I was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, north of Boston, in what is known colloquially as “The North Shore.”
But I have had a love affair with Maine since childhood.
As a young Boy Scout, I spent a couple of weeks every summer at Norshoco Scout Reservation in Alfred, Maine. The site is now a state park.
After my widowed mother married my stepfather, we spent every summer at Great Pond in the Belgrade Lakes. My stepdad’s family owned a lakeside camp, where I first heard the plaintive call of the loons. It’s also where I learned to waterski.
During my 30-plus-years in TV news, I spent almost three of those years anchoring the news at WVII in Bangor. That was where I struck up a friendship with chief meteorologist Ted Shapiro, one of the best in the business. It’s also where I won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for a televised look at autumn in Maine I called “Autumnland.”
As a news anchor and reporter, I worked in many TV markets large and small. I covered my share of housefires, bank robberies, city and town council meetings, parades, county fairs and innumerable stories about fascinating people.
One of my most cherished memories is the afternoon I spent at the home of American icon Ansel Adams. He had just donated some of his photographic works to the University of Arizona in Tucson and agreed to my visit so I could see him padding around his concrete and glass aerie high above the Pacific near Monterey.
I also had a rare opportunity to meet and chat with documentary producer and director Ken Burns. He and I both produced TV programs about the Lewis and Clark Trail, and at about the same time. My project, of course, was more modest in scale and aired first. But Burns said he was astonished at the quality of the production, “In the Land of Tall Prayers,” especially since my photographer and I were working on a tiny budget and with almost no resources other than our imaginations. The documentary won six Emmy awards.
I live by a credo that I want to leave the earth a better place. It’s why I am a blood donor of long standing. In fact, I just received my three-gallon pin.
When I lived and worked in Spokane, Washington, back in the early 90s, I volunteered with Big Brothers & Sisters of Spokane County. My Little Brother Joe was nine when I joined the program and we were inseparable for the nine years of our match. Joe is now a devoted husband and father with two kids of his own.
We still talk often and I consider my time with him the most rewarding period of my life.
A little more than a year ago, I adopted a sweet little Husky mutt named Rebel from a no-kill shelter in Camden. He’s the best thing that has happened to me in a long time.