This is Banned Books Week, a time when it’s always good to reflect on censorship and how important it is to defend our First Amendment rights. The list of books banned in the past (and the present, in some backward places) invites disbelief. Gone With the Wind? Huckleberry Finn? The Color Purple?
This has nothing to do with books or writing, but I’d like to plug the town I live in, Westbrook, Maine, just five miles from Portland. I moved here more than 17 years ago and have become very fond of the place. It has good restaurants, a nice library, a fabulous art gallery, a community theater, an attractive River Walk and park downtown, and happens to have the largest movie theater in Maine, with 10 screens. The town government is sensible. We are conveniently near Portland, but enjoy small town life. The Maine Mall and airport and highways are all close but not too close.
The only famous person I know of from Westbrook is Rudy Vallee, who was a huge star in his day on the radio, in concert and in movies. The house where he lived is just around the corner from mine. He is buried in the peaceful, well-tended St. Hyacinth cemetery here in Westbrook. Did you know that he had a degree from Yale and was an accomplished songwriter and composer as well as performer?