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Kevin Farquharson manages the Corner Store in the center of Gilmanton.He's a young, affable sort of fellow who gives a stranger who asks about Grace Metalious a knowing look. You could almost get a tour bus going." That may be so, but they'd still need to stop and ask for directions.Robert Perreault, a Franco-American scholar, writes that she was raised in a French-speaking household. On the North End of the city the wealthy Yankees distanced themselves from the "foreigners" who worked the mills they ran. Laurette, according to Perreault, purchased trinkets and memorabilia, passing them off as heirlooms from a Parisian ancestry.Laurette was determined that the family would divorce itself from any connection to Petit Canada.Rumors of her cavalier attitude about her "duties" as a housewife began to circulate.She sometimes locked the children out of the apartment when she was writing.Laurette's dream of upward mobility through her daughter was dashed when on February 27, 1943, Grace de Repentigny became Grace Metalious. Laurette was appalled and condemned George as a "dirty Greek." George did his stint in World War II and returned home to menial jobs, eventually using the GI Bill to attend UNH to become a teacher.By this time, Grace had given birth to three children, Marsha, Cindy and Mike.
Grace was enrolled in the Ash Street School, which was public and secular.This early work is nothing remarkable, save for one male character who has to dress in woman's clothing.The Unitarian minister objected and censored the performance, but Grace and the troupe protested and the play was eventually staged. "Murder In The Summer Barn Theatre" would not be the last of Grace's writing that would be censored.When Grace was 10, Alfred deserted the family and joined the Merchant Marines, never to return.Grace grew up in a family of strong-minded women as her mother and both her maternal and paternal grandmothers worked.To that end, the family rented more than seven apartments on the edge of the exclusive North End between 1924-1942.Laurette felt that she had "married beneath herself." She considered her husband an "uncouth barbarian," a blue-collar worker.The apartment was a mess and creditors were dunning the family regularly.To make matters worse, there was considerable talk about town that this "Metalious woman" was writing a thinly veiled book about the people of Belmont.On top of the stone, visitors have left loose change, nickels, dimes, quarters - an ancient custom that symbolizes payment for a debt of gratitude and best wishes to the deceased in the afterlife.The stone is taken care of by her good friend, Jeanne Gallant, who was Grace's neighbor. "The first time I did it I was afraid I'd ruin the color," she says.