Albert Bergeron was 60 years old when interviewed by Beth Bergeron in 1993.
I don’t really remember what was going on at the time of my birth. My father used to play some with the boys. He would take us with him whereever he went: fishing, hunting, whatever, basically, even work sometimes! My father used to “live” on the truck when I was three or four. He hauled lumber in the woods in Norway and back.
I’m the oldest‑ top of the tree‑ of eight. There are seven behind me, two girls. One of my brothers or sisters hit me over the head with a hammer. I don’t remember how old I was or which one it was that hit me. I was probably the smallest one in school. That’s about the only thing that I can remember from way back.
We celebrated holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but didn’t make such as big a deal about it as they do nowadays. All the families were about the same in the whole little town‑‑big town of about two hundred, kids and all! That was Temple, Maine!
My father spoke French but I never did. One of my Grandmothers couln’t speak English either. She knew what . . . You knew what she was talking about. I don’t know how, but . . pretty much the tone of her voice, I guess. No, (my) father used to speak it for years and years and just kept slipping away from it.
It’s a big jump I know, from a little town of Temple with two eighth graders in it for eight years and then go into high school with two or three hundred. It made you feel lost a little bit. Made you wonder what you were doing. Made friends right off the bat because of sports, mostly baseball. They did baseball, basketball and football, just those three.
I remember my grandfather died when I was eightteen just before I went into the service. We knew he had heart trouble, so I would say it was expected. It happened during the day. (He) was driving and pulled over to the side of the road and . . . boom! They didn’t have big funerals but a lot of them were at home. His was at home. He’s buried in Farmington. I can see that today just as well as if it were yesterday.
I did graduate from High School. Uncle Sam made me decide to go into the service. You had no choice in those days. The war was on. It didn’t bother me a bit. Felt good about it probably. I felt big. Was in the war for two and one half years. You’re young you don’t think a thing about the troubles of war. It’s just a challenge. I’ll get them before they get me.” That’s why they get them to go into the service, you know. Don’t realize that when you get older this is why. Because the temper is a little short and you say, “I’ll get that son of a ‑‑‑‑‑‑ and you go up and to at it!! Like they tell you to shoot a while. And you kind of wait and see if you can get a better shot at it. My ship was an air patrol and submarine patrol. The outfit is down in Brunswick.
We could do just about what we wanted to do growing up. We’d go up to the barn and jump off and slide off. We’ get hell if we got caught but . . . We’d probably lose previledges or something like that. Don’t remember being hit or anything. It would be something that you’d want to do that you would lose. Didn’t fight with any brothers or sisters mor than the others. They all were about equal.
Mother did mostly housework, sewing and things like that. Kids played amongst themselves or followed along with father somewhere. In a small town, everyone from two to two hundred played together. Age didn’t mean anything. You played together, skated together, slid together.
In those days, nobody worried about beyond the service. We knew there wasn’t many that would go beyond the service.
Sports were around as long as I could remember. Baseball was major‑‑it was the major one. I probably didn’t enjoy school, if the truth be known. But, I was a good little student. I had one (teacher) almost the whole time I was in school‑‑the same one! Near about from the second/third grade on, I think. All the way through high school‑‑all the way until we graduated.
She. . . the year I broke my leg, I was out of school for three months. Every day for three months, she brought my lessons to me at the house and picked them up. She was quiet. She had a firm weight. That’s all. I don’t know why but she just had (discipline). (I) felt good about finishing school. Went as far as business college. And I’d have gone back.
(At College), we was mostly service fellows. We used to raise hell. For me, and others, it was mostly repetitious stuff I’d done. It made it easy. In the first year, I did almost three year’s work because I’d had a lot of it before. You could work ahead the if you wanted to. We didn’t have too many activities at the time.
I just took accounting/business administration. I learned I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was‑‑learned to be straight forward and honest whether in business or what. (Education) is number one, actually. It’s what you don’t have, you don’t get on the other end‑‑ monitarily‑‑or . . .I’m sure there is a big role the parents play (in education). It starts it out. It puts the desire there. It’s where it all begins.
