With the Nash Shipyard in his ancestry, building and fixing things is in Maynard Nash’s blood. Waldoboro, too. His grandmother was a Gross, from Gross Neck.
Maynard grew up on a farm on the other side of the river, not far from where he is today. His father worked at Bath Iron Works and his mother at the Button Factory and then Sylvania.
Maynard, who always wanted to go everywhere and do everything, went to Korea after high school. After the war, he did a lot of different things, mastered them, and moved on. In 1984, he started his own business, Little Motor Pool that repairs everything that’s useful around a farming home including lawnmowers and tractors. And it’s where he still is, at 93 years old.
“I grew up right down here on 2450 Friendship Road. Had to work my way through high school. Dug clams so I could go to school. After that, the next thing big was the Korean War. I was in that. For almost two years. Never forgot it.
“A lot of people have different emotions about the Korean War. To me, it was a great success, because today, Korea is booming. But we went through hell to get it there. Years and years later, the Korean government gave us all a book. That would tell you a lot. But I don’t like to talk about it. Not a fond memory.
“After the war, I got a month off and then went to Fort Hood. I was in the 4th Armored division, starting in the ‘grease pit’ and worked my way up. Eight years in, I was made motor sergeant. Not bad. There are only two people above motor sergeant – the motor officer and the commanding officer.
“But see, I’ve worked on machines my whole life. As a kid, we had to because we had a farm with cows, pigs, and chickens. Farmers have to fix their own machines. Otherwise, don’t be a farmer. You couldn’t afford it.
“When I first got out of the military, I worked down at VAST, testing and refurbishing sonar buoys down in South Bristol, and in between, I’d go back to my old standard, digging clams. Then clamming got real bad. So, I thought, what the heck can I do? Well, I’ve done mechanics all my life and then in the motor pool as motor sergeant. So, I went to work at Johnson’s Agway for a few years to get a feel of it.
“Then, I opened my own shop because I enjoy repairing things and building things. You can see what you did. You take a pile of lumber – I built this shop! I built this chimney! I’m a jack-of-all-trades, and I’m very self-sufficient. I learned that as a kid from my parents.
“See, to me, building something, repairing something – that is not work. That’s a pleasure. It’s a good feeling, taking something that don’t work and making it work.
“If it’s something you’ve never worked on before, you learn something. That’s why I like that best of all. Because then you learn. But the principle is always the same, and you can’t change that. I don’t care if the engine is Chinese, Russian, French, American – the principle is the same.
“When I was a kid, my grandmother used to say, ‘Learn all you can. It’s the one thing nobody can take from you. They can kill you, but they still don’t have your knowledge. That is yours.’
“Inventory is the secret. I learned that from when I was a motor sergeant. If you ain’t got the parts, you can’t fix it. If the general wants the Jeep in the morning, it better be ready. They do not like the word no. Ever hear of midnight requisition? It’s a military term. You get the part to fix it even if you have to steal it from the next motor pool. They call it borrowing, but it’s actually stealing. But they steal from you, too, if they can get away with it.
“Today you can buy a new machine and three years from now, you can’t get a part. All that stuff outside this shop? We use every bit of it. Someone will come in and say, ‘I got this old, old, old thing and I need a certain part, and I bet you ain’t got it.’ Oh, yeah, we got it. We go rooting around and we got it. And my son, he can remember where everything is.
“I hate to admit it, but he knows more about this business than I do. But I’m not retiring. I think that people who retire, it kills them. My own father worked at Bath Iron Works and when he retired, he had a wish list. Then he sat down in the darned rocking chair. I think he drew four Social Security checks, that’s all. Then he died. I wake up in the morning and sure, I have aches and pains, too, but the more I move, the better I feel.
“Something happened in Korea, and that’s why I know there’s a god. I learned that from a kitten. It sounds crazy, holding a little kitten and looking in its face. How can every hair be over and over again the same, can repeat, repeat, repeat. This is not an accident. How can it be an accident? How did you get all the various trees and animals and everything? Just today I was looking down and I saw a bug. I wouldn’t step on him if I could help it. He’s a creature. He’s so tiny. And he’s in a world of his own. It’s layer on layer on layer on layer, and how can people not believe?
“That’s probably my greatest strength right there: you cannot kill me. Only God can do that. I will never die until God wants me. I just know it. Just being alive is the happiest part of living.”