I have had many regular summer visitors in the office over the years, bringing in news releases, columns, renewing their subscription, or just wanting to say hi after a long winter.
Last summer, one person I hadn’t seen in a couple of years came to mind. As we all know, time passes quickly, and looking back over our website, I discovered that I hadn’t received a news release from East Boothbay artist Carlton Plummer in three years. Ever the self promoter and one of the finest artists I’ve come to know, I always looked forward to Carlton returning in June or July to catch up on his latest awards, family or painting trips. I always hoped he would come in a day before deadline because he always had lots of stories to tell.
I had heard last summer that he wasn’t doing well physically. Summer being as busy as it is, I didn’t follow through on getting an update on his health.
On Monday this week, I received yet another inquiry about Carlton — and this time, I acted.
I called Carlton’s son, Gerry, and he very nicely called me back within an hour after I had left him a message.
Carlton has a form of dementia and is in an assisted living facility in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. He was in another facility in Groton but was not, according to Gerry, being given the right care.
“A friend of mine opened this facility in Chelmsford, which is close by, so we are able to visit with him often. My Mom (Joan) is living with us so it is good for her, too,” said Gerry, who owns a landscaping business and still works on his sculptures (which Carlton often talked about).
Gerry said his Dad, who will turn 90 in August, is rebounding well. He has begun drawing and is doing some painting.
“Like most dementia patients, he can tell you stories from 60 years ago but has some trouble remembering what he did yesterday,” said Gerry. “But it has been nice that he’s regained some of his faculties.”
Gerry said he and his brothers are currently cataloging Carlton’s “massive” amount of artwork and deciding what to do with it.
“My aunt saved a lot of his drawings done as a kid. His school reports were amazing. He could draw wonderful renditions of animals. He did renditions of soldiers fighting during World War II … I am so glad that some of his talent was passed down to me.”
I asked Gerry to tell Carlton I said hi and that I hope he remembers me.
“Oh, he remembers all the Boothbay times and people,” said Gerry. “He really enjoyed his time in living there.”
Gerry said a recent visit with his Dad was quite memorable.
“We brought his great-grandson along and he and Dad were kicking a ball around. It was so neat. Four generations of us.”
As Gerry said, Carlton has had an amazing life and “we wanted to make sure that his life ends with amazing care and I think he’s getting it.”