I can’t remember the first date. Didn’t have a lot of dates. In high school, we didn’t, us boys. We was all sports. We didn’t . . .girls was something . . . kept them down here. We didn’t want them around. I don’t know of in high school, if there was anybody that (dated). There might have been one the last year. Might have been Bob Bartlett. He and Alice might have gone together, but it’s the only one I know of had a steady, ever thought of being steady.
Had to be after the war (when I became interested in dating). Back in them days, you had the movies and there wasn’t a heck of a lot else. We’d go to the movies and then go down to McGoney’s and that would be it. Ice cream/coffee/soda. That would be the only place in town that would be open.
My wife, I knew her brother. Her brother was in my class in school. That’s how we met. So we just sort of come by it naturally, I guess. January, February until October. How many months is that? Eight or nine months (of dating). It didn’t take long. It must of been her personality, I guess. She probably thought I was King Tut. Made me feel good. She agreed with me and let me play ball. She didn’t worry about me not playing ball so. She let me do it, suffered with it, the time it took and all those good things.
We had an apartment first. Two apartments before we got the Ouse. After I got out of the service the second time, we started he house. I was in twice. WWII and Korea. I didn’t have much choice the second time. Didn’t feel resentment about going the second time. Back in those days people were patriotic. Country comes first. Might not have been anxious but you didn’t complain about it. You just went and did it because it was your duty. What’s gonna be is gonna be.
We went to Alaska, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan Straights, around that little area in the air. In the Korean was, we patrolled the Taiwan Straights from dawn to daylight, our squadron. Another squadron flew out of the Philippines from dark until daylight. Twelve hour shifts each, but you only did it . . . There were nine planes or squadrons every sevnth/eighth day. On time off, you repair your planes, repair your guns. Don’t really get off. No place to go!
It was after the second time in service that I met my wife. Went to college between wars. Played around. Probably did date a little at college. I guess there was two or three down at the college I went to see. I was in between. I forgot about those years.
(Most hysterical event I took part in was) WWII. Feels good. I don’t know why it just feels good to come fome. It’s over. Can’t do much more. Put them to their knees. Japan surrendered and Germany surrendered. I think, five years later, I think Japan was ahead of us. We could have lost and they were the winners but. . .(I was) fourteen or thirteen years old when Pearl Harbor was on the radio. Ah yes, We were glued right to Gabriel Header, newsman. We listened to Gabriel Header. It didn’t mean much at the time. It was one of those things that was far away at the time. It was a big thing, but it didn’t affect our family. I was the oldest one and I was thirteen. Nobody thought much about it. I don’t think. I’m sure the atomic bomb (made a difference) because it wasn’t long. The war was over when that went down. Which I do remember that. Don’t remember the Titanic or WWI. (I) don’t remember‑‑ women could vote as long as I could remember.
Used to see Martin King on t.v., but didn’t pay much attention because I wasn’t really interested. I don’t think the 9my family0 really cared. They thought you was a person/they was a person. No discrimination that I knew of. No. We didn’t have them up home anyway. I only remember one up around home.
He was a horse trainer for Cash Clarke and Coca Cola. He comes from the South and he was arount town just like the rest of us fellows. Fitted right in with the rest of us and nobody discriminated against him. That’s the only black that I knew of up around there. He was there summers, winters South. He had it made better than the rest of us. Tom, but I can’t remember his last name.
President Kennedys assassination
I was trying to think ’62, ’63, ’60? Oh, thirty‑odd (years old) (Had a family by then). Oh yeah, we watched it for two days on t.v. all weekend. Kind of devastated. I think, shocked. Don’t look for it to happen, I guess. Of course, you could see this all on t.v. which your earlier ones wasn’t on t.v. so you didn’t probably feel as close to it. I think they (felt sort of close to Kennedy). They very much did‑‑one of the boys, I guess.
