A Medium of One's Own by Kim Chase
"The Awakening" by Connie Magnan-Albrizio
"The Red Shirt on the Line" by Amy Bouchard Morin
"Mattie" by George Hall
"Calico Bush"--a review by Rhea Côté Robbins
DEMERISE LE VASSEUR BRILLANT --MY MÉMÈRE
ACADIAN COUSINS by Marie Thérèse Martin
untitled poem by Yvonne Mazerolle
I Had A Dream by Ida Roy
CUPBOARDS by Trudy Chambers Price
FOX FUR by Trudy Chambers Price
The Curse of the Purse by Rhea Côté Robbins
Edith Starrett Masse's Work Roles: On the Farm and at Home A Narrative Study of Her Diaries 1942-1945 by Suzette Lalime Davidson
Martha Pellerin Drury 1961-1998
Route 7 & Timelines by Sandy Olson
KEEPING TO OURSELVES by Patricia Smith Ranzoni
Thoughts, Feelings on Hair Loss by Joyce MacCrae Howe
A Medium of One's Own
By Kim Chase, Burlington, VT
By Connie Magnan-Albrizio, Windsor, CTArmand Marteau was shoved stumbling forward toward the French-speaking Reo truck salesman who was counting the cash that had just been flipped upon his desk.
"We'll be back for more if you treat us good," Poppa said and snapped the elastic band securely around the remaining wad in his fist. "And teach him to drive." He then fixed a cold eye on the boy and said, "When you've finished playing, drive it home. I've got to get back to the site before those lazy workers waste the whole day."
As soon as Charley drove off the lot in his horse-drawn wagon, Armand inspected the grand truck from headlights to tailboard, "Nice express body."
"Can't do better than a 1923, one-and-a-quarter ton Reo," the salesman boasted. "Gas tank's set inside under the windshield. See?"
"My uncle taught me to drive Poppa's Tin Lizzie in Canada."
"This is different," the man said as he hoisted himself up onto the seat behind the wheel. "Watch my feet. The left pedal has a ratchet under it. Half way down is the clutch. All the way is the brake. The second smaller pedal also has ratchets but it's the emergency brake."
"That's to keep it from rolling when you're not in it, right?"
"Something like that. This third pedal is the gas accelerator."
After a half-hour of stopping, starting, moving forward and of backing up, the salesman swapped sides with Armand who had no trouble at all with the combination clutch and brake pedals.
"Watch that heavy foot."
"This is even better than driving team."
"We've been rolling along city streets long enough," the salesman said, flicking open the cover of his pocket watch. "I've got to get back"
The boy eased the truck to a gentle stop in the dealership yard. "I betcha if we had loose eggs on the dash they wouldn't have rolled a bit."
The Reo salesman laughed and nodded. Before he slipped out of the cab, he shook the boy's hand. "It's all yours, kid. Good luck."
Cruising slowly home with his cap tipped to the back of his head, and his elbow resting on the turned-down window space, Armand hoped to see someone he knew. No luck until he pulled into Burns Court and stopped in front of the house, then, everyone from each of the four houses in the Court ran out to ooh and aah over the wonders of the Reo.
Later that same week, at the
supper table, Poppa announced, "I've sold the Grays to the Walker
Ice Company. No contractor worth his title uses teams. We've
got a car, too. Horses are a thing of the past."
"I need ten dollars more a
week," Armand announced to his father the next morning on the job.
"God bless you, Armand."
Tears puddled and Momma grabbed both his hands in hers and kissed them.
"God bless you," she said again.
Poppa had promised the family
a new life in this country, but before long he managed to fill twenty-four
hours of every day with problems, just as before. The enemy was no
longer Government Agents who interfered with the making of money - because
bootlegging and the smuggling of Chinese illegally across the border were
left behind on the Canadian side of the line. His father's new enemy
was the swaggering, boastful Irishman who thought he outclassed his Frenchie
The Red Shirt on the Line
By Amy Bouchard Morin, Old Town, MaineIn the history of the Acadians in the St. John Valley, the story is told about whole families coming up the river. One brother would pick his land to build a home and farm on one side of the river and another brother would pick the other side, neither knowing that at some point the river itself would be declared a border between two countries. These families traveled back and forth across the river to visit, celebrate holidays, help deliver babies, and all the other reasons that family and friends visit one another. Once the border was declared, families were geographically divided ? some family members were now Americans and others became Canadians. Now think about it, does anyone really think that the border made one bit of difference in these families interactions? In today's vernacular, NOT!
