A Publication


The Franco-American Women's Institute

Volume 3 Number 1

Better to Light a Candle than to curse the darkness


Praise for The Initiative from Netscape's team of editors and listed in their directory of recommended sites:

The Initiative
     A Medium of The Franco-American Women's Institute
     lays out an enormous variety of history, ideas,
     thoughts, facts, and even favorite old time
     recipes such as Acadian specialty, Rapure
     (Chiard). Outstanding scholarship about Franco
     Americans in Maine.



Jeanne d'Arc According to Stanley Kubrick by Kim Chase

One Thought Begetting Another by Carole Chambers Griffin

Maman's Red-Faced Summer by Amy Bouchard Morin

Dream of a Wagon (Voiture) by Ida Roy

A Franco-American Woman Down Under: Gerilyn Bossé goes to New Zealand by Gerilyn Bossé

"Mattie" by George Hall

Surviving The Storm by Deborah Ouellette Small

It is My Dream and My Wish by Rhea Côté Robbins

Talbot Descendants by Paula Currie Raymond

Where I Come From Is Like This by Barbara Ouellette Ouellette

The Plains by Rhea Côté Robbins

Dylan Revisited by Marie Thérèse Martin

Just A Bunch of Memories by Amy Bouchard Morin

Center Celebrates 12 "Women of Aroostook"

Dakota by Ida Roy

My Mother Lives In the Rooms Of My Memory House by Trudy Chambers Price
(Art by Trudy's mother, Martha Adelia (Higgins) Chambers)

Original Art/Literature

All featured artwork by Lili (LaVerdiere) Bates

"Emigration" taken from her historical novel, Le Québecois: The Virgin Forest
by Doris Provencher-Faucher


Dansons & New Roof by Joy Yourcenar

31 Ans by Maureen Perry

Une Offrande(?) by Maureen Perry

Choices by Trudy Chambers Price

Scarlet Fever (winter 1944) by Trudy Chambers Price


Edith Starrett Masse's Work Roles: On the Farm and at Home A Narrative Study of Her Diaries 1942-1945 by Suzette Lalime Davidson 
Maine and the Family
Full Text of Edith Starrett Masse's Work Roles

History of Women Journalist--Lewiston Woman Heads New Maine Press and Radio Group--Miss Charlotte Michaud Elected President

LE MILIEU, L'APPARTENANCE ET L'INTÉGRATION À LA SOCIÉTÉ AMÉRICAINE:  La littérature comme outil de connaissance des Franco-Américains par Eric Joly

Multicultural Pens

My Incarceration by a former woman inmate

The Silent Promise--In Memory of John F. Kennedy, Jr.
by Paulette M. Barry

from  Another Long (31.)  & from Another Long (19.) by Patricia Smith Ranzoni

Thoughts, Feelings on Hair Loss by Joyce MacCrae Howe




Advertisements/Petites Annonces


In memory of 

Martha Pellerin Drury 1961-1998

Bridging the Gap Franco-American Culture in Vermont
This is Where I'll Be
Two articles written by Kim Chase



Jeanne d'Arc According to Stanley Kubrick

A Review by Kim Chase, Burlington, VT

 The three most important heroes of my youth were Joan of Arc, Madeline de Verchères and Mémère Beaudoin ( a great grandmother who birthed sixteen children - fourteen surviving - delivering two of them herself). Like most Franco-Americans, I am used to not seeing my culture reflected in such public institutions as school or American history books or mass media. So it was a pleasant surprise to learn that CBS would be airing a four-hour movie about Joan of Arc by the late Stanley Kubrick. I was guardedly optimistic, knowing too well how little Hollywood respects the truth. My mother took one look at the credits and flatly rejected the movie. "There were no French names among the actors," she explained. "And I think the young woman playing Jeanne d'Arc must be of Polish descent." Since I am much less of a purist than my mother, I decided to withhold judgment until I had actually seen the movie.
I realized I would have to do a little research before I could fairly assess the CBS account of Joan of Arc's life and times. My mother, ever the historian, offered to lend me a book called The Trial of Jeanne d'Arc, which she had found years ago in a second-hand bookstore. Written in 1932, it is "translated into English from the original Latin and French documents by W. P. Barrett". According to the  Introduction by Coley Baker,  "The Trial Record, inconceivable as it must seem, has never before this present translation, been completely given into English� the whole trial has never before been accessible to the reader who is not either a French or a Latin scholar, and editions in those languages are extremely difficult to procure." 
The movie turned out to be surprisingly faithful to the historical record. I began reading the book two days before the movie was broadcast, and continued to read it over the three days it aired, so I found the details of the movie's historical accuracy all the more striking.
 I have no information on the ethnic background of Lee Lee Sobieski, the young actress playing Jeanne d'Arc, but I do know that at the time of the filming, she was one year younger than Joan was when she led the French army to victory in 1429. Jeanne d'Arc was seventeen when she first went to Orleans and nineteen years old when she was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.
The movie opens as Joan is coming into the world. Her father, disgusted that the baby is a girl, is ready to sacrifice her. "It's a fine time for the Lord to give us a daughter," he says. "Just when the Burgundian wolves are coming. We need sons to work in the fields." His wife, fresh from giving birth, runs after her husband, begging him not to kill her baby. "The soldiers are always coming," she argues. "Burning our villages and stealing our food. I will not lose my daughter, too."  Reluctantly, Jeanne's father concedes.
The book does not give any information about this scene, but we know that baby girls have been rejected, cast out or killed in many cultures since the beginning of time. We also know there have always been strong mothers who will do anything to ensure the survival of their children. (Mémère Beaudoin comes to mind.) So, whether or not the scene actually took place, we can safely forgive this bit of artistic license as it effectively conveys the difficulty of simply being a girl during that period of French history, to say nothing of being a female warrior.
Indeed, perhaps Jeanne d'Arc's most impressive accomplishment was her ability to overcome the profound prejudices against women enough to even earn an audience with the critical decision-makers of the time. The movie shows this as a step-by-step process, in which Jeanne simply perseveres until she has progressed past the most immediate obstacle. Her "voices", which she identified as belonging to St. Michael, St. Margaret, and, most of all, St. Catherine, were surprisingly practical in their directions to her, providing specific names, places and tasks she was to accomplish in order to ultimately save France.
In order to get to the king, Jeanne had to go first to Robert of Baudricourt in Vaucouleurs to ask for an escort to Lorraine, where the king was residing at the time. According to the book, "Jeanne told Robert she must come to France. The said Robert twice refused to hear her and repulsed her; the third time he listed to her and gave her an escort. And the voice told her that it would be so." The movie is faithful to that detail.
In one of the most interesting scenes of the movie, Jeanne finds a sword which had lain hidden in the church of St. Catherine de Fierbois. It comes up during the trial as an example of how she knew something she could not possibly have known without the aid of her "voices". Nice touch, I thought, but pretty unlikely. In fact, according to the book, Jeanne does not actually go to the church, but tells someone where the famous sword is hidden and sends him to find it. The sword is found and given to her. In this particular instance, life is stranger than fiction, and Kubrick chose to downplay the facts in order to make them more believable.
Once Jeanne reaches Chinon, she faces her most daunting task yet, which is to convince the king to let her lead his army against the English. In the movie version, the king disguises himself in order to test this "maid" who says God speaks to her through the saints.. When she arrives at the court in Chinon, Jeanne correctly identifies the king. No way, I thought. Too cliché, too made-for-television. But, checking my source, I discovered I was wrong again. The king did in fact disguise himself and Jeanne was able to recognize him. She asked for an audience alone with the king, during which time he was given a sign convincing him that Jeanne was truly sent from God. Jeanne repeatedly refuses to divulge the nature of this sign during the trials, and the movie is faithful on this point almost to the word. 
During the movie trial, Jeanne warns the Bishop Cauchon (played by Peter O'Toole) to be careful because he is putting himself in spiritual danger by questioning her. In the book, she says to the bishop, " �You say that you are my judge; take good heed of what you do, because, in truth, I am sent by God, and you put yourself in great peril', in French �en grant dangier'" [sic]
 Coley Baker's introduction to The Trial of Jeanne d'Arc is itself an exceptional resource on Jeanne d'Arc, amazingly enlightened considering the fact that it was written in 1931. There is nothing sentimental, religious or patronizing in Baker's admiration for Jeanne d'Arc. He drives home the fact that in this case, the hero outshines the legend. Here is a woman whose importance and accomplishments cannot be exaggerated:

We see Jeanne pitted against sixty skilled politicians, lawyers, ambassadors, trained in all the complexities of legal questioning, all of them versed in academic casuistry. Most of them were avowedly her enemies. Her victories for Charles VII had driven many of them, including Bishop Cauchon, out of their dioceses, away from their seats of authority and revenue. They were of the University of Paris and Jeanne threatened Paris. If she had succeeded in that they would have been utterly ruined...
There has surely been no more dramatic or horrible trial in history than hers. Sixty of the ablest politicians and academicians, endowed with authority no less impressive because it was largely usurped, were summoned by their military masters to try, under the elaborate forms of law, a girl nineteen years old: an extraordinary girl whose military genius had made her the wonder of Europe, a King-maker, and the arch-enemy of her judges.
The world had seen nothing like her since Christ.

 Prior to seeing the movie and reading the book, I thought Jeanne d'Arc had been executed as a heretic for saying she heard God's voice. However, one of the most serious charges against her appears to be that she wore men's clothing, considered "an abomination against her sex". Jeanne's reaction is understandable but also incredibly forward-thinking: 

Asked if God ordered her to wear a man's dress, she answered that the dress is a small, nay, the least thing. Nor did she put on man's dress by the advice of any man whatsoever; she did not put it on, nor did she do aught, but by the command of God and the angels.
Asked whether it seemed to her that this command to assume male attire was lawful, she answered: "Everything I have done is at God's command; and if He had ordered me to assume a different habit, I should have done it, because it would have been His command."
 A ridiculous amount of the trial seems to be spent asking Jeanne what the saints looked like. It is unclear whether these were serious questions or efforts to ridicule and diminish Jeanne's accomplishments. However, her rejoinders are astonishingly incisive:
Asked what part of them she saw, she answered the face... Asked how they spoke if they had no other members, she answered: "I leave that to God."...
Asked in what form St. Michael appeared, she answered that she did not see his crown and she knows nothing of his apparel. 
Asked if he was naked, she answered: "Do you think God has not wherewithal to clothe him?"...
Asked if St. Margaret spoke in the English tongue, she answered: "Why should she speak English when she is not on the English side?" 

As one reviewer noted, it remains to be seen why God wanted to save France and her king in the first place. Charles VII betrayed Jeanne d'Arc even though he owed to her his rise from dauphin to king. The Church, which should have championed her, sentenced her to death. It was not until 1456 that the Church revoked its decision convicting Joan of heresy, witchcraft and fraud. Almost five-hundred years later, in1920, Jeanne was officially canonized. 
We are fortunate to be able to claim Jeanne d'Arc as our own. I am personally grateful to the late Stanley Kubrick for his faithful portrayal of one of my greatest heroes and the opportunity to learn more about her. Next, we need a movie about Madeleine de Verchères and then, about Mémère Beaudoin and all those other women who carried on, in their own way, the courageous and remarkable tradition of Jeanne d'Arc. 
 And, by the way Mom, there were some French names in the credits! 

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Taken from her historical novel, Le Québecois: The Virgin Forest

By Doris Provencher-Faucher, Biddeford, ME

Mid-April 1657

The ancient castle of the Dukes of Brittany cast its shadow over the old port of Nantes as dinghies criss-crossed the water, wending their way around and between the several river craft and ocean-sailing ships that lay at anchor in this common estuary of the Erdre and Loire rivers.
 Bastien stood on the deck of the small river shallop, and watched as the longboats ferried cargo from ships newly arrived with West Indian sugar, and heavy stocks of dried and salted fish from the Newfoundland banks. In the midst of this activity, sailors of the French royal navy refitted their man-of-war and replenished their supplies.
 His mind wandered, as it often had these last few days, and loneliness enveloped him; he knew that he would never see his family again. Military conscription had completely changed the direction of his life, he thought ruefully.
  The shallop dropped anchor, and once ashore, he walked the dock area where his attention quickly focussed on the endless activity, the sounds and scents of this busy port. Horse-carts crowded the waterfront as they shuttled bales, barrels, and crates to and from the several warehouses. Dockworkers received and sorted out cargo to be delivered to the merchant vessels; stevedores loaded the small transfer boats with trade goods destined for the French colonies of Canada, Acadia, and the Antilles. 
 Bastien noticed a man and a young adolescent engaged in earnest and animated conversation with three sailors at the end of the quay, and saw that the two were dressed and equipped as he was, in well-worn homespun clothing, each with a canvas backpack and a blanket roll slung across his back.
  When the seamen cast off and the two peasants walked toward him. Bastien smiled as he recognized that they shared a strong resemblance to each other. He judged that the younger of the two must be about his brother Jehan's age.
 He held out his hand to the man and introduced himself. 
 The stranger smiled back at him and replied: "My name is Julien and this is my son Pierre. We noticed your backpack--Were you with the army?"
 "For a while." he said as he nodded to the son. "And you?"
 "No. Our friends gave these to us as going-away presents. They seemed anxious to get rid of them--and hope never to leave home again."
 "Have you traveled far?" Bastien asked as a peasant woman approached them.
 "Anne!" Julien called her over, and introduced her as his wife. She and Bastien nodded to each other as she moved toward her son and ran her fingers through his hair. The boy's ears flamed red; he shook his head and moved away.
 Julien continued: "We left Angers at dawn yesterday and planned to be here by midday today, but we had walked part of the way when a boatman offered to carry us down the Loire, so we arrived sooner than we expected. And you?"
 "I left Orléans eight days ago."
 Comfortable in each other's company, they continued to wander through the bustling activity of Nantes. Julien pointed to several warehouses and said: "Those belong to the major colonial traders."
 "Are you looking for work in Nouvelle France?" Bastien asked.
 "We've already signed contracts early this morning."
 "Where will you go?"
 "To Québec. Sieur Salomon needed a cooper and agreed to hire Pierre as a farm laborer and Anne as a housekeeper."
 "Did you try anywhere else?"
 Julien shook his head. "We were lucky enough to see him first. What are you looking for?"
 "Farming in Canada."
 "As far as I know," Julien volunteered, "there are two merchants looking for someone like you." He pointed to the relevant buildings. "That's where you'll find them. Good luck, mon vieux..."
 Bastien entered the first wooden warehouse, and found a clerk sitting behind a tall desk in a sparsely furnished front office area. The frail, elderly man appeared to be undisturbed by the commotion as workers moved bales and kegs in and out of storage. Bastien asked him if his employer offered any indenture contracts.
 The recorder studied him from above his spectacles and replied: "Yes, Monsieur Lecoq is always looking for recruits. Do you have a letter of introduction?"
 Bastien presented his pastor's written recommendation, which the clerk briefly scanned and handed back. "Very well," he said, "but before you meet with Monsieur, I should tell you that the contract is for thirty-six months, and provides return passage, room, board, and wages of sixty-five livres per year. The seigneurie is located near the walls of Québec, the oldest and most strongly fortified settlement."
 Bastien thanked him and moved toward the door. "I have one more inquiry to make, then I may be back."
 The clerk seemed irritated by his leaving and called: "You won't get a better offer." 
 Bastien shrugged his shoulders and disregarded the harsh warning. He was no longer in the army; he had the right to choose his own future.
 Sieur Salomon returned from the warehouse, but continued to direct its workers from his desk. "What can I do for you?" he asked.
 "I'm looking for indentured service in Canada. Do you have any contracts available?"
 The merchant shuffled his papers. "That depends. What type of work are you looking for?"
 "Yes, we have a few openings available, but we offer one-way passage only."
 Bastien nodded. "I won't be coming back--I plan to build a farm of my own in Nouvelle France."
 Salomon studied him for a moment. "Well, you sound ambitious enough, but are you strong and healthy?"
 The peasant straightened up and confidently replied: "I am."
 The merchant briefly appraised him and read the letter that recommended him for employment without reservation. The pastor at Pithiviers had written that the candidate came from a good family, had traveled extensively with the cavalry, and had returned home to find his parents had died, and that his younger brothers had assumed responsibility for the family farm. On the basis of having known him since baptism, the priest vouched for Bastien's honesty and capacity for working hard and conscientiously.
 Salomon handed back the letter of reference and told him: "Landowners at Trois Rivières are always looking for farmers. If you sign a contract with me, it will be sold to another merchant when you reach Québec. Nevertheless, the agreement guarantees food and shelter during employment, provides a new pair of shoes on the day of departure, and promises to pay a willing worker like you seventy livres tournois for each year of service."
 Bastien struggled to control his enthusiasm. "And what about tools?"
 "Your employer will provide what you need as long as you work for him."
 "How is Trois Rivières different from Québec?"
 Salomon's mouth curled into a smile. Such curiosity! he thought, as he nested his quill in its inkwell and leaned back against the wall.
  "Québec is already well developed and protected, but Trois Rivières is a frontier trading post located four days' sail up the St. Lawrence River from Québec, and halfway to Mont Royal and Ville-Marie. The Jesuits are granting land concessions along that riverfront, but farmers must clear the virgin forest before they can sow grain and build their homes."
 Bastien hesitated only briefly, while he imagined himself swinging an axe and cutting down forest trees for the first time in his life. "I'd like to sign up for Trois Rivières."
 "Then you must come back at noon to sign the contract," the merchant told him in obvious dismissal and returned to his paperwork.
 The sun was half-way to its highest point when he returned to the dock area. A slight offshore breeze carried the salty scent of sea and fish, and the faint odor of tar and oak. Sounds of clashing metal and wood echoed along the docks. Sailors' voices carried clearly across the water.
 Julien called him to a small grassy knoll where he and his family sat and watched the port's activity.
 "Did you find what you were looking for?" he asked.
 Bastien replied with a grin, "It looks like we'll be traveling together! I'm to sign the contract at noon today, and the terms are better than I expected!"
 "Will your wife be joining you?" Anne asked expectantly.
 Her question caught him off-guard. His lips tightened, and he hesitated before he answered: "Unfortunately, I'm not married yet, but my fiancée will join me as soon as I've built a home for us..."
 Anne's eyes widened. "Will she sail alone, then?"
 Julien frowned at his wife's curiosity, but Bastien sensed her genuine concern. "She insists on it," he replied.
 "She must be an exceptional woman," Julien offered.
 "Yes, she certainly is..." 
 "Is she also from Orléans?" Anne continued in an attempt to gauge the extent of this woman's commitment. She doubted that she herself would have the courage to cross the ocean alone, without her family.
 "In a way, yes. Marguerite is a Fille du Roi who grew up in a convent in Orléans, but was born in Artenay, a short distance from my village of Pithiviers."
 "Then she has no family of her own?" Anne asked.
 Bastien's head movement affirmed that impression. "She was born to a peasant family, but was educated by the Ursuline Sisters, and later came to Pithiviers as an assistant cook and housekeeper at the local manor; that's how I met her, through my brother's wife who also works there."
 "Have you known her long?" the woman continued.
 "Since last summer--We met shortly after I returned home from military service."
 "It must have been difficult for you to leave her behind." Julien said.
 "Yes, it was," his brow wrinkled in painful regret. "When I finally returned home from the war, both of my parents had died. The oldest of my four brothers had married and had a child; his family was well-established on the family farm. I helped him to restore it, but came to realize that I no longer belonged there."
 "Had you volunteered for the army?" young Pierre asked eagerly.
 "No, when the family corvée came due, I was barely old enough for conscription--It seemed like quite an adventure at the time..."
 "Then you must have been the eldest son," Julien guessed. "The farm should have been yours."
 Bastien shook his head. "In better times, perhaps, but under the circumstances, I felt that my brother had earned the right to keep it, and by last winter, I knew that I could no longer be happy there. I need to develop my own land and build my own farm. My future lies across the sea."
 The wind shifted; the tide had turned to ebb. One of the ships in the harbor prepared to sail as its canvas unfurled and its anchor rose from the water. The new emigrants watched with fascination the increasing activity on deck and in the shrouds as the vessel slowly made its way downriver.
 When church bells rang the mid-day Angelus, Bastien returned to Salomon's office. 
 "Can you read or write?" the notary asked.
 "No," he replied quietly and again found reason to regret that his grandfather had not shared this skill with his sons and grandsons.
 "Then I'll read the contract to you, and answer any questions you might have."
 The agreement specified that the three-year indenture would begin on the day of his embarkation, and stipulated that he would receive his new shoes at that time. It promised to provide him with a daily food allowance until then, and offered him a small advance against his first year's wages.
 He accepted these terms by drawing two crossed lines at the end of the document, and the notary identified these as his signature mark.
 "We can always use an extra hand on the quay," Salomon offered. "I pay ten sols per day, and you may sleep in the warehouse if you like."
 Bastien's eyes brightened at this prospect. He immediately accepted the offer, and asked for an advance of five livres against his first year's wages.


