And, strangely, for someone who had never worked a farm, initially he seemed adept at it, as he threw himself into each project. With winter fast approaching, in spite of often not knowing what he was doing, Tom managed to impress his wife. And this strengthened the bond he was beginning to forge with Sarah. From the beginning they agreed to more or less share responsibilities and not rely much on Sarah’s mother. And they succeeded. For this reason they respected each other.
Such was the situation Tom happily found himself in as he continued to search for his identity. At some point, he’d have to be true to himself, but first he’d have to find out what he wanted to do and be. And within a hundred yards of his place where he saw from his door a moose (yes, a real live moose, how special was that?) was his own apple orchid, small though it may be, and perhaps with a little codling and pruning it could yield some fruit (except the growing season there was way too short for successfully growing apples). But what he hadn’t paid attention to, and needed to, was that deer season was just beginning.
Having seen a moose from his front door, Tom should’ve been worried. However he wasn’t aware that hunting or buck tracking in Maine was pursued with frantic madness. This meant that he needed to watch out for hunters. Oh, yes, yes, he had a lot to learn. Yet, he was willing to dive in. One of the qualities he had was that he wasn’t afraid to try something…even try and try again and never ask for help and never admit that he needed it even to himself.
In the fall of 1968 Tom wanted, even expected, his friend Eddie to visit him in Maine. Instead he received a letter from his friend in New York City, telling him, in order to get material for his novel, that he planned to hitchhike across the country to San Francisco. Tom naturally felt disappointed. He couldn’t see why Eddie easily couldn’t have swung by Maine on his way to San Francisco but couldn’t/wouldn’t say anything because he hadn’t gone by New York on his way to Highland Plantation. He had the city on his itinerary for later.
Eddie traveled first to D.C. He wanted to see the Wright brothers’ plane, the first one they successfully flew. To save money and to collect material for his book, he almost entirely relied on other people, but occasionally he’d have to splurge and eat in a restaurant and not seek out the cheapest place to spend the night.
Newman’s own account of his journey formed the bases of the second half of his novel LOST, though some critics claimed that he ripped-off Kerouac. That was a lie. He hadn’t read ON THE ROAD.
Eddie Newman would have no trouble getting his novel LOST published (with a small press) because Kerourac had broken ground for it. In Eddie’s work, he has his protagonist stay in a crash pad near Haight Ashbury, and Tom secretly resented it.
Usually Tom showed restraint when it came to emotions, but he obviously felt very bitter when his friend didn’t come to see him in Maine.
October 21, 1968
Highland Plantation Maine
I supposed you don’t know what it’s like to be overlooked. I’ve never felt so dejected in all of my life. I feel as if no one cares, and as for you, I wish you had come by here. I feel that I’ve lost a friend, though I know that’s not the case. But I’ll carry on the best I can, after I’ve made what may turn out to be a big mistake. I’ve seen my future, and it’s not what I expected. The weather is threatening, and I have a strange, rather horrible feeling that I’ll never see you again. I honestly can say that I miss you, while I can hear you say get real. Oh have no fear, I’m okay. You know how I like to exaggerate. I am very happy. As a newly married man, how can I be otherwise? As you know, you’re always welcome here at the farm. God bless you, may the wind always blow your way. Fondly, Tom
Of course, Eddie Newman didn’t know how to respond to this letter, so he carried it in his shirt pocket for the longest time.
Tom also wrote to Mr. Watson on the same day. He told him, “I seem to be in a funk; at the very least I must try to snap out of it and the best way I know how to do that is to jump in a lake, as in “go jump in a lake” (they’re called ponds here). The mere thought of it causes me to shiver.”