Thursday, September 18, 2014

A House Full

Earlier in spring,
Loss came knocking
at my door.

Within weeks,
Loss came knocking

A few days later,
Grief checked in.
Brought a lot of baggage,
took the biggest room,
the Edwardian,
the one with the private bath,
looking like he was going to stay awhile.

Little did we know.

A month or so ago,
Loss came knocking
two more times.

Didn’t see her coming either time
(a suicide, one; an untimely tragedy, two)
but she came anyway,
knocking me right down.

Soon, Sadness came to visit.
Took the Blue Room
right at the top
of the stairs.

The next day, right
next door, Weary
checked into the Purple Room.

What next?

Within a week,
Loss came knocking
at my door once more.

This time we scattered
our dearest friend’s
ashes right out back,
behind the pond, beneath
the giant weeping willow,
atop the grave of our
beloved dog and cat—

exactly as she wanted.

By then, Grief unpacked
all his bags, put away
all his belongings, shoved
all his baggage
under the bed.
Safe to say,
he’s moved in—


Sometimes, when Despair stops by
to spend the night with Sadness,
when Fatigue settles in with Weary—
if only for one night—
you better believe
it gets hard to believe
morning will ever come.

Several days ago,
Loss came knocking
at my door again.


And yet again.

At the end of the hall,
in the Ivory Room,
down from Sadness and Weary,
Exhaustion showed up in the
middle of the night,
stumbled onto the bed,
pulled the covers over
her head and locked
the door.

There’s no more
in the inn.




Friday, July 4, 2014

Maine History: Fourth of July

From the Maine Memory Network


When John Dunlap, official printer to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, set the type form in his press on the night of July 4, 1776, he apparently was in a hurry to get out the first printed copies of "A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled."

Between July 2 and July 4, representatives of the Continental Congress had debated the language of the draft written largely by Thomas Jefferson. When they approved the document that came to be known as the Declaration of Independence, they voted that copies "be sent to the several assemblies, conventions and committees, or councils of safety, and to the several commanding officers of the continental troops; that it be proclaimed in each of the United States, and at the head of the army."

Dunlap got the order, the type was set, a proof drawn, corrections made. Then the revised type was set in the press, slightly askew. That is one clue to the authenticity of Dunlap Declaration broadsides.
In 1976, Frederick Goff published the findings of a Library of Congress examination of 17 of the 21 known surviving copies of that first printing of the Declaration. The study measured margins and dimensions, looked at chain lines (printing marks), watermarks, type of paper, folds, endorsements, broken letters and other clues about the documents. Those findings have been useful in determining the status of other documents that appear to be Dunlap imprints from July 4, 1776.

Maine Historical Society's copy of the Dunlap broadside, in the society's collections since 1906, was authenticated in 1991.

Fourth of July Celebrations

To access a list of Fourth of July celebrations across the state, please visit

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Kind Of Miracle

Last week, at the invitation of Bangor City Council Chair Ben Sprague, I had the honor and pleasure of participating in a panel discussion on hunger and local food systems in Maine. Only he could have convinced me to attend the summit on a sunny day in the middle of planting season. But when there's a public conversation about an issue dear to my heart, I'll travel the state in order to participate.

"There's a hunger beyond food that's expressed in food, and that's why feeding is always a kind of miracle," was the quote from a wise priest I used to begin my panel presentation.  I read it a few years ago in the book Take This Bread.

The event was well-attended; the discussion lively. Sprague opened the summit by pointing out how the face of hunger has changed in recent years. Mark Kelley of the Pulse Morning Show moderated the panel with humor and ease. Other participants included Heather Retberg from Quill's End Farm in Penobscot, a leader in the Maine food sovereignty movement; Melissa Huston from Good Shepherd Food Bank of Northern Maine; Dr. Rebecca Boulos of the University of New England; and Kristen Michelle Brown, a Uinversity of Maine student.
It was most encouraging to hear the stories of a cadre of young people who are working on ending hunger in their communities through education, emergency food relief, and support for the development of resilient local food systems.
The Bangor Daily News covered the summit in print and WCSH6 news ran a segment  on their morning broadcast.

I remain humbled to serve you. Please call me at 377-3276 if you have any questions or concerns.

Take care of your blessings.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Drawing To A Close

Photo by Senator Colleen Lachowicz

This morning, right around one o'clock, the 126th Legislature nearly completed its work. I drove my frost-covered truck west on 202 barely able to focus my too-tired eyes. We will return on Thursday, May 1, at ten o'clock in the morning, to reconsider legislation vetoed by the Governor.

After it is finished, I will reflect on my first term in this most challenging, rewarding, and humbling experience. A few triumphs, lots of setbacks, loads of laughter, and even a few tears. Serving the People of Maine in the Maine Legislature remains the highest honor of my life.

I shall forever remain incredibly grateful to the voters of Winthrop and Readfield. Thank you so much. You have proven that anything is possible.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Ask For Your Help

Dear Neighbor,

As many of you know, I am seeking re-election this year. As I have done for the last two elections, I'm again running as a Clean Elections candidate in order to be beholden to the People only.

