Letters from our Readers.
Photograph by Dave Cleaveland
THE GARDENS OF MUNJOY HILL
What sweet memories your story on Portland’s hidden gardens brought back to me. During World War II, our family lived on Munjoy Hill at what was then 91B Congress Street. Being an only child, I often had to make my own fun. On summer afternoons I’d sometimes “borrow” one of my mother’s hats, drag a doll, a tea set, a couple of little chairs, and my cat, Mittens, out to the side yard where I’d throw a magical tea party among the hydrangeas and tiger lilies. For Mittens, the yard was a great hunting ground. For me, it was my very own enchanted garden.
As an aside, after reading a story about the Blue Spoon in Down East several years ago, my husband and I stopped there for lunch one day. In talking with the owner, I realized that the restaurant, at 89 Congress Street, is in the other half of the house in which I had lived. Remnants of the garden were still there. A little TLC and a child’s imagination would easily restore it to the magical space it was nearly seventy years ago.
Jo-Ann Wallace Clegg
Virginia Beach, Virginia
I read your June article on the proposed East-West Highway by Edgar Allen Beem with much interest, and it brought back a lot of nostalgia. I grew up in Aroostook County when Governor Brann was in Augusta at the height of the Great Depression. The County had high hopes for the so-called Brann Scenic Highway that would run from New Brunswick across Maine to Quebec City. My dad, Leslie Wakefield, worked all one fall and winter on a survey team based out of Ashland and worked his way west to Clayton Lake and the Canadian border. The original proposal was to follow what was known as the “California Road” that ran just south of Ashland and westward to Quebec City. The big landowners were the ones who blocked it being built at that time. Their reasoning was it was only going to benefit the Maritime Provinces as a shorter route from Saint John to Quebec and not be of economic benefit to the state of Maine. I no longer live in Maine but am and will always be a Maine man, and I believe the present proposal is being pushed by the big money interests in Canada. If the Canadians are so gung ho for this highway, let them pay for its construction and make sure the Maine landowners get a fair price for their land. We are Mainers and Yankees. Have we lost our native traits in being shrewd traders?
With a very good and serviceable east-west rail line across Central Maine, why is a new highway even needed? Put the $$$ into expanding and improving the capacity of the rail line
This is a Canadian toll road on American soil. Wake up and smell the New World Order.
A new East-West Highway would be a toll road that would bypass the towns and cities now accessible by Routes 9 and 2. The Canadian truckers would fly through Maine on a new highway. What good does that do Maine businesses? Travelling on Route 2, drivers often gas up in Newport or Skowhegan or stop for lunch. There’s some nice scenery and some little villages and towns to pass through. Routes 9 and 2 have been upgraded as the article mentions. Go build an East-West Highway through New Hampshire. They’re the ones that need it.
Well, what a lovely surprise! I know this island home well. My father, “Bud” Nickerson, helped to restore the “Nubble” when “Jiffy” Drew, his good friend, purchased it in the 1970s, including refinishing its spire in gold leaf. The Nubble has been a landmark for those who sail Casco Bay for many years. It is part of Bustins Island, and is one of the many enchanting features.
Bustins Island has been a major part and first love of my family for six generations. My sisters and I are the fourth generation. My great-grandfather, Charles Brainard, came to Bustins as a friend of Admiral Perry. He ran a boys’ camp for a few years and purchased a small fisherman’s cottage named Redwing. In the mid 1900s, my Dad stopped the idea of bringing electricity to this island with a poem he read at the annual meeting. My Dad’s plea hit home, and electricity was voted down. So the island remains “for the nuts who like it this way.” But generational change and financial greed have brought development and with it destruction. I am told that this is inevitable, but I refuse to believe. I hope that the Nubble’s debut in Down East might serve to protect our precious island. I would do anything to preserve its magic. My wish, with this little note, is to help preserve Bustins Island’s enchantment allowing many more generations to experience the magic and to be touched by the simple ways and simple joys of this island. This is my plea.
Cali Nickerson Veilleux
Spruce Head Island, Maine
I know this island well! My cousins own an island in Casco Bay, called Sow and Pigs, and for forty-one years we have held our annual family reunion there. We start our journey in Freeport on a chartered boat, and when we go around Bustins Island, here is this wonderful little jewel!
Our Favorite Letter:
The picture in Down East is Bustins Island in Freeport.
Emma van der Veen, age nine
Exton, Pennsylvania and Spruce Point, Boothbay Harbor
Whoopie pies are the official Maine state treat, but blueberry pie is the official state dessert. If you had to choose just one which would it be? We asked our Facebook fans and here is what the first one hundred of them said:
63% Blueberry pie
19% Whoopie pie
9% A blueberry/whoopie pie
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