Friday October 18, 2013 | 08:11 AM
“Anytime you preserve anyone’s memories, especially if they happen to be the oldest citizen in a town or area (like my father), you can’t help but add to the archival information of how life was lived in the past,” Cathie Pelletier, from Allagash, ME.
Maine’s “big small town” feeling connects people, even when natives meet while they’re away. The Remy family from Gorham ME met up with Maine writer Cathie Pelletier on October 12, when she presented at the 25th annual Southern Festival of Books in Nashville TN.
George and Heidi Remy of Gorham, were visiting their son Charlie, who is the Electronic Resources and Serials Librarian at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. They made a point of catching Pelletier’s presentation at the book festival, held at Nashville’s WarMemorialPlaza, sponsored by Humanities Tennessee.
“We enjoyed her personable and down to earth presentation,” said Charlie Remy.
Remy family of Gorham Maine (left) Heidi, Charlie with Maine writer Cathie Pelletier and George Remy in Nashville at the Southern Festival of Books
Pelletier read from her latest novel “The One-Way Bridge". Her novel takes place in the fictional Northern Maine town of Mattagash. It’s likely a charming pseudonym for the town of Allagash, located along the Allagash River in Maine’s AroostookCounty.
She says her next adult novel will be published in the fall of 2014. A publisher has bought the rights to her entire backlist and will reprint all her books in paperback.
For Pelletier, being in Nashville at the festival was somewhat like returning to her “home away from home”, because she lived in Tennessee for several years, before moving home to Allagash.
As a matter of fact, Pelletier was living in Tennessee in 1991, when she began to write “The One-Way Bridge”. Her first draft was completed in 2005, while she was living in Eastman, Quebec, Canada. It’s the first novel she’s published in 8 years.
Pelletier is among a group of Maine writers who share a Franco-American ancestry. Her Franco-American roots are with the Thibodeau family. Her father’s family grew up speaking French. She writes lovingly about Louis, her active 94 year old father’s life, when he was a lumberjack, in a tribute to him titled “A is for Allagash”.
“Daddy is going strong. He’ll be 94 in April and is the oldest citizen in Allagash now,” she says. Writing about his memories contributed to the history of the unspoiled Allagash area. “Anytime you preserve anyone’s memories, especially if they happen to be from the oldest citizen in a town or area, you can’t help but add to the archival information of how life was lived in the past,” she says.
Likewise, the Remy family has Franco-American roots from Quebec. Grandmother Rachel Provencal Remy, came to Maine in 1930, from Ham Nord, Quebec. Her husband Victor arrived in 1926 from Saint John the Baptist, Quebec. Victor worked in a shoe factory and the Springvale Market, a small grocery store which he later purchased. George was born in 1941, in Springvale, ME. He's a retired high school history teacher.
“It’s great to find Maine people wherever we travel who share common roots and the Franco-American heritage,” says Charlie.
Southern Festival of Books sponsored by Humanities Tennessee link:
A history of Allagash Maine is at this link: http://www.aroostook.me.us/allagash/history.html
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