letter to the editor

No torpedoes

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 4:00pm

Dear Editor:

I read with interest Kellie Bigos’ Aug. 8 article in the Boothbay Register discussing the new book “Midcoast Maine in World War II," by Peggy Konitzky. It reminds me of a funny story of that time still told in family gatherings.

The Chesebro family lived in, and at other houses, around what is now #149 Route 96. The big white house overlooks the Mill Pond, the East Boothbay village and the Damariscotta River beyond. When blackout curtains were required for all coastal buildings that might give away East Coast “targets” to enemy bombers, my grandfather, Robert Chesebro, must have spent considerable funds to cover the many windows facing the village at the bottom of the open, sloping meadow.

With a lot of salt water in the family veins (lobster men, summer sailors, ship builders and square rigger masters), the concern was of another threat: German submarines, and my grandmother Bernice was a big worrier. In the evening when the blackout curtains were drawn, she would pace the eastern facing windows, rechecking each one often for the one that had been missed or showed the slightest sign of a light leak. Her fear was that the house's presence was now betrayed to a German U-Boat that had snuck up the Damariscotta River, spotted the light, and was now prepared to launch a torpedo at the revealed target! Apparently the illogical possibility of such an event did not matter to her; there was not going to be the slightest light leak, just in case. And for the record, her vigilance must have worked, for during the entire war, not a single torpedo ever hit the house!

Bob Chesebro

Portland

Still chuckling some 75 years later!