Friday, February 5, 2010

A Tribute to J.D. Salinger

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
If only there was one more book. So cries the eternal adolescent inside who grasped at every word Holden Caulfield said by the pen of Jerome David Salinger, better known simply as J.D. Salinger. The Catcher in the Rye came out in 1951, the angry and shunned main character rode a train home after flunking out of another boarding school. All the while, his younger sister, Phoebe, was the only thing that remained pure in his young and jaded life. Pure to the point he tried to wipe away the “F” word from a wall so someone like his sister would never walk along and see it.
It was that word that set American culture on fire. Profane and subversive to many, perhaps; indeed the taboo of profanity and vulgarity had been set free, but subversion hardly seems to fit. Salinger used that word once, and in a context that ironically was a memoriam to American innocence, and now that word is etched so deeply into pop culture that it cannot be burned, blurred, or bleeped away. Now not every time can this word be masked, and no more in American Literature.
This novel was so much more than that, though. In eleventh grade English, it was the first thing that was true. In my anxious and angry adolescence, Salinger’s gentle voice reached me through those pages and said to me: “It’s okay. There are many other lost souls out there to walk beside you.” Caulfield’s anger gave me a sense of righteousness. Five years later, and I read it as a completely different novel that made me laugh at the sarcasm, wit, and indifference to society.
That is what a great novel is. The reader holds more of its meaning than the words themselves.
If only there was one more book. “Catcher in the Rye,” “Franny and Zooey,” “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: an Introduction” and “Nine Stories” are everything this man had to share before retiring from public view for over five decades. “Nine Stories,” to Salinger fans, is also essential reading containing the stories “A Perfect Day for a Bananafish” and “Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut,” where nuanced details like a careless mother resting her child’s glasses face down stir the reader with its beautiful particularity.
Salinger’s disappearance fueled rumors about odd ritualistic habits, pseudonyms (Thomas Pynchon the most famous rumor) and behavior, some of them confirmed by his daughter Margaret’s memoir “Dream Catcher.” Books like “Children’s Letters to J.D. Salinger” attempted to fill that void, and that vast market that yearned for his words. Nothing ever really did fill that void Salinger left. The person at this laptop writing you these words owes his college major, his career, and his dreams as a writer to Mr. Salinger.
If only there was one more book…but there isn’t. These four works are what he had for us, and at the very least and very most, we have that.

