In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Presque Isle: The Star City

Moving to Maine: There to Here

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Tractor plowing snow, Lovell,  ca. 1930
Tractor plowing snow, Lovell, ca. 1930Lovell Historical Society

After they got over the “snow amazement” phase, my parents found an over abundance of food. In Vietnam, there was little to eat, steamed rice, vegetables, and whatever they could find for their supper. They never had leftovers; they didn’t have enough food to have leftovers. What was common here was foreign to my mother and father. Potatoes are extremely common here, but my mother had never heard of the word “potato” until she moved to the County. My mother and father did have sweet potatoes, but they were the size of a twelve year-old’s fist. It was normal to eat only lunch and dinner in Vietnam. “Only the rich people ate breakfast,” my mother said.
My parents are now nail artists in Presque Isle. In Vietnam, they did other, more strange things that we don’t do here. My mother had to herd five water buffalos, and my father worked in rice and peanut fields. They both got little pay on some days, no pay on others. My father was a teenager before he could afford a bicycle. It was the easiest way to get around other than walking. Vietnam didn’t have any paved roads like the United States and my parents couldn’t afford to buy shoes, so walking made their feet bleed and dirty. They had to walk three miles everyday to and from school and work. My mother was twenty-one when she first drove a car, about a year after she had my older sister in the United States.