If you’re an outdoor writer in this state — which I’m very fortunate to be — it won’t take long before someone starts talking about the trailblazers who preceded you.
The names are nearly mythical: Just saying one of those names aloud elicits a response. Mention the BDN’s own Bud Leavitt and I can hear the theme song from his TV show. Talk to me about Gene Letourneau, longtime scribe for the Gannett papers, including the Portland Press Herald, and I automatically think “Sportsmen Say,” which was the name of his column. And Bill Geagan, also a BDN writer, took us along with him on a fantastic adventure in his book, “Nature I Loved.” Utter his name and I wonder what it would have been like to have lived alone out on Hermon Pond.
The three men — and other outdoor writers of the time — clearly knew each other, and likely competed with each other for stories. But at least once a year, they gathered in the same spot, enjoyed a meal, and accepted the praise of readers and sources alike.
That’s what you’re seeing in this photo, which appeared in the BDN on March 5, 1959.
All three men are present, as is Joe Novick of the Lewiston Sun. The occasion: The Penobscot County Conservation Association in Brewer served as hosts at a dinner, and the state’s “fish and game writers” were the guests of honor.
Of particular note: The poster advertising the 21st annual Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show that is visible behind the assembled writers.
As you likely know, that show is still held annually, and remains a harbinger of spring for outdoors enthusiasts. Earlier this month, the 77th edition of that classic sporting expo was staged in Orono.
And as you also likely know, the Penobscot County Conservation Association — “The Conservation Club,” as kids who grew up in Brewer often called it — is still going strong.
As I mentioned last week, we’ll share other images from the past — evidence of our shared Maine heritage — in the coming weeks.
And we’d love you to pitch in and take part in this walk down memory lane.
If you’ve got a great old photo that documents Maine and our outdoor traditions, send it along (via email, please … don’t send us priceless family heirlooms by mail), to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share what information you can. Tell us a tale, and let us share it with thousands of other nostalgic readers.
In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for more of these classic photos, which will appear in this space weekly.