Down East 2013 ©
Where in Maine?
The scene depicted in your July mystery photograph is the Shiloh Meetinghouse, located on Shiloh Hill, near the banks of the Androscoggin River in Durham. The large, imposing building shown in your picture is but a shadow of its former self. The original compound had a series of buildings, which included dormitories, a chapel, and a hospital, making it the largest Bible school in the world at that time.
—William O. Chesley
The photograph is of Shiloh, located in Durham, my hometown. When the initial construction of the building was undertaken, my grandfather, Wilhelm Marstaller (1866-1954), felt led to donate ten thousand dollars, a large sum of money in those days. All twelve Marstaller children were brought up in the Shiloh cult, and, yes, my father was beaten unmercifully to “drive out the devil.” In later years, most of the Marstaller children chose to leave Shiloh.
I have been through the church, seen the self-appointed prophet Frank Sandford’s bedroom, and climbed the tower, where day and night without exception someone was kneeling in prayer. Recently my brother and I attended a Shiloh service. The hour of worship was uplifting — far different from the sermons of the past when preaching on “hell and damnation” was the norm.
—Edith Marstaller Haines
It is always gratifying to see and read something about Winslow Homer, and your July article is splendid and edifying, and so nicely illustrated. I support the general modern view that Homer was one of our greatest artists, but in all passion as well as ascerbity I will go further. Homer is our greatest artist — he is the greatest artist of our culture to the present day, and he should rank so internationally. To rank Degas above Homer is laughable; Degas’ palette, subject field, and technique is simply primitive versus Homer. And for all of Cézanne’s proto-abstracting and architectonic solidity, he along with Renoir and Matisse are brick layers compared to Homer’s alchemy with pigment and water.
Inverness Ridge, California
Best of Maine
It was thrilling to open your July “Best of Maine” issue and find a fabulous picture highlighting the Whoopie Pie Fudge at Perry’s Nut House. Whoopie Pie Fudge was an instant hit in the shop and we try hard to keep it available — but it goes fast.Ever since a 1997 auction, Perry’s has been humming along, having recovered some of the store’s original contents, including our mounted gorilla. Simply walking in the door prompts stories from many returnees of thirty-plus years ago. As always, the aroma and array of freshly made fudge and shelled nuts cannot be missed.
The editorial in your July issue on the still-lingering subject of mascots reminds me of an anecdote. On ESPN a few years ago there was a gathering of athletes and celebrities for a discussion of race relations in America. All of the panelists gave their theories of what it would take to have harmony among athletes and the general population. There was a lot of pontificating and rehashing of worn-out ideas. But when author Sherman Alexie spoke, he eloquently gave the most intelligent and emotional response I have ever heard or ever will hear. He said, “When the Washington Redskins change their mascot, then, and only then, will racial prejudice be gone in America.”
I read with great interest your June story that included an item about ball lightning. In the early 1960s, I sat in our family room with my husband, two friends, and their dog during a violent electrical storm. All of a sudden a lightning ball appeared in our laundry room. It was approximately twelve inches in diameter and eight to ten inches off the floor. The ball rolled into the kitchen, then into the family room, alongside our chairs, turned the corner and went into the front hall. We jumped up to follow it, but it had disappeared! We were spellbound, the dog very nervous. We kept checking the house for a fire from attic to basement, but could find no sign that it had ever occurred except that the TV set was not working. Why the lightning ball didn’t scorch our hardwood floors is still a mystery.
—Eleanore H. Lesser
Elkins, West Virginia