For centuries, people around the world have been fascinated by lighthouses. They can be found on dangerous coastlines, islands, and harbors. Before their existence, people lit fires along the shore to guide sailors. One of the very first (and tallest) lighthouses was built in Egypt around 280 BC. The first in America was built in 1716 in Boston Harbor, but was destroyed during the Revolutionary War. The current lighthouse, dating from 1783, is located on Little Brewster Island.
In Bermuda, I climbed all 185 steps of the lighthouse shown in my photograph, above–-what a view from the top (shown below). [117′ tower]
A lighthouse features in Amy’s Choice, the sequel to Call Me Amy, and yes, Amy gets her wish to climb to the top. Naturally, in order to write the book, I had to do some research. 🙂 Below are pictures I took of a few of the Maine lighthouses I’ve visited, along with excerpts of their history taken from their websites.
We’ll start with one of my favorite lighthouses: Marshall Point in Port Clyde, ME. [31′ tower] The history of the Marshall Point Light Station goes back to 1831, when Samuel Marshall sold 4 acres of land to the U. S. government for $120. Additional acres were added later to extend the site to 6.5 acres. With a ¼ mile shoreline, it is a nature spot enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year.I noticed in the first picture (which is from way back when I took 35mm slides) the tower top is red, but in my more recent pictures (such as the one below), it’s black. In the 1994 Forrest Gump scene, where he runs up to this same lighthouse, the top is black, so it must have been painted over before that time—probably during the late 1980s.Next is Nubble Light (or Cape Neddick Light Station) in York, ME. [41′ tower] In 1874 President Rutherford B. Hayes appropriated the sum of $15,000 to build a lighthouse on this “Nub” of land. On July 1, 1879, construction was completed on what at the time was known as the Knubble Lighthouse where a 4th order light began to protect our men and women on the sea. A wee bit chilly that day… Next up is Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, ME [80′ tower] In 1776, the new Town of Cape Elizabeth posted a guard of eight soldiers at Portland Head to warn citizens of coming British attacks.
In 1787, the General Court of Massachusetts provided $750 to begin construction of a lighthouse. In 1790, when the United States Government took over the responsibility of all lighthouses, Congress appropriated $1,500 for its completion. The original tower measured 72′ from base to lantern deck and was lit with 16 whale oil lamps. It was first lit on January 10, 1791. And last but not least, Bass Harbor Light located in Acadia National Park. [32′ tower]
The lighthouse was built of brick in 1858 on a stone foundation, stands 56 feet above mean high water and is accessible by car off Route 102A.
Do you have a favorite lighthouse?
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Great Reviews for CALL ME AMY
“Well-drawn, sympathetic characters and the developing spark between Amy and Craig combine to create a pleasant, satisfying read.” –KIRKUS
“Strykowski lovingly captures seaside Maine and the travails of adolescence in her quiet, sweet-natured debut novel.”—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“Strykowski ably depicts Amy’s insecurity and self-doubt, Craig’s bravura and pain, and Miss Cogshell’s wisdom with a deft, convincing touch. In essence, Amy comes of age as she fights to find her voice in the outside world and shed some of her debilitating insecurity. Readers will cheer her on, and her splendid team, too.” –BOOKLIST
"The protagonist grows throughout the story, from a shy loner to having two friends and speaking her mind in front of her adversaries at school as well as to the whole town. …Amy is a reliable narrator and easily relatable.” –SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
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“To do a good deed, we can find friendship in the most curious of locations. “Call Me Amy” is a novel from Marcia Strykowski following the struggles of Amy Henderson, who finds an injured seal and seeks to nurse it, with the help of a scorned aging woman and an unusual youth. Set in the early 70s and exploring the essence of loneliness, “Call Me Amy” is a powerful read that should prove so very hard to put down, highly recommended.”—MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
