retirement

5.2.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre with Charles W. Morgan behind it ~ Mystic Seaport ~ Mystic, Connecticut ~ photo by Tim

It’s been a whirlwind here since December, with lots of traveling to visit loved ones, surgery, radiation treatments, and exhaustion (for me), unemployment, an unrelenting cough and a diabetes diagnosis (for Tim). After  a few months of contemplation Tim has finally decided to retire. And so begins a new chapter of our lives.

5.2.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre ~ Mystic Seaport ~ Mystic, Connecticut

We won’t be bored, that’s for sure. One thing we did was visit Mystic Seaport on a weekday to renew our membership. It was an unseasonably hot day and we had a good chuckle over the sign inviting us in to warm up with a cup of hot cocoa. 🙂

5.2.18 ~ Mystic Seaport ~ Mystic, Connecticut

The Draken Harald Hårfagre has spent two winters at the Seaport now and the crew is planning to leave in June for “Expedition America – East Coast Tour 2018.” I hope I will be here when the Viking ship sets sail because I missed her arrival. I’m also looking forward to a special exhibition coming May 19: The Vikings Begin.

One of the world’s finest early Viking-age collections is coming to Mystic Seaport. Priceless treasures, including helmets, shields, weapons, glass, and other artifacts are safeguarded at the Gustavianum Museum of Uppsala University in Sweden, Scandinavia’s oldest university. These collections, dating as early as the seventh century, are now the focus of a major research initiative designed to significantly advance our understanding of how the Norse culture evolved. Thematic sections on Viking warfare, trade, the Baltic Sea, a ship burial, Norse gods, and relations to other cultures will employ rare archaeological finds in the discovery of how this maritime society lived more than a millennium ago. This exhibition represents the first instance most of these artifacts will have ever left Sweden.
~ Mystic Seaport website

5.2.18 ~ ship figurehead ~ Mystic Seaport ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Tim has been enjoying more time for his ham radio clubs and activities. We signed up together for a Tai Chi class at the senior center. And I signed up for a Photoshop class. Katherine has been here for short visits several times since we left Ireland. We love our busy and playful little munchkin! Life is good.

5.2.18 ~ Mystic Seaport ~ Mystic, Connecticut

whaleship sails

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

Southeastern Connecticut is buzzing with excitement about the upcoming 38th voyage of the Charles W. Morgan, of Mystic Seaport, the last wooden whaleship in the world. Her 37th voyage was 93 years ago from September 1920 to May 1921. Mystic Seaport has been diligently working to restore her to her former glory for several years now.

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

Because the Mystic River is shallow, last Saturday tugboats brought the ship to New London, on the deeper Thames River, so they could add ballast and fuss with her sails, making final preparations for her historic voyage. Today we went over to see the Morgan and her crew at work.

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

Sea trials from New London will be June 7-8 and 11-12, and then on June 17, weather permitting, the Morgan will set sail for her first port of call in Newport. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get some pictures of her as she sails past Groton on her way out of the Thames River and into Long Island Sound.

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

The tugs will probably take her down the river so I’m just not sure at what point she will finally be on her own under full sail. I do hope I catch it!!!

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

A moment of mourning came over me when I realized I had picked out a postcard for my father and was startled to remember yet again that he is gone… He would have loved seeing all this!

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

Isn’t it amazing how these sailors can work so high up in the rigging? And imagine them doing it while the ship is rolling with the waves…

5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut
5.25.14 ~ New London, Connecticut

We watched the PBS documentary, “The Charles W. Morgan” last night and enjoyed learning more about her history. We’re looking forward to following her progress as she embarks on this special 38th voyage!

wisps of memory

7.24.92.NinaPintaSantaMaria
Nina, Pinta or Santa Maria (?) replicas ~ 7.24.92 ~ New London, Connecticut

The other day I was reading my spring/summer issue of Mystic Seaport Magazine, anticipation growing with every article read for the upcoming 38th voyage of the Charles W. Morgan on May 17. The last wooden whaleship in the world, newly restored, will be embarking on a voyage to several historic ports on the New England coast, from New London to Boston. It will be a thrill to photograph her as she sails past us here in Groton on her way from Mystic Seaport to the port of New London!!! She hasn’t been sailed in 90 years and she will have no motor.

