Andre the Seal | 25 Years with Andre
ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO ANDRE WAS immortalized in stone. A granite statue one-third larger than life was carved — while Andre posed on his float — by Jane Wazey, a well-known sculptor, and was dedicated in place down by Rockport’s boat landing, right where other towns are likely to have statues of their war heroes. A rim of evergreens was planted by Rockport’s Garden Club. After Andre died, fans streamed there, solemn faced. Some brought fresh-cut flowers in vases and set them around his plump likeness. Others stopped and stroked the smooth stone or patted his arched head. Couples took pictures of each other beside the flower-strewn stone. A woman from New York stood staring at the eerie likeness. “I never got to see his show,” she said. “When I heard he’d died, I said, ‘Shoot, I wish I’d gone!’ ” Another woman nearby overheard her and said, “Oh, I used to love it when his trainer would say, ‘Andre, tell me what you think of Flipper,’ and he’d go,” she put her tongue between her teeth, “Pthwttt!”
The statue, which faces out toward the harbor, was not meant as a memorial, and the plaque which accompanies it speaks of Andre as if he were still there. In inch-high bronze letters, the story of Andre is spelled out, all told in the present tense.
Back at the house, Harry had already answered that question — should the plaque be changed to past tense? He was surprised, possibly offended, by the idea.
“Why? It’s as it should be!”
Yankee Classic Article from November 1986