Excuse another blog hiatus. (Excuse an even longer one due to blogmaster dropping the ball while H and P were in Turkey... Apologies. JE) We have been traveling and stopping around our familiar growing-up territories of the northeast before we moved to San Francisco in 1989. So many byways, mountains, valleys, small towns, lake regions, coastal villages, old friends, new friends, relatives and hideaways have drawn us and filled our days and weeks since we rolled in here. After the February California coastline, the March enchanting southwest, and sultry deep south, the busy developed coasts of Florida, the alluring eastern mountains and history, we returned to our familiar home grounds. Metro New York was the gateway to our old comfort zones: New England and adjoining upstate New York. We have been captured in their embrace for nearly five months.
Bridging from our last blog entry, the sparkling Cousins Week here at the Wareham homestead, we journeyed back to Maine’s refreshing lakes region. Following a couple of nights with John and Karen O’Brien of Waterford, we headed to the coastal Pemaquid peninsula, the charming town of Round Pond, and home of Anne and Chris Frost. Both the O.Bs and Frosts had joined with us in the faculty community of Deerfield Academy years ago. Maine retirement now enriches them beautifully. Another Deerfield pal met us for breakfast on our way to Maine. Rick Melvoin, youngster, is still unretired as head of Belmont Hill School near Boston.
Just before our arrival at the Frosts we had a grand lobster roll lunch with Mary Anne and George Betke in beautiful Damariscotta. A day or so later, Chris Frost motored us in his boat across the spreading fingers of Maine’s mid-coast to yet another charming fishing and sailing port, Friendship, home to the builders of the unique Friendship sloop. Here we had a marvelous al fresco breakfast at Nina and Jim Scott’s rustic cottage as waves lapped nearby. We had recently seen Betkes and Scotts at our Amherst 55th reunion.
You are now witnessing the obvious value and pleasure we take in many old friendships; we have treasured these over our 51 years of marriage and the many places in which we have worked and lived. After leaving Round Pond we headed southwest to the beautiful hills, open country and mountains of lower “upstate” New York leading to the magical serenity of The Catskills. First came a weekend with dear friends Bodie Brizendine and Bill Bullard at their wonderful country farm- house escape from their non-stop lives as leaders of NYC independent schools, Spence and Collegiate. We three had worked together at San Francisco University High School in the 1990s and we never stop re-stoking the friendship when we can. From there we went further back on Memory Lane with a marvelous lunch with Carole and George Silver in Bovina Center, NY en route to two nights with Gina and Frank Bookhout in Margaretville. Both Carole and Frank had added profoundly to my wonderful years as head of Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn in the 1980s. Carole was the mesmerizing Lower School Librarian whose love of books and children was contagious. Frank was as steadfast and wise a Business Manager as any school head could dream of. The Catskills and their beauty came alive under the Silver and Bookhout tutorials.
Then Maine called us back for another week on Monhegan Island (see earlier blog June 23.) Happy’s sister Betsy Abbott and husband Don were in the “lower house,” while we occupied the “upper house,” both with views out over the vast Penobscot Bay toward other islands and a grand stretch of distant mainland shoreline, perhaps 100 miles of it. We experienced multiple days of perfect clear weather, the nearly constant calls of perching or swooping gulls, frequent sightings of a resident Bald Eagle, and nights alive with a billion stars, including the Milky Way, all but invisible in today’s inhabited world… The earlier mentioned Frosts, O’Briens and Gundersheimers joined us for 3 days of glorious deep woods and coastline walks, endless conversations and sumptuous food provided by all. Find most of us in the nearby pictures, including one lovely sunset and two great, small dogs. We all agreed we created a world class house party, and to think that most of us are in our 70s. How lucky are we?
Happy’s wonderful first cousin-in-law, Sandy Barker Davis, provided her usual (pre and post Monhegan Island visit) hospitality by feeding us and bedding us down the night before our morning boat departure, and allowing us to park our RV in her driveway. She spends six months annually in Tenants Harbor, close to the Port Clyde dock for the Monhegan Boat line. Sandy is our “Pearl Mesta” of Maine’s mid-coast, greeting, feeding and serving scores of friends and relatives and relatives, all connected to her beloved Monhegan.
After leaving The Island and our friends, we headed once again to our center court, son Jay and his family in Newbury, MA, to gather ourselves; some accompanying photos show Jay and his daughter, Athalia, leading us in kayaking forays through the marshes of Essex County nearby their home.
Our days there have allowed us to slow down and prepare for our rapidly approaching Road Scholar trip to Turkey September 10-29. We will likely not write up anything about that adventure, but will resume the blog as we head west in October on the final leg of this amazing journey, criss-crossing the northern tier of the USA where we have only a few friends, yet our days will be filled with the countless natural glories of those parts of our country.