Letters to the Editor 156
The boatyard wife’s lament
I am so glad to have read Diana Robert’s essay “Married to a Boatyard” (Nov/Dec 2018). My husband, Paul, recommended it as he instantly recognized himself… and us. Someone else has had a lifetime of torture in the household!
When I first met my future husband over 40 years ago he took me to visit his mentor, Bud McIntosh. As we went through the kitchen door, there was Babe (Bud’s wife) with a not-too happy face. I remember thinking, boy she’s grumpy, must be New England, what’s not to be happy about young friends visiting? Oh how wrong! Here I am 40+ years later, kind of grumpy. Our business is next to our home and we get visitors all the time. I don’t get the time of day from Paul, but the visitors come with their endless questions.
Recently Paul was down below, tucked in the peak of a complicated boat, when this guy crawled onboard all the way in to ask, “What are you doing?” Really? I often wonder if I could go to the work places of these visitors at any random time of day and just “check in.”
I would give anything to tell Babe that now I GET IT! Like Diana, I also wash Paul’s clothes with the dog beds. Blood, lots of random splotches; CSI would have a ball analyzing this place. Twitching and tossing while he’s asleep—I’ve been trying to figure out that one for years. I’ve assumed it’s some serious nerve disease after all the chemicals he has used, particularly in the 1970s—lethal stuff.
I always thought there would be a light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, I convinced Paul to stop working, retire, and rest for at least for a year. That lasted four days. He did all the “honey-do” chores around the house, doing a super-hurry-up, half-baked job. Then he saw an article for “Save a Classic.” Didn’t he just jump at that one, and within days had acquired a Bud McIntosh 40' 1960s boat named Go Go Girl. Now he’s out there in the barn from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. driving himself crazy trying to get keel bolts out, etc.
He’s working harder than ever and he’s content. He actually tells people he’s retired. I’m happy, too. Boatbuilders’ wives forge our own lives and interests, and through the years we find we’re very independent women, with lots going on in our own worlds. No way am I ready to be retired, hanging out with my husband all day.
Paul Rollins Boatshop
In “Charting the Future,” in the July 2018 issue, you list Islesford as one of the islands that the Sunbeam visits. Actually, Islesford is the name of the community on the island of Little Cranberry, a common mistake around these parts.
Seal Harbor, ME
The ducks of winter
Catherine Schmitt’s article on the ducks of winter (Nov/Dec 2018) is absolutely magnificent—both her engaging, highly informative text and the reproductions of Audubon’s prints. This is an article to be kept and treasured.
Describing to others my invigorating winter rowing and stand-up paddle boarding on Frenchman Bay, I have often commented, “It’s just me and the ducks.” I love observing them, and, thanks to Catherine, I am delighted to know even more about them.
Salisbury Cove, ME
I read a couple of articles every issue, but always start with “From the Publisher” to find out what John and his kids are building now. The latest installment—“A Happy Amateur”—was great (Nov/Dec 2018). I feel that way every day now as I try to renovate our camp kitchen in my retirement. There seem to be nothing but angles to the old ceiling. When I totally lose my way, I seek guidance from a local contractor who figuratively scratches his chin, utters a couple of hums, looks over the situation, and suggests a basic plan of action for me. He always closes with, “but I can’t guarantee this approach.” Of course, his suggestions solve my confusion for the next couple of days.
My back and neck ache at the end of every day. But I shall be proud of this new kitchen, warts and all—the first one my wife will have ever had—when it is finished next spring.
No need for speed
I wholeheartedly support the position expressed in a “Letter to the Editor” in the September/October 2018 issue captioned “Fiddling while the world burns.” My boat of choice is a wooden runabout built in 1960 with a 30-hp engine.
Not having attended a boat show in many years, I was astounded to see an outboard with a 350-hp engine at the Maine Boat & Home Show in August. Who, I wondered, either wants or needs an engine of such size, only to take a few more steps and see a boat with twin 250s on it.
I wonder how much petrol those babies suck up during a casual after-dinner cruise around the bay?
By the way, my reason for attending the boat show was to display a restored 1940 Old Town canoe, my small contribution to trying to save the planet.