This is the opening chapter to an as yet unpublished manuscript through which the author faithfully presents an authentic portrayal of life in the St. Lawrence River valley wilderness during the mid-17th century, based on five years of genealogical and historical research. The major events of the leading characters' lives are authentic, as are the dramatic natural phenomena and political events they experienced; their everyday activities are fictional, yet they represent common attitudes and activities of that period. The story follows the main characters through emigration, indenture, settlement, deliverance from the Iroquois threat, and exploration of an overland route to Hudson Bay with Father Albanel, s.j. in 1672.

The author was educated in a bilingual parochial elementary school, a public high school, the Maine University System, and spent the first year of married life in France during her husband's military service. They subsequently had four children who are now married. Upon her retirement from teaching at the local public high school, she began her genealogical research into her family's French origins and immediately realized that her first French-Canadian ancestor emigrated across the North Atlantic exactly three hundred years before she sailed home on a small troop ship with her husband and three-month old son.

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Carole Chambers Griffin

One Thought Begetting Another
By Carole Chambers Griffin, Meridan, CT

Meridan Connecticut  06451
January 27

The Andrew Jergens Company
Cincinatti, Ohio  45214
ATTENTION:  To Whom It May Concern

Dear Sirs:
 Something happened this week that made me reflect on the past.  In a way, your company had much to do with it.  Perhaps I should explain a little more fully.
 Last weekend, at a local flea market, for a few pennies I purchased a piece of my past.  The contents of an old trunk gave up a bottle of Ben Hur perfume.  When I opened it, my brain recognized it and immediately drew imagery of another time around the aroma; one thought begetting another, until I felt compelled to put it down in this letter.
 I was very young when this country was deep into W.W.II, but even small children have perceptions that remain for a lifetime.  Ours was a small, rural town where everyone knew everyone (and their business!)  It was more like a community of kinfolk, for we depended on one another in many ways.
 Suddenly, our peaceful, routine lives changed dramatically; all our young men were gone--brothers, husbands and sons.  We were a village of women, children and old men.
 My aunts came home to the farm to live while their husbands were in the service.  Women donned pants and boots and worked the fields and ran the farms; old men left their comfortable chairs by the fire and once more plowed and planted.
 Patriotism was alive in our nation during this trying period of our history.  People from all walks of life pulled together to do their part for the war effort.  Red Cross, Civil Defense, Ground Observer Corps, Air Raid Wardens, they all put in many hours to keep us safe at home.
 Children did their part too, tending Victory Gardens, holding scrap-metal drives, and Wednesday was Savings Stamp Day at our small grammar school.  Each week a new stamp was added to our books--ten cents a week, but back then, that was a lot.
 Our grocery shopping was limited to what food ration stamps were left; gas was rationed; tires only a memory; shoes were difficult to find and yarn non-existent unless you went to Canada.
 Yes, things were hard then, but the waiting was the toughest.  I remember the troop trains that rolled through our town and seeing the faces of young men through the windows.  Many times that train stopped and carried away our own.  It would be a long time before they came home men.
 The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months slipped into years.  The war was escalating in Europe and the South Pacific was claiming our men now, also.  Like so many other communities, we erected a white Honor Roll in the center of town.  One by one, names were placed upon the roll; gold stars began to show in windows; on home has two.
 The price of peace was high.  Our small town paid its fair share.  In their quiet New England way, the villagers would gather at the station, waiting for the 8:05 northbound, and helped many a grieving father load a flag-draped coffin onto the back of a truck for the final journey home.
 Causalities were heavy, V-mail was talking longer to get delivered, people lived for news of their loved ones.  Each night, after the black-out curtains had been pulled, the family would gather around the radio in the parlor to listen to Gabriel Heater with the Big War news, and then to the local announcer who would read the latest list of missing and dead from the War Department.  I remember the tenseness of those evenings, the silence as we all stared at the eerie orange glow from the celluloid dial.  The same dial that brought the beautiful voice of Kate Smith into our homes "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain" and "God Bless America."
  But there was another side to those war years; it was the part that women played on the home front.  Yes, our young women answered the call, too, and manned the factories that produced the tanks, guns, ships and planes needed by their men overseas.  Women pilots flew the bombers to England and the South Pacific--and they joined the Armed forces, releasing more able-bodied men for combat.
 Even after a full week in a defense plant, these young women transformed themselves from "Rosie the Riveter" into the girl-next-door.  It wasn't easy to get the grease off and the softness back, but they did it!
 There was no silk stockings; that precious fiber was being made into parachutes for our boys, so no one really minded.  Leg make-up was a must for those Saturday night dances at the USO.  How often I watched the older girls next door getting ready and watched as eye brow pencil was applied to their legs as stocking lines.  The Page Boy hair style and the Upsweep were "in"--peplum blouses, full circle skirts, platform wedgies and snoods.  But a girl was not fully dressed until she put on her Ben Hur perfume.
 I must digress a little at this point, for it is these next remembrance that stand out clearly in my mind and give me hope.  There was a POW camp a few miles from our town, with a long barracks, high wire fence and armed guards.  Army trucks would transport the German prisoners through town every morning and evening--trucks of silent, sullen faces, showing no emotion.
 The men worked in the lumber camps and sawmills, they cleared and sanded streets, doing the work our boys would have been doing had they been home.  We looked on them with malice and mistrust--for they were the enemy.
 It was a hot summer day when a baby wandered into the road near a field where the POWs were working.  It was a busy highway with trucks and buses always hurrying to somewhere.  When a fast -moving bus did appear at the base of the hill, it was a POW who raced across the field and pushed the child out of the road.  The POW was struck and killed instantly.
 The following winter, a POW crew was shoveling and sanding the road into town, when three youngsters ventured out onto the fragile ice on the pond.  the POWs heard their screams as the ice opened up and all three plunged into the frigid water.  Without hesitation, one POW leaped from the bridge and fought to keep the children above water.  The others, linking arms, waded into the river until the children were reached and passed to shore.  There was no loss of life that day, but something did happen.  The townspeople began to see, not the enemy, but other human beings capable of compassionate acts.  That day began a solid interaction between the villagers and the POWs.
 We were all touched and affected in some way by those war years, but we became a stronger, more tolerant nation because of them.
 As I look around me today, I see a resurgence of the styles from the forties--peplums are back, wedgies are "in"--collector's items have a strong market, which leads me to why I have written to you in the first place.  have you ever considered re-issuing Ben Hur?  Look at what one whiff did to me--and there are thousands of other noses out there ready to unleash memories...

A Fan,
Carole Griffin

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Artist Statement

Lili (LaVerdiere) Bates

 Originally from Waterville, Maine, I moved to New York City in 1985, and attended Parson's School of Design, majoring in Interiors.
 While living in Maine, I exhibited in various group shows throughout the state.  Although trained in oils and pastels, I also work in watercolor, and pastels.
 During a trip to Kenya, Africa, I visited the Maasai and Samburu tribes.  I was so inspired by their way of life and intense beauty, I returned to New York to begin a series of pastel paintings depicting the people, wildlife and landscape of Kenya.
 Although moving to the Big City has always been a dream of mine, I'm still a Mainer at heart, and have recently moved to the suburbs of New Jersey to paint the landscapes there.  I'm currently working on a series of botanicals.

All the featured art work on these pages was done by Lili.

Artwork by Lili Bates

Lili (LaVerdiere) Bates


Maman's Red-Faced Summer

By Amy Bouchard Morin, Old Town, Maine

 The summer I turned three my Aunt Zelia invited Maman and me to stay with her and her family while dad was a councillor at that camp again.  A month visiting her family seemed like a good idea since Maman no longer had the chickens, and the family garden plot would be in growing mode and would be all right until we returned.. 
And so our adventure began.  We took the bus from Old Town to Madawaska in the morning.  The bus in those days had a seat up front near the driver which could sit a couple children who might be traveling alone, or an adult and child.  The driver asked Maman if she wanted to sit up front, and so we did.  All went well until we were approaching Howland.  In Howland they had a plant where they tanned hides, and boy did it ever stink.  As we approached and the smell came into the bus, I turned to Maman, pinched my nose, and said at the top of my voice, "Oh, Maman, what you did!"  Poor Maman blushed and pointed out the plant and explained where the smell was coming from, which satisfied me.  I put my head down in her lap and went to sleep.  Maman looked at the bus driver and his face was all red where he wanted to laugh and didn't dare to because he might insult her.  Maman burst out laughing and when she did the driver laughed so hard he had to pull the bus over until he could stop laughing.
 I remember that summer at Aunt Zelia's as being just wonderful....a big barn, chickens to chase, cows, and my Uncle Ambroise to follow around whenever I could.  I guess my Daddy was not there, so he had to take my daddy's place for awhile.  One day I followed him to the barn while he milked the cows.  He noticed I was standing behind the cow so he told me I should move.  I did for awhile, but then I forgot, and he didn't notice.  Well, the cow let me have it...manure from head to toe all down the front of me.  My uncle shipped me up to the house.  Maman and Aunt Zelia were sitting on the glider on the big, open porch shelling peas so I sat on the steps with my back to them.  Pretty soon they started sniffing and saying, "What smells?"   I never said a word.  Then my cousin Babe came out of the kitchen, right behind me and said, "Qu'est qui pue, dont?  Phew, c'est Amy!"   My poor mother!  She stripped me down, threw out my clothes, and took me out behind the house to wash me down with the hose before putting me in the tub upstairs with sweet-smelling shampoo and soap.  For the rest of that trip, every time my cousin Babe went by me he would whisper "Maudit tu pue!" (My God you stink!) in my ear.
 The following week Maman, Aunt Zelia, my cousins Chat (Romella)  and Babe (Renaud), and I were going to spend a week at Aunt Zelia's camp.  On the Saturday before we left, the priest who married Maman and Dad and was friends with Aunt Zelia and Uncle Ambroise, came to visit.  When he heard we were going to camp for the week he went to the rectory and came back with a big box of chocolate bars to take to camp.  He gave me the box and said, "Amy, be sure to share these with everyone."  I said, "Yes, father."  And, turned around and started up the stairs to put the box in the suitcase that was going to camp.  I guess he thought I was going to eat them all, so he said again, "Amy, be sure to share those with everyone."  Again, I said, "Yes, father, I will."  And I continued up the stairs.  So, he said again, "Now, Amy, be sure you share those."  I put the box on the stairs, turned around, put my hands on my hips and said, "I told you I would share them.  Chat and Babe are down in the barn.  If I take the candy to them out there, the cows will shit on them, and what will I have."  Poor Maman!  She told me to go put the candy in the suitcase, and then she had to explain what had happened just a few days before.  She said that the priest laughed so hard he cried, but she almost died from embarrassment. 
 Well the embarrassment didn't stop there, no sir!  When we came home, the bills were in the mail.  So Maman had to go pay the telephone, water, lights...whatever had come in while she was away.  One of the bills was paid at Burnham Drug Store.  Mr. King, who was always immaculately dressed with a white shirt and tie, owned the store and was a pharmacist as well.  When he saw Maman, he came out to speak with her.  He asked her about our trip up north, and then he asked me if I had learned to speak French.  I said, "Yes."  So he said, "Say something to me in French." I said the French words that I had heard the most. "Maudit, tu pue!" My cousin had taught me well after all!   Poor man!  He was so insulted that he turned on his heals and went into the back of the pharmacy.  Maman was red-faced again.  She says that every time she went in the store with me after that Mr. King went out back.  I'm not sure if Maman ever did get the chance to explain why I said such a rude thing.  Oh, well, I was only three years old after all.  And, that truly was not the only French I learned during my summer in Madawaska ... only the most embarrassing thing for my poor Maman.  I owe Babe one for sure.

