Her Island History: 100 Years of Tenacious Island Women

Gail Grandgent shares the story of how she came to live on Little Cranberry Island, how the community has changed, and the challenges, rewards, and interconnections of life in Islesford.

 

Oral History Transcription:

Gail Grandgent

January 20th, 2020

Interviewed by Raney Bench

RB: Gail, how did you come across this cookbook? It looks pretty loved.

 

GG: [Laughs.] Well, I brought it today because I wanted to show you what I was doing with my time on the island. We made a cookbook, and I was looking back at the other cookbooks that led into that, and then I realized that this one is in need of saving. It needs to be saved, but I don’ tknow what to do for it.

 

RB: On Islesford, you’ve had a series of cookbooks that you’ve created over the years?

 

GG: Well, this is the oldest one I know of, and sadly it has no date. But it was published by the Church Club. And that was really –– joining the Church Club was my “in” into the island, that I could sit around with these ladies. When I got there, I was in my thirties, and all of the other people on the island were in their teens, twenties, and sixties. [Laughs.] So I chose to go with the old folks, and I’m so happy I did, because so many of the people who are even in this book aren’t around anymore.

 

RB: How did you first come to Islesford and Great Cranberry? You’re on —

 

GG: Little Cranberry.

 

RB: Yes. Because I’ve ridden the boats with you as you’ve been collecting students for the school. That’s been a while.

 

GG: Well, it starts with how I got to Maine, I think. I grew up six miles outside of Washington, DC, and felt part of a bigger picture of the world, but not much sense of history, even though it was, like, “big” history. We lived in suburban housing that was built for when the G.I.’s came home from the war. Every house looked like every other house, and everybody there was kind of new. I didn’t even think much about history. But we visited my grandparents all the time, just across the river in Maryland, and we ended up going to a church in downtown Washington. I get emotional about the Civil Rights Movement, because that was a part of my teenage years. We were the first integrated church and I marched with Martin Luther King in ‘63.

 

RB: What a fitting thing that we’re here today, on Martin Luther King Day.

 

GG: Except I wish I was at school, talking to the kids about it. [Smiles.] We’ll read his speech tomorrow. I make sure we do every year.

 

So, anyway, they killed all of my heroes, so we were headed for Canada. [Laughs.] And we got to Maine, and it seemed like far enough in the past here that, y’know, it wasn’t so bad. And also, my first husband, we were worried a little bit about the draft. We’d been through [testing] in the Vietnam War. But we had a child, so he wasn’t really in danger, but we thought it’d be better to live in Canada. But we couldn’t get across the border. [Laughs.] You had to have six hundred dollars or a job, and we didn’t have either one. So we stayed in Maine, and we went down to the State Department of Education and said, “Where’s the best school system?” And, uh, they said, North Haven Island. So we went to North Haven Island, and I applied for a job.

 

RB: How old were you?

 

GG: Twenty-one.

 

RB: And your child?

 

GG: Well, I guess I was twenty-three then. Our son was two. We were planning ahead [laughs] –– we were teachers, so. And of course they, y’know, had their pick of people with masters’ degrees, and they were very polite and kind, but learning about the island, I just got into an island… thing. I applied, I think, on Matinicus, and a couple of other islands. The more I saw of island life, the more I liked it. I liked that things were finite. You could know them and understand them. And we ended up settling in the Augusta area, and I was a children’s librarian for a while. Well, first I taught Head Start in the outer towns, and then [I was] a children’s librarian, and then I was working for a cerebral palsy school. But it was kids with brain damage, too, not just from birth.

 

When my marriage fell apart, in the Maine Times, I saw a classified ad [laughs], that said: “Single fisherman invites adventuresome lady to visit offshore island.” So, at Christmas, when my husband said he didn’t want me to move to Boston with him, I was, just –– I saw that and I went to the island and met this single fisherman. And he had thick, Coke-bottle glasses and double hearing aids. And I’d been thinking about my students: what’s their life when they grow up? Who do they have a life with? And I thought, I can make a difference here!

 

RB: And that was out on Islesford.

 

GG: That was on Islesford. And also, that was in January, and the ramp leading down to the float was off its track. And I said, “Oh my, who do you call?” And he said, “Don’t call nobody, you fix it yourself.” [Laughs.] And he and I fixed it. And I said, “Oh, I want to live here!”

 

RB: Who was the fisherman?

