Memories and Tales

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by Maggie Finch

It’s quite small, as I remember: about the size of a large swimming
pool.  This feeling was enhanced by the presence of large haphazard rocks all across the mouth, so that at high tide the water achieved a nearly magical serenity.
My mother used to take us up to Maine for vacation (four kids and a few well-chosen companions), renting various extremely economical habitations, always with Bath as the hub.  That summer brought us to a pair of tiny, isolated camps which we designated conveniently, Males and Females.  We had access to a strip of beach, and a charming evergreen wood, through which we walked each day to obtain our all-important mail.  Among the lofty trees the woodthrush tossed out its ripples of song.                                                                                                              But it is the cove that I remember in a special way.  All my long life I’ve never seen anything else like it — anything else so beautiful.  The pines rimmed it, coming down close to the shore, as if they wanted to join us in our swim.  The clean white sand bottom was clearly seen on quiet days.  To move along, or rest, buoyed up by the placid, golden, sun-struck water, was to be enveloped by such an excellence that I could only feel that this was what I would discover in heaven.
Ever since that summer, no spot has come near it.  Oh, yes, I’ve lived in, I’ve visited, some great places — some that were “world-renouned.”  Yet the memory of this nameless little inlet is still my source of unending courage, strength and joy.
You know how sometimes you’re asked to shut your eyes and revisit a place very dear to you,  a place very calming,  serene?  Guess where I go.  At the dentist’s just the other day, I found it expedient to take another leisurely afternoon swim.  I was  even fortunate enough to find one of those sun-warmed pockets. . . .
Living now, haply, in Bath, I’ve tried once or twice to find my liquid  Shangri-La again.  Actually, I’ve been told by a friend that she’s sure she knows the place and could take me there.  That’s very kind, but now I’ve about decided “you can’t go home again.”  What if I were to find it changed?    What if the trees no longer come crowding down in so friendly a fashion?  What if there are a couple of cottages watching themselves in that pristine, high-tide mirror?
I think I’d rather keep the treasure I have, wrapped securely inside me where no one can touch it and disillusion has no chance to come barging in on something so precious, so enchanting.  I’m reminded of a song by Burns  — how does it go? — “I’ll wear you in my heart, lest I should lose my jewel. . . .”
My trusty Webster’s Collegiate informs me that the word “cove” also has the meaning “a sheltered nook,” and so I know that I rightfully assign this minute bit of the Atlantic as the cove of my heart.




by Annie

“As long as I can remember, Maggie carried inspiring words she had written out, by hand, in her wallet at all times and read them often.  I remember the St. Francis Prayer and quotes from Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much by Anne Wilson Schaef, Pocketful of Miracles by Joan Borysenko, and Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  Near the end of her life, she posed for this photo when she was excitedly telling me about a list of seven spiritual gifts from a book she was reading. love, joy, friendship forgiveness, kindness, faith, and laughter. She especially loved that the list included laughter


Sent to her lifelong friend made in college, Martha Willard DeRichemont
Maggie and Martha had met at Bennett Junior College and loved Millay together.  All their lives, Maggie and Martha sent each other penguins and called each other “Mabel.” Maggie told me that this was a joke invented in college because one of them had a maiden aunt called Mabel and they were teasing each other about the possibility of becoming a conventional respectable woman like Mabel. I forget the origin of the penguins.

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Margaret Finch <>
Date: Wed, May 1, 2013 at 5:44 PM
Subject: LOVE. LOVE. LOVE!!!!!!
To: marthaderichemont <>

SWEET WOMAN OF MY ETERNITY! ! ! ! I HAVe to admit that I am totallt, but totally, at sea here

in this incredible world of machines and automatic businesses— I who, from birth, could never handle ANYTHING as iot was supposed to be handled by intelligent, savvy, au-courrant peoples unlike myself!!!  I f   ypu eer receive this (which I very much doubt—- typing off into the vast unknown spaces as I feel I am doing—-  know that I adore you just ad much as I ever did ND THAT GOES ON F O R E V E R  A N D  A  D A Y!!  (AT THE VERY
Wasn’t it just simply  marvellous that once again (after how many, many lifetimes????)  the Powers that Be (AKA  GOD!!!) made sure that we would be simultaneously attending that funny little “college”together??  How very DREARY would my entire life not have  been-? ? ?   had that not happened? ? ? ?>Don’t give up hope quite yet, my love— my wonderful son Royo comes in June and he promises to get this machine— and your friend Maggie—- in perfect shape so communication can take place as it well should, considering that we are  both entering the final countdown, so to speak. . . .   anyway, if you ever do receive this, over the far, far waves—- I’m happy and well content and well cared-for, and hope you can say the same (but perfectly sure you can say YES and even FAR MORE SO. . . .  X O X O X O X O  from your FOREVER  M A B E L
Maggie named her second daughter, Martha, after “Aunt Marta,” because Aunt Marta brought Maggie to the hospital to have the baby while Maggie’s first husband Jack was away with another woman.