Friday, October 3, 2008

1968 Era Baltimore and Northern Maine

Can ya' make a copy of this, print it out, put it up on your office bulletin board or maybe hit that envelope with an arrow on it looking button at the bottom of this post to email it around for me? Thanks.

1968 Era Baltimore and
Northern Maine adventures of
a Rock n’ Roll, Blues loving, Mod kid.

If ya wanna see just how hip and happening Baltimore was back in the 1960s, then David Robert Crews has some interesting and entertaining stories for you about
Baltimore Mods, Beatniks, Ted’s Music Shop,
Sherman’s Book Store, General Music Record Store,
Baltimore’s first head shop The Psychedelic Propeller,
and a teen nightclub called The Bluesette
where Mod kids from in and around little ol’ B-town
enjoyed great, Rock n’ Rolling times together.

On June 5, 1968, David graduated from high school
in the suburbs of Baltimore;
in November of ’68, he moved to Northern Maine,
where he became a bear hunting guide
and wild and woolly country girl’s delight.

David fit right in with the native Mainers way up north,
even though they were about a solid year behind Baltimore in all things hip and happening.

And Baltimore’s teens and young adult Hipsters were
actually about a year and a half behind the
young people of the West Coast and New York City areas.

In Maine, Dave rode snowmobiles like crazy, had stupendous times with the teens in and around Patten, Maine, learned to drive Maine’s rough and tumble backroads and woodsroads ‘like a ringin a bell’, and he tracked wounded bears at night – sometimes all by his lonesome and never with a firearm.

Really cool old photos and well written stories about it all are available for your viewing and reading pleasure and excitement at:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some Say My Stories About My Maine Adventures Are Full Of Lies

Here is a Mainer man named Thurlow Harper's comment on the blog posting "I Need Legal Advice and A Lawyer For A Probate Situation In Penobscot County Maine" on my blog site Northern Maine Adventures:

I know Marty and Finley Clark. I also know about your past history with them. Finley Clark was a hard man, and if you worked hard, you would be rewarded, however if you did not work hard then you were also rewarded in a different way, like not earning the respect of Finley. You got paid what you were worth. I am from Maine, and I am the Son in Law of Richard Libby who was a Master Maine Guide for Finley for years back in the 70's at Katahdin Lodge in Mount Chase Maine. You may want to think about making your own life from your articles, and not focusing on a lost cause like the one you are trying to pursue. The reason I say that is this. When you were up here in Maine working for them, you were taken care of. You were fed, and had a place to sleep etc. You had no bills to pay while you were here, and you were not told that you would be getting paid for what you did for work. You assumed that you were owed something for what you did. That was a long time ago. We are talking in excess of 30 years. Grow up and get over it. You need to move on with your life. If Marty and Finley Clark owed you, then you would have gotten paid in full!

You need to move on with your life and not live in the past. It will eat you alive.

Sincerely, Thurlow Harper

My blunt and reasonable response to this comment could be:

Fuck you!

Your comment is chock-full of some of the worst stinkin bullshit that I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing.

But I am working and fighting for my life here. So I must fully defend myself. And you, Thurlow Harper, are far from being alone in believing that bullcrap, in your comment, to be true. That same stream of bullcrap had mucked up the minds of some of my family members and neighbors down here in Maryland years ago. My Aunt Martha created this family wrecking mess, and I am determined to set the record straight about it. I refuse to allow her, and also my Uncle Finley's, continuing lies to go unchallenged. Lies that have continued on after Finley's and then Martha's death, and are the reason why a few people like you conjure up grave misconceptions about me and my times living and working at my Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha's Katahdin Lodge and Camps of Patten, Maine.

Martha grew up next door to Finley and my mother, who was Fin’s sister, in the small town of Sparrows Point, Maryland, which was a tight-knit community. My father grew up in that small, tight-knit American town too. Then my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and my parents, two sisters and I all lived within 5 miles of each other. And up until 1965, when Fin and Marty moved to Maine, when I was 15-years-old, I grew up seeing Fin and Marty at every one of our loving, heart warming and wonderful American holiday family celebrations; they all also came to my and my two sisters’ and my parents birthday parties; and my parents, sisters and I and Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha visited each others homes quite often on anydays. Martha and my mother were like sisters, and Fin and my father were best friends, until Martha’s personal greed came between my closest family members and I and our beloved Finley and Martha.

It is an ancient, well-known fact that family often wants other family members to work for them for nearly nothing. That doesn’t make it right. I fully deserve every cent that I intend to collect from Martha’s estate. All that I am after is what my rightful portion of Martha’s estate is.

Thurlow Harper, your comment wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that both Richard and Barbara Libby are to each receive three percent of Martha Clarke’s estate would it? It is an estate that is worth multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars. You said that Richard is your father-in-law, and I think that Barbara is your mother-in-law, right?

I do remember that Richard Libby had married a very good Maine woman, and he loved and adored his wife and daughter dearly. I only remember Richard and his wife having one child, in 1977-79. I also recall the painful knowledge that Richard’s sweet and beautiful young daughter was going deaf, and how the family was preparing for it. When you work with a man as closely as I had with Dick Libby, you get to know pretty well how he feels about his family. I can tell you that he has a mighty good, loving wife and daughter, and they have an equally good, loving husband and father. But you already know that.

You never wrote anything in your comment to the effect that your father-in-law, Richard Libby, said I did not work hard enough for Finley. Your father-in-law Richard knows full well what I did at Katahdin Lodge. So where’s a quote from him?

I would be sorely disappointed in Richard if he did say anything to the contrary of anything I have written and published about the times that he and I worked together at the Lodge. Richard was one of the best work partners I ever had. We had a lotta good laughs together, as we got the job done right and on fairly equal terms. Even though he was much, much more qualified than I as a woodsman; in fact there are no better Maine woodsmen than he is. But I never laid back at all and expected him, or any other Maine guide who I worked with, to carry any of my fair share of the work weight; not even when tracking wounded bears at night without any firearms. I sometimes tracked wounded bears and found dead bears at night by myself. I did my share of all of the work at Katahdin Lodge. Whenever I was at the Lodge, I did all of the lawn mowing and trimming of the Lodge’s very large yard -- work which Richard, and all the other guides I worked with, fully appreciated. They all hated mowing it. In balance, at the end of a hard day’s work, your father-in-law Dick Libby would often do something like taking the bait bucket out of my hand to go in to check that last bear bait of the day by himself. I sure as hell did my equal share of the work whenever we were using shovels, hammers or any other tools on a job together. I defy anyone to look me in my eye and say otherwise.

If Richard is concerned that I may take some of what is his and Barbara’s rightful share of Martha Clarke’s estate, he may be inclined to sit in the witness box of a court of law and declare that what your comment says is true, and what I write about my times in Maine is not true, but he will never be able to look me in my eye as he does so. Richard Libby worked too long, hard and honestly for the good life up in the Great North Woods that he has today, that and knowing him as personally as I do influences me to seriously doubt that he would perjure himself in court or be able to stand seeing it reflected back at him from another person’s eyes -- most especially the eyes of his wife and your wife, Richard’s daughter.

Thurlow, I don’t know who-the-hell you think you are, but you are full of foul fecal matter, i.e. Fin and Marty's bullshit. And it is the ever-expanding pressure from that flow of offensive crap that has continuously pressed me on to make certain that my true articles/stories about my times living with and working for my Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha Clarke are not mucked up with, and smothered by, a bunch of other people’s lousy lies -- like the ones that you have written out in your comment.

I cannot allow the lies in your comment to go unopposed. I cannot counter them with a mere bit of angry language against you. Your comment represents the foul essence of the evil misinformation that Finley and Martha Clarke wished the world to believe about me for eternity. It has caused me far too much pain and grief during my lifetime. I refuse to allow it to be part of my heritage to my younger relatives. This is not about “grow up and get over it.” This is no more a case of me living in the past than they are at the Patten Lumberman’s Museum. The Lumberman’s Museum tells of the history that was good and bad for Maine lumberjacks. It also educates people on how the Maine workers had to fight large wood harvesting companies for reasonable employees’ rights, honest wages and benefits. But in my case, it is not all in the past. Your comment full of screwed-up bullshit proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is with me today and will live on after me, unless I put a stop to it.

