Raised in one-room farmhouse, Milford native finds readers relate to her story
LOOKING BACK Milford native Catherine Marenghi knew that her childhood was different from that of her peers as she was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. Her family of seven lived a dirt-poor existence in a one-room farmhouse, without indoor plumbing or central heating.
But not until she published her memoir, “Glad Farm,” last month did she discover that in some ways, her story wasn’t as unique as she believed. Though she meets few other people who grew up quite the way she did at that particular time in the Boston suburbs, readers of her memoir and people who attend her readings have shared that they too knew the feeling of embarrassment about their homes or families and the sense that they didn’t have what other people had.
Marenghi left the one-room farmhouse to attend college, which was followed by careers in journalism and business. Currently, she works in media relations for a global software company. But the idea of a house’s undeniable power to determine a person’s destiny stuck with her.
And she used this concept not only to write her book but also to connect with former president Jimmy Carter. When she described her project to him and said she wanted to use proceeds from her book to support his Habitat for Humanity charitable building endeavor, he wrote back, saying that “I, too, was raised in a house without indoor plumbing.”
Marenghi, who now lives in Marblehead, will read from her memoir at the Milford Town Library on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m.
More than just understanding her own experience, Marenghi hopes readers will be inspired to connect with their own personal histories the way she has done. “You learn so much from writing a memoir,” she said. “Everyone should understand where their families came from. We were dirt poor and I didn’t understand why until I embarked upon this project. You need to ask questions, do research, find out who you are.”
The Milford Town Library is located at 80 Spruce St., Milford.For more information, call 508-473-2145 or go to www.milfordtownlibrary.org
REMEMBERING 9/11 The Ayer Shirley Regional High School Drama Club presents “We Remember…9/11” on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. in the ASRHS Auditorium, 141 Washington St., Ayer. This production is a performance of Meron Langsner’s “Bystander 9/11,” a documentary drama drawn from the experiences of New Yorkers during the 2001 attacks and their immediate aftermath. Admission is free and open to the public, though the production rating should be considered PG-13. For more information, call 978-772-2545 or go to www.jacneed.com/ASYD/AyerShirleyDrama.html
GARRISON KEILLOR Spectacle Management presents two performances of “An Evening with Garrison Keillor” — on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 3 p.m. and Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. — at Cary Memorial Hall, 1605 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington. One of America’s most prolific storytellers, Keillor is a writer and humorist best known for his long-running public radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion.” Tickets are $59 to $89and can be purchased at www.caryhalllexington.com or by calling 617-531-1257.
FOR ALL AGES Bridges Together Inc., a Sudbury-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting intergenerational relationships between older adults and youths, will hold a family fair on Sunday, Sept. 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wayside Inn, 47 Wayside Inn Rd., Sudbury. This event is designed to commemorate Intergenerational Awareness Month, a movement celebrating the many benefits of relationships between seniors and children. Events kick off with a “fun run” at 8:30 a.m. and continue into the afternoon with old-fashioned games, relay races, family photos at The Grist Mill, storytelling in The Redstone Schoolhouse, an array of food trucks, pony rides, a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, and more. Tickets are $10 per child and free for seniors and babies; food and special events are an additional cost. For more information, go to www.BridgesTogether.org or call 978-793- 9650.
NEW EXHIBITS The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University presents “David Shrigley: Life Model II,” on exhibit Sept. 11 through Dec. 11. This is British artist David Shrigley’s first solo museum show in New England and the US debut of his Life Model project. Concurrent with Shrigley’s exhibition, the artist’s animated video Start/Finish (2015) will be presented at Rosebud, the Rose Art Museum’s satellite gallery in downtown Waltham, through Oct. 29. The Rose Art Museum is located on the Brandeis University campus at 415 South St., Waltham; the Rosebud gallery is located at 683 Main St., Waltham . For hours and more information, visit www.brandeis.edu/rose/ or call 781-736-3434.
The McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College unveils its new state-of-the-art venue on the school’s Brighton campus at 2101 Commonwealth Ave., Brighton this month. Its inaugural exhibition is “Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections” on display Sept. 12 through Dec. 11 at three concurrent Boston venues: the McMullen, Harvard University’s Houghton Library, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Each venue will highlight one of the three principal contexts for the production of books in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and related developments in design, script, and decoration. For more information, go to www.bc.edu/artmuseum.