When I started first grade at the one-room school in Swanville, everyone thought I talked funny. And I did, thanks to my English mother. I said tomahto instead of tomayto and boo-k instead of buk. Gradually I lost most of the accent, but even in fifth grade I was the only student who could make Rudyard Kipling's poetry rhyme. And in high school I was still the kid who talked funny, because I never picked up a Maine accent.
I was thinking of that while standing in the room we call the Library here at Down East's offices in Rockport. Our copy editor, Allister Timms, works there, as does editorial production assistant Jen Baum. We were talking with Miroslaw "Mirek" Jurek, our design director. Alllister was born and raised in Wales - the one next to England, not the one outside Lewiston. Mirek hails from Poland - the one in Europe. Jen is from Searsport, and sounds it on occasion.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one-third of Maine's residents were born somewhere else. These days most of us "talk funny," from the streets of Lewiston and Portland to the offices of Down East. What unites us all is our dedication to this place we call Maine. I like the idea that no matter how we sound, we all feel the same way.
JEFF CLARK, senior editor, who can still make Kipling rhyme.