Saturday, June 11, 2016


More than one hundred years ago, The Gang assembled for a group shot on the public dock in East Boothbay, Maine; they all summered in cottages strung along the shores of Murray Hill overlooking Linekin Bay, all learned to swim in those freezing waters, all spent lazy high-tide afternoons diving and jumping off the public dock, keeping cool.
         Two of those young men in the back row are relatives of mine--the last two on the right are my great-uncles, Richard and Allen. And I’m pretty sure that one of the boys in the front row is my great-uncle Prescott, although I can’t tell which one. Furthermore, I'll bet the photo was taken by my grandfather, who should be in the picture...but isn't.
          The two women? I’m not sure. The one on the far left might be Jessie Gould (a cousin)—I’m basing that guess on the gold bracelet she’s wearing on her left arm (I have one, too; given to me by my father on my twenty-first birthday)—but the one on the right is totally unknown.

But look at the swimwear!
          My grandfather told me once that those bathing suits were made of wool.
I can’t imagine.
          He said the “itch factor” was sky-high—not while they were in the water, but when they were out—and they spent most of their time trying not to scratch in inappropriate places!
          I love the pale, skinny legs and the combination of brown forearms and white upper arms—the boys obviously rolled their shirtsleeves in the summer…
          And look at Richard’s striped number! Clearly, the height of men’s fashion in the early 1900s. Allen’s wearing white bottoms, which might be another fashion trend.

I can’t imagine my great-grandmother going for that bit of foolishness!

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Stream, gristmill, undershot (or overshot) waterwheel…it’s a standard here in New England; has been fodder for painters and photographers—even poets and lyricists—for more than a century.

This postcard was mailed in Athens, Maine on September 16, 1914:

Hello Clarence. I almost forgot your birthday was so near we got home all right Aunt Nancy Spoffard come here yesterday & to day Grampa & I carried her out to Skowhegan she is real smart. Now see how good a boy you can be the whole year with love & good wishes for many returns of the day.

From Grammie.