CUSHING — Maine author Cathie Pelletier will present her latest book, Northeaster: A Story of Courage and Survival in the Blizzard of 1952, on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 2 p.m., at the Cushing Public Library. This live presentation is co-sponsored with the Cushing Historical Society and is free and open to the public.
“Her 12 novels have won praise and a loyal readership eager to follow life in communities such as Mattagash (think Allagash, Maine, her birthplace and current home) and Bixley (Bangor?), described with wit and warmth,” said the Library, in a news release. “Northeaster is for real — a tense, minute-by-minute story of Mainers coping courageously with the great storm of 1952.
Based on intensive interviews, she narrates events as they affect the principals and families of a stranded lumber camp and nine individuals, many of them in the Midcoast.
Harland Davis, recently married with a child on the way, was a young third-generation lobsterman with a boat and dock on Cushing’s Pleasant Point. He needed the income from a scheduled transport of 50 crates of lobsters from Monhegan to Port Clyde for distribution by Jimmy Haigh, who accompanied him. Like most of Pelletier’s subjects, he knew the storm was coming, but radio reports had predicted it would impact mostly the northern part of the state. The boat leaving Monhegan with its cargo of almost 5000 pounds was, however, seriously overloaded, and unexpectedly rough seas swamped the boat near Old Man Ledge, where the two men were washed overboard. By the time the Coast Guard found them, they had been in the water too long and were beyond revival.
Other stories did not end so tragically, but the effect on both urban and rural parts of the state was extraordinary. Pelletier tells how one man survived three days and nights in his buried automobile, and how a doctor and nurse snowshoed to the home in Bath of a woman giving birth. The old Howard Johnsons on the Turnpike somehow became a haven for multitudes of stranded motorists.
Bernd Heinrich, the author of nature books, called Northeaster a “riveting story. The storm is the framework, but the picture it holds is of the characters themselves.”
For further information, call Wendy Roberts at 691-0833 or email email@example.com.
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