, Newburyport, MA


March 28, 2014

A magic carpet ride to a past century

Not often, but every once in a while something in what I like to think is my home library makes its presence known by way of accident.

I was moving some larger books from one of the less reachable shelves this past week when a smaller one behind them fell to the floor.

I was momentarily stunned as I read the cover because I couldn’t believe I had a book authored by the doctor who had not only saved my wife Susan’s life a few weeks following our marriage in 1943, but had made it possible by her further surgery for us to have four sons and a daughter years later.

His book was published in 1955 by Newburyport Press, and I had yet to read it?

I have no clue as to why.

The title?

“The Enchanted Journey.”

The author?

“Lincoln C. Peirce, MD.”

Those of a certain age in greater Newburyport will remember him as one of a much-reduced cadre of local doctors during and just beyond our Second World War.

I had trouble putting the book down when necessary.

It was his colorful reminiscence of the life and times of his father, mother and two uncles that had me aboard a magic carpet ride of more than a century past.

Books of reminiscence tend to be reflections that, if too personally centered, fail to gather us in.

I found this one to be more than that.

Informal and personal as it may be, his telling of what life in the smaller patches of Greater Newburyport was like a hundred years ago is exceptional.

It also invited its readers to share in the changes of transportation from horses and buggies to street cars and automobiles.

It was a time of country living of importance to both those in it and those in cities and towns dependent upon it for farm products.

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