Vietnam started when Kennedy was in. It wasn’t a war at that time, but helping them out a little bit. Mike went through Vietnam and Terri was in Korea. Not really affected I guess. Probably concerned.
Six years after married, children came. Probably changed our life some. Was working at Forsters then. Traffic distribution and sales. Hours varied. Started out at forty and sometimes you was working Saturdays and parts of Sundays. Directing cargo out to the warehouses. Sales/service which is the end of sales. When you’re on sales, you didn’t do all the other then. you came back in and did the distribution. I did it at different times‑‑ different times. Didn’t do it all at once.
(Started racing sulky horses) when, I don’t remember. There wasn’t too much difference in time, I don’t believe. It’s all it was, a hobby‑‑harness horse‑‑all just for fun. Switched from baseball to horses when my back gave out.
About two years (between children). I was the tirant drove them right around with a stick (laugh). I was probably easy. Not too much (diapers). Little bit (of playing) at night. Basically, tired. Audrey got most of the cleaning, changing the diapers and the feeding. I got to feed ’em once in a while. She got most of the . . .
Not baseball. That was gone by, by then. Some baseball with (the son). Really wasn’t interested in baseball. He was interested in football. Probably did (disappoint me). Probably because people would compare him with baseball. He had to be as good as his father was. Had to be as good as Uncle so‑and‑so was. I think probably that discouraged him to begin with. He liked football instead. I have an idea. The little things I picked up.
I remember the first man on the moon. Watched it on t.v. Just curious, I guess. To see if he was gonna make it or not. It didn’t make any difference. I thought they was damned fools to try it! That was it as far as I was concerned (once they made it). They was there. They got back. Good for them!
Didn’t follow Watergate any. Can’t get too excited (about world issues). Not too excited‑‑getting involved in worldly things. (Get by) as easy as I can.
Lost Forsters job in the ’70’s I would guess. I left Forsters to go to Solon Manufacturing. Was there for six years. Went to Bass’s for a year and then that’s when I went and put that project together for that carri … fellow in New York for the Carribean. That took six years. By the time he kept making his mind up. He wouldn’t have taken that long if he been doing it all at once, but do this step, do that step. Didn’t go through.
Was gonna build a factory down there‑‑toothpick factory‑‑ popsicle sticks. Putting the whole thing together. Who down there? I can’t think of the fellow’s name. He’s Premiere now, too. He played footsie with Castro and lost his money. Bank put restrictions on it. The number of projects, not really this project. Guess he wasn’t planning on getting re‑elected again. Castro did. After a time, he’s back to being Premiere now. I don’t think he’s playing with Castro now.
(Family has given) life, love, I guess) really, satisfaction, the usual things. That is a good question. I really don’t know (what I’ve given the family/ community). I don’t know what they would say. They might think of something good. Haven’t been to community fairs for years and years and years. Spend some time with family when we could. I haven’t done that much, I don’t think. (Kids) probably don’t remember too many (disciplines)! I’m too easy.
In the old days, they used to build their farms with the sheds in between. So you didn’t have to go outdoors in the winter. So you could do your chores. That’s probably good way to do it that way. Nothing unique.
If you had a cold, put the old lard to you‑‑Kerosene and lard. Yes, burn it right out of you. Put a piece of flannel soak it with kerosene and lard and. . . Lard was burning and the kerosene draws out. They only had candles for light. You had to take a chance (with the kerosene on your chest). I’ve had kerosene on mine. (Poison ivy) remedy has been passed around. Put the old bleach to it. That will burn it off!
Not much of history in my community. Work meant bread on the table. Retirement‑ not yet, see no reason to. As long as I’m healthy and feel good. Plan one thing, but it may be shortlived!
Children leaving home
I suppose there was (feelings as one got married and left). I don’t know just what they were. One less?, I guess. Not really, but . . . Happy and sad in other ways. Happy to have them happy and sad to have them go. He was bigger than I was so I couldn’t fight him! Appearantly not moving away far.
