Four times a year a white package in the mailbox fills me with
anticipation--sort of like the scent of a new catnip toy really perks
up my feline friend, Mr. Joseph Jacob Hathaway, Esq. It's always
hard to put off reading the magazine it contains, Echoes, until supper
is over or I've returned from evening activities and can sit in my
favorite chair with the aforementioned Joey purring on my lap and a
cup of chamomile tea on hand.
Actually Echoes is a perfect bedtime read for anyone like me
with a fondness for sleeping soundly and serenely. Instead of
shreiking alarms of secular apocalypse, you get calm and sturdy
sensibility. The people you meet are regular down home folk, not the
celebrity du jour in and out of rehab. Instead of a WalMart
homogination you get a solid sense of time and place that wraps itself
around you like a favorite quilt.
Some of the pieces in Issue 115 include:
*a recipe for mini quiches with fiddleheads in the illustration,
*a wonderful narrative from the days before snow days were declared
and people carried cell phones in which a blizzard trapped a school
bus and, after hours of waiting for help, the narrator and his friend,
the two biggest boys, were dispatched to a store a mile away to get
food and blankets,
*a very personal history of Camp Roosevelt, founded in 1928 to give
urban boys (later also families) a chance to spend time in the great
outdoors, told by the founder's grandson,
*a man's childhood memories from a time when, to him, downtown Bangor
was "the most fascinating place in the world",
*and several poems.
Readers get a teaser in the form of the chapter of a new novel,
Bon Homme, by Leonard Hutchins. We meet protagonist Eddie at his 1925
eighth graduation where he gets an award and $5 for being the best
janitor his teacher ever had. He's hoping to get a good enough job so
his mother won't force him to continue to high school. At the end of
the chapter it looks like he's getting his wish. You have to wait til
Issue 116 to see how that goes.
The piece that most touched my heart, however, was none of the
above. Editor Kathryn Olmstead found a touching way to say goodbye to
Paul Lucey, who had passed on last October at the age of 93. She
printed a piece he had written before he died and noted that Echoes
lost a good friend. It was about an Honor Flight he had taken part in
in July, the 75th reunion of the Pearl Harbor Class of '41. It was
such a gift for those of us lucky enough to be counted among Paul's
Perhaps the magazine's statement of purpose says it best.
"Echoes is an internationally circulated journal about rural America
in transition. Published quarterly in northern Maine, the magazine
focuses on positive values rooted in the past that have relevance for
the present and the future. Echoes suggests that knowledge of rural
experiences can help us live in modern society--that there is
permanence in the midst of change and values in remembering our
roots. Echoes is a portrait of home, whether home is a place or a
time, a memory of the past or a vision of the future."
Now don't you want to get a subscription? The cost is $22 for a
year, less than the price of a cup of coffee a week, especially if you
patronize Starbucks, or $37 for two years. The mailing address is:
P. O. Box 626
Caribou, ME 04736-0626.
You can tell them Jules sent you. :-)
On a personal note, the most recent Wilson Center Wednesday was truly
an enchanted evening. After we feasted on soups, casseroles, and
fresh salad, we had a snowflake crafting party. People cut
confidently and enthusiastically and admired each other's creations.
Some contributed their works of art to be strung across a wall in a
most enchanting installation.
A great big shout out goes out to my Wilson Center family.
Sent from my iPod