My mother was born in 1910, and she grew up on a farm on the St. John River in Lille, Maine. The farmhouse was originally built as a hotel and had an upstairs and a downstairs open porch. Like most Acadians in The Valley, Mama's family had relatives and friends who lived across the river in Canada. Mama tells about her father's friend who lived across the river. He would come every year just before Lent and take Mémère's order for fish, and then he would go to Edmundston (a long trip by sleigh) where he would buy the fish for both families. Also, before he took his fall trip to Edmundston, he would ask Pépère if my mother and her sister needed felt shoes for the winter. Mama and her sister were the only children in Lille to have these shoes. They were made of waterproof leather and had a long red felt cuff on top. They were really warm, and Mama and her sister could play outdoors in the snow for hours on end and not have cold or wet feet. This friend also made maple sugar in the spring and Mémère always bought two big blocks of maple sugar (shaped like double loaves of bread). Pépère's favorite treat was some of that maple sugar shaved over Mémère's hot homemade bread spread with her fresh-churned butter. As I said, Mémère would buy two blocks and immediately start using one of them. And, she'd hide the other one somewhere in the house. Then in August or September, when the first block had been long gone, she would bring out the one she had hidden to give Pépère a special surprise treat. Mama said that Pépère hunted time and again for Mémère's hiding place, and he never found it.
There was a general store in Lille, where people could buy just about anything that was needed from clothes to nails, or soup to nuts. Now these people on the Canadian side, whose houses could be seen across the river from Pépère's house, had a long way to go to buy things that they needed from a Canadian store. As I said above, the trip to Edmundston was not easy in a buckboard and worse in a sleigh. And, the ride was as long in the other direction to reach St. Leonard. In bad weather, the trip was next to impossible?no fast cars in those days. When someone across the river in Canada needed something from the store in the winter, it was much quicker, not to mention easier, to cross the river on the ice than it was to take a horse and sleigh in the freezing cold and the deep snow to the closest big town/city (approximately 15 miles) on the Canadian side of the river. So, it was a common thing for people to cross the river, walk across Pépère's farmland, and cross the road to reach the store in Lille. These people did not think of it as smuggling, it was just one way to make their hard lives a little easier. Every once in a while, the immigration people would come on Pépère's farm and hide in the barn to see if they could catch "Smugglers," since in their eyes it was a logical crossing place. They never caught anyone there. You see, my Mémère had a big family and did a lot of laundry, which she hung on a clothesline that could be seen from the other side of the river. On the days that the agents were in the barn, Mémère had a certain red shirt that was in dire need of washing and, of course, had to be hung on the line facing the river.
Traverse pas la rivière quand la chemise rouge est sur la ligne. (Don't cross the river when the red shirt is on the line.)
By George Hall, Presque Isle, Maine
Published in ECHOES, No. 42*
George Hall is professor emeritus of English from the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Although his roots are in western Maine, he and his wife Carol-Ann have resided in Aroostook County for the last 28 years.
*ECHOES has published the journal of Maj. Mattie A. Pinette of Fort Kent, Maine
A Normandy Journal: Day by day with Eisenhower's secretary by Mattie Pinette, ECHOES, No. 42
A Normandy Journal Part II: Day by day with Eisenhower's secretary by Mattie Pinette, ECHOES, No. 43
with a third segment to follow in No. 44 of ECHOES.
ECHOES has published the journal of Maj. Mattie A. Pinette of Fort Kent, Maine in the Nos. 42 & 43 issues. Back issues, $5.
To order this important text of Franco-American women's witings:
PO Box 626
Caribou, Maine 04736
Calico Bush, Read It Again For The First Time--Ever
A Review by Rhea Côté Robbins, Brewer, MaineCalico Bush, Rachel Field 1894-1942, A Yearling Newberry Book, 1931, 1966, $4.99 US/$6.99 CAN
Calico Bush by Rachel
Field is a book that I recently discovered. Although classified as
juvenile fiction, and first published in 1931, I find it as refreshing
a read as if published yesterday--one which fits all ages. There is
a timelessness about a story the quality of Calico Bush which transcends
time and genre classification. Field, the first woman ever to be
awarded the Newberry Medal, won it for her book, Hitty, The First Hundred
Years. Field would spend four months of the year on Sutton Island
off the coast of Maine.
