Down East 2013 ©
What’s in a Picture?
Having childhood roots in Caribou, I was very interested in the historic photo in your June issue of the most feared general in the air force doing his thing at Loring Air Force Base. General Selmon G. Wells’ personal mission was to make every Strategic Air Command base the best it could possibly be and to tolerate no deficiencies. Wells was feared with good reason: He had the authority to instantly relieve any base or wing commander for leadership failure. The offending commander was usually ordered to be off the base by sundown that day. Thus General Wells was known throughout SAC as “Sundown Wells.”
As a second lieutenant in 1961, I had the misfortune to be on a three-month temporary duty assignment at Lajes Field in the Azores. “Sundown Wells” and his team, apparently having a free couple of days, literally dropped in. We failed the inspection. I will never forget his words to me: “Son, although security here was abominable, I can’t hold you personally responsible because you’re still an intern. We don’t fire second lieutenants because they usually don’t know any better. But you will have a new sergeant by tomorrow. Dismissed.” Thus my greatest lesson in leadership was taught by none other than “Sundown” himself. Thanks, I think, for bringing back those memories.
How great was your June special section featuring my old town, Bangor. While the visionaries and developers responsible for the beautiful waterfront areas deserve kudos, recognition should also be given to their pre-decessors: those who successfully cleaned up the horribly polluted Penobscot River of my childhood. The work of these clean river activists transformed this river from a brown color to a place where the salmon can finally return. It took foresight and work over several decades to arrive at the outstanding waterfront of today.
And those involved in all of those phases should be very proud of the gorgeous result.
—Mary-Ellen McCarthy Young
Where in Maine?
Your June mystery picture is interesting due to the unusual southerly view of Southwest Harbor it affords. Most views would be of the Manset shore with the Hinckley Company imposing on the landscape, or coming in from the Western Way with a view of Dysart’s Great Harbor Marina and the western mountains of Acadia in the background. The avian museum is, of course, the Wendell Gilley Museum. I grew up in Southwest Harbor and now live in Blue Hill and don’t miss the traffic jams getting off the island in the summer.
Blue Hill, Maine
If the governor’s intent is to make Maine’s Department of Labor “equally receptive” to business and labor (“The Mural,” June 2011), why not commission a Maine artist to create a mural commemorating the contributions of Maine’s business heroes to exhibit along with Judy Taylor’s returned mural? A mural celebrating Maine’s captains of industry could, for example, honor the history behind the 150-year-old Bangor Savings Bank. And what about honoring Leon Leonwood Bean and Harold Alfond for the manufacturing and retail jobs they created? Two murals, one Maine.
—Sara Lambert Bloom
South Portland, Maine
Kudos to Judy Taylor for bringing to life the struggles of Maine labor. And kudos to Down East for printing the panels with captions. (We hope you are not targeted for removal.) We flatlanders had heard rumors of its removal, without having seen it. Now the story is clear and interest has turned to outrage. Anyone with no sense of history hasn’t the sense to shape the future.
—Jeffrey P. Falardeau