Thursday, April 06, 2006

Peaks Memories

At least the sun has made an appearance today. Watching the Red Sox take a 2-1 decision over the Rangers last night while the snow was falling all around us was unsettling. Nothing like early April in Maine!! While the waters of revaluation and property tax increases roil around us as well, I am constantly dragged back to the Island we came to back in the mid 1970's.

It was a simpler Island back then. No sidewalks, no paved parking lot, no boats with lights on them for reading, no 10:30 pm boat, no early Sunday morning boat, no library, no restaurants in the winter, no big item pickup in September, more year round rentals, an average of about 75 students at the school and nowhere near the influx of visitors in the Summer. I'm sure I missed quite a few things but it did seem simpler back then.

It seemed like we had walked into utter chaos our first winter on the Island. It felt like we lived in Nor'easter heaven as one after another just pounded us. Ice floes stretched across the Bay and you could almost walk to Little Diamond Island or House Island. Even the Coast Guard Cutter was called in to keep the Islands open for the Bay Line boats. In the midst of that, in early December the captains and deck hands of the Bay Lines went on strike. Now, that caught our attention. One boat off the Island at 7:15am and two boats back at 3:15 and 5:30pm. Talk about a screeching halt to the old idiom of "there's always another boat". Christmas shopping and dinner out took place on early Saturday afternoons. Talk about a town meeting twice a day; that was it. 350 souls (at least) cheek to jowell twice a day packed on both the upper and lower decks. We even made Walter Cronkite's Evening News it was such a filmable event. This strike lasted about two months and frankly, it was one of the best Christmases we ever had. Certainly it halted all the extraneous hu-ha's that go on around it for that year. Life got whittled down to the pure essentials that winter.

I'll admit I've always enjoyed the term of "silly season" for the summer months. It's always seemed appropriate since the one thing all Islanders seem to know instinctively is that they're not in charge; mother nature is. Living on the ocean does that to you. Living on an Island and depending on a boat for your transportation subject to winds, tides and mechanical failures simply puts an added emphasis on the belief. Yet, like the incoming tide, the swell of humanity each May that descends on us all seem to carry the singular belief (along with their cellphones) that they are in charge of their destiny and everything must conform to their wants and desires. Silly Season sure works for me. Each year like Capistrano, they return and as a sign of warmth, long days, a world of green and golden sunsets I welcome them but they sure make Labor Day my favorite day as they depart.

Enjoy the pictures from the winter of 1976 of Welsh Street. Where did the Landing and Port Island Realty go? Man, that ice was thick that year. One of my favorite house restorations done at Spar Cove. Enjoy my memories; I have many more and I'll share as they bubble up from time to time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great photos! Do you have any other old Peaks Island photos? I live on Peaks and these are very interesting.

11/27/2009 1:31 PM  

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