Letter from 1969 Warns of the Rampant “Sex-and-Sin” in Waldoboro, Maine
Looking at photos in the past can be fun. Even reading a newspaper article or two they don't often give you a look into the minds of the locals and their experiences.
There is much drug-taking here, an appalling amount of drinking, a horrifying amount of illegitimate births
Reddit User Ok_South5414 stumbled upon a letter sent to his grandfather, Mr. Clifford W. Smith who was living in Coventry, Rhode Island from someone by the name of Louise from Waldoboro. It appears Louise may have been a cousin or long-time friend.
The letter begins with reminiscing and catching up on family.
After the pleasantries and the memories comes a warning from Louise. In no uncertain terms, Louise does not recommend Clifford move to Maine.
Louise writes, "I trust you will think long and carefully, before you move to Maine. There is much drug-taking here, an appalling amount of drinking, a horrifying amount of illegitimate births - I have concluded that there is so much sex-and-sin here, because there is nothing else available for young people to engage in. Also, one must consider the schools. Here, since English teachers themselves speak poor English, the grammar is horrifyingly poor..."
Honestly depending on who you're talking to some of these things Louise complains about could sound like a grand ol' time.
Now I certainly can't speak to what life was like in Waldoboro in 1969, but as someone that grew up near Waldoboro in the 90s, I can confirm that there wasn't a whole lot available for young people to engage in.
Louise continues, "It is all right to retire here, though I much regret it - because one's children have become edcuated and have married; also, at least here on the coast, the area contains a great many very nice retired couples of one's own outlook and background.
One has to contemplate the marriage of one's children, and here it is simply dreadful - they marry highly unsuitable people simply because of lack of anyone else. The men like to loaf and fish and hunt, the women perforce must seek work in factories, leaving their childredn to take care of themselves. I know I should not wish MY granddaughters to marry the average man, here.
I trust you will realize that my remarks are kindly meant, to prevent a mistake you might unwittingly make, as we did, in coming here. Of course, if your minds are irrevocably made up, it will be pleasant to have you here as 'neighbors'."
Well, if you ask Louise it sounds like Maine might be home to the worst of the worst. The dregs of society.
This letter prompted me to do further research. To talk to someone who was there during that time. So I called up my grandmother Molly, who, in 1969 was raising 3 kids, including my father, her youngest, who was nearly 7 years old at the time, just a few towns over from Waldoboro.
I know I should not wish MY granddaughters to marry the average man, here.
I asked her about the factories that all these women were apparently working in and she recalled Sylvania and a button factory. Sylvania manufactured primarily lightbulb filaments and she in fact worked there for a period of time.
She explained that it was a well-paying job for the area so many locals worked there. Plus, they offered 3 shifts a day.
She then commented that it wasn't unusual for those that moved here to judge and be rude to the locals so Louise's attitude wasn't surprising. Still to this day many locals don't like the "people from away" because of the holier-than-thou attitudes.
I asked her what she knew about the schools there and she remembered that Medomak Valley High School was a huge asset and addition to the community. It opened just a year before this letter was written.
I don't know who Louise was or if her children or grandchildren live around here but I hope she eventually found some joy in my childhood home of Lincoln County, Maine.