Former Mr Peanut talks about his work for the Lewiston store

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am one of the many people who played Mr. Peanut – for about a year in 1958. It was my very first job and I was 15 years old. I worked three days a week, walking from the old high school (where the college is now located) to the corner of Main and Lisbon streets on Mondays and Wednesdays. The store was open until 9 p.m. on Monday, and I also worked all day on Saturday.

I would be helped in and out of my Mr. Peanut “shell” by other staff. It was made of fiberglass and was very heavy and was over 6 feet tall. This shell has been slipped over my head. Then I walked the sidewalk along Main Street to Ash Street, doing my best to convince passers-by to enter the store and buy some nuts. I also handed out sample teaspoons that only contained two nuts at a time!

My job description (except “uniform”) included moving the stock when it was delivered. This involved lowering the bags to the basement through a trap door in the floor, while being careful that clients and colleagues didn’t fall into them! It was also part of my job to keep the windows clean and to tape up sales flyers. I was paid 75 cents an hour.

Eventually I got a replacement for these duties and was promoted to a position where I was one of the nut frying employees.

In 1961 I joined the Air Force and when I returned home to visit in the mid-1960s Planters was gone and J. Dostie Jewelers was in his place. I have been in the service for 20 years and have been posted to many countries around the world. – Adrien, Lewiston

REPLY: I’m so glad you contacted me, Adrien! What a fun and delightful story that shines a light on this period in downtown Lewiston’s history and answers our reader’s question from September 23rd. Your memories are wonderful! I would also like to add that I think your first job prepared you well for life in the military!

I see that J. Dostie Jewelers moved from their original location at 1 rue de Lisboa to 4 rue de Lisboa in 1964, doubling their store space. The Camera Service Center moved into the space Jules Dostie left, so it looks like Planters was gone after that, unless …

Tell me more about Planters Peanuts, dear readers!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I was wondering if anyone is going to update us on Dave Rowe and his wife who left on their sailboat on September 1st. It would be interesting to know how they are going and where they are heading. It would give us something exciting to look forward to during this pandemic. – Unnamed, Monmouth

REPLY: Dave regularly posts his experience on his Facebook page, Dave Rowe Music. His last message to date was dated September 23. He reported that they were anchored in Port Washington, New York, expecting high winds.

I reached out to ask Dave what his plans, if any, are to keep his fans updated on his travels.

This column is for you, our readers. This is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write in the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us to. Please add your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and phone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Send them to Sun Spots, PO Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Requests can also be emailed to [email protected].


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