My mom was a superhero


Today, February 13th, would have been my mom’s 99th birthday.

I think my siblings and I were all a bit stunned by her death, almost 15 years ago, at the age of 84. While that may sound like a pretty average life expectancy, our mom was never what anyone would call average, and I think if you had asked any one of us, we’d all have said that we expected her to live well into her nineties. Or maybe forever.RWW_returning_from_honeymoon_1942

My mom, who was married for just 16 years before she became a widow for nearly 46, was the quintessential strong, independent, capable woman. Growing up in the 1920s and ’30s, and a young housewife in the 1940s and early ’50s, she may not have thought she was preparing herself to work full-time while singlehandedly running a household and raising five children, but when she was thrust into that situation, she took to it with both vigor and grace.

Family_1959Barely a week after my father’s sudden death in June of 1958, she loaded my four siblings into the family station wagon and drove to Maine to spend the summer, because that was what they had planned, what she had promised them, and anyway, as she once told me, “I couldn’t think of what else to do.”

On North Pond in Woodstock, she took on the role of general contractor, supervising the completion of the family camp they had been in the process of building over the previous three summers. (My brothers, ages 14, 12, and 11, and my sister, age eight, were the laborers.)

But wait, there’s more: as I wrote in an essay several years ago, “By mid-summer, my mother began to suspect something, and by summer’s end she knew: she was pregnant.”


It is to my mom’s great credit that I never felt, even once, that she believed that her life would have been better/easier/less stressful if I hadn’t been born. Not when I brought home stray cats, and, sometimes, turtles, mice, frogs, and snakes. Not when I accidentally let 18 chestnuts go down the drain of the bathroom sink. Not when I slouched around sullenly, wearing overalls and letting my hair hang in my face, for about six years of my adolescence. Not even when I ruined her perfect record by becoming the only one of her five kids to drop out of college—twice.

Even before the circumstances of her life turned her into a superhero, my mom was unusual for a woman of her generation. She had graduated as the valedictorian of her high school class, and had completed a four-year degree from the University of Maine before she met my father in 1941. She had moved to Hartford, Connecticut on her own after college and worked for a year or so at the Aetna Life Insurance Company.

My arrival early in 1959 delayed her ability to go back to work, but once I was old enough to be in school, she landed Mither_school_librarya job as a school librarian and began taking graduate level courses in the evening. She worked her way up to a position as head of the library department for the 17 elementary schools in the small city of Milford, Connecticut, where she had moved the family after my father’s death.


Around home, my mom did all the things most of my friends’ mothers did: she knit, sewed, quilted, gardened, Ruth_Wight_in_old_canoecanned, baked, and kept house. She also did most of the things my friends’ fathers did: she mowed the lawn, hung the storm windows, sealed the driveway, raked leaves, shoveled snow, and occasionally dabbled in plumbing, carpentry, and automotive repair.

She felt a strong commitment to the concept of community service. She was active in her church, volunteered for Welcome Wagon, March of Dimes, and the American Heart Association, and served on the boards of several nonprofits.

She continued to do all of these things throughout my life, and I grew so accustomed to having a mother who could do anything and everything that I’m afraid I never fully grasped what a wonder she really was, at least until after she was gone.

Mither & Alice in FranceUp until just a couple of years before she died, she was volunteering at the library, traveling (she turned 81 while on a tour of Australia and New Zealand), babysitting (over her more than 20 years of retirement in Bethel, she was known as Gramma Wight to dozens of local children, in addition to her own “real” grandchildren), and taking on projects nearly as ambitiously as she always had.

Now that I’m nearing 60, I have a far greater appreciation for the energy she had, especially when I choose to stay home instead of attending a meeting or community event, when I gripe about having to go to work, or when I sit down in the evening and tell myself I’m too tired to pick up my knitting.

It’s taken me a while to realize it, but my mom really was a superhero.

Mither_reading_at_campScan_20150213 (2)

Tidying Up

Tidying Up

TU junk drawer BEFORE

Okay, I confess. I’ve been completely captivated by the new Netflix original series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Ever since Netflix released eight episodes on January first, the show, and its diminutive dynamo of a host, who started a home organizing business in her native Japan more than a decade ago, have infiltrated the homes of untold numbers of American families pining for control of their clutter.TU Annie text

The release, of course, was perfectly timed to coincide with those New Year’s resolutions so many of us make about sorting, purging, and organizing our possessions.

This will be the year that we finally get the upper hand! No more closets bursting at the seams with clothes we haven’t worn in years; no more basements, garages, and attics filled with mystery boxes; no more digging through the junk drawer to find the flashlight, screwdriver, Scotch tape, or rubber band we know must be in there…somewhere.

In case you don’t already know this about me, I have never been a tidy person.

As a child, when told by my mother to clean up my messy room, I invariably shoved the offending clutter under the bed, where broken toys, dirty socks, and overdue library books went to die.

As an adult, I have often resorted to a similar strategy I call “hiding cleaning” when company is expected. This approach results in a passable level of tidiness in the public areas of my home, but leaves boxes, bags, and bins of random crap (RC for short) stashed in closets, bedrooms, and cupboards—sometimes for months, and occasionally for years.

Like most people I know, I have too much stuff. I hang onto far too many things that I think I might need someday, knowing full well that if the time should ever come when I do need that odd-sized bolt, slightly dented lampshade, or crumpled half-sheet of hot pink poster board, I won’t actually be able to locate it, and will end up going out and buying a new one anyway.

I bought Marie Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a few years ago, and got as far as purging and organizing my clothing, which is Step One of the five-step process through which she leads the families in each episode of the show.

To aid in every decision about what to keep and what to purge, Marie instructs her clients to assess whether or not an item “sparks joy.” I have to admit that I have not yet reached a level in this process that allows me to clutch an item of clothing to my chest and immediately recognize that joyful spark, or lack thereof.

In fact, if I based all of my purging decisions on my ability to feel what Marie believes I should experience, my wardrobe would probably consist solely of flannel pants and soft, well-worn t-shirts, my preferred outfit on stay-at-home days (my favorite days).

But this is Maine, and it’s cold, and most days I have to go to work, so I held onto articles of clothing that are practical, warm, and presentable. (I told myself that it sparks joy in my heart to leave the house without freezing, or being mistaken for a vagrant.)

