City author Sid McKeen has released a new book. "No Time for Moss — The Book a Gritty Maine Mother Never Wrote" tells the story of his own mother's struggle to persevere through wars, depression and times of family tragedy.

The expression "working mom" is familiar to most everyone today, but mothers as family breadwinners have been a significant part of the American scene for generations. McKeen’s book recounts the rocky and nomadic journey of Verna McKeen through the 1900s: running away at 12 from her Millinocket home to join the circus; eloping to wed in Canada at 16; and stoically making do through the doleful decade of the 1930s. In all, she moved no fewer than 50 times in her native State of Maine alone. In her 70s and a great-grandmother — having worked as a waitress, hostess, seamstress, cook, saleslady and store clerk — she was still shaking cocktails as a licensed bartender at such colorful watering spots as the Lucky Cuss Saloon in Tombstone, Ariz. Her legacy is that despite limited means, none of her six children ever felt in any way disadvantaged.

McKeen, with the help of three siblings and a score of audio tapes and diaries left by their mother, tells the family's story in a paperback just out this month. His weekly essay column, “Wry & Ginger,” has appeared for half a century in the Worcester Telegram, making it one of the nation's oldest published commentaries. It won a first prize for humor from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

"No Time for Moss” is available at The Owl and Turtle Bookstore, Camden; Barnswallow Books, Rockport; The Reading Room and hello hello books, Rockland; and the Port Clyde General Store. Inquiries should be directed to

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or