Crazy over Cats
Your October story about Mainers' love of cats is a most thoughtful and excellent story. Animal shelters in Maine as well as other states will benefit. My foundation is trying to have animal shelters encourage people to adopt two cats, as two provide more companionship and are no more trouble than one.
—Lyman Pope, Jr.
Jackson, New Hampshire, & Ogunquit, Maine
We were in disbelief when we read (we are bookstore cats, after all) in your October article, "Hidden in Plain Sight," that the Maine coon cat is "famous for its aloof attitude.We don't think so! As we are not modest, we will list our attributes: affectionate, intelligent, and very entertaining. Catch our act in the shop windows sometime. We definitely prefer to be where people are, and we very much like to be petted and be told how "beautiful" we are. We will brush up against your leg and we will even sit in your lap. We were shelter cats and now enjoy the attention of the staff and customers at ABCD Books in downtown Camden. Pampered, yes. Aloof, no.
—Hodgie Burr and Marco
In your October article about Maine cats you mention that "No Maine catalog is complete without a photograph of a cat perched on a windowsill." There is one exception that I am aware of: L.L. Bean catalogs. I have written the company mentioning that felines would enhance their catalog, yet the focus remains on the canine breeds. According to your article, this smacks of un-Maine behavior.
Thanks for the very enjoyable article. It was great to read about all the groups in Maine showing such concern for cats and taking steps to control the overpopulation. We have adopted two cats and have followed through on spaying.
—Virginia C. Stephens
Wellsville, New Jersey
Maine's Jewish Renaissance
I greatly enjoyed reading Abby Zimet's excellent October article about Jewish communities in Maine. Jews who spend time in midcoast Maine should also know that there is a wonderful synagogue in that area. Our annual two-week stay in Spruce Head always includes activities at Temple Adas Yoshuron, in Rockland. Over the years, we've attended creative Friday night services, community suppers, and fascinating discussion groups. We've participated in retreat weekends in Camden and enjoyed the temple's outstanding choir. In August, we shared a very special evening helping a family affix mezuzahs to the doorposts of their new house.
Adas Yeshuron congregants have always made us feel a part of their congregation during our brief stay. Jews visiting from away should take advantage of the dynamic, welcoming Jewish life available to them.
—Herb and Barbara Jacobowitz
Silver Spring, Maryland
Biking in Acadia
Your tantalizing October article about bicycling in Acadia is sure to attract many bicyclists, and rightly so. The carriage roads, and indeed the entire park, are so carefully maintained to appear pristine that it is hard to believe they're maintained at all. But I hope they never become "like a cyclist's amusement park."
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s original intent was to provide a lasting venue for carriage horses at the time when the automobile was beginning to change our landscape and culture. His love of horses, gift for landscape design, and philosophy of public service resulted in the beautiful trails that are shared today by horses (ridden or driven, privately owned or run by the National Park Service), bicyclists, and hikers. As one of many horse owners who look forward to vacationing in Acadia each year, I urge others who bike or hike these multipurpose trails to heed the signs posted throughout the park and the suggestions printed in the pocket guide. Bikers yield to both hikers and horses. Hikers yield to horses. For those who prefer a horse-free outing, horses are not allowed on the Witch Hole Pond and Eagle Lake loops. Likewise, bicylists are prohibited from using the Little Long Pond route and carriage roads outside the park.
Acadia's fifty-plus miles of carriage roads have a fascinating history and are arguably the best site on the East Coast, if not the entire country, for driving horse-drawn vehicles. Local, regional, and national driving organizations regularly include Acadia in their calendars and financially support the upkeep of the park.
Where in Maine?
Your October mystery photograph shows Leonard's Mill on Blackman's Stream in my hometown of Bradley. We visit once in a while but not by way of the conventional road. We navigate northward from our camp on Chemo Pond, landing at the bateau shelter. One can still find "walker" logs bobbing in the stream as you cruise along.
By the way, when did the little town of Bradley, near Old Town, migrate to northern Maine? I'll be glad someday just to move home to what we always thought of as central Maine.
The article in your September issue about reinventing Brunswick brought back some memories. Nineteen forty-six, my first year as a student at the University of Maine, was spent at the Naval Air Station in Brunswick. The class of '50 was, I believe, the largest class that the university has had. As I recall, there simply wasn't enough room on the Orono campus to handle the entire student body. The base's ready room became the lecture hall, the mess hall our dining room, the sick bay our medical clinic, etc. As I recall the student body was all male, and mostly veterans of World War II. We lacked many of the amenities of Orono, but we had a football team. Most of the members of the team had played before WWII on successful school teams around the state.
The article was a pleasant déjà vu for me.
—Robert L. Olsen
Lake Placid, New York