After she helps her clients figure out what to keep and what to get rid of, Marie teaches them her magical, vertical folding-and-storage method, which results in perfectly organized drawers in which you can see every item of clothing.

It actually works. Even better, three or four years after reading the book and organizing my clothes, they were, for the most part, still pretty tidy.

I kept only enough clothing to fill one small closet, one dresser, and one bin for out-of-season clothes, which, I realized after watching the families on Marie’s TV show pile all of their clothing on a bed in preparation for starting the sorting process, is pretty darn good. Some of them made me look like a minimalist.

It’s the other four steps in what Marie calls “the Kon-Mari method” that have presented much more of a challenge for me.

After clothing, she proceeds to lead her clients through “tidying” their books, then papers, then “komono” (miscellany), then mementos.

When it comes to books, I’m never going to ace the Kon-Mari test.

There have been about a zillion articles, posts, and memes about how “Marie Kondo wants you to get rid of all your books,” alluding to the fact that she has said that she herself keeps fewer than 30 books in her home. However, after watching the eight episodes of her show, I have yet to hear her tell anyone not to keep as many books as they feel comfortable owning.

I’ve decided that I, personally, feel comfortable owning just slightly fewer books than I have space for on my bookshelves. And I’m a big DIY-er, so as long as I have lumber, tools, and a bit of wall space, I’m never going to run out of bookshelves. Problem solved.TU books

Papers: I’m not even going to go there, except to say that I’m working on it. I’ve realized that I’m never in this lifetime going to need to refer to an electric bill from 1998, and that, like those odd-sized bolts, dented lampshades, and crumpled half-sheets of hot pink poster board, I probably couldn’t find it if I wanted to anyway.

Which brings us to the final two categories, komono, which I believe is Japanese for “random crap” (it actually translates to “small things,” which is close enough) and mementos.

For me, there’s a lot of crossover between those two categories. Am I holding onto the Tupperware container with the cover that no longer seals because I believe I’ll use it one day, or because it was my mom’s? Do I keep my craft supplies because I believe that one day I’ll want to paint, stencil, quilt, or make soap, enough to actually do it, or because they remind me of a time in my life when those things seemed important?

TU pets textI started “Marie Kondo-ing” my kitchen a few weeks ago, and I’ve made some progress, especially when it comes to the junk drawer. (Everyone has one of those, right? It’s not just me?) I ended up needing three drawers to hold everything I kept from the one original junk drawer, but they’re all very nicely organized, and I have to admit that it’s really nice to be able to find things like scissors, tape, and pliers without plunging my hand into a mess of random objects, some of them dangerously sharp or inexplicably sticky.

Last weekend, I had a secret weapon in my quest to organize the tiny spare upstairs room that I hope will serve as a combination office, quiet reading space, guest room, and yoga studio: my best friend, Donna, came up to spend two days “Doing Projects” with me.

When it comes to home projects, Donna is everything I’m not: organized, naturally tidy, clear-sighted, and relentless.

By the end of the second day, I had banished two boxes of papers to recycling (“You’re never going to need those old electric bills!”), one large black plastic trash bag to the dump (“We’re using a black one so you can’t see what’s in it and change your mind!”), and three boxes to our favorite thrift store (“You can always go to a thrift store and buy another one for two bucks!”).

Donna put knobs on a dresser that has been missing them for ten years or more, organized my wrapping paper and supplies, and made me go through every single knitting needle I own and justify its existence.

She sorted office supplies into tiny boxes that would make Marie Kondo proud and created storage solutions for everything from yarn to blankets. She even convinced me to get rid of that crumpled half-sheet of hot pink poster board.

I only pulled it out of the recycling bin twice before I let it go.

TU tool drawer      TU writing supplies    TU junk drawer


Let me tell you ’bout my best friend

If you don’t recognize the song lyric in the title of this post, chances are you’re not as old as me. (It’s by Harry Nilsson, and it’s from the theme song of “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father,” which aired from 1969-1972.)

My best friend, Donna, turned 60 a couple of months ago, and I’m not far behind her. Coming to the end of one decade and embarking on another always leads me to reminisce and reflect. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about our long friendship, and how it has endured against some pretty steep odds.

We’ve been best friends for over 53 years—nearly 90 percent of our lives. In fact, I can barely remember anything about my life before we met, on the second day of second grade. (I told our “origin story” in a blog post a few years ago, when we celebrated half a century of friendship; you can read it here.) IMG_2709

Although we grew up on the same street in Milford, Connecticut in the 1960s, in many ways, our family backgrounds were very different.

Donna and her younger brother were raised by two parents who had lived in Milford all their lives, and who still live in the suburban ranch on Marshall Street they moved into in 1965. I was raised by a widowed mother whose family had lived in Maine for generations and who regarded her time in Connecticut as a period of exile to be gotten through before she could retire back to her home state.

Donna’s mom was 25 when she was born, and she stayed at home to raise her two kids. My mom was 39 when she had me and had already raised my four much-older siblings; of necessity, she went to work outside the home by the time I was three or four.

Donna’s father was Italian and her mother was Irish, and they were Roman Catholics; she went to mysterious church-related things called mass, confession, and catechism. I was especially puzzled—and made envious—by the concept that if her family had something else they wanted to do on Sunday morning—even just sleep late—they could get mass out of the way on Saturday afternoon.

Although we lacked the wealth and social connections implied by the acronym, my family was pretty WASP-ish, and we went to the big white Congregational church downtown, every Sunday morning without fail.

Donna’s mom worried a lot about whether we were safe when we were out of her sight; my mom figured that her other kids had survived childhood and, more than likely, I would, too.

After high school, Donna would become the first in her family to attend college, a prospect so terrifying to her mother that she bribed her with a car to stay at home and attend a nearby Catholic university for the first two years.

IMG_2704Both of my parents, and even at least one of my grandparents, were college graduates; I was raised without any question of whether or not I would be, too—and my mother gave me a suitcase for my high school graduation, just three months after I turned 17, to reinforce the idea that it was high time for me to leave the nest.

Not only were our backgrounds different, but the paths we chose through life—or those that chose us—seem, on the surface, quite dissimilar.

Donna finished college in the customary four years; it took me 31. (I got distracted by other things along the way.)

I’ve been married twice. Donna has never been married, although she has a long-time partner, Jerry, who has been in her life almost as many years as Tony has been in mine.

