SKOWHEGAN — Residents of Redington Memorial Home were whisked back in time Thursday afternoon by a documentary film, “Blizzard to Blossoms,” shot nearly 70 years ago in the Skowhegan area.

The digitally remastered film shows daily life during a snowy winter beginning in 1948 all the way to the first running of the maple sap in the spring of 1949. Deep snowdrifts and families in the clothing of the day filled the screen along with shots of a V-plow pushing snow, men in fedoras, women in aprons, Maine wildlife in action and flowers, insects and birds waking up in the spring.

The hourlong color documentary film, now in DVD form, was filmed and narrated by photographer Henry W. Briggs, said Maine author Tim Caverly, who grew up in Cornville and now lives in Millinocket and owns the rights to the DVD.

“You might recognize some of the buildings and where this takes place,” Caverly told residents getting ready to watch the movie in a community room at the assisted living residence. “Mr. Briggs was among the first to use color film in Maine.”

There is footage of Maine farmhouses and barns as they appeared in 1948. The cars people drove would be valuable antiques today.

In classic Yankee style, Briggs describes a blizzard that left drifts higher than the cars, inviting his audience to “just look and listen.”


“Wintertime in the state of Maine is an experience,” Briggs states, noting with winking humor that large Maine families were possibly a product of snowbound months on the farm. “The wind will bite straight through you.”

Vacationland, he said — “Hell!”

In the audience Thursday, residents in their 80s and 90s smiled and remembered as they leaned forward to catch all the images. No one remembers in particular the blizzard shown in the film or any of the farms or roads, but they remember the times, they said.

Ellen Holt, 96, who lived on a farm in Benton, said she recognized the way people dressed in 1948 and the cars they drove at the time.

“Yes, I lived it,” she said with a laugh.

Holt said she “liked everything” about the movie. “I just loved it. It just brought tears to my eyes.”


Another woman, June Plummer, wife of the late Morning Sentinel photographer Richard Plummer, said she liked the movie a lot.

“I didn’t recognize any of the locations, but they made me reminisce about the locations we had,” she said. “We had an old Model T. It was like a truck.”

Catherine Turcotte, 90, who grew up in Skowhegan, said it reminded her of her younger days when the elm trees lined the streets.

“I love nature,” she said. “There was a lot of beautiful nature in that.”

“Blizzard to Blossoms,” which is available on Caverly’s website, wound down from snow-covered men in green woolen pants and red-and-black checkered jackets, to daily life hauling milk on toboggans, to wildlife footage as winter comes to a close and the buds and blossoms of the trees come to life.

“There’s so much beauty in this world,” Briggs said in his narration.


Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.