I hope you and your family are, too. I have been composing violin duets, for my students, and playing the horn in a local amateur orchestra - Finlandia is our favorite.
Harrison Roper

 

 

 

Hello Rodney, and thank you for "Tight Quarters(Accomodations)"  I read it all in one sitting, and enjoyed it. It has a fitting ending. particularly the vivid sunset after all the gloom that  came before. I hardly ever read comic books, but I sure know how to do it, even after about 70 years... Thank you!  I will write you more about Jerry Cardone in a day or two, I hope.  Maybe reporter will want to run with this...
Harrison Roper

 

 

 

Hello Pygoya - Thank you!   It was a thrill to see my e-mail (from years ago) to you, describing Houlton through my "Philadelphia eyes". It is hard to read because of the color background, but I think reporter Joseph Cyr <pioneertimes@nepublish.com> may want to see it. Can you please forward it to him   ..... it could be background, if he needs it and wants it.  I had forgotten the connection with SACAP (Southern Aroostook Cultural Affairs Project) - I was a member of SACAP at the time.
Harry Roper  Houlton  207-532-3797
Here today is  just below freezing and there is wind, and ice on the bushes and trees.  Winter.

 

 

On 1/11/2016 9:20 PM, pygoya wrote:
Hi Harry,

Our communication today inspired me to write another short story for a new comic.  Watch for "Maine Delights" as it is dedicated to you in the titling start!  Hope you like it.  Just Main Street, no dinosaurs.

Aloha,
Rodney



On 1/11/2016 10:54 AM, Harry Roper wrote:

Hello everybody - Well! I finally have all three of you on one e-mail!  Joe, you know Diane and probably me, and this (and other things I sent Diane last night) will let you all know something about  Rodney "Pygoya" Chang of Honolulu and his connection with our Dinosaur Man.  I have never met Pygoya, but we have exchanged many e-mails over the years; he remembered (better than I) how we first came to know of each other; it was through SACAP, which was starting the Blue Moon Gallery back when.  Please excuse my limited computer skills; I neither cut, nor paste, nor insert, and am prone to "delete all" by accident.  I will forward a couple of other things to you if I  can find them in my computer.  A retiree age 83, I am home most of the time: 207-532-3797. 
Harry Roper 45 High St. Apt. 1  - Houlton, ME 04730




Hello Harry,

Wow, wouldn't it be cool to get us 3 - including Dino Man, into the H.Pioneer Times!  Hopefully somebody will contact me at this email.  A Honolulu-Maine now 11 year friendship and my interest in Bangor/Houlton as a fellow "stuck in a paradise without seasons to mark time" could be an interesting read for Mainers. Hopefully, by Googling my Pygoya name, they can see how my online art museum is the most popular virtual art museum in the world.  Now my comics postings there are the most popular for online visitors.

OK, back to patients on this overcast, back to UH school traffic, further worsened by some bomb scare in the Ala Moana area.

Aloha,
Rodney

 




On 1/11/2016 8:26 AM, Harry Roper wrote:

Hello Rodney/Pygoya  (and Diane) - Good morning (more or less). Last night I wrote up a synopsis of Pygoya, "Lucky" Cardone the Houlton dinosaur man, and me, and sent it to Diane Hines, a friend here in the Houlton area. At Meeting yesterday Diane was very interested in the situation of you, and me, and "Lucky" Cardone, and I thought her friend Joe Cyr, a reporter at the weekly Houlton Pioneer Times, would like to know some facts - maybe there is  a story here. I think I sent Joe some basic information, but not the synopsis; a task too complex for me.  So, as everybody wakes up this morning,  maybe someone will be interested in this.  And, if you hear from these people, you will have some idea who they are. We are all real people.   
  I do only simple things on the computer, and about an hour I ago, taking a chance,  I Googled "Pygoya"  -   and there you were, digital virtual art gallery and all!  Amazing!  I read the beginning of your baseball thing, but did not know how to manipulate it further. I am sending this to Diane just keep her up to speed. She has a job, and you have patients.
Harry Roper  207-532-3797

 

 

 