I’ve owned a home since I was 20 years old and have always dealt with yard work, peeling paint, leaky roofs, and remodeling projects. Donna has rented for 40 years (something that makes more and more sense to me the older I get).

Despite this, she has been the responsible one, always holding a full-time job with good benefits, while I’ve indulged my irresponsible inner free spirit with a series of dozens of jobs over the decades, many of them part-time, most without benefits.

I have a blended family that includes four kids (most with some degree of free-spiritedness themselves). She has one stepson (and he’s ultra-responsible, too).

Given our differing backgrounds and the different life decisions we’ve made, perhaps it’s a bit surprising that we forged such an early, enduring, and fulfilling friendship. However, the qualities that make us soulmates transcend the details of our family backgrounds, where we live, or how many kids we have.

We are both introverts who can happily spend all day alone, or with just each other, but are easily exhausted when we’re forced to go “among the people.”

We both love cats. She has two; I have three. She knows that two is a sensible number of cats. I confess that if it weren’t for Tony’s objections, I might well have six. Maybe more.

We love our homes. We love them so much that we grieve when we have to leave them for work. We text each other, “It would be a perfect day to stay home and do projects,” and “I’m feeling sad because when I leave the house today it will be ten hours before I can come home,” and “I wish I could just stay home with the cats today.”

We both love a good project, from the planning to the execution to the sense of satisfaction when we’re done.

And we both love camp. We never feel more like ourselves than when we’re there, whether we’re swimming, kayaking, relaxing on the deck, reading byIMG_2711 the woodstove, or doing a project.

We both love email and texting but hate talking on the phone. Although we probably logged several thousand hours talking to each other by phone in the first 30 years or so of our friendship, if either of us gets an actual phone call from the other nowadays, we can be pretty sure it’s either a major crisis or a pocket-dial.

But the most valuable aspect of our friendship, and the reason it has not only endured, but flourished, is the sense of comfort and security that comes from being truly seen, known, and understood by another person—and being loved anyway.

How many of our conversations include the words, “I wouldn’t tell this to anyone else, but…”?

To whom else could we reveal not only our soaring hopes and our greatest fears, but also our most embarrassing moments, our meanest thoughts, our most unflattering pettiness?

As two women who are nearly always viewed by others as unfailingly calm and polite, whose stock-in-trade is our willingness to be helpful and kind, we find great relief, now and then, in giving our better angels a rest.

My daughter uses the hashtag “#textsfromyourthirties” on Instagram to (over)share conversations with her sister and friends. (It’s pretty funny; you should check it out.) If Donna and I created “#textsfromyoursixties” it would be full of posts like this:

IMG_2755“Everyone thinks I’m so nice, but really I just want to hit them.” IMG_2749

“Why does everyone always want to talk to me?”

“If people knew how mean we are, they wouldn’t like us nearly as much. And that might be a relief.”

IMG_2748“I want to scream, ‘I just want to go home!’ but that would be inappropriate.”

Although he may not be famous for his pithy texts, Ralph Waldo Emerson is known for his nuggets of wisdom, and he hit the nail on the head when he said, “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud.”

Or text, with impunity.


Some good news for local columns!

LM 1

How Roman spends a snow day.

I’m happy to report that, after receiving what must have been some pretty convincing feedback from readers (thanks to everyone who took the time to weigh in), the “powers that be” at the Bethel Citizen have rescinded their rather draconian cuts to the length and content of the local correspondents’ columns. Beginning next week, we will be allowed up to 500 words, and will be permitted to report not only on events in our towns, but also “any personal news we’d like to share.”

This means it probably won’t be necessary for me to use this space to offer an expanded version of my weekly newspaper column, but since my blog has gained some new and appreciative readers over the past couple of weeks, I’m going to try to post here as often as I can. So please keep coming back, and, if you’d like, you can receive an email letting you know when I post a new entry—just click on the “Subscribe to Blog via Email” link to the right of this post and enter your email address. Thanks for reading!

The Greenwood Farmers’ Market will be held this Friday, Jan. 11, from 4-6 p.m. at the Town Hall on Main Street, after which it will switch to the winter schedule of every other Friday afternoon. The next few market dates after the switch will be Jan. 25, Feb. 8 and 22, and March 8 and 22.

Winter market dates will coincide with the Boondocks Buying Club pickup. Boondocks provides another opportunity for people to buy fresh, local food by joining with others to buy in bulk, and has been going strong for several years. The bulk order, which is received every two weeks, is divided up by volunteers for members to pick up at the Town Hall. If you haven’t heard about Boondocks, you may want to come to the market to find out more, visit their Facebook page, or speak to a member about how to join.

I had hoped to bake cookies and whoopie pies for last Friday’s market, but I got home from work on Thursday to find that my oven had died. Well, technically, there was probably nothing wrong with the oven itself, but the computerized control panel had given up the ghost.

I’d known for some time that it was on its way out, because several times in the past few months I’d had to unplug the range to get the control panel to reset itself and start working again. But this time it was completely done for, and no amount of unplugging, replugging, and button-pushing would get it to respond. (Not even bad words helped.)

Having been told that once the control panel goes on an electric range, it’s not worth replacing, I had to prevail upon Tony to make a trip to Auburn with me on Friday afternoon to pick up a new one. (There are probably people who can get along just fine without an oven for a while, but I’m not one of them.)

This time, I went with a stripped-down model, the only one I could find without digital controls. Without a computer to break down, there isn’t much that can go wrong with an electric range that can’t be cured by replacing an element. My new one is so basic that it doesn’t even have a clock or timer, so I had to pick up a battery-operated one, but I’m hoping its simplicity will mean it will last a good long time.

Remember the days when even small kitchen appliances were worth taking in for repair? I think my mother had the same toaster for about 30 years, and I recall going with her at least once to drop it off to be repaired when something went wrong with it. And I’m pretty sure the stove she used at camp for 40 years, from the mid-1950s until the mid-1990s, was one she and my father had acquired for their first home when they were married in 1942.

Nowadays it seems as if I replace my toaster almost as often as I replace my toothbrush, and I shop for major appliances more often than my mother shopped for a new toaster or mixer. With all of those appliances, large and small, ending up in landfills, no wonder the disposal of our solid waste is one of our biggest environmental challenges.

But, anyway, I’m back in the baking business, and, whether or not I’m able to be at the Farmers’ Market in person in the coming weeks, I’ll have frozen pies, and probably other baked goods, too, in the Town Hall freezer, available for purchase from Michelle Shutty of Greenwood Bean Coffee or Suzanne Dunham of Dunham Farm and Velvet Hollow Sugarworks.

