Hampton's Good Sam
"Notary Public, Public Accountant, Justice of the Peace"
By Dorothy Dean Holman, Free-Lance Writer
The Shoreliner Magazine, March 1952
"In the pink," he replies heartily, jovially, and almost convincingly, when friend or client inquires as to the state of his health. "In the pink." And yet he has been confined to a wheel chair for more than ten years. And should they pursue the subject further he goes on to say, "Folks don't want to hear about my troubles. They have enough of their own."
Sanford G. York, known to his friends as "Sam", has called the town of Hampton "home" for the past twenty-four years, since he moved there in 1927 with his wife and family from Boston. Having been a travelling public accountant, business took him often to that town, and liking the small village and its convenient location, he decided to settle there.
Mr. York is a slightly bald, grey-haired gentleman of about sixty, with a round smooth-shaven face and friendly blue eyes. He is always immaculately dressed usually in white flannels and dazzlingly white shirt. Seldom is he seen without a cigar in his mouth. In fact, he wouldn't be "Sam York" without it.
Born in Rockport, Maine, he spent the first twenty years of his life there. When only nineteen, he held the position of purser on the J. T. Morse, a boat plying between Rockland and Bar Harbor, on the Juliet, from Rockland to Bass Harbor, and the Baystate, on the Boston-Bangor run, and was at that time the youngest purser on the line.
When Mr. York married, he gave up the sea life and went to Boston to live. Here he took a position with a well-known automobile concern, where he worked in the book-keeping department for four years.
He then entered the employ of a prominent Boston newspaper as an accountant, later becoming an executive. While in their service he organized a statistical bureau, re-signing after nine years to join a public accounting company. It was while with this company that he became acquainted with Hampton, which was eventually to become his home.
Deciding to go into business for himself he set up his office in his home at 435 Lafayette Road, and hung a sign beside the door reading, "Notary Public, Public Accountant, Justice of the Peace". But getting one's self established in a small town where one is a comparative stranger is not easy, and the first two years were not too successful. However, business improved as time went on and he became better known, and life was good to him for many years.
Then, ten years ago, an illness came upon him, resulting in the loss of the use of his legs, and he was obliged to resort to a wheel chair. But this did not discourage him. He wheeled his chair behind his desk and carried on his business as usual. A table to fit over his bed is held in reserve, "to work on if the time ever comes when I won't be able to get out of bed," Mr. York explains.
Always cheerful and jolly, he never complains of his lot, and people seeking his services come away feeling better than when they went in. For his is a kindly nature and an understanding one, and his optimism is a contagious thing.
"A little praise goes a long way," Mr. York says, and a favorite greeting of his over the phone is, "Hello. You're looking well." It invariably brings a smile to the face of the person at the other end, and a lift to the spirit.
"I like people," Mr. York says, and in the carrying on of his several occupations he meets many of them. "No matter how bad a person is said to be," he goes on, "I can always see more good qualities than bad in him." He gives advice to couples who come to him to be married, believing their success in marriage depends on starting out on the right foot. A philanthropist at heart, he has given more than one young person a chance to better his position in life.
When asked if he has a hobby, Mr. York answers with an emphatic, "No. No time for a hobby. My hobby is my work." However he does enjoy a game of cribbage whenever his friends drop in for an evening.
"York Manor" the Yorks' home, is a modest white house situated in the center of the town. It is tastefully and comfortably furnished, and is kept impeccably neat by Mrs. York, a charming little lady with a pleasant manner, to whom much credit is due, for keeping her husband happy, and the household running smoothly. "She's a corking good cook, too," says Mr. York appreciatively.
Flowers, either real or artificial, add a decorative touch to the living room, and a bouquet always adorns a corner of Mr. York's desk, for he has a great fondness for them.
Devices have been installed in the home to make it easier for him to be self-reliant. Gymnastic rings, suspended from a framework over the bed, facilitate his getting in and out of bed with the least amount of outside help. A ramp runs from the back door to the yard for the purpose of getting the wheel chair outside, when he goes for an occasional ride in the family car or with friends.
Mr. York has made many friends since coming to Hampton, and continues to do so in his daily business contacts. They are unanimous in their praise of him. "He's a right guy," they say, "Always has a smile for you. When you're down in the dumps, it does you good to go in to see him."