Maine's monster meister
Отправлено: 31 Октябрь 2004 - 12:32:18
Thousands of visitors around the globe throng to Bangor to see everything about Stephen King in the New England town he calls home
By Susan Farlow
Special to The Denver Post
Article Published: Sunday, October 31, 2004
На фото - дом в Бангоре, в котором жил Стивен Кинг, когда получил известие о продаже прав на издание романа "Керри" за $400000
Bangor, Maine -There is no mistaking which house belongs to Stephen King.
Anyone familiar with King's work could pick out his batty abode on West Broadway: A sprawling 23-room Italianate villa, the color of dried blood, sporting a couple of turrets and surrounded by a black wrought-iron fence embellished with winged bats and spider webs.
Gushing out of this piece of unreal estate come the unique yarns of one of the world's favorite (and most prolific) storytellers.
Even a quick glance will tell you this isn't a house with a white picket fence.
The house that horror built sits in a historic district on West Broadway, a wide and leafy boulevard lined with 19th-century lumber-baron mansions. (Trivia tidbit: Some 150 years ago, Bangor was known as the lumber capital of the world.)
Nowadays, it's Stephen Edwin King, not lumbering, that's putting Bangor on the map.
I know this for a fact. When I'm traveling overseas and mention I'm from Bangor, Maine, I often get the response, "Isn't that where Stephen King lives?"
As one of the world's best-selling authors, King could live anywhere. And indeed, he does own a winter home in Sarasota, Fla.,(purchased in 2001) and a summer place in Center Lovell, Maine.
But it's the home in Bangor, a town of 31,000, that is his legendary abode, where he's hung his hat for decades. The town has been an inspiration for many of his books and a shooting locale for several of his films.
The past 35 years, I also have lived in the Bangor area. And, so, when friends would visit from out of town, they'd beg me to drive them past King's unusual home. And my friends are not the only ones wanting to see the house.
Recognizing this interest, the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau launched a series of 90-minute bus tours this past summer called "Stephen King Literary Landmarks Tour," which includes the King house on its route. (Four tours will be offered next season. See The Details sidebar on page 5T for more information.)
Meanwhile, I decide I owe my out-of-town friends a knowledgeable look at Stephen King's Bangor. So finally, with another crop of guests soon to show up on my doorstep, it is time for me to do some homework on King's neighborhood.
One of the best places to begin is Bangor's Betts Bookstore, which specializes in all things Stephen King. If you want a signed or limited edition of a King work, Betts just might be the best place to find it. A temple to Stephen King fans, the store even hands out a free map highlighting King-related sites in town.
Yet you won't find Stephen King's house on the map. But if you ask Stuart Tinker, Betts' owner, he'll point you in the direction of the house - it's not far away - provided you don't look and act like some wild-eyed lunatic out of a you-know-who novel. (The address, however, is no secret. It often can be found in guidebooks, such as "Moon Handbooks: Maine"(Avalon Travel Publishing.)
Built in 1856 and purchased by King in 1980 for $135,000 (and with many significant renovations since), King's bat-bordered mansion on West Broadway is only five blocks from the down-and-out digs he occupied as a struggling writer. The mud-brown house at No. 14 Sanford St. (still a fixer-upper) is where King, his wife and their two children rented a four-room apartment in 1973.
At that Sanford Street apartment, on Mother's Day in 1973, King got a call that would rocket-launch his career: His editor phoned to say the paperback rights for his novel "Carrie" had sold for $400,000. King was on his way to becoming a publishing phenomenon.
As King fans know, many of his works are set in fictional Maine towns. Bangor, for example, is inspiration for the fictional town of Derry, where the novels "It" and "Insomnia" (and others) take place. And numerous Bangor landmarks have shown up in King's books or movie adaptations. One such place is the Thomas Hill Standpipe, a historic water tower (built in 1897) that was featured in "It."
Some say the standpipe is haunted by a child ghost. I don't know. But I have a friend who, for years, has lived near the standpipe.
