Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Favorite Beach: Pemaquid

Rocks are fun to climb and for exploring tide pools.
There sits on Johns Bay at Pemaquid Neck in Bristol, Maine, a pretty little beach in a quiet, protected bay--Pemaquid Beach. Bristol and the surrounding villages are busy waterfront communities, so lobster and other boats trundle past on their way from the harbor out to work. Sailboats also cruise by the horizon. The beach is not a large one, and on very hot summer days it can be packed with beach-goers. The sand is pristine and soft, great for digging and building sand castles. Pemaquid is also relatively safe for children. There are no drop-offs, no undertow, and the beach is not usually wracked with large waves. And consequently there are no lifeguards. It is a wonderful swimming beach if you can endure the water temperature. Usually by the end of August and early September the temperatures warm up to the low 60 degrees Farenheit, which is still is limb-numbing.

The Pemaquid area has a history that extends back at least to the 1600s. Just down the road from the beach is the fort and excavated foundations from an English settlement. Native Americans, the French, and settlers fought to control the area.

Pemaquid beach on a warm but not very busy day in July.
There are facilities available when the park is open in the summer as well as a snack bar and beach gear rentals. There is a small nature center and picnic tables. Pemaquid is a favorite place of mine to visit in the winter as well. The softly lapping ocean and sun reflecting on the blue is a nice, albeit cold, winter walk. You have to park outside the gates and trudge through the parking lot but many people walk the beach with their dogs in the off season. Its just long enough for a good walk and to keep your winter spirits up with fresh ocean air.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Favorite Library

I love to read. From the time I was very young I had a bookshelf full of picture books that I would peruse daily. One morning I fell down the stairs with a stack of my favorite picture books and my beloved blanket underfoot. As a junior higher, I read voraciously. I usually had five to ten kid chapter books going at a time, neatly stacked on my bedside stand. I credit this love of reading to my mom, who read to me every night for many years. I also have early memories of going to my local public library and taking out books with her.
The old customs house in Waldoboro
housed the library from 1964 to 2007.

Because I love to read I also love libraries, as many readers do. I loved my first library. It was in an old, architecturally fascinating building that at one time was the customs house. It had large steel radiators, bookshelves crowded into every crevice, an old fashioned card catalog (one had to stand in a corner to search through it), and a real librarian's desk--a desk--where the librarian sat and said "Quiet please" when you came in through the large heavy black doors. I got my own paper library card with my number at a young age. I loved the smell of the place with its creaky floors and big windows. Downstairs was the adult fiction section, and, if I remember correctly, a long low shelf along the front wall that held books for preschool children (where I discovered beloved Richard Scarry favorites such as Cars and Trucks and Things that Go). Upstairs there were three rooms. One was the nonfiction room with a large heavy wood conference table surrounded by book shelves wrapped around the room and lighted by those tall dome-shaped windows, and, of course, heavy, old books. I spend many hours there researching for school papers (back before the Internet told us everything we need to know)! Another smaller room had floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that were probably biographies and such. And in the back room were shelves of children's books and two more long kid-size tables with chairs in the center of the room.

According to the summer 2016 newsletter of the Waldoboro Public Library, the library opened on May 1, 1916, in the Willet Block. In 1964 it relocated to the former customs house. Today the building is owned privately. In 2007 the library was able to move into a beautiful brand new, bigger, but not too big, building up the road a bit. This building has large windows that let light in, a window seat, new shelving, a computer area, a large checkout station/desk, and a children's room that is very inviting. It was a much-needed and long overdue project.

The new public library has an abundant perennial garden.

