OK, it’s time. Off we go down the plank! It’s bright and early—7 AM— on a Wednesday morning and we’re off on the Laura B. I took half a motion-sickness tablet and I’ve got my sea-bands firmly in place. The water is somewhat smooth at first as we sail past the Marshall Point Lighthouse. But there’s no beating around the bush, the sea suddenly kicks up and we’re in for the ride of our lives. Since it’s the tail end of the season, we number less than a dozen passengers.
The 12 mile trip over should have been about one hour and 15 minutes, but an extra half hour was added on due to dodging waves. We rocked and rolled. The waves completely lifted the boat at times while thoroughly splashing us. Have you seen the movie “The Perfect Storm”? That was us. High winds and a raging sea had come out of nowhere. As we neared the island, sometimes we had to back off again and again. It was just too rough (I think life jackets were under our seats…). At times I wanted to shout at the captain: just fly through the worst of it, get me off of this thing! And no, sorry, I didn’t take any pictures. No seal, porpoise, or puffin sightings either. Let’s just say I was busy focusing on my nausea.
While we were hanging on for dear life, a crew member ran back and forth. He grabbed package after package from the front of the boat and tossed them to more sheltered areas in the back. Islanders receiving goods from Amazon that day have him to thank for their dry purchases.When we finally arrive in the harbor, the crisp air quickly revives us. Monhegan is on our left and the stark island of Manana is just across the way. Manana is famous for being where Ray Phillips, the professed hermit, lived by himself for over 40 years until his death in 1975. In reality he was very friendly whenever he crossed over to Monhegan to collect his mail or pick out a new stack of books from the library. He was well-educated, had sheep, and a goose named Donald, and kept up with the news by radio. I didn’t come across any geese, but I did notice the scowl on this island cat’s face.
There is lots of activity going on at the pier. Although there are no paved roads or cars on Monhegan, there are plenty of trucks for hauling goods and general construction. From the wharf, it’s up the hill towards the village. Other than that one cat, Monhegan is a friendly island and throughout the day we bump into the same people several times, either islanders or fellow passengers.
First, as promised, I’ll show you the c. 1928 library and the 1847 schoolhouse. (See previous post to learn their fascinating history).
Most of these pictures are self-explanatory—various views and flowers while wandering the island from one end to the other.A non-denominational religious service takes place every Sunday morning in the village church.And we can’t leave out the all important post office where many of the locals meet daily.Despite it being just about off-season, I spotted several artists at work, like the one above. And below, a good ol’ fashioned pumpkin patch. All the vegetables and flowers seemed to have done well, unlike many places in New England still recovering from the drought.After poking into a few galleries and shops, we made our way up to the 1824 lighthouse where the view is amazing (next post!).There is a museum attached to the lighthouse containing all sorts of history and art. We were invited to a function being held that evening for all islanders, but regrettably it was after our scheduled trip back. The event was to take place before sunset outside on the grounds surrounding the lighthouse.As you might notice it was a gray day until the sun burst through around noon (which sent us back up the path to see everything again). Please check in next time to see splendid views in bright sunlit colors, as well as the boat we traveled back on.
Call Me Amy chosen for 2014 Best Books of the Year!
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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.