This Week in Lincolnville: Taboo!
Ever wonder how many books you own? After heaving 50-pound grain sacks full of the ones I’d discarded (six this past week) into the backseat of the car, as well as a dozen boxes of the books I thought someone else might read (those are going to the Camden Library and to Skidompha in Damariscotta) I decided to count. Figure a 24-inch shelf holds 24 books, on average of an inch per book. Add up your shelves. I came up with 1,860 inches, and that leaves out the bookshelves that used to line the upstairs rooms.
I thought we were done with the heavy lifting of emptying out half this house so my son’s family could move in. The second floor – barn loft, shop attic, and ell – is nearly finished: wired, plumbed sheetrocked, taped, and mudded. Long gone are the file cabinets, canoe, the Fisher-Price toys, old skates, the stereo, 3 or 4 typewriters, 50 laundry baskets full of rug rags. My maternity clothes. The 6 bags of golf clubs a memory.
The stuff went out to the roadside free pile, to the burn pile, to the dump. I thought we were done.
I’d been ignoring the books. The two original bedrooms upstairs haven’t been touched in the renovation, so that’s where we shoved the stuff we didn’t want to deal with. Like the books.
But it’s crunch time. Don French and I are traveling to Switzerland and Italy next week, to visit son Bill and his family, and to wander through Venice, Rome, and Cinque Terra. Ed, Tracee and the children will be staying here while I’m away. Those bedrooms have to be emptied out; the upstairs is theirs now.
So what do I do with 1,860 books when there’s only room for, say 500 in my downstairs living space? The volunteers at our Lincolnville Community Library know something about that. Many, if not most, of its books have been donated by folks cleaning out their shelves. Pretty quickly it was obvious that there were more books out there than space in the new library.
What to do? People want to donate their old books (so much nicer than the slash and burn system I’m about to advocate) so the Library holds an annual book sale on Memorial Day and will begin taking donations for it towards the end of April.
MONDAY, Feb. 12
Conservation Commission, 4 p.m., Town Office
Special Town Meeting, 6 p.m., Walsh Common, LCS
Selectmen meet following Town Meeting, Town Office
TUESDAY, Feb. 13
Needlework Group, 4-6 p.m., Library
Book Group, 6 p.m., Library
Selectmen/Budget Committee meet jointly, 6 p.m., Town Office
THURSDAY, Feb. 15
Soup Café, Noon-1 p.m., Community Building
Selectmen/Budget Committee meet jointly, 6 p.m., Town Office
AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at 12:15 p.m., Wednesdays & Sundays at 6 p.m., United Christian Church
Lincolnville Community Library, open Tuesdays, 4-7, Wednesdays, 2-7, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 706-3896.
Soup Café, every Thursday, noon—1p.m., Community Building, Sponsored by United Christian Church. Free, though donations to the Community Building are appreciated
Schoolhouse Museum is closed for the season. Visit by appointment: 789-5984.
Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway
United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m., Children’s Church during service, 18 Searsmont Road
Once again I’ve been met with the same old me that kept all these books, all the greeting cards, thank you notes, daily planners of 47 years. The hoarding me. At a friend’s house the other day I was reminded that I’m not alone when she reluctantly let me into her office, piled high with stacks of papers, boxes full and boxes empty, evidence she said of her hoarding. I didn’t think it was that bad; she hadn’t seen mine.
This past week I figured out a system. Empty every single shelf, one at a time. Use small boxes, about 12 x 18. Bigger than that full of books and I couldn’t carry them down the stairs. I worked on the kitchen table, one box at a time, and looked at every single book. Looked at the flyleaf; was there an inscription? Ah, that’s the trap.
“To my favorite Mainer, Love Susanne 1991”
“To Diane, to help with her schoolwork. Love, Nana 1950
“To Wally, Merry Christmas Bill and Lynne”
“Merry Christmas John and Bud, from Mother 1908”
“Love to Mother Cat from Daddy Dog, Muskrat, Coyote and Pocket Mouse, Christmas 1979”. By the way, the Pocket Mouse turned 39 last fall.
Those are easy. Children of Foreign Lands thatNana gave me, the Flower Fairies of Summer from my family menagerie, and all the others, they made the cut.
A harder call comes with other books that made their way onto our shelves. Several dusty, musty novels with copyright dates like 1927 have “Lloyd Lauer” stamped inside. He and my mother were engaged for a time before she met my father, a tiny piece of her story I don’t want to lose. But then, figuring I’d never ever read those books, they got the boot.
Ah, but The Hollow Tree and Deep Woods (Christmas 1908) will always have a place on my shelves, even though not a single page is still attached to its binding. Snuggled in my father’s lap, listening to his voice reading about the Coon, the Possum and the Old Black Crow, turning the even-then fragile pages of the Hollow Tree stories, the stories of his childhood.