 

GG: It was Arthur Fernald. Seventh generation. And all of a sudden, it was dawning on me that there are people living around here whose people have always been here. Of course, going to an island in January, everybody’s happy to see you! [Laughs.] Somebody new to talk to. Somebody new to spend time with. So, everybody was very gracious to me. Also, that year, the marsh froze over, and my son’s old life — he was twelve by then — was hockey, ice skating. And I said, you can skate here! For free! I don’t have to drive to the ice rink all the time! He hasn’t done that, since… but he liked it, and anyway, he met Arthur too, and we agreed we’d come up to the island in June when school was out. I looked and looked and looked for a place to stay on my own, but it was hard to find, so we stayed with Arthur. And it was good. So that was my “in” to the island.

 

And I went lobstering with him… when I first went, I thought, “I’ll just start a nursery school,” because that’s what I had been doing. I trained to teach third grade, my first job was fourth, and then I was doing Head Start, and then I established a preschool at my son’s — my son went to a hippie school, which was run by parents and teachers and kids. And I started a preschool for them, ‘cause the sooner you’d get kids, the better. And I started a preschool at the cerebral palsy school, ‘cause the sooner you get those kids… and I mixed in regular kids with the handicapped kids, which was a new idea.

 

RB: Was that sort of visionary at the time?

 

GG: Yeah. It worked well, except for some of the kids that started talking funny and limping. [Laughs.] But, y’know, it went more the other way. But wait, when I said I was going to start a preschool [at Islesford], there were no kids! There were only two kids who weren’t in school yet, and neither one of them, y’know, parents felt like they wanted a school. So that’s why I went lobstering.

 

RB: Oh my gosh, that’s funny. And did you get involved with the school out there as soon as the fall started? Or did you take awhile?

 

GG: No, I didn’t. I realized I didn’t want to be a whole teacher, because I — I’m kind of opinionated, and I felt like, I think a teacher needs to hold back and stay friends with everybody. And if I was gonna… I don’t know. Also, two — three of my students had died, just before I came. One from an accident and two from cystic fibrosis. And y’know, I just… couldn’t do it. Right then. I was kinda ragged. I didn’t work for the school for another twenty years.

 

RB: Did you lobster that whole time?

 

GG: No, I just did that three years.

 

RB: Did you like it?

 

GG: Yeah. Except at the end, I was getting seasick every time. I don’t know what that was about. But then it was time for my boy to go to high school, so I moved off for the winters. And then he wanted — he had a job at the Parks Service, so I stayed off. I guess that was — my husband made a nice timeline for me! What I realized about women, I realized at the time that I went to the island, which was the height of feminism’s, I think, beginnings. I wanted to feel like a woman could do anything a man could do, so I could live on an island even though there wasn’t much work for women except homemaking. But I found out, you can make money painting buoys, and I was getting a percentage of the catch with lobstering. There were artists — historically, the summer people there were artists and academics. So, um, in my time on the island, I started a business painting tiles and painting silk scarves, and sold those in gift shops and stuff. I almost could have supported myself, but it’s nicer to have a partner.

 

RB: Yeah, and it can get lonely.

 

GG: Yeah. I’m looking at women on the island now, that don’t want to stay, and it’s sad, but it’s because they don’t have a partner. So maybe that’s another key to being on an island. But I felt great, in the beginning especially. I felt liberated and strong. And grateful that the men accepted me.

 

RB: I was going to ask –– were there a lot of other women lobstering when you did?

 

GG: No. [Laughs.] There was one, there had been a summer girl that was lobstering, and then she married her captain. But, um, no –– I could hang out with the guys, the fishermen hung out… I guess they had just started the Co-op when I got there, so they had a co-op office. And that’s where you heard all of the news of the day and the old stories and stuff, and I felt accepted there. I loved it! Y’know, nobody hit on you, and nobody was cranky at you, y’know. It was fine. But our island might be different than other places.

 

RB: Do you think it is? Have you heard that it’s different?

 

GG: I think that Islesford is more civilized and genteel than other places. We had a really good matriarch-–well, a good family that had, like, four sons that went out into it. Some are poets and some are painters as well as being lobstermen. The Alleys and the Fernalds put young men into the system. And then a strange thing that was happening at the same time was that summer people’s kids were wanting to stay and go lobstering instead of going off into the corporate world. They’re generally nice, too.

 

RB: As someone who was active in Civil Rights-era work, in DC and in the hub where this is all happening, was it a culture shock to come to a place like Maine, and specifically like Islesford?

 

GG: With very few people of color? That’s the only thing that my son says he regrets about where he was brought up. That it wasn’t diverse. And I love it that he cares.