This thing ate up a good part of me a long time ago, when I lost a substantial part of my belief in what it means to be family, when I lost my Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha to their greed, arrogance and ignorance, and when I could never be given Fin and Marty’s honest job reference for me to work elsewhere as a professional outdoorsman. I used to think that it was caused by greed for cash, but in the end it turned out that Martha had always wanted Finley from his family for herself. She would not even allow my mother, Finley’s sister, to see and speak to Finley one last time before my mother died.

This is not about what happened “in excess of 30 years” ago. This is about a lifetime of family ties, years of painfully broken family ties, and family members being brutally selfish and cruel to my closest family members and to myself, and the effect it all had on my family and I and is still having on my family and I today and what people will think about me after I have gone over to the other side -- to my death. It is also about a real debt still owed to me, and a person's debt usually remains in effect after they die.

If anyone believes, or says, anything any different from what I have declared to be absolutely true and factual, then I challenge them to come onto the Internet and lay their version out for the entire world to see.

I may not be able to sue my dead Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha for libel or slander, but I sure-as-flyin-fuk can sue a live person for it. But don’t you worry about me suing you, Thurlow me-laddy, you’re under the protection of an old friendship between me and your wife’s daddy.

When Finley and Martha accepted moneys from their paying bear hunters, for a week long hunt at the Lodge, and then Fin sent those bear hunters out into the woods with me as their hunting guide -- quite often I was the only guide leading bear hunters after a wounded bear, and it was usually after dark, and we guides rarely ever carried any firearms with us -- that was complete verification of Finley’s respect for the job I did for him.

Either that or you are saying that Finley cheated those paying hunters out of their money by sending me out with the hunters as their unqualified bear-hunting guide.

And if you wanna say that Finley ever cheated any paying hunters then you are saying that the three top-notch, life-long professional Maine Woodsmen who I worked with at the Lodge, John Birmingham, Gary Glidden, and your father-in-law Dick Libby, are the type of Maine Woodsmen who have also cheated paying hunters out of their money. Are you that ignorant?

You are saying that those three put up with a lot of lazy, inept working attitude, abilities and efforts on my part, because they would have had to take up the slack in my work that you are outright accusing me of. You and a few others have been accusing me of this for far too long. You know frigin-aye-well that none of those three finest kind of Maine Woodsmen would have worked for Finley if he was cheating hunters out of having outstandingly great outdoors adventures in Maine.

Finley needed those three lifelong professional Maine Woodsmen far more than they needed him; they would have quit working at Katahdin Lodge anytime they were expected to 'carry me' in any way, or to cover up for any lack of professional standards in me that you unjustifiably and ignorantly accuse me of having -- professional standards when it comes to hunting safety, hunting successes, and good, fun times up in the Maine Woods. You are also accusing top-notch Maine Guides John, Gary, and Dick of helping Finley to run a shoddy and dangerous outfit in their part of the Maine Woods. Ain’t no way fukin that was ever going to happen.

If I was not qualified to do my assigned tasks out in the woods, then I was a danger to all. You are implying in your comment that I was a danger to all and that Richard Libby was a damned fool for working with me. Ask your father-in-law, my old friend, OK let’s say former friend, Richard, if this is not all as I say it is.

You gotta a lotta nerve there, Thurlow, in saying that you know what went on between Finley and Martha Clarke and I. You weren’t even born yet when most of it happened. You are some nervy ignoramus for saying that as long as I was fed, given a place to sleep, etc then it’s alright with you that I was not paid a salary, and so it should be alright with me too. Is that how you are making it in this world today? Do you work for room and board only?

I had no bills when I worked at the Lodge because I had no money for a down payment on a good motor vehicle; or to fix up into a residence and live in the really cool old one room school house over in Batesville that I was once offered for a measly fifty bucks; fifty dollars which I never had while at the Lodge, in 1968-69. And it was within my right to take my well-earned salary and use it anyway I wanted to.

But Fin and Marty were determined to control everything about my life at Katahdin Lodge. They fully felt that I should “do everything what, when, where and how” they told me to. They also frequently belittled me in front of our paying hunters. Then I was sent out into the woods with a group of our hunters, and I successfully lead those paying hunters on bear hunts -- each and every time. I never lost a hunter, none got hurt, a goodly number got their bear and most had a whole lotta wild and woolly fun with me.

I always follow rules of safety and common sense, and I was a willing learner up in Maine, but I didn’t need to ask or be told by Fin and Marty how to “do everything what, when, where and how” they told me to -- especially with my own money. Good advice from older family is important to follow, but it is not good to have them completely control you.

As Fin once said, in a conversation about the down side of living with a long term dictator in control of your nation as opposed to a democratically elected president controlling a nation in preset, limited numbers of years, “Absolute power corrupts.” But, unfortunately, Fin and Marty wanted absolute power over my life at their lodge; they wanted me to be their lifelong, subservient puppet with their taught rope wrapped around my neck.

When I first worked at the Lodge, in 1968, honest people would have begun to pay me after I had been there for longer than a nice long visit with relatives to help them out some. Then when Fin had a game warden, Ted Hanson, come up and give me a Registered Maine Hunting and Fishing Guide’s License, it was definitely time for a pro-woodsman’s pay to begin coming my way.

When I left the Lodge to enter the Army, in November 1969, Fin and Marty gave me a lump sum of cash that they said would equal what they figured I would have saved up if they had been paying me all along. But it fell quite short of the full pay I had earned. Pay I had not asked for due to me not wanting to create a big rift in our family, because I knew Fin and Marty were not going to peacefully give my full, weekly pay to me. At the time, they were my lifelong close relatives, and I was living with and working for them, so I knew them in ways that you, Thurlow Harper, could not possibly know them. But for some odd reason, you sure enough think you do.

While I was in the Army, in 1969-71, the fresh memories of Fin and Marty’s abuse, along with my maturing as a young soldier, caused me to consider it a great loss of family when I painfully came to the harsh realization that my aunt and uncle had mistreated and cheated me so thoroughly that I could not see ever having anything to do with them again. I did not have any contact with them from the time I was stationed on Okinawa in 1971, until I wrote them a letter in 1977.

Before I went back to work at the Lodge in 1977, when I first worked with my good work partner Dick Libby, I had previously sent Fin and Marty a letter stating that I should come up there for two weeks to help them out, as I and my parents and my maternal grandmother (Fin’s mother) knew they needed me to; that way we could at least mend broken family ties. The deal was if I stayed at the Lodge for longer than two weeks then I was a full time employee entitled to all regular pay and benefits.

After the two weeks was up, I stayed on, worked long, hard hours for Fin and Marty, and those two ungrateful relatives of mine mistreated and cheated me again. And once again I quietly suffered their abuses of me, in order to keep the family together. Plus I never had plane fare outa there.

I left Katahdin Lodge in the fall of 1977 to attend college in southern Maine and eventually left the state after Fin and Marty cheated me out of pay that would have gotten me into college. I was never able to attend college classes that I had signed up for, because of my aunt and uncle not paying me for several months of work at their lodge, as I had expected them to do when I left for college. I did not speak to Fin and Marty again, until they telephoned me in the spring of 1979.

I went back to work at the Lodge in the early summer of 1979, at Fin and Marty’s telephoned request. They promised me many things, including a full salary and benefits. I did receive paychecks, but the benefits never came or were ever coming. That full story is at this link:

And it has quite a nice set of writings about Richard Libby in it.

I never again spoke to my Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha after I left Katahdin Lodge in 1979. And by the end of the 1980s, Fin and Marty had cut off all communications and relations with Fin’s side of our family. I have never known why.

If anyone anywhere knows why my Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha severed all contact with Fin's side of our family, I'd like to know why. Please email me at ursusdave {@} hotmail {.} com

Finley was a very favorite uncle of ours; Martha was far more family than just our uncle’s wife to us. Being cut off from contact with them for so many years and then not being allowed to get together to grieve their deaths along with some of the other folks who also loved Finley and Martha Clarke is not something that a person ever quite gets all the way past.

Thurlow, what do you mean by this? “You may want to think about making your own life from your articles, and not focusing on a lost cause like you are trying to pursue.”

