To the editor:
I was pleasantly overwhelmed by my family’s efforts in secretly assembling a float at the Whitefield Fourth of July parade to honor my 90th birthday. Big signs on the front and back of the float read “Celebrating Albert Boynton, 90 years of Whitefield living.”
This was concocted by my granddaughters, Addie Joslyn and Kate Parker. It was enthusiastically carried out by all the family, who communicated by all means, including Facebook, of which I am technically ignorant. This included family from Aroostook to Milford, N.H. and Charlotte, N.C.!
Each one of my family and everything on the float represented a facet of my life. Around the skirt of the trailer was a timeline of my life. There was a drawing of the mill house on the end of the Clary Lake Dam where my family lived and where I was born. My family owned, lived, and worked around the Clary-Boynton water mill and later the portable mills. There were seven of us children. Later, I became my father’s roller in the mill.
I graduated from Erskine Academy in 1943. I then joined the Navy and served as a sailor in World War II, in the Pacific, on the Goodhue APA 107, and also for a short while on the Cherokee ATF 66, at the ages of 18 and 19 years old.
In 1950, I graduated with a degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Maine at Orono. After that, my brother Alden and I operated a dairy farm together. For eight years, I also worked as a nurse’s aide at the V.A. Neuro Psychiatric hospital, to get extra money. At the hospital, I met and married a nurse, Carolyn, in spite of the hospital’s strict non-fraternization policy. Then, while farming, I worked as a rural mail carrier for 30 years.
During that time, my wife and I had six children, of which two died at birth, and one, our dear Jeanne, died at age 20. In retirement, I still raised heifers, and now do some beekeeping with my granddaughter Addie. Finally, I occupy a Canadian rocker where I watch the Red Sox and read the newspaper. I enjoy doing the jumble and the crossword puzzles.
On the timeline for 1971, at age 45, there is a cross. On Palm Sunday of that year, after hearing a message on salvation on TV, I knelt on my living room floor and gave my life to Christ. From seldom going to church, I went to looking forward to church services and Bible study.
The float in the Fourth of July parade was my son David’s equipment trailer. It was hauled by his dump truck and driven by him. Granddaughter Meg Boynton wore overalls and carried a cant dog, or peavey, portraying a millworker. Grandson Sawyer Maldovan wore an Erskine Academy T-shirt. Meg’s boyfriend, Jeffery Dyer, wore a sailor hat, and my daughter-in-law, Melissa Boynton, wore farmer’s clothes and a straw hat (she is a farmer too). My granddaughter Natalie Kittner (from Charlotte, N.C.), was dressed as a cow with Holstein spots and horns. Jeremy and Addie’s son Brennan was outfitted in a cardboard Kubota tractor. I got a lump in my throat when I saw my granddaughter Kate dressed in a white nurse’s uniform with white hat. She has the same dark hair as my beautiful wife. (After 49 years of marriage, my wife passed away, and has been gone 13 years now.) Kate had her youngest daughter, Ivy Carolyn, dressed as a nurse too. Granddaughter Olivia Cronkhite was dressed as a mail carrier and great-granddaughter Cora Parker was the mail with letters stuck on her dress. Addie wore her beekeeping suit and great-grandson Abe Cronkhite was dressed as a bee with stripes and wings. Addie’s husband Jeremy and son Grayson both wore Red Sox shirts and hats. Finally, Joe Parker, Kate’s husband, shaved his beard to look more like me and was sitting in a Canadian rocker with a Bible, a newspaper, and crossword puzzles in his hand and brown shoes on his feet. He also had one finger bent to replicate my lost finger.
After the parade, and all afternoon, the whole family met at David’s for a cookout, swimming, cornhole/bean-bag toss, and birthday cake.
When we were married, my wife and I wanted a face in every window. God has certainly blessed me and my wife Carolyn with the family that we have.
Albert R. Boynton