Inside YANKEE: July/August 2009
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