Just another birthday. Don’t really think about them. Couldn’t get concerned about them. No sense to (worry). You’re never gonna get to where you’d like to be. Never get where you’d ought to be. Never give it a thought really (where I would be now). In fact, I probably never thought I’d get to be 67! Lucky to get to 65!! If you got to 45, you thought you were doing well, at one time. No health problems‑a little cholesterol. It may be there; it may not. I don’t know. Can’t complain, I guess, too much. Too late to worry now. Not too much affect (from Medicare threats to elderly). Things are going about the same.
Have grandchildren now. Didn’t make me feel old really. Just took it as part of life. I babysit for a good part of the time. Come tp think of it. I “was” the day care center! I forgot about that! Had all kinds of time for a while. Did that for four/five years, five years. Pretty close to school age. Bass was only a temporary job anyway. (Empty nest) was filled right back up again. Kind of like starting over again.
Could always send them home if they didn’t behave. I suppose they did (remind me of own children). Pretty much. Kind of started right back at the old cycle. Don’t think I had nap times. I do now! Probably won’t be much left (to pass on to grandchildren). Hope they had the regular USA values right straight through. . . honesty, and all that goes with it.
No compromising honesty right down through. My wife controls my life. Well, I haven’t complained so I guess I haven’t kicked her back yet.
Hitting a home run, winning a ball game.( most enjoyment). At peace with self. (Achieve peace by) That’s a good question. . . just not be fighting with the world, I guess, take things as they are. Sort it all out and go with it.
Intagible gifts would be worth more that the tangible ones. Things that money can’t buy. (Money) isn’t particularly (important) Nice to have but . . . Either there or it’s not there.
Probably getting married. (Mistakes??) Of course not! I’m not gonna admit to them if there is!! My mistake was not going farther in school. Much too late now, but just forget about it. Water over the dam. Where your life is either you make it or you don’t make it. Of course, I didn’t. I suppose I have to say yes (that I’ve done well enough without school). Probably would have done better if I had’ve gone. Who knows?! Who Knows? That’s for sure. I know a fellow in grammar school went on to be a millionaire. Hardly gone to grammar school!
Pretty hard to separate one from the other. Different steps along. Each one has their own. Closeness of each one. Being together, togetherness of each one.
Advice to youngsters
Advice that I’d probably give they wouldn’t take, probably. I guess. Follow your own tuition. Stumbled along until I was here.
How much longer have I got?! Oh you never have long enough (for everything). 105 still wouldn’t be. You’d have to go to 110! I don’t know. I’ll find something. I always find something. Not a bit (changing). Gonna do what I’m gonna do! Oh yeah, Don’t feel any different now than I did 30 years ago. Haven’t gone to the moon, but I haven’t that desire, either.
Anything missing in life
Not that I know of, really. Not doing anything special, that is. Seen some places I didn’t even care about. Don’t feel I’ve missed any of those places to see them again.
What Matters now?
Day to day that everybody is happy. Things go along. All the way down through the family. Perot gives (me) the most hope! (for the future).
Anything that you would like to repeat in your life?
Have to be playing ball in the high school days and right after. Not a lot of fans in high school. Some but not many. Yeah, Just one of the things you did, I guess. Enjoyed it and did it! That’s the only reason we did it. Took 2‑3 hours from something else to do it. A lot of them even walked home to do it. (play ball).
Haven’t changed a bit! (Would like it to be said that) “He lived a long life”, I Guess. “He was a good feller while he was here”.
Best as I can ever get fulfilled. There’s always something more you can do sooner or later. Something will pop up in your mind. (Will live) to a hundred anyway. I’m shooting for a hundred! Is there a nice way (to die?) That would be the only way, I guess( in your sleep). If you had a choice!
Gone to the moon. . . (I’ve) been through two wars and come back. The days of the big family. The cycle is almost completed!