Rhea Cote Robbins is the author of Wednesday's Child, the 1997 winner of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Award for creative nonfiction.
I can still see
In your swivel rocker
Next to the kitchen window
Knitting des pichous
Glancing outside occasionally -
It seems just like yesterday
Yet it's been a couple decades
And others last saw you
Weearing tht simple cotton dress
On your shoulders
Hair silver and thinning.
Sometimes you were so quiet
But your presence
Warmed the home
As it did our hearts and souls.
I can still hear your laughter
Bouncing off the walls
Eyes sparkling and dancing
As I stood in the kitchen,
A rotten apple plastered on my forehead -
Thanks to an ungrateful cousin
By my laughter
When he fell over with a fence post
He had been perched on.
The story is still recounted
At family gatherings to this day -
Including the imitation of my French accent
Because then I can see you again.
Calendar Honors County Role Models
By Paul J. Gough Staff Writer, Presque Isle Star Herald, September 16 1998PRESQUE ISLE - Twelve women selected as role models in Aroostook County were honored Saturday at the kickoff party for the 1999 Women of Aroostook Calendar.
The calendar, which is published by the Maine Center for Women, Work and Community, celebrates women who make an important contribution to life in Aroostook County. The 1999 edition marks the third year the calendar has been published.
The kickoff party, held Saturday afternoon at the Aroostook Centre Mall, drew past and present honorees, staff and board members of the local Center for Women
Work and community, and shoppers who stopped by the center's celebration cake and exhibit on a cool and rainy day.
The Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community was established 20 years ago as a nonprofit agency to help displaced homemakers. Two of the 15 centers statewide are located Aroostook County, one in Presque Isle and another in Houlton. Another site Is being considered for northern Aroostook County, although outreach work is being done in the valley from the Presque Isle office.
Marie Wilcox, who leads the centers' efforts in Aroostook County, said the organization is now serving more than displaced homemakers, women who are forced to return to the work force after death or divorce.
"We find the profile is changing," she said. Many women served are younger and need retraining, Wilcox said. The agency helped more than 100 women in the last year, although that doesn't count drop-ins or people who attended mini-workshops on basic life skills and career exploration the agency sponsors.
The organization focuses on the economic empowerment of women with counseling, employment training, life-skills development, leadership training and workshops and individual help that help women start their own businesses. "We help women to build confidence and skills to improve the quality of their lives or get into the work force or both," Wilcox said. All services are free.
Calendar sales are the center's only fund-raiser, said Suzanne Senechal-Jandreau of the center's Presque Isle office. Nominations for the next calendar -- 2000 -- will be gathered this fall and a committee will select the 12 women in the spring. So as the center honored its new Women of Aroostook and began to sell the 1999 calendar, it was getting ready to start the process all over again.
Jandreau said the women honored for 1999 and in years past aren't necessarily high-powered career women. Among those honored are a woman who celebrates French culture in song and a 90-year-old woman who struggled to raise 10 children as well as children's advocates and an education professor.
"We recognize the homemaker and other role models in the community, not just in academic and business" circles, she said.
Agnes Porter of Caribou, whose love of gardening can be seen throughout the city, said she was honored to be one of 1999's Women of Aroostook. She carries a message of
wellness and discipline, telling people to strive for their dreams despite hardship. "If I can do it, you can do it," she said.
The other 1999 Women of Aroostook are:
Ruth Anderson of Fort Fairfield, who retired this year after 26 years as a professor and administrator at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
Ida Roy of St. Agatha, whose efforts have kept Acadian music alive in northern Maine.
Edna Jandreau Hartley of Caribou, whose 90 years the selection committee showed courage and strength of character.
Dawn Degenhardt, who began the Maine Adoption Placement Service in 1977.
Darylen Cote, coordinator of education services for Health 1st.
Natalia Bragg, whose most recent accomplishments include a tourist-information booklet and World Wide Web site for the Washburn region and promotion of the Aroostook County Herbal Trail.
Frances Banks, a church leader and driving force behind the establishment of the emergency food pantry in Mars Hill.
Marcella Belanger Violette, the first St. John Valley woman to earn a doctorate and an advocate for the preservation of the French language.
Leoria St. Peter, a foster mother to many children and an enthusiastic supporter of the community.
Geraldine Chasse, founder of the Madawaska Historical Society and an expert on local history and folklore.
Susan Lougee, a physical education teacher in Presque Isle and an energetic volunteer for community activities like serving on the board of directors of the Opportunity Training Center and coaching for the Special Olympics.
