Anita M. Hodge
Author's note about her experience in writing Acadia Lost
“I can’t claim an Acadian heritage – my ancestors came to Virginia in the seventeenth century. But, during the years my children were growing up, our family lived within a short drive of John Winslow’s 17th century home in Marshfield, MA. Our old house was built in about 1675.
In 2006, years after we were gone from that house, I began to write ACADIA LOST and was well into the story when, in one of the many references provided to me through my friends at Schooner Books in Halifax, NS, I came across a familiar name. It was that of one of the 18th-century owners of my old house! Isaac Keen had caused Pierre Pellerin to be thrown into the Plymouth jail for not paying his rent. Pellerin’s family petitioned the Massachusetts legislature for the money that they should have provided the family for their support.
That made me feel differently about the old place. While living there I had imagined the previous residents of that house being New Englanders called Isaac, or Peleg or Josiah, but never that anyone else might have lived there other than members of the Keen family.
Could the Pellerin family, living in a house rented from Isaac Keen, have been residents of my old house some 200 plus years before my family moved there? I have no proof that they were, but I think it’s plausible.
Living in an old house requires one to be comfortable with the past, and with other lives having been lived in those very rooms one now thinks of as one’s own. If walls could talk, what stories could they tell? Those same walls that watched my family grow could have witnessed the challenges that faced a family of exiles mourning the loss of their home and the lives they were accustomed to live on their Acadian farm.
I learned from this experience that historic facts that light our knowledge of the past are like headlines and the rest of the story waits beneath, sometimes in layers, each ready to be revealed to those who care to explore and search it out. “
Hodge is a retired scientist and public relations professional living and working on Cape Cod. She is grateful for the support of her publisher who is also located on Cape Cod and readily acknowledges he now knows more about the Acadians than he ever imagined possible.