I grew up in Washington, Maine. My book Snotgrass is a memoir of my childhood in the magical village of WASH ME. Launching the book in Washington’s very own Gibbs Library gave me the warm fuzzies. Reading a few pages of my book to the people that knew my family is different than reading to a group of strangers. Everyone in the audience at Gibbs knew at least one person in the book. They all had stories of their own to tell. For me it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Many of these folks knew me when I was just a wee one. Thanks to everyone that came out to see me. It’s nice to be surrounded by old friends.
I had one of those once in a lifetime experiences today. I got to read a couple chapters from my book Snotgrass at the Gibbs Library in Washington, Maine where the book is set. In the audience were several folk who knew me when I was just a wee one. It was amazing sharing these stories with the people who knew my elders, know the setting, and were there to celebrate their small town along with me. They asked if I was going to show the Flanders Lane video, and I laughed because I hadn’t realized how many of them had seen that little short movie. Here’s the cast from Snotgrass in a Halloween short haunted house video we all made years ago.
Snotgrass is coming home to Washington, Maine. The Gibbs Library will be hosting a book signing Sunday May 3rd starting at 3PM. So saddle up a Side Hill Gouger and take a ride through the jungles and meet me at the library! Snotgrass is set on Washington Pond, so it is a real pleasure to be having this event in my home town. Tell your granny to put down her knitting and get on some mud boots, there’s a party at the library!
Here is a list of books written and illustrated by J.E.Moores
Malaya and the Sock Monkeys – the sock monkeys have lost their jelly beans!
The Beating of the Child ABC’s – this book is intended to warn the wee ones of all the dangers in the world to avoid.
The Healing Tree – they cut down the healing tree to build a hospital…
Pacifica Art – art ideas and instructions for 1st & 2nd grade kids. This was a project I did with a group of students and at the end we had this book. I have taught arts and crafts since 1984, and these are some of the happy faces I get to see.
The Day Book – calendar journal based on the books by Dr. Hulda Clark. I made this book to help my grandfather during his bout with prostate and lung cancer. He won that battle and was pronounced cancer free living 12 more years into his late 80’s without any recurrence of cancer. Everyone should read about Hulda Clark’s zapper and herbal parasite cleanse. Video
Cranford Lodge – classic haunted house ghost story set in Maine.
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When I was about 4 years old a friend of my grandfather had his stock car parked in the barn of our Maine farm. The men would gather around and work on the engine getting it ready for the next big race. Of course I was curious.
I wanted to climb up into the driver’s seat and sit behind the wheel. I wanted to bounce up and down and go “Broooooom! Broooooom! Broooooom!” while pretending that I was driving the car. I never made it. Instead, when doing my best to climb into the vehicle, I leaned on a chemical fire extinguisher that was mounted behind the seat. The safety pin was removed so in case of a fire the driver would have the extinguisher handy in an emergency.
The fire extinguisher blasted chemicals designed to put out gasoline fires, directly into my face. I fell back onto the wood barn floor clutching my head as the chemicals burned into my eyes.
My grandmother was carrying a basin of dishwater out after supper in order to dump it. She saw the whole thing and poured the dingy soap water directly onto my face. I was screaming. The world had become a blur. I couldn’t see.
My grandparents rushed me into their car and we headed off on the long trip from the small town of Washington, Maine to the city of Augusta. All the way my grandmother sat in the back seat with my head on her lap. She had water and a washcloth and continued to rinse my eyes during the hour long trip to the hospital.
Along the way she would ask, “Can you see outside? Can you see the motorcycle at the stop light?”
The doctors were unsure how things would turn out. I had burned my corneas and done extensive damage to my eyes. The water my grandmother had applied to my burns was the best luck I had that day. The rest was up to time.
I was blind for days seeing nothing but blurry movement and contrasting shapes. Light hurt my eyes so they left me to rest in my room with curtains drawn.
Over time I regained my eyesight and needed to be fitted for glasses. Without UV protection from the sun, my lack of corneas made it difficult for me to deal with bright sunlight. I would get headaches and migraines during the daylight hours for the rest of my life. Aspirin was my breakfast of choice each day. I discovered Excedrin and then BC Powder as my daily drug of choice.
Here I am forty-six years later and light still kills my eyes. I am nocturnal, a creature of the night. This is my story. This is how I became Vampire Dad.
This is one of the oldest photos in the family album. It’s a photo of my great grandparents Jesse and Kitty Flanders at their old farm in Washington, Maine. They’re the ones standing in the very left side of this photo. That’s my grandfather crouched down wearing the tie. I’m not sure, but that might be my grandmother, the one who is hard to see holding the little brown jug behind the young lady on the tricycle.
I come from a long line of very silly people. I mean, just look at ’em. They all have buckets on their head. Who knows what they are drinking, but I’m sure it ain’t milk. I never knew Grammy Flanders to drink, so she’s the only one there without a mason jar full of what I assume is beer. I think it’s beer because it looks dark with a frothy head.
Let’s look a bit further at this photo. Off to the left the tree has no leaves. Way back in the field, there are some traces of snow. This is late March, early April, 1941. The lawn is still muddy from snow melt and the grass is not yet standing. I bet it’s a Sunday after church. That’s why they are dressed in their Sunday best.
This isn’t just a celebration after a long Maine winter. They may not know it, but this is the last hurrah a few months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the US gets involved in WWII. My grandfather would later join the Army and be wounded in 1943 during the Battle of the Bulge.
So let them have their fun, because there are troubled times ahead for these people. Hitler frightened the whole world, and things would never be the same after that. My grandfather would spend all of 1945 in the hospital after having a metal plate replace the missing part of his skull. His chest and stomach was scarred from the shrapnel of shell fire. He walked with a limp, and was later confined to a wheel chair in his old age.
Yes, these people deserve this moment celebrating springtime in Maine. Let this photo remind you that you never know what’s just around the corner. Live life to its fullest. Love one another. Great Grammy and Grampy, I raise my glass to you!