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Apples, Mustangs and Elmer Fudd
HEBRON — 61-year-old Glenn Huntley grew up in Auburn. He owned a family orchard in Hebron and has sold cars at Ripley and Fletcher for the last 30 years. He loves the out-of-doors and the people of Oxford Hills.
He recently took time to tell us about his life.
Q: When were you born and where were you brought up?
A: I was born on July 8, 1949 in Lewiston. We actually lived on the banks on the Androscoggin River where Pat's Pizza is today. I lived there until I graduated from high school and then we moved to Hebron.
Q: Did you have many siblings?
A: Yes. I have a sister, Janice and she is four years older than me.
I had two half-siblings from my dad’s previous marriage. They were quite a bit older than me and were out of the household before I was even born. Both of them have passed away.
When I was born Dad was 38, Mom was 28.
Q: What did your parents do?
A: Dad was in the garage business. It was called Jack’s. They owned that until 1957 and dad sold it to his half-brother, Harold Clark.
Mom worked right in the garage with Dad; she was a brake mechanic. Whatever Dad did, she helped out.
The TV show, What’s My Line, actually approached my mom to be on the show, but she didn’t want to because she said that was something ladies didn’t do back then.
When they sold the garage, Mom and Dad went into the orchard business. It was in Hebron on the Merrill Road and it was called Huntley’s Orchard. It is now Hemingway Orchards. We still lived in Auburn and the storage area was in Auburn.
They didn’t move out to the orchard till I graduated from high school.
Q: What was it like growing up?
A: Bear Pond Park! Those were the best times. My grandmother worked at the concession stand and so we would go out there and walk to work with her; she would go to work and we would roller skate all day. Then we would walk back to her house with a flashlight. We spent most of our summers out there from the time I was five to about the age of eight. My cousins would go too and it was always great to go to Grammy Millers.
At the age of eight I started working at the apple orchard and helped Mom and Dad.
I always went hunting and fishing with Dad and I learned to love the out-of-doors.
I never shot my first deer till I was 15 or 16 years old.
Dad was born in Masadis and he and I would go up there in November and hunt. It was an old hunting camp that was a tar-paper shack!
In the summer, we would take a week and go fishing the Aroostook River. We would put a 5-hp motor on the canoe and we would head upstream in Oxbow. We would travel about 24 miles and slept right on the banks on fir boughs and under a lean-to.
Later we would fly in from Shin Pond in Patton to the headwaters of the Aroostook River. One year we stayed at Millinocket Lake, another year at Millimagasset and another at Munsungan. We would canoe downstream, fish and end up in Oxbow where someone had left our car. It was all connected to the Aroostook.
I played football in Junior High School, but got hurt working at the orchard, so I didn’t play in high school.
As my wife would say, you are a farm boy, but also a city kid.
Q: Was there anything you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: I really just always wanted to run the orchard.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: Washburn Elementary, then Webster Junior High and Edward Little.
Q: Did you get into mischief or play pranks?
A: Oh yes, but the only thing I can really think of fast was in junior high school. My buddies wanted to steal apples! It was kind of crazy since I could get apples.
It was a place in Auburn; a little place up on Summer Street and we rode up on our bikes one night, but we didn't even take that many. I certainly didn't need any. I thought it was pretty ridiculous at the time, but went along for the ride.
I used to tantalize my sister and tease her to death. She would be lying out in the sun and I'd squirt her with a water gun. I was always teasing her.
I did get my dad once. He was scared to death of snakes and I picked one up and went towards him. He had a two-by-four in his hand and said ‘don’t take a step closer.’ When he said something I knew he meant it and so I put the snake down.
My folks had a 1963 Rambler Ambassador convertible; it was white with a black top and black interior, and it had a 327 under the hood and a stick shift automatic. Whenever they weren't driving it, I got to drive that.
I would drive Dad when I was 13, without a license. He'd be tired after a long day at the orchard and he'd let me drive down the back roads by Lost Valley and Summer street and across Vernon.
My folks went to Connecticut one time and left the pickup truck. Three of us buddies got hot from playing basketball and wanted to go to the Gate house in East Auburn. We didn’t feel like riding the bikes up there so we took the truck. Dad thought he was pretty smart by leaving the truck with no gas in it, but we gathered together 75 cents to buy three gallons of gas at the Fantastic Fair across the street. We took North River Road so not to ride on Center Street. Dad never found out we took the truck, but I guess he should have taken the keys!
Q: What have you had for jobs?
A: My only job was at the orchard from the time I was eight. I had a little sickle and would go out and cut the grass around the small trees.