Why do you declare my quest to be paid what is owed to me from Martha’s estate to be a lost cause? What do you know about the legalities of it all? You need to reinforce that statement with some hard facts.

And are you making a heart-felt suggestion that I make something out of my articles, like a book or movie, that is very financially and personally rewarding?

That is exactly what I am trying to do. I would like to make it into a book, but I need some help from a good editor to get my punctuation and some other technical aspects slightly corrected. I also need to spruce up my writings a little and put more of my personal humor and some more descriptive and exciting wording into it; but I suffer from severe depression and I am never quite all there in anything I do. Depression that would sure enough have been relieved quite a bit if Finley and Martha had faced the facts and admitted the truth about what I did for them. They began to receive printed copies of my articles/stories at least 5 years before Fin died, and they had to have known about my Internet publishings of those stories for several years before my Uncle Finley passed on to the other side. They had plenty of time to face the facts and admit to the truth in my writings.

Read my postings on my Livejournal blog, and you will see how the basis for an entire movie about my Maine adventures is all laid out. It has as much info and as many ideas for plot and script inclusion as I could think of, so it would have to be edited down and shored up by other members of a movie production team for it to be the superb final product that I have dreamed of ever since I first worked at Katahdin Lodge.

But, if you and others continue to believe and spread Finley and Martha’s vicious lies about me, then who will the rest of the world trust, you or me?

It takes a lot of trust for any financiers to back a movie project.

Or are you saying that I am making my own life up in my articles/stories by weaving my own lies all throughout them?

If so, then, fuk-off, jackass.

My World Wide Web published articles/stories are a realistic portrayal of my adventurous life in Maine. If they are so far from realistic, as you, Finley and Martha and some others declare, then why is it that Fin and Marty Clarke never did one single thing to stop my work from being published?

Nor did they ever write out their own versions.

Nor has anyone else whom I have written about in those World Wide Web published Maine adventures of mine ever written out and published or commented, on the Internet, anything negative about my work.

Fin and Marty were considerably intelligent, worldly, wealthy and powerful individuals. They had what it takes to publicly defend themselves against what you insinuate are articles/stories full of lies about my times in Maine.

They did nothing in their defense due to the fact that they did not have truth on their side to defend them. I tell the basic truth, they did not. They died owing me far more than they could ever repay, and deep down inside themselves they knew it.

Unfortunately, my Uncle Finley Kenneth Clarke never admitted he was wrong or apologized to anyone. My Aunt Martha Louise Clarke was simply a self-serving and deeply devious individual who would never face up to or admit the grievous wrongs that she has committed against our family and me.

Martha did not even mention Finley’s side of the family at all in his obituary. Martha never even let us know that Finley had passed away. No one on Finley’s side of the family received any recognition in Martha’s last will and testament. And she got everything that was Finley’s. That proves it was Martha who manipulated things to turn out as they have, because, after Finley passed away, she was free to do what she felt to be right.

I have these great stories to tell and write, and they are quite well read, received and enjoyed all across the World Wide Web. I had told my stories person to person for around three decades before I finally got to write any out, and then publish some of them on the Internet. Telling them in person has made for some fun times with family, friends, acquaintances and people I have just met, who enjoy listening to my Maine stories. It also gets me many interesting and entertaining personal stories of lives lived by some of those listeners of mine. I love swapping stories, especially around campfires.

Sadly, when I have told enough of the great, adventurous and comical aspects of my experiences in Maine, there often comes a moment when I am asked, “If you like it up in Maine so much, why aren’t you there now?” Then I have to tell of the bad aspects of my times at Finley and Martha Clarke’s Katahdin Lodge.

I tell the whole story because there are other people in this world who need to learn about the abuse I received from Finley and Martha, and how it has affected me for my entire life. Those other people may also have their own personal history of suffering abuses to deal with. Or maybe they are abusers, or potential abusers, and need to know what it is like when someone suffers under their type of maltreatment. I tell what it is like to believe wholeheartedly in your family, to the point of being willing to sacrifice your life for them, and then they mistreat you and cheat you terribly.

Fin verbally and emotionally abused so many people that very few Maine men ever would work for him. This is a true historical fact. It is why the job was open for me in the first place. Then I kept the job because I was good at it and got things done right.

If you wish to see current proof of my life long work ethic, and my natural and learned talents and abilities, then go to -- start with reading some of that site then follow my links on that site to all of my other Internet published works and see for yourself. Just keep in mind that I am a 58-year-old man who has been using computers and the Internet for less than 10 years. My only income is a small, monthly check from the Department of Veterans Affairs, because I am not able to work full time. I could just sit around the house and make no efforts to do any kind of work at all. But, instead, I work as hard as I can by using scrapped together, old computers and learning to use them and the Internet, mostly by trial and error, to post my photos, articles and stories all over the World Wide Web. I show my hometown of Dundalk, Maryland at its best, and Northern Maine too.

I must say here, Thurlow Harper, screw you and anyone else who believes that ignorant bullshit in your comment.

An Email Telling Me To "Let It Go"

I received the following email on July 20, 2008, from Jon Cameron, who I have never heard of before. My emailed reply to it shall follow on this blog posting.

Dave, it seems to often these days that we hear someone trying to grab onto a fist-full of money that isn't theirs. You need to drop the whole "they owe me" crap and get on with your life. Maybe you did do a lot of work/help for them but that does not entitle you to their fortune. Remember, they are the ones that started and owned those camps, not you, so I think they should give the rights/profits to whom ever they wish. My Aunt and Uncle owned a very lucrative buisness and I helped them for years. I would not expect a dime from them after their passing because it was their buisness not mine. If I did recieve something from their estate after they pass-on, I would be greatful for it, but if I didn't, it would not bother me. Nor would I go after anything because it wasn't mine! I don't want to sound mean here, but you should let it go.


My emailed reply:

I appreciate the email and you trying to help me see things from your point of view, but you are not taking all of the facts into full consideration.

I have never written or said anything to the effect that I am entitled to, or "out to grab", my Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha Clarke's entire fortune. I have publicly acknowledged, on the Internet, that others are most certainly entitled to parts of Martha's estate too. I worked for my Uncle Fin and Aunt Marty as a professional outdoorsman and am entitled to fair monetary compensation for doing so. And since at least 5 years before Finley died, I had been doing my best to make contact with Fin and Marty; first to mend broken family ties, and then to collect the debt they owe to me. They refused to speak to me on the phone, they never replied to my numerous direct mailings to them or ever in any way, shape or form acknowledged anything I had done for them as a professional outdoorsman and bear hunting guide at their Katahdin Lodge. During their lives, they neither thanked me, complimented me nor ever spoke positively about the hard work that I did for them. They had, though, in fact, declared that my written works about my times at Katahdin Lodge are full of lies. But, they never took any legal or personal actions to stop me from publishing my stories on the World Wide Web or sending printed copies of the stories to them and also to many other Patten area Maine residents. They took no actions to stop me because my stories accurately depict my life and adventures at Katahdin Lodge, and Fin and Marty had no real ground to stand on if they had taken legal actions against me. They never called me on the phone or sent me any written correspondence concerning my well written and distributed stories about my life and adventures at Katahdin Lodge. They never wrote out, distributed or published their own versions or rebuttals of the stories either. They were fairly wealthy and powerful, but I am a low income disabled veteran living on a meager, monthly veterans disability pension check and also without any real wealth or power -- except for 'the power of the pen,' and the wealth of my true life stories and Internet abilities. Frankly, I am no match for anyone who has any legitimate reason to stop me from doing anything. I barely survive and maintain a roof over my head from month to month, or day to day at times, and have no monies for paying legal fees or traveling to Maine.

I don't know what you have done for your aunt and uncle's lucrative business, but I performed many days of physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, dangerous, sometimes death defying, oft filthy and stinky, long hours of hard work for my aunt and uncle's lucrative business.

Your email is from a camp "in on the Oxbow" -- as we at Katahdin Lodge used to say -- so you probably know that Maine bear hunting guides routinely track wounded bears at night without a firearm. Did you ever do anything as out of the ordinary as that for your aunt and uncle, as I have done for my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley?

