I was introduced to DeLorme’s Maine Atlas and Gazetteer by my father-in-law over 30 years ago when I was dating my future wife. I can’t recall the exact circumstances, but I bet he first pulled it out when he was showing me the terrain where he intended to try to lose me on those first hunting or fishing trips together.

I have my first Gazetteer from back then. I had just moved to Lincoln and my new employer (a traveling cable system builder) said my first splicing job was going to be in northern Maine. Had I ever heard of Madawaska? I was to meet my first foremen at some roadside motel en route to that far away place. I bought the Gazetteer to find my way. I used that same book in my Verizon bucket truck to locate many a customer from Millinocket to Rockwood with my latest employer.

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I have had and used that dogeared encyclopedia of Maine routes and logging roads ever since. There are penciled-in names of camps visited and places my father-in-law recommended we visit in the future. My wife and I used the Gazetteer for many a Sunday drive to explore the hidden places of Maine.

Many an argument at camp or at the kitchen table has been settled by pulling out my wife’s personal copy she keeps hidden in her closet.

Where was that camp we went to? What is the name of that stream we fished up north? Where are we going to be hunting tomorrow?

Sometimes it would be left out on the counter with a note next to it stating, “this is where we will be hunting, in case we don’t return soon after dark.”

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I have bought and been gifted many DeLormes over the years but I’ve kept each one and they are stored in various camps and vehicles and ATVs. They are all well used, battered and annotated but they come in handy when you just have to know where you are or how far it is to the nearest town. And the batteries never go dead and you never lose signal.

I hope they never replace this paper journal with a battery-operated one. But if they do I have resources on hand to get me by.

Fred Leisentritt is a technician for Fairpoint. He lives in Lincoln.

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