"that's what I'm saying, one thing about the island, they might not be friends to you, but if you run into hard trouble somewhere they're going to help you out."
My name is Doug Stone. I was born March 1, 1937 in Vinalhaven. My mom was from Vinalhaven, my father was from North Haven. I didn’t have any brothers or sisters.
I love the island. North Haven is my home and it's always going to be my home, until I die, and when I do, I’ve got a lot up in the Fuller's Cemetery to put me in. So, we’re all set on that.
Leta And then, how long have you lived on North Haven?
Doug Well, you might as well say, 81 years. But, during the war, my father was in the Navy and, before he went in, we come over here to Rockland and then we went down to Portland because there wasn't any work in North Haven. So, he, and it was quite a few of them, come over here. My father worked in the shipyard, but he also worked for a building contractor over here. And the work got scarce, so they moved to Portland where he worked in the shipyard down there, until he got called into the Navy. So, when he got called, we went back home. But I did start school in Rockland. I didn't go very far, I mean, I think it was just the first grade and then I went to North Haven and I've been there ever since.
Jim was very good to me, Jim Brown was. And his father was, except I can't remember his father very well.
Oh, Jim kept me from starving to death two or three winters. He gave me a job driving the oil truck. But he was good to me. I don't know if he was so good to some other kids, but he was always good to me. And his sister, Ivaloo, she was like a second mother to me. If I wanted anything, you know, not big things, but she'd always buy it for me.
I used to hang out down at Brown’s, all when I was younger. I'd just hang around there and watch the guys, whatever they were doing. I really liked when they was building boats. I liked being there and watching them do the different things and that's been sort of my passion ever since. I like buildings boats too.
Oh, I've built four or five outboard boats. I built a couple of rowboats and then I built all those Optimist Prams down at the Casino when they had the first ones. Yeah, and them was wood and then they wanted fiberglass, so I had a fiberglass mold made and I made them out of fiberglass.
I wanted a lobster boat so I made a model and Jim Brown helped me lay it out and set it up so I could get started. And I was two winters off and on building that boat and I had her one year and sold her. Well it was–I thought it was big money, so I needed some. But I enjoyed it. Of course, my father, he built boats and he was a carpenter, he built models. Now I'm doing it.
Well, I guess my first job, that I got paid for, I worked for Eleanor Thorton down at the grocery store there. And I got my driver's license and she had a jeep and I couldn't wait to drive that jeep at my age. So, I worked there one or two summers. I did work some at Waterman's but not very much, because I got mad at Franklin and I just walked out the door.
I don't remember now what it was all about. But one thing was, I was going with Charlene and she worked in the other store. So, I kind of wanted to get out to the other store, so that's what I did. And when I graduated from high school I went to work for John Lermond and I worked for him five years. But he laid us off in the winter and I had a couple of kids and it took me all summer to catch up on what I’m behind in the winter, when I didn’t have any job, you know? And we had three, four kids on our hands and if you don't have a job, you're in hot water. If it hadn't been for Franklin Waterman, and I don't remember if we got much else from the other, but Franklin floated us, and I'm not the only one, through the winter. Just there was no money, so.
Well, one day I went up to, it was out of business before you come along, but Frank's Garage, which is the building that the co-op owns there. And Bud Curtis, you remember him? Well, he was working on the ferry and he said, “Doug, do you want a year-round job?” And I said, “Yes, I do.” Because they paid, they didn't pay much. I started out I was getting $60 a week, but I got some benefits along with it. And, of course, I could take my car for nothing. So, I went to work for the ferry service and I worked there four years, I think. And Nancy Harwood, which I don’t know, she's been married two or three times, so I don't know what her last name was when she died. But, she come to me and she wanted to know if I would build her a house. And I said, “I don't know this is a steady job.” But I didn't like it because I didn't like going back and forth on that boat every single day. So, Charlene and I talked about it and so I said, “Well, I guess I'll try it.” And so, that's when I went into business on my own, in the carpentry business.
Leta Were you nervous to make that–
Doug Yes, very nervous because I'd known what I'd been through before with not getting any money. But, I had that job and then another lady, I can't think of her name now, she called me, to see if I'd do a job for her. Well, I said, “Well, I've got from September until June I can do that.” I didn't realize how long the jobs was gonna take. But, anyway, it worked out and I was busy all the time after that.
Well, in the wintertime, when I worked on there, we only made just one trip a day to now, you got three trips. Starting the, I can't remember, I think it was the first of November until the first of April, we come over left North Haven at eight o'clock and we left Rockland at half past two. And that was it.
And he had just the side loading then, when I worked there. So, people over here would have to back their cars on to get them around sideways. Well, they didn't like doing it. So, Dick Shields was working there with me, so every time a car would come he'd say, "Get Doug to drive it on." So, I drove all the cars on that went across the deck because I was used to it and I know when to turn them and when not to. And so, that's what I did most of the time.
Leta Wow, so, you were–you drove people’s cars on.
Doug I backed them on.
Leta How many cars could fit at a time?
Doug If they were normal sized cars it could take eight. If there was a small one we could take nine.
The summer folks that came then did not want anything to do with the natives because they figured they're just the hired help. And they didn't want them associating with islanders. I mean, native people were not allowed to play golf, they was not allowed to go down to the Casino. So, over the years that's changed because you can–as long as you pay your dues either place you can belong. But when I was growing up here they didn't want a thing to do with natives in any one of them places. So, that's a big change that’s been made there.
But there've been some nice summer folks there that’s been good to me. So, but, there's been a few that haven't been so good.
They're more friendlier, the summer folks there now. But we still got two or three of the old school there. One lady lives there she drove by me and she'd never say hi, yes, or no. And one day she started–she stopped and she said something to me and I said, “You must want something.” And she [says], “What do you mean?” I says, “The only time you speak to me is when you want something.” Boy, she spoke to me after that.
Leta What do you think the difference is between someone from the island and someone from away?
Leta People from the island don’t have as much?
Doug No. When I was growing up here as a kid, if you had three, four thousand dollars in the bank you were rich, for a native person. But today, doesn't amount to anything. But it's been money, I think. But I may be wrong. I'm kind of outspoken and it's bothered me a little that they–well I don't think it's so much back then as it is now, when they move there. Well, they want to be like one of us, until they've been there twenty minutes and then they want to change it. That's what I don't like.
Well, I don't mind these people, if they want to do these things themselves. But I don't want them shoving it down my throat, as though I had to do it. Because some in place I can't afford to do it anyway. But, that's the way I feel about it and I've felt that way for years.
And I've told them, I told a woman one time, she's not there anymore in fact she died. It was at the town meeting and she kept complaining about, I don't even remember what that was now. And I got up and I said to her, “Why don't you take your dolls and blue dishes and go right back to the mainland where you come from?”
Well, one thing, knowing I guess, everybody, most of them–even though they may be not friendly with you or whatever, but if you should have an accident or something, they'd be the first ones there to help you out. When we lost our children, they was there for us. Both times. So, that's what I'm saying, one thing about the island, they might not be friends to you, they may not like the things that you're doing or whatever, but if you run into hard trouble somewhere they're going to help you out.
That's one thing I like about it. But, I guess, I like because I know everybody. That's why I like the island.
Photos courtesy of the Stone family