As a resident of Oxbow, Maine, you must know the rough and tumble road of the section of Rt. 11 that lays between Moro Plantation and Masardis quite well and are able to safely drive it at high speeds. Read my story Driving Northern Mainer Style and you will see that on several occasions I was forced by Fin and Marty to drive it while doing between 70 and 100 MPH the entire way. I drove it at absolute top -- right on the very sharp edge of disaster -- speed for the vehicle I was driving. Did you ever risk your life like that for nothing? I challenge you, or anyone else, to go out early some morning and drive from Katahdin Lodge to Caribou in just under an hour, as I was forced to do several times. The exact route and how I drove it is all laid out in my Driving Northern Mainer Style story. Do that and then see if you want to come back and again tell me it's not something I should be paid for. Have you ever risked your life in such a way for your aunt and uncle? Somehow, Fin and Marty profited from me completing those runs on time. It was good for their business. How have you ever, outright, risked your life for the sole financial benefit of others?

The bottom line is that I was a competent, professional outdoorsman who worked for Fin and Marty, and they did not pay me very much of what I earned from them. I am determined to collect what is an honest debt owed to me.

Something that I find very odd today is that though, many times, I drove up and down Rt 11 past the road which leads in to the Oxbow, I never turned off Rt. 11 and went in there to see what was there. Not even on one of my adventurous and exploratory Sunday drives up that way. A few years ago, I found web sites for some very nice and interesting businesses that are located "in on the Oxbow" and saw that I truly missed out on something good. I wish I had gone in there to see the area and to meet some of the people there. What is your history and life like in on the Oxbow?

(end of my email)

Jon has not replied to my email.

David Robert Crews Copyright 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bayside at Fort Howard

This is my latest published letter to the editor of the Dundalk Eagle Newspaper:

Property Should Be Used For Veterans’ Hospital Again

Articles and letters I read in The Eagle concerning the development project at the former Fort Howard VA Medical Center fail to explain that future residents do not have to be veterans to be able to rent there.

Veterans have first choice on all rental units and get a discount. But, as Blaine Taylor has stated in his two recent letters in The Eagle, many veterans will not be able to afford the rental prices. That leaves plenty of room for nonveterans.

This project was not planned as affordable housing for veterans, on surplus land.

At a public meeting in the Edgemere VFW, the former director of the Fort Howard VA Medical Center stated that the idea for this project came about when the hospital was not given the funds to continue, and was closed down.

But it was not closed down due to lack of need. That Fort Howard property is the perfect place for what it once was: a much-needed inpatient and outpatient medical center with superb physical rehab facilities. It is also perfect for nice homes with a fantastic view of the Chesapeake Bay.

When it was a VA hospital and I was a patient there, I would sometimes see family and friends of hospitalized vets out on the spacious, peaceful, beautiful and safe hospital grounds with their veteran loved one, when the vet was suffering from a serious medical condition. That open space, peaceful beauty and hospital privacy was good for their aching souls.

Fort Howard’s open space was well used by many patients and their visitors. Some hospital staff members who often took long walks out there in order to deal with the human suffering they were privy to every day also used it. It never was unused open space, as the developers and some others want you to believe.

The Fort Howard property no longer has any security guards. Thieves have already stolen copper pipes and other items from buildings there. Someone needs to provide 24-hour security down there.

The buildings are decaying faster and faster. It is time for the Federal Development Corp. to face the fact that it is subject to Baltimore County rules, regulations, tax laws and all other laws, and that the Fort Howard and Edgemere-area infrastructure cannot handle all of the rental units that Federal wants to put there.

What veterans and their loved ones need to be built there is a new hospital, which is for the treatment of medical problems that veterans often suffer from, and for the rehabilitation of horrific war injuries that too many of our service personnel are coming home from the current wars with.

This war situation is going to last a long time, and casualties of these wars need medical centers like the old Fort Howard hospital used to be. So do aging veterans of previous times in the service of their country.

Unfortunately, the federal government refuses to provide full funding for veterans’ health care.

David Crews, Liberty Parkway

Monday, June 16, 2008

I Need Legal Advice and A Lawyer For A Probate Situation In Penobscot County Maine

My Aunt Martha Clarke died on February 26, 2008. Martha was married to my mother's brother Finley. My Uncle Finley K. Clarke passed away on April 26, 2006. If you have been reading some of the articles and stories I have published on the Internet about my times living with and working for Martha and Finley, at their Katahdin Lodge and Camps of Patten Maine, it may come as a shock to you that Finley and Martha left me and my side of the family out of their substantial estate.

Fin and Marty died owing me money for services rendered to them as a bear hunting guide at their Katahdin Lodge. They also died leaving behind a lot of lies about me. They left some lies about my family too. Consequently, Fin and Marty caused me severe, personal, emotional trauma, pain and suffering.

They caused my parents severe emotional trauma, pain and suffering too, but my parents have passed away years ago. My parents and Fin and Marty were best of friends, up until a short while after my maternal grandmother died in 1980. This is all well explained in amongst my articles and stories published on the Internet.

I have until September 3, 2008 to file a claim against Martha Clarke's estate. I have the paper to do so, but am not sure of what I may or may not put in a claim for. I intend to put in a claim for the money owed to me for the work I did for Martha Clarke. I also believe that I should be compensated for the emotional and personal damages, pain and suffering that Martha Clarke has inflicted upon me.

I need legal advice on what to do here. I need an attorney.

My problem in pursuing this matter is that I am a very low income, disabled veteran. I cannot afford any legal fees up front, nor can I travel to Maine and still pay my house rent.

I am neither a lazy nor aimless person and have been doing all the work I can, as a writer and photographer; much of my work exposes some of the very best of what Northern Maine is all about. It also shows and tells very interesting and entertaining history of what 1969 era Maine was like. And numerous Northern Mainers have said so in emails to me.

When I first began to write my Maine stories, I sent printed copies of the first three stories to Fin and Marty. I also sent printed copies of those three stories to many people in and around Patten Maine. The stories are: The House Fire, The Day I Fell In Love With Patten Maine, and TheRocket Scientist. I put links to them here to where they are published on various Maine web sites, in order for you to know how widely accepted and enjoyed my stories are--up in Maine, and around the World Wide Web.

Then copies of the very good stories Bananastein, Jungle Dirt, and My VW Bug Trip To Maine all went out to many Northern Mainers.

Unfortunately, my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley refused to acknowledge those writings. Later, I wrote and sent Then They Own You to my aunt and uncle and many others in and around Patten. Then They Own You is about the near murderous end to my times working for and living with Fin and Marty at Katahdin Lodge.

It was several years later, when it all got published on the Internet. Nearly everyone who is in my stories, and their families, all know about my Internet published work.

Internet published stories and articles also include: The Easiest Way to Carry A Dead Bear or My Uncle Finley Couldn't Handle It, The Italian Nice Guy, Emails Exchanged Discussing The Italian Nice Guy, and then I wrote one about Driving Northern Mainer Style. Take a look at my Internet published works, and you will see how much my adventures in Maine mean to me, and what my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley meant to me before they did me such tremendous injustice.

Eventually, I sent post cards to My Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley declaring what they owe to me. They still refused to respond.

The harder I worked at telling the true facts of the situation, the more Fin and Marty steadfastly refused to acknowledge my work, the worst it made me feel. The depression caused by this has been quite a destructive force in my life. I can't understand why my close family treated me this way. I don't know how anyone can treat anyone else this way.

Maybe I am a fool for believing that family is important. Am I?

The destructive effect of my depression has kept me from doing anything about this, until it is almost too late.

If they did not die owing me anything, if my stories are as full of lies as they declared, then why did considerably powerful and wealthy Finley and Martha Clarke not take legal action or write to me or call me on the phone to try to stop me from sending out many printed copies of my stories, from sending them post cards, and from publishing my work about them and me on the World Wide Web?

Because my stories are true, and they did die owing me more than their substantial estate could ever repay and compensate me for.

My email is: ursusdave (at) verizon (dot) net

David Robert Crews Copyright 2008

What Great Wrong Did My Family Do To Finley and Martha Clarke?