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Lili (LaVerdiere) Bates



By George Hall, Presque Isle, Maine
Published in ECHOES, No. 42*

When I was eight years old I wanted a star in the window.  It was 1941, and my friends who had fathers or brothers in the service displayed blue stars in their windows honoring relatives in the military.  I didn't understand the somber meaning of the gold stars, or why my parents looked so worried when they listened to news about Pearl Harbor.  I knew only that my father was too old and my brother too young to be drafted. The fact that my mother was an airplane spotter didn't cut any ice with my friends. 
 It wasn't until later in the war that I could boast about my mother's sister, Captain Mattie Pinette, the personal and confidential secretary to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe: the man who made the final decision to launch Operation Overlord, code name for the invasion at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. 
 Mattie Pinette was born in 1903 in New Canada Plantation, near Fort Kent, Maine, the fourth oldest in a family of 13 children born to Amelia and Joseph Pinette.  Joseph, a potato farmer and lumberjack, later moved his family to the Guilford area where many of them worked in textile mills.  However, from the age of seven, Mattie was raised by her Uncle Uldrick and Aunt Delia Dumond who ran a general store in Fort Kent.  Mattie grew up with her peers, skating, swimming, and having lawn parties where they danced to Victrola music and talked about boys.  When she was older she worked part time in her uncle's store.  Mattie was educated at the St. Louis Convent school, the model school of Madawaska Training School.  From there, Mattie attended Beals Business College and Gilman Commercial School in Bangor before what she calls "an interesting and exciting 40 years in government service." 
 Now 95, Mattie lives in her own apartment in Washington, D.C. Witness to nearly a century, she has always kept in close touch with her friends and relations in Maine and throughout the world. She has survived a shipwreck and the V-1 and V-2 rockets during World War II, and a Northeast Airlines plane crash at Washington's Friendship Airport in 1961 while returning from Maine. She has naturally slowed down somewhat and lives with assistance, but she would say that there are not many things in life she wanted to do that she has not done, except perhaps do more for her family, friends and country. 
 In 1923, Mattie's first job in Washington was secretary at the Bureau of Weights and Measures.  While there she was asked to transcribe a speech by then Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover.  Although she was the secretary with the least experience, she was the fastest transcriber.  She was flattered, but the job was difficult.  She said, "When it came to Hoover's speech, he mumbled and was very difficult to understand."  In 1929, after many promotions, she transferred to the Bureau of Aeronautics where she remained until joining the WAC (Women's Army Corps) in 1942.
 The Bureau of Aeronautics was an exciting place for Mattie in a country crazy about flying.  Lundberg had flown the Atlantic solo; Amelia Earhart was famous for extended flights.  Lundberg, Earhart and Eddie Rickenbacker came to the bureau many times to discuss the state of aeronautics or renew their pilot licenses.  The most memorable but unpleasant experience for Mattie while with the bureau was recording the testimony of the surviving witnesses of the Hindenburg Disaster at Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937.  The German dirigible's tail section caught fire and fell to the ground tail first while mooring.  Sixty-two of the 97 passengers escaped uninjured.  Mattie couldn't forget for a long time the stench of the burned bodies which lingered in the hangars where the dead had initially been placed and where later much of the testimony was taken. 
 When Mattie first went to Washington at the end of the Harding presidency, times were difficult at the home of her natural family.  Although Mattie's salary was very small, she sent home all she could to help her parents, and her brothers and sisters and their families, a practice she has continued to this day.  I cannot remember a Christmas when my family did not receive presents from my aunt.  In later years when I reminded her of how we all looked forward to her presents, she laughed and said that at one time it was becoming quite a burden as the families grew and grew.  "I remember one time I had 52 packages to do up and take to the Post Office," Mattie recalled. "I didn't get my Christmas bill paid until April.  In those days they didn't charge you interest." 
 Mattie was eager to learn and to go on to new experiences.  After Pearl Harbor, the Bureau of Aeronautics was largely taken over by the Army Air Force, and Mattie found herself with a diminished workload and "sitting heavy," as she called it. "I had always had a job where I had to work hard; that's why I liked it," she said.  When she  heard of a Women's Auxiliary Force for the Army she applied, was accepted, and went off to train at Fort Des Moines in Iowa where she graduated as officer third class.  The corps had no ranks or benefits comparable to those for males in the military until 1943, when General George Marshall asked Congress to give military status to the WAC so the women would have prisoner-of-war protection, veterans' hospitalization, and burial benefits to their families.  This bill was signed by President Roosevelt in 1943.  Mattie graduated as a Second Lieutenant in what later became the Women's Army Corps. 
 She did not immediately work for Eisenhower's staff as he was not to be appointed SHAPE [Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe] Commander until after the War in North Africa.  She was initially assigned to Army Air Services in Washington as liaison officer between WAC Headquarters and Air Services to survey which Air Force jobs could be filled by women.  After six weeks, she and four other WAC officers were selected as the best to represent the corps to be sent overseas: first for a short orientation in London, then off to Algiers in North Africa where the five Wacs were assigned to various headquarters working to defeat German Field Marshal Rommel's forces in North Africa. 
 From Scotland, the five women began their transport to Algiers on the British troop ship, the Strathalan, the largest ship in a convoy of 40.  About 70 miles from the Port of Oran, the Strathalan was hit by a German torpedo.  The Wacs, British nurses and combat troops were eventually all picked up.  Mattie and another of the women spent 10 hours in a lifeboat before being taken to the port of Oran where they were reunited with the other three Wacs and then flown by B-17 to their assignments in Algiers where Mattie was assigned to General McClure. 
 During this time Mattie and the four other officers were ordered to Casablanca to work at the ANFA or Casablanca Conference.  They were told to report at a certain time prepared to be away from headquarters for approximately two weeks and to pack sufficient clothes.  The last order struck the Wacs funny for they had lost all their kit at sea with the exception of what they were wearing at the time.  As Mattie said, "An order is an order so we made no comment about our lack of clothes."  In a later interview, Alene Drezmal, another of the five, told of the thoughtfulness of Chief of Staff George Marshall.  He sent his aide to say that he knew the five had lost everything, and if they would give him a list of their needs, he'd send a cable.  Thy needed everything: combs, uniforms, underwear, sanitary napkins.  The order was sent and soon everything arrived, all the clothes in correct sizes. 
 At the Conference, Roosevelt, Churchill, General Marshall and their staffs thrashed out several political and military problems.  The most important question to be decided by the Allies was the future conduct of war after the Germans were defeated in North Africa.  Each day all the minutes of the meetings were dictated to the secretaries, typed up and printed, ready for the next day's meetings.  Mattie said she often would work until 2 a.m. and still report for duty the next morning. "You know, you don't feel tired.  You're so imbued with the importance of what you're doing and the necessity that it be done, it isn't until it's all over that you finally collapse."  Although the Wacs sometimes worked 18 hours a day, Mattie remembers an evening when President Roosevelt invited the women to dinner.  The President was interested that Mattie came from Maine because of his summer place in Campobollo. Mattie remarked to me that after Winston Churchill arrived, he and Roosevelt were in friendly competition: "One would tell something interesting and funny and the other would feel he had to top it." 
 After the Casablanca Conference Eisenhower was made Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, and he asked Mattie to become his personal and confidential secretary.  After some preliminary tests taking Eisenhower's dictation and testing her knowledge of other protocols, Mattie was flown to his new headquarters in Bushy Park, London.  Mattie's fluency in French was one reason she was selected, in addition to her experience and efficiency as a secretary.  General de Gaulle and many other allied officers and their aides were often at headquarters to confer with Eisenhower about Overlord.  She worked for Eisenhower at London and at Field Headquarters in Portsmouth, England, and later on the continent.  She transcribed many of the cables back and forth to Washington and sometimes accompanied the General on his visits to the troops throughout England who were training for the assault at Normandy.  She was there when other American, English and British generals such as Patton, Bradley, Montgomery, and Alexander came to meet with Eisenhower.
 In the summer of 1944, after the beachhead in Europe had been firmly established, General Eisenhower moved his headquarters to an apple orchard just outside Normandy.  Because he would be in the field most of the time, he assigned Mattie to General John Lewis who General Marshall had appointed head of the SHAEFE mission to France after the liberation of Paris on November 3, 1944.  She was destined to be a great help to General Lewis because of her contacts with Eisenhower's headquarters and, again, her fluency in French.  This general had come straight from Washington and had no established network. "I knew everybody," Mattie recalled. "Of course he (Lewis) came direct from the States so whenever he needed information I knew where to go." 
 Mattie served in Paris for 18 months and witnessed the surrender of the German forces to the Allies at Rheims the day before the announcement of  V-E day.  She and three other WAC officers who first went overseas together hosted a pre-signing party for the Allied representatives.  She flew back to Paris for the celebrations on May 8, 1945, V-E Day. 
 Before leaving the service, Mattie worked with Ambassador Grady on a report to the United Nations regarding the proposed state of Israel. In January 1946, while still in uniform, she was assigned as Military Administrative Assistant to Ambassador Grady, head of the Allied mission to oversee the Greek elections. 
 After resigning from active duty in 1946, Mattie accepted a position with the new Atomic Energy Commission as Chief of the Employee Development Branch, recruiting scientists, engineers and administrative specialists.  She received her master's degree from George Washington University while pursuing her career and later became extremely active in the national and international Association of University Women.  She raised money for several scholarships for women students from the U.S. and overseas.  She retired from the A.E.C. in 1964, but remained active, traveling extensively for the AAUW as well as for her own pleasure. 
 Mattie has been the recipient of many awards:  the Bronze Star, the Croix de Guerre and the Army commendation medal.  She is both humble and proud of her roots and of having been chosen one of two Outstanding Alumnae by the University of Maine at Fort Kent in 1970. 
 She is one of two surviving children of Joseph and Amelia Pinette. A younger sister Aurore, is an Ursiline nun. 
 A reporter from the Bangor Daily News, who interviewed Mattie in 1946 while she was home on terminal leave, wrote: "She attributes her important assignments to luck.  In reality, they were a recognition of efficiency in the Nth degree.  She is the perfect business executive, keen, alert and highly intelligent, yet with it all a woman gracious, kindly and considerate." 
 That's ma tante Mattie: my star in the window. 

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 "The Sinking: Surviving a torpedo attack," ECHOES, No. 44.

ECHOES has published the journal of Maj. Mattie A. Pinette of Fort Kent, Maine in the Nos. 42, 43, & 44 issues.  Back issues, $5. 

To order this important text of Franco-American women's witings:


PO Box 626

Caribou, Maine  04736

or call


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Surviving The Storm

By Deborah Ouellette Small, Old Town, ME

 I'm standing in the kitchen listening to the porch screen door bang with authority.  My seventeen-year old daughter rushes in and immediately begins her after school ritual of rummaging through the cupboards looking for nourishment to satisfy her hunger pains. 
 "Hey, you never have anything good to eat in this house."  She blurted out annoyingly. 
 Right away I smell the cigarette smoke trapped in her sweater and I angrily shout out in a tirade.  "Jose, are you smoking?  I can't believe your smoking!  Have you completely lost your mind?  What in the world are you thinking of?" 
 Full of audacity, she cuts me off sharply, "Ma, I'm not going to stay here and talk with you when you're getting hysterical over nothing."  She runs past me and enters into her bedroom slamming and locking the door.  My body turns numb with fear and I slide slowly to the floor. 
 "I don't have the strength to deal with anymore sickness," I mumbled under my breath.  I sit there and feel the cold floor with my hands and my mind drifts . . . drifting back to a time when I was seven. 

 It was one of those warm winter afternoons when the snow outside is melting, like butter.  My papa just arrived home from the doctor's office and without any hesitation, he gave my mama a straightforward answer to her question concerning his medical diagnosis.  "I can't believe it!  I have lung cancer and it's extremely advanced.  Doc says I have only three months to live.  He's sending me to Boston General for Chemotherapy, but he truly thinks it's too late for me."  My papa, who smokes two packs a day, clutched at his flannel shirt and pulled out a Marlboro from its hard cardboard case. 
 Saturated with shock, my mama staggered over to an old rocking chair and cried out, "Oh, Amie, what are we going to do?  What are we going to do?"  During my parent's nightmare, I was standing near and unnoticed behind the bathroom door.  I heard and saw everything, but my cognitive ability wasn't able to comprehend the meaning of all their words.  I only felt the effects of their pain that I saw  on their faces. 
 Throughout the next year, my life evolved around my papa's pains and sufferings.  The treatments left him physically and mentally broken and the consequences of that shattered my inner being.  It seemed every time I got close to him, my papa would whimper in pain, and when I'd be playing too loudly in the house he would holler out, "Stop that racket!  I want peace and quiet."  Soon my emotions got the best of me and I couldn't get a grip on my feelings.  Then the blame and guilt set in and I began to think I was the cause of his and my mother's discomforts.  Especially when I'd see my mama lying face down on her bed every night after supper crying the rosary.  I would stand beside her in the dark privacy of her bedroom and whisper. 
 "Ma, what's the matter?"  She responded in a choking voice griped in fear. 
 "Don't bother me child with your questions."  And then she would scream, "Please leave me alone.  Leave me alone."  I would let her wrap me in her misery.  The sound of her voice is permanently etched in my memory like an epitaph in stone. 
 My papa was a fighter and he also had a big love for his God.  And through his faith he was able to believe in miracles.  He wanted to live to see his five children grown, so he asked God to extend his life in front of the miraculous statue of Saint Anne in the Basilica of Saint Anne de Beaupre in Quebec, Canada.  He promised God for every year he'd lived, he would journey back to Saint Anne's miraculous statue and give thanks and praise to Him for another year of life.  He made it through sixteen years.  The last year he lived, he didn't make the pilgrimage.  His cancer returned and seven months later he died. 
 Now I find out my daughter is smoking.  She was barely two when she started to have problems breathing.  It became noticeable when she caught a cold.  Her cold would always linger for weeks accompanied by a barking cough and wheezing.  I took Jose to her pediatrician and found out she had severe asthma.  That is when I became an asthma-obsessed mother overnight.  I began the long journey of familiarizing myself with the many medications and instructions that would help control my daughter's illness throughout her lifetime. 
 I cannot begin to tell you the number of doctors, emergency calls, specialists, and hospitalizations she has gone through.  I cannot begin to tell you how many hours I spent scrubbing the house trying to free it from dust mites, germs, smoke, trees, grass, and ragweed pollens.  I cannot begin to tell you how many battles I fought with teachers to keep the classroom allergy free. 
 Today, my daughter is nineteen-years old and still smoking.  I'm surviving the storm.  Like my papa before me, prayer is all I have left.  I pray that she quits smoking, I pray she doesn't wait too long before any irreversible health effects set in like emphysema or cancer.  I pray that she lives to learn.

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It is My Dream and My Wish

By Rhea Côté Robbins, Brewer, Maine

 I have been reading and preparing to teach a Franco-American Women's Experiences course for the Fall of 1999.  Reading fiction, nonfiction, histories, and more of the women's lives who came to settle New France, and the later writings of those who came to work in les États Unis. 
 In doing these readings, my life is being transformed.  It is not easy to be calm in the face of such life-changing work.  I can barely contain my excitement or my sense of being a displaced person in my ordinary existence with this new knowledge:  I am now become someone else.  I have entered a higher plane of self-knowing, but self-knowledge to be found among a community of women; an explained self with reference and contextuality.
 I know I am not the only one who sometimes feels as a woman wrote to FAWI on the net "like an island of Franco-Americanism...", but now I realize I am at sea, afloat in a flotilla of other vessels long on this journey of knowing and learning the French woman self.  Can such a thing happen in my life?  I again realize the richness of my woman life--I find myself looking for the right words and I would say it is very much like relief at recognition.  Hearing and seeing those sounds and images reflected which makes sense of the self.  Something from "home" and a much deeper conscience and consciousness of self.  Mostly, I feel explained or known.  Freed from the long time-held silences surrounding the self.  The woman self. 
 The translation of the knowledge gained and the testimony to these women's lives can be a possession and a goal of all Franco-American women.  It is my dream and my wish that they can arrive at this kind of self-knowledge, and also to know the worth of each woman in the work of the culture. 
 The course is offered through University of Maine's Franco-American and Women's Studies programs.  For more information call the Continuing Education Division at 207-581-3143.

Rhea Cote Robbins is the author of Wednesday's Child,the 1997 winner of the Maine Chapbook Award for creative nonfiction.

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Just A Bunch of Memories

By Amy Bouchard Morin, Old Town, ME

My husband's aunt was a stitch.  I swear she had a saying for everything.  When spring was just around the corner she would say,
 "Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is?" 
My children would get the biggest kick out of that.  When they were little they would run around the house saying it over and over in a sing-song voice. 

Another thing she would say if they left the room was,
  "See you later alligator."
 They would answer with
  "After awhile crocodile."
 And she would come back with
  "Not too soon baboon."   (Can you see how she always got the last word?)
 My children have never forgotten Rachel and her jokes and stories...even passing them on to their own children today.  I guess it is true that a person will never be forgotten as long as their stories are repeated.

 Maybe that is why I feel such a compulsion to write down the stories that my parents tell about their growing-up years as well as the stories that their parents told them along with my own memories.

 On New Years Day this year Maman asked my husband and I to come to dinner!  We went early because I wanted to help her out.  But, Maman knew I would do that, and she hurried up and had everything on the stove ready to go when I got there.  She wanted to do it herself to prove she could do it.  Imagine... this 88-year-old, legally blind woman who had a hip replacement in October (never mind the three trips to the hospital within the past year) was cooking and playing hostess!  We were talking as we worked together in the kitchen, same as we did when I was growing up.  And she started reminiscing about when she was little. She said that, when she was growing up and until she left home, her place to sit for meals was beside her father at the big table.  Anything that Pepere ate, she ate.  Now it seems that one time when she was home during one of the school breaks, she was talking with her mother and she found out that Pepere did not like vegetables. He was a meat and potatoes man.   But, from the time Maman sat beside him and he realized that she was copying what he did, he ate all his vegetables and pretended that they were his favorites.  And today vegetables are Maman's favorite part of the meal.  Whenever the fresh vegetables come in the garden, she makes whole meals of just vegetables.  She was chuckling about that as she moved around the kitchen without her walker.  I don't think I will ever forget this past New Year's Day.  We brought up old memories, and made new ones, my Maman and I.