While my friend never has seen the little ghost, she swears there's "some kind of feeling there."
Other Bangor buildings have starred in films based on King's works, such as the abandoned 1875-built Waterworks building, which acted as a textile mill infested with monster rats in "Graveyard Shift." Then, there's atmospheric Mount Hope Cemetery, the location for three scenes from "Pet Sematary," a movie in which Stephen King himself had a cameo role as a minister at a funeral.
Elsewhere in King's neighborhood, Nicky's Cruisin' Diner on Union Street, about 10 blocks from King's home, has been a favorite eatery of mine for years. And, for years, I'd heard King drops by from time to time.
You easily can see why the diner would pull him in. With its yellow Formica tables, the music of the Everly Brothers or the Beatles playing in the background, and walls decorated with 45-rpm records, Nicky's seems frozen in the 1950s and '60s eras King often has explored in his writings.
One day last spring, I was wolfing down a burger when King walked into the restaurant. He'd come in for breakfast, alone, seated himself at a small booth and read a book as he ate. Nicky's is popular with all age groups, from tykes to grandparents, and such was the clientele on that day last spring. But not a single person pestered King.
I asked one of the waitresses whether King ever is mobbed by the restaurant's customers. "None of the locals bothers him." Then, she added: "I call him Steve."
The waitress concluded that one of the reasons King has a soft spot for Bangor probably is because the "people here leave the guy alone."
I'm not a native Mainer, but my guess is that it has something to do with Mainers' independent and taciturn streak. They mind their own business.
As King was quoted in the London Observer: "When I'm in Bangor people treat me as a neighbor, not as a celebrity freak with two heads, and that's too good to give up."
One of the reasons the good folks of Bangor have a soft spot for King stems from the many millions of dollars he and his novelist wife, Tabitha, contribute to local causes, including a first-rate Little League baseball complex (locally known as the "Field of Screams"), a new aquatic center, a pediatrics unit at a local hospital, major renovations of several public libraries in the area, and high school and University of Maine scholarships.
Back at Betts Bookstore, I immediately come face-to-face with Sammy the dog, owner Stuart Tinker's pooch. Sammy is no Cujo (the fierce and rabid dog in King's novel of the same name). Sammy's a terrier, not a terror. The chubby 6-year-old white West Highland is the self-appointed store greeter, and he's standing on his hind legs hoping for a pet or two.
Sammy and I are surrounded by anything and everything having to do with Stephen King: Books galore (from paperbacks to rarities going for up to $6,000), CDs, coffee mugs, artwork, magnets, T-shirts.
Tinker is a walking encyclopedia on Kingalia, and he's willing to chat, making him a darling of Stephen King fans. By coincidence, one of King's fan clubs, the SKEMERs (stands for "Stephen King e-mailers") was in town for its annual convention, almost always held in Bangor.
But most people who come to Bangor looking for Stephen King Country are not affiliated with any fan club. They're just lovers of his books.
"In the summer, two or three families come in to the store every day who are interested in seeing Stephen King sights," Tinker says.
And arrive they do, from all corners of the world. Tinker tells the story of a man from New Zealand who came in with his three daughters.
"They were traveling in California when the man decided that since they were so close to Bangor, they just had to stop by. So they flew up to Bangor for one day. To see some Stephen King sights."
Next, I swing by King's house to get some more photos. In the span of 10 minutes, four cars have driven up to the residence. License plates reveal fans from North Carolina, Massachusetts, Indiana and New York. All take a photo of King's home.
I ask each one if they are with the SKEMERs club. All say no, that they're just ordinary admirers doing what readers have been doing for years: making a pilgrimage to Stephen King's neighborhood, hoping to see just where the King pen creates magic.
Оригинал статьи см. здесь
Отправлено: 31 Октябрь 2004 - 20:17:20
Отправлено: 17 Ноябрь 2004 - 22:48:27