In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Thomaston: The Town that Went to Sea

Woodrow Wilson

Three 10th grade students interviewed Woodrow Wilson, age not known, at his home in Cushing. He discusses his upbringing in Thomaston during the Great Depression and his experiences as a ship captain.

Clip 1:
Kristen Sawyer: What do you remember about the thirties?

Woodrow Wilson: Well we had to be very careful with what we used and paper good and food and so forth and had to make everything we bought had to be something that was vital to us and I lived on a farm at that time so we had access to milk and eggs and so forth. But a lot of people didn’t. And we didn’t have an automobile at that time and we didn’t use it gasoline was well it cost money and had to pay it and we had to be careful what we did with the money we had we walk to school had no such bus I lived down St. George road then and was went to school it’s no longer there used to be on school street.

Kristen Sawyer: In Thomaston? What town did you live in?

Woodrow Wilson: Thomaston. We had to walk there it’s about a mile and a half to school. We had good teachers that did the best they could. Like I’ll tell you I had to take my lunch with me. That was a problem of course getting that together. We had good teachers and they seemed to understand the circumstances our classes were normal it wasn’t large. And we were all good friends the ones that were in school with us. We did\ very well in school

Kristen Sawyer: What do you remember about the stock market crash? Like how old were you then?

Woodrow Wilson: I was not to well acquainted with that.

Clip 2:
Capt. Woodrow Wilson’s Ship is Torpedoed during World War II:

Woodrow Wilson: and we were on the east side of Africa…and we were on our way home…and well so the uhh…Torpedo hit u and the ship started going right down fast… some of the crew members had one boat on one side, my boat was on the other side, in order to get the boat overboard. In the meantime, the realer the raft on the ship had been tripped. And ugh oh it came down in the water. So we went over there and got the food from it, which was oh things you could put into storage nothing that would mold or waste. It tried crackers and ugh things of that nature and so we took some of the food off of the raft, put it in our boat and we were 10 days in my boat and we went to the shore. Well we sit around our boat so long when we started to get out of the boat, most of us fell down. Couldn’t walk, their legs, been cooped up there so long. Well I stayed with one of the native’s home one night I couldn’t walk and it was getting late we decided to stay there and some of the others stayed near by and ugh the next day they came up and the British embassy walking around there and they took us down to ugh Capetown and there was a hotel down there down where the hospitals first to get to actually get to walk. And that was another 10 days there. When I got out of there I was ready to go home. But there was nothing, no airplanes come up and I just didn’t get home then so I had to stay there for quite a bit longer and you weren’t allowed to write letters so to tell people where you were but ugh I managed. 2 or 3 others with us finally waited till another ship came along that we knew and we finally take you home.