 We were talking about the summers when it was just the two of us at home.  Daddy was a counselor at a boy's camp in western Maine and was gone for three months.  I was telling her that I remembered how much she liked to go on a picnic.  Every nice day she would pack a lunch and make some lemonade and put it all (along with a blanket) into a bag.  Then she would take my hand, and we would walk down the path in the woods behind the house to a big flat rock where we would sit and eat our lunch and watch the birds, chipmunks and squirrels.  After eating lunch, we would walk back home, and I would be ready for my nap.  (I must have been three or four years old.)  I really loved those picnics with Maman. 
 She told me that her mother used to take her and her sister Marianna on picnics in the summer too.  They went "sur la montagne" way up to the woods line across the road where Pepere had some land and grew hay.  They often went berrying all day and had a picnic for lunch.  Maman remembers the wild strawberries as being quite big and very sweet - and that when she was little she ate more than went in her bucket.  She says that the blackberries, when they were in season, grew so thick on the bushes near the woods that they hung like grapes and it didn't take any time before her bucket was full.
 Often after a berry-picking day she and her sister wanted berries and cream for supper.  Maman says that Memere knew that would be what they wanted, so she would set some milk in containers in the spring in the morning before they left, and the cream would come to the top.  "That cream was so thick you could pull a spoon through and it would leave a line.  You didn't even have to whip it. What a treat!" 
  My mother always loved to pick berries.  Dad says that it is a wonder that I wasn't born with a fist full of blueberries because Maman went berrying every single day for three weeks before I was born, and that she even went the morning of the day that I was born!    And her sister Marianna , up until the day she died,  would ask to go pick blueberries and have a picnic for her birthday treat every year. 
 So, picking berries and having a picnic were Maman's and her sister's favorite summer pastimes.  Maman had tears in her eyes when she was speaking of this.  Without a doubt she was missing her sister and  remembering the good times they had.    God willing, I will take her for a picnic on the coast this summer, and I will have another opportunity to gather some of her memories

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Dream of a Wagon (Voiture)

By Ida Roy, Van Buren, ME

 Last night my dream was that I went to visit someone and I can't picture who it was. When it was time for me to go home, I had to cross a stream. It looked like I was in Ste Agatha, I felt that I wanted to go home, at my fathers' place where I was living with my brothers and sisters on the farm. We used to go to uncle Ozime Hebert's on the other side of the stream. It seems I was on the other side, it was in the country, there were no buildings, the road was rough, it was a dirt road, the same road we used to pass on when we were young.
 It was raining and the road was all muddy. There was no way that I could go home , thinking, what should I do? There was a pig rolling in the mud and I was afraid of that pig because I had to pass were he was. Just then, somebody came with a wagon with straw in the bottom, he stopped right next to me and he made me lie in the straw with the blanket to cover myself. Then he pulled the wagon. He was in the place of the horse that was suppose to do this job. Then he took the dirt road going and pulling smoothly along the muddy road, I could not see who was helping me out, it was dark in the night, no lights, but he was going on the right direction, as we kept on going, the road became clean and dry.
 I was thinking of the wagon, I was afraid that it was Sylvio because we had a little ways to go and with the open heart surgery, I started to worry, and all of a sudden there was someone at the end of the wagon. I asked, " who's pulling the wagon?" He said that it was Philip. I was feeling sorry for the one who was pulling the wagon, if it had been a horse, it would have been the job of a horse, not my children.
 Then I woke up and I was not there yet, we had just started to go home.
 I'll never know the rest of this dream!
 This was a true dream.

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Martha Adelia (Higgins) Chambers (1909-1998)

By her daughter, Trudy Chambers Price, Brunswick, ME

 This piece of writing took form as I drove from Brunswick to Caribou the day after my mother's death.  I wrote it after I reached Caribou and spoke it at her funeral service on January 6, 1998.  It is called: 

My Mother Lives In the Rooms Of My Memory House

 Yesterday was the thirteenth anniversary of my father's death and I have to say that when he died, a big part of my mother died with him.  These past thirteen years have been difficult for her and the family, especially for Jerome and Betheny.
 Each of us has a different memory bank of my mother, but my image of her will always be one of her creating something, whether it be cooking, sewing, stenciling, knitting, painting, drawing, woodburning along with writing...I can't name all the art and crafts she did.
 When I moved two months ago and unpacked and arranged my belongings in my new house, my mother was everywhere!  Her works of art and crafts, or ones she did with my father or ones she and I had done together triggered the rooms in my memory house - the childhood room, the family room, the artist room, the writing room, the nature room.
 My earliest memory at two and a half years is one of me running across the lawn at 21 York Street in a new suit that Ma had made for me - pants and jacket of pale, rust-colored corduroy.  When I look at my photo albums, I see the clothes she made and decorated with rickrack, embroidery or appliqué.
 In my bedroom are curtains that I made and that she finished with brightly colored mushroom, done with fabric crayons.  There are the slippers she knit, the pin cushion she made, the pins and necklaces.  There's my doll bed, made by my father that she decorated with a duck and cattails.  In that bed is my doll. Suzie, dressed in the doll clothes that my mother stayed up all night Christmas Eve to make.  In my desk is stationery and note cards she designed.
 In the bathroom is the rug that I knit with yarn that she provided, along with help sewing it together.
 In the hallway is the easel that my father made and on it is a print from the book, "Henry," that she illustrated.  Also in the hallway hangs a painting that I did.  That would have never happened without Ma providing art materials and encouragement.
 She was a prolific writer in her journals and she wrote poetry.  She also wrote her mother every Friday.
 In my kitchen I drink tea from a cup with her design on it.  There are pot holders, knitted dish cloths and recipes written in her hand passed from her mother and grandmother.
 In the living room is a knitted chair mat.  Over the back of the couch is a quilt that we made for Kyle to take to kindergarten.  It was then used by Travis, their cousins, Kim and Andy, and then by my oldest grandson, Kevin.  His brother, Kody, will take it to kindergarten next fall and I expect their little sister, Karlee, will also when she starts school.  Then there are her paintings.  Each time I leave my house, I look at the bird prints near the door and remember that she taught me to observe, observe, observe - the clouds, the trees, the birds, the flowers. These observations, gathered mostly at our Cross Lake Camp, live in the nature room of my memory house.
 When my grandson, Kevin, and I put up my Christmas tree, we talked about her woodburned ornaments, the knitted bells and miniature stockings, the acorns hung from leather strings.  Still hanging in my house this holiday season is the Advent Christmas tree she designed and we made together.
 I wear the mittens she made and am thankful for the legacy - she taught me to knit them, I taught my sister-in-law, she taught my niece.  I thank my mother for the works of art and crafts that are everywhere in my physical house, but most of all, I thank her for a treasure trove that lives in the rooms of my memory house.

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Calendar Honors County Role Models
Center Celebrates 12 "Women of Aroostook"

PRESQUE ISLE -- Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community-Aroostook County, celebrated the 12 women chosen for the Celebrating Women of Aroostook calendar, March 27 at Northern Maine Technical College. 

 The women were nominated and chosen for their inspiration and contributions to family and community.  Their pictures will appear in the Year 2000 calendar. They are: 
 Catherine, known to her friends as Kay, has spent much of her adult life making the town of Houlton a better place to live.  She has been a civic leader, serving on the Houlton Town Council, the Budget Review Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the 911 Committee.  She has made Houlton a more beautiful place by planting flowers at many locations, including Pierce Park, the Post Office, Southside School and in the downtown area.  Most recently she has been instrumental in the receipt of a $500 grant to the Houlton Garden club from Shell Oil Company.  These funds will be used to beautify the newly-renovated Houlton High School.  She certainly deserves her nickname, the "Flower Fairy." 
 Kay is also a devoted worker for the elderly citizens of her community.  She is a board member of the Governorís Long Term Care Standing Committee.  She has worked diligently to improve health care for senior citizens in Aroostook County and throughout the state. 
 A county girl from the start, Kay was born in Houlton, and was one of seven children growing up on the family farm.  Early in life she developed a love of the outdoors and all growing things.  Kay graduated from Houlton High school, married and raised four children while working full-time to provide for and educate them.  She earned her associates degree in 1989 at the age of 69.  She is now the proud grandmother of 11.  "I am a farmerís daughter at heart," she says -- and a very generous and loving heart it is. 
 The name Sharon Dorsey is well known to the residents of Fort Fairfield. Sharon has been a dedicated nurse for over 30 years.  It was Sharon who developed the system at Community General Hospital for discharge planning and social services in the early 1970s.  Her kindness and competence have made the discomforts of illness and injury easier to bear for countless patients. 
 As a young single mother of two, Sharonís life was full of personal and professional responsibilities, when, in the summer of 1980, she lost her right arm in a tragic automobile accident.  Because she was determined to continue in her career, she set about to relearn daily and work-related tasks, including writing with her left hand. Despite the many challenges and repeated frustrations, she pushed forward, "reinventing" her nursing role with the sole use of her left arm and hand.  An inspiration to others, Sharon credits her miraculous "come back" to the love and respect of her parents and family members. 
 Sharon has always been an active volunteer.  She has served on the Hospital Guild, the Breast and Cervical Health Coalition, the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and the Red Cross, among others.  Her quiet determination and work ethnic are a welcome addition to any group or project. 
 Sharon is currently raising two grandchildren.  As her brother, Scott, would say, "Sharon chose to overcome a disability and the results are visible to everyone she comes into contact with every day."  We say -- what a remarkable individual. Congratulations, Sharon. 
 Marie-Anne is originally from Madawaska.  She graduated from the Gorham Teachers College in 1956, and spent her early years teaching in Washburn and Presque Isle. She then moved to Wethersfield, Conn., where she taught for the next 32 years. 
 As part of her graduate work at Central Connecticut State University, Marie wrote a masters thesis on the Linguistic and Cultural Heritage of the Acadians in Maine and New Brunswick.  For many residents of the Saint John Valley, this publication was a source of enlightenment and pride; raising their consciousness about the history of their language and way of life.  Marie returned to Madawaska in 1988, and has since become a vital member of Le Club Francais, a valley wide organization whose goal is the preservation of French language and culture.  She is the editor of a monthly newsletter of this organization, and is very active in fund-raising. 
 Known to be a gracious and intelligent woman, Marie is widely admired and respect throughout northern Maine and New Brunswick.  Her varied interests include bird-watching and skiing.  She belongs to the Club díOrnithologie du Comte Du Madawaska, and has served as secretary-treasurer.  She recently co-chaired the New Brunswick-wide meeting of the Federation of Naturalists. 
 Marie also provides loving care to her 93 year-old mother.  She is known as both a gifted and giving woman of Aroostook. 
 Born and raised on her familyís farm, Frances spent her early years learning the values of hard work, perseverance, patience and faith.  These values would provide the foundation for a life filled with many accomplishments. 
 Frances earned her degree in Home Economics from the University of Maine in 1972, and began teaching at the junior high level.  She later moved to the high school where her gifts as a teacher and curriculum designer led to her appointment as Head of the Family Sciences Department at Cite Des Jeune High School in Edmunston. 
 According to her daughter, Michelle, the secret of Frances" success as a teacher is that she has faith in each students' ability to succeed.  She seeks to empower students by giving them opportunities to contribute to their school and their community. 
 Frances has presented conferences on human sexuality, has been active in the student exchange program and religious education.  Dedicated to educating young people about the dangers of drugs, she has also been actively involved with the Teen Leadership Camp since 1991, and has served on the Madawaska School Committee since 1994. 
 Frances is a partner with her husband, John, in their family business, Gendreau Farms.  She is the mother of two children, and, at the end of a busy day can often be found gardening, sewing reading or riding her vintage 1949 Farmhall tractor -- a woman in perpetual motion. 
 Rinette calls St. Francis her home, although she is known throughout Aroostook County for her work on behalf of women, children and families.  She has been a volunteer for the Aroostook Council to Prevent Child Abuse since 1986, and is currently the vice president.  Over the past 11 years, Rinette has single-handedly raised more than $25,000 for the Northern Chapter of the council, which she shared. This money has been used directly for child abuse prevention within her community. 
 Even though her had a full-time job as a family service worker for Catholic Charities, Rinette volunteered for the Aroostook Mental Health Center hotline for many years.  This experience led to her current position as a sexual assault specialist for AMHC.  In this capacity, she provides essential support for women and families suffering the ravages of violence and sexual abuse. 
 Rinette has also contributed to the families of Aroostook by serving on the Head Start Council, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Hospice Program, the Knights of Columbus Summer Program and many others. 
 Rinette has been a foster mother, is the proud mother of two children, an adopted son and a grandmother of two.  Her friends and colleagues say that her devotion and kindness to others knows no bounds. 
 She was nominated by a group of 33 individuals who stand in awe of her capacity to reach out to those who need a caring hand.  Her work and her spirit are an inspiration to others and provide without question that one person can indeed make a difference. 
 Although Penny has lived in many places around the world, she has had a significant impact on Aroostook County since her arrival in the early 1980s.  She has been an outstanding leader in providing services for children and youth in Northern Maine. 
 As the marketing/membership director for the Abanaki Girl Scout Council, Penny recruits girls and adults, organizes troops, trains leaders, and generally promotes Girl Scouting.  Her work takes her from one end of the County to the other. According to one colleague, Penny has "unbelievable enthusiasm and boundless energy."  She is a true crusader for girls of Aroostook -- her mission is to cultivate those activities and experiences that will enrich their lives. 
 In her "free time," including the A.E. Howell Conservation Center, the Red Cross, the Cooperative Extension Board, among others, and is president and founding member of the TAMC League of Community Volunteers.  She is a woman of action who really gets things done. 
 According to another colleague, the reason Pennyís work is so effective is "her willingness to collaborate with other groups.  She unselfishly shares her time and expertise" to benefit youth.  She is committee to bringing together all available resources to benefit her girls. 
 Penny's personal warmth has touched the lives of so many.  We extend our gratitude and congratulations from the women and girls of northern Maine. 
 Nathalie was born in 1909, and spent her early years in a lovely old farmhouse on a pond in Caribou.  Sadly, Nathalie lost her mother when she was only 11 years old, and she and her father shouldered the task of running the household without her. Early in life Nathalie showed the initiative that would later become a hallmark for her. She was a young entrepreneur who sold eggs and milk to the Caribou merchants, often making deliveries with a horse and sled. 
 After graduating from high school Nathalie married Carl Lagerstrom of Woodland, and raised two children, John and Priscilla.  She was an active participant in her community as a girl scout leader, a member of the Caribou extension for 50 years, a garden club member, a volunteer at the Helen P. Knight School, and an active member of the Historical Society.  She and her family donated the family homestead and a variety of antique furniture and memorabilia to the historical society.  She also served as Sunday School Superintendent for the Lutheran Church. 
 Nathalie has had a lifetime interest in cross country skiing and snowshoeing. In her golden years she has spent many happy hours working in her beautiful garden. She is known to be an authority on this subject, and has given numerous public lectures on raising, preserving and arranging flowers.  She also has time to enjoy her six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.  It is Nathalie and people like her who make Aroostook County a special place to live. 
 Ruth grew up in Aroostook County, and has had a life-long love for the county and its people.  She has put her many talents to work to promote and preserve the history and culture of northern Maine. 
 From an early age, Ruth enjoyed writing.  Shortly after her graduation from Erskine College, she was the winner of the writing competition sponsored by the General Federation of Womenís Clubs.  This recognition provided the incentive to try her hand at journalism, and she was promptly hired as a reporter for the Maine Sunday Telegram -- the only woman employed in this statewide staff.  For twelve years she served as a feature writer, and also did many on-the-spot news reports for all five of the Gannett newspapers. 
 Ruth left reporting to become the first Director of University Relations at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.  Her accomplishments in this position were many, including securing a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and establishing a weekly radio and television program to share information about the university. She was instrumental in the establishment of the UMPI Foundation, which continues to award numerous scholarships to students each year. 
 Ruth has served the State of Maine through her work on many committees and commissions. 
 Although she is officially retired, Ruth is still a working writer, editing the work of others and writing freelance articles.  She and her husband, Art, also concentrate much of their energy on their two children and four grandchildren. 
 Kathryn Olmstead, the co-founder, owner and editor of Echoes magazine, has been the driving force behind this publication for over a decade.  The writing in Echoes focuses on the culture and history of Aroostook County and its people. According to her colleagues, Kathrynís "unfailing belief in the skills, talents and gifts of the county have led her to find ways to present these treasures in a first class quarterly publication, inspiring pride in the communities and people of Northern Maine. 
 A native of Battle Creek, Mich., Kathy completed her graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, and embarked upon a lifelong career of writing and teaching.  When she moved to Aroostook twenty five years ago, she immediately recognized the significance of the natural beauty and quality of life in her new home.  Since that time she has worked tirelessly to depict that unique and uplifting experience that is the county. She was the founding editor of Silver Birches, a magazine which explored the Swedish culture in our area.  She was the founder and advisor of the campus newsletter at UMPI, where she taught journalism and English.  From 1977 to 1984, she was the Regional Representative for Senator Bill Cohen, and served as Assistant Press Secretary in Washington, D.C. in 1981. 
 Currently an Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Maine in Orono, she divides her time between the university and her home in Westmanland. 
 Kathy is a selfless and generous volunteer, mentor and friend.  She has "taught by example," inspiring countless people to take pride in their roots.  The county owes her a great debt, and we express our sincere appreciation, Kathy. 
 Although she was not born in Aroostook County, Betty embodies many of the qualities that county people pride themselves on.  She is self-reliant, committee to her community, and has a deep respect and love for the natural world. 
 Betty is a longtime hospice volunteer, and has been a loving supporter of the elderly in so many ways.  From providing transportation or preparing a meal to serving as the RSVP representative for the UMPI senior education program, she has earned the trust and affection of many area residents. 
 Betty is well known for her sense of humor and her "independent streak."  Her close friends know that, when Betty adopts a cause, itís not because it is popular -- it's because she sees it as the right thing to do.  She is an avid reader, with a broad range of interests and a keen mind. 
 Betty is active in many community organizations, including the Caribou Public Library, Friends of Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, Multiple Handicap Association and the Caribou Day extension.  She is a volunteer and treasurer at the Cary Hospital gift shop. 
 The proud mother of three sons and an "adopted" son Dan who was a foreign exchange student, Betty has weathered the tough times in her life with a deep, abiding faith. She is a devoted member of the Lutheran Church, and a lay minister who has conducted services at several local churches.  She has been known to say how thankful she is for the good things in her life -- she is one of the very good things in our lives -- thank you Betty. 
 Nancy Saucier was born, one of nine children, in Castle Hill.  Early in her life she decided that she wanted a career that would allow her to help and comfort others. She chose nursing, and graduating as the outstanding LPN student in her class from Northern Maine Technical College in 1972. 
 Nancy's nursing work has centered primarily in Fort Fairfield, at Community General Hospital, where she has spent many years with Dr. Prassanna and his former partner, Dr. Farooki.  She has continued her nursing education through courses in the diagnosis and control of allergies.  She cares for, instructs and comforts patients on a daily basis, an outstanding example of excellence in her field. 
 Nancy is known as a passionate advocate for children.  Even though she has been a busy working mother of three, she has always found the time to be involved in any community event involving children and families.  We would be here all afternoon is I were to cite a complete list of her affiliations.  To name a few, she has been a parent volunteer at the elementary, middle and high school levels, a member of the Community Resource Team for Health Education, a member of many church related committees, an active member of Project Graduation, Winter Carnival, Family Fun Night and on and on.  Because of her tireless service to Caribou citizens, especially its children, she was awarded the Parent Volunteer of the Year in 1991, the Citizen of the Year in 1990 and was elected to serve on the Caribou School Board in 1992. Her greatest reward, however, is to bring happiness into the life of a child. 
 Vi Willard started her life on a farm in Connor.  While she was growing up and attending school in a small one room school house, she remembers her father often saying to her "Get yourself an education, Vi."  She kept his advice in mind when she decided to attend the Aroostook State Normal School.  Two years later she was teaching school herself, in her own community.  She later returned to college and earned a Bachelorís degree and a Masters. 
 Viís students remember her as a no-nonsense lady" who cared deeply about them, but was determined that they would be capable and productive adults.  Hundreds of young people matured and flourished under her guiding hand.  Vi was chosen as Limestone teacher of the year in 1984. 
 Later in life Vi turned her attention to many other areas of need in her community. She has been a member of numerous organizations and boards, including the Battered Women's Project, the American Association of University Women, PTA, President of the High School Band Organization, Christian Education Leader, Daughters of Isabella, and on and on.  Vi was instrumental in the establishment of the soup kitchen in Caribou and has been a Eucharistic Minister for over 15 years.  She is tireless in her work for the sick, the disadvantaged, the lonely.  A dear friend says it best: "Vi's wellspring of affection for others is bottomless."  She is truly an outstanding woman of Aroostook. 

