Although we had few of the world’s goods in the 1920s, I can’t say that I felt deprived. Once when I was very young I asked Papa if we were rich or poor. He thought before he answered, “Poor, I guess.” I would have believed “rich.”
I had good food to eat, clean clothes, a safe and quiet world for dreaming and playing, and a comfortable bed for sleep. What else could “rich” provide?
As she grew older Mama was aghast at American throwaway consumption. “It has to stop,” she’d say. “There isn’t enough for everyone forever.” But many of us of my generation in our modern wisdom looked around at the woods and empty spaces. We pointed with pride at our technology and our spewing smokestacks and said of course there’ll be enough.
If Kathleen Proctor Johnson were around today she’d be proud of her grandsons and their wives, who use their resources carefully and respect the environment. Yet, if she could see what a garbage dump many of us are making of our world, I think we’d see her pursed lips and scowly smile and she’d say, “Why didn’t you listen?”
Book available from Islandport Press.
In her book, Old Maine Woman Glenna Johnson Smith writes with eloquence and humor about the complexities, absurdities, and pleasures of the every day, from her nostalgic looks at her childhood on the Maine coast in the 1920s and 1930s, to her observations of life under the big sky and among the rolling potato fields of her beloved Aroostook County, where she has lived for nearly seven decades. The book also includes some of her best fiction pieces.
Glenna Johnson Smith, 2010
Glenna Johnson Smith was born in 1920 in Ashville, Maine, in coastal Hancock County. In 1941, she graduated from the University of Maine, married, and moved to a farm in Easton, in Maine's Aroostook County. A teacher for many years, she also was heavily involved in school and community theater productions. Her writing has appeared in Echoes and Yankee magazines and other publications. She now lives in Presque Isle, Maine.