Letters to the Editor
Where in Maine?
Your January mystery photograph is clearly Lubec. The only clue needed is "the town perched on a hill with vistas of saltwater and islands in every direction." My husband was a lighthouse keeper at West Quoddy Head and took in these beautiful vistas all in a day's work. He remembers it well, as it was his first duty station in the Coast Guard. The first day he arrived and drove down the road toward West Quoddy Head the glorious view was revealed. But when he was handed a paintbrush and coveralls and told to get painting, this accompanied by many good-natured guffaws from the more senior officers, the vistas seemed a bit less spectacular and a bit more perilous.Other memories include hanging from a bosun's chair while painting the lighthouse's well-known red and white stripes.
Economic reasons now keep us bound to a special community here in the most southern region of Maine, and so we hope that aquaculture provides increased opportunities for employment and growth in Lubec.
-Kim Latour, Kittery Point, Maine
Curing Maine's Ills
Jeff Clark's "Playing Doctor" article in your January issue nicely spells out the seven challenges we face in Maine to get our economy on track. The idea that the recommended solutions should be implemented much like the United States base closing commission is superb. This scheme may be our only hope. We are so close to New Hampshire, yet we have many more entitlement programs and other burdens that make our fiscal situation far less appealing.
-E. Davies Allan
Westport Island, Maine
I enjoyed reading the article about L.L. Bean in your January issue. As a longtime customer of this magnificent company, it was a treat to learn more about this retail icon. The simple truth as to why they have survived so long and have managed to stay on top and grow in today's environment is very easy to understand: L.L. Bean sells only the finest, classically styled, well-made merchandise at decent prices. Their customer service is probably the best in the world, and their business philosophy is quite rare and always ensures repeat customers. L.L. Bean's corporate management is apparently aware of its legacy and I fervently hope that it continues the policy of great goods, trust, and excellent customer care.
Having read the article on L.L. Bean in your January issue, I have only praise for the company's civic responsibility and the way it treats employees. However, almost every item description in every Bean catalog is labeled "Imported," with most of them being made in China, Eastern Europe, or Latin America. I recently talked to a service representative and asked where the canvas shirts were made and was told they were made in China or Vietnam but to "L.L. Bean specifications and quality." This is another example of outsourcing American jobs to foreign labor and a slap at the middle class. The great profit motive triumphs once again.
I am currently serving as a U.S. naval officer, but for the five years before I came into the service I worked at L.L. Bean's call center in Lewiston during the peak season (last year I worked there all year). L.L. Bean is the best employer that I have ever worked for, and besides my family, working for them is the thing that I miss most about Maine. The loyalty and devotion that they show to their employees have made me a lifelong customer, and I have literally taken them around the world with me, including off the coast of South America, the Arabian Gulf, the Horn of Africa, and even off the coast of Lebanon during our evacuation of more than 3,500 American citizens. My
fellow shipmates got somewhat sick of seeing green bags and brown boxes with green writing on them at every mail call. But to me it is Maine, and every package or catalog I get is a little piece of home.
-Angela L. Marston, Lt.jg
Norfolk, Virginia, onboard the USS Trenton
I wait anxiously every month for my Down East to arrive in the mail, so imagine my surprise while reading your January issue and seeing my former neighbor, Elwin Hansen, as the Rutabaga Man in your article "Making Money From A to Z." I remember many days as the rutabaga truck went to town and we would have them tossed to us in the yard as it went by. I have been in Florida for over twenty years now, and a day doesn't pass that I don't miss being in Maine. Thank you for a wonderful magazine that goes a long way toward curing homesickness.
-Cindie Willey Brandt