Letters to the Editor
WHERE IN MAINE?
The picture on the cover of your December issue and your mystery photograph is McLoon's Wharf in the village of Spruce Head. Our family has had a seasonal camp in Spruce Head since 1901, and I have watched many a lobsterboat from the same spot your picture was taken. During our annual camp closing Thanksgiving dinner festivities, it has also been a favorite walking destination to bridge the time between the turkey and the late afternoon pies. I've traveled the world during my career, but Spruce Head has always been the geographic anchor.
—Dave Hall, Norwich, New York
It was with great concern that I saw the "Where in Maine?" photograph in your December issue. McLoon's Wharf on Spruce Head Island in South Thomaston is at the end of my parent's driveway, and we like to think that it is one of the small, secret, hideaways that us Mainers are famous for keeping to ourselves. Now, here it is advertised for the whole world to find. I suppose this summer we will see more than the usual number of lost Sunday drivers from away as they discover that this is where the road ends and the edge of the world begins.
—Nate Greenleaf, Washington, Maine
CAMDEN AT A CROSSROADS
I read with interest your December article about Camden and its new condominium dilemma. Camden may want to consider taking a page from some larger areas that have had to manage an influx of high-end residential development. As an example, Denver, where I live when I'm not in Maine, manages residential development within the city by mandating that a certain percentage of the units be set aside for lower-income residents to ensure a level of economic diversity. The low-income units within a project are identical to those sold at market price and there are restrictions on resale. Part of the intent is that, for example, teachers and firefighters can afford to live where they work. This might be an approach that could be considered by Camden as the inevitable growth and change continues.
Without the vibrancy that differences in income, age, and other factors give, beautiful places can become "hollowed out" tourist towns losing the character that made them so compelling in the first place.
Denver, Colorado, and Bayside, Maine
I got a kick out of Joshua F. Moore's article about Charley Miller ("What's in a Picture?", December 2006). Your writer certainly knew his man. I got to see Charley off and on when I was living in Bangor just up the street from the Miller Drug Store in 1948. That man's instinct for publicity was astonishing. The drug store was wallpapered with photographs of the great actors and athletes he'd "trained" in the North Woods. He had a half-page cartoon in the Sunday comics section where "Charley Miller, Famous Maine Guide" would narrate a hair-raising adventure, always saved in the end by the appearance of an advertised product. He also had sponsors for the films he'd present to any organization eager for a program. I recall one where he'd plunked two bear cubs in a canoe and filmed them scrambling as the canoe bumped its way through some whitewater.
When my friend Marnie Balch and I got our guide licenses, Charley latched onto what he mistakenly assumed were the first female guides. His plan was for us to go out on the Penobscot and catch the first Atlantic salmon of the season, since that first catch always went to the White House with lots of publicity. I can't remember how he was to figure in, except as promoter, but Marnie and I laughed and politely declined.
—Marion K. Stocking
I want to personally thank the Maine Troop Greeters who you highlighted in your November issue. My son recently deployed to Iraq from Anchorage, Alaska, joining his wife who had gone just the week before. He mentioned his last stop on American soil would be in Bangor.
Your article came at just the right time, and it did my heart a world of good to read about these extraordinary people who meet and greet each flight of military personnel. We have a summer camp in Vienna, Maine, so I was especially pleased that it is the good people of Maine who give so much time and energy to extend greetings, handshakes, hugs, and kisses to our soldiers. It makes me proud to be an adopted Maine resident.
Thanks for being there for my son and his soldiers when I could not. I hope to join you when they return, hopefully this year.
Franklinville, New Jersey, and Vienna, Maine
Your November story about Katharine Cobey was a good introduction to a woman whose remarkable knitted works deserve your readers' attention and respect. In Ms. Cobey's hands, knitting has become a fine art. My concern is that your article may unintentionally contribute to the low estimation of knitting, which your author characterizes as a "humble craft more associated with grandmothers and sofa-sitting than fine art." There is room in Maine, as there should be in your magazine of Maine, for both the fine and the traditional arts, and one need not denigrate one while praising another. Maine is one of the regions of our country where the traditional arts have been practiced the longest and where they still thrive to this day. The works that practitioners of these arts produce usually have a utilitarian purpose, but they are also beautiful and deserve recognition.
—Nancy A. Lauckner
In the December 2006 issue the coverline "Best Steaks in Maine" was not included in the "On the Cover" box on page 3. The coverline referred to the Talk of Maine article about Pineland Farms beef that began on page 19. Down East regrets the oversight.