Does anyone anywhere know of any real wrong that my family did to cause my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley Clarke to refuse to have anything to do with us for about the last two decades of Fin and Marty's lives?

What did we do to Finley and Martha?

That is all I want to know.

What was so bad about us that may have rightfully kept my mother from seeing her brother Finley one final time before she died? As she had once requested, via my sister and over the phone, of Martha--my mother's childhood and adult life friend, for nearly five decades--Marty.

Finley and Martha had to have told some of their friends and Martha's family members why.

Just tell me.

My email is: ursusdave (at) verizon (dot) net

David Robert Crews Copyright 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In Case I Am Attacked Or Murdered In Dundalk

The following information about this post card has been emailed to postal inspectors and the FBI. I have spoken directly to my local postmaster about this situation. I have had telephone coversations with other postal authorities and an FBI agent about this post card, and the story behind it. I may also soon email it to Baltimore County detectives (I was just interrupted, in my final edits of this blog entry, by a phone call from a postal inspector who told me to contact Balto. Co. detectives, because the postal service only investigates threats, and according to their strict legal definition, my post card is harassment. The person or persons who sent the card planned on it not being viewed by authorities as being a direct threat, I am sure. But it is a direct threat against me; read on and you will see why.):

The email:

I have received a threatening post card. A front and back copy of it is attached to this email.

If you look at the message side of the post card, you will see that my address appears to have been written in by a right handed person who is writing left handed. The address and the message on the post card were done by two different hands, and possibly were written by two different people. The card is from Hawaii, but post marked from Boston. These are all ways to disguise whom and where the card came from and when they were in Hawaii, or maybe they never went to Hawaii.

Why would they bother to disguise their handwriting if they do not intend to follow up on their threat?

The same with a post card of Hawaii being mailed from Boston. Is that an attempt to throw investigators, of the post card sender's planned future homicide of me, off their trail?

Did they go to Hawaii at all?

Did they transfer flights in Boston, or did they get someone whom they were in Hawaii with to mail the post card from Boston for them?

If I am murdered, I have no one here to help the Postal Inspectors, FBI, and local Baltimore County homicide detectives with the info of this situation. Of if I suffer a heart attack or stroke from the extreme anxiety I am experiencing. I must have the copies of this post card in an official file.

The confirmation number for the report filed with the Postal Inspectors is: co37852760.

My web site with the background story fully written out, with photos of my times in Maine and scanned copies of post cards I sent to my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley K. Clarke up in Northern Maine, all said to be full of lies by my recently deceased Aunt Martha (she died Feb. 26, 2008, Uncle Finley died Apr. 25, 2006), on it is:

My Uncle Finley and Aunt Martha were well aware that I had published that web site and also many short stories about me working for and living with them at Katahdin Lodge and Camps of Patten, Maine. Fin and Marty claimed that all of my work is full of lies.

Who ever sent me that threatening post card has obviously referenced my numerous published stories and web sites about my times working for my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley Clarke up in Maine -- i.e. "YOU BEAR DUNG" -- and the post card sender has fully believed Martha Clarke's claims that my published works are full of lies. I fully believe that they are seeking revenge against me on behalf of recently deceased Martha Clarke.

If my stories are full of lies, then why didn't my fairly wealthy and powerful Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley try to legally stop me from publishing my stories and also bring law suits against me and my editors too?

Links to all of my published works are on

Thank you.

That is the end of the email.

Now that I have finally begun to seek legal recourse against Martha Clarke's estate, there is a much higher probability that the person, or persons, who sent the post card will be coming after me to do me harm.

This is the only way I have to inform any allies I may have in the Patten Maine area that I need them to think about whom it may be who would want to come and do me harm, as a result of my Aunt Martha and Uncle Finley's hardheaded attitudes about not admitting that they had done me wrong. I know that the post card sender, or senders, is/are not anyone whom I worked with at the Lodge, because they're the kind of men who will come right out and say what they want to, if and when they want to. And they know that my many published stories about my times at Katahdin Lodge and in and around Patten are real. I do not even believe that it is anyone from the Patten area who sent the threatening message to me; it is just a small possibility that someone up there may have heard something to help me, or to help the investigators of my potential murder.

I wouldn't be so worried if the post card sender had not tried to disguise their handwriting. This immediately revealed to me their intent to follow up on their threat but not have their handwriting on the card as evidence of whom they are. They have to be "watching" me for a reason, right?

David Robert Crews Copyright 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

One Blog Visitor's Feelings About My Patten, Maine and Dundalk, Maryland Internet Published Works

Juliana L’Heureux is a native of Dundalk, Maryland who has lived in Maine for many years. She is a well known, long time professional writer up in Maine. Her latest professional accomplishment was to be appointed as the new executive director of the Maine Association of Mental Health Services (MAMHS), in Augusta. The press release for that substantial milestone in her life is on my Dundalk blog. She has kindly, and graciously, written the following:

Flashback: From a Dundalk Annex

From Dundalk to Maine and Back Again

By Juliana L’Heureux

One Turkey Run
Topsham, Maine 04086
207-721-9629 (Home)
207-751-8117 (cell)

Being among the streetcar commuter students who attended junior high school at the Dundalk Annex, in Sparrow’s Point, probably prepared me for the deja-vu feeling I experienced while like living and writing in Maine.

Obviously, no one drives north to Maine on a streetcar. Although Kennebunkport is known for its streetcar museum (and the summer home of President George W. Bush), these cabled antiques are relics of the last century.

Nevertheless, the sense of living in a scenic annex was recently made evident by David Crews, a Dundalk native, who happens to write about the beauty of Maine, by posting stories on his various blogs and Internet projects. Although Crews once lived in Maine, his travel, these days is done in cyberspace, on the Internet. “When I lived in Maine, we drove all over the place having fun on Saturday nights,” he says.

Nowadays, Crews describes Maine like a well informed Internet travel writer.

So, what’s so special about this? Well, because my Internet domain name is I’m a Dundalkian (a word I recently learned) who does the same thing, except, I’ve actually lived in Maine for the past 25 years.

Moreover, for the past 20 years, I’ve written a weekly column about the state’s 400 years of French heritage, culture and language inherited from Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes. It’s called Les Franco-Americains, but over the years the scope
broadened to include coverage of almost anything related to French culture. Indeed, I’ve covered the important French influence in winning the American Revolutionary War.

Another related story is Baltimore’s lovely Cathedral-Basilica and National Shrine of the Assumption, with its French artistic and historic connections.

Crews, in his writing and photography, completes the Dundalk to Maine annex connection for me. Frankly, I’m impressed by the quantity, and the quality of articles, and stories posted by Crews on his websites and Maine blogs. Maine’s Vacationland tourist slogan is supported by colorful outdoors photographs. He spotlights the rugged individualism of the people living in Maine towns like Patten, and tiny places like Sherman and Island Falls.

These small Northeast Maine communities are so tiny, even people living in nearby towns hardly know they exist. Locals boast “wicked” Downeast accents. They might say, “Eyhaaa, so’s a t’urist act’ally b’lieves, ya’ can’t get theeaaaa from heeaaaa”, made comically classic in “Burt and I” dialogues with the late Marshall Dodge. They’re the quaint places Crews knew when he worked at his uncle’s hunting lodge in Patten, after graduating in 1968, from Dundalk High School.

Crews writes about experiences enjoyed during his youthful Maine days, reminiscent of the scenic innocence Steven King describes in his excellent short story, “The Body”, later made into the “Stand by Me” movie.

My deja-vu feeling of being transposed to an annex returns when I read about Maine on one of Crews’ websites. Without leaving Dundalk, he even captures the heart of another state slogan, “The Way Life Should Be”.

© Juliana L’Heureux
May, 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I Once Was Wild

This was at Myrtle Beach State Park Campground, in 1976.

It was my campfire, and I really knew how to build one up
nice and solid back then. I'd git-er going good
on one lit match too.

I knew darn well that the flames would not bother me
if I quickly squatted, smiled for the camera,
yelled "shrink hemorrhoids the natural way "
and stood right back up real fast and smooth.

I had just lit the fire,
and that was my first beer of the day,
so I was just gettin quite lit up me-self.
I was still completely sober at that moment,
an ah knew eggzzactely what I were doin.
There was no danger of me being burnt,
I assure you.