To order a calendar ($10 donation) call:
or write 
Presque Isle Center for Women, Work, and Community
33 Edgemont Drive
Presque Isle, Maine  04769

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A Franco-American Woman Down Under:  Gerilyn Bossé goes to New Zealand

By Gerilyn Bossé, Old Town, ME

Thursday, March 18, 1999 10:10:45 AM
 Howdy folks! 
 As you guessed I made it safely to New Zealand.  Talk about a long trip!  At the moment I'm sitting here at a cyber cafe in Christchurch and about to take a quick tour of the sites before I have to be back at the B&B for the orientation dinner at 6. 
 Even from the brief glimpses I got from the air this county is  beautiful.  It's about 70 and sunny here.  I'm sure I'll get my fair  share of crappy weather before I leave but I can't complain about my  first day here. 
 I'll post as often as I can get to a computer but no guarantees.  Also  if you could care less to get periodic updates of my trip just e-mail  and I'll remove you from the group list. No hard feelings :) 
 Gerri (Who can't wipe the smile off her face) 

Tuesday, March 23, 1999 12:41:52 PM 
 Howdy Folks! 
 Spent the last three days in Abel Tasman Nat'l Park where there was no internet access.  We left there this morning and are on our way to  Punakaiki.  We've stopped for lunch in Murchison at this lovely roadside cafe that just happens to have internet access. 
 Yesterday was our first day of rain.  It was quite windy and the seas  were rough so the Kayaking was canceled.  Oh well.  Still got in a nice hike even though we got wet.  At least we weren't wet, cold and  miserable like hiking in Maine. 
 The day before yesterday we we're dropped off by water taxi north of the lodge and hiked back via a gorgeous coastal trail that took up into the mountains then down onto golden sand beaches.  Swam in the crystal blue waters of the Pacific.  No complaints on this end. 
 Well my time is out.  More when I'm not rushed. 

Friday, March 26, 1999 6:22:49 PM 
 Howdy Again! 
 Finally found a place to connect to the internet and a little more time to write.  The weather here has been incredible.  Normal daytime temperatures in the low 70's and cooling off to the low to mid 50's in the evenings. Pretty close to a New England early fall. Currently I'm in Watango. 
 I think I'm putting on weight even though we're getting plenty of  exercise. Note to Muriel and John - the food is fabulous! The past few  days we've been traveling down through the wild west coast and finally left that region today driving (and stopping for short hikes along the way) through the Haast Pass and Mt. Aspiring Nat'l Park into the Otago region of NZ.
 The vegetation has changed from temperate rain forest to magnificent native Beech forest.  There are about 5 or 6 native beech species and not very similar to ours.  I wouldn't have guessed they were beeches.  One of the common species along the west coast is the Rimu which towers over the rest of the forest, reaching heights of up to 150 feet. A very valuable tree it is protected by the government which restricts harvesting. I'm told one tree is normally worth about $10,000.  The wood is beautiful and used similarly to our hardwood species like hard maple and yellow birch. 
 Yesterday we hiked up to the Fox Glacier and with a guide climbed up  onto the glacier and spent about an hour walking around. It was a  crystal clear blue day which is very rare for the region.  It is one of  the wettest places on earth.  The Fox Glacier is currently advancing by about a foot a day.  In the afternoon we drove down to the beech.   Simply amazing to be standing in the surf gazing at Mt. Tasman, Mt. Cook and the Fox Glacier when just a few hours earlier I was standing on the Glacier.  From the terminus of the glacier its probably only a 40 minute drive to the beech and that includes driving down a narrow winding gravel road. 
 Stopped at a winery this afternoon.  Great Pinot Noir.  This region is  known for both it's Sauvignon Blanc's and Pinot Noir's. 
 Tomorrow is a free day and I'll probably end up going mountain bike  riding. 
 Well it just about cocktail time and then another fabulous dinner at a local restaurant. 
 Most likely my next e-mail won't be until I reach Queenstown.  Until  then G'day.  Yes, they say that here to:)  My favorite Kiwi saying is  "Good on ya" which means well done. 

Sunday, March 28, 1999 4:45:51 PM
 Kia Ora! 
 Well I made it to Queenstown.  On the way in we stopped at the Kaurarau Bridge so that I could take a bungy jump off the bridge.  I even have video to prove I did it.  No one else in the group jumped - chickens.  But they enjoyed watching me leap off to the river below.  Just got my hands wet.  It was a BLAST!  For the curious the jump was 43 meters or about 145 feet or so.  The highest jump in the area is 103 meters (340 feet) called the Pipeline.  I'm not that crazy.  My first reaction when I jumped off the platform was "Oh shiiiiiiiiit."  A total adrenaline rush.  At least they gave me a T-shirt for my efforts. 
 Yesterday we spent the morning doing a short hike just south of Wanaka that gave us wonderful views of the town and surrounding area.  But because clouds had set into the valley to the south we couldn't see Mt. Aspiring.  Well maybe a another day.  When we did reach the summit we had a welcome wagon - 3 sheep who gave us dirty looks and promptly proceeded down the track away from us. In the afternoon I rented a mountain bike and tried out some of the local tracks.  It was a unique experience since sometimes you were on gravel roads that went through pastures and every now and them you had to stop to open a gate, go through, then close the gate. 
 Tomorrow we leave for Milford Sound for a overnight luxury cruise of the sound and then the following day we start our 3 day hut to hut on the Routeburn Tract.  When we finish that we'll be back in Queenstown and that will probably be my next and last update.  I hope everyone has been enjoying these updates. 
 Gerri Bungy Jumper Nut 

Thursday, April 01, 1999 5:30:49 PM
 I thought this may be my last post but maybe not.  We'll see.  My sister corrected me on the spelling of bungy.  She says it's bungee but the Kiwi's spell it Bungy.  I'll stick with the Kiwi spelling :) 
 Four days ago we left Queenstown for Milford Sound and an evening cruise on the Lady of the South Pacific - a trimaran small cruise ship.  Milford Sound is in Fiordland Nat'l Park and the drive through the park to Milford is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.  They weren't kidding even with an overcast day.  Just before getting there we passed through the Homer tunnel which barely has room for two vehicles to pass let alone the tour busses.  Many of them actually scrape their sides to the ire of the drivers.  Currently they're in the process of widening the tunnel so it closed from 9:00 in the evening to 8:00 in the morning.  We boarded the ship late in the afternoon and took a tour of the sound.  We were unable to go out into the Tasman Sea due to rough seas.  The winds were howling at 65+ knots.  Many of the streams falling into sound were actually being blown backwards by the force of the wind. 
 It was spectacular! A few hours later we sat down to an exquisite four course meal.  We anchored overnight in a secluded area of the sound and in the morning breakfast and another quick tour around before docking at  9:30 am. 
 Next we headed back up the road to the start of the Routeburn Tract  where we met our guides for the next several days.  Since we were on a guided walk all we had to carry was clothing for the next several days.  All food was provided by the Routeburn Guided Walks. 
 The first day we headed up to Lake McKenzie Hut through a beech forest.  Due to low lying clouds most views were obscured.  Day two dawned sunny with scattered clouds.  With in half an hour of leaving the hut we were above tree line where we would be for the rest of the day until we reached Routeburn Falls Hut.  A front was moving in but the rain didn't arrive until we reached the next hut.  The views of the Alyssa and Darren Mountain Ranges as well as the Hollyford Valley were incredible.  A spectacular day of hiking!  Some of the more hardy souls took a side trip up Conical Hill.  A few lungs were sacrificed along the way but well worth it. 
 From the top could be seen the Tasman Sea in the distance.  Today we hiked out to the end of the tract in the pouring rain.  Even in the rain it was a gorgeous walk down the Routeburn Valley and along the Routeburn River and Flats. 
 Now I'm sitting here in Queenstown and it's dry and sunny.  Tomorrow is a free day in Queenstown then Sunday we head up to Mt. Cook then Monday is the trip back to Christchurch to catch our flights home :( 
 See most of y'all soon. 

Tuesday, April 06, 1999 2:05:25 PM 
 Well I made it home safely arriving in Old Town at 8:30 p.m.  For a  second I thought I was back in New Zealand.  The big Texaco sign at the Old Town exit was missing the x so it read "Te aco".  Many of the Maori place names begin with Te such as Te Anau.  I thought it was funny or maybe it's the jet lag... 
 I hope you enjoyed my updates as much as I enjoyed writing them.  See  you all soon. 

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Talbot Descendants

By Paula Currie Raymond, Waterville, ME

 For  quite sometime now I have been intrigued by my maternal side of the family.  I have spent many long hours pondering their history and wondering where I fit in.  Why do I look, think and act the way I do.  What mix am I.  How far back could I possibly go.
 Just recently I have had the opportunity to meet and chat with a family member who has held the same curiosities about family as I have.  She married into the Talbot family and has researched our genes for several years.  Her name is Lucille M. Viens Talbot.  She married my mom's first cousin Gerard J. Talbot. 
 We spent several hours walking through their house as they slowly unraveled some of the mysteries I had logged in my mind.  My questions came fast and furious and Lucille was as genuinely interested in giving me as many answers as possible and as accurately as possible.
 We originated from Paroisse St. Gervias, Rouen, France where there is documentation that a Nicolas Talbot was married to a Marie Duchesne in 1672.  From there the lineage continues and it appears that my descendants first arrived in Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec around 1698.  I learned that I had family from Vallier, Pierre-du-Sud, Thomas, Montmagny, Natashquan and Theophile Quebec. 
  For approximately eight generations our line was pretty straight forward.  It takes a turn when G. Cyrill Talbot marries Philomene Lapierre (where there is said to be Indian blood) off the Magdalen Islands.  It is the children of this family that begin the inter-relational marriages among cousins.  There was Joseph Talbot and Lina Talbot, Alice Talbot and Hipolyte Talbot and my grandmother and grandfather Rose and Louis Talbot who were also first cousins. We discovered that in the Talbot family it was quite common to marry cousins and that age old concern of blood being too close did not necessarily hold true among them. 
  My great-grandparents were the first to arrive here in Waterville with a brother and his wife. They made their home at Head of Falls, a small Franco American village built by the mill owners for the workers in the paper mill.  The homes were in rows and bordered the river and train tracks.  There was a bridge that allowed the men of the mill to walk back and forth every day.  We know it here as "The Two Cent Bridge".  This is where my mom grew up surrounded by the Talbot families.
 I was acquainted with my mother's cousins who lived and worked in the Waterville area for many years.  As a child grwoing up  I used to see many of them in the local shops:  Stearns Department Store, Butcher Shop, grocery stores and several other merchant stores on the Main Street.  They always recognized me as Rita's daughter and were very friendly toward me when we met.  It was never enough even as a child to just know of them.  I always wanted to sit and talk and get to know them better.  I was shy and not sure they would want the same and so that never happened. 
 Over the years I have had the good fortune of meeting some of my mom's aunts and cousins who again have welcomed me into their homes and shared stories and pictures.  One such family is my cousin Gerard J. Talbot and his wife Lucille.
   My spirit is always aglow after such meetings.  For several days  they are all I have on my mind.  The physical link to my past and  the memory of my mom is essential to my existence today.  I speak to my children as often as they will allow about my family, their mark in our community and what they have meant to me.  I sometimes close my eyes and imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of my family down Head of Falls.  From what little I do know they were a happy, proud and resilient people.  Their Catholic faith was serious and rock solid.  Their dedication to family was never questioned. 
 It was a great meeting.  My first of many as I have been invited back into their home for more conversations of the Talbot family.  I look forward to these meetings as I journey through the years. 
 Much of what my family was and left behind is gone now.  Urban Renewal saw to that.  A fate I believe many regret today.  But I still have family and photos and history from the newspapers and city archives to fall back on. 
 I may not speak the language (something that can be corrected) of my mom but I carry with me all that she was as a person and all that her family gave to her as a culture/heritage.