To order a calendar ($10 donation)
DEMERISE LE VASSEUR BRILLANT
By Barbara Ouellette Ouellette, Old Town, MEDo I remember her soft, sweet voice? No. Do I remember her gentle touch as she held me close? No. Do I remember her face? Only from photographs. What could a five-year-old remember so clearly as if it were only yesterday? the love of a Mémère, that's what.
Mémère has been gone for forty-three years, but her presence has remained with me every day. Mémère was born Demerise LeVasseur in Caribou on June 7, 1893, she died on February 1, 1955 of a heart attack brought on by high blood pressure, and a life of hard work. The strong love of a Mémère is why I'm sure that I remember her so clearly.
Mémère's parents died when she was a young child. She was the youngest daughter of five children. When her parents died, she and her younger brother, Dinis went to live with a woman in Augusta, who later became her Aunt by marriage. This woman was not a kind or gentle woman. She expected Mémère and her brother to work very hard. They were required to do housework, laundry, and whatever else the woman wanted of them. There were no carefree childhood days for Mémère. At the tender age of eight she was sent to be one of the mill girls. She worked in the Augusta cotton mill standing on a wooden box because she was so small she couldn't reach the machinery. Both she and her brother were sent to do this child labor. Maman said that Mémère used to say to her "I worked from six to six for 25 cents a day." I'm sure that Mémère never saw a cent of that money.
Mémère met the man who was to become my Pépère at the house where she lived. They got married when Mémère was 18 years old. They married in July of 1911. Pépère, who had also worked in the cotton mill, had been working in the woods, and living in Old Town when they married, so Mémère moved to Old Town. Pépère's father had moved there a few years prior, so they had family there. Mémère and Pépère had three children. The first child was born in 1912. A son named Romeo. Romeo died of pneumonia at the age of two. My Maman was born in May 1915, named Marie Meledore, she was the apple of her parent's eye, and remained that way until their death. They had another daughter named Eva, born in January 1920. This was the family they had, which was small for the times.
When Maman was a baby, Mémère used to take her to Augusta every fall. They would stay with Mémère's sister, Sophie, through the winter. Mémère would work in the cotton mills, while her sister watched Maman. Pépère worked in the woods all winter, this was the reason Mémère did this. After Maman turned five and started school this practice did not continue. By this time Pépère had acquired a job at the Chapman Foundry in Old Town, and no longer worked in the woods.
This did not stop my little Mémère from working. She continued to work extremely hard by taking in laundry. At the time she was doing this they had bought a house on French Island which was not finished, so Mémère had to go to the river to get her water to do the laundry. She toiled until the day she died. She never turned anyone away that needed anything. There were several members of Pépère's family that needed a place to stay, and they knew that Demerise would put them up. She was a kind and generous person, always giving of herself and what little she had, because she knew what it was like to go without.
That is what I remember most about my Memeri, her kind heart. I remember standing at the edge of her vegetable garden as she was looking through the cucumber patch. I would spot cucumbers that were probably two or three inches long, and would ask for one. She would say in French, because she spoke very little English, though she could speak English. "It's too small Chère," and my reply would always be, "pleeeeeaaaaase," and she would give in.
When my parents got married,
Pépère converted the upstairs in his home into an apartment
for them, so we lived on the second floor of my grandparents' home.
My Mémère was always up and down those stairs, and so were
we. There wasn't an inside stairway, but an outside one. I
don't remember this, but Maman tells me that every winter Mémère
would come upstairs with all her poultices to ward off any wintertime illness
that we might catch. Maman said that we were always so sick during
the winter, but when Mémère died we weren't nearly as sick.
This was most likely Mémère's way of keeping us healthy,
since she had lost her only son, I'm sure she was not going to take any
chances with her grandchildren.
Ida Roy...the Voice of the ValleyTaken from Happenings, Maine Daughter's Regent's Desk
(Ida is a member of the Maine State Circle Daughters of Isabella, Evangeline Circle #464)
While growing up in a farm in St. Agatha, Ida could be heard singing through her daily chores. And although the little girl won honors for her rendition American melodies, it was the French songs she loved best and her love of Acadian music has become a lifelong passion to keep this musical art form alive.
Singing has always been a mainstay of lda's experience. From the long evenings of family singing in the old farmhouse to her annual solo performance at the Maine Festival, she has shared her gift with grateful listeners throughout the St. John Valley and throughout Maine.
