Memories of Sam Saunders to be Featured at Historical Society Presentation

Photo The Calais police force of 1929 is shown here, with Chief Bobby Kerr in the center. Chief Kerr is among the characters that local historian Sammy Saunders has commented on. A recording of Saunders's memories will be featured at the June meeting of the St. Croix Historical Society.

By Lura Jackson

 If you’ve been around the Calais area for a certain length of time, you may remember postal carrier Sam Saunders, who has been described by some as a gifted raconteur. Saunders grew up in Calais and was always eager to share its stories, some of which he shared in publications like The Calais Advertiser. While we don’t have the benefit of hearing Saunders’s stories directly anymore, the St. Croix Historical Society is pleased to say that it has retrieved recordings of some of his reminiscing. The recordings will be featured at the June 5th meeting at the Holmestead at 7:00 pm. 

The particular set of recordings the society has obtained from the local library detail Saunders’s memories growing up on “Mud Lane”, the part of Union Street above High Street, and the characters who were his friends and neighbors. A second recording features Saunders and Frank Fenderson sharing their memories of Main Street from the 1930s and ‘40s. 

The recordings, which will be played on the society’s newly purchased audio equipment, will be set to a slideshow compiled by society president Al Churchill. The slides will correlate to Saunders’s memories to enable the listener to be transported back to an earlier time along the St. Croix River.

Prospective attendees should note that Saunders had a somewhat salty tongue and enjoyed sharing off-color stories more than any other kind. This excerpt from Saunders’ writing demonstrates a recollection of former police chief Bobby Kerr: “I think the funniest thing I can remember about Bobby Kerr was away back one busy Saturday forenoon. I was working at the Border Transportation Co., on lower North Street, where busses came in from Eastport, Woodland and Princeton. This was also Bobby’s regular hangout, and this morning he and I were looking out the big window and shooting the bull, and this lady came in and used the restroom. When she came out, our backs were to her, and when she got out the door, we could see that in her haste, somehow, she had tucked the back of her dress inside of her bloomers. When Bobby saw what had happened he got all excited and shouted, “Geesus, Geesus, Geesus, Stop her, Stop her!”, and at the same time went out the door, hollering, “Mrs.! Mrs.! Mrs.!”. Well by the time he overtook her, they were in the middle of the intersection of North and Main and Bobby was talking to her, and at the same time trying to assist her and she was backing around and around in a circle, the traffic was held up, and some wise guy was laying on his horn, and by the time Bobby got her garments and the traffic straightened out, he was so flustered that he came back and bawled the hell out of me for letting it happen.”

The meetings of the St. Croix Historical Society are open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. Light refreshments will be served.