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Where I Come From Is Like This

By Barbara Ouellette Ouellette, Old Town, Maine 

  Where I come from is like this -- The physical place where I come from is an Island --French Island.  Actually the name of the island is Treat and Webster, but it was known as French Island because all the people who lived there were French, the petite Canada of Old Town.  Growing up on this island was an experience of it's own.  Everyone who lived there thought and did the same things, they all came from the same background and spoke the same languages--French and English.  No one was different, culturally different, that is.  My memories of where I came from are all pleasant.  Family ties were and still are very important to us.  We lived in an apartment above my Mimire and Pipire, there were no inside stairs that connected the two dwellings just an outside stairway.  There was always plenty of traffic going up and down those stairs.  My Mimire was always upstairs for one reason or another, and my Maman always sent us down for whatever she happened to need.  This sense of closeness has brought me through all the years of my life.  The close family ties have remained a thread running through our family, since all five of us are still in the area.  Not only that, but our children, except one who lives in South Portland, are still the area. 
 As I mentioned before life on the Island was pleasant, but now when I look back it was an extremely protected way of life.  Our parents protected us from the discrimination that a lot of the Franco Americans felt in those years.  In looking back on my school years, I now can see that we were discriminated against because we came from "French Island."  Anyone from French Island was automatically put in the category of the poor people.  Not just poor, but poor French people, that made it even worse.  My parents did not bring us up with the French language, we heard it in the house, but we were never taught to speak or understand it.  Today I long to be able to speak the native tongue of my ancestors.  I feel that my parents did me, and my siblings a great injustice by holding that back from us.  But as I learn more and more of the French in those times, they were protecting me, or thought they were.  They wanted us to be just like everyone else, to have all the opportunities afforded and offered to the "other" people.  With that in mind, I often wondered why they didn't encourage us more to continue our education.  Again, with some reflection on this, we all graduated from high school, a feat that neither of my parents had accomplished.  Both my Maman and Papa graduated from eighth grade, and that was it.  So a high school education was a big deal.  Although, two years ago when I completed my course work for an Associate's degree in Business Management, I didn't think too much of it, because after all it was "only" a two-year degree.   I had decided not to go to the graduation ceremony, and my husband was extremely upset with me.  After some heated arguments with him, I thought maybe I should go through the ceremony.  I was not going to mention it to my family.  I didn't want to make a big deal of it.  We were always taught not to blow our own horn.  So I didn't want to attract any attention that I had done this.  I asked my mother if she would like to come to the graduation, and she said "I'll come with bells on."  I almost fainted.  Never in my life did I think that I would ever do anything that my mother would be proud of, let alone furthering my education.  She and my entire family came.  I had quite a group of loving people watching me get my degree, the first in my family to do so.  My mother exclaimed to me, "I wish your father were here to see this." I told her he was. 
 Living the life of a Franco American was just that, living the life.  I never thought too much about how it shaped my life.  My life has been shaped differently than that of my sisters.  I only say my sisters, and not my brothers, because boys were treated so much differently in our family.  They are like gods, I found this to be true in most of the Franco families that I know.  The men are extremely important, and deserve to be waited on hand and foot.  My brothers would probably have a different story to tell, but my sisters would back me up on this.  My observance of my mother, how she waited on her family, giving up her life in service to her family, was an eye opener for me.   I went the other way.  I WAIT ON NO ONE.  This could be a problem, and has been in my marriage, because I married a Franco man whose mother did everything too.  I watched my mother do all these things for everyone.  Not eating with the rest of the family, sitting to eat only after everyone was finished, and eating whatever happened to be left over.  That was not for me I decided at a very tender age. 
 My rebellious action has caused a lot of dissent between me and my Maman.  She doesn't understand why I would not follow in her footsteps.  The "perfect Franco woman" ever serving, putting everyone's needs before hers.  Rebelling against being the perfect little woman, makes me ask myself why I did not rebel against the Catholic church.  There was, and still is, a lot there to rebel against.  The manner in which I was brought up, was going to church every Sunday, going to Parochial school, and listening, and doing everything the nuns told you to do.  If you didn't do all these things the way you were supposed to, God would GET YOU.  Who wants God to be after them always?  Not me.  So until the age of 25 years old, I lived in fear of the punishment of God.  This I know is the reason I continued to go to Church every Sunday.  Now it is for a totally different reason, but nonetheless my Catholicism lives on today. 
 This is where I come from -- an Island; caring and loving, sometimes over protective family; French, (but not speaking French)  girl in a very much male environment (men being gods and women waiting on them), Catholic and still practicing.  Put this together, and you get a French woman who loves God and her family, but refuses to conform to the norm of a typical Franco woman. 

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By Ida (Bourgoin) Roy, Van Buren, ME

This is a true story.

It looks like I am writing a story of a state, no, it is about a dog, his name his DAKOTA.

Yesterday morning I heard Cecile talking to someone in the kitchen. I looked at the clock, it was time for me to get up. I thought who's talking with Cecile this morning, I thought maybe with her husband , Claude.

I got up and when I came into the kitchen she was alone eating her breakfast. I was still in my nightgown. She looked at me and said "MOM", you started something, now we will have to buy some bread for DAKOTA.

She continued to eat, and DAKOTA came at the door and wanted toast with butter. I said, we can buy some bread too. 

A few weeks ago I was sitting at the table having my breakfast, DAKOTA was on the porch looking at me through the glass door, it's a door the size of two large doors together.

It is a beautiful glass door top to bottom.

He was looking at me, I felt sorry for him, I made myself bacon and eggs with home made fried potatoes and then I had my two toasts with a cup of tea.

I thought poor DAKOTA, I'm sure he would like to have a piece of my breakfast. I took a little piece of bread and butter and I opened the door and handed it to him. He sniffed the bread. 

I thought maybe if I put it down on the porch he will eat. Then I put it down, and he sniffed again. He looked at it, and then he looked at me, liked he didn't dare to touch it, without me telling him to eat. I said, "DAKOTA, you don't want to eat this, if you don't eat this I won't give you anymore". He didn't budge, I said again, "DAKOTA, eat, it's good, if you don't eat this I won't try to give you any more". 

It's like he understood, he took the bread and chewed like he was eating after a big bone. He liked it and asked for more, so I made him a whole slice of bread, (toasted).

The next morning he was at the door again! To see if I would give him a toast.

He sleeps outside in a nice cabin. He is a big husky white dog. He weighs about a hundred and forty pounds and has a fluffy fur coat on him. He looks like those big polar bears in Alaska.

His head is more beautiful then those white bear with long thin nose. He is really a very pretty dog. He is tall like a pony, he has big paws and he's very quiet and never barks, but I must tell you that he tries to talk and cry, he makes himself understood.

Last winter, we had some company and Cecile brought him in the house to show him to the people and I had to watch myself. Only the touch of his nose can throw me down on the floor.

He was on a leash, he came right to me.

I held on to my chair. It has been a long time that he was seeing me through the windows. I think he wanted to see me...I patted him on the head, he was happy then she took him outside.

Last week Cecile was laying outside tanning on a lounge chair. DAKOTA went to lay down next to her and rested his head on her arms. Cecile hollered from the outside to look at DAKOTA and she said, "see, Mom, he's a big pig and a baby".

Sometimes when I sit at my desk, he comes and look at me through the window.

The other day when he wanted some toasts she said, we will have to buy him some bread now. Like I told her, you have to buy dog food. It will not be any worse to buy bread to eat with his meat, she said, we can buy it when it comes on sale.

This morning when it was time for my breakfast he started to cry and talk to me again, so I gave him a buttered toast again. He was glad and I didn't hear him after that. It must had made his day.

Dogs have feelings too. I feel bad when I eat something and they don't have any, so I think if I can eat toast, so can he.

Last night Cecile said to her husband , "Claude, DAKOTA didn't touch his food for two days, he waits for table food.

Now I don't know if I started something good or bad, we will have to wait and see.

Worse then that, last week I gave him two toasts with homemade beans on his bread. At the beginning he sniffed again and then he gulfed it down his throat so fast. "Gee" I think I spoiled him. It will cost a fortune to buy him some bread and beans.

This is my story, someday we might have to buy a bakery for DAKOTA. Sometimes the COUNTRY KITCHEN BREAD comes on sale. We can buy it by the gross so he can eat bread with his beans. We might someday see him at the table eating his beans and bread and butter.

Like I said if we can eat COUNTRY KITCHEN BREAD, so can he!

It will be worse if I start to feed him with COUNTRY KITCHEN DONUTS.

To be continued


By Ida (Bourgoin) Roy, Van Buren, ME

Cette histoire est vrai.

Sa regarde que je vous écrit une histoire d'un pays, DAKOTA, "Non, je va vous parler d'un chien, son non est DAKOTA."

Hier- matin j'ai entendu parler Cécile dans la cuisine avec quelqu'un.  Je me suis lever et j'ai regarder a l'heure, il était assez tard pour me lever. Je pense qu'elle parle avec son mari, Claude. 

J'arrive á la cuisine, Cécile était tout seul, elle était âpres déjeuner, je était encore en robe de nuit. Elle me regarde et elle me dit, "Mom"� vous - avez commencer quelque chose, la faudra acheter du pain et du beurre pour DAKOTA.

Elle continue son déjeuner, DAKOTA á venu á la porte et il voulais avoir du pain rôtie avec du beurre.

Deux semaines passer, DAKOTA était sur le portique et il me regardait par la porte en vitre,

Cette porte est très grande, elle fait comme deux porte ensemble, elle est toute en vitre du haut en bas.

J'avait de la peine pour lui, un bon déjeuner que jetais âpres manger, du bacon, des oeufs, des patate fritte, et deux tranche de pains rôtie avec du beurre et une tasse de thé.

Je penser, pauvre DAKOTA, je suis certain q'il aimerait en n'avoir. J'ai pris un petit morceau de pain rôtie, j'ouvre la porte et je lui en á donner, il sifflait ce petit morceau de pain, peut être ci je mettrais a bas, il magnerait. Bien non, encore il manger pas, il me regardait et regardait le morceau de pain, ci tu mange pas, je ta donnera plus.

C'est de même qu'il ma compris, il a prie le pain et il mâchait ceci comme si il avait un os.

L'était heureux, cela á faite sa journée.

Le lendemain matin il était encore a la porte pour avoir son pain griller avec du beurre.

Il couche dehors, il a une belle cabane. Il est un gros husky chien ( DOG) il pèse alentour de cent-quarante livres. DAKOTA a un gros manteau de fourrure blanc, il est gros comme un ours d' Alaska. Il a la tête grosse et il est gros comme les petit cheval (pony), il est tranquille, et j'appe pas, je vous dit que il parle, et il pleur, il est vraiment bien diffèrent. On le comprends.

L'hiver passer ont eu des visiteurs et Cécile vouslait le montrer au monde, elle va le chercher et j'avait peur qu'il me j'esterais a terre. Seulement une petite poussez avec son nez me jetterai a terre. 

Il avais un leash, il a venu troit a moi. 

Toute de suite, pour longtemps il me regardait par la fenêtre il était content, il voulait ce faire flatter. 

La semaine. passer, Cécile avais été dehors pour prendre du soleil seulement DAKOTA avait la tête sur les bras, de Cécile, elle cri.... Mom, regard ici, DAKOTA il ce fait flatter, elle dit regarder ce gros cochon et un gros bébé. 

Quand je va m' asseoir près de mon pupitre pour écrire, il vient me regarder par la fenêtre. 

L'autre jour quand il volait du pain, Cécile me dit, va falloir acheter du pain, maintenant c'est comme j' avait dis, ces pas pire acheter du pain comme d'autre nourriture. ELLE dis peut être qu'on pourrais n'en trouve au prix coûtant.

A matin quand c'était le temps pour déjeuner, il a commencera a pleurer et parler pour ce faire comprendre. La je lui donner encore du pain beurre, il étais content. Ont ne l'attendait plus, sa faite sa journée.

Les chiens ont des sentiments aussi, je suis triste, je pense ci je peut me nourrie avec de la bonne nourritures, lui aussi.

Hier soir, Cécile dit a sons mari, Claude..., DAKOTA a pas touche a son "dogfood" pour deux jours. Il attends pour la nourriture de la table.

Je sait pas si j'ai commence quelque chose, de bien ou mal.

Pire que sa, la semaine passée, celui e donnée deux tranche de pain rôtie avec des fève faite au pays. Il a commencer a sifflant les beans, j'ai dis, "DAKOTA," goût, ces bon. Il a avaler cela sa, sa pas pris de temps.

Ca regarde que sa va coûter une fortune pour le pain et les fève et le beurre.

Bien ces mon histoire, quelque jour ont va peut-être redui de acheter au prix coûtent pour DAKOTA. En n'attendant ont pue achète ou prix coûtent et en grosse du pains de COUNTRY KITCHEN. Ces comme je dis, si ont peut ce nourries avec du pain de COUNTRY KITCHEN, LUI AUSSI!

Se serais bien pire si je commencerait a lui donnée des COUNTRY KITCHEN DONUTS (BEIGNE), peut être on peut achète une Boulangerie pour DAKOTA.

À suivre

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Lili (LaVerdiere) Bates



When I was five
you pressed your hand to mine
encompassing ma petite main,
entirely within the callused circle 
of your leathered palm. 
You tossed me just shy of the sky, 
then set me down on your size 13 
triple E wingtips to dance 
"Sweet Caroline" good times 
'round the living room.

At thirty-five, 
I  am calling your oncologist 
and looking down at these hands
with their softly striated palms
and chubby child digits, 
despairing that they are too small, 
even cupped, to hold hope
until my daughter, your granddaughter
dances in, presses her hand to mine, 
and matching fingertip to fingertip,
invites me to waltz.

By Joy Yourcenar

Halifax, Nova Scotia

New Roof

Underneath,  me, trying to write.
Above, they might be giants fee-f-foe fuming,
those jumpsuited roofers in their hardrubber boots
come to stop the leaks where the beanstalk
pierced fairytales rounded out below.

I drown in whitechocolatespaceeggs sounds
crack and pitch, not a pretty girl, 
as brittle tar brick-a-brackle, caulking 
and spackle sprinkle rain down blue tarp
skylights leaving greasy black licoriced puddles 
on the bathroom floor.

Rumbling, they stride the house shaking, 
roof making roll of thunder monster vacuum clutter
the ricki-tikki-tavi of the gravel up the hose
sucking up the tar, baby, punctuated
by the migraine pound of hammers 
accentuated by the roar of propane torches
as stripped up substratum supercedes coherent

until looking up, I realize we lie exposed 
under sticky fingerclouds 
floating like ice cubes in the spilled drink sky.

By Joy Yourcenar

Halifax, Nova Scotia

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31 Ans

"But tomorrow we'll run a little bit faster.
Tomorrow we're gonna find what we're after at last;
Feelings that we left in the past." **

Rêves d'autrefois, je les ai cassés.
Les morceaux, comment les ramasser?
Mes plus vrais désirs, je les ai oubliés.
Ce qui viendra, je n'en ai aucune idée.

Quoi faire en attendant la vision
Qui me guérira de mes mauvaises décisions?
Comment danser ma danse joyeuse
Quand le monde me dit, "Soit serieuse?"

La fin de l'été, le soleil couchant,
Les fleurs de rose foncé et d'orange,
La brise qui me chuchotte de l'automne;
Un autre message ils me donnent:

"Cherche pour toi-même ta vision nouvelle.
Rappelle-toi, tu as l'Aide du Ciel.
Tu vas réussir.  Tu vas voir.
Tu as perdu le rêve, mais pas l'espoir."

** "Boats Against the Current c1977)" by Eric Carmen
in Olivia: Totally Hot (Piano/Vocals/Chords).
Columbia Pictures Publications, c1979.

Maureen Perry, Boston, MA 

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Lili (LaVerdiere) Bates


Une Offrande(?)

Qu'est-ce que je peux te donner?
Qu'est-ce que je peux t'offrir?
Mes plaisanteries.  Mes éclats de rire.

Qu'est-ce que je peux te donner?
Qu'est-ce que je peux faire pour toi?
Je chante avec peu de talent, mais avec beaucoup de joie.

Qu'est-ce que je peux te donner?
Qu'est-ce que je peux te dire?
Je te raconterais des merveilles--si je pouvais m'en souvenir. . . .

En français ou en anglais,
En vers ou en prose,
Je te donne tout cela.
Veux-tu d'autre chose?

Maureen Perry, Boston, MA 

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I think of you, Great-grandmother
who birthed 21 children in the 25 years,
making and suckling babies
those 300 months
instead of bleeding,
still doing it even after your oldest 
were having their own.

Was it your desire 
of Great-grandfather's desires?
Did you want all of them
or did he want you?

They say he died in his fifties.
When he didn't come home for dinner,
the boys went looking.
They found him down by the farm pond,
two bags of fiddleheads beside him,
his fishing pole still in his hand.

When you heard the news,
you suffered a stroke
and lived the rest of your life
an invalid.

Trudy Chambers Price 


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Scarlet Fever (winter 1944)

labeled our little house -
nobody in,
nobody out, except Dr. Proctor
and my father.
My brother stayed home from school.

My crib was moved downstairs
to the dining room.
Unaware that other 5 year-olds
didn't still sleep in their cribs,
I never tried to climb out,
even though I knew how.
I was too sick to try.

My head belonged to a giant.
Cold wet washcloths
turned steamy on my forehead.
The rash followed.
I'd throw off the quilts, 
then my mother would cover me during
delirious dreams of a skeleton on the porch,
shaking its bones, tattling me awake.

Venetian blinds were drawn -
something about my eyes -
so day was night and night was long.
Broth or water followed
my mother's cool hands on my face.
My brother peeked at me in between books.
I didn't feel hungry
but the smell of supper cooking
satisfied me because soon I'd hear
my father's footsteps on the porch.

After he looked in on me,
their voices mingled
in the kitchen.
I heard talk of my grandmother
having the fever when she was ten,
how she lost all her hair
and that it grew back in curly
and that in her whole life,
she had not once had it cut.
After that, I knew I'd get well.