Many of the songs that Ida sings have been passed down from parent to child for generations. Ida credits her own father for sparking her passion for singing. The songs she sings tell us about history of the Acadian culture, about the journey of the Acadians from France, the trials, hardships, and joys of a vibrant and imaginative people.
With the assistance of Roger Paradis, Ida has been recording this musical history for the last 26 years so that these songs will be preserved for future generations. She has been featured in Down East for her contributions to the culture of the Acadians.
Ida has dedicated her life to the cultural enrichment of her community. When asked, she is always willing to share her songs with family, friends, and community. To them, she is lovingly known as the "Voice of the Valley."
The following is an expression of
lda Roy's gratitude at the May 1997 breakfast, Evangeline Circle #464,
Van Buren, Maine. She was selected as Queen for the Year.
"I'm Giving Back My Crown Today"
By Ida RoyLet me be your souvenir of heart today'
Dear Daughter's of Charity--Friendship!
Your Friendships means alot to me'
We can go hand and hand sharing together.
Dear Daughters of Isabella, you are
We can never grow old! Because
Our union of Faithfulness, and trust
Daughters, let's give a hand and
walk with thee'
I Had A Dream:Did you ever dreamed of receiving a letter from heaven?
and specially from your mother
I will tell you all about it;
One Saturday after-noon feeling like
taking a nap; I laid
About an hour later, I dreamed that
our Carrier came in and
At the time my thought was, that
my mother had something
I woke up with my arm in the same
position of in my dream.
I was anxious to see what he brought
me. I said to my friend,
I opened the door and straightened
my arm to take my mail
This was ordered before the holidays,
from a Lady here in
It is a true story ! My mother's
dead and she must be in
Maybe my mother wanted to tell me
something? Maybe she wanted
Ida Roy , Van Buren, ME
CUPBOARDSIt's been forty years since he built them,
so they agree the cupboards need painting.
They decide on cream color.
He removes the red push button handles.
It's a start,
To do it right, the doors need to
It's a winter project, he'd rather
do it now.
To do it right, the shelves need
He convinces her to set a date
He dies first,
Trudy Chambers Price
FOX FURTwo women in furs
walk in front of us
as we leave the theatre.
I take off my mitten
and reach out, then
pull back and look around.
My friend wants to know
what it's all about.
The little girl in me, I say,
After Mom and Aunt were safely
My cat, Suzie, joins me on the bed.
Trudy Chambers Price
The Curse of the PurseIn memory of Rita Lucille St. Germain Côté, March 10, 1919-June 18, 1982
I couldn't find the aspirin in my
purse tumbled mess, over-crowded business papers, eye glasses, tampons,
pads, notes, sanitary napkin, family photos, licenses to fish or drive
and I remembered
I peered into
Rhea Côté Robbins
Vol. 2 Nos. 2/3
Edith Starrett Masse's Work Roles: On the Farm and at Home A Narrative Study of Her Diaries 1942-1945
By Suzette Lalime Davidson, El Cerrito, CAMaine and the Family
The state of Maine covers approximately 33,215 square miles, but has a small current population of slightly over 1,000,000. Maine is known as "Vacationland" because of the beauty of its natural environment which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year from all over North America. For the brief summer season of June through September, the economy and the population of Maine expands as the tourist industry supplies the state with most of its income. The paper, lumber, blueberry, potato, poultry and seafood industries also comprise the Maine economy. Once the trees change their color, however, and the cold sets in, the tourists have usually gone away. The winter may come as early as a snowfall on Halloween and stay as late as Easter. The bitter cold of Northeast winters, the limited growing season, and the unpredictability of weather in all seasons, contribute to the way Maine people have made their living.
Prior to the post-World War II tourist trade, which became more prominent with the creation of the Maine highway system, the economy was more heavily based on the agricultural and timber industries. Maine water ways, such as the Kennebec River, were the first transportation systems for shipping goods and running lumber. The rivers became the sources of power for the textile and lumber industries in the early 1800s, which attracted immigrants from many places who were seeking employment. The Maine railroads, built in the 1840s , connected Maine and Canada. They transported paper and raw materials to ports in the southern part of the state, as well as making a connection to other New England Railroad lines.
