It was another rainy day in PEI (8/3/11). I decided to hit the library at UPEI again. This time, I perused The Bend in the Road, an interactive CDROM available at Bookstores here. It contained a lot of good information: A timeline of Montgomery’s life, her photographs, pages from her scrapbook, and interviews with various people (including Jennie Macneill.) I took notes on a lot of her life events. One of the most interesting things I found included a list of her teachers, after whom characters in her books were modeled. As a teacher myself, I found the descriptions of the “real life” teachers uncannily caricatured in her stories. The other fascinating detail was the speculation on whether or not Montgomery committed suicide. Knowing what I think I do about her, I find it hard to believe, so when I got home, I began to do some research. I do understand where the theories came from, and am fully cognizant of the risk it took for her granddaughter to reveal such a thing, but I agree with Dr. Rubio that the note was misinterpreted as a suicide note. So you can make your own conclusion, here is the text of the note:

“This copy is unfinished and never will be. It is in a terrible state because I made it when I had begun to suffer my terrible breakdown of 1940. It must end here. If any publishers wish to publish extracts from it under the terms of my will they must stop here. The tenth volume can never be copied and must not be made public during my lifetime. Parts of it are too terrible and would hurt people. I have lost my mind by spells and I do not dare think what I may do in those spells. May God forgive me and I hope everyone else will forgive me even if they cannot understand. My position is too awful to endure and nobody realizes it. What an end to a life in which I tried always to do my best.”

Key points which influenced me: Her religious beliefs stressed duty and would not have made allowances for suicide. Secondly, the letter had a page number on it, as part of her journals which were intended for publication; therefore, I think this is an analysis of the depressing state she was in throughout that journal, and information of the boundaries for the time and substance of the publication. Additionally, the fact that she says, “In my lifetime” implies she intends to have a lifetime to come, so I think the “What an end…” statement refers to the fact that she was dealing with so much pain covering up for her husband, not the fact that she would kill herself. I guess people will have their own opinions (or take the announcement as fact and not think for themselves, more likely…).

Kensington Station

After the library, we decided to head for Bideford early and make a few stops along the way. We started at Kensington Station, which is supposed to be the model for the train station in Anne of Green Gables. Additionally, the train station marks the spot from whence the newly wedded Maud and Ewen left for their honeymoon. Montgomery (Macdonald by then) also went on various trips to and from that location.

The Shipyard at Yeo House

As we still had time, we decided to the Yeo house (which I believe is the spot from which the girl eloped, as told in a previous Wednesday meeting). There’s an old shipyard there as well. We learned at our Wednesday meeting that it is supposed to be haunted. If by “haunted” you mean twenty million mosquitoes, it definitely is. Other than that (and the fact that the GPS showed us driving on water while we were there), nothing abnormal took place.

Reading / listening to the Wednesday stories

Finally, we made our way to the “Wednesdays with L.M. Montgomery” gathering. Once again, we had an enjoyable time mixing short stories by L.M. Montgomery with selections of her journals. In this case, we read a story about a young lady sharing flowers to help brighten others’ days. Then, we read one about a man who had initially proposed to an old maid, who said to ask her in a year, since he was significantly younger than she was. When he returned, she was prepared to accept him, and he had changed his mind. So, we looked at the contrast between the different types of writing she did. A great evening!