Three hikes to celebrate the new year

Since I now work all day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays—mornings in the office at the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society, and afternoons in the Adult Education Learning Center at Telstar—it was a few days into 2019 before I was able to fit in my first hike of the new year, but then I managed to take a different short hike three days in a row.

On Saturday, Will, Eli, and I hiked up to Lapham Ledge. There were three other cars in the parking lot on Route 26, and the last time we had hiked at Maggie’s Nature Park, there were two other cars there. It’s great to see people using our local trails year-round! I’m glad that Greenwood has formed a Conservation Commission to help ensure that trails are maintained, as well as to oversee cleanup along the roads and at the Town Beach. Thanks to Betsey Foster for getting the ball rolling, and for being one of the Commission’s first members, along with Norman Milliard and Mark Plourde. (And thanks to Woodstock Conservation Commission member Jane Chandler for setting such a good example.)

Sunday was a Community Ski Day at Sunday River, and Will decided to go snowboarding, so Eli and I went for a hike up to Buck’s Ledge. I parked my car on Rocky Road and we walked to the trailhead on the Mann Road to take the shorter, steeper ascent, then we hiked down to the snowmobile trail that leads back to the Mann Road, and from there back to the car. We met a guy at the top who had hiked up from the parking lot near the spring, packing a collapsible camp chair with him. He was sitting there enjoying the view and, I’m sure, the peace and solitude—at least until Eli showed up and I had to caution him to hold on tightly to his gloves, hat, and anything else a rather undisciplined young dog might run off with.

On Monday, while Will was working his weekly shift at the library at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, Eli and I hiked up Peaked Mountain in Maggie’s Nature Park. We extended the usual two-mile round trip by about an extra three-quarters of a mile by taking the blue trail loop before joining the yellow trail that leads to the top.

Peaked map

Trails in Maggie’s Nature Park.

I was able to do all three of my first hikes of 2019 with Microspikes, but after our Tuesday/Wednesday storm(s), it looks like snowshoes will be the way to go for a while, at least until the trails have been well broken out.

I’m glad to have some fresh snow, at least now that we’ve gotten it cleared out of the driveway and walkways, but I think there’s probably some roof-shoveling in my future. One of the joys of home ownership—I’ve never needed a gym membership!

Please send me your local news via email at, by phone at 207-890-4812, or find me on Facebook or in person around town. Thanks for reading!

Hiking meme


Happy New Year! (Now go take a hike!)


Welcome to readers of my Locke’s Mills column in the Bethel Citizen. As promised, here’s an expanded version of this week’s column.

Amy on Peaked 12_25_18Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe it’s already 2019. It really doesn’t seem very long ago that it was the last day of the 20th century, and we were all worrying about the effects of “Y2K” on our computer systems.

I spent some time going through my “Hikes 2018” photo album on Facebook, and it looks like I managed to “take a hike” at least 105 times last year. There may have been a few short hikes that didn’t make it into the album, but I usually try to take at least one photo on every hike so I’ll have a record of where I went and when.

I was surprised to find that the month with the most hikes—14—was the shortest month, February. I remember that after some early winter snowstorms, there was a brief January thaw followed by a long stretch of cold temperatures and something of a snow drought, which made it easy to go just about anywhere with Microspikes. By March, it was back to snowshoes, and there was snow on some of the local trails through mid-April. According to a video I saved on my phone, Eli even found a patch of snow to slide on at Mt. Abram on May 8.

My longest hikes of 2018 were only about seven or eight miles—Sunday River Whitecap, Caribou, and the full Sanborn River/Overset Pond trail network. Most of my hikes ranged between two and five miles, and I stuck mostly to very local, familiar trails, especially when I was hiking solo. I hiked in Maggie’s Nature Park at least 28 times, and to Buck’s and/or Lapham Ledges at least 25 times.

Tony hiked with me 19 times, Will came along 35 times, and Eli the Wonder Pup accompanied me on at least 81 hikes in 2018. I also hiked with other family or friends ten times. More than half of my hikes, 56, were either solo, or done with only canine companionship. I enjoy hiking with someone and hiking alone (or with just Eli) about equally, so it was a good mix of both throughout the year.

For 2019, I’d like to challenge myself to hike a few longer distances. And maybe I’ll challenge Tony to come along with me a little more often.

Eli on Peaked 12_25_18I have yet to hike in 2019, but I did do three nice hikes in the last week of 2018. Will, Eli, and I hiked up Peaked Mountain in Greenwood’s own Maggie’s Nature Park on Christmas afternoon, and again on December 30. On Saturday, December 29, I enjoyed a beautiful hike up Peabody Mountain in Albany with my niece Sara and my Peabody hike 12_29_18nephew Keith and his wife, Cindi. The temperature was about 40 degrees when we started out, but by the time we reached the summit, it had dropped by nearly ten degrees and the wind had come up. We had brought along a few extra articles of clothing, and even though we didn’t actually need them, it was a good reminder that it’s best to be prepared for quick changes in the weather when hiking in northern New England in the winter.

Peabody hike

Peabody hike crew

The first Greenwood Board of Selectmen’s meeting of 2019 will be held at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at the Town Office. This is due to New Year’s Day falling on Tuesday this year. The normal schedule for selectmen’s meetings is the first and third Tuesday of the month. All Board of Selectmen’s meetings (with the exception of executive sessions), as well as those of the Planning Board and any town committees, are open to the public.

The Greenwood Farmers’ Market will be held on the next two Fridays, Jan. 4 and 11, then will switch to every other Friday for the winter. The next few market dates after the switch will be Jan. 25, Feb. 8 and 22, and March 8 and 22. Since I started my new part-time job at the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society this week, I will no longer be at the market “in person” on a regular basis, although I hope to be there occasionally. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep the Town Hall freezer stocked with frozen pies and cookies, which can be purchased from either Suzanne Dunham (Dunham Farm/Velvet Hollow Sugarworks) or Michelle Shutty (Greenwood Bean Coffee).Baked goods

It looks like last Friday’s storm, which started as snow and ended as rain and freezing rain, put an end to what was, from all reports, a fantastic early-winter ice-skating season on the local ponds. Now it’s on to ice-fishing, and there are already a couple of shacks out on North Pond. Someone has also been tending to a lot of traps on the small pond between Route 26 and the railroad tracks, which, although it looks like a separate pond, is considered a part of Round Pond, one of the three connected Alder River Ponds. I wonder what kind of fish they catch there, and whether the fish in that part of the pond spend their whole lives there, or have access to the other parts of the ponds via culverts or streams. Who knows the answer to that? Anyone?

