Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories/Auntie Knickers’ Advent Storytime: December 2

Once again, I find I have nothing further to report on the writing prompt for today in the Geneabloggers’ Advent Calendar: Holiday Foods. Since I went on and on about them last December, you should look there if you want to know about some of our food traditions. Or, you could listen to tonight’s story, Robert P. T. Coffin’s Christmas in Maine.  Robert Peter Tristram Coffin is one of four literary figures memorialized in the sidewalks of our town, and the only one who is a native of this area (the others, who all sojourned here for just a few years, being Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.)
Artwalk Coffin300
Coffin not only grew up on a farm in Harpswell, he stayed around as a professor at Bowdoin College, while also writing Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry as well as memoirs and other works. I wrote more about Coffin in the blog for December 21, 2008. 
I chose the song “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen” as sung by the BBC Welsh Chorus to accompany this night’s reading because it sounded to me like something the Coffins might have sung on their sleighride. According to both William Studwell in his useful The Christmas Carol Reader and Walter Ehret and George K. Evans in The International Book of Christmas Carols, the melody dates from at least the 18th century and probably earlier; the words are probably 18th century and may have originated with the London Waits, carolsingers of the time.  This carol is even mentioned in DIckens’ A Christmas Carol when Scrooge nearly assaults a carolsinger who dares to serenade him.
The recorded introduction was for 2006 when Sisterfilms was still living in City of Lakes and was flying out to be with us for Christmas.

No comments: