Friday, December 13, 2019

Raymond author Cheryl Blanchard never set out to be a writer

By Joe McNerney

On Wednesday, December 4, Cheryl Blanchard the author of “236 Cumberland Ave. Portland Maine” was at the Windham Public Library to talk about her recent book describing a time over 50 years ago when she and her ten siblings were living in a haunted apartment building in Portland
“I never knew my family history would be so interesting to others,” she said. It was true that Blanchard and her family had put many childhood memories behind them. This was to do with unnatural occurrences that had plagued them while living at a house in Portland -
236 Cumberland Ave.

Cheryl Blanchard
Blanchard’s father was an entertainer, a trait which seemed to be passed on to his children. 
When seeking better opportunities in Portland, he moved the family from Lubec eventually making their home at 236 Cumberland Ave.

As the title of her book suggests, it is the source of many memories. Many of which have supernatural incidents that were at the time very traumatic. In her book she describes silhouettes looming around, even calling some of them demonic.  In one chapter she describes going down to the tunnel underneath the house. Her brother in particular had very unsettling feelings. 

This is why her chapters are ended with them never speaking of it again. This was until a friend, who was interested in the history of the building, asked Cheryl to write down memories of childhood.

Sitting down with her family, they began to recall memories. Not all of which were good.

“You can’t imagine how wonderful it was,” she recalled fondly. “We could all remember which things happened to whom. It all started flooding back.”

Much of her childhood was shadowed by these dark memories. But just as it would seem that all would be bad – there were good times, too. “Music is what saved us,” stated Blanchard about her father’s love of music. “We all just had music in our blood. We never received lessons, we were all just always singing and dancing.”

Once the stories come flooding back, Blanchard wrote them all down and it became became a book. She was shocked to see the interest in her story. In fact, she’s surprised to have been asked to be interviewed on television. “The chat show 207 has reached out to me, as well as Stephen King.” she said. 
In addition to her speaking engagement last week at the Windham Public Library, Blanchard has been asked to talk about her book and experience at other libraries across the state. There has been quite the interest in her story.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s made into a movie,” she said.

Blanchard is selling the book herself, hoping to eventually be able to publish more copies. 
Her story has elements of Portland history mixed with family heritage and paranormal occurrences. If you'd like to read her book, you can pickup a copy at the Windham Public Library, 271 Windham Center Road. 

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