Letters - Issue 102
The Word Game Enjoyed “The Many Guises of Lobscouse” by Sandra Oliver (MBH&H #101), but some might take issue with her comment regarding English-language etymology for scouse. I have read many old sea-going tales regarding lobscouse, but it was not until I was on a ship in the Avondale shipyard across the river from Liverpool that I learned what a “Scouser” was. Next to the shipyard is an old church with a plaque on it describing how the monks fed the starving locals a mixture called scouse, thus coining the nickname “Scouser.” That was a good many years ago after my trip to Antarctica, wherein we had to get the wheel replaced after slugging through 17 feet of ice behind two U.S. Coast Guard breakers. Now whenever I come across Scousers, they are a bit surprised that I know the story behind their nickname.
An Expanding List You’ve gone and done it again. My schedule is shot to hell. Once I got into reading your Boat Show Issue (MBH&H #101), things on my to-do list got shoved closer to the bottom. I have added visiting the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to my must-see list. I read with great interest the wonderfully inspiring story of Lance Lee and am inspired by Patricia Ryan and the Compass Project. These are stories that will keep me warm and remind me during the many cold and trying months that will too soon follow why I have chosen Maine as my home. Thank you.
At Least Half a Century and Counting In reference to the article on the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in the Boat Show Issue (MBH&H #101): The fairy houses on Monhegan Island have been around longer than the 20 years suggested by the author. My husband first went out to work at the Island Inn in 1951. The fairy houses were in Cathedral Woods then. I went with him out to the island in 1956 and saw them for the first time myself and have enjoyed them ever since on our many trips to Monhegan.
Maine’s First Ship Revitalized In May 2008, after more than a decade of hard work by board members and supporters, the idea of building a replica of the Virginia, the first ship built in Maine four centuries ago, seemed to be sending up bubbles. The project seemed dead. A Maine’s First Ship membership meeting approved allocation of remaining funds toward two educational projects and a permanent marker at the site of Fort St. George in Phippsburg. That’s where the pinnace was built, by settlers of the Popham colony, during the harsh winter of 1607-1608. But some good ideas sink deep roots. There was another proposal put before that May meeting by Phippsburg shipwright Rob Stevens: How about building a smaller, and cheaper, version of the Virginia? The feasibility of that idea was tested by members of Maine’s First Ship during the summer. On August 15 an enthusiastic 22-5 vote launched a second effort to honor the state’s venerable shipbuilding history. Fred Hill of Arrowsic, the new MFS president, sees good reasons for success. “First of all, there was Rob Stevens’s offer to build a smaller version at his boatyard on Hermit Island. Then we received word that Regional School Unit No. 1 Superintendent William Shuttleworth was interested in giving students hands-on involvement in the project. He plans to integrate many aspects of the project into the curriculum of the five-town school system.” Then there is the idea itself. “I have to believe,” said Hill, “we can get this done. With this area’s great tradition, and a twenty-first-century shipyard on the Kennebec River, we can find a way to honor the other end of the river with a working reconstruction of Maine’s first ship.” The new goal is to raise $300,000 within a year and start building after that amount has been raised in cash or validated pledges. Fund-raising, of necessity, will be the initial top priority. Other news of the revived project can be found at www.mainesfirstship.org. Questions and suggestions may be directed to MFS President Fred Hill by phone at 207-443-1257 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
A Response to Our Website (www.maineboats.com) Thank you for putting together a fantastic online slide show of the [antique motor cruiser] Aphrodite. It was great to see the process of restoration/rebuild by Brooklin Boat Yard. Every time I go down to Watch Hill, Rhode Island, I look at the Aphrodite and just marvel at the beauty of the boat. Just amazing. Thanks for letting me peek inside.