As I was contemplating this wonder a couple of fuzzy memories started trying to emerge from my stress-weary brain. My father and me on a wooden walkway surrounding a ship which was being restored (was it the Amistad?) in the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport. A barrel of shavings and chips from the work on the ship. A sign inviting us to take a piece of wood home as a souvenir. I am struggling to remember, what ship, what year, if anyone else was with us…

7.24.92.Papa-s
7.24.92 ~ Papa

My father was a son of Ukrainian immigrants who had been peasants in their native land. Owning their own land here in America was extremely important to my grandparents and my father grew up with that same strong conviction. So much so that he was utterly baffled when Tim & I decided to buy a condo near the sea instead of a home on a piece of property.

Yet he honored the deep ties to the sea my mother and her ancestors had, keeping alive an interest in seafaring history even after she died. This is another facet of my father’s legacy which I’m now coming to appreciate. Not long after my mother died he took me over to the Mystic Seaport membership building and requested that I be allowed on his membership in place of my mother, so I could bring my children there. Since my parents had been life-long members, I think they bent the rules a little and allowed him to do this.

7.24.92.Jon-s
Jon, age 14 ~ 7.24.92

I think it must have been in the 1990s when we each took home a piece of that ship’s wood. He was still getting out and about before his fall in 2000. And it was after my mother died in 1991. Oh why can’t I remember more details?

7.24.92.Larisa-s
Larisa, age 11 ~ 7.24.92

A search through a 1992 photo album renews another vague nautical memory. There is my Papa, taking his grandchildren to tour the replicas of Columbus’ ships, the NinaPinta & Santa Maria when they sailed into New London’s harbor on July 24, 1992, honoring the 500th anniversary of the historic voyage. Where is the third grandchild, though? Was he camera-shy or did he have other plans that day?

Well, for what it’s worth, I leave my wisps of memory here for future generations who might find it all of some interest.

7.24.92.JonLarisa-s
Jon and Larisa ~ 7.24.92

Christmas by the Sea

12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
Mystic Seaport ~ 12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Yesterday we decided to take advantage of our new membership to visit our local living history museum, Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America & The Sea, to see what Christmas might have been like around here in the 1800s. The museum has a shipyard that is currently restoring the whaleship Charles W. Morgan, other historic ships, a coastal village, a planetarium and indoor exhibit galleries.

12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

(above)  Undecorated Christmas tree atop the main mast of the training ship Joseph Conrad, indicating that this vessel will be in port on Christmas.

Watching a coast as it slips by the ship is like thinking about an enigma. There it is before you – smiling, frowning, inviting, grand, mean, insipid, or savage, and always mute with an air of whispering, “Come and find out.”
~ Joseph Conrad
(Heart of Darkness)

I have to admit at first I was a disappointed, somehow expecting to walk into a twinkling winter wonderland. But later I remembered that they didn’t have electricity back then! Candlelight was an ever-present fire hazard. And it wasn’t until after the mid-1800s that Christmas trees became popular. So Christmas was not such a big thing at that time. In fact, the shopkeeper (below) at Stone’s General Store explained to us that no one expected to receive more than a single homemade gift. And that if we didn’t see what we needed to make our gifts in her store, then she would be pleased to order the items for us.

12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Even in the homes of the wealthy the holiday decor was simple. I love the winter afternoon sun filtering through the curtains (below) in the Thomas Greenman House parlor.

12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

We stopped by the Mystic Print Shop and, with close supervision, I was allowed to print my own 19th-century Christmas card on an old press. Christmas cards were then the “latest” rage in Victorian fashion.

12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

There were wreaths on every door in the seafaring village and on some of the windows, too. For the present I leave you with pictures of a few of them!

12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
12.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

First Harvest

"The Harvest" by Camille Pissarro
“The Harvest” by Camille Pissarro

She’ll come at dusky first of day,
White over yellow harvest’s song.
Upon her dewy rainbow way
She shall be beautiful and strong.
The lidless eye of noon shall spray
Tan on her ankles in the hay,
Shall kiss her brown the whole day long.

I’ll know her in the windrows, tall
Above the crickets of the hay.
I’ll know her when her odd eyes fall,
One May-blue, one November-grey.
I’ll watch her from the red barn wall
Take down her rusty scythe, and call,
And I will follow her away.

~ Francis Ledwidge
(August)

Lughnasa: August 7, 2011, 4:37 p.m.
August 6, 2012, 10:26 p.m.

First Harvest ~ Lammas

Harvest ~ Life ~ Wisdom

Seasonal movie:
Dancing at Lughnasa

Activities:
Read Moby Dick overnight on the Charles W. Morgan
at Mystic Seaport