Sunday, October 9, 2011

Long Time Gone

Sit back.  This could take a while.

The blog has been on the back burner for three weeks as one project after another has captured my time.  The clubs I advise have been put on their feet at school, a new responsibility there has required some attention, and the ongoing renovation of the utility room coincided with preparations for the Lighthouse Anniversary dinner.

150 interested friends gathered at the dinner on Friday September 30, 2011 at the Barker Tavern.  I was especially pleased to have so many of the former Lighthouse families have their work and affection for the Light acknowledged by an audience.  Representatives of the Bates, Waterman, Prouty, Cushman, Cole, Abell, and Gillis families were presented with Certificates of Gratitude for their service.  Other families not in attendance will be sent theirs through the mail as soon as we can get solid addresses.

One of the highlights for me was having Haley offer a toast.

video

I started with a lighthearted look at the many carvings you can find in the Tower.  It was an icebreaker that worked.  Who knows maybe Jennifer Lopez has visited the Light?


From there I was off on the history I have researched. I will offer the same thanks here that I offered last Friday night as this project was very much a pyramid and was built by many hands.

"First, to Dave Ball who handed me this ball and has let me run with it.  He is the expert and I am the apprentice. 

To Betty Miesner and to Carol Miles I am grateful for their digging into things I could not get to or did not know existed at all.

To Chris Hall, Jesse Morrell, Connie and Laurie Abel, Betty Foster, and the local history belles of the Town Archives and Town Library.  I hope that they recognize that by their sharing of their personal memories all of us are made richer.

To my cousin Joan who came through with more gifts from Uncle Tom.

To all the Trustees and Volunteers of the Society for putting up with my learning curve.

To my own Army of Two - They have given their time and put up with me talking to myself.  No good thing happens without them."

I have considered all sorts of things I would have liked to include in the talk.  I should have done more on the Blizzard of 78.  I should have asked if any of the other families had anything to share. I might have offered some of the unexpected stories I have shared here, of singing Light Keeper songs and being sea sick in bed for instance.  Coulda, shoulda, woulda, is not really my style but I think a great deal is still out there to be said at another time.

Several noticed that I said little about the Army of Two.  In 2014 we will remedy that.

We had the unexpected happen in the midst of the talk when an audience member was taken ill and the Scituate Fire Department was called in response.  They were the epitome of professionalism as always and the audience managed to be enormously sensitive to this misfortune and to my presentation at once.  Kudos to Paula McCloud who managed the evening for the Barker Tavern.  She was a smiling grace under fire throughout the episode.


Another highlight of the evening was this photograph of former Light House residents gathered in front of the Barker Tavern fireplace.  All those years ago the land for the Light was taken from Mr. Barker.  You could say we gathered at his house to celebrate all the events and people that followed from that. Thanks to Kate Leary for this photograph.

The other track I have been following is the renovation of the utility room.  I have a battery of photographs that cover that story and I will be posting them when there are no more trips to the laundry mat, no more tourists eager to use the porta potty brought in for the construction crew, no more twists in schedule that push back the completion date.  The work looks spectacular and I can't wait to revise the manner in which we introduce people to the Cottage during the Open House days.  I have learned a ton about that wing and a great deal has been unexpected.  Some things I have shared earlier but there are a few new turns that for now will be left mysterious.  

We have been extremely fortunate to have a great guy here throughout the project as foreman for Vareika Construction.  He is extremely averse to having an attention turned his way and as a result I won't name him here.  What I will do is state as clearly as I can that this guy is the best of the American working man.  He earns every dollar and the work is going to hold up a long, long time.  

We have been doing without heat as the new boiler is to be installed late in this coming week.  There were a few nights this past week when we were truly roughing it here.  The efforts of the turn of the century Jetty Light Keepers, Prouty and Cushman, became that much more admired when you could see your breath in the bathroom while shaving.  Could that be why they had beards?

The last Open House date for the year is next Sunday, October 16, 2011 from 1:00 to 4:00.  All the Society sites will be open.  Of particular notice is the opening of the Stockbridge Mill for the first time in 20 years.  This is the oldest working mill in the United States and millwright Andy Shrake is making a special trip to Scituate to help the Society run it.  You will not want to miss a chance to see one of the most basic of technologies, and one of the most important, in action once again.


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