 

RB: That he noticed, yeah. Did you have ways that you introduced more diversity to him?

 

GG: Well, we’ve got Ashley Bryan. And Joy [Sprague] the postmaster, who lived there all her days, got to go away to Haystack Craft School and came home with a husband from St. Vincent. So her two daughters are brown-skinned. He was on the island for a while and he worked, did carpentry for awhile with the guy who’s now my husband. And, um, the kids on Islesford had a little more exposure to color than kids from other places. We made sure that we’d come off when there were entertainments, like reggae and stuff, we made sure we’d go.

 

RB: It takes work to find it. I’m from California, and that’s one of the big sensitivities that I have, raising kids here.

 

GG: You wanna make sure they know there are people who are different, and fine.

 

RB: Yes, they’re somewhat of an anomaly here, in how we’re raising them in a community that is so white. I want them to feel comfortable walking anywhere in the world. So, you do have to seek it out.

 

GG: I think the nature and beauty here made it so I was happy to be here. When I was a kid, we’d visit my parents in a small town in Pennsylvania, and I always thought I wanted to go live there. Coming here was good.

 

RB: So you did bring cookbooks, though, and you said that that was one of your main entry points, as well as Mr. Fernald and lobstering. Tell us about how you became active in the Church Club.

 

GG: Yes, the Ladies’ Aid Club. When I first came over, the Club was my introduction to being part of women’s groups on the island. Then I started going to meetings at the Neighborhood House. It was sort of like recently retired people were running the place, being Selectmen and being at the Neighborhood House. And then one year, they weren’t going to do the Masquerade Ball, because nobody wanted to run it. So, I did. My husband wrote this down for me because I’m not so good at dates and stuff, but I went there in ‘79, and I think by ‘82 or ‘83 I was President of the Neighborhood House. I did that for twenty-five, twenty-six years. The Masked Ball got me into — that, actually, I found out later, used to be put on by the Fire Department to raise money. I think they’re starting it up again. We’d have an island Christmas party, and people would bring dessert. Seacoast Mission would send out presents. One of our people dressed up as Santa –– although shhh, I’m still trying to keep it secret.

 

RB: I won’t tell! [Laughs.]

 

GG: They’d hand out gifts to the kids. Sometimes, the kids would do little plays and stuff. And then we’d have a Fourth of July picnic, which would be three or four hundred people gathered in the town field. I’d organize all of the people cooking food for that. Oh, and we had a Harvest Supper around Columbus Day, to sort of say goodbye to the summer people. That’s another thing that’s different about Islesford, is that the summer people and the locals like each other. [Laughs.] Even marry each other twice, maybe three times. [Laughs.] There’s instances of that. On Mothers’ Day, we’d have a pancake breakfast, where the dads would come and cook breakfast for the ladies, for everybody. And I like it that it’s run by a Town Meeting. All of those things happened at the Neighborhood House.

 

RB: Is it still active in that way? Does it still create community events, with regularity?

 

GG: Pretty much. It’s changing, I think you were going to ask about that, too.

 

RB: Yeah, just — change over time, in general. I didn’t realize all of these community events were hosted throughout the year, and it sounds like, with really good turnout, if you’ve got a few hundred people coming.

 

GG: And the Church Fair, I didn’t write that in there, but that’s been going on forever. It used to be at the church, but then it got too big, so now it’s called the Islesford Fair because the Church Club is no longer. They all died.

 

RB: New generations aren’t continuing these things, huh?

 

GG: I think they’re officers of the church, but there’s not a Church Club anymore, so that’s sad. But a college-age summer girl came forward and kept the fair going. It used to be more of an art show. That’s why it could be at the church. But the Islesford Fair still goes on, and each nonprofit entity has a part of it. There’s boatworks there, that people are teaching kids how to build boats. And then there’s the Fire Department, and the historical — oh, yeah. Abotu thirty years ago, I got involved in the Historical Society. But I didn’t have to do anything, for like twenty-five years, because I was just the Vice President. Then he [Hugh Dwelley] died, and now I’m stuck in it. [Laughs.] I’m trying to get out of it.

 

RB: Do you find that community involvement, and civic engagement, has changed since you came there in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s?

