You must go far enough up the coast of Maine to find my favorite city. Perched above the salt-sprayed cliffs of Moose Island, the small city of Eastport is a place of wonder. It is a place of enormous tides, sea bird colonies, rafts of seals, pods of whales, salmon runs and fishing eagles. It is a place where the rising sun first strikes the shoreline of the United States. It is a city whose character was shaped by extracting all that the sea could give. During the late 1880’s and well into the next century, 14 sardine and canning factories clustered along the water’s edge. Today, fragments from the factories can still be found embedded in the sand around the vestiges of the old piers. In my mind’s eye, each time I find an insulator from one of the canneries, or fragments of broken china, I see the long rows of workers, many of them children, who toiled night and day, etching out a harsh living from the sea. Holding these broken treasures, I, too, become a part of Eastport’s history, linked across time to another pair of hands long gone from this world.With the decline of ocean fisheries, Eastport is slowly transitioning to a more creative economy. In this population of 1600, there is a remarkable array of artists of all types, including a small symphony. Off the beaten track, however, Eastport has yet to experience the hordes of tourists that dominate Maine’s summer landscape. In spite of its struggle, a gritty optimism prevails. I often wander along the city’s breakwater, watching weary fishermen tether their boats to the floating docks. Campobello Island looms long across the Passamaquoddy Bay, its great tall pines towering above the stark gray sea. Franklin Roosevelt and his family used to take the train to Eastport and catch the short ferry ride to Campobello. Remarkably, the streets of Eastport are little changed since he passed through here. As writers we often seek that quiet place to do our work. I find my corner in this tiny city on the sea.
Causes Jean Flahive Supports
Native American educational resources for teachers
Economic development for rural communities
Health Care Reform