Please send me your local news via email at, by phone at 207-890-4812, or find me on Facebook or in person around town. Thanks for reading!

Amy on Peaked 12_25_18

Should “town columns” be a thing of the past?

Nearly four years ago, when I started writing the Locke’s Mills column for the Bethel Citizen, I was excited to have a weekly platform from which I could not only help my neighbors to keep abreast of happenings in our small town, but also reminisce, ramble, and report on just about any topic that interested me.

As I wrote back then in a blog post about taking over the column, “For writers, the weekly column is often considered to be a sort of holy grail—the most sought-after outlet for their writing. After all, as Peter Cole wrote for The Guardian, columns are ‘defined by ownership; the column “belongs” to its author who has that ultimate journalistic luxury, a slot, guaranteed space over which he or she presides and has, in some cases, near total control over content.’”   

(If you missed that post, or want to revisit it, click here to read “I Heart Locke’s Mills—and I have a column!” from March 24, 2015.)  

In the tradition of many of the Citizen’s local correspondents over the years, I have filled my column with a lot of personal musings. In particular, since I became an enthusiastic day hiker a few years ago, I have written about my hiking adventures, whether solo or in the company of other humans and/or Eli the Wonder Pup. 

I have also written about local history, the weather, seasonal changes in the day’s length, and a host of other topics. 

With the newspaper under new editorship, changes are inevitable, and one of those changes is a reduction in the space to be devoted to the so-called “town columns.” Local correspondents have been asked to adhere to a “just the facts, ma’am” format, to concentrate on actual local news (imagine!) and to keep our columns to 300 words or less. (That’s about the length of this introduction, so far.)

From reading today’s Bethel Citizen, I’ve learned that at least one local correspondent is giving up her column, and I won’t be surprised if others join her. In fact, I considered it, too.

 But I’ve decided to continue writing a (much briefer) column for the paper, because I want to make sure that when there are events in Locke’s Mills, there is a space to promote them, and because I want the tradition of local columns to continue in the Citizen, even if they are no longer the homey, chatty forums many readers have enjoyed for decades.  

Since I still expect to have far more to say than I can fit into 300 words, I’ll use this blog to supplement my newspaper column, and try to post here as regularly as I can. 

So, welcome to my loyal Bethel Citizen readers! Here’s this week’s Locke’s Mills newspaper column, my last without space and content restrictions:


Locke’s Mills, 12/27/18

I hope everyone had a good Christmas! Since I’m writing this on the Sunday before, I can’t tell you about the actual day, but the days leading up to it have been filled with family, food, and fun, so I’m expecting more of the same for the holiday itself.

The biggest challenge of the season has been keeping Eli the Wonder Pup away from the tree, the bottom half of which has gradually become bare as we’ve moved one ornament after another up higher, out of his reach.

Overset EliEli was particularly naughty on Friday, when he missed his daily hike due to the pouring rain that lasted all day. I made up for it on Saturday by taking him for a long walk in the continuing drizzle while uncle and aunties Will, Annie, and Cait were off to Boston for the day to visit niece Lila and her parents.

Sunday was a much nicer day, and Will, Tony, Eli, and I hiked to and around Overset Pond, which wore all of us out in good shape.  Overset Will

I’m sorry to say that this will be my last lengthy, chatty Locke’s Mills column, at least for the time being. All of the local columnists received word last week that, due to financial and space constraints, beginning with next week’s paper, our columns should be no longer than 300 words and should “talk about what is going on in your towns (as opposed to personal things).”

For comparison, my column has usually run at least twice that length, and occasionally, when I’m especially verbose (like this week), up to 1,000 words, so this will mean quite a change for me.

When I first took over this column, nearly four years ago, I planned from the outset to make it a mix of announcements of upcoming events, whatever local news I could gather at places like the post office and The Local Hub, and informal chatter about whatever struck my fancy.

After all, I was following in a long tradition of Bethel Citizen correspondents who, each week, shared their adventures, big and small, as well as those of their families, friends, and even their pets.

What longtime reader of this paper can forget Viva (Yates) Whitman’s reports, back in the 1980s and early ‘90s, on the doings of the Yates siblings, among them Russell (Joe), Linona (Peggy), and Laura? They were all senior citizens at the time, and their activities consisted mainly of visiting back and forth and driving each other to doctor’s appointments, although I do remember an episode involving brother Russell’s search for a particular brand of footwear that seemed to stretch over several weeks.

Lorraine (Mills) Larson wrote the Locke’s Mills column for many years, and during that time we probably knew as much about the personalities and misadventures of her cats and dogs as we did about those of our own pets.

Past correspondents from far-flung places like Magalloway and Wilson’s Mills shared their news, and although I didn’t know anyone in those places, I read every word.

And, of course, for several decades there were Colista Morgan’s columns, written from the shores of her beloved pond in Greenwood City, detailing that week’s outdoor adventures, by foot or in her trusty rowboat.

Although my parents were both Mainers (my father grew up in Bethel and graduated from Gould Academy in 1930), they met and raised their family in Connecticut. We spent every summer at our camp on North Pond, but I had the misfortune, the rest of the year, of growing up in exile, homesick for what I knew was my true “spiritual home.”

It was Mrs. Morgan’s column, more than any other, that helped me to stay connected to the woods and ponds and mountains during those long ten-month stays in wretched suburbia, and when I was about 12 years old, I wrote to her to tell her how much her weekly essays meant to me. (It pains me to admit it, but I believe that I also included a few of my angst-filled adolescent poems in that first letter.)  Colista note

She wrote back, and thus began a correspondence that would last for 30 years.

Fifty-two of Mrs. Morgan’s essays were later published by the Bethel Citizen in a wonderful collection called Pond Continue reading

But I LIKE Comic Sans!

Back in 2005, when I was opening a bakery, I looked for a fun, casual typeface for all my signs and labels. I wanted a font that said, “Relax! There is nothing in life so serious and dire that a whoopie pie won’t help to lighten the mood!” I wanted my customers to walk in and say, “Well, here’s a fun little place with great cinnamon rolls in the bakery case, crazy colors on the furniture and walls, and a lovable, funny proprietor in the kitchen!”

Bakery label

I chose a font that seemed to say exactly what I wanted. How was I to know that Comic Sans, which was created in 1994 by then-Microsoft designer Vincent Connare to evoke hand-lettering of the sort most often seen in comic books, was—by the time I stumbled across it and thought, perfect!—the subject of worldwide ridicule?

OK, OK, so I understand that the fun, lighthearted Comic Sans is not an appropriate typeface for, say, the resumé you’re sending to Pompous & Stuffy, Inc. Or your Aunt Sally’s gravestone. Or Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s angry letter about LeBron James’ betrayal. Or this sign, warning people of the imminent danger of death at an electrical substation:

Comic Sans inappropriate use

But does this casual, innocent little typeface really deserve the amount of vitriol that has been expended toward it over the past 15+ years? Does it deserve to be the subject of the “Ban Comic Sans” movement that has exploded in articles, blog posts, and even a Ban Comic Sans Official Website (which asserts that using Comic Sans in the wrong context is like wearing a clown costume to a black tie dinner)?

Just because people make mistakes about where and how Comic Sans can be appropriately used, do we really have to blame the font, and call for a total ban?

Google “Comic Sans,” and the first result is the Ban Comic Sans website. Among others near the top: “What’s so wrong with Comic Sans?”, “Comic Sans Criminal: There’s help available for people like you!”, and “Comic Sans: The font everyone loves to hate.”

Now, because of all of this negative press, when I look back at my “pie lady” logo and the “Amy’s Bakeshop” I so proudly painted on my sign, had embroidered on hats and aprons, and used on every label on every pie, cake, and loaf of bread that left my bakeshop, I’m a little mortified.

To tell you the truth, it’s not unlike the nagging feeling of doubt I get when I look back at photos of Amy at MHS croppedme from high school and realize that maybe (just maybe) farmer’s overalls, flannel shirts, and my father’s gold pocketwatch hanging on a chain around my neck did not combine to create the stylish look I thought they did. Aughh! What other significant aesthetic mistakes have I made in my lifetime? (Don’t answer that, please; I have a feeling they may be too numerous to list.)

Holly Combs, who runs the Ban Comic Sans website with her husband, Dave, says, “Comic Sans is in the hands of people that shouldn’t have it. Secretaries and librarians, they don’t use it well.”

Besides the fact that Ms. Combs’ statement is offensive to secretaries and librarians (implying that if they had access to a clown costume, they wouldn’t have the good sense not to wear it to a black-tie dinner), it’s probably not even true. After all, it wasn’t Dan Gilbert’s secretary who chose Comic Sans for his vitriolic missive—he owns that mistake all by himself. And librarians? Please! Do you really think a segment of the population most often caricatured by horn-rimmed glasses, sensible shoes, and the constant admonition to “Shhh!” is going to suddenly go rogue with a font that has been described as frivolous and irreverent?

People seem to take their hatred of Comic Sans quite seriously. Comments on the Combs’ website include “It is a disgusting font – immature, frivolous and visually jarring” and “conveys silliness, childish naivete, irreverence.” There is even—I am not making this up—a book, due out in April, titled Thou Shall Not Use Comic Sans.

It all makes me feel kind of sorry for poor Vincent Connare, who undoubtedly has many worthy accomplishments to his credit, but is probably doomed to be best remembered for creating the typeface that font geeks love to hate. He has surely spent a disproportionate amount of time and energy responding to Comic Sans detractors, which is why he has included a page titled “Why Comic Sans?” on his own website, in which he explains that “Comic Sans was NOT designed as a typeface but as a solution to a problem with the often overlooked part of a computer program’s interface, the typeface used to communicate the message. There was no intention to include the font in other applications other than those designed for children when I designed Comic Sans. The inspiration came at the shock of seeing Times New Roman used in an inappropriate way.”

That’s right, Connare was “shocked” when he saw Times New Roman used inappropriately. And I think you’ll agree that Microsoft Bob’s friendly, helpful pup Rover would never speak in Times New Roman.


Because that would be like showing up to make balloon animals at a kids’ party…in black tie.

Who was a good boy?


Today we said goodbye to the best dog in the world.

Our black Labrador retriever, Remy, was twelve. Some dogs have longer lives, but I’d like to think that few have better ones.

We brought him home on October 23, 2004, an eight-pound ball of energy who ate socks, chewed scan_20161222-2shoes, peed on the floor, and cried at night when he missed his mom. For the first few nights, I slept on the kitchen floor beside his crate to comfort him.

We quickly abandoned any idea of a no-dogs-on-the-furniture rule, and when he graduated from the crate, he slept on the couch. In his later years, we removed the back cushions from one couch to make more room for him to stretch out, covered it with blankets, and designated it “Remy’s couch.”

For years, if it wasn’t too cold or too hot, he went to work in the woods with Tony, where he kept watch for squirrels on the landing and raced beside the skidder on the twitch trails. Each day, as soon as he finished his breakfast, he waited patiently for the words, “You want to go to the woods?” then barreled out the door and into the cab of the truck.

He was almost always with us. We talked to him constantly, and he developed a fairly extensive understood vocabulary. Although he didn’t always choose to respond to commands, he knew quite a few. Besides the usual “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “lie down,” he also learned “shake,” “speak,” “whisper,” and “go back.”

That last was how Tony taught him not to crowd the door when he wanted to go in or out, and it always made us laugh to see him scoot backwards on his butt. If you were armed with a biscuit and repeated it often enough, he’d “go back” clear across the room or yard.

He learned quickly that any question beginning with “You want…?” usually meant something he did, in fact, want, very much.

“You want a treat?”

“You want to go for a walk?”

“You want supper?”

And his favorite, always: “You want to go to camp?”

Camp was to Remy just what it has always been to me: the center of the universe. He knew it as the place where the fun is more fun, the relaxation is more relaxing, the company is more wonderful, the freedom freer, and the food tastier (and much more likely to come his way, thanks to hot dogs that rolled from the grill, outdoor picnics on the deck, and inattentive visiting children).

At camp, he learned a specialized vocabulary that included “swim,” “stick,” “ball,” and “go get it,” march-24-paddle-004and when he was a young dog, he would launch himself from the dock, several feet above the water, to fetch whatever was thrown for him. Again. And again. And again.

