Chapter 15, 16, 17 and 18: Flathead, 1829, 1830, 1831 and 1832
For me, these chapters of the novel are truly special. They describe the first years of marriage between Ananias and Grace during which their three children are born. The wonderful experience of newlyweds getting to know and understand each other is on full display, and offers the opportunity for the reader to get to know and understand them. An open window is presented, through which we glimpse their characters reacting to the trivial and to the exceptional.
A marriage bed is purchased. The wedding day is celebrated and the wedding night is consummated. The details of routine domestic life are particularly elucidating.
Coastline near Flathead
Two scenes, the first when Grace is pregnant with her first child, and the second, which allows us to tag along when the whole family goes blueberry picking, are written to be comical encounters - but are nonetheless loaded with foreshadowing and pertinent insights.
Blueberries on the Ridge
Ananias is also forced to once again confront his past head on when someone from Bridport suddenly appears. But then a particularly catastrophic event dispenses with the old-world hauntings almost as quickly as they materialized.
Coastline near Flathead
To say any more about these critical chapters would give away crucial elements of the plot and invariably, the climax of the story.
The pictures I have included with this post take you along the coast from Otterbury (where, incidentally, my grandmother was born) through to Blow-me-Down and on as far as Flathead. But I have to admit to a certain confusion regarding Flat Rock (or Flatrocks) and Flat Head. The former is now inhabited again with Deering's and Evely's who have returned since the community was resettled in the 1960s. There are numerous summer cabins there as well, literally just up the hill from Freshwater.
The latter, Flathead, is only referenced in family documents (and they do distinguish from Flat Rock) and in the oral histories. While writing the novel, I had assumed that Flathead and Flat Rock may have been used interchangeably to refer to the same place. I have since come to believe that this is entirely inaccurate, and am now convinced that the Case family were quite likely the only people to have built houses and lived Flathead.
If you walk up the path from Salmon Cove which begins at a point about half way up along the pond, the area that you come out onto when you reach the top of the Ridge was likely the Flathead referenced in my family records. It is my intention to research this more thoroughly in the coming months with senior people now living in Salmon Cove. I am sure I will have the record set straight.
There are few traces of these communities left (foundations, potato drills, root cellars and rock fences) to make actual distinctions. But please, enjoy these pictures of the abandoned sites as they are today.
This was once the home of Ananias and Grace.