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Sally Bouchard

Ties that Bind
By Sally Bouchard
Jul 9, 2006 - 8:00:00 AM

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It is class reunion time in Millinocket, a time for old friends to get together and enjoy each others company; time to remember the good times and be with old friends.

It was nothing fancy for my class. We had great food, old music (not loud), we just sat around talking and enjoying each others company.

Earlier in the day, we went to the cemetery to put on red rose on the classmates graves. They all died too young; the youngest was only eighteen when he died and now with all the medical technology, he might of lived.

We remembered the ones who have gone; childhood friends, old neighbors, some with whom we shared the first day of school. They were with us Sunday night, and they are not forgotten.

We lost eighteen of our classmates, fifteen who are buried here in Millinocket. Some died of illness, others were killed in accidents, but all of them died too young. Growing up in Millinocket, a small town in America, we knew them all; they are part of our past and our memories.

Fifteen red roses on their graves; good friends are gone but we will not forget you.

Politics entered our day with buttons from an organization called the Millinocket Growth and Investment Council (MAGIC). It was neither the time or the place to bring up that organization. It was our time to be together without any outside organization using that time to give themselves publicity, and some of us were not happy.

Also brought up was a two hundred thousand dollar survey. The money for that survey came to MAGIC from a grant from the Federal Government.

Why people left and if they would come back, this was money that was wasted, as the answers to the questions are all around us; just look at you. Just look at your town.

I have also done a survey, without any cost to the taxpayers of the United States.

Without jobs, our people are leaving. They will have ties to Millinocket, but they canít stay here. They are our younger generation.

Some are coming back to spend time where they grew up, but their children donít live here; the children are gone.

Others are moving south to be near their children and grandchildren, and they will not be back.

There were three generations of ties to one another; from our grandparents, our parents and to our generation but those ties are being broken, our young are leaving.

Many who came back for our hundredth anniversary will not be back again. They no longer have any family members here, so their ties are broken. They always will remember Millinocket, their friends and their classmates, but they wonít be back.

There are many who have left and want to come back to the community that they grew up in and raise their children here, but they canít, as there are no jobs. They want to continue the ties they have to Millinocket but they need jobs in order to do it.

There are ties that bind us; our relatives, our friends and classmates, our neighbors, and our community, but those ties are being broken.

The organization called MAGIC didnít belong at our reunion. Too many of us have lost faith in MAGIC and we see our community slowly drying up and our people leaving, while MAGIC is bringing in new residents instead of bringing in business that will help keep some of young people here.

In Millinocket, talk isnít cheap. Money is being spent with no results. Grant money is coming in: these are your tax dollars they are using, and with no accountability, while our town is slowly drying up.

Neither surveys of why people are leaving, or a cultural center will save Millinocket. A community is comprised of the people who live here, and too many of our town officials no longer care what the people think. Their ties are to special interests, and their efforts are devoted to helping themselves.

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