Under this year’s Christmas tree was an intriguing present: “To Patti from Emilie Loring.” That would be some trick! Of course, I knew it was from my husband, but what had he discovered? A hardback I don’t have yet? Something from a Boston or Blue Hill gift shop?
Excitedly, I opened the gift bag… and exclaimed with delight when I found The Vital Records of Blue Hill, Maine, the brand-new, 2018 edition.
This is the sort of thing the husband of a biographer learns to buy for Christmas presents. When the morning hubbub had died down, and wrapping had been cleared away, I perused my new book.
On a page of Candages, I quickly located local historian and genealogist Rufus George Frederic “R.G.F.” Candage. I read through the other names, wondering at the marriages that united a Candage with a Parker, Jewett, or Roundy.
On page 20, I found Eli Blagden who served in the Civil War and then ran a store in the basement of Stone House. His family–wife Hannah and at least five children– lived in the ell of the house, where the Lorings’ summer maid later stayed. Young Charles Blagden’s initials, “CB,” can still be seen carved into a boulder outside the ell door.
On I paged, past names shared by characters in Emilie Loring’s books. “Cheever,” Jim Trafford’s political opponent in Here Comes the Sun! Bill Hewins, the boy from back home in Stars in Your Eyes, Boris Stetson from A Certain Crossroad, and vain Lila Tenney from Beyond the Sound of Guns.
Did “Mina Dodge” become Minna Dodge in Hilltops Clear? Were Sally and Reuben the first names of the Puffers? (Check for me; I’m away from home and don’t have my books.) UPDATE: Thanks to Eileen for identifying Sally and Reuben as “the ministerial couple that Nancy turns to when she is in danger in Keepers of the Faith. Subsequently, she and Bill decide to go to them to get married.” I love our community! (And it’s Si Puffer.)
“Harry Saunders” reminded me of Linda Bourne’s real estate boss, the one that Gregory Merton ousts from her attentions, in There Is Always Love. His name was actually Keith Sanders, but I’m still nagged by a wraith of memory associated with Harry. I’ll have to look that up when I get back home.
A special gift from my husband jogged another memory from There Is Always Love. My new pendant is really an infinity symbol, but it could also look like an “8.” Remember Skidmore “Skid” Grant seeing his mother’s stolen jewels in a nightclub and describing his mother’s habit of having an “8” worked in diamonds in each piece of her jewelry? Maybe she shopped at Tiffany’s, too. We know that Chris Bradford did; he bought Beth Gilbert one of their famous yellow diamonds in My Dearest Love.
My husband was right; these are gifts from Emilie Loring. Her many stories have created memories and associations I can enjoy with the slightest provocation–even when they drift into invention from time to time. 🙂
I’m in Oregon, on the first leg of a five-state swing. I photographed the holly below in the woods not far from here. I’ll write next from Colorado, and in the meantime, I hope you are enjoying a warm-hearted holiday season.