“It’s a strange thing because we haven’t seen each other for about 50 years,” says 97-year-old John K. Brooks of Robbinston.
And now they meet again, in a hospital room at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. They were randomly put together.
“What kind of things do you have in common? Old age,” says 98-year-old, Gibby McLaughlin.
Gibby McLaughlin and John Brooks have more in common then just their ages. They’re from Downeast Maine and both served in World War II.
“These men were war heroes, but they’re our heroes, more importantly they are our heros,” said Gibby’s daughter, Sue Kneeland.
The men received WWII hats to commemorate the happenstance occasion.
Gibby tells us he recognized his roommate’s name, and like other veterans, could tell by looking at him, that he was a soldier.
“Well just look at them. They look like they accomplished something in their life,” said McLaughlin.
And that they have…Gibby just stopped working at his wood shop last fall, and John has been everything from a forester to a dynamite monkey.
“I retired when I was 82. Some people don’t go that far, no they don’t,” said Brooks.
Both admit they can’t do all they used to.
“They won’t allow me to use a chainsaw anymore. Which I used for 60 years, they won’t allow up on the roof to fix the house anymore,” said Brooks.
And since they were young, a lot has changed.
“Wasn’t any telephones, wasn’t any cars, wasn’t any tar roads,” explained McLaughlin.
The men have bonded, despite their hospital beds and having trouble hearing, and so have their families.
“It has been overwhelmingly amazing to see these two families blended here today,” said Kneeland, a smile on her face.
Maine is where they were born, and where they returned after the war. And both say they’re happy with that.
“Staying in Maine has it’s problems, but it’s a good place to be,” said Brooks.
“It’s the best place in the world to live,” McLaughlin agreed.