Thursday, September 30, 2010

Those Places Thursday - Cushman's Bakery of Portland, Maine

Cushman's Bakery, in Portland, Maine, was one of  "those places" that played an integral part in the lives of many members of my family.  It could even be said that, but for Cushman's, I wouldn't even be here...

My maternal grandfather, Ross Bustin (1908-1990) worked at Cushman's as a truck driver, from a small neighborhood delivery truck, whose sides opened up to reveal the freshest bread, rolls, pies and donuts, to the longer distance trucks which had routes all over New England.  He ended his working career running the small retail outlet on Franklin St., on Munjoy Hill.  I remember stopping in many times in those waning days of Cushman's presence in Portland.

His brother Lawrence (1913-1969), whom I knew as Uncle Laurie, was foreman on the shipping floor for over 35 years at Store #5, at 107 Elm St.

It was there that their sister Vesta (1907-1964), whom I knew as Aunt Beck, worked in the office as a bookkeeper.  When we were little kids, Aunt Beck would always bring us discarded office paper for us to draw and color on (an early recycler!)  Her husband, Vanstone Tewksbury, also worked there at one time.

Dad (Richard Seavey) started at "the bakery" sometime around October 1953, after he came home from his stint in the Navy. He always worked in the Bread Room, which accelerated a mild asthma condition. He stayed with Cushman's until the company closed its Portland operations altogether in the '60's.

Mom (Marilyn Bustin) worked there in the Cookie Room during the summer of 1948, between her junior and senior year of high school, and then returned after graduation 1949.  A mutual friend played matchmaker and soon a budding romance was under way!  She continued working there after they were married until the end of December 1954, when she discovered she was pregnant with Yours Truly.

My memories of Cushman's include sitting in the family station wagon waiting for Dad to get off work.  We were one of many one-car families back then, and if Mom needed the car, she took him in and picked him up. Frequently, Dad would come to the window of the Break Room to let us know he had a chance to get some overtime, and we would wait it out. Our family knew so many of the workers that we would have lots of car-window visitors.  We would also have numerous plant tours with our Scout troops, etc.  And, of course, there was always the bread (I particularly remember a pastel-ly swirl loaf used to make canapes) and the donuts (in the see-through box).

The Maine Historical Society, on p. 4 of their Spring 2005 issue, published an excellent article on the history of Cushman's. And, just last summer, Colin Sargent published Cushman's "Secret" Scotch Cookie Recipe on his Portland Monthly website.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Grandpa Bustin

Have you ever plucked a random picture out of an assortment of relics, just to simply see how far you can go with it?  That's what I did the other day, with wonderfully unexpected results.

The following is the front and back of my picture, 2 x 3 in size (fitting in the palm of my hand).

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Of course, my first question was "Whose Grandpa?" I remember my great-grandfather, Frederick Parker Bustin (1886-1965), buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, Maine. Was this his father or his grandfather?

My second question was "Where is Church Hill?" It was not a placename I was familiar with, although I had to assume it was in New Brunswick, where my great-grandfather grew up. Was this a church graveyard, or was this the name of a NB village, like Mechanic Settlement, where "Pap" was born.  

Google Maps led me to a Church Hill Rd near Mechanic Settlement, as well as Elgin, a town I had also heard mention of:

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After quite a bit of creative googling, going back and forth between Church Hill, Church Hill Cemetery, Church Hill United Church, I finally arrived at a list of Albert Co., New Brunswick, cemeteries, and lo and behold, there was my cemetery - Church Hill United Cemetery Est. 1865, in ELGIN! And it was annotated as being fully transcribed in 2010!  You can only imagine how excited I was!

But here is the best part -- M. Helena Lewis, just this Augusttranscribed and photographed (!) every single grave, including those of my great-great Bustin grandparents.  Here they are, with full credit to Ms. Lewis for doing all the work:

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Samuel J Bustin

died Oct 29, 1897 aged 79 yrs 4 ms

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Mary E Bustin

died July 10, 1904 aged 55 yrs 10 ms

As I finish this post, I realize suddenly that Great Great Grandmother Bustin died when she was the age I am now - 55.  I can only speculate on her life, which undoubtedly was a hard one, and what caused her death.  But I am thrilled with this "best yet" genealogy discovery, and hope to make it down east someday to pay my respects.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Madness Monday - The Perils of Pauline

One of my most intriguing ancestors has been my Great Aunt Polly (1880-1958). What I have been told about her makes me want to know more about her life. My dad remembered her as "coming from New York" to live with them when he was a kid. Or perhaps it was that my grandmother, Mattie, always felt some degree of gratitude to Polly, as she had helped raise her, once her own mother, Polly's sister Alice (1886-1957), remarried and began a new family.

I have heard mentions of her working as a housekeeper and as a secretary to a doctor. She never married, but may have had a few gentlemen friends. In any event, I will always be fascinated by the kind of life this woman led.

Recently I came across a scrapbook of my grandmother's, which contained several pictures from her childhood. I am pretty convinced that this is Alice and Pauline, probably from the 1920's or so.

I was so thrilled to find this clipping of her obituary from the Portland Press Herald just the other day.  I suppose she will always be a woman I wish I knew more about.

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