I was cleaning up some dishes at the kitchen sink after lunch last week and noticed a car pull into the bottom of the driveway. We have found this to be a fairly common occurrence as people override a GPS device or become confused by our abandoned tricycle mounted atop a salvaged boulder. Sometimes a GPS misleads drivers from foreign lands as they seek the ferry terminal at Newagen on Route 27 South, hoping to find a more direct path to Portland!
But this time the white car advanced up the driveway. I figured my appearance would scare any private investigator as I was a serious mess from demo work of wall and rotten windows at the south wing of Windsor castle. I advanced to meet would be stranger at the garden gate.
As I glided down the ramp (constructed by Skip Rideout and crew) our visitor exited his auto. I had prepared my best, limited German greeting, “Guten tag,” but hardly got the Guten out of my mouth when I recognized Tom Hampson, an old and dear friend from long ago.
“Oh my God!”
I met Tom in the late ’70s when he and wife Barbara Jean (renowned teller at Depositor’s Trust bank in Boothbay Harbor) were building their first house on the upper east side of Barters Island. We had just bought our first house over on the lower east side of upper Kimballtown Road, on, what other island is there, Barters! I signed on to do some part-time work with Tom who, along with building a new house, was the creator of magnificent custom furniture and interiors. I was Mr. Sandman! My two most notable assistant accomplishments were helping to install the new doors at the Congo Church and a beautiful cherry kitchen for Bob Branch at Linekin Bay Resort. Eventually Tom and Jean sold the Barters Island house and bought land on Sawyer’s Island for a new house and shop. I tagged along.
Tom is a remarkable story. He played drums in a rock band “Sheffield Spring,” which had a number one hit called “I’m Coming Home.” You can still find it on the web. After his music career Tom and a friend decided to take off for Europe, hitchhiking throughout the continent and southeast Asia. He has a whole mess of photos to prove it. Black and whites made with an old Canon camera that he traded for a jacket in Afghanistan.
Tom was interested in boatbuilding from an early age. After his youthful travels he decided to come to Maine where he had the good fortune of meeting Donald Barter at Goudy & Stevens. He apprenticed with Mr. Barter for five years, learning many skills and techniques that would serve him well down the road. Over the years, he worked on boats like Antonisa and Sheherezade at Hodgdon Yachts. During those years, he lived aboard his own sailboat anchored off Road’s End in the Harbor. Then he and family moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina where he built two more houses and continued his career as a furniture maker and builder of fine interiors.
About 10 years ago, Tom took on his last career as a boat captain for the private yacht Young America, a Ted Fontaine beauty built here in Maine by Lyman Morse in Thomaston. Recently the boat was sold, but Tom chose to retire from captaining. Hard to say what the next chapter will be, but I’m sure it will be interesting. It was a lot of fun to catch up. Thanks for stopping by, Tom, with or without the GPS!