 

GG: Right, yeah. It used to be that every homemaker was involved in the Church Fair, and Fourth of July. Now it’s just a few people, and sometimes they even hire somebody to do it, which breaks my heart. I don’t know, though. We have another group coming up. It went from all the women with time on their hands, and then it was all women with children they needed to raise, so I wouldn’t blame them for not devoting as much time. But there’s a lot of people who never got involved, except going to the Bake Sale –– oh yeah, I forgot to mention that. What day is that? When everybody comes back for that spring holiday.

 

RB: Memorial Day?

 

GG: Yeah. [Laughs.] They’ll say, I’ll come and buy your stuff, but they won’t say, I’ll bring a full cake so you won’t have to. It’s more about money. A lot of the summer people, when their kids got school age, they moved off for the winters. The summer people who had married each other and were staying on the island, starting their families. And they wanted jobs, because they were raised to go off and have a job. A lot of the matches in the old days, a single fisherman might hire a housekeeper and either marry them, or the housekeeper would marry someone else. [Laughs.]

 

RB: Right, so at least they’d brought somebody in.

 

GG: And the nannies, and stuff. When I first got there, I’d see a single guy with a woman on the island, and say, “How come you don’t, y’know, date her?” And he’d go, “She’s like my sister!” [Laughs.] So I think the summer people––the Rusticators coming in the 1800s brought nannies, and nurses. And then they were wives for the fisherman. The Fernalds that I hooked up with when I first came, she was Finnish, and she had come as a nanny for summer people, and married Arthur’s father. When I came there, a lot of the people on the island didn’t even have drivers’ licenses. They never came off the island, and they didn’t need to. They had a store.

 

RB: There was a year-round store there?

 

GG: Yeah, and that’s recent, in the last three years, that we don’t anymore.

 

RB: That’s got to be rough.

 

GG: Yeah, it is, except it’s because everybody has cars and it’s pretty easy to come and go, and y’know, buy things in bulk. When I was first there, I was able to make things last and go off once a month for groceries. But things are getting… some things are better, now. The people who have the Pine Tree Market in Northeast have a house on the island, and they have a big truck that they use to sell things on the island and in the store. So you can get fresh vegetables. And they’re always –– even though being called a “fahmah” was sort of an insult, that was another thing that was so cool about Arthur Fernald. Because of his handicaps that they didn’t discover until he went to school, he didn’t play with kids, he hung out with the old-timers, ‘cause they talked loud and he could hear. He had such a strong accent. And he knew all the old stories. I didn’t know I was so interested in history until I heard the stories and could ask, “Why is this that way,” or “Why is that like that,” and he knew it.

 

RB: And what do you think that the role of the cookbooks is, that they continue to produce them? Are they fundraisers; are they community things? Does everyone submit their own recipes?

 

GG: All of those things. I just got a message from one of my friends out there that the Maine State Bicentennial Committee is making a cookbook. Did you see? She thought I should submit the Islesford White Gingerbread recipe on behalf of the Historical Society. So, I tried to… because you have to put someone’s name, so I put “Islesford Historical” and then “Society” as the last name. I put my name in there, too. But that recipe is not in any of these books! But it’s at every event.

 

RB: I’ve had it once before! Bill Barter, who works at the Auto Museum, his daughter –– erm, John Hill, his dad lives out on Islesford? Yeah. I think Mary Barter got it from that connection.

 

GG: From Sue Hill.

 

RB: Yeah. And she made it for Christmas. And it’s really different!

 

GG: It is different! I make it for everything that I go to.

 

RB: Why do you think it’s not in the cookbook?

 

GG: I don’t know that!

 

RB: But everybody just knows the recipe?

 

GG: Yes. When I was doing this, some people would say, “Oh, I can’t give you that recipe, because it’s not my own. I didn’t make it up.” So they might have thought that. Or it might have been a kind of secret thing. The thing is, the lady that had the store for awhile was making it and selling it at the store. And she would also sell the recipe on a postcard. Her story was that when she was a teenager, she worked at the old Islesford Hotel, well, you know, at the Woodlawn Hotel. The Islesford Hotel was taken down in the twenties. The Woodlawn lived through the fifties and she thinks, maybe they started it there. It was served there as a breakfast thing, and for afternoon tea.

 

I brought this largely because it has pictures of island events. I put a picture in each divider section. Here’s one of Barb Fernald being moderator at a Town Meeting. And here’s one of graduation. The first graduation I went to, there was a huge –– like this! They put up streamers and had a huge buffet and cake; it was like a wedding reception.

