Collins Brook, A Maine Free School
Currently in stock. Contact me if you would like an autographed copy. Available at local bookstores and on Amazon.
As a lifetime educator and an art teacher in the public schools for 29 years, I know first-hand how many students are not served by our current approach to education. This book is about a remarkable man who is a trailblazer in finding a way to educate the whole person. The journey of Collins Brook is parallel to the journey of the man who is trying to find his place in the world and working to create something new inside and out. Jacob's story is an inspiration to all of us who struggle to find a new way to educate our children and ourselves.
Cathy M. Grigsby, artist, educator, minister
Some communities used spiritual glue to hold them together. Eastern philosophies and gurus abounded. This was a time when orthodox religions and main stream/main line churches were beginning to lose members. The young generation of hippies was searching for both social and spiritual freedom. A religious crack was appearing in the culture. Time Magazine had published a cover story in 1966 with the question in bold type: “Is God Dead?” Well over 3000 readers wrote letters to the editor with their opinion one way or the other. The question was in the air. God may have been questionable, but spiritual realms had new life, and new forms. This was offering a new quality for connection and community, a new glue. Transcendental Meditation (TM) trainings were popular, if pricey. Yoga studios were opening and meditation courses were beginning. Music was simultaneously chronicling and serenading the changing times, giving them a certain cohesiveness. Beatle songs, especially on albums like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which sold 32 million copies, celebrated freedom for the individual and for the culture. When our teenagers played the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, I felt the generational split even more than the divide between students and director. Much of the new music was about or influenced by drugs and drug experiences of an altered state of consciousness. Sharon and I had never used psychedelic drugs such as LSD, mushrooms, mescaline or peyote. What held our school together was the Summerhill philosophy.
from from Chapter 8 Freya the Newfoundland 1971-72
Some ‘classes’ took the form of projects. One such class grew from an article I read in the Whole Earth Catalog about inflatable structures, large plastic creations filled with air generated with an electric window fan. It was in the spring and we were tired of being indoors. One warm day, I ran a long extension cord outside and hooked up a big window fan to sheets of construction plastic that we had taped together with duct tape to create a large animal with a long tail, four sprawling feet and a drooping neck and head. I had lots of help from the middle school kids who cut the plastic and taped the pieces together, then decorated the finished sculpture with red spray paint. The finished creature was almost 20 feet long. The kids painted sharp white teeth on the mouth and called it a dragon. It looked fearsome rolling around the dirt circle outside the dining room, pulsing erratically with air from the fan. The older kids named it “Puff.”
from Chapter 9 The Red Dragon 1972-73
Almost 20 years ago, when Chime was just a dream, Penny, Joel and I - chaplaincy students at the interfaith Chaplaincy Institute for Arts & Healing Ministries in California - sailed from Rockland aboard the Sunbeam, where we served a week as interns, helping to bring spiritual care to Maine coast island communities.