But I sho-nuff did make it look like
I wuz cookin mah mountain oysters!

It was true magic
to the dozen or so other campers
who were watching.

Then we all sat around that fire for hours
and had a mighty fine evening
out in the woods together.


I think that the campers from Canada
read a different meaning into my
"Maryland is for crabs"

The intended message is that steamed,
Old Bay seasoned Maryland Blue Crabs
are delicious.

Seems like they had never heard of eating crabs before.



Now I get it!

They thought it was them kinda crabs I caught
in an Okinawan brothel that time!!

Good thing I didn't realize this back then.

That's embarrassing.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Progress Is Being Made Towards The Revitalization Of Dundalk, Maryland

Main Street of Dundalk, Maryland USA Photography by David Robert Crews

(note: This was originally posted on another blog of mine, Blue Skies Over Dundalk Maryland, on October 24, 2007.)

In the Wednesday October 24 edition of the Baltimore Sun, there is a good article about Dundalk's progress towards revitalization, written by Laura Barnhardt. Dundalk truly is the kind of place that is described in the article.

Except for Tim Young's incorrect statement about Dundalk's eateries being hole-in-the-wall type of establishments. If that were true than every single coffee shop and other small eatery in the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan Area is a hole-in-the-wall too. I'm more than twice as old as Tim; I remember what a real Baltimore area hole-in-the-wall place was like—no air conditioning, rusty old screen doors, flies in abundance, food and cooks all greasy, and the other customers were often more dangerous than the food or the cook was. Health departments, along with the general public’s modern tastes, have eliminated any real hole-in-the-wall type places from this part of the world.

The only one of those places that I ever knew of to be in Dundalk was closed down in the 1950s. My parents had instructed me that it was safe to walk by that local hole-in-the-wall on the way to and from O’Donnell’s Bakery, but they had warned me to never, ever go in there. You could still see rough little, forbidding looking restaurants near the dank, soot covered, rotting wharfs of the Inner Harbor and Fells Point, and in the poorly lit back streets of some Canton-Highlandtown neighborhoods, up into at least the 1970s. You pretty well have to leave the country in order to enjoy that kind of a challenging adventure anymore.

At first, I was quite irked after reading Tim's statement, but I do believe that Tim probably has a more benign, up to date definition of what people call a hole-in-the-wall nowadays. He did, after all, tell Laura, "I really like hole-in-the-walls with really good food," said Young. "Dundalk has lots of them." And he said that the he is enjoying the area. So welcome to Dundalk Tim.

Dundalk Village Shopping Center retail and office space, and the apartments above it, which are now named Heritage Commons, are being rehabbed by JMJ Properties. A small number of those apartments have been completely redone, and are really nice, comfortable and homey inside. They have good views of the tidy little parks and pleasant streetscapes of Dundalk Village. That location has great potential.

Baltimore County believes so sincerely in this potential that, according to the Sun article:

County officials said that because of its central location and historic importance, they decided to help with the renovation, approving a $1 million grant to make some of the upgrades, such as installing an elevator, and providing $2.5 million in loans.

I read in the March 17, 2005, edition of The Dundalk Eagle that the then-new owner of Dundalk Village Shopping Center, JMJ Properties, was to receive a $500,000 grant from the Baltimore County Office of Community Conservation and a $1.5 million loan from the county’s Office of Economic Development. It was just yesterday, on Oct. 23, 2007, that the Sun reporter received her info about the amounts listed in her article. So that means that JMJ has been receiving even more help than before. In February 2005, they paid $3.7 million for the property and are now the recipient of $3.5 million in taxpayer supported grants and loans. They are given some nice tax breaks, because Dundalk Village is a historical district. And they also receive lots of help in other ways, like from the community groups of Dundalk, and that is written about in the blog post below this one. The way that I see it today is, taxpayers have about as much invested in this rehab project as JMJ does. What do you think about that?

Unfortunately, that great potential for the shopping center's revitalization will never be fully realized, as long as JMJ Properties continues to develop and manage the Dundalk Village Shopping Center in the manner that they are doing so today. They rent retail space out as office space, and this is contrary to all that the Dundalk Urban Design Assistance Team planned for having Dundalk Village being the central part of the foundation for Dundalk’s complete renaissance. And most of the actual office space is empty. There were some long time tenants leasing office space who had planned to stay through the rehabbing process and enjoy a revitalized Dundalk, until they got fed up with the way that things were going with "JMJ's management style." One new lessee who was setting up an office in a retail space left shortly after beginning to move in, due to that JMJ management style. I won't name people, but I shop and eat in Dundalk Village a lot and hear plenty of justifiable, and verifiable, complaints from current tenants about their landlord.

Retail business in Dundalk Village is in worse condition than it has ever been. The place is damn near dead. The grocery store just closed, and the shopping center needs one badly. There is now a rumor circulating that the old grocery store will be torn down and a larger, better one will be erected. But the old store went out of business when it should have been thriving. It would have been thriving if JMJ had already had most of the Heritage Common apartments completed and rented out by now, and if they were aggressively, creatively managing and promoting the place. As far as promotion goes, they do next to nothing; they never put up holiday decorations or sponsor special events; there are no creatively-inspired-well-thought-out-widely-circulated add campaigns. Their new website for Heritage Commons is unattractive, mucky looking, insulting and basically bullcrap. That web site is the first thing that I, or anyone I know of, have ever seen, or heard about, as far as JMJ promoting the shopping center.

In a Sept. 27, 2007 Dundalk Eagle article, by Marge Neal, about the apartment rehab work, Michael Kohen of JMJ said that he was proud to be a part of the community. If JMJ personnel were serious about being an integral part of our hard working community here, they would be seen around their Dundalk property on a regular basis. But they rarely are ever seen here—not while shopping or eating in the shops, not while participating in local community groups’ meetings, or at our parades, outdoor music concerts, fairs and art show.

In that Sept. 27 Marge Neal article, it says that Jack Jacobs, of JMJ, has completed the dirty work on the first set of apartments. In reality, he is hardly ever around that dirty, dusty, hazardous, physically demanding work. The article states that Michael Kohen has overseen the project, but he did most of it from afar. JMJ management personnel spend very little time in Dundalk to supervise the rehabbing work that is being done on their buildings. But they do come here to pick up large denomination, taxpayer funded checks that are made out to them. They did show up here in force yesterday, on Tuesday October 23, though—for a ceremony held by Baltimore County officials to congratulate JMJ on the progress they have made so far on the rehabbing.

In that Sept. 27 article, Micheal Kohen says that the work is pretty much on schedule. Their work on the entire project was scheduled to be completed this month (October 2007), but they are only about 2/3 done, at the most. Part of the problem that screwed up the schedule had something to do with the first contractor who was doing the work, Hann and Hann Construction Services. Due to that situation, Chesapeake Contracting Group has taken over the project. Consequently, the work is now being done at a smooth, aggressive pace by some very capable craftsmen and laborers. But I heard that Baltimore County officials had to, shall we say, inspire JMJ to get their keysters in gear on this project.

JMJ has asked Baltimore County to help them in finding new tenets for the apartments. Which basically means they want the county to do that for them too. It appears to me that JMJ wants Baltimore County and Dundalk to pay for the rehabbing work and to do most of the promotion for the project.

The new contractors who are now doing the physical rehabbing work on the shopping center appear to be doing a very good job at it. I am pleased with the hard work that is being accomplished by those workers. I am also pleased with, and proud of, the hard work that is being done by many other various people towards Dundalk's revitalization, especially local businesses and community organizations. And I appreciate all of the good things that have been done, on Dundalk's behalf, by some of our elected officials.

It would be best for this project if JMJ Inc. were to make use of the fiber optics cable that is installed into one place in the shopping center, but is not currently being utilized at all. Fiber optics is the fantastic future of telecommunications technology, and very few people realize that Dundalk has that service available TODAY. Fiber optics service is greatly desired by many people who have businesses and homes in Baltimore City. Had JMJ run that fiber optics cable system all throughout the solidly built, architecturally outstanding shopping center buildings, then high tech retail businesses and also some people who want to do Internet based work at home in their apartments would flock to Dundalk.