Trudy Chambers Price 


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Lili (LaVerdiere) Bates


The Plains

By Rhea Côté Robbins, Brewer. ME

 If we ever thought that we could ever escape The Plains we must have been two young women just dreaming our lives away on the edges of the riverbank.  Living on the fringes of our own direct realities we created fantasy worlds with which we could deal.  We were fringe dwellers.  Or so I always thought.  The history of the Plains, Waterville, Maine, like any geographical area is rich, but this one is more wealthy than most because, like its name, it is a unique opportunity in living.  Whose life were we living?  Our own, our future selves or one steeped in the past?  We live all three, concurrently, simultaneously and communally.  It does not matter if we leave the neighborhood or even come back to it.  Our lives are intertwined and intermingled with centuries of dwellers and the end of the fringe can go round the world.  Historically, our ancestors came to live here from Canada, specifically, French speaking Canada, Québec province.  My great-grandfather walked from Montréal every spring and worked on farms along the way.  He was a tiny, bent over man who kept peppermint candies (Canada Mints, how ironic) in his pocket to give to his grandchildren, my father. 
 The informal history tells that most people who came to the Plains, arrived there via the "Kennebec Road" from the Beauce area.  They came for many reasons--to work in the mill, Lockwood or to become prosperous at some field or trade.  The faceless and nameless faded into the mills.  Hundreds upon hundreds.  The others provided services to their co-migrators.  According to Albert C. Fecteau's Master's Thesis:

 When the first French-speaking immigrants appeared in Waterville, this �Plains' section of the town was a vast, thickly wooded area with a few tiny clearings here and there for grazing.
 The whole section up to what is commonly known as the flat was a sort of peninsula surrounded on the East side by the Kennebec River and on the West by a narrow marshy stream having its source at the further end of Pine Grove Cemetery.  This muddy brook slowly curved along today's King St. and emptied into the Kennebec Canal around the bottom of today's Sherwin Hill.  (Interview with M. Napoleon Loubier and M. Alfred Bolduc)

 I lived on the Kennebec River bank and played by the stream that originated in the cemetery.  I trudged there in the spring when the snows melted and the waters rushed down the hill to our land filling a live bait pool and a frog pond.  History was there and I instinctively felt it, but managed to ignore the portent or bestowing of ancestral blessings.  I was too busy collecting maple syrup, swinging on tarzan swings with my brothers, building cabins, climbing trees to consciously know I was "down the Plains." 
 Many summer mornings my brother, the neighborhood boys, and me, the only girl, would hold a meeting by an old dead tree, six to eight feet in diameter.  The tree was our mountain, our throne, our speakers platform, our jump, our ship and the place we went to be.  The tree knew.  Like the rest of the trees knew.  They all knew what we ignored.  We were in Eden.  The trees whispered to us as we flew by, never stopping to hear the words the leaves told.  Unless you went there alone.  Unless you entered the wood alone.  Then, then you knew because the feeling was too strong for anyone to ignore.  The history was all around you yelling, screaming, dancing, diving, singing, crying--alive--past, present and future all bound into one being.  The girl alone in the wood or the boy on the hunt.  We went to answer ancestral calls.  Sitting alone on the tree stump I would feel watched, or accompanied and I would swiftly run back down the hill to the open air where the feeling of other lives crowding mine was not so haunting. 
 The spirits of the wood were different than the spirit of the dwelling areas.  The wood, or what was left of the "vast, thickly wooded area" was a buffer zone from the inhabited area and Pine Grove Cemetery--the land of the dead.  In the wood the spirits of the two worlds united and communed.  Here is where I first recognized that I was a fringe dweller myself.  The stream that flowed there ran in the direction of my friend's house.  She was a fringe dweller too.  Although, she never could comfortably commune with the dead as I.  I thought that the dead were my friends because I played in and among them with ease.  Their peaceful rest was my balm in time of pain or a cool breeze on a hot summer day sitting in the shadow of the mausoleums.  The dead understood my silences and when I cut the air with a single piercing scream--nobody seemed to mind.

 In my own devised future, I brought my husband and children to see the old dead tree.  Somehow it had melted into the ground.  I looked for it.  I searched for a shred of truth that the tree had once been as I looked for myself or proof of myself as I had once been.  How could such a large tree go away like that.  It had not been so many winters since I had last been here to see the tree had it?  At last, following along where the trunk had lain, I found the very end of the tree in a protected place.  All that remained of our meeting place, insignificant then, became all powerful in proving we exist.  My husband and children admired the maples, my son played in the stream, floating sticks down through the wooded hill as I once had done; the silt and sand pools catching and sending private small eddies over tree roots, small patches of spring ice cracked when we applied pressure.  This is the stream my father piped to privately stock the pond on our land below.  The stream no longer flowed out through the woods.  It is not only the course of lives that change; waters tend to move in areas of least resistance as well. 
 The young women of the Plains grew in a haphazard way compared to the rest of the town.  For one thing we had to uphold the reputation of being street urchins.  More like, we were adventurous and the Plains had a way of allowing the adventurous spirit to roam.  We all had areas we were not allowed to go to.  For one, we were not allowed to go too near the river bank.  Several of us had close calls, but only one drowned that I knew of.  The sea gulls circled and flocked overhead.  The train tracks at the bottom of the hill gave its special sound to alert one to the coming weather.  My mother always said that when the train whistle sounded hollow--it was going to rain.  I always told the weather by the leaves of the Silver Maple.
The train has followed me on my journey away from the Plains. 
 Wherever I have lived since I left the Plains, I have never been without the sound of the train whistle.  I tell my children, in the present, to look good at the train because they will be telling their children, in the future, all about the train.
 We were free to roam and in our roaming became more than familiar with whom we lived.  Or the lay of the land.  Everyone's yard was our yard; the whole are of the Plains was our playground.  Sacreligiously, we tramped all over our past.  Every day I took my bike to the corner store for milk, bread, penny candy, comic books and every day I walked into the town's oldest grocery store.  Not a super, super store, but a store that we bought lemons to suck on when we came home for lunch from school.  Or got our first sex lesson from.  My mother never bought us the napkins in the pretty boxes to use at supper.  But she would semi-secretly sign up for and buy the beauty parlor doll hung up in mid-air for my Christmas present.  That doll was my friend, my nieces, and my daughters.  From history-to-history. 
 The prejudice was not easy to live with coming from the Plains.  The put-downs, instant ruined reputations associated with being a "loose French woman," the poverty for most as an every day reality--then and now, the alcoholism, the drugs, abuse, threats to life, dangers, and every now and then a parade or two on the way to the cemetery for the 21-gun salute.  Life was hard, on the fly-by, dictated to by factory whistles, punch clocks, triple shifts, and piece work.  The school was local and parochial.  We walked to it morning, lunch, and afternoon in all kinds of weather which meant you had all kinds of outdoor clothes to wear.  Boots, rubbers, umbrellas, rain coats, leggings, wool pants, and wool coats.  The nuns were Ursuline and the boys were moved to a different school in the fifth grade.  It was an exclusive women's world we lived in.  A world where men were in abstentia except for the sexton, bus driver and priests.  It was a strange world of lighted candles (of which we always light more on our lunch hour whether we paid for them or not--sometimes we light all of them--even the dollar ones, but that was when churches were left unlocked for the faithful and we were faithful to light our candles setting the church alight in a blaze of candles.)  Sometimes I would sit in front of the life size statues and gaze on their loveliness demanding they speak.  I would hold a conversation with St. Theresa and her cascading roses.  I would meditate on her agony and her ecstasy wondering why anyone would want to bother to be so good.  Mary in blue was something else.  She I could see or at least understand.  She had a job to do.  She was the mother of Jesus.  He was a standard to live up to.  But Theresa?  Now there was a show-off.  In fact, I knew just such a show-off in class. 
 The church played a huge role in the neighborhood.  Mass was said early for the mill workers or fishermen by one of the three priest.  All the girl children sang in the choir--third grade on up.  I sat in such a place where I could float mohair yarn from my friend's beret or pieces of paper torn off the sheet music down onto the church goers below.  I sat all alone by the organ which hid my actions from the nun.  The church held sway over the sexual mores of our parents and over us.  The church was the God.  We worshipped more than the statues.  The altar, the clothes, the pews, the floor boards, the silence, the robes, the sermons, the water, the oils, the bread, the crucifixes, the lemon, the candles, the air, the incense, the living, the dead and we confessed. 
 One of the masses was always in French.  The sermon in French was a lost moment.  I listened to the words, straining to understand and often times what I remember of this church French was the man yelling or pounding the podium, gesticulating madly.  I felt as if I had been personally hit by a fire and brimstone storm.  I always let out a sigh of relief when the "preche" ended and the mass resumed.  I knew I was off that road to hell and back on track to heaven.  As long as the priest wouldn't scream.  French sermons are always so much more emotional than English sermons; the French language is more passionné.  As a young girl, I would sit in the back of the church at 5:30 AM mass, willing it to end, impatient and naughty, I would inevitably get "the squeeze" from my mother--her hand on my knee in one big giant squeeze.  During Lent I would attend 7:00 mass every day with my friends.  The nuns would have the janitor, sexton, unlock the basement cafeteria for us so that we, the privileged, could eat our holy breakfast.  We would leave our nickel on the counter and help ourselves to a glass of milk from the milk machines.  Later, I courted my boyfriends in church. Later still, we married ourselves, baptized our children and mourned our parents in the church. 
 This was our due, the neighborhood church.  Our down the Plains legacy--Notre Dame Church or L'Église Nôtre Dame and parochial school.  Catechism and prayers in two languages as well as all the other subject matter.  We were not aware of our grandparents' hardship and struggle to raise the money, their faith, their beliefs and their pride to have a church down the Plains.  All I knew was that we were a rich parish.  We were the last eighth grade graduating class--a dying ember--and we lightly tripped up the stairs to have our picture taken in our graduating finery--thirteen lovelies surrounding the parish pastor and casually ran home in our bare nyloned feet--irreverent of the holy ground on which we ground dirt into our soles. 
 We could do these things and get away with it.  We could run around striking weird poses and gesticulating obscenely, or so we thought sticking out our tongues was massively impolite.  We could use the grave of the Revolutionary War hero, Asa Redington, as a stage for our pantomime sessions with our transistor radios hidden behind his tombstone.  On the lands of our ancestors we roamed free like a band of explorers, claiming the Plains for ourselves. 
 A neighbor women farmed the river flood plains.  She worked in her garden hoeing and weeding down by the river side.  She wore her garden hat and had the reputation for accumulating several husbands.  She always wore a smile, had a twinkle in her blue eyes and said hello to us as we passed by.  She is only one of many such Plains dwellers.
 She and the others like her were the ones I was anxious to leave behind.  I vowed early on that I would leave the Plains and never go back.  I vowed that I would shake the dust from my feet and walk away never to return to my ancestral lands.  I would never look back on the hardships and deprivations endured by other dwellers of the Plains.  By my ancestors poverty and hard work I became rich; by their lack of education I became educated; by their determination I became resolute and by their courage I became free.  I, descended from the early French settlers, migratory workers, looking for a better life and who came with a hope to survive and to live beyond their present gave me the legacy of my own future.  I realize this now.  I know this now.  The Plains is where we can all be together as we are.  The Plains is where we came to stay when we left and it is the place we leave when we go.  The Plains can be nothing but the Plains, but we can be anything we want because we come from the Plains.  We are of the Plains.  We are the Plains.  The Plains may be on the fringe, but that has nothing to do with the realties of our lives.  We can only be stronger for it and because of it. 

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Continued from 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, CA

Maine 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.  For the full text version, please see the following: 

Continued on a dedicated site.  Please click here for the full text.

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Dylan Revisited 

By Marie Thérèse "Terry" Martin, Rumford, ME

" It ain't no use to sit and wonder why, Babe
            It don't matter any how....."

 Dylan revisited.  In a blinding snowstorm, I braved the weather to accomplish another of my " over 50 " dreams----to sing to my hearts content with Dylan----one more time.  For anyone who hasn't yet turned 50, let me tell you that it is somewhat of  a religious experience.  Everything takes on new meaning.  Perhaps it is life's cycle giving you one last powerful surge before beginning the inevitable and gradual decline into the senior years.  It peaks your senses.  The sun seems a bit brighter and warmer.  Food tastes better.  Coffee smells stronger.  Mozart sounds sweeter and yes!  Bob Dylan sounds even more soulful.  That Irish most Irish of hearts, that has propelled many hearts through years of poetic verse and powerful lyrics, arrived in Portland to perform to a crowd of sell out proportions.
 We had great seats.  The stage was set.  I was primed to hear that bard of olde croon some of the wonderful songs that had defined an entire generation of fans into loyal followers.  His audience was a surprise to me.  There were young admirers, middle aged fans and lots of over 50 grey heads, just like me.  There were pot heads, covered heads that displayed berets, knitted caps of every color and design, all true worshipers.  And when he arrived on stage, his reception was as powerful as you would expect gathering that number of fans under one roof.  He looked small to me, and started the first set with an electric guitar.  I would be patient.  I had waited a long time for this.  I was sure that at some point that sweet and soulful passion that I remembered would be forthcoming.  I could wait in anticipation for that wonderful acoustic delivery of his early songs.  It never came.  In exchange for that, he played marvelously on electric instruments that blasted thru the mega ton sound systems.  Along with that powerful sound , I was privileged to sit in front of a woman who took it upon herself to represent the loud whistlers of the universe.  She did herself proud at that performance.  She never missed an opportunity to blow her approving  whistle to the entire audience.  She successfully competed with the sound system and I think she had the upper hand.
 Not that I think that what he is doing is easy.  Traveling by tour bus from city to city, arriving in time for sound check, perhaps a radio or television interview, inspecting stage and troubleshooting for anticipated glitches.  Warm up..  Grab a bite.  Dress for stage.  Muster the energy and excitement needed to perform before a hungry and demanding audience.  The much awaited Performance!  Back on the bus, travel all night to another city, check into a hotel, shower, sleep, sound check at 4pm. ad infinitum. Despite my appreciation for those efforts,I was disappointed, never with his lyrics, only in what I didn't get out of the concert.  My own expectations demanded a more intimate look at his work.  I wondered as I waited, which part of the brain do these lyrics come from?  What part of the soul delivers such melancholy moods from the rollar coaster of life's emotional up's and down's?  A few simple words thrown together in a rhythmical pattern that touch the very essence of your being.  This powerful vehicle of ideas that can affect your very core?
 Looking back, perhaps my expectations were a bit too high.  After all, when life looks shorter, there is an underlying sense of urgency to taste everything.  To want things as they were.  I wanted what I remembered. 
It didn't arrive, but, after all, Dylan is over 50, too.

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Submitted by  Terry  Martin, Rumford, Maine
Évangéline Richard Beaudet Knolkemper
Age 80
is the daughter of
Alma Poirier Richard
One of Mother's favorite Acadian specialties is Rapure (Chiard).  Her recipe was her mother's although she adds her own personality to this ageless recipe.

Rapure (Chiard)

Authentic Acadian Recipe

1 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 are used.

Chokecherry Wine

By Debra Perro

I found my Dad's recipe for Chokecherry wine.  Let's see if I can interpret it......

Grind choke cheries and let to ferment in a crock.  After mixture has stopped working, strain liquid from berries.
(Rhea, my family used old white bedsheets instead of cheesecloth.  It got more of the first wave of sediment out of the wine.)

Add 5 cups of sugar to each gallon of liquid.  Also, add 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar to each gallon.

Let sit in crock until mixture stops fermenting.

Bottle & enjoy.  (It really isn't a sweet wine--at least as much as I can remember.)

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Multicultural Pens

My Incarceration

By a former woman inmate

 What brought me to the point of being incarcerated?  My original crime was self-destruction -- alcohol being the number one killer which, at time, I was totally unaware of where I was heading and what the outcome was most likely to be.

 My serious drinking began late in life but not too late to get in trouble with the law due to my abuse of alcohol.  Two years ago, when I decided to get serious about my drinking problem, the "bottom fell out from under me," as the old saying goes.

 I was heading in the right direction and my life was falling into place when "bam" everything I have worked so hard to achieve came tumbling down.  I couldn't believe what was happening to me!

 In July, 1996, I was stopped by the police because I was driving too slow.  It had been five years since I had driven, so I was a nervous driver -- I believe it is called overcautious.  When asked to get out of my vehicle, I stumbled nearly falling into the police officer.  I was very Ill having had bronchitis for nearly a month.  Needless to say, at the time, I didn't look my best.  I noticed the other police officer talking into his walkie talkie and I knew he was checking to see if I had a police record.  Since I had two prior OUI's eight years ago, of course, I was asked if I had been drinking and my answer was "no".  I was still taken to the Police Station for testing, but I was unable to successfully perform their test because of breathing difficulties due to the bronchitis.  I asked that they give a blood or urine test but was refused.  I was arrested and thrown into the dungeon (holding cell.)  A friend bailed me out the following day and I took a taxi to get my vehicle.  Of course, I had to ask the police where my car had been towed (what an asinine thing to do)!  Guess who was waiting for me tow blocks from where my car was towed -- you guessed it!  The police stopped me again and history repeated itself for my second OUI.  What a mess!  My thoughts at the time were two OUI's in two days, what is going to happen to me now?  Will they lock me away and throw away the key?

 Well, I spent six months in the county jail and received four years probation.  Of course, I received an astronomical fine which will take a lifetime to pay.  I have been treated for anxiety disorders and had a difficult time adjusting to prison life.  If the jail personnel had not given me a job doing the laundry, I truly believe I would have gone insane.  I am a constant worrier and my kids were on my mind often, wondering what they were feeling.  I communicated with them through the mail but that just didn't seem to be enough.  I wanted so much to hug and kiss them and tell them everything was going to be okay.  I made it through but it was a tough road.  Doing the laundry and participating in as many classes the school had to offer helped to pass the time.  Many nights I cried myself to sleep.  Upon my release, I spent time in a rehab for women and felt really good about myself. 

