You’d be surprised how many column ideas I get from dreams, especially when I eat pizza before I go to bed.

When I get excited and describe them to She while she is still waking up, She just says, “I don’t think so,” turns over and goes back to sleep.

I don’t give up. I write a page and show it to her at breakfast.

“It’s disrespectful, you’ll get letters.”

First of all, I don’t get letters anymore. I used to, 38 years ago when I began here, some nice, many angry, most polite.

I was political and angry in those years. Then, after a while, I went back to my standup comic days from working with Bob Newhart, Jerry Lewis, Johnny Carson. That seems to have worked. Everyone needs a laugh.


John Thomas, who founded Thomas College in Waterville, was a close friend of Cyril M. Joly, who was J.P. Devine’s brother-in-law. Thomas gave this circa-1948 cartoon drawing of Joly to the former mayor and state senator as a gift. Courtesy of J.P. Devine

In Waterville, word soon spread that I was just this suspicious, crazy comic actor from Hollywood, maybe in the government’s witness protection program, and had found sanctuary here in the pines.

I was an Irish Kennedy Democrat to my bones, who had married into one of the deeply Republican families in Waterville, the Jolys.

My bride’s family and friends loved her so much, and were so happy to see her come home, that they accepted me. Sort of.

“I have good news and bad,” her brother, the very Republican Cyril M. Joly Jr., said at a Rotary meeting.

“The good news is that my baby sister is coming home.”

There was applause, and then he added, “The bad news is she’s bringing her husband with her.”


That brought down the house. Where, I wondered, did he get that timing?

That was 38 years ago. It didn’t help that we had brought our Old English Sheepdog with us, but Cy adapted.

That day was actually the beginning of a strange, mismatched and bumpy friendship that lasted until the day he passed.

Cyril, ever the fastidious host, had, upon our arrival, set us up at a camp on Snow Pond, with a fridge full of gorgeous food, lobster, fruit and wine, including champagne.

Cyril, convinced that our marriage was legal and that he wasn’t going to give me up, then sent his friend “Red” O’Halloran to find us a proper house.

He did, we moved in, and here we are, 38 years later.


Cy was a generous gentlemen — birthdays, Christmas, flowers on every occasion. Whatever She wanted, she and my daughters got. And I, for many years, stood beside them and basked in the warmth.

When Cy grew older and moved from the family home, he got an apartment, and eventually, the comfort and safety of Mount St. Joseph’s, I became, to his discomfort and sometimes pride, “J.P. Devine of the Morning Sentinel.”

I took him shopping, became his aide-de-camp, chauffeur, dispatcher and gossip manager to balance my life in local theater, writing, and husband and family man with his needs.

He loved my daughters and was forever generous to them as to She and me.

Even as a Democrat, I was the pride of his career, as he was of mine.

Cy enjoyed a splendid legal and political career, both as mayor and state senator. He was family, and always considered me to be.

I won’t get any letters on this one. Cy and his troubled “Golden Age” party are gone now, and what remains of it is in shatters. Rest in peace, Cy. I got this.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 

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