I am certain that Dundalk's future possesses many such excellent possibilities.

We revitalization-minded citizens here in Dundalk are swimming upstream against JMJ’s steady flow of indifference towards us as a community and their treatment of their Dundalk Village property as no more than a monetary investment for their own gain—and a substantial part of that invested money is yours and mine.

Because I see such obvious inconsistencies with JMJ complying with Dundalk's UDAT recommendations, such as the cut and dried mandate that there should be retail only in retail spaces, and I know that JMJ is rather lax in their upkeep and upgrades for current retail and office space tenants, and because they are not interested in being an active part of this community, I have no faith in them doing what is best for my community.

Certain JMJ personnel are (from what I've been told), "old Baltimore money," one of the wealthiest families around. They have maximum financial power and political connections. They may very well contribute large amounts of money to all of the politicians who are involved in the major decisions about Dundalk's much deserved revitalization. My understanding has always been that the 2005 sale of Dundalk Shopping Center to JMJ was a vetted process—local government officials had to approve of the buyer. You can make your own sensible deductions about that deal.

There is a newly rehabbed apartment complex that sets about a mile or so from Dundalk Village up on Dundalk Avenue—Portside Apartments. They began doing government assisted rehab work on that complex a full year after JMJ began their work, and Portside is about 99% done with plenty of tenets living there. I know there are differences in all these types of projects, but I go to Dundalk Village several times a week, so I saw that for quite a while that there was no large amount of hard work being done on JMJ's project. Portside is the officially declared Baltimore City side terminus of Dundalk's renaissance, and they are successfully doing their part.

An attractive, new steetscape project for Dundalk Avenue has been completed. So when people drive from Baltimore City down Dundalk Ave., past Portside Apartments and in towards Dundalk Village, they see some very fine examples of our ongoing renaissance

Hey Mary Prankster, Here's Y'ur Blue Skies Over Dundalk There Little Darlin'

Photography by David Robert Crews

(note: This was originally posted on another blog of mine, Blue Skies Over Dundalk Maryland, on June 22, 2007.)

This building in Dundalk Village Shopping Center in Maryland was built in 1925 and it is built to last a long time. That is one great looking structure, and there is another one just like it setting there on the village main street off to the left hand side of this one. Dundalk Shopping Center is a true historical, architectural gem.

Place your mouse pointer on the photo and left click on it to enlarge it so that you can see the details and rock-solid structure of the attractive architecture much better.

When people come to this place named Dundalk, Maryland, for their first time, and they have no prejudiced, incorrect ideas muckin’ up their view of what the true nature of our nice community is, then they see its beauty and potential through clear vision. And they see that it is good place.

If you look at the left side of my photo up there on this blog entry and down into Commerce St. you will see the Village Coffee House. That dark chalkboard sign out on the sidewalk is in front of the coffee shop and that sign has a list of some of what is good inside the little eatery and local hangout (for too few patrons). I realize that it is not easy to see the coffee shop in my photo, but the point here is that there are nice shops all through both the shopping center's main and side streets. There is often live music by some pretty darn good local musicians in the Village Coffee House on Friday evenings, and there is always a rotating variety of visual media produced by fairly talented local artists and photographers displayed on its walls. And that coffee shop needs your patronage like all of the hard struggling shops in this town center do. This is the type of retail business that will do very well here in the commercial rental spaces throughout this shopping center if the new landlord there, JMJ Properties, ever gets their lousy, lame asses in gear on completing their part of the revitalization work.

This shopping center, this once vibrant main street and social center of the hard working, family oriented, fun loving, patriotic, small town American community named Dundalk is being choked to death by the self serving, self righteous, indifference and ignorance of the owners of the shopping center and far too many others to mention here in this brief outlay of the facts.

The facts that you will see here on this entire blog are that Dundalk, Maryland is a good place to live, work, shop, play, relax and enjoy life.

The former owner of Dundalk Shopping Center visited here a few months ago and walked all through the shopping center, inside and out. He had a casual conversation with several Dundalk residents, whom I see often on my frequent visits to Dundalk's Main Street. Those residents informed me that the former owner is sorry to see what is happening here and that he has inside information saying that JMJ has money troubles and can't get this rehab project done right and on time. JMJ appears to be in way over their heads financially and managerially to me and to everyone else whom I have spoken to about this who knows something about what is happening to the currently struggling, and also the recently failed, businesses in Dundalk Village today.

There was a clothing shop on Dundalk's Main Street, A&J Sportswear, which recently closed. In some of the photos on this blog, their large, white, grand opening sign is displayed out in front of the store. But due to the lack of enough retail business traffic in Dundalk Village, that shop folded in a very short time. It was the kind of business that belongs here and would do well there if JMJ would do what they are supposed to do as landlords of a shopping center.

There is a nice little jewelry store in Dundalk Village, with a real good watch repair shop in the back of it, which has been there for a long time, but it appears to have closed due to lack of business traffic in the shopping center. That store is not in a JMJ owned building, but they are a victim of JMJ's uncaring shopping center management style for sure.

Due to JMJ's piss-poor handling of their part of entire rehab project, on July 31, 2007 a lawyer named Myles F. Friedman is moving out of the Dundalk Village office space which he, and his father before him, has occupied for about as long as I can remember—and way back in 1963 I began "going up to Dundalk" quite regularly, when I was a 13 year old kid, and I have gone there often during the many years since.

In the early 1980s, I moved from Dundalk up to West Chester, Pennsylvania to work and live. When I arrived there, that town was full of empty storefronts and old unused buildings, but the townsfolk there had just begun to revitalize their main street area business district. I worked right in the middle of it all and had the pleasure of seeing that town's rebirth from a dead looking business liability to a lively, muti-faceted business district with great shops and eateries being opened all through that small town. In the same amount of time, that JMJ has been working on their part of the revitalization of Dundalk Village, during which time nothing has been done by them to enhance the business life in Dundalk Village, in that same amount of time West Chester, Pa. turned their town around from being a hopeless looking mess and into a really nice downtown area which is still that nice and active today.

The Avenue At White Marsh—which is in some ways a modern copy of a Dundalk Shopping Center—has to pay for their live entertainment that is put on to draw business traffic to the stores there. Here in Dundalk that is done by volunteer groups, who do it just because they love this place. We have concerts in Veterans Park on some summer Fridays and in Heritage Park on some summer Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then there are the music shows at the Dundalk Heritage Fair every year. The Heritage Fair is the largest fair of its kind in the United States that is put on solely by volunteers. That great community event brings in tens of thousands of people to the area each year, but few of them ever return to shop in Dundalk Village—what a waste of opportunity to create return visits. Our 4th of July Parade goes right down through Dundalk Village's Main Street, and thick crowds of people enjoy watching the parade from right there on sidewalks and in the parks along the village's main street. We have the Art Show in May in the Veteran's Park. Unfortunately, JMJ has nothing to do with any of that. They don't do a damn thing to contribute, even though it all increases the value of their investments in Dundalk and would increase those values substantially more and bring great volumes of business traffic to the village if JMJ was involved and contributed money, time and effort to putting on these wonderful, community based, family oriented events. All of those events could be used as platforms from which to promote the stores in the shopping center, but this does not happen.

JMJ does not even have to pay for the landscaping work which is done at specific seasonal intervals around Dundalk Village, because somebody here in Dundalk gets them a $10,000 grant each year to pay for that. Look at the huge overflowing flowerpots on the sidewalk up there in my photo of the shopping center—that is a nice horticultural job, which is done free for JMJ.

Baltimore County recently repaired and upgraded the curbing, sidewalks and especially the cross walks all through Dundalk Village Shopping Center. The bulk of that normal infrastructure is usually on a shopping center's private property and therefore the cost for the upkeep of that portion of the property is usually paid for by the shopping center itself. But Dundalk Shopping Center has public sidewalks and curbs and streets, so here again JMJ Properties has another set of advantages by having the county government take care of that portion of the village's infrastructure.

To see what the community is doing to make Dundalk a better place to live, work, shop and enjoy life, and which also just happens to make JMJ's investments in Dundalk worth a lot more in the future, then go follow the links over at the left of this blog listed under Other Dundalk Maryland Web Sites. There are many residents of this area who are very active in doing what is best for our community.

