On Maine’s southern border with New Hampshire, a large blue sign stands at the north end of the Piscataqua River Bridge. “Welcome to Maine—the way life should be,” it reads. For decades, motorists have passed this landmark on their way north, and it’s become an iconic part of the state’s brand.
In my two years at Bowdoin, I have thought about my home state more than ever before. Surrounded by people from different regions of the country and around the globe, I have the opportunity both to engage with diverse perspectives and to critically consider my own.
In 2013, Josh Katz, a graphics editor for The New York Times, published an online dialect quiz entitled “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk.” After you answer a series of questions about what term you might use for a specific concept and how you might pronounce a certain vowel, the quiz compiles your answers and shows you a heat map of what areas of the United States correspond to the linguistic features of your speech.
Growing up in Orono, Maine, I was never far removed from Maine’s paper industry. On some days, when the wind was right, the acrid scent of the paper mill in Old Town would waft down the Penobscot River and into my house.
Bowdoin College prides itself on its connection to community. Visit our website and you’ll see countless references to Brunswick and to Maine, touting the College’s close relationship with its Midcoast host and the state it sits in.
In her recent inaugural address, Maine’s new governor Janet Mills laid out an ambitious plan to bolster the state’s economy, combat the opioid crisis and address climate change. She also sent a strong message of unity to her audience, proclaiming, “We are one Maine, undivided, one family from Calais to Bethel, from York to Fort Kent.” With this one sentence, Governor Mills did more than set a new course from the divisive LePage era.
This past summer, as I was inspecting storm drains in a neighborhood of Sabattus, Maine, an elderly man approached me from his driveway. His name was Marcel, and though he was initially only curious about what I was doing, our conversation soon blossomed into a discussion about his life.
Next week on October 17, Central Maine Power (CMP) is holding its final public hearing on New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), a proposed transmission line through Maine’s North Woods that would connect hydroelectric power generated by provincial utility Hydro-Québec to customers in Massachusetts.
September in Maine is a wonderful experience. The leaves begin to turn, the days get colder, the apples ripen to perfection and the harvest begins. Accompanying these seasonal changes in the environment, however, is an event that truly marks the transition to fall: the departure of most of Maine’s tourists.
In April of 2016, in my junior year of high school, I came to Bowdoin on the first stop of a series of college tours that took me across New England. I don’t remember much from that inaugural visit, but I do remember one particular landmark: a small, red brick building on the north end of the quad.