“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Donald Trump said.

No, he didn’t. And neither did Albert Einstein. But Will Rogers said it was about the Democratic Party.

Maybe it was Waterville’s Al Corey and friends back in 1984 when I arrived and chatted.

“You guys have this beautiful fountain parked in front of City Hall in Castonguay Park. It’s full of leaves and candy wrappers. It looks like a Dumpster in back of Walmart.”

I talked louder. “It’s called Waterville, but our city’s fountain is drier than Monroe, Louisiana, and I know, because my buddies and I got a speeding ticket trying to get through it in 1952.”

The late Al Corey and friends shook their heads.


“The kids kept dumping boxes of laundry soap in it, and they’ll just do it again. They’ll keep doing it.”

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Right?

“Can we get a hose over here and fill this beauty up?” I cried, “I’ll hold the hose, you get the photographers, we’ll make it an event. Former Hollywood actor rescues our fountain. We’ll make it bigger with floodlights, and we’ll call it the Trevi Fountain of the Kennebec. Can you see it? Tourists will flock here to see it and throw coins in it. The kids will stop soaping it up and spend their nights dunking for dimes and quarters?” (Or bitcoins today?)

Al and the boys shrugged and walked away, as my career as fountain promoter had ended.

Head of Falls 1984: Old-timers in town were moaning and groaning about how that “no man’s land” looked after urban renewal had torn down the neighborhood and “renewed it” into a mud yard.

It soon became a city snow dump, where all snow, cigarette butts and used birth control devices were deposited.


Folks used to bet how long it would take for this mountain of snow to melt. I’m told a July bet once won.

Flash forward. Today, Waterville’s forward-looking officials have done a great job of sprucing it up with a swell gazebo, and folks are just waiting for a band to play “Have You Ever Heard the German Band?” and blow some tubas there.

City officials are considering installing a camera security system at the RiverWalk at Head of Falls in downtown Waterville, shown on May 18. The park has seen many acts of vandalism and other illegal activity that officials say are costing the city thousands of dollars. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

It’s pretty, even though the view overlooks a factory across the river, with a tall, dead smokestack that blocks the rising sun.

Well, the new look faded faster than plus fours on the golf course.

These days, a band of youthful decorators have started taking it apart.

Last week, the young Amy Calder, the Lois Lane of Central Maine News, reminded us once again what the elders of Waterville told me 39 years ago with her story: “Crime Plagues RiverWalk.”


Police Chief Massey stepped up and suggested a chain of cameras to put the bad guys on Instagram. China has done that in all their cities and it works. They even tape passing conversations and take names. Wanna try that?


Well, the fountain is gone, along with several benches the youthful miscreants tossed over the fence into the Kennebec. Are we gonna buy new benches? Get the cameras loaded and put up the billboards, “Smile, You’re on Candid Camera.”

Do we have an Alan Funt to watch the slides? Let’s see some hands.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 

Related Headlines

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.

filed under: