Monday, July 05, 2010

The Back Story -July , 2010

You would have to know where I’m coming from to understand the nature of what I am doing. There is a back story to my book, my videos and my nectars. The pieces of a long held dream are materializing like some kind of portal that opened up in the universe and suddenly let me step through. It’s been a lifetime trying to get here; overcoming obstacles and disappointments.

My parents divorced when I was very young. My mother remarried and we moved onto a small Island off the coast of Maine. I’m going back fifty-three years. Maine by itself was very rural and isolated fifty plus years ago. The Island was even more isolated. The population was about 500. It was a small rural fishing village. We had two small general stores, a local crank phone at the post office for emergency use only, one barely paved road, a community hall and a volunteer fire department. That pretty much made up the town. It was like living in a fish bowl. Everyone knew everyone’s business.

Fishing and summer tourism were the only industries. Women sewed, knitted, cleaned, cooked, raised the children, canned and foraged for wild berries and native vegetables and fruits. The women also worked alongside the men repairing fishing gear and occasionally giving a helping hand as a deck hand on the fishing boats. Life was simple and at the same time very harsh. The winters were long and cold with little contact from or into the outside world.

I grew up eating organic before it even had a name. We ate fresh what was in season. The women would can and freeze the fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh fish, for the long winter ahead. In the fall the men would hunt for game and this game would be frozen, again, for the long winter ahead. Often times this was the only meat we would eat throughout the winter. Everything was natural with no preservatives. Fast food and junk food did not exist accept for the penny candy and donuts that could be bought at Sidney Watson’s general store. The general store was the place to buy provisions such as bread, flour, baking goods, coffee and, yes donuts. The fisherman loved donuts. Donuts and coffee was a staple in the morning on the fishing boats. They came in a cardboard box with a plastic see through window. There were only two kinds. Chocolate or vanilla with white powdery sugar or chocolate and vanilla covered with shredded coconut. Otherwise any kind of treat came from your mother’s or grandmother’s kitchen.

As a young child the only thing that existed outside this tiny village was the town about an hour by car north of the island. The town had a few banks, a real grocery store and a small main street with a Woolworths, a hardware store, a pharmacy, a pizza parlous, a donut store and a couple of clothing stores. In the summer we would go to town once a week but in the winter because of weather and road conditions it might be only once a month.

My mother was a very good seamstress so she made most of my clothes. I have to say she dressed me well. She also gave me advantages that others did not get. She loved the ballet and the theater so she enrolled me in dance classes, theatre, music and ice skating. She made me little costumes and entered me in competitions. I was a natural and loved to dance and act. She also insisted I be a lady. She would put a book on my head and make me walk around the house balancing the book. This she assured me would give me good posture and teach me to walk like lady. Manners were strongly enforced and cleanliness was promoted as next to godliness.

I went to a two room school house. We walked to school. Everyone had a dog and so the dogs walked to school with us. There was no running water, indoor plumbing or central heat in the little school house. For water we used large ceramic jugs with a spout and paper cups that slid out of a neatly packed container. They weren’t cups but rather looked like small envelopes or small funnels that would fit over your fingers. Besides using them for drinking we would color faces on them and use them as hand puppets.

The outhouses were outside just around the corner from the school. There were the boys and the girl’s outhouses. Each had two stalls. However the boys had holes poked through the inside so they could peak into the girl’s outhouse. It would be reported, plugged up and new holes would appear. You had to put on your boots and coat and run like mad through the cold winter wind to the outhouse where you wasted no time doing what you had to do and then would run quickly back inside to warm yourself over the wood stove that warmed the tiny school house. The dogs would come inside on really cold days and lay beside the stove while we attended school. We each took turns feeding wood into the stove.

Life was simple and uncomplicated. It was a million miles away from what someday would become my home the city of Los Angeles.

When it came to ill health, folk medicine was employed. And this is the foundation of my roots which lay buried and hidden for many years under a shroud of embarrassment. You see by the town folk’s standards we were called “clam diggers” or a derogatory term for rural fisherman. I understand what it’s like to be poor and rural and at the same time proud and rich. The town folk’s saw us as pagans who often used folk medicine. There was and still is something odd and at the same time magical about paganism.

It’s part of my heritage. It’s the back story…

Doctor Lynn


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