York High Athletes Are a Special Group

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The success of the fall athletic programs at York High School is well documented.
All but one of the teams advanced into the Western Maine Class B playoffs and two, girl’s soccer and golf, won state titles.
There were leaders on those teams, some of who won individual recognition in their respective sport.
That group includes Matt Campbell, Aaron Bailey, Emma Clark, Jared Prugar, Alex Moser, and Bill Gauthier.
“They’re an extraordinary group,” York High School Principal Bob Stevens said. “They are terrific athletes who are also terrific kids, good students and mature beyond their years.”
Over the years York has produced some great teams and individuals and this group, Stevens, who has been principal for 32 years, said, “ranks up there with some of those great dynasties. They have their priorities straight.”
“Fall athletics get your year started off right,” he said, “and impacts the students because their attitude and action shows itself clearly on the field and on the track” and that teaches “others the right way to do things. They help in no small measure to create a positive climate in the school.”
Matt Campbell, the son of Greg and Kate Campbell, was named the top golfer in Western Maine for the second year in a row and led his team to the Class B state title.
He’s been playing golf since he was seven or eight, he said, but got really serious about it when he was 10.
He plans to attend Holy Cross next year to play Division I golf. Academically at this point he’s looking at pre-business or political science.
Campbell, who is currently playing on the school’s basketball team, said one of his fondest golf memories is shooting a 32 on the front nine at York Golf and Tennis Club when he was a freshman, a score he has yet to duplicate.
Aaron Bailey captured the individual state golf title but, like his teammate, sees the team championship as a top achievement.
Bailey, the son of Ed and Heidi Bailey, is interested in a career in golf or sports management.
He first played at age five or six, he said, and took part in his first tournament at 12. One of the highlights of his career is carding a 68 at Riverside Country Club.
He has applied to several schools, noting, “I definitely want to play golf in college,” but has not made a decision as yet.
Bailey, like Campbell, is part of York’s basketball team.
The honors keep coming for Emma Clark. She has been named all-conference, all state and all-New England as well as player of the year by both the Portsmouth Herald and the Portland Press Herald.
The daughter of Laurie Knox and Jeff Clark, she will be attending Boston University in the fall on a soccer scholarship.
In her four years as a starter for Coach Wally Caldwell’s team, she has been on two state championship winners. She also plays on the currently undefeated girls’ basketball team and lacrosse.
Last season she said she scored 18 goals and had 30 assists for the 16-2 Wildcats.
Clark said her future might be in occupational therapy or as an elementary school teacher. “I love kids,” she said.
Jared Prugar was named Campbell Conference Player of the Year, leading the Wildcat football team to an 8-1 record and the No. 2 seed in the Western Maine playoffs.
He’s not sure where he’ll attend college next year but hopes to advance his football career. His academic interests are in physical therapy and biomechanical engineering.
One of his best memories of the season was the Wildcats’ upset of Mountain Valley in the regular season finals, snapping its two-year undefeated streak and its four-year undefeated record at home.
The son of Tom and Mary Prugar gained more than 1,300 yards for Coach Randy Small’s team and is currently playing for Small as a member of the Wildcats basketball team.
Alex Moser, the son of Jacqueline and William Moser, won the Maine State Class B championship in cross-country. He’s now a member of the indoor track team.
Schools on his radar for next year include the University of Maine at Orono, the University of Southern Maine, and Florida State. Wherever he goes he plans to keep running.
As to academics he said he’s “not really sure” as to what he’ll pursue. “I’m not really set on any major yet,” he said.
Moser, who is class president and president of the school’s National Honor Society, is also active in the schools’ Sober Friends, a group of over 130 students who have pledged not to use any substances.
Bill Gauthier has compiled a 37-2 record in wrestling while being named team most valuable player and captain.
The son of Ray and Mary Gauthier began wrestling in third grade “and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Colleges he’s thinking about include Drexel in Philadelphia, the Coast Guard Academy and the Air Force Academy. A possible major for him is biology.
In addition to these outstanding Wildcats it must be noted that Randy Small was named Campbell Conference coach of the year.
Photo caption: York High athletes, left to right, Matt Campbell, Emma Clark, Jared Prugar, and Aaron Bailey. (Larry Favinger photo)

Feds to Make Major Investment in Downeaster, Pingree Announces

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced on Jan. 27 that $35 million will be invested in Maine to improve the rail line between Brunswick and Portland to allow an extension of rail service to the Midcoast.
“This is a significant economic boost to Maine,” Pingree said. “It will put over 200 people to work improving the rail line and bring economic development to downtown train stations in communities like Freeport and Brunswick.”
Work will begin immediately on the rail line and train service to Brunswick is expected to start by the end of 2012.
Pingree has been urging Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to fund the project. In a letter to LaHood last year she wrote “the Portland North Project will have an immediate and significant economic impact throughout the northeast region.”
“We’ve already seen how the Downeaster has created economic growth along the existing route,” Pingree said tonight. “Now it’s time to bring that to the Midcoast.”
“This was such a competitive process,” said Patricia Quinn, Executive Director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority. “There were many, many requests for these grants and it’s really an honor that the Maine project was chosen.”
“If Maine had to borrow money to fund this project the interest costs alone would have been $18 million,” Quinn said. “This announcement means Maine taxpayers are going to save millions of dollars.”
Pingree said the extension of the rail line is “a natural tourism generator. Freeport is the number one tourist destination in the state.”
This will fulfill the dream for an awful lot of Maine people to be able to get on the train in Midcoast Maine and ride all the way to Boston,” said Wayne Davis, Chairman of Trainriders Northeast. “Nearly five million people go from the Boston area to Freeport to go shopping. That’s a big market that the Downeaster can tap in to.”