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By Monica Wood

Winner of the 2012 Sarton Memoir Award

“Every few years, a memoir comes alongside that revitalizes the form…With beneficiant, specified, and unsentimental prose, Monica wooden brilliantly achieves this . . . When We have been the Kennedys is a deeply relocating gem!”—Andre Dubus III, writer of House of Sand and Fog and Townie

Mexico, Maine, 1963: The wooden family members is far like its shut, Catholic, immigrant friends, all depending on the fathers’ wages from the Oxford Paper corporation. but if Dad without warning dies on his approach to paintings, Mum and the 4 deeply attached wooden ladies are set adrift. When We have been the Kennedys is the tale of ways a family members, a city, after which a country mourns and reveals the energy to maneuver on.

“On her personal phrases, wry and empathetic, wooden locates the melodies within the aftershock of surprising loss.”—Boston Globe

“[A] wonder of storytelling, layered and wealthy. it truly is, via turns, a chronicle of the popular paper mill that used to be either delight and poison to numerous generations of a city; a tribute to the ethnic stew of immigrant households that grew and prospered there; and an account of 1 family’s grief, love, and resilience.”—Maine Sunday Telegram

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Outstanding. ” A calculating guy, Mr. Hugh J. Chisholm, Canadian-born son of a Scottish student. In a much less capricious global, our Hugh may need turn into a student himself, yet his father’s premature end—drowned after tumbling off a steamer from Toronto—sent the heart-rattled son into the operating global on the age of 13. one other fatherless explorer. yet this time not anyone appears to be like at me. Father Bob’s stopover at has shifted the weight of pity from me to younger Hugh. I pay attention besides everybody else, my chin lifted towards the tale people. “How do you fall off a steamer? ” anyone asks. “He was once a student. i guess he was once studying a booklet. ” After digging potatoes for 2 soul-numbing days, younger Hugh became to promoting newspapers at the Toronto-Detroit rail line with one other boy, identify of Thomas Edison, a kindred spirit, fellow genius, and lifetime pal. “And Thomas Edison, you’ll be mindful, used to be the inventor of . . . ? ” “The cotton gin! ” “No. ” “The Stanley Steamer! ” “No. ” “The telescope? ” “Children, this used to be your homework weeks in the past. Monica? ” “The electrical gentle. ” “Thank you. ” Hugh observed whatever in paper that brainy Thomas neglected. by the point he beheld the unharnessed energy of the Rumford falls, Hugh was once a professional capitalist used to the lengthy view. good provided with cigars, he lingered on the summit. status a bit, strolling a bit. His boots made pacing lines within the crystallizing snow. He did this for greater than an hour. greater than . “Where used to be he? ” “At the pinnacle of Falls Hill. simply it wasn’t Falls Hill then. It used to be a bit of course overlooking that raging waterfall. ” past the deafening miracle of the falls, there quite wasn’t a lot to determine on that wintry day. No signal of human striving yet an insignificant ruin of a gristmill, a smaller sawmill weathered to the bone. The sun-spangled water ribboning among Rumford and Mexico existed generally unseen and unknown, a geysering thunder already altering form in Hugh’s thrumming brain. He climbed again into the borrowed sleigh, afire with plans. “And his plan used to be . . . what, young children? ” every body is familiar with this one: “The mill! ” Did he think the smokestacks, the woodyards, the whistle that will alert generations of youngsters to the hour of 9 within the morning? Did he envision the logjammed canal, the footbridges and rate reductions banks, the sidewalks and church steeples, the costume outlets and the bowling alley, faculties brimming with clever, formidable kids? Did he foresee the nice steam cloud pumping like a sign on the middle of the valley, pumping like a middle itself, a center made up of sulphur and smoke? “Well? ” Sister asks. “Did he? ” “Yes! ” “And why is that? ” “Because he used to be an explorer! ” “And explorers have what? ” “Courage! ” “And what else? ” “Goals! ” “And what else? ” “Imagination! ” at the go back journey, a couple of region mile from the lodge, St. Jude—who cared not anything for commercial daydreams and masses for dinner in a well-stocked livery—bolted up a half-frozen hill, scary the sleigh and all its contents, together with our town’s imagineer, now splatted at the ice with an extra shivery hour to ruminate at the excellent risk of “building a urban within the desolate tract.

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