As I'm no longer a resident of the town I don't have a library card there, but I have been to a few children's events there. A beautiful and abundant perennial garden graces the front, and the building has a changing "marquee" of sorts. Every new season a new, large brightly painted symbol appears on the center front. It highlights the season, for example, a school bus for September, a flag for July, and a pumpkin for the fall. In June there was a white and pink birthday cake for the library's 100th anniversary!
Happy birthday to my first library!
The yellow customs house building holds many memories for me, and I'm sure the new library building will hold many memories for today's children as well.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tracking the Kennedys in Lincoln County

After my dad died in 2015, I became interested in knowing more about his family, especially my grandfather's family, which I knew little about, only that there were quite a few of them in his generation (4 sisters and two brothers). I know most of their names from my grandmother and her clipped obituaries. Unfortunately, the last sibling died the year before my dad, and he may have been a good resource on family history.
I never remember hearing anything about my Kennedy great-great-grandparents. I say I developed the interest, but I didn't do much about it, except start rummaging in Jasper Stahl's two-volume History of Old Broad Bay and Waldoboro but didn't find much. (More on that later.)
 That's where a family-history hound husband comes in. As he starting finding census data through, we quickly learned that my ancestors lived in the neighborhood where I remember visiting my great-grandparents on Orff's Corner Road when I was a very little girl. At very start of that road was where my last living great uncle lived, and his daughter still lives on the road today as well. We also learned that the old name of the neighborhood corner (located in Jefferson) is named for the Kennedys, and we discovered that many of them are buried there as well. During this research my husband had a client who lived on that road and in talking with her she told him that Kennedys are listed on the title history of the old place, a Mary Kennedy, which would be my great-great-grandmother. I have traveled these roads and crossed this corner often but had never noticed the cemetery as it sits back from the road. (Also years ago we looked at a piece of land near here. How strangely our roots call us home!) So, we went graveyard stamping as I'd like to call it. And this is what we found:

We are fairly certain, based on census records, that each of these guys are direct ancestors of Guy C. Kennedy Sr., my great-grandfather. Edwin is listed in Guy's obituary as his father, and a Mary, but we also have a Maynard married to a Mary in the census records, too. My first greats, Guy C. Sr. and his wife Mildred, and a some of their children are buried up the road at Fairview. That is also where my dad, his parents Guy C. Kennedy Jr and Christine Eugley, his brother, and his infant son are buried. My great-parents are the only Kennedy relatives I ever remember hearing about. My grandmother made sure we faithfully visited over Memorial Day weekend to place flowers on the sites.
Because I visit Fairview more regularly than that now, I went searching through Fairview for more Kennedys. There are some, and I found Maynard with no spouse or children buried near him.

So eeny, meeny, take your pick. Who is my great-great-grandfather?

Before all these names, dates, memorial markers came to light, I skimmed through one of the  Jasper Stahl histories of Waldoboro to track any Kennedys in it illustrious history. A Henry Kennedy was fairly prominent, and I having been wondering if the Jefferson Kennedys had any connection with Henry. So today I visited another very old rundown cemetery in downtown Waldoboro and found the Waldoboro Kennedy clan, including the prominent Henry.

Jefferson census data lists Henry as being born in Jefferson, and while I don't have the crossover relative yet, I hope to. Its very cool what you can dig up with some patience and a good Internet connection.The large family stone and plot is well marked and lists everyone there, including his three children, Lincoln, Semandel, and Henry. Then each member has their own stone with just their name. The stones are somewhat fancy. From what I remember in my reading Henry was prominent and wealthy. I guess none of that side of the family's wealth trickled over to our side unless it was his wife's money, a Rachel Lincoln from Waldoboro.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Favorite Spring Sport: Baseball

Spring has taken a while to catch hold this year.

Here is the view of a local baseball field the night before the league's first games the last week of April.

Here is a view of players with a pile of snow in the foreground.

Finally this week we a nice night for baseball, only five games and two weeks into the season.
A week prior to this game, we froze in damp 40 degree overcast weather that ended in a light rain. Everyone was frozen before the third inning.

At this game, it was warm with no wind. The bugs were starting to show up, but they weren't biting. There was a great view of the Sheepscot River.

Spring baseball in Florida is probably far warmer, not to mention a longer "season."
But you really can't play baseball in four seasonal weather events in one season except in Maine!
Snow, rain, freezing, or buggy!