Healing Old Wounds: Vietnam Marine warriors coming to Conway June 1

By Tom Eastman

Frank-McCarthy-VietnamMaj. Frank McCarthy (fourth from left, holding child) wants to give recognition to former Marine Corps veterans of the Vietnam War. (COURTESY PHOTO)CONWAY — In an effort to give long overdue recognition to those who served in the Vietnam War, state Rep. Frank McCarthy (R-Conway), a retired Marine Corps major, plans to honor three surviving veterans of a nine-man patrol who bravely fought in Southeast Asia 50 years ago.

McCarthy plans to have his account of their story read into the State House Journal on June 1 as part of his personal observance of Memorial Day.

He will be driving Lt. Gerald Flick of Livonia, Mich., Sgt. Ronald Smith of Summerville, Ga., and Cpl. Lorne LeMieux of Strykersville, N.Y., from Conway to Concord to attend a House session as his official guests. They will then return to Conway for a community dinner with their families at 7 o'clock at Deacon Street restaurant on Seavey Street in North Conway. The public is invited to attend.

The men and their families will be staying at the Yankee Clipper Motor Lodge through the courtesy of the Sullivan family.

"I'm hoping that the community will come out and meet these men to thank them for their service," said McCarthy, 78, a three-tour Vietnam veteran and three-time recipient of the Bronze Star Medal for valor and two-time Purple Heart recipient.

White Mountain Chronicles: Jigger Johnson, the last woodsman

Editor's note: The Mountain Ear was founded by Jane Golden Reilly and Steve Eastman in May 1976. The award-winning news weekly and lifestyle journal of Mount Washington Valley was sold by Eastman to Salmon Press in March 2005. Its last issue was in December 2014. Eastman — who died at age 58 from a brain tumor in April 2008 — always wanted to publish an annual book, hoping to call it "White Mountain Chronicles." In collaboration with Eastman's wife, Sarah W. Eastman, brother Tom Eastman (who worked at The Ear from 1979 before coming to The Sun in 2007) and former staff writer Karen Cummings, The Conway Daily Sun is publishing some of those stories relating to local history. The following story originally was published in the Aug. 12, 1983, edition of The Mountain Ear.

By Tom Eastman

johnson-jigger-at-carter-domeJigger Johnson at Carter Dome. (U.S. FOREST SERVICE PHOTO)Jigger Johnson has been called the last of a colorful breed of loggers — that race of men who cut a swath of timber from Maine to Oregon and yelled like crazed devils every spring when the drive was in and they were released from the savage woods for a few days to pound the bars.

Johnson's life (1870-1935) symbolized a wilder time, and his death the end of an era.

Bob Monahan, who died in 1994 at age 86, was a former Dartmouth College forester and longtime friend of the Jigger. Monahan — who met Johnson in 1924 when Jigger was working at the Carter Dome Fire Lookout — claimed his nickname referred to Johnson's small stature; he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall and never weighed more than 160 pounds.

"All of him was steel-spring muscle, except his head, which contained brains aplenty," said Monahan, who helped found the Mount Washington Observatory in 1932 and was a member of the summit crew that year. "Those who witnessed him in battle still recall his courage and ferocious attack — no matter the odds against him. There, by the grace of God and assorted genes, walked a man among men."

Christened Albert Lewis Johnson at his birth in Fryeburg, Maine, Jigger's legend loomed large throughout his years in the woods.

Although Jigger claimed many tales were exaggerated, he nevertheless was a unique individual who stood apart from his colleagues in an age of eccentric men.

Former local paper lives on in new website

1976-photo-of-Jane-and-SteveThe Mountain Ear, circa 1976. (COURTESY PHOTO)CONWAY — The Mountain Ear is back! (Well, sort of.)

The thousands of stories written over its 30 years under the guidance of Ear co-founder Steve Eastman will be back (eventually), but on a website, www.mtearchronicles.com, which has just gone live.

It was this very weekend 41 years ago that Eastman and Jane Golden put out the first issue of The Mountain Ear. "Let's Ear it for the Mountain Ear" were the first words printed in the first edition of a paper on Memorial Day 1976 for a newspaper that would win the hearts and minds of residents and visitors to the Mount Washington Valley for the next three decades.

"A welcoming paper" is how its new publishers/editors/jacks-of-all-trades described their vision for the publication in that initial issue. Both Eastman and Golden had been involved in similar enterprises (Eastman at the Irregular and Golden at the Sunshine Times, both long gone) and brought much experience to their new posts.