The ethnic make-up of Maine consists of Native Americans of the Abnaki nations, part of the Algonkian Community, which include the Pasamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Micmac tribes. Three of the seven Abanki tribes living in the area of Vassalboro prior to the Europeans' permanent settlements were the Kennebees, or Kinaibik, the Sachadehos and the Norridgewocks. Anglo-Americans settled on the southern coastal regions of Maine in the 1600s. In 1740, German immigrants came to the Sheepscot proprietary colony to farm and make iron. In the 1830s, Irish immigrants from Boston came north to work in the mills in the town of Lewiston . Swedish immigrants, who settled in the northeast sections of Aroostoock county, arrived in the 1870s and 1880s. Immigrants from Russian, Italy, Poland, Bulgaria and Norway came to Maine between the 1880s and the end of World War I. Nearly a third of the total population of Maine, however, are French-Americans who migrated in two waves. First, in the seventeenth century, immigrants from Brittany settled in North America, in a region called Acadia. In 1755, when they were banished from that region of Canada by the British because "they refused to bear arms against Frenchmen," they settled in northern Maine along the St. John River Valley.
The second wave of immigration occurred with the advent of US industrialization in the nineteenth century. Many "land-poor" French Canadians came to the United States seeking work in the textile and lumber mills. In this tradition, my great-grandfather Louis Zepherin Masse came to Maine from Becancour at Trois Rivieres, Quebec, following his brothers. He met my great-grandmother, Edith Starrett, whose paternal ancestry was Scottish and English and whose family had lived in Maine for at least three generations. Both Edith's parents and her grandparents had lived in Kennebec county.
Kennebec County, and the river of the same name, were named after one of the Abnaki tribes. It is in the mid-western region of the state and contains the capital, Augusta, and the town of Waterville. The development of the region's diverse economy placed Edith and her family in a unique setting. The industrialization of the Kennebec River region brought water-powered mills and the establishment of two post-secondary schools in the town of Waterville.
The paper mills, owned by both in-state and out-of -state interests, were thriving operations by the 1860s. The Maine textile industry was hard hit during the depression of 1873 and many immigrants, who had come to Maine to find work, returned to Canada. Many who stayed formed the large French sections of town in both Waterville and Augusta. The region supports two colleges in the town of Waterville, Colby College and Thomas Business College, and a branch of the University of Maine in Augusta. Kennebec county also depends upon the seasonal tourist trade. There are many lakes, including the China Lakes and the Belgrade Lakes, which draw tourists and local vacationers. The economy in Kennebec County includes industrialized settlements, which support post-secondary schools, a region of lakes which attract the seasonal tourist trade, and a sparsely populated farm region of small towns.
Vassalboro, which is equidistant between two larger towns of Augusta, and Waterville, is made up of two villages, the "East" and the "North." The region connecting the two villages is know just as "Vassalboro." The North is the site of a textile mill, which was built in 1841 by John Lang. The mill attracted many Irish, English, and Canadian immigrants to the town in the 1880s. It changed hands many times until it's permanent closure in 1955. The East borders the China Lakes region, a popular spot for local fishermen and visiting tourists. At the time of Edith's diary, Vassalboro's economy had been changing from a predominantly farming community to one which was more dependent upon the area's industrial resources. A century earlier Vassalboro had supported a number of family farms, as well as the new industrial mills. As farming technology became more advanced, and crop production became more competitive, Vassalboro residents were relying upon different jobs.
In 1914 Louis Z. had purchased the lumber mill just beyond the center of the village of East Vassalboro; he had built a mill in the town of Weeks Mills and was seeking "greater water power" to expand his business. Louis Z. managed the small lumber mill, and established the Water District on the China Lake stream. Across the road from the mill, he built a home for Edith and their children. During the 1930s, a dam was built behind the elementary school near the boat landing on China Lake. Louis Z. directed the project and the W.P.A. provided six workmen. The two businesses were sold to his son, Herman Masse, after Louis Z. retired. Louis Z. also built a "camp" for their family on Three Mile Pond in the China Lakes region. The camp is a summer cabin with a screened-in porch and one upstairs room, suitable for summer use. Edith's family spent time there during the warm months.
Edith's house was located within a mile of two of her children's houses. At the time of her written account, Edith was the grandmother in her family, which is made up of many folk. Next door to Edith's house was the home of her son, Herman Masse, his wife Ruby Foss Masse, and their children, Kenneth and Marion. Across the road, which is now Route 32, was the mill Louis Z. built in 1914. If one crossed over the millstream behind the mill and went up the hill, one would find the home of Edith's eldest daughter, Malvena Robbins and her husband Maurice. The Masses had two phone lines, one that connected them to the Robbins home and one that was installed by the phone company. Louis Z. had hooked up the first line before they had a regular phone connection. It was often used to announce the departure or arrival of members of the family coming to visit or assist with chores at either house.
