Down East 2013 ©
Where in Maine?
What a treat to open your August issue to the beautiful two-page photograph of Mount Kineo. I spent a
couple of summers in the 1960s working as the piano player at the Mount Kineo Hotel, and your photo brought back the smell of the morning air, the wonder of the northern lights billowing across the night sky, a baby raccoon (and its anxious mom) who toured my room, a 3 a.m. encounter with the hotel’s ghost of the Russian princess, and the way everything worth seeing seemed to be visible from the top of the mountain. Mount Kineo, like many Maine places, always had real presence and an energy that felt almost sentient. Your photo tells me it still does.
New York, New York
The August “Talk of Maine” about illegal immigration brought back memories of raking blueberries as a teenager in August during the mid-1960s. As I grew up in Sedgwick, the opportunities to work as a teenager were relegated to mowing lawns, digging clams, and seasonal blueberry raking. I looked forward to the opportunity to make money to buy school clothes for the September start of the new school year.
Things have changed. Lou Dobbs should be encouraged that Maine’s economy doesn’t require teenagers to work at raking blueberries to supplement family or clothing budgets.
How sad that the good, hard working, tax-paying people of Maine are being misled about the “Invisible Mainers.” Take it from this Georgia gal, the illegal immigrants in your midst did not “just walk across the border.” They came illegally and, for the most part, have no intention of assimilating into our American ways, or speaking the English language.
Several years ago the poultry industry in Georgia had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and now we are all paying the price. Illegal immigrants do not pay taxes, yet they aggressively consume the benefits that tax-paying American citizens work hard to provide such as parks, transportation, schools, and health care. Our property values decline in areas where large groups of men live in single-family homes, and not very tidily. The money they earn goes back home which further erodes our economy. Greedy employers everywhere benefit from their cheap labor, but we all pay. My advice to Mainers: vote for representation that cares more about your legal Maine citizens’ health than about the Maine Migrant Health Program.
Finally, a positive article on the ability for folks who come to Maine and do work, real, honest work that no one else will do. My grandparents came to this country just across the border from Quebec. I doubt many of that generation had papers initially. How soon we forget. Well, remember who picked those berries the next time you smear your toast in the morning.
I read with great interest your August article about the “7 Wonders of Maine” and was quite surprised to read that no one commented on any personal experiences in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. I ventured down the Allagash in the summer of 1965, before it became a wilderness waterway. I put in at Telos Lake and there was no check-in, no fee to pay, no one to ask where we were from, how long we would be there, or where we were going. Fourteen teenagers and a camp counselor who had only been there once before. We spent seven wonderful days in the outdoors, finally pulling our canoes out at the town of Allagash.It was one of the most spectacular, enjoyable times I have ever spent, and looking back, it was even more special because we were totally on our own — something that cannot happen any more as you are monitored along the way these days.
Shaker Heights, Ohio