JMJ will probably make a lot of money off of this rehabbing deal no matter what happens. They must be paying themselves handsomely for their managerial work on the project. You all know that real estate values in Dundalk are constantly rising. So no matter how well the work is done on the rehabbing, the grant and loan monies put into the project will dramatically increase the resale value of the shopping center properties. JMJ will sell it sometime in the future—no doubt about that.

The Mary Prankster reference in the title on this blog entry is due to her infamous indie influenced cowpunk song titled, Blue Skies Over Dundalk." She may not have written, sung and recorded that song as another unwarranted put-down on this town, but it is used as one. Consequently, I am using her as a representative for all those song writers, political entities, members of the media, individuals and any groups of people setting in restaurants or at outdoor picnics or anywhere else who misrepresent what the community of Dundalk is actually like when those people, who do not know Dundalk, rudely belittle all current and former residents of Dundalk, Maryland to the point where it is socially, emotionally and financially detrimental to us.

Many people falsely believe that Dundalk is a dangerous, dirty, ugly, run down, stinking place, which "is nothing but white trash and trailer parks" (a quote overheard in a Cockeysville restaurant by a Dundalk High School English teacher ). And because so many people in this world believe so much ill conceived, insanely false, negative information about Dundalk in general, we here are fair game in the minds of too many for anyone hunting for a place or people to abuse and/or to take financial advantage of.

Disrespect for Dundalk is a fact that is fully featured in most aspects of media coverage of Dundalk. Any bad crimes committed within a couple of miles of our disputed borders is placed upon our good name. In 2003, there was a policeman murdered in front of an O'Donnell Heights bar—which is about a mile or so past the edge of Dundalk and well into Baltimore City—then for the very first time in my life O'Donnell Heights was reported far and wide as being part of Dundalk.

Conversely, when local volunteers put on our annual Dundalk Heritage Fair, which always features at least one well-known music artist or group who has earned several gold records and a Grammy or two, then the Baltimore media pays absolutely no attention to us at all.

When one of our native Dundalkians, Robert Curbeam (some of his family still lives here in Turners Station), goes up on the space shuttle then he is declared by the mass media to be from Baltimore. Even our Dundalk born and raised professional skateboarding star, Bucky Lasek, is said by all of the media outlets to be a Baltimore guy. But when a sick pup named Joseph C. Palczynski, who was not a Dundalk native or resident, came to the very outer most edge of Dundalk and made international news for a week or so by holding his ex-girlfriend's family hostage in their home there, then that was considered and reported all around the world to be what you should expect to hear about Dundalk.

A radio talk show host on a Maryland Public Radio station, WYPR, Mark Steiner, was one time having a nicely flowing conversation with local TV sports newsman Keith Mills(?) about Orioles baseball games at the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore when they reminisced about a well known local character named Wild Bill Hagy.

Wild Bill Hagy was a Dundalk cab driver who held court as the king of all fanatic Oriole's fans and led the hearty cheers of some of the wildest and craziest and typically lowest average income earning fans at the O's games who always sat up in the cheap seats of Memorial Stadium in the old, infamous bleachers of Section 34. Mark and Keith(?) were very jovial about it all till Keith(?) said something about how rowdy the ol' internationally known and well loved Section 34 bleacher crew could get, when Mark very disparagingly quipped in with something like, "And yeah, all the crazies from Dundalk were there."

Mark Steiner is a clear thinking, fair minded, anti-prejudice, even-keeled-political-discussion-moderating radio talk show host—but that did not stop him from disrespecting Dundalk and making such a thoroughly unfair and prejudiced Dundalkphobic statement.

I steadily rely on WYPR and Mark Steiner to garner reasonably reliable information about a lot that goes on in this world, plus to enjoy the finest kind of radio entertainment, so Mark's slip of a quip about Dundalk residents, which insinuated that they were the most prevalent and aggravating presence amongst the rowdy fans of Section 34, is deeply hurtful to me. I have no way of knowing for sure, but I seriously doubt that O's fans from Dundalk made up the largest percentage of the ol' bleacher crew at Memorial Stadium. To me, this is one of the most disturbing examples of Dundalkphobic prejudices—a National Public Radio talk show host of the highest caliber uttering such a thing as, "all the crazies from Dundalk."

Dundalk is not allowed to have any good coming from it, and anything bad that is near here is dumped right on us.

Dundalkians are often loath to publicly admit that Dundalk is their hometown, because this often leads right to rude insults. It is so bad that when the native Dundalkian, Kevin Clash who is the voice of the world famous Sesame Street character Elmo, was being interviewed on Maryland Public Television he could not bring himself to say that he got his first big break into show business as a ventriloquist and puppeteer when he met Stu Kerr, the famous old king of Baltimore kid's TV, at the Dundalk Heritage Fair. When Rhea Feikin interviewed Kevin on Artworks This Week, she asked him about where he had gotten his first big break into the business, and Kevin meekly replied, "there was this heritage fair," instead of outright saying, "at the Dundalk Heritage Fair."

For the most part, everyone has given everyone else permission to thoroughly disrespect Dundalk to the point where we are considered to have no redeeming value here. We here are considered by many to be amongst the lowest forms of human life, and our community is said to be one of the worst places to live in the state of Maryland. This is a well-known and thoroughly documented phenomenon.
If you are someone who has never heard of Dundalk and you are reading this and wondering if I am making this all up in my own head, I assure that this subject is talked about daily around here and is often written about in our local newspaper, the Dundalk Eagle. There were a pair of radio disc jockeys on a Maryland radio station who went way too far with their sickening, self promoting Dundalk bashing and were forced off the air by angry Dundalkians. The former governor of Maryland, Willy Donny Shaefer, was once forced to publicly apologize for a rude, disparaging remark that he had made about Dundalk. There are numerous Dundalk citizens battling and working to overcome and eliminate those insane prejudices and rude affronts, which some number of us are faced with on any given day.

Due to those unfortunate, ignorant circumstances, the management personnel of JMJ would 'catch no flack' in any social or business setting, which they are normally in, if they were to more or less say that they are greedily taking full financial advantage of us here and not giving us what was paid for by tax payers' money.

Dundalk can overcome all of the incorrect negative images of us, which we have been painfully saddled with for decades, if our hometown is ever revitalized in accordance with the way that we were shown to do in the year 2001 by the Urban Design Assistance Team. The UDAT gave us a very comprehensive and well-researched, thoroughly studied and wonderfully created plan for our future. In order to achieve our set goals and to shake off the saddle of negativity, which we suffer under, we need JMJ to get themselves in gear and to complete the rehabbing of those great buildings in Dundalk Shopping Center.

I have lived in Dundalk for a substantial portion of my life. But I have also lived and worked in other places—like a tiny town up in the woods of Maine, on Okinawa as a US Army soldier, in famous seaside resort towns, in Baltimore City and also in several mid-sized towns. I have lived through the necessary life experiences and have traveled around enough to be able come to the fair conclusion that Dundalk is not that bad of a place to live.

Dundalk Village Shopping Center truly is a beautiful place as it is today, with its historic architecture and also the several well maintained pretty little public parks which are on two sides of it; but the insides of those buildings there need to be fully rehabbed as soon as possible. Newly restored apartments in those buildings will be able to draw new residents to those unoccupied homes. New residents will bring new and warmly welcomed life into the village. New residents will do business in the shops there. And that lively increase in residential and commercial activity in the village will attract more business traffic from all directions to the shops there. The retail shop renters there are hurtin' for those customers.

Dundalk Village Shopping Center is managed by JMJ Properties like it is strictly an investment venture, not the near 100-year-old town center of a well-established American community that it is. This bullcrap needs to stop, or there is no hope for the successful revitalization of Dundalk.

Dundalk will never once again be a vibrant community, one that is finally respected by all, until we have solid revitalization centered upon and growing outward from a fully rehabbed main street shopping district.If anyone out there can prove any of this to be false, there is a comment feature on this blog for you to openly register your opposition or rebuttals. You can also write a letter to the Dundalk Eagle Newspaper, and maybe they will publish it for you.