Letters

The true meaning of home in a world of 'disposable hometowns'

Regarding the July 24 and 25 "Lobster wars" articles: I want to explain why I think that it is important for the Maine island of Matinicus to continue as a community and not as a fishing outpost.

In today's world of disposable hometowns where no one stays in one place for more than a few years and where it really is true that "you can't go home again" (mainly because someone else lives there now), it's hard to explain to people that you can feel a sense of belonging to a place more than a place belonging to you.

On my paternal side, all of my ancestors for the past 350 years were born, lived, and died within 250 miles of where I live now; and, I would be willing to bet, the same, or nearly so, would be true in my maternal ancestry.

This is one of the few places in the modern world where it is possible to give your children the same, or nearly the same, childhood that you had. And it was a pretty good childhood: Summers spent with complete freedom of movement, doing whatever you wanted to do.

Parents knew that every adult on the island watched all of the kids. You knew that if you were spoken to by an adult that you would modify your behavior, as told, without argument – because this is a place where you can be, and have been, raised to respect the authority of adults without worrying that they might be molesters and that they are just saying exactly what your parents would say if they were there.

Everyone knows all of the children, and we know what the rules are because they are the same for all children here. We know when you are allowed to borrow a skiff and go rowing because we've watched you learn to row, a skill learned soon after learning to ride a bike.

When you have a personal history in a place, you don't want to be the one that breaks the chain; you don't want to be the one that leaves the family cemetery plots to strangers to tend; you don't want to be the one who says, "Well, it's been interesting but there's nothing more for me and mine here so it's time to move on."

This is hard to explain to people raised in today's world where people move because of jobs, school, "the neighborhood changed," or they just get tired of the view. It helps that the view here is one that is hard to get tired of, but there is more, much more, to it than that.

Some of it must be related to why people spend a lot of money to vacation here. This is not an easy, or cheap, place to get to and it must be more than the view that attracts them; there must be an unconscious, or not so unconscious, desire to feel that connection to the past and a way of life that is becoming a more distant memory every day.
Clayton Philbrook
Matinicus, Maine.

Movie review was unkind

Regarding the July 21 article, "Shyamalan's 'Lady' doesn't hold water': I'm disappointed in the Monitor's decision to publish this movie review; over half the sentences contained overtly negative comments. I'm all for calling a spade a spade. If a creative person appears to be resting on his or her laurels, and turning out lesser-quality products when they could be using their talent and clout to uplift mankind, then I'm supportive of efforts to hold that individual to a higher standard.

My concern is not what was said, rather how it was said. The article states that Shyamalan's desire is to be regarded as a "truth-teller, a spiritual guide with the untrammeled soul of a child." Why not use a review to challenge Shyamalan to live up to that goal, instead of lambasting a creative effort?
Maureen Helms Blake
Spearfish, S.D.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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