by Ardeana Hamlin
of The Weekly Staff
Though she always loved to write, Rosemary Turgeon of Brewer never expected she’d write a book. But that all changed this past summer when she penned “My Very Special Blankie” for her granddaughter, Faith, 5, who lives with her parents, Matthew and Nell Turgeon in Mechanicville, New York.
Faith, a special needs child with Down Syndrome, attends kindergarten. “She was struggling, and very frustrated because she has difficulty with communication,” said Turgeon, who grew up the ninth of 11 children in Granby, Massachusetts. “So I wanted to do something special for Faith. And also for my other grandchildren, but especially for Faith because she was having such a difficult time.”
Turgeon, whose six grandchildren who call her “Memere,” loves to crochet and she has made special blankets, or “blankies,” as the grandchildren refer to them, for each one. Faith’s blanket has crocheted motifs shaped like bluebirds, flowers, turtles, frogs, lions, pigs, bears and puppies. When Faith’s twin siblings, a boy and girl, were born, Turgeon crocheted a bunting to look like a pea pod for them.
“A special blanket is about the feel, the smell and the comfort,” said Turgeon, the mother of two sons and a daughter.
Whenever Turgeon visits Faith and her family, or vice versa, she tucks Faith into bed and uses the special blanket as a starting point to tell a bedtime story about a little girl named Faith, her four friends Clara, Nora, Jace, Anna And Abby, which just happen to be the names of Turgeon’s grandchildren, and the animals in the blanket.
Faith’s favorite part of the story is taking the turtle and the frog to the pond, Turgeon said. Turgeon’s favorite part is on Page 15, when Memere asks Faith if she’d like to her to tell a story using the special blanket, and Faith answers, “Yes!”
“I always had my nose in a book,” Turgeon said. “I was an avid reader. I couldn’t read enough. I think that gave me a desire to write, but I thought I couldn’t.” Instead she became a nurse, a profession she eventually had to give up because of issues related to her health.
“I always had a lot of imagination,” Turgeon said of the move from nursing to writing.
As a volunteer kindergarten through grade five librarian at Bangor Christian Schools, she was familiar with children’s literature, which gave her inspiration.
“My Very Special Blankie” is illustrated by Turgeon’s friend Marion Fontaine, based on photographs of Turgeon and Faith. “The first time Faith saw the book, she looked at the picture on the cover and said, ‘Memere,’ that’s me!’” Turgeon said.
But the book has deeper a purpose besides boosting the spirits of a small girl or to entertain grandchildren. Proceeds from the book, priced at $9.99, are earmarked for a fund that help Faith’s future needs, including health care and school.
Even though the book has only been in print since September, it already has received one honor. Christian Book Browser magazine selected “My Very Special Blankie” to receive a full page ad, valued at $1,600, in the publication. “I was very surprised,” Turgeon said, “because all their books talk about God. My book doesn’t even talk about God.”
But what the book does talk about is the special kind of love that grows between a grandmother and her grandchildren, and it demonstrates how the telling of stories at bedtime strengthens that love and allows it to grow.
“Faith’s special gift is love. She’s just a joy. The only place on earth where I am a hero is when I am with my grandkids,” Turgeon said.
Turgeon is already writing her second book, “My Very Special Visit to Maine.” She also is working on a woman’s devotional book, based on notes she has taken over the years while listening to Sunday morning sermons at Bangor Baptist Church.
Turgeon will talk about her book and sign copies 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at The Briar Patch in Bangor; 1-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at Bookstacks, Main Street in Bucksport, 3-6 p.m.Friday, Dec. 12, at Lamb’s Books, Stillwater Avenue, in Bangor; and 2:30-4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, Bangor Christian Elementary School Bangor . The book also is available at amazon.com.
“Anyone who has bought the book or buys one through Dec. 20 will have his or her name go into a drawing for an animal blanket like the one in the book, and for a Noah’s Ark blanket,” Turgeon said. The drawing for the blankets, which Turgeon crocheted, will take place on Sunday, Dec. 21.
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