Malvena Masse Robbins, her husband Maurice Robbins, and their four children Louis I., Gerald, Wallace and Marjory, lived on a farm on the same road as the Friends Meeting House. In the town of Windsor, about half an hour away by car, lived Edith's sister Pearle and her family. Edith's youngest daughter, Agnes Masse Plummer, and her husband John Plummer, lived in Hampden a town in Penobscot county, about an hour and a half drive northeast of Vassalboro. Edith also had relatives in Athol, Massachusetts, who visited in China, the lakes region, during the summer. To be continued.
By Marie Thérèse Martin, Rumford, ME
They represent the families
of: Martin, Richard, Poirier, Arsenault, Cormier, Daigle, Gaudet, Boudreau,
Gallant, Bernard, Chaisson, Breau, and Cyr in their ancestral lines.
RECIPE FOR RAPURE
Authentic Acadian Recipe1 peck of fresh potatoes
(grate all of the potatoes except for about 10 small potatoes, cook and mash these 10 potatoes)
1/2 lb. fresh pork cut into small pieces
1/2 lb. salt pork
cook fresh pork and salt pork slowly in cast iron skillet until crispy
To assemble: Mix grated potatoes
and cooked mashed potatoes together adding two eggs and one tablespoon
of salt. Add salt pork and fried pork to potato mixture. Pour
this mixture into a large baking pan 9 x 13. Bake at 400 degrees
F for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees F until done, approximately
1 to 1 1/2 hours. This recipe is best when fresh garden potatoes
Route 7 & Timelines
Sandy Olson, Troy, MEI saw that deer lying in the brush on the side of the road and I jolted. Her entrails were lying beside her. I dont know whether she died crawling off the road or had been put there by the one who hit her. My immediate reaction was to get pissed off. THAT GUY, the one who hit her and left her. He probably swerved to hit her. Or a bunch of young testosterone filled boys proving their manhood, rammed her laughing and sped off, taking a swig out of a Budweiser bottle. Was I pissed off.
I take chances. I never used to take chances.My mother's voice was too loud.: never cross except at the crosswalk or you will die; drive a light color car or you will die; never wear white after Labor day or you will die; stand up straight,or you will die; your hair is in your eyes, how can you see?, your nails, look at your nails...Everything was a crisis, she was fear driven . "I was afraid" she said. We were going down Rt 7 just like I was when I saw the deer, I was driving, which throws my mother into a panic, foot through the floor, back braced against the seat, chin tucked down, eyes straight ahead, and she is carrying on a conversation like none of this is going on. She is telling me about when she was teaching; how she always told the kids how important it was to be themselves, to find out what they wanted to do and go after it, And I say, matter of factly,"Well, how come you never said that to me? "I was afraid" , she said.
So it is not surprising to me that another day on Rt 7, I woke up from a road reverie, the kind you have when you have driven the same stretch a thousand times or more, to the sound of loud scraping and skidding from somewhere close beside me. Startled, I look up in time to see a small doe sliding toward me, the loud scraping was her hooves as she braced on the pavement. I was tired, tired of being in my car and I am barreling down Rt 7 about 60 miles an hour. I am not paying alot of attention until I hear that sound, and in a split second I am focused.on some point in front of me I need to reach fast. I see her and my heart is pounding, my foot is pumping, as I am trying to stop this machine that is not me. My brain is flooded with guilt. Was I going too fast? I saw that deer's eyes, the terror as she stumbled to her knees in desperation. I don't remember ever seeing a deer on her knees like that.I could also see in her eyes that we were moving ever closer to collision. I am frantic to slow down. And in a second the beast is under control. I dont stop for fear of having her plow into me. She finally stopped skidding as I moved past her. In my rear view mirror,she ran off the road and into the woods.
It was one of those moments that I would later doubt had actually happened. Like the time I said I was afraid of men and always flinched when they came at me fast or up from behind. Like the time I was babysitting for the Jacksons in Bethany Beach and I dropped a bag of groceries and Mr. Jackson screamed at me, coming at me and calling me stupid. Instead of turning around and flipping him the bird, I cowered and cried. His wife later divorced him, the asshole. And so I said to my mother then that I was afraid of men and she is incredulous, and says," Why, he never hit You?" The silence was deafening. I did not say any more. Do you believe that?. I did not ask the question that was absolutely saturating the air: "mom, did he hit you?" What was there in that little glimpse of reality that scared me so much. She never talked directly about him and what he did or did not do, and nerves were already worn thin enough without opening that box by myself.