 Once again,  my life was going upward and I was on the move --  a bit too fast but I wanted to make up for lost time.  My kids and I were really forming a bond which I was so afraid I had lost and it seemed life was going to be good to me from now on.  This was not to be the case.

 My son, Sean, is my "problem child" whom I love dearly and has to be closely watched even though he is a teenager.  He suffers from Addison's disease for which he takes medication and , if the medication is not properly balanced, neither is my son.  I was cleaning his room when I found a loaded gun under his pillow.  I could not believe it!  This required immediate attention!  I decided what was best for my son was to speak to my son's counselor about this problem and, in doing so, I "cut my own throat" so to speak.  The police were  informed of my conversation with the counselor who, in turn, called my probation officer.  Imagine my surprise when the police and my probation officer paid a surprise visit to my apartment demanding that I give them the gun that I no longer had in my possession!  Well, I am no fool!  The gun in question was long gone and I was not about to tell them any of the details.  I had given the gun to someone I knew and trusted for disposal.

 A search of my apartment found nothing but to my surprise and horror, my probation officer opened the door to my front hallway which was used for storage and found numerous wine/beer bottles and, unfortunately for me, one bottle had some wine left in the bottom and right then and there I knew I was in trouble.  I could have kicked myself!  I had completely forgotten that I had placed those bottles in the hallway so I could take them to a redemption center.  I was so angry with myself, my kids and the young lady whom I had staying at my apartment during my stay in the county jail.  There had been numerous parties held in my apartment during my absence which included drugs and alcohol and the bottles were remnants from those parties.  It would not matter what I said at this point, I was doomed!  Please do not misunderstand -- I would have done anything to help my son.  I was just so angry at myself for forgetting about those damned bottles.

 My probation had now been violated and I knew I was in deep trouble.  I was arrested again and once more placed in the "hell hole".  I can't begin to explain how I felt -- my kids were present at the time of my arrest.  I lost all hope.  For a period of a few days, I lost touch with reality and lived "tales of horror" worse than any Stephen King novel.  During this "comatose" stage as I refer to it, I recall some of the strange things that were going through my mind and was informed by the guards of things I apparently did that I don not recall and hopefully, will never have to relive.  I was extremely confused.  Unfortunately, I believed these "horrors" had really occurred.  To give you an example, in my mind, my two sons and I were being held hostage in a large van.  I don not recall why we were being held hostage.  I do recall three men and one woman pointing large guns at us and one man holding a huge knife to my son's throat.  when I awakened from this "comatose" state, I believed my one son had been killed in our struggles to free ourselves of these kidnappers.  I had called my mother and told her that the jail is conspiring against me.  My mother, at this time, was very ill with cancer ad I scared her, my father, and the rest of my family because they were 1,500 miles away in St. Louis, Missouri.  They had no idea what was happening to me --  neither did I.  In other words, I needed help to get my head back on straight. 

 With the help of the officers of the jail, the doctor, and the women in the cell with me, I started to come out of my "comatose" state and remembered some of the things that happened.  My family were very helpful in getting me the help I needed.  Do you have any idea what it is like to wake up from a nightmare where your son is killed in front of your eyes?  I can't begin to explain how traumatized I was and exhausted both mentally and physically.  Evidently, I became "wild" and the officers were afraid of self-injury so I was strapped into this big black chair.  One of the anxiety disorders I encounter is claustrophobia.  When strapped in that chair, I totally lost myself and have no recollection of anything that happened in the two days I was there.  The day I started feeling somewhat myself again was the day of my hearing.  I was in no shape to go to court but had no choice.  To make matters worse, my attorney and I had not discussed my case so I was going into the courtroom blind.  My attorney advised me to plead guilty to having alcohol on my premises and, therefore, in violation of my probation.  That is all it took to place me behind bars for the remainder of my sentence which was twenty months.  God, help me!

 I felt I was going crazy!  I did speak to a counselor and psychiatrist while at the Windham Correctional Center and given some peace of mind but what was I going to do?  I was not given time to make arrangements concerning my apartment and contents within -- my sons had no idea where I had been taken -- my dog was waiting for his dinner -- my relatives live out of the State -- my boyfriend and I had parted ways etc., etc.  I had to slow myself down or I was going to have another episode like that in jail and who knows if I would be strong enough to come out of it again.  All I can say, is there is a God and miracles do happen!

 It was very difficult for me to handle the transfer to the Charleston Correctional Institution mainly because it makes it almost impossible to have any visitation from my sons.  We communicate through the mail but sometimes that isn't enough.  They are very bitter too and need me to help them accept my incarceration.  In some ways, I am very lucky to have three sons who I know love me very much and can forgive me when I have wronged them.

 I slowly but surely took care of what needed to be done, got the help I needed, and thanked God and my mother for giving me the courage and strength to survive this ordeal.  In May, 1998, I lost my mother to cancer and I was devastated!  I loved my mother so much and she was a large part of my support system.  I still mourn her death and when I am released from this prison, my plans are to visit St. Louis and go to her gravesite asking her to forgive me.  For a long time, I lived with enormous guilt because my mother was giving so much of herself to my recovery while she was battling with cancer.  In a prison atmosphere, I have been unable to grieve her death or face it either and this I will have to do in order for me to get on with my life.  I have my ups and downs, but if I take my time, I can handle them and hope I make the right decision.

 I have managed to keep busy during my imprisonment and fortunately, I have been able to receive counseling in areas where I am weak.  I have participated in various programs that I know will help me in wherever life leads me.

 At the present time, I have been accepted to participate in the Volunteers of America (VOA) program (work release for women) and feel confident that I can follow a new path in the right direction.  My imprisonment has enabled me to work on myself in a positive manner and I can honestly say that I have experienced and learned enough to know that I do not ever wish to return to a jail or institution and I am very anxious to meet the world head on and take charge of my life.

 This is my story and I would not want to think my stay was all positive because that is far from the truth.  It is just that I choose not to dwell on situations that I have no control of and concentrate on what I can do to better my life and my sons.

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The Silent Promise--In Memory of John F. Kennedy, Jr.

By Paulette M. Barry, San Francisco, CA

It seemed to me at the time that we all somehow, silently made a promise to ourselves that we would take care of John after his father died.  Somehow we felt that those five intense days when an entire nation acted as one person that we all had inherited a son.  He was someone that we all wanted to keep safe, to see grow strong and without contamination after the death of his father.  He was the son who innocently saluted and asked our pledge, somehow, to keep him safe.

And we did.  Throughout the years we would catch glimpses of him, the smile, the shyness, but the great smile.  We saw the hair get fuller and worried a bit about what that might mean.  But he was all right and we were all right.

We saw him graduate from Brown - good choice we thought, OK, not Harvard, but an everyman choice - a good one.  We saw him at graduation next to his mother and he was all right and we were all right.

Years seem to pass and he went to take the Bar - we were so proud...but he did not pass the first time.  That's all right we said, plenty of people don't pass it the first time.  But when he tried again and did not pass we silently but seriously worried - what if he did not pass it a third time.  When the papers told us that the following day he was set to take the bar the third time we held our breaths again and all of us, everyone, prayed a silent prayer and he passed and everything was all right.

He worked at the prosecutors office in New York and while we were proud of him we all somehow knew that it was not the right place for him and when he quite we were OK with that, everything was all right.

It seemed that he grew stronger and more handsome as the years passed and when he came out of the home where his mother had died and told the world of her passing, told it with style, dignity and grace, we were so proud of him.  At that moment we realized that he walked like his father but had the look of his mother as well and everything was all right.  His mother did such a good job, we said, such a good job.  Lots of problems, drugs, misbehavior with the others, but not him.  And everything was all right.

Then that wonderful, gracious, princely picture of him kissing his new bride - what a lovely picture, what a lovely choice, and everything was all right.

And then when we heard his plane was missing, when we all somehow held our breaths as we had done in the past, but still knowing the outcome would not be pleasant, we knew that something was not all right and as they told us they recovered the bodies and we had to absolutely, unequivocally had to know that he was gone we knew that it was no longer all right, nothing was all right.

We grieve but we aren't part of the official family so we have nowhere to go with our grief.  Going to work, all of us, on the day we should have been there.  Somehow, we should have gone out on the carrier, watched as his ashes were scattered and quietly gave rein to our grief.  But, we cannot go there, we cannot do that and so nothing is all right.

We look for lessons, we search our hearts - are we angry?  Hardly, no reason to be.  It happened and that is that.  What comforts us?  Thoughts like being glad that his mother is gone so that she did not have to see this.  Happy that they both went so that one was not left behind.  Happy for the strength and faith of a family that is now once and for all truly ours.  Prayers for a sister who remains to remind us.

Lessons still not known.  Except in the quiet places of our hearts we see that it can happen, a boy who is genuine and heartfelt can become a man who is the same way.  A boy who lived with a mother's courage and grace can claim those qualities for his own.  A boy who became a man and maybe did not even achieve greatness as the word would be defined by so many, a man who did achieve humanness - and how much better is that.

So, while nothing at all, at all, is all right, it is what it is and something has left our hearts and will never return.

Our son is gone.

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from  Another Long (31.) 

By Patricia Smith Ranzoni, Bucksport, ME

from  Another Long (31.)

My nurse Marilyn's Aunt Sadie's dish cloths.

To make two:
     a 2.5 ounce 4 ply cotton skein 
     a pair knitting needles number 10

Cast on 4.

Row 1:  knit.
Row 2:  knit 2, yarn over, knit to end of row.
Repeat row 2 to 43 stitches.
(Half way.) 

Next row:  knit 1, knit 2 together, yarn over,
                knit 2 together, knit to end of row.

Repeat last row until down to 4 stitches again.
Knit these then bind off, weaving knotted end-
thread into edging chain. "They'll last forever 
you know."

One done shows how by increasing
or decreasing stitches mid-way, or varying
size needles or thread (also color and kind)
one might knit squares from coasters to mats
to rugs and shawls, doll things and baby,
blankets for all in cloth made whole one
stitch at a time.  Fancy or plain  (ribbon
or jute!).  Block by block or joined
to dress the wounded world. What can't
be cured kept cozy.  Prettied up.  Clean.
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from  Another Long (19.) 

By Patricia Smith Ranzoni, Bucksport, ME

from  Another Long (19.)

Whisper this!
                        s s s o l s s s t i c c c e
Hear the fire?
Close your eyes and whisper it again.
                       s s s o l s s s t i c c c e
Oh bless us here with this fire!

Not a word, solstice, Nellie Willis
would've used, nor Dora Gross.
Not Dot Briggs nor Shirley Connors
nor Min Wilson salt of the earth.
Which is not to say they
didn't know the short and long of light
from chores done, childhood on,
in afternoon night
only that they were as unlikely
to call it that as to say revel
the way those homesteaders from
Massachusetts and Wisconsin
might've. Drive out of state
for a holiday show the end of December?
Never.  Too much at stake too much
to tend too much to mend.  Fires.
Stock. Crocks. Clothes
and what not, not to mention family
and the neighborhood and especially pipes.
All those disciples
coming all this way from all over
thinking it novel to live, frugal,
on the land driving right past other masters
who when they die
have no artful pose by their obituaries,
no foundations, Waldens North,
to carry on their names teach how
on God's good green earth they did
what they did.  Their canning
gear and earthenware bowls, breadboards
and tins, grainsack aprons
and last crocheted dishcloths and afghans, 
quilts and squares still to be joined,
remnants and scraps of anything
any use left to it; skeins
and spools and saved strings, patterns
and directions and receipts and riddles
and what instructions got put down,
and poems, and commonplace books and pins
and needles and hooks and bobbins
and button boxes and jars, and crewel hoops
and darning eggs, seam rippers
and pinking shears; shed
and barn and outside tools passed
like jewelry to Carlton and Bud and Oscar Jr.,
Donna and Wilbur, Betty and Christine.
Best glass and fancywork
kept in cupboards and chests for something
to show something to have to hand down their
kind of trust.  And no one could hold a candle
to Maine's other Margaret Smith 
the hiker how she and Bump
set that record doin' the Appalachian Trail
the opposite from most, how she'd walk
all the way from their year-round camp
their Good-Life lodge on the edge
of Jacob Buck mountain and pond 7 miles to town
to work--and back--every day--sometimes
taking the long way home waving us
that day's luck.  How she gave out and slumped
with that honey of a smile in her own tracks
top of Rider Hill by the Hopkins' place
where they still talk of it where they built
a fire and held the service in the yard
the way outbackers still do the way all
of us stood and told what we'll hold onto
like the way she'd say "time to git home
�n' gitintama robe, it's gettin' dark under the table."
And one of us reads from Frost whose "Directive"
could've been written right here in Millvale
years ago--or still --you tell me
if this doesn't fit: Make yourself up
a cheering song of how/Someone's
road home from work this once was,/
Who may be just ahead of you on foot....
In local history her 
people will hash over and hash over
what a woman she was.
We'll tell how she raised her Stephen
and anybody else's needed tendin'.
How she made sumac lemonade and thousand-
hour quilts more than one joker
tried to get for nothin' like our places
and furniture and what have you.  This 
is being told so it'll be written down--somewhere--
what women these were.
How they showed us how to live and die
by how they lived and died.

Yet revel  was a word we tried
to understand not that we didn't have
our own ways of gettin' high as they'd say
those characters come to try life here
expecting us to be like them
only not as smart
rather than see us for who we were.
Come this dark each year, cooped up,
we call up those rare birds
needing to pretend to be destitute glad
for views they brought from places
they'd traipse off to winters.
Wish they'd come back, light a spell
bring back that feeling we know something
they wished they knew, not look down.
Borrow a tool, use the phone, proud as the devil
from growin' their own tomatoes,
counting them out like rare red pearls.
This time of year be off to the tropics
or relatives worried sick 
all that education livin' like that
no need of it. Disgrace.  Sunned up, relaxed,
come back to help Sister Lucy work 
with folks they can't imagine bein' so poor
before fading back forever to who, under it,
they also were.

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Thoughts, Feelings on Hair Loss 

By Joyce MacCrae Howe 

 I thought I could handle anything after the shock of being diagnosed with breast cancer on May 28, 1998. I also thought, as I was undergoing a bone scan, chest X-ray, ventricular output test, blood tests and finally the surgery, which removed a cancerous lump and associated lymph nodes -- that things could not get any worse. 
 I was wrong. 
 On July 21, 1998 I had my first chemotherapy. I experienced a teeth-clenching nausea for three or four days that Compazine, a nausea-reducing medication, only took the edge off. I felt tired as my blood count dropped. Again I felt things could not get any worse. 
 Again, I was wrong. 
 I knew that I would lose my hair sooner or later -- I just didn't know when. I called my hairdresser (and good friend of 25 years), Lena  and made an appointment to have my hair cut.  I reasoned that shorter hair would be easier to lose.  She helped me select a wig and ordered it that day. I felt better. I thought I was prepared. 
 The day before my second chemotherapy on August 10, 1998, I took my morning shower. As I toweled my hair, it literally came out in my hands. No words can describe how I felt. I was devastated. Although I knew it was going to happen eventually, I was completely unprepared for this. I called Lena again, and saw her that same day. 
 The decision to "save or shave" was made for me, since my hair was already falling out. This was awful.  She took me to another room, where we had absolute privacy and we shaved my head. I could not bear to watch.  I simply closed my eyes and I cried. 
 That was the worst day of my life. Worse than the diagnosis, the biopsy, the waiting for results, the surgery itself or the side effects of the chemotherapy drugs.
 On December 21, 1998, I had my final chemotherapy session. I have a beautiful, smartly-styled wig, which I am told looks very natural -- not at all "wiggy." But I have not , nor will I ever get used to seeing myself without hair. I have a great support system that includes my husband, children and friends, but they have no idea how traumatic the hair loss has been for me. I am sure a small part of the way I feel is vanity, but it is by far only the smallest part. 
 It is difficult to explain to someone who has not experienced hair loss how I feel. When people say to me, "It's only hair and it will grow back," I want to shout at them and say how I hate it. 
 I guess for me, nothing could have prepared me for losing my hair. I think having a list of people who have experienced hair loss themselves, and who would be willing and comfortable to talk about it would help others immeasurably. I wish that had been available to me. I will place my name first on that list.  Please feel free to call me at 207-989-3589. 

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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 Donc 

On 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 
J'entends déja chanter l'été 
Sur l'arc-en-ciel on est monté 
Vers l'océan de l'éternité 

Sourire aux lèves, le coeur léger 
Fini le temps de s'attarder 
Suivons les ailes du goèland 
Dans un élan de liberté 

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 
Ramons à fond sur les nuées 
Sur l'arc-en-ciel on est monté 
Vers l'océan de l'éternité 

Rame, rame, rame donc 
Le tour du monde, le tour du monde 
Rame, rame, rame donc 
Le tour du monde nous ferons. 


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Last updated September 22, 1999 
contact updated 11-18-2023