And he learned the word “culvert”—how many other dogs know that one? He loved to go into the larger culverts on the camp road, splashing through them and emerging on the other side.

At camp, he learned “shut the door.” The closer on our screen door has a habit of catching about four inches shy of fully closed, especially after a cat has gone in or out through it. Remy learned to thrust it open with his head and shoulders whenever we asked him to “shut the door,” and let it slam shut. (Of course we viewed this trick as evidence of genius.)

He also picked up a lot of words we didn’t really teach him on purpose, like “biscuit” and “treat,” “supper” and “breakfast,” “ride” and “walk.”

In fact, he figured that any conversational reference to a walk was an invitation to go for a walk right now!, and we learned to spell it if we were talking about a walk we had taken in the past or might take in the future.

He always knew when we were talking about him, picking up on his name or “dog” or even “d-o-g” in conversation.

When a rogue pet rabbit from next door started coming into our yard and threatening our garden, we accidentally taught him the phrase “wascally wabbit” and for years any mention that there might be something “wascally” in the yard would send him into a frenzy of barking at the window.

But there was one phrase that seemed to puzzle him, from the first time he heard it until the last time we shouted it loudly enough for him to hear.

“Who’s a good boy?”

img_1153His expression was always one of bewilderment. Sometimes he looked around, as if to say, “I don’t know—who is a good boy? Is there someone else here?”

Maybe it was because, somewhere in his blessedly simple mind, he may have understood that he was not always what everyone would call a model canine citizen.

I’ve always said that I raised my dog pretty much the same way I raised my kids: Hands off and hope for the best.

As a result, Remy was an inveterate beggar, stationing himself under the table at every meal.img_1751

Obedience was never his strong suit. Although he certainly knew the meaning of “come,” he often ignored it.

He quickly outgrew chewing things up inside the house, but when he was outdoors, he considered anything small enough to lug off as fair game. We designated one outside wall of the camp as “Remy’s Wall of Shame,” covered with half-eaten sandals, toys, plastic flowerpots, and pool noodles. We frequently had to go looking for missing objects on the banking behind the camp, where he usually took them to chew them up.

A couple of years ago, when he’d gone months without stealing and destroying so much as a flip-flop, and we’d finally decided he’d outgrown that particular bad habit and had begun to relax our guard, in one week he destroyed two cell phones and a pair of glasses.

But in his twelve short years, Remy gave us so much unconditional love, so much laughter, so many memories, that a few pairs of flip-flops, a few plastic beach toys, the occasional $500 pair of glasses…they never really mattered.

roman_and_remy_4_11_13-006Last night I cooked him chicken for supper, and he got an extra Kong full of peanut butter for dessert. I changed the bandage over the inoperable, infected tumor on his leg.

Each of us—Tony, Will, and I, the same three people who picked him up and brought him home as a puppy and have loved him as if our hearts would burst ever since—said a long goodnight to him before he settled onto his couch.

This morning we were all with him at the vet’s, holding him, petting him, loving him. The ending was very gentle, a testament to modern veterinary medicine and the particular knowledge, skill, and compassion of our vet.

Today I’m so, so sad.

But I know that in time, when we share stories of Remy’s Best Days Ever (the Great Whoopie Pie Theft, the Time He Got Two Suppers, the Infamous Woodchuck Incident), I’ll laugh.

I’ll take comfort in knowing that he had a good life. He was warm and secure and well-fed.          I believe he knew how much he was loved.

And the answer to that question that always made him prick up his ears and raise his eyebrows and tip his head in befuddled concentration?

It was you, Remy. It was always you.


Remy’s first and last moments at home.

FitBit works for me (and I’m as surprised as anyone)


For the past six months, I’ve been working pretty hard to get fit and healthy, and it’s been going surprisingly well. I say “surprisingly” because, like so many other people, I’ve tried and failed repeatedly to get in shape throughout my life.

I’ve been asked if I’ve stopped eating bread (no), gluten (no), butter (no), or sugar (no). I’ve been asked if I take supplements (no) or drink weight-loss shakes (no). I’ve been asked if I’m hungry all the time (no).

Today I got this Facebook message from a friend:


It’s true, I’ve been using a FitBit Flex, which I put on my wrist the day after I received it from my kids for my birthday last March, and have removed very rarely, except to charge it, since then. Although I resisted the activity tracker craze for quite a while, my FitBit has turned out to be just the gimmick I needed, and I usually tell people it’s the key to my success.

I never in my life thought I would hear words like “in awe of your fitness success” directed at me. I started to reply right away, but my enthusiastic message got so long that I told my friend I was going to turn my reply into a blog post instead. So here it is—my wholehearted endorsement of a gadget I didn’t know I needed until I put it on.

Dear friend-who-shall-remain-nameless-(but-who-is-neither-fat-nor-old!),

Ha! I’ve certainly never considered myself a mentor when it comes to fitness, and I’m not sure that 40+ years of mostly hopeless struggle to lose weight followed by 6 months of relative success qualifies me to dispense advice! But I will say that something about the FitBit has really clicked for me.

I don’t necessarily think using a FitBit will work for everyone the way it has (apparently, so far, fingers crossed) worked for me, because I think when it comes to getting in shape, everyone responds to different techniques, but I’ll tell you what I like about it and why it seems to be a good choice for me.

I’ve heard for years that the key to “changing your relationship with food” (which we all used to call “going on a diet,” until we finally started to figure out that diets don’t work—let’s repeat that together: “Diets don’t work!”) is avoiding mindless eating.

I figured if I could just learn to pay attention to what I was eating, I’d have this weight loss thing licked. If I could just learn to taste and savor everything, and eat when I was hungry, and stop when I was full, I was pretty sure I’d eventually end up at a healthy weight.

Some method of keeping track of food was in order. I’ve never successfully tracked what I eat for more than about a day (I used to use a notebook and pen, but that was never going to last), but I find it easy enough with the FitBit program on my iPhone that I’ve been doing it every day for 6 months now. Every. Single. Day. And I don’t hate it.

Virtually anything you’d ever want to eat is in the database already, and you can usually choose from several ways to measure portions–grams, ounces, tablespoons, cups, or something like “1/8 of a large pizza.” It really only takes me a total of a few minutes a day to enter everything I eat, and I’m pretty scrupulous about it.