So here I was again..So carefully casting a blind eye to her fear as she sat rigid in my car gripping the door handle while I was driving quite normally down the road, I was easily convinced by her denials that she was just fine.It was not happening. My mother was always in control. She told me she was a creative supportive teacher and I knew that was true. I had known kids who had had her for a teacher and she had changed their lives. She had changed mine too but not in the same way. It was very confusing to me as a child that I had this different person for a mother. Somehow I just never got what she was giving.
It was on that day driving down Rt7 that the past started to unravel. I looked at this scared old woman jammed up against the seat and I started to wake up. She sat there in my car telling me what a great driver I was. I pointed out that she never let me drive her car. She said it was only that she liked to drive... and where was the truth? I had spent alot of years avoiding the truth. the truth is messy. My father could have hit my mother. My mother was afraid. And maybe, just maybe, I was wrong about the deer.
Maybe some one was driving along late at night, tired and in a road reverie like I had been, and all of the sudden there was that doe right in front of the car. He or she swerved but clipped the doe. The person stopped and went over to her, helpless and dying in the road, picked her up and carried her over to the trees, and stayed with her until she died; watched her die, sat there after she died and then got back in the car and drove home.
It's just my imagination, anyway. I came upon this dead doe beside the road. That's the reality. It affected my day, the encounter.. the doe was well up off the road. It is likely that someone put her there. She was young , not yet used to the dangers of the road. It was mid- morning when I went by. the accident probably happened around dawn when the deer and early commuters start to move around. There is a middle way. My mother and father were young and he was just back from the war in the Pacific without the words to speak of what he had seen. He was restless and confused and damaged. I've seen my mother, in desperation, hammering my brother when he was drunk until he turned on her in rage, and I have heard her change around the facts in many a story because she needed to in order to be able to go on.
KEEPING TO OURSELVES
By Patricia Smith Ranzoni, Bucksport, MEMy mother tends boxes and handbags stashed with poems she's written
since the five of us took all she had to give but those, in fact
she calls one batch Treasures of a Tote Bag. Years we've finagled
to get her to let us help gather them perhaps for a book
for her. For us. I begged for her eightieth but she said Not
now you know I don't like calling attention to myself I'm
sorry mama you might've been right should've kept mine shut up,
no who does she think she is in my cupboards no accusa-
tions of arrogance from my desk. Hushed up in our bedchamber,
mute in the stand my side of the stead no easy similes
in there likening my mothertongued flights to common birds not
artful enough to know fine seed over gravel as though no
high-sounding flock needs grit for their crops to work some folded still
in my from-scratch cooking books and sealed over figures in out-
dated daybooks and ledgers too good yet to throw out in the
old way of collecting mementos and scraps. Hand copy one
now and again to enclose, for loved ones, Ever, who'd take them
for granted like balsam fir pillows made winters. Keep their blis-
tering secret-stitched patchwork for relations who know what class
grains they hold what fragrance this is before them then just for us.
Thoughts, Feelings on Hair Loss
By Joyce MacCrae Howe
In Memory of Martha Pellerin Drury
|Not too long ago I asked her for a song I could teach my students since I was looking around for something different. She suggested, "Rame, Rame, Rame Donc", a tune she recorded when she was doing "Jeter Le Pont". When she suggested it and certainly when she recorded it she had no idea --or maybe she did, who am I to say?--what a wonderful prayer and journey song it is for her and all of us as we approach the final celebration of her life.--Tom Luce|
Rame DoncOn est parti tôt ce matin
Le vent du nord caresse nos mains
Plus de soucis, loin des rivages
Il n'y a que rêves et lendemains.
Il est trop tard pour retourner
Sourire aux lèves, le coeur léger
|Après le jour viendra la nuit
Et les étoiles nous guideront
Les anges viendront nous rencontrer
Portant nos coeurs dans l'immensité
Un soir ils nous verront passer
Rame, rame, rame donc
Please consider submitting to The Initiative.
Go to Home Page: The Franco-American Women's Institute
The URL for this page is
All Contents are Copyright©FAWI,
Last updated July 15, 2009