But then I couldn’t part with Napoleon Speaks, a 381 page volume inscribed “For Bud A start on that library! With love from Mother Christmas 1941”. My 36 year-old dad had finally married the year before and set up housekeeping with my mother. I never once saw him read a book other than the Hollow Tree; he appears to have made it to page 25 of this biography of Napoleon, as the tag from the Christmas package is tucked in there. Maybe I’ll give it a try one of these days.
I sorted the keepers into categories piled all over the kitchen: fiction, history, memoir, biography, art, children’s. Much of the fiction, especially if I’d already read it, went into boxes for the library sales, but along the way I saved many that looked promising. I have no idea where most of them came from. I’m already deep into a Barbara Kingsolver novel I plucked out yesterday.
The rejects – oh, so many! – went into the grain sacks. I learned this past fall as I became a regular at the dump, that paperbacks can be thrown into the Mixed Paper trailer and recycled. Hardcovers have to have their covers removed. So slice slice with a utility knife, and the two covers came off one after another of the books deemed unredeemable.
The covers piled up and I chucked them into the kitchen stove.
What fun this has turned out to be! From the chaos of saving every single book that crossed my path, a lifetime habit as another category on my kitchen table was “books of my childhood”, those piles are a distilled version of what I care about now.
Old enthusiasms seem quaint and while most of those were tossed, one high shelf in the front hall is dedicated to four or five raggedy volumes of The Whole Earth Catalog, circa late 1970s-early 80s, an effort to leave something for our grandchildren to mull over.
Another shelf in the hall holds a complete set of The Book of Knowledge, 1929 along with a Works of Shakespeare that weighs 5 pounds. Never forget that “consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds”.
I’ll have all the books out of the upstairs bedrooms by the end of the week, sorted and categorized, most of them designated Mixed Paper.
A dreaded task done.
Making a new life in the very rooms that held our old life has taken all of this past year. Remodeling the house, even altering my clothes to fit, extracting from the clutter of our lives here the essence of what it’s meant to us, and now to me, has been, well, exhilarating.
Cyrene’s Crab Cakes or Salad for Breakfast
First you have to make the crab cakes. This is Cyrene Slegona’s recipe; Cyrene lived on Youngtown Road and everything she made was delicious. She served them with big, baked potatoes – yellow Carolas from their garden – and Ducktrap Horseradish Sauce on top. You can make them with leftover fish as well, such as haddock or salmon, or just use fish intentionally, and poach it first till it’s done.
In 1 tablespoon of butter sauté until soft 1/3 cup each of finely chopped celery and onion. Add 3 tablespoons flour, then 1 cup cream or whole milk, stirring until thickened, and 1 tablespoon Worcestshire sauce. Scrape into a bowl, add 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs and 1 pound crabmeat or cooked fish or a mix of both. Form into balls (about 1/3 – 1/2 cup) and flatten into thick patties. Dip in beaten egg, then crumbs. Put them all on a plate and into the fridge for an hour or two to firm up. I freeze them at this stage, all but the one I’m putting on my salad. To serve brown both sides in a little butter, then into a 350º oven for about 15 minutes, longer if they were frozen.
The salad? That’s the green salad that I often have for breakfast. Put a warm crab/fish cake on top of the greens and some horseradish sauce on top of that (mayo mixed with equal part horseradish and a shake of Worcestshire or buy the Ducktrap kind) and any cravings for pastry, sweets, etc. will go away all day.
A special Town Meeting in Walsh Common (the school’s cafeteria) Monday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m. will ask if voters will
“authorize the Board of Selectmen to enter into an agreement with the Lincolnville Sewer District for the Town to contribute $19,000 per year for ten years to help fund capital improvement upgrades to Lincolnville Sewer District’s wastewater treatment facility, collection system and pump station at Lincolnville Beach, said agreement in substantially the same form as shown on the attached.
The Library has a new phone number: 706-3896. This is a toll-free number, going through the computer rather than the old land line (789 and 763 exchanges). Using this system the Library will save a great deal of money over the year.
But something more significant than a new phone number is in the works: Librarian/Director Sheila Polson will be stepping down in the next couple of months and Elizabeth Eudy, who lives down here in the Frohock Brook/Slab City neighborhood, will be taking over. Sheila has done such a wonderful job since the day in 2012 when we all pulled the old schoolhouse across the road, getting the Library off the ground, putting together collections, programs, and procedures while other volunteers were literally raising the building. Be sure to let her know her work is appreciated!
The library will be open for its usual needlework time on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 4 to 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come work on knitting, crocheting, or other projects.
Then at 6 p.m. that evening the book group will meet to discuss the novel “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer. The book is an entertaining satire featuring a struggling novelist about to turn fifty. This is also a great time for anyone to join the group in talking about other books and what to read next.
Classical Meets Folk
Two of my favorite Lincolnville musicians Will Brown and Maho Hisakawa are collaborating on a free concert at the Rockland Library’s Reading Room Thursday, Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m. The two – folk singer/guitarist Will and classical flutist Maho – are joining forces to play Quebecois and Breton folk tunes, and classical works by Wilson Langlois, Andre Brunet, Fernando Tavolaro, Gabriel Faure, and Claude Debussy.