Q: When and how did you meet your spouse?
A: I met the mother of my two children in high school. We were married for 17 years.
I met my current wife in the late 80s. She had been referred to me and I actually had sold her a Mustang before I was divorced.
After being single for a bit, I was thinking about ladies I knew that I'd like to date and I remembered her. I found out she was raising two children on her own and working two jobs, so I went to where she worked and I hadn't seen her and didn't even remember which one she was! Ray Hammond picked her out to me — so I went up to her and said hi. She said she had been meaning to look me up, then she asked what she could do for me. I told her I’d like to get a cup of coffee and talk about going out on a date. When I asked her why she was going to look me up, she said that the paint was peeling on her Mustang. We talked for a minute and I asked her, ‘how about that coffee?’ Her response was ‘how about that paint?’ Once the paint was fixed, we didn’t bother with the coffee, we just went out on a date.
We dated for a year and got married in 1988. I knew she was the one. I'd have to say that Sharon is the love of my life and my best friend.
My parents had still owned some land by the orchard, so we built a house together there.
Q: Did you ever own the orchard?
A: Yes. When I graduated from high school I bought the orchard and owned it until 1978. That was a full-time job for those 10 years. We would sell apples from Lincoln to Fort Kent. We actually couldn’t grow enough and had to buy some to resell. Cooper Farms approached me and I sold it.
Q: Where else have you worked?
A: I worked for a short time at Morrison Sylvester in Auburn and worked at AW Walker, a John Deere dealership.
In 1981, I came to Ripley and Fletcher and have been selling cars for the last 30 years.
I really enjoy people and the Oxford Hills and surrounding areas have been good to me.
Q: Any children?
A: Yes. I have a son Stephen who lives in Star, South Carolina and a daughter, Julie, who lives in Lady Lake, Florida. Sharon has a son John, who lives in British Vancouver and a daughter, Tracy who owns Park Street Press.
Q: Anyone said you look like someone famous?
A: Some say I look like Radar from M*A*S*H. My stepson thinks I look like Elmer Fudd when I am all dressed up to go hunting. I don't mind people getting a laugh from this!
Q: Did you do much traveling?
A: Hawaii, Bermuda and we have family all over the US and Canada, so I have traveled around quite a bit.
Q: Which place was the most fascinating and why?
A: Probably Hawaii and Bermuda, but you can't beat the state of Maine and the outdoors. We love the coast and the mountains and the waterways.
Q: Did anyone influence you to the point of changing your direction in life?
A: It has been my mom. She was raised a Christian woman and taught us how to live. For example she taught me the importance of getting credit. Even though I had money in the bank and didn’t need a loan, she made me take one out. She cosigned and I paid it off in no time, but I never had a problem with credit after that.
She taught me all about money and religion. Although I didn’t always follow it all the way, it was instilled in me.
Christ would probably be another. I am a born-again Christian; I am not a fanatic; I just love my fellow man as He did. I am far from perfect; I’m just forgiving.
Q: Do you collect anything or have a hobby?
A: I still love to hunt, fish and canoe. We also like to snowmobile, cross-country ski and go on motorcycle rides. I do have a '49 Willys Jeep that is totally restored from the frame up. I like to ride that around a little. It's actually for sale … I thought it would be fun to teach the grandkids to drive it ‘cause that’s how my kids learned, but they are all out of state. ...
A: I belong to the Moss Brook Church and I am a Mason, Shriner and Rotarian. I am a Past Master at Tyrian Lodge in Mechanic Falls and I am the President of the Norway-Paris Fish and Game.
I feel I am very active in most of them.
Q: What is the one thing you could not give up?
A: My love for my fellow man.
Q: Do you have a hidden talent or a talent you wished you had?
A: I guess I always feel that I am a man with many talents, master of none.
Q: What was the best memory that this interview brought back?
A: As a child, my times at Bear Pond Park were very special; and the trips with my dad. You just can never replace that.
Q: What would you like people to know about you?
A: I am very lucky to be living in this area, I love the state of Maine and everything that surrounds us. I like to rub shoulders with good people and that’s why I belong to the organizations that I do.
And I couldn't work with a better group of people than my fellow workers at Ripley and Fletcher.
Q: Last day on earth; what would you do and who with?
A: I do have a great life and would want to spend my last day with Sharon, just spending the day at the coast.
Q: If anyone could walk in right now, who would you most want to see?
A: Probably Christ. ... I would not want to say a thing. I would just want to listen. Especially about what he has to say about me and the life I live!