May's last weekend was a bit dreary, chilly and damp. The end of May can be like that.
But, nonetheless, people turned out to pay their respects on Memorial Day. During the gatherings for Newagen and Southport I had a brief visit with Rear Admiral Howard who led veteran marches throughout the region. Admiral Howard flew in from California to participate in the day's events. Come to find out, Admiral Howard is no stranger to the area. He has been coming to Maine since he was 6 months old and supports the view that Maine is “The center of the Universe.” This coming from someone who has had many visits to many places. It is not an uncommon feeling among people I have met here over the years, who, given the opportunity, could live anywhere in the world. Maine is coming home.
Admiral Howard's family has been coming to Boothbay Harbor for generations, from all directions. His father, captaining Aegis cruiser Anzio, visited once inside Squirrel Island, much to pilot Eliot Winslow's protestations. His father's response to Captain Winslow's objections, “A warship of the line ready for combat goes where it must.” I think coming home meant a lot to Captain Howard, by whatever means! I believe I have photos of that event from Hooper's Factory Cove front lawn.
Then last week another vessel returned to Harbor waters; 60 years ago, the Paul Luke Boatyard built the lovely Sparkman and Stephens designed 37' sloop once named Golden Fleece. I noticed the boat in a main shed at Bristol Marine over the winter during one of my weekly visits to photograph the Ernestina-Morrissey project. Tucked neatly off in a corner, the Luke boat glowed when the shed big doors rolled back. Then recently I bumped into Eben Wilson who I hadn't seen since he was a little boy growing up in East Boothbay. He was sanding the beautiful mahogany hull above the waterline in preparation for varnish. What a thrill it was to see him again and super special to learn about his family's recent acquisition. I had made one of my first four color brochures for Eben's dad, Nat, back in the early ’80s. I was pleased to learn that Nat had made the sails for Luke.
For the launch, Eben, wife Dana, children Lettie Jane and Elise, extended family and friends arrived to watch and support. Dana works at Bigelow Labs and has summered all her life on Ocean Point – she is of the Turpie tribe. It was a festive if not fleeting moment. Even the boat's previous owner, Beth Fisher, was on hand to celebrate the event.
Congratulations to all. Maine truly is a welcomed home.