Monday, October 27, 2008

October Featured Relative of the Month, No. 2

: What do you get when you cross Bambi with a ghost?

Merrill Granville Frost was born Oct 24, 1909 in Bar Harbor (then named Eden), Maine, the youngest of 4 brothers. He grew up at 4 Davis Place, where his parents lived for the rest of their lives.

Photo: Merrill, age 6

In his youth, he was a caddy at the Bar Harbor golf course, where many rich and famous tourists played. He was also on the survey team that laid out the road up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, the highest point on the North American Atlantic coast.

Merrill graduated from Bar Harbor High School in 1927; he wrote the class ode:

Bar Harbor High we leave you now and sing a sad farewell,
We hate to leave you dear old High, the school we love so well.
Our goal now lies in front of us and we must say good-bye,
But we'll recall those good old days in dear Bar Harbor High.

Dear friends and teachers, the time has come when we must say good-bye,
We'll always think of those wonderful days in old Bar Harbor High.
Each one a different road will take as we leave Bar Harbor High,
And now we'll say to all of you farewell, dear friends -- good-bye.

He spent a month that summer in a Citizens Military Training Camp held at Fort McKinley on Great Diamond Island, part of Portland, ME. CMTC camps differed from National Guard and Reserves training in that the program (1921-1940) allowed men to obtain basic military training without an obligation to be called-up for active duty.
He married a Mt. Desert Island girl and had 2 daughters. She divorced him, moved out of state, and remarried. He rarely saw his little girls.
He married again while working in the shipyard, and was a great Dad to Grampy and brother J for the rest of his life.
He was drafted into the Army and spent 1945 in the Philippines, earning several medals and ribbons for Sharpshooting, Good Conduct, etc.
He was employed as a route salesman for Coca Cola, and for 2 1/2 years (1942-44) by New England Shipbuilding Corp., So. Portland, ME as a first class shipfitter, but for most of his life Merrill Frost was a salesman of electrical appliances, both retail and wholesale.

Grampy says:
Dad never said anything bad to me or my brother J, but he did often say that he hoped we'd have two just like us!
He was such a trouper in serving the family. He spent every Saturday doing laundry, working around the house, and cleaning out the coal furnace. He brought home wood pallets from the appliance store where he worked, and split the boards for furnace kindling.
Once in Gorham when we were putting wood down cellar, I complained that my brother wasn't keeping up. Dad explained that it was all right because I was older and really strong. It made me so proud that he thought I was strong that I worked harder than ever.
Once after supper, Dad said J and I should thank our mother for the good meal by doing the dishes. Did I want to wash or dry? It was the one time I gave him a real dirty look, the only thing I've always wished I could take back.
When he was home, J and I spent time with him listening to the radio, watching TV and playing games like Canasta and Cribbage.
He always had strong family ties, and took us to Bar Harbor to visit our grandparents and cousins.

My Dad never gave me a spanking in my entire life. There was always intelligent encouragement instead. I knew he loved me.

From 1957 on he worked at the Hospital Pharmacy near Maine Medical Center in Portland. I (Grammy) knew him during those years as always kind, quiet and generous.
He loved his grandaughter L, and brought her a silver dollar in an envelope with "Love from Grampa" on it each time he visited. At every visit he also brought huge T-bone steaks for all of us for dinner, which I had never seen before.
He gave us our first TV, his black and white set, when he got a color TV. He said he wanted L to be able to watch Romper Room, Captain Kangaroo, Howdy Doody and Bozo the Clown like other kids. It would have been years before we could have afforded one.

Photo: We visited him in Portland on his last day.

A Dec 1966 news article reads: Man, 57, dies in fire after saving others - Portland, Maine (UPI) - Merrill G. Frost, 57, died Monday in an apartment house fire as he ran through the building warning tenants of the danger. Frost apparently was overcome by smoke and asphyxiated as he tried to arouse the four families who lived in the Ellsworth Street building with him, authorities said. The other occupants escaped without injury. The building was heavily damaged by the two-hour fire. Cause of the blaze was not known. [It was overheated Christmas tree lights, left on for days, that set the dried-out tree on fire]

His obituary reads: Portland - Merrill (Jack) G. Frost, 57, of 39 Ellsworth Street died Sunday evening [25 Dec, 1966] at his residence. He was born at Bar Harbor, Oct 24, 1909, the son of Irving and the late Inez (Dunham) Frost. He attended Bar Harbor schools and served with the U.S Army during World War Two, and later was employed as an appliance salesman at Portland and surrounding towns. He had been with the Hospital Pharmacy [in Portland] since 1957. He is survived by 2 sons, R of Lynn, Mass.; J, stationed with the U.S. Navy in London, England; 2 daughters, Beverley and Judy of CT; 3 brothers, Carroll of Bar Harbor, Nolan of Brewer, Stuart of CA; several grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at the McFarland Funeral Home, Bar Harbor [ME]. [A funeral was also held in Portland for his family, friends and co-workers.] He was buried in Lot 48E, Ledgelawn Cemetery, Bar Harbor, ME, near his parents.

Riddle Answer: BamBOO


Anonymous said...

I remember him visiting us when I was very little. The 50 cent pieces left an impression on me.
I must have been only 3 or 4 years old, and I'd never seen money so big!
Dad and Grampa brought me with them to visit his father in a nursing home.
Whenever I saw him, I felt happy, warm and cherished.
He was kind and loving Grampa.

Anonymous said...

I always thought my Dad was old because he had so many wrinkles and he did not look young.
The older I get - it does not matter what people look like, but how nice they are inside. He was easy to live with. I'm proud of my Dad!
Between the war years and the years of separation because of my mother - I feel cheated out of a lot of good years with him.
The photos help me remember how sweet he was.

Anonymous said...

I was always impressed with the stories that I heard about him. I think it's wonderful how gentle he was. I really wish I could have met him.