It was a hot summer day in the small town of Derry, Maine, in 1996.
Shasti Millwork was one of the few millworkers still working in Maine.
“We used to get a lot of people to come down here to work, because the weather was so hot, and the trees were so tall,” she said.
“They would put the poles up in the trees and put the firewood in the ground.”
Millwork had just finished a job for a local company, and she had just had her first baby.
“My baby was born,” she told me.
“And they were looking for a new place to work.
I was the only one that had a baby.
So they asked if I wanted to come and work with them.
And I said, ‘Yes.'”
I had been working at a local hardware store in Portland, Maine for years, and I was eager to make my mark on the company.
And in 1996, Shastis family had just arrived in the town, a tiny town of less than 500 people.
As the mother of two, Shams daughter, Shana, would be the first person in the world to go to college.
But in the months ahead, the family would soon learn that there was no such thing as college.
Shams husband, Bill, had just moved to the small coastal town of Foy, a town of about 5,000.
Bill, who was an experienced lumberjack, had been hired to haul lumber and construction materials for a company called T.C. H.L. The company had been founded in the early 1960s, when lumber and building materials were imported from Europe.
Bill had just left his job at the New England Lumber Company, which was one among many large lumber companies that operated in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Bill’s brother, John, was a veteran of the Civil War and had served in the Marines during the war.
The brothers had worked together as menial labor, and as John later told me, he would tell me that his job was to haul the wood to a truck and bring it back to his family in New Hampshire.
But after he was hired, Bill’s boss told him that he had to work on weekends and that he would have to work for less than the minimum wage.
“It was like a nightmare,” Bill said.
But he knew that he was better than most people at what he was doing.
Bill and his brothers were given the option of quitting or transferring to a different company, but they refused to quit.
“I had a big dream that I wanted,” Bill told me later.
“But I wanted it to be bigger than life.
I wanted the world.
And that’s what I wanted.
And you know, they told me to take it easy.”
In the fall of 1996, Bill and Shams family moved into a modest house in Derry.
Shana Millwork and her sister, Shasta, stayed with the Millwork family in the backyard, and Bill was paid a fraction of what he made at his job.
He worked nights, but he had no money for food.
He also had to pay for rent, so he had the money to buy a small television set for the family.
Bill stayed with his brother and his wife, who were both working.
They had two kids, two cats, and two dogs.
Bill said that he thought his job would eventually go away.
But that didn’t happen.
Bill worked long hours, and at night, he said, he sometimes worked from 7 p.m. until 9 a.m., sometimes 10 p.k.
“The next morning, the kids were in bed,” Bill recalled.
“So the next day, they had to go back to work.”
Shastia Millwork remembers the first time she saw her husband’s face in person.
She was sitting at a desk in the kitchen of her house.
“His eyes were so red, and he was so anxious,” Shasta Millwork said.
Shasta was in her early twenties, and was the oldest of five children.
Her father, William, was the eldest of seven children, and had a strong interest in business.
His family had been successful in the lumber business for years and had built a business.
But over the years, William had started to get impatient with the business.
One day, William told Shastias father that he wanted to take the family business private, and that his family would take care of it.
“He said, `I can’t take it,’ ” Shasta recalled.
Bill agreed, and moved out of the family home.
But Shasta knew that her father had no intention of letting her go.
She began to tell her father about her plans.
“You know, I was very upset about that,” Shastika Millwork told me over the phone.
“Bill told me