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Inside YANKEE: July/August 2009

Inside YANKEE: July/August 2009
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Although it’s been more than 25 years since I wrote about Connie Small and her life as the wife of a Maine lighthouse keeper, I’ve never forgotten the pride in her voice as she told of how she and her husband, Elson, for years kept those beacons shining for unseen ships.

Her husband had died some years before I met her, and Connie was then living in a small apartment near the Maine coast, the space crammed with lighthouse mementoes. She didn’t romanticize those years one bit — they were at times achingly lonely — but lighthouses represented to her the best of human nature, a kind of heroic commitment to look out for strangers on turbulent seas.

For many of us, lighthouses have become the stuff of calendars and postcards: plain and functional structures perched stunningly on mostly slender spits of land, seagulls circling and waves pounding below. Travelers have photographed lighthouses thousands of times, yet we never grow weary of taking yet another shot.

We hope our pages devoted to lighthouses in this July/August 2009 issue will lead you to your own memories, but also show you why they’re so ingrained in New England’s landscape: not as photo props, but as the most essential welcoming light of all, leading sailors away from danger to safe waters on their way home.

Around New England in countless small towns, summer means a return home also for so many natives who have left. The tradition of Old Home Days began in the Granite State more than a century ago, and as Jim Collins tells us upon his own return to Walpole, New Hampshire , the ritual now serves a new purpose, one that its founders could have scarcely imagined.

Home is also where an increasing number of us now spend vacations — and there may be no better place to stay put than in an Adirondack chair. Following Wayne Curtis’s journey into the heart of Adirondack land is a vacation in itself. You’ll lose yourself in its good-natured humor, while learning how the product of one New Englander’s fertile and practical mind became associated with a region on the other side of Lake Champlain.

Summer…with a good chair, something cold on the armrest, and good reading. Stay awhile. And at twilight look toward the house, and let the lights welcome you home.

The July/August 2009 will be on newsstands Tuesday, June 30. Where to Buy Yankee

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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4 Responses to Inside YANKEE: July/August 2009

  1. George McHugh July 8, 2009 at 1:45 am #

    Thanks for your article on lighthouses. My wife and I toured the Massachesetts Lights with the US Lighthouse Society a few years ago which we enjoyed cvery much. I was born and raised in Peabody, MA and some of my fondest memories involved riding down to Glouster and Cape Ann. In those days Rt. 128 didn’t go all the was and we rode Rt. 1A down through Beverly and Manchester by the sea. On our return we always stopped at Connolly’s Drug Store in Essex for ice cream.

  2. Paul Conlin July 9, 2009 at 11:02 pm #

    Thank you for the article on lighthouses! Connie Small was one of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting! Connie was a fountain of knowledge about lighthouses and lighthouse keeping and she never tired of telling everyone who would listen about all of her memories at the different lights where her husband Elson was the keeper.

    Elson’s last job was as Keeper of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in New Castle, NH where I volunteered at many of the open houses. I would tell visitors to the lighthouse how Connie when she was just a young lady of 85 wrote the book ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife’.

    Connie was a magnificent lady whom I will never forget. She will always be missed by those who were fortunate enough to know her. Connie wanted to make sure that our historic lighthouses and their keepers would not be forgotten. We need to preserve our maritime heritage for future generations! That is why I am proud to be a member of the American Lighthouse Foundation and the Maine Lighthouse Museum!

  3. Eddie Doyle July 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm #

    This year, the 150th Birthday of Katherine Lee Bates is being celebrated in her hometown of Falmouth on Cape Cod. There are a number of events taking place in Falmouth to remember this woman who wrote “America the Beautiful” including the 19th Annual “Falmouth Walk.” This event will be held on Saturday, August 8th 2009 at 10:00am and will step off from the Town Hall Square. The “Walk” benefits several Falmouth Charities and the turnout is expected to be about 700 participants. A family style gathering will take place on the sprawling green in the shadow of St. Barnabus Church, overlooking the pond.
    Pasta, Ice Cream and Watermellon will be served to all as everyone participates in the big Raffle. Once again, commemorative T-Shirts will be given to the first 600 people. The entry fee is $15 per person. Registration begins Friday afternoon at the “Quarterdeck Restaurant” ,164 Main St. Falmouth, from 4:30 to 7:30pm

    I forwarded this information prior to this and have not heard back from anyone or seen it mentioned in the magazine. Do you think this event is worthy of a story? I can also be reached at 508-457-9156 or my e-address fens67@gmail.com
    Thank you,
    Eddie Doyle

  4. Pam Lee August 22, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    As a little girl in CT. I dreamed of living in a lighthouse. It represented safety to me as I was a grade schooler during the Cuban Missile Crisis and remember the terror of my parents and the bomb drills in school…..also very scary to a 5 year old. Movies on television at that time were of WW11 and the blitzkriegs over England. I truly lived in fear of the skies.
    In my little kid rationalization I figured the safeset place to live would be in a lighthouse as they had been there forever and survived all kinds of ocean weather and would be away from the cities, so, safe from bombs!!!!

    I still harken back to the deep feelings that I have for lighthouses and would still dream of one day living in one. I like the solitude and safety they represent. And of course the view doesn’t hurt either.

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