I was a mean kid. I thought everyone was studying, practicing to be top-secret spies, as I was, so, I was naturally suspicious of everyone around me, even those close to my age.
Her name was Maudie and she was draped in Sarah Coventry jewelry. Her mother sold it in their own living room back in Toronto. Chunky gold-plated rhinestone and fake turquoise rings, bracelets made of a tiger eye glass cabochons, and an enormous perfectly symmetrical lime green pansy brooch.
Over the years, I’ve heard a kaleidoscope of versions of this myth—yes, myth, one that’s right up there with the idea that says all writers must live in dingy attic garrets and drink cheap red wine incessantly although, frankly, sometimes a nice, quiet garret and even awful wine sound wonderful after a day of trying to get words to do what you want.
The mouth of the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth empties into the nearby Atlantic Ocean. When I lived in this beautiful New England town, I spent many hours at the pier in Prescott Park on the edge of the Strawberry Banke, where the first area white settlers came.