“This is a wonderful YA tale for the simple fact that it shows one and all that the power and courage to stand up and be heard in this life comes from within. And that no matter who you are, you have that toughness inside your soul. Craig has a lovely heart that hides behind that sarcasm he aims at the world, and he will remind every small town girl about that quiet boy she fell in love with long ago. ‘Old Coot’ brings the fun and humor along with her, and Pup is the sweetest creature in the world. Having all the ingredients of first love, faith, loss and strength makes ‘Amy’ unforgettable.” —FEATHERED QUILL
“For Amy, 1973 has been a lonely year, her only friend moved away and she feels awkward around her classmates. Until one day Amy discovers that Craig, another classmate, has rescued an injured seal pup. Amy agrees to help him and together they hide the pup at Miss Cogshell’s house, the odd old lady most kids call “Old Coot.” Amy learns that people aren’t always what they seem to be, and she forms a friendship with Craig and Miss Cogshell. A great story about friendship and doing what you think is right.” —KIDSBOOKSHELF
“For those ages 8 to 12, Call Me Amy by Marcia Strykowski will resonate with familiar themes of growing up. The year is 1973 and for Amy Henderson, it has been a lonely one with too many awkward moments to count. When she finds an injured seal pup, she rescues him to rehabilitate him. In the process she forms an unlikely alliance with Craig, a boy around her age, and an older woman in town. With their help she discovers that people aren’t always what they seem despite what others may think of them. This is a story filled with many elements that will appeal to younger readers and I highly recommend it.”—BOOKVIEWS.COM
"A wounded seal pup propels 13-year-old Amy Henderson into an unlikely alliance with an unusual older woman and a mysterious boy in a small Maine fishing village. Readers will cheer for Amy as she protects Pup, gains confidence, faces challenges, and comes up with an idea that could change not only the future of her village, but also, her own life. With a skillful hand, Strykowski introduces us to a small town with memorable characters and the girl who could bring them all together." ---Anne Broyles, award-winning author of PRISCILLA AND THE HOLLYHOCKS
"In a small town in Maine in the 1970's, Amy is standing on the brink of becoming a young adult. The events that will force her to discover who she is, what she is made of and how she wants others to perceive her are sweetly told through awkward teenage moments, the triumphs and sadnesses of that age and ultimately, Amy's discovery of her own beliefs, strength and courage." ---Kathleen Benner Duble, acclaimed author of THE SACRIFICE
“Call Me Amy is exactly the type of book I love. The characters are relatable and likeable; they are individuals that the reader enjoys getting to know while watching them change and develop. The setting of the small Maine coastal town is idyllic, and the reader is quickly and completely immersed in this community. Although the novel takes place in the 1970s, it feels timeless. Young readers will readily associate with Amy’s struggles and triumphs with her relationships with family and friends, and mature readers will be gently nudged back to this period in their life. These universal qualities make this novel a perfect choice for many types of readers. As a Youth Services Librarian, I would enthusiastically recommend Call Me Amy to our young patrons as well as to a more adult audience. Because it can be enjoyed on so many levels, this novel would be an ideal source of discussion for an adult/child book group.” ---Patty Falconer, Youth Services Librarian
"I just finished CALL ME AMY and I think it is wonderful with beautiful descriptions. I love the characters and their story. It is like having seen a good play or movie and later, while you are doing other things, it comes back to you and you think about the characters again." ---Peggy Arnold, retired teacher and avid reader.
For 13-year-old Amy Henderson, 1973 has been a lonely and uneventful year in her small Maine fishing village. With the help of a wounded seal pup, she gets to know Craig, who slinks around in an oversized army jacket. A new law against handling wild marine mammals brings suspense to the story. Where can they keep Pup until he heals? Their only hope is to trust Miss Cogshell, an elderly woman keeping to herself amidst jeers from the local kids, who catches them sneaking Pup into her woodshed in the middle of the night. Throughout the book, small challenges prepare Amy for her greatest one of all. A challenge that leads her to discover that everyone, herself included, has a voice worth hearing.