Milltown Natural Essays And Stories From A Life

We head up Highland Terrace and stop to peek in the windows of an abandoned house, one I always liked, with its wraparound porch, turreted roof, and buttercup-yellow paint.

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When he and I fought—usually because of her—I’d listen to sad songs on my cassette player over and over until he’d call and I’d forgive him in a pattern of everlasting redemption. He came to my parents’ one Christmas break when I was home from college.

He and my mother caught up while I leaned against the kitchen countertop across the room. He called all boys I dated “Peckerhead” but only if he liked them.

If he didn’t, my father would sit at our kitchen table like a boulder while the boy fidgeted by the kitchen door in blank-faced silence.

Greg eventually married Kelly and got a job at the mill, alongside his sister Janet, who pitched for my high school state championship softball team.

A mile or two out of town, the road narrows and small creeks knit through pastures shadowed by hills, a working farm or two, a long straight road, and smells of cut hay, muddy cow paths, rotting leaves, or black ice, depending on the time of year. To the left of the porch, you’ll see the end of the road.

Milltown Natural Essays And Stories From A Life

There, the pavement dips down to reveal the town’s only traffic light, a gas station, and the roof of the Family Dollar Store.Mexico, Maine sits in a valley or “River Valley” as we call the area, because I suppose you can’t have one without the other.The hills are low and worn and carved by the waters surrounding them, and trees line the rivers, which confine the town.Lisa’s strength was tremendous for a sixth grader, her grit shaped by being one of the youngest girls in a family of 14 kids, most of them boys.When I looked in the mirror that night at home, I was sure I looked different, the way you think you do when you lose your virginity.Where stack meets sky, the river pivots and heads southeast, under bridges and over rapids, pushing through falls and dams, around islands and along inlets, through Jay, Lewiston, Topsham, Brunswick, and other small towns, until it meets and mingles with five other rivers at Merrymeeting Bay, whereupon it finally and quietly slips into the Atlantic Ocean.* April 2009 and I am home for my grandfather’s funeral.That smell loitered amid the high school softball games I played beneath those stacks and lingered on my father’s shirtsleeves when he came home from work, allowing me to forgive the rank odor for what it provided.From the porch steps of the house where I grew up, to the right, you’ll see a street of clapboarded homes, the quiet interrupted every now and then by a braking logging truck.Ahead, we reach the top of the hill, and there, my old high school.To the east, snowmobile trails and abutting them, the mill’s decommissioned landfill.


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