 

This was the masquerade ball — look at these beauties! It’s a really big deal. Fairies… dressed up like the mailboat. I got to go to it, one time, before people stopped doing it. Maybe it was in ’76 or ’79. People had gone to their attics and gotten old clothes and stuff. I put on things to raise money for the historical society and brought, ah — this is the girl that started the Islesford Fair and started boat racing. I put on concerts and things, and we did a suffragette-themed concert this summer. We’ll probably do it again this coming summer. It’s a hammer dulcimer player, he met an islander on the mailboat, just going out on a day trip, and she invited him home, introduced him to me, and he’s been coming every year for, like, thirty years. I like the longevity of things on the island.

 

RB: Yes, you get people who fall in love, and come back to it over, and over, and over.

 

GG: Even, for sixteen years, we lived in the lightsaving station. I used to think that people would come be with us because they loved that we lived out in the station, and they could be out on this point with water on three sides. It was beautiful and wonderful. But even now that we’re mostly on Mount Desert, they still come. So that’s a test of friendship.

 

RB: It’s not so horrible here either. So you — do you go out at all during the winter?

 

GG: We don’t have a place out there. We don’t work for [the lightsaving station] anymore. Then, we were live-in caretakers, and that’s why we never bought any property, ‘cause we just thought we’d do that forever. But then things change. Also, we didn’t stay there all the time. I mean, that was our home base, but part of our job was facilitating for our boss, and all he wanted to do. So he and my husband took a lobster boat from here down to Belize and back, navigating for themselves. It was quite the adventure.

 

RB: So the lightsaving station was a private home?

 

GG: Yes. It’s called the Coast Guard station by some people. It’s out on a point of land by the island. Sort of a destination for people to go look at it, but it’s private property. He bought it in… ’79 or so. Newlin from Northeast Harbor… well, his grandmother, well, a summer person from Northeast Harbor.

 

RB: So you were caretakers out there?

 

GG: Yeah. Oh, that was another thing. When I was still south in the Augusta area, I thought it was important that I could be part of a carpentry crew, building a school for the little hippie day school. So then it was cool when I came up here, after I was done lobstering, I could… I was doing carpentry on that building. My husband made a scaffolding on ropes and boards so that I could go on the outside of the 40-foot tower and paint the window trim. I think I’m too dumb to be scared! I’m just fascinated by things.

 

RB: If it needs to get done, it needs to get done — which is why you’ve been successful on outer islands! It’s just that willingness to dig in and do whatever.

 

GG: Right.

 

RB: Did you miss working with kids?

 

GG: Well, I babysat. [Laughs]. I babysat others that came along. And I started back at the school maybe twenty [or four?] years ago. But regularly. They hired me to ride the boat with Sophie Dowling, who’s about to graduate from high school.

 

RB: That’s when I met you. I think, I came out to Isleford a couple of times to teach, when I was at the Abbe.

 

GG: Oh, I knew that was how I knew you!

 

RB: We’d go to Great Cranberry to pick up kids, and go to the dock there. We were the chaperone.

 

GG: Sea nanny, my brother called it. On my pay stub, it’s “boat monitor,” but that sounds like a lizard, so I don’t like it. So did you come to teach about Native people?

 

RB: Yes, I went out several times, over the course of a couple of years, and did programming out there.

 

GG: It worked, too, because our kids seem more aware of Native American stuff. Our kids knew more than most people, and we’re not going to let it die.

 

RB: How many kids are at the school now?

 

GG: There’s only nine or ten now.

 

RB: Are there next generations coming up?

 

GG: Yeah, a few. But the numbers are decreasing.

 

RB: Is this you?

 

GG: Yeah, with my stepdaughter. She looks about eight. So that was in ’86. I probably shouldn’t have that picture around, because you’re not supposed to be out of uniform. We got married on the shore at Jordan Pond, and climbed up Sergeant with our wedding party. Islanders came over. And we went up every year after that, for our anniversary, with groups of islanders. There’s a lot of them that have never been up any other mountains. And none of them knew how to swim. Of the fishermen, you know. It’s changing now. Even the fishermen, they come over — yeah, like, I said that the summer people-fishermen over here bought houses, especially for winter, when kids were in high school. So they have bases, too, and an go bicycling, and make money and stuff. We had a sheep station, because somebody gave me Shetland sheep. We got these sheep to be low-maintenance pets. But Henry’s daughter, my stepdaughter, her mother wanted to go off the island took her with her. So we got low-maintenance pets so we wouldn’t care that much when she wasn’t around. [Laughs.] We didn’t know how easy it was to get more. We left some at a farm one year when we went up to Quebec for a carnival, and we didn’t know they had a ram! So this one had a lamb the next year, and it was a ram. I thought, oh, well, it’s its mother and its cousins, so it’s not going to… no, they don’t care. Our boss was very nice about it. He named them Roast and Chops, though we never ate any. But that’s how I got into the spinners. ‘Cause if you have wool… We sheared them ourselves the first year, and then we hired people the other years. Well, we just had hand clippers.