If you are a registered voter (Republican, Democrat, Green Independent, or Unenrolled) in Readfield, Winthrop, or a part of North Monmouth, which will be the new District 81, please consider donating $5 in my name online at the following link:

The deadline is April 20, so please don't delay. I need to collect a total of sixty (60) contributions in order to qualify, so if there is more than one registered voter in your household who wishes to contribute, you will need to make separate contributions in order for them to each be counted.

If you've already contributed, thank you very much.

If you don't live in my district but want to support my campaign, I can collect up to $500 in seed money, with no more than $100 from any individual. If you want to make a seed money contribution, please send me a message. The deadline for seed money contributions is also April 20.

It's been an honor to serve you. I hope I may continue for another term.

Thank you for your continued support.

Take care of your blessings.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Holocaust Survivors Attend State House

Remarks on the Joint Resolution Commemorating the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine’s Legislative Awareness Day and Yom Hashoah, the Day of Remembrance presented by Representative Craig V. Hickman of Winthrop – April 8, 2014

Today, we remember the Holocaust because we must never forget.

African Americans and American Jews have interacted throughout much of the history of this nation. This relationship has included widely publicized cooperation and sometimes conflict, and—since the 1970s—has been an area of significant academic research. The most significant aspect of the relationship was the cooperation during the civil rights movement, culminating in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry and tyranny have no place in a free society.

Today, we recognize and honor Holocaust survivors who are citizens of Maine.


Ed Benedikt:  Ed Benedikt left Austria, with his sister, on a ‘Kindertransport’ rescue operation, in December 1938. Kindertransports rescued nearly 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from possible capture, by transporting them via train to the UK. There, they were placed into British foster homes, hostels schools or farms. In 1943, Ed and his sister left England and were able to be reunited with their parents in the US.

Dr. Julius Ciembroniewicz:  Dr. Julius Ciembroniewicz was a young teenager when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. Forced into a life on the run, his family was separated and he spent the war hiding in a monastery outside of Krakow. Upon liberation, Dr. Ciembroniewicz was reunited with only two of his family members and restarted his education. After becoming a physician and neurosurgeon, he defected to England and eventually came to the United State. Dr. Ciembroniewicz continues to be active as a neurosurgeon in Augusta and Lewiston.

Klaus Heimann:  Klaus Heimann grew up in Berlin and was able to leave with his immediate family just days before WWII broke out. They came to NYC. He had relatives, however, who were not able to get out, and perished in the camps. Klaus became an engineer and then ended up in Maine, and, in his retirement, took to repairing sewing machines.

Cantor Kurt Messerschmidt:  Born in Germany in 1915, Kurt was a coach and teacher at a Jewish school in Berlin until 1943 when he was deported with his fiancĂ©e, Sonja, to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia. Within the ghetto, despite long days of forced labor, Kurt sought to be a source of comfort and leadership. Kurt and Sonja married in Theresienstadt but soon were separated when Kurt and his brother, Henry, were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and assigned to work detail at Golleschau. Kurt survived Golleschau and a death march and was liberated in 1945. In the early post-war days, Kurt worked as a teacher and translator in Germany while searching for news of his family. After Kurt’s reunion with Sonja, they lived in Munich until 1950 when they emigrated to the US where Kurt continued his profession as a teacher and musician. 

**Evelyn Panish:  Born in Germany in 1930, Evelyn lived in Berlin until fleeing with her family to China. In 1940, Evelyn and her family escaped Nazi persecution by emigrating to Shaghai via Russia, Siberia and Manchuria. They emigrated to the US in 1947. 

**Charles Rotmil (hidden child Holocaust survivor):  Born in Alsace Lorraine  in 1932, Charles moved with his family to Vienna in 1938. Two years later, they escaped to Belgium and then to France, in their attempts to flee the war against the Jews. By 1943, his mother and sister had died in a train crash and his father had been gassed in Auschwitz. Father Bruno Reynders, a Benedictine monk, took Charles and his brother under his wing, along with 400 other children. They lived in hiding, under false names, until the liberation in 1945. In 1946, he arrived in the United States. He spent many years as a schoolteacher and now is a filmmaker living in Maine.

**Max Slabotsky (Holocaust survivor):  Born in Belgium in 1931, Max learned the art of tailoring from his father. When he was twelve years old, Max was arrested with his parents and sent to Auschwitz where he was put to work for the Germans. In addition to working on a farm that fed Germans, Max cleaned pipes and sorted the clothes from incoming prisoners. After being liberated by the Russians, he became a paratrooper and lived on a kibbutz in Israel before coming to America in 1955, where he would find success as a well-respected tailor.


Just as I did last year, I will close with a quote from James Baldwin, my favorite American author and one of the literary leaders of the Civil Rights Movement:

“One must say YES to life and embrace it wherever it is found, and it is found in terrible places… For nothing is fixed; forever and forever, it is not fixed. The earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fades, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us, and the light goes out.”

Always treat one another with kindness.

Take care of your blessings.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker

(**Present in the House Chamber when the Joint Resolution was presented on April, 8, 2014.)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Winthrop Third Graders in the House

A group of Winthrop third graders toured the Blaine House, the Maine State Museum, and the State House today.