I recently wrote an eLetter to a Maine organization that had invited comments on living in Maine, saying...
I am a 74 year-old woman, brought up in Minnesota, now in fair to middling health, living here in Maine, which I have considered to be my "forever home." I have serious pain, heart/lung problems so I walk with a cane but I smile. :-) I am a former technical writer/photo illustrator and adjunct faculty at Ohio State University, with a fun hobby of doing all sorts of art. I enjoy people so being without family, I retired to Maine just over a year ago, wanting one last great adventure among people whom I thought would be self-sufficient, confident, competent, and respectful of those qualities in others. The cool, moist, slightly salty air and fragrant piney woods are a delightful bonus. I feel good here.
My suggestion is that you publish articles encouraging Manners to stop their unkind habit of mistreating others who are from "away", the "summer people", harsh treatment which includes shunning, blacklisting, ghosting, and the nasty trick of inviting the "away" person to participate and then publicly humiliating them, sort of like drawing them out in the spotlight then boot-stomping them. And this has been in the women's groups or church activities. I won't give personal examples because one church man's behavior borders on criminal sexual assault and I don't even want to think about it all. (And I'll bet those who are from Massachusetts don't like being referred to as "M @$$ hats".)
Where did Mainers ever get the idea that this is a respectable way to behave, even in church? From an old woman's perspective, the men seem to be the worst, feeling free to speak sharply and dismissively to women in public, and worse. For example, I have been yelled at by a well-dressed, crazed man while I was standing silently in line at a drugstore (the druggist later apologized for the customer's behavior); and on another occasion a stranger startled me greatly by grabbing and gripping me by my shoulders from behind while I was walking in a meeting because he thought that I should sit down. I am now a little bit afraid to go out in public, particularly as I might fall and break something if startled in this way. My neck and back are too stiff for me to turn to keep track of what is going on behind me.
My master's degree from OSU is in sociology to give you insight into how/why I have taken time to make this assessment of Mainers; I have tried to figure it out because I have been puzzled by it,and because I care. I care about my own safety and well-being, and I care about the Mainers among whom I live. Those who mistreat foreigners, the out-of-staters living in Maine, cannot feel good about this sort of behavior, not and believe themselves to be good people.
Encouraging Mainers to behave respectfully and kindly toward others would be a blessing, I hope you have a way of doing it in your publication.
If you need anything else, just let me know. Happy to help.
Thank you so much for your note. We welcome feedback anytime.
I’m so sorry to hear about your experiences here. I’m well aware of the attitude toward those From Away — I myself am originally from New York but long enough ago that I do a decent job passing. I’ll pass along your feedback to our news editors.
Best, eManager of a Maine Publication
(I redacted the name/organization to provide professional privacy on such a critical issue.)
animation and image by Annmarie Throckmorton, copyright 2023
Below: boot-stomped screen capture from Lifestyle, non-commercial use 2023
(Apparently, boot-stomping is a thing.)
"Mass-hole" slurs in the public domain
screen capture, noncomercial use 2023