Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library is home for many residents and visitors including a young boy who enjoys hanging out on his magic carpet and reading his favorite books. The future of the bronze sculpture “My Story” has always been uncertain as sculptor Mitch Billis installed the piece in 2007 and it has been on loan to BHML ever since.
Billis publicly gifted the sculpture to BHML on June 28 in a small ceremony on the green.
“This is my way of giving back to a community that has given me so much,” said Billis. “It is a gift to the library, but as much as anything, a gift to this community.”
Billis said he, his father and his brother – originally from Montana – first came to Boothbay Harbor the day before school started in 1978. Exploring coastal communities like Ogunquit and Wells, the Billises said none of the communities quite felt like home. “So, we got back in the car and drove up this way.”
Billis said there was a real estate agent – Ethelyn Giles – in the building directly across from BHML and his father bought a house the day they arrived and has lived in it ever since.
“This community has given us so much. I never knew how dear this community was because I had never spent any time in a small community … I met (Sewell Maddocks) on the football team. He knocked me on my butt and said 'Welcome to Boothbay!' … We've established relationships that we just treasure as much as anything in the world.”
While the sculpture had been on loan, Billis said he could not imagine taking it away, so he wanted to make its longtime home official. The community has embraced it, taken care of it and dressed it up in the winter to keep the little boy warm, said Billis.
“We see people walk by and admire that sculpture every single day – of the year,” said BHML Executive Director Joanna Breen. “People walk by in the winter and everyone finds their hats because of that sculpture. It’s how he gets dressed up. I just wanted to thank you.”
Billis has another plan for a sculpture he would like to do at BHML, but he said it is only an idea at this point as he looks into funding. “I've got a neat idea, but I don't want to talk too much about it. You know – overpromise and underdeliver!”