BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
ANCHOVIES AND EARLY MAINE SETTLERS
(From Pacific to Atlantic oceans)
The northern anchovies had a choice: be eaten by a predator in their coastal water site or seek shelter in a harbor. They instinctively knew the danger in their waters. They couldn’t predict the danger in the harbor. After all, a harbor is reputed to be a safe haven.
They didn’t know whatever choice they made would be fatal—being eaten by a predator or deprived of oxygen in the harbor. They couldn’t know they would become a pungent-smelling silvery blanket on the harbor’s water surface, which would create a feeding frenzy for harbor seals, pelicans, and seagulls.*
The between-a-rock-and-a-hard place-story took place in Marina Del Rey, California.
This story takes me back to my time of my ancestral discovery in Maine—to Old Orchard Beach and Thomas Rogers, who wed Esther Foxwell in 1657, to be specific.
Thomas was an inhabitant of Old Orchard as early as 1638. He was probably a gardener bred. His house and plantation in Goosefair were near the sea and in the middle line of a patent. The fruit trees and grape vines he planted, some of which were standing in 1770, led early coastal explorers refer to his cultivated land as Rogers Gardens. The remains of his orchards gave the town its name: Old Orchard.
Then the Indians attacked his house. After a severe struggle, in which some of them were slain, they withdrew. Mr. Rogers and his family immediately moved to Kittery. Having left some goods in his house at Goosefair, his sons and others went to remove them.
Local oral history relates the following story:
While gathering their belongings Native Americans attacked the Rogers family, which escaped to the out-jutting rocks on the beach, where they could hide. As the tide rose, they were confronted with a choice: stay hidden and drown, or leave, taking the chance that they could escape the warring Native Americans.
The Native Americans slew all the family members. The bodies were found on the seashore and buried near the house lot. Thomas Rogers never returned to his plantation, remaining in Kittery where he died, leaving two sons.
Between a rock and a hard place. Similar stories, different beings and different United States coastlines. All God’s creatures caught in impossible situations and losing life.
Fortunately for us, most of the time we don’t lose our life when we are between a rock and a hard place. Problems can usually be resolved with patience, creativity, and faith, often taking us in unexpected directions. I invite you to share a problem for which you felt trapped between a rock and a hard place, but one which you managed to solve. Use the comment box below to tell your story.
The Googins Family in America by Charlotte H. Googins, 1914