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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Sippican’s Guide To Post-Irene Rumford And Brand Marketing In Education

The semi-mighty Androscoggin River rolls past my house on its way to the sea. The town of Rumford was founded to take advantage of the falls you see there. They’re the largest falls east of the Mississippi except for Niagara. Whoopdy. There’s a hydroelectric plant up there on the right, with a nice tangle of Frohnkhenshteen coils and such out by the road. It’s close enough to my house to make the hair on my arm stand up if I’m near the window, and yet somehow I pay some of the highest rates for electricity in the country. Ah, public utilities conjoined to “green” power.

Electricity was just a sideshow for the river. They wanted the river for paper. They’d cut pulpwood in the vast empty nothing north and west of here and pitch it into the river, and collect it here to make it into paper. There’s another river right on the other side of town, the Swift, and they join up downtown. Locals still refer to the area betwixt and between the rivers as “The Island.”

The river was roaring yesterday. We’re used to it here in the spring, when the snow melts, but it’s unusual this time of year. It smelled unusual. It was the color of poorly mixed Bosco and smelled like the mulch aisle at Home Depot. Every once in a while a whole tree would bob past like a drinking straw.

The towns around here are piquantly named, and would serve to name a thousand bad rock bands. Ladies and gentlemen: MEXICO FIRE !!!!!

I don’t know what the “University College” is. I know no one will be playing softball next to their sign anytime soon.

“University College” reminds me of Blutarsky’s sweatshirt, or Doctor Nick’s “Upstairs Hollywood Medical College.” Personally, I think there’s a chance that all that name firepower isn’t going to be enough to get your average, or even below average Mainer off the couch (the one on the porch, natch)and into the classroom. Why chicken out halfway? Why not the University College Academy? The University College Academy School? The University College Academy School Institute? Hows about: The University College Academy School Institute Lyceum? We could go with: The University College Academy School Institute Lyceum, Truck Driving Asylum, Fill Dirt Conservatory, Storm Door Seminary, and Hairdressing Matriculatin’ Military School. Done.

See, I’m an idea man. I offer these nuggets up every day, like a racehorse. Take one and pass it around.

5 Responses

  1. I remember a small town high school out in the hinterlands of Montana wanting to raise money for their basketball team, which, apart from the annual rodeo was the only thing going in these small towns. At the Billings Gazette we used to wait for the very last scores to come in before putting the paper to bed. If these folks didn't see their basketball game covered, it usually meant a half dozen subscription cancellations, and that meant no papers would be going out to Malta.
    Anyhoo, this school in Absarokee, Montana, which housed all the grades k-12 decided to raise money for their basketball team's traveling expenses: They printed up very official looking tee shirts with the Official looking Seal of the University of Absarokee on it. And they made a lot of money. My husband still has his, threadbare as it is. And people still ask him about that university. Here is Absarokee, Montana on Google:

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