BANGOR, Maine — The words “back by popular demand” seem to fit one of Maine’s most popular summer residents.
More than 400 people turned out a year ago at Cole Land Transportation Museum to hear Donn Fendler tell about the nine days he was “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” in 1939.
Fendler, 84, co-author of the book by the same name, says he wants to give back to the state that looked for and prayed for him as a boy.
Fendler talks about the importance of staying with your group while hiking, and how his faith and Boy Scout training helped him survive in the wilderness until he came upon a camp in Stacyville, 35 miles from where he started.
Readers young and old come to shake his hand and get his autograph on the book, which is still in print, thanks to Maine schoolteachers who continue to use it as a resource.
Cole Land Transportation Museum will host its annual visit by Fendler at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at the museum at 405 Perry Road.
The program includes his presentation and a brief documentary of a helicopter flight over the Mount Katahdin area in 2006. Then-Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan flew the helicopter on that trip.
“I think there are hundreds of thousands of kids who have read his story,” McGowan said in 2007. “All of my children have read his story and have copies of his book for inspiration. He’s a friend of Maine. He’s a friend of all of us.”
Fendler, who lives in Tennessee during the winter, has been a regular on the classroom circuit for many years, as time permits, talking to schoolchildren about his experience.
But it turns out that the public is just as eager to meet Fendler. Readers don’t mind standing in line with his book at the ready.
The Cole museum will have copies of “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” available for purchase for $6.
Fendler will be available to autograph books for a short time before the 1 p.m. program and immediately after his presentation. Participants also are welcome to bring their own copies for autographs.
Fendler was honored with a parade in 1939, and Gov. Lewis Barrows promised him a lifetime fishing license. Barrows never got around to it, but Gov. John Baldacci gave him a fishing license in 2007 — a one-year license that can be renewed every year.