Juniper and McKown Points Column: José Gaspar, Mick Jagger and more

Tue, 08/27/2019 - 2:30pm

So much glorious late-August weather, so little news. Folks at Juniper Point who have the sense (and absence of back-to-school obligations) to still be here seem to be just chilling out. In the absence of new news, I have few reports on the lesser-known stuff that has happened this summer.

The top of my list is the appearance of Peter Edwards’ children’s picture book Who is José Gaspar?” It’s a gem of a story (with very cool illustrations) about a bad pirate turned good and the adventures of his friendly, out-of-the-box crew. Of course, the end has a twist. It is charmer for any kid (or kid-like person), but will especially delight kids who know Burnt Island (or Peter’s very own, yet more obscure, Duck Ledges). I heard about this book by chance and secured a copy. But it is a limited edition so any pressure we collectively can put on Peter to run another batch and go commercial would be in the interest of kids all over Maine, New England and beyond.

There were, as always, some big 0’s. My list is undoubtedly incomplete, but representative. On the simple 0 end of the spectrum was my new grandson (Ethan Edward Helming, born July 25) who was the youngest ever attendee of the chowder cook-off (called the soup party in my house). That is a low-bar, but still ... He was here with his parents Vanessa Lipschitz and Mat Helming, was bundled in a mobi, and ventured out to meet the crowds. Moving along, Anne Swope got together with two college roommates who all started Tufts University as freshmen almost 50 years ago. The coast of Maine provided all the fixings — shopping in Freeport, boat rides, a chowder cook-off, and lots of beach time for reminiscing. And the final 0 (what number goes before this 0 is your guess), was John Gillies’ birthday celebration with a trip to Houston to see a Rolling Stones concert, delayed from earlier in the year because Mick Jagger had had heart surgery! John thought the concert was terrific and that Jagger was in fine form. However, John remarked, referring to the football field-sized screen giving close-up shots of Jagger, “Jeez, did he ever look old—I just wonder if I look that old?”

The Repas can only be described as Juniper Point’s experts on travel in Maine. This summer they completed their third Down East Magazine Great Maine Scavenger Hunt, which sends participants scrambling to do 38 iconic Maine things in mainstream and out of the way places. Their final adventure this year took them to Bar Harbor where the challenge was to “floss Mr. Rockfeller’s Teeth”, that is, help clean out the vegetation growing between the “coping” stones (which apparently look like teeth) on Rockefeller’s carriage trails in Acadia National Park. The next day they took a wooden water taxi to Great Cranberry Island to locate the Preble-Marr Museum which has an extensive collection of Hitty doll memorabilia. The original Hitty, short for Mehiabel, is a small wooden doll crafted in the 1860s. In the 1920s an author named Rachel Field bought a Hitty doll in an antique store and wrote a children’s book about the imaginary travels of such a doll, “Hitty, Her First 100 Years” launching from Great Cranberry Island itself. The book won the Newberry Award for children’s literature in 1929, and reviews have it that it is still a great read.

JPVIS history nights at the Gillies’ again turned up some historical gems. At the most recent one, Kit Andrews described the Uber boat taxi in Boothbay in the 1940s and ’50s when the Richard T circulated around the harbor picking up passengers at Southport Bridge, the Moore’s Landing, Pine Cliff, Capital Island,  Mouse Island, Juniper Point among others and taking passengers to the Harbor. The Stuarts recounted a dream Dorothy once had about a blue-shuttered cottage near a beach, near tennis courts, and near a town. Soon after, they bought their cottage on Juniper Point. Bunny Gagne brought the original deed for the purchase of her lot and cottage in 1933 for about $1,200. The McGillvaries, who trace their history back to their grandparents’ purchase of the cottage in front of Moore’s landing in the early 1940’s, talked about themselves and their cousins now owning collectively 11 cottages on the Point. The Morrison’s history began on Linekin Bay when Charlotte was a child and eventually moved over to the Point. After renting for some years, they eventually bought a cottage, which was later sold so dad could buy a boat! They reverted to renting until finally buying the cottage in the field next to Manley Reed’s homestead. Phil Rubel maintains his record of having attended all of our history-telling parties. 

Late-August thoughts include looking forward to summer 2020. Dave Taylor and family left Juniper Point over the weekend with great memories of an activity packed summer and anticipation of returning next year. They love that lots of kids come out who are new to the game, experienced, and/or summer only tennis players to make tennis a part of their BBH daily routine. Jon Sylvester spear-headed two Point Improvement days, the latest with a gardeners’ focus on the year to come. A handful of eager volunteers worked on the tennis courts and rights of ways.  Denny Wilkenson and his grandson Zander worked tirelessly with Jon Sylvester on the right of ways spreading bark mulch.  Jon's wife Jodi went to Grover’s to get supplies for Dave, Harry Moser, and others working on projects at the courts. 

Keep chillin’—the best of Maine is the next month.