What’s next? The life and tunes of Corey Tibbetts!
Remember “Cracker Jacks” and the little prize at the bottom of the box? It wasn’t much but it was fun to see what the prize would be. The process of anticipation!
For the many of us who have known, and known of, the presence of Corey Tibbetts in our lives over the years, the prize at the bottom of the box may still be a surprise. In the meantime, Corey, or “Bo Bo,” as he is frequently referred to, is quite a legendary chap. His history and the history of his family here in the Boothbay region is quite remarkable.
For years, 10-plus years to be exact, Corey was most visible as he sped through town in one of his fleet, “Bo Bo’s Coastal Cabs.” As Corey put it, he’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly of nearly every community along the Midcoast. From trips to the airports for visiting yacht celebs, to hospital deliveries, to late night rescues for over imbibers! 24 hours a day, seven days a week! That’s a lot.
But growing up in Boothbay Harbor provided Corey with a generous sense of community. His relatives here number among the most historic families: The Lewises, the Gileses and, of course, the Tibbettses.
Harmon Tibbetts, a well-known local lobsterman, was Corey’s grandfather. Corey went lobstering with Harmon for years as a youngster. But, in 1990, Harmon refused to take Corey out with him and told him to look elsewhere for work. No one on the waterfront would hire him. Harmon had put out the word. “Find a better way to make a living,” Harmon said. “Fishing is changing, it won’t be the same.”
Harmon and Bob Fish did not get along. But, out of desperation, Corey approached Bob about a job. Captain Fish said, “You’re Harmon Tibbetts’ grandson aren’t you? No way you can set foot on my boats.”
“But I need a job,” Corey said. Bob said OK and put him to work on the Good Times where he worked for six seasons. Corey worked other boats in the Harbor, too — The Yellowbird, Pink Lady, Buccaneer. He was deckhand and cook.
Cooking interests led Corey to school at Johnson and Wales and then back home to work at practically every eatery in the region. Fisherman’s, Rocktide, Lobsterman’s Wharf, Gray’s. And now he owns Hometown Convenience on Eastern Avenue, where I caught up with him as he prepared one of his famous pizzas.
One of Corey’s other claims to fame, locally, is his wonderful singing voice. He sang at the Carousel Dinner Theater when Dominic Garvey was directer and later in the Methodist church choir, in his own band and often at karaoke nights. Music is in his genes. He likes to sing and continues to enjoy opportunities to perform. I think I may even have detected a slight tune as he prepared a loaded pizza and a cheesesteak sub!
One final bit of history Corey shared with me was how he got the name Bo Bo. One summer during YMCA camp, a fellow camper started picking on him during an outing at Barrett’s Park, challenging Corey. Corey decked the kid with little effort. Frustrated by his performance, the challenger requested a rematch complaining that he wasn’t ready. Corey decked the kid again, instantly, and fellow campers likened him to the then-famous pro wrestler BoBo Brazil. The name stuck.
Corey has some great stories. He’s seen a lot and isn’t shy about sharing. You just never know what you might find inside the box, but it’s often a surprise.
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