Hello Rodney - Today I telephoned Joe Cyr at his office in the Pioneer Times, and we talked a bit about Lucky Cardone and his property,  and my connection with you.   Joe will talk to our Town Manager about Lucky's possessions, etc. and what will happen to his property. It has a huge lien on it, because of the court-ordered cleanup a couple of years ago, etc.  So far no relative of Lucky has appeared, and who knows what will happen?  I told Joe I would like to have a couple of small items to send to you if there are any available, and any photos he can send me.  I told Joe what you want to do with them. That really appeals to my poetic soul.  I also urged Joe to go to the Pygoya website and see what you have put there. 
   Of course Joe really cannot spend much time on anything in Hawaii; his job is in a local Houlton, Maine newspaper and things connected with Houlton.  I am hoping Joe will see the connection in our pen-pal relationship ..... we'll see. 
   If Joe could get the writing you sent to me about your investigations of Houlton and Bangor, it might help. I have a very good page you wrote to me about 10 years ago about that, but it appears on my computer screen with a blue-colored background, and is almost unreadable for me, and it is full screen with no access around the edges. I am vastly ignorant of computer details, and I don't know how to get rid of the background  and make it acceptable, first-glance readable. 
   I drove up to Jerry Cardone's place last night in the twilight and saw the usual stuff displayed along the highway, apparently untouched. There was no light in his house, or trailer.  We are having a snowstorm today, and everybody who can is simply staying at home. You can see the radar image of the storm, and the whole continent, on my favorite weather radar:  Intellicast.com
  Now, I think I will Google "Jerry Cardone" to see if anything about his background is available. I have been told he is listed as  "Cardona" on the town tax map.  Another little tidbit - apparently the "Pickers" TV show was planning to visit Jerry's place sometime in the future.  Too bad - he would have loved that.  
Thank you for your concern about falling on the ice - it is something we all have to be cautious about for the next two months at least. 
Best Regards - Harrison 

 

 

 

On 1/16/2016 10:35 AM, Harry Roper wrote:


Hello Rodney - Marilyn and I just attended Jerry Cardone's funeral in Houlton. It was pretty well attended by about 15 local people, including a local family that he lived with the last few months (?) of his life. He was indeed "surrounded by his loved ones" when he died. 
  It seems Jerry died without leaving a will.  Apparently he verbally left his possessions to Kim Drake, mother of a next door neighbor family, and everything will have to "go through probate".
   At the funeral I  told my "story" about you, your trip to Bangor, and your interest in Jerry creations, and your offer to  provide a "home" for one or two of them to the 15 or so people there,..... that's all that can be done right now.  Houlton is a small town, and word usually gets around pretty quickly.     
   Jerry's  property, which is 5 or 6 acres at the crest of Drake's Hill, is pretty completely cluttered with this and that; completed things, partially completed things, and raw material.  The road, US Route 2, is probably shown in Google Street View, but I haven't checked on that. Jerry's property is on the north side of the highway, about as mile west of the US Border. and directly across the road from The Church On The Hill (Baptist), which has a large parking lot.  There is an extraordinary vista to the west.    
   The property will likely be subject to a large town lien, the charges for a couple of court-ordered clean-ups that the Town did over the years. I have no idea of the state of Jerry's tax payment relationship with the town.  Mrs. Drake's 5 acre property is adjacent to Jerry's. The lien is probably $65,000 or more.  
  People think Jerry had two or three children,  and maybe a sister; no (so far) knows where they live, and no one knows of any contact with them.  I think the family are Italian (Cardona?).  Right now we at the beginning of a 12-hour snowstorm  and it is winter........... Newspaper reporter Joseph Cyr was not at the funeral, and no town officials were present, as far as I know.   Apparently Jerry died
December 23rd, 2015, in a hospital in Lewiston, Maine. 
  So that's where things stand. 
Harrison Roper - Houlton, ME



Hello Rodney   - Thanks for you note.  Goodness knows what will come of the situation about Jerry Cardone and his creations. but I don't think it will happen suddenly.   The necessary  probate will take a long time, for one thing. And, actually, the onset of winter will simply slow everything down; you don't want to do anything about construction, or surveying, or anything else outdoors in this wintery environment.       
   For Houlton, 15 people at the Salvation army for a funeral is pretty good, especially  when no food is being served. These days, there are people who show up at every church occasion when food is being served, and you can't fault them for it - they are there to get something to eat, frankly. Today's funeral attenders came show their appreciation, or at least tolerance, of Jerry and his very off-the-wall lifestyle, and it took some nerve to even be present at the occasion. 
   I think most local people in this town are very aware of Jerry's image, and most see3med to avoid having anything to do with him. But I never heard any gossip about Jerry, and I think he lived an honorable life. Somehow, I feel you can't do better than that. 
   I will keep an eye out for developments, and let you know.  Jerry's neighbor Kim Drake are now aware of my interest in having a couple of items that can be put in a suitcase and shipped easily, and she or her family may well come up with something. Right now there is  snow everywhere.
Bless us all -  Harrison Roper - Houlton