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Down to the River is a family saga set in the late 1960s in Cambridge, Massachusetts against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Twin brothers, Nash and Remi Potts, have grown up as entitled, Harvard-educated golden boys, heirs to an old but dwindling family fortune. With the passage of time, the gold veneer of prosperity begins to chip away, and their lives begin to falter.
We meet Remi and Nash in 1968, in their mid-forties and partners in a sporting goods store in Harvard Square. The twins’ marriages are in trouble. Their youngest children, Chickie and Hen (mistakes, they’re often called…), are coming of age during the turbulent urban wilderness of the late 1960s—school bomb threats, racial tensions, war protests and demonstrations at Harvard and beyond. With all hell breaking loose at home, and any semblance of “parenting” hanging ragged in the wind, the two cousins are left largely to their own devices. Suddenly freed from old rules and restrictions, they head out onto the streets of Cambridge, which become their concrete playground, tumbling headlong into a world of politics, sex, drugs, rock and roll.
Anne Whitney Pierce is a life-long Cantabrigian and author of two books, Galaxy Girls: Wonder Women, and Rain Line. While raising her three daughters, she taught writing at the WLP graduate Writing Program at Emerson College in Boston and to younger students in the Cambridge public schools.