I’m finally figuring out what normal portions look like, although it took a while. For the first couple of months, I felt like I was eating toddler portions, and I realized (aughhhh!) I’ve probably been eating double and triple portions of many things for most of my life.

As long as I can get that portion thing down, I don’t have to make anything off-limits—not even bread, butter, chocolate, cheese, ice cream, or cheesecake—and because of that, this is the first time in my life that I can remember losing weight successfully without feeling deprived.

I once, 20 years or so ago, lost 35 pounds (mainly by seriously restricting all forms of fat) and promptly gained it all back because I viewed it as a “diet” instead of a “lifestyle change” (that’s an overused catchphrase, but apt).

Every “diet” has a specific endpoint, and when that one ended, all I wanted to do to celebrate losing 35 pounds was eat peanut butter, chocolate, and cheese. I was obsessed with peanut butter, chocolate, and cheese. It did not end well.

On this plan, if I want peanut butter, chocolate, and cheese, I eat them. And I know if I want them again tomorrow, I can eat them again then. It’s amazing the psychological difference that makes.

I like being able to see how many calories I have left for the day…I confess to being a bit of a calorie hoarder, especially if we have company or I’m planning a special dinner. Even though it’s probably healthier overall to eat more calories earlier in the day, I like going into late afternoon with upwards of 1000 calories left—it feels like going shopping with plenty of cash in my wallet.

I love being able to make the connection between activity and calories burned. If I’m more active, I get to eat more. It sounds simple, but I guess I needed to see the actual numbers to have it click.

I like having daily goals for steps, miles, and calories burned. I can be a little compulsive when it comes to streaks (when I started this, I already had an unbroken streak of almost four years without missing a single day of exercising for at least 30 minutes, although it hadn’t helped me lose any weight), so I just kept 30 active minutes as my goal. But I almost always end up with between 60 and 120 minutes a day now, and I always meet my step goal (10k) because, again, I’m a bit compulsive.

I really like wearing my FitBit at night and tracking sleep, because it makes me feel completely justified about being a cranky bitch if I can look at my sleep record and say, “No wonder I’m a cranky bitch; I was awake five times and restless all night!”

Maybe it’s just me, but I love having something new to blame for my crankiness, having badly overused the usual culprits (hormones, hot flashes, husband, and housekeeping) for years now.

The Flex, which cost around $100 six months ago, is down to about $80 now, and that’s a damn good deal. I’m not much of a gadget person myself, but if my FitBit were to suddenly stop working (I’ve had no trouble at all with it so far), I’d get another one in a minute.

So there you go.





Picking blackberries on August 24th

I picked blackberries today.

I’ve actually been picking a few almost every day, at least on the mornings when I walk around the lake. There are at least three different places where I can count on finding a handful, and sometimes (like when I’ve left camp without remembering to eat breakfast first) they’re the only thing that sustains me on the almost-five-mile walk.

Blackberry bushes often grow up on land that has recently been cut over, allowing the sun in. Actually, the first thing to spring up among the leftover slash from a timber harvest is usually wild raspberries. My mother was a genius at finding wild raspberry patches, and the fastest and most tireless picker. For several years there was a patch along the camp road that we considered our own, where we picked gallons of raspberries, which my mother turned into jam and pies.

After a few years, the raspberries gave way to blackberry bushes, which then gave way to poplars and striped maples and other fast-growing trees, and eventually the forest grew back. No raspberries have grown there for more than 40 years, but when I pass that spot on the road, I still think of it as the raspberry patch.

Then, as now, there were always places along the road to pick a few blackberries. On August 24, 1972, I walked about a quarter of a mile to a prolific blackberry patch across the road from the lots where two camps had been built a few years earlier. I put on long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, tied a cut-down gallon plastic milk jug around my waist, and set off.

I was thirteen. I was an odd and solitary adolescent, and going off alone to gather blackberries was just one of many odd and solitary practices I engaged in that summer. I had just survived two years of junior high hell and in less than two weeks I was headed to high school, which promised to be every bit as hellish.

I had a lot to think about, and during my last days of summer vacation I spent even more time than usual by myself. I took long, broody walks and contemplated the unfairness of my life, puttered around in various boats while trying to figure out how to get my mother to leave me in Maine when she went home to Connecticut on Labor Day weekend, and climbed up to Buck’s Ledge to lie on the moss and write bad, angsty poetry.

Anyway, on that day, 44 years ago, I came in through the back door of the camp with my bucket of blackberries and my slumped shoulders and my best adolescent sulk.

My mother was just hanging up the phone (it’s not important to the story, but I can’t help but note that it was THIS phone, one of the last hand-crank phones in the, and she turned to me and said, “You have a niece!” and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and positively beamed.

I’d been an aunt since the age of eight. I already had two nephews, and although I was pretty thrilled with them, I’d been secretly hoping for a niece, just as my mother had been secretly hoping for a granddaughter. I know she was imagining the tiny sweaters she would knit, and I think she started cutting fabric that same day to make the first of that generation’s dozens of hand-smocked dresses.


I was imagining all the things a niece and I would do together. I was imagining perfecting my junior-high home ec skills and sewing her a teddy bear, with a pinafore on which I would embroider her name—Katy with a “y.” I was imagining teaching her to bake cookies. And pick blackberries.

I was imagining a little person who would see me not as the glum and lumpy teenager I was, but as something I had never been in my life—cool. Never mind that I had never had even a prayer of being one of the Cool Kids—I would be the Cool Aunt, and that would be a million times better.

First Niece was born in Ohio, which was way too far away. But only a couple of months later, she, along with her parents, came to stay with us in Connecticut for several weeks while they found a house to buy in West Hartford, near my brother’s new job.

Throughout my high school years (which were in some ways exactly as awful as I’d feared) I spent a great deal of
time with First Niece—at our house, at their house, and, in the summers, at camp in Maine. I sewed her a teddy bear. We baked cookies. We picked blackberries.

In a million ways, she helped to make my adolescence bearable. And she thought I was cool.

She actually thought I was cool.  

Well, we were both pretty cool.

Well, we were both pretty cool.

She’s all grown up now. She’s smart, and she loves knitting and books,
and she’s studying to be a librarian. My mom would be so, so, so proud of her.

She’s funny and compassionate and outspoken and a little quirky. I’m so, so, so proud of her.

And I like to think that it’s in some small way due to my early influence that she turned out to be so incredibly cool.katyKaty 14 months