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I've never been to Perry's Nuthouse in Maine, but for many years my family had a bumper sticker from the place. Every time you needed to go to the basement you'd see the sticker (and you'd see a life-sized drawing of a goat by my brother, but that's another story).

When our generation began to be far flung, and my parents were traveling, they'd write an omnibus letter and entitle it Nuthouse News. At one point my mother even numbered volumes and editions. Eleven years ago, when some of us put together a cookbook of family recipes, we named it the Nuthouse Cookbook.

Yesterday I set up a web log for the family to use as a newsletter & forum. So of course I named it Nuthouse, after the bumper sticker, newsletter, and cookbook.

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Regarding the origins, I believe the bumper sticker was given to me or Mom and Dad by Bridget Saltonstall, my housemother and friend at Middlesex. I actually visited Perry's Nuthouse last summer on our way to Southwest Harbor, Maine. It's a joke shop and tourist trap; not, as I had always thought, a spice store. But if you need a whoopie cushion or you find yourself fresh out of fake barf or your water-squirting camera just broke, this is the place for you.



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