 

RB: And then washing and carding it… did you teach yourself to spin?

 

GG: Isn’t it interesting that out of ninety people on the island, two of them were hand-spinners? One was a weaver. Sue Hill, the mother-in-law of Barry Barter. She taught me to spin. There was another woman on the island who wanted to know about spinning, and I bought her wheel. Kathleen Bowman was another woman on the island. She had retired there from Antioch College, I think, and she had had a weaving studio, so she taught me how to spin. She was teaching people to weave, a couple of people learned it and began to make money that way.

 

RB: Do you weave or do you just spin?

 

GG: It’s too mathematical for me. I learned to knit so that I’d have something to do on the mailboat, and so that I’d have something to do in the Church Club meetings. But I don’t follow patterns, I just build things with stitches.

 

Another way that I influenced the island, or the area, is that my parents came here once they realized I wasn’t coming back. [Laughs.] My brother came here and ran the Co-op on the island for awhile, the Lobstermen’s Co-op. And my parents had a lovely retirement in Bar Harbor, and they spoke highly of how Maine takes care of its elders. They even connected with a guy that saved my dad’s life when he was in the service. They were coming up to one of those little cabins on the way into town, and they saw my parents’ picture in the paper–they were voting or having an anniversary or something—and they found each other again. My dad was short, and he had jumped from a landing craft, and he was in the Medics and had a big typewriter or something on his back and he just went down on one knee. But everybody else thought he was a rock and they were jumping on him, y’know, to get out, until one guy said, “Hey, where’s Pat?” And they found him! Then, they found each other one day later. They would bring us fried chicken all the time when we were building our house on Otter Creek. I didn’t know this, but — I was trying to do a timeline, and said, “When did we buy that land?” We got fifteen acres on Otter Cliffs Road, which was amazing, and a long time ago. Henry said, “Well, you wanted to be off the island with Hunter, so he could go to high school, so you needed a place over here.” Was that nice? I didn’t realize that was his thinking. Then, we could go see his daughter in Connecticut every other weekend, so we had three places: a camper van, the station, and the house.

 

I think there’s been a time when there weren’t that many middle-aged people involved in the running of things [on the island]. I stopped doing the Neighborhood House because I felt like it was just me and my one friend who were doing everything. Oh, and we had movies every Saturday night, too! All through the summer. We’d be there, eleven o’clock at night, sweeping up popcorn, thinking, where’s the help? But it may be coming back now. Boatworks does a lot on the island, with the community. There’s hope for it, for the future. Except, when I was first there, there was a light on in every house going down the street. Now, it’s all dark. We’re probably down like fifty people. I guess the old timers died off, and families either sold the house or they just rent it. They come there for a week or two, and then rent it the rest of the time. Also, it used to be that all the local people were all the builders and fixers and caretakers and stuff. Now, there’s still the caretakers and stuff, but for all the fixing and remodeling, people are so rich they just hire whole crews to come out and do it faster.

 

RB: Yeah, and it’s not employing people, enabling them to live there year-round.

 

GG: Right. It makes me realize the importance of vocational training; a person could make a nice life out there as a car mechanic, a diesel mechanic. We don’t have enough carpenters, now.

 

RB: I think that’s true here, too.

 

GG: How old are your kids?

 

RB: Freshman in high school, and fifth grade.

 

GG: Nice. That’s another thing, too. I’ve always advocated that our seventh and eighth graders should go to school at MDES, just so they’ve got a clique. In the old days, all the island kids were off to boarding school, and now, with MDI being so close and good… the town would pay for them to do room and board. But, ten years ago, this family talked the town into having an early and late boat, so kids could come and go. I think maybe it’d be better for them to be off of here, ‘cause they could do sports and music.

 

RB: Yeah, it is hard. My son is in swimming and diving, and we are constantly shuffling around, because we live in Southwest but the pool is in Bar Harbor. We’re moving all the time, it seems like. So if you had to do that all the time and involve a water passage…

 

GG: People are doing now what I did just to move off in the winter. And it’s not hard to find a nice place, if you’re willing to be a caretaker for a house.

__