In the memoir of her childhood Monica Wood tells us the heroic, founding industrialist story of Mr. Hugh Chisholm and his surreptitious study—or scoping out as rurals say here—of the great falls and surrounding land. The lens is her schoolroom instruction by Sister Ernestine. Chisholm’s borrowed horse and sleigh took him down-river through icy fog where the thundering of the waterfall in rime-frosted landscape excited this man as he approached. He then climbed out to pat his St. Jude, and reward the horse with a cube of sugar.
Monica Wood’s memoir centers around the sudden death of her father on his way to work in Mexico, Maine as his children are readying for school. In When We Were the Kennedys experiences of a literary child in 1963 assume imaginative life in the reader. By literary child I mean one who loves reading. For unwitting consolation Monica turns to Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and then discovers Nancy Drew. Writing mysteries herself, she becomes Nancy Drew. She is mystified by her own story, The mystery of the missing man. After closing the book, I was reluctant to leave this child Monica behind.
Another Maine Metaphor is coming out, this one with a new geographic focus, Maine’s eastern uplands, a construct from my Maine undergraduate studies, in the late 1980s as a nontraditional student. But today I’m posting about a neighboring town and author, in part because of personal connections with the town. The town is Mexico, Maine.
You read that right. Mexico, Maine. Maine is more than half the geographic area of New England, and so far there is only a beginning immigrant quantity of Mexican-Americans in the White- Anglo-Saxon Protestant-founding of New England, USA. I’m seeing none at all in this part of the Western Mountains of Maine.
So, Mexico Maine? —White Maine? But the mill towns of Mexico and Rumford (over the river) had been home to immigrants from early days of the mill’s founding by Hugh Chisholm in the late 1800s. In those days it was woodland/farmland but possessed of the greatest national waterfalls east of Niagara — where Hugh Chisholm came from on hearing of these remote woodlands and the great unharnessed falls.
When we first drove into Mexico in our secondhand patched together 12-year-old gas hogging Buick, we saw the mill right off, of course. It was almost the whole reason we’d come.
One of our volunteer librarians was troubled over the election. We talked and she mentioned the Gratitude Diaries, and how this book had helped her, both now and when her son was horribly injured. I will have to check it out (so to speak).
On the family front, i’m really grateful for this smile:
Also, thanks to those I never see but whose words mean much to me. Thank you online friends for your lively entries and faithful blogging:
may gratitude wake me!