Category Archives: Celebrations
With a Westport Island styled glass of bubbly
Happy New Year! It’s time to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne and toast family, friends and neighbors that make our world a better place.
A holiday, a season, a celebratory occasion or a unique piece of Maine or Americana is marked on Westport Island by a mailbox finial at the home of Ken Shepherd and Cheryl Anderson. Today, as we celebrate the dawn of a new year, our creative Anderson-Shepherd partnership is marking the day with a glass of bubbly.
Ken — an electrical engineer by profession and a highly skilled wood turner by passion — designs and crafts the novelty wood mailbox finials, and Cheryl — a multi-talented craftsperson — paints them. Their creations include: the Boon Island Lighthouse, Mickey Mouse; a train, a plane and a motorboat; a Valentine; a football; Uncle Sam’s, a Puritan’s, a witch’s and a leprechaun’s hat; an American flag; a Thanksgiving Day turkey; Santa Claus; a snowman; an angel; a Christmas tree… the list of fun novelties goes on and on… and always turns heads when passing through the 200 block of the Main Road.
Ken’s father was also a wood crafter, and his grandfather was a watchmaker – a skill he has also mastered. His creative engine never stops; he is always thinking of new ways to create with wood, and is always taken with the challenge of wood varieties and aberrations. Ken is a member of the American Association of Woodturners; a member and former president of the Maine Woodturners; a woodturning teacher and a 21-year volunteer at the Maine Maritime Museum where he also uses his wood crafting talents to enhance displays.
A visit to the Anderson-Shepherd house is like going back in time to Santa’s workshop when everything was made of wood and handcrafted with love – Christmas tree decorations, vases, housewares, goblets, candleholders, fire bellows, and more…
Thank you Ken and Cheryl for sharing your talents and giving us a Westport Island icon that makes me smile.
In this season of hope, we give thanks for those who give of themselves and put a smile in our day.
A poem by Susie Stedman in celebration of Jerry Day Mason
Jerry Day Mason turned 100 on Saturday, May 4. About 150 friends and family were there to celebrate the magic of Jerry and the magic of Jerry’s corner of Westport Island. Thank you Susie for sharing this tribute to your friend and ours…
Let us raise a glass to our Lady Jerry
Who’s taught each of us much about making merry.
We cherish her life and abiding love
For those gathered here…and those above.
She’s elegant, savvy, smart, still cooks!
And she’s never lost her glam good looks,
She raised many children…sailed a tight ship
With Chris, Sarah, Felicity, Jody, Tory and Trip.
Then countless others hopped on board,
As adopted kids…more than one can record,
Pets also adored her, too many to log
And now there’s Sylvester who thinks he’s a dog.
She’s a rare soul, this dame named Jerry,
She defies every known actuary…
She loves backgammon and good blue cheese,
Always puts visitors’ hearts at ease…
When she takes tea, it’s laced with rum
After that, nothing’s hum drum!
Her 100 years call for candles ablaze
(all thirty-six thousand five hundred days!)
Her recent adventures might have challenged the best…
With bones and vertebrae put to the test
But our Jerry rallied after every skid,
Proving to all she’s the Comeback Kid.
We love you. dear Jerry, for so many reasons,
Not least because you’ve lived many seasons.
Your esprit, your joy bloom like flowers…
Your unquenchable courage gives us ours.
Thank you, dear friend, for all that you do
To enlighten our world and show us what’s true.
With Love Forever
On May 4, 2019
Selected photos courtesy of Susie Stedman
from the Island Christmas Program
In a tradition that goes back for more than 100 years, Islanders gathered for a neighborly Christmas celebration with caroling and a tree at the historic “town center” (the Community Church and the Town Hall) on December 9. It’s always nice to visit with neighbors and friends and take pause to appreciate what a nice community we have.
May the young and the young at heart enjoy this Christmas Day and season of giving and forgiving.
Thank you to the Westport Community Association, Pianist Carol Blake, Choir Director Rowan Etzel (who joined us from Bowdoin), the Choir — Brad Adler, Paul Arthur, Newt Blakesley, Maren Cooper, Richard DeVries, Lydia Kitfield, Cyndy Lewis, Deb Lorenson, Virginia Milligan, Marcia Richardson and Maryanne Seredynski — and publicist Laurie Jaramillo for their work in creating a welcoming “Old Fashioned Christmas.”
and taking pause to appreciate long-standing service to our Westport Island community…
On Sunday, August 5, friends and family celebrated Richard DeVries’ 80th birthday at the Town Hall. This milestone presents a good opportunity to celebrate Richard and his many services to the Island.
Richard has been a cornerstone of services to Westport Island families. He has served as an RSU #12 School Board member since its startup – a challenging job that he takes very seriously. In this capacity, Richard has worked hard to improve the fairness of the funding formula impacting Westport Island residents and to bring pre-Kindergarten services to the district.
As owner of the “Ferry Landing” house on Ferry Road, Richard has taken on the stewardship of our town’s public boat landing and park — the Wright Landing — as a personal mission. He acted as the property manager to the town-owned Wright House while it was rented to a private resident — keeping the Selectmen informed of needed maintenance, overseeing repairs and often taking on the role of “handyman”. As Chair of the Wright Landing Committee, he and his committee oversee and manage the installation and removal of the landing’s docks in the spring and fall as well as the maintenance of the grounds and facilities. They also support the work of the Horticulture Committee to keep the property beautiful.
Although he’s not on the Board of Directors of Helping Hands, he is married to Linda Davis who is; and he is a reliable partner in responding to Islanders in need. Both of them regularly help Islanders in need with: rides to appointments, assistance with food and heating needs through Helping Hands, and help with a myriad of other personal crises. During extended power outages, he and Linda monitor those with medical equipment or special needs who may need a portable generator to keep medical equipment operating.
Presently, he also serves on the town’s Comprehensive Planning Committee — a monumental job for all involved. Members are involved in creating a “road map” for the future of the Island and its resources. The plan they are charged with creating analyzes Island data and resident input to make recommendations regarding growth, housing, land use, transportation and other community resources and services. If you haven’t yet provided your input, doing so now would be a good way to honor the work of Richard, his fellow committee members and the importance of volunteerism in keeping Westport Island’s engine running… (the deadline is August 30)
Happy birthday Richard and thank you for helping to make life on Westport Island “the way life should be.”
Taking the Penguin Plunge into Linekin Bay
Westport Islanders Edward and Lydia Kitfield have celebrated New Year’s Day since the early 2000’s by participating in the Boothbay Region YMCA’s Penguin Plunge. The chilly New Year’s benefit “plunge” into Linekin Bay from the public boat ramp on Murray Hill Road benefits the YMCA’s swimming program for second graders.
Lydia said that she and her husband were once part of a medical team on an excursion to Antarctica. They visited Deception Island which is home to a volcano and several crater bays. Lydia and Edward swam on Deception Island, and figured if they could swim in Antarctica, why not Maine. The two also take “dips” into the frigid waters of Montsweag Bay near their home from time to time… Wow!
May we all have the spirit and sense of adventure in 2017 shared by the Kitfields on this beautiful New Year’s Day!
Snapshots of a Westport Community Association event
As we draw the curtains on this Christmas season, a quick peek back at the Westport Community Association’s Island Christmas Program…
Thanks to Emily Small, Flutter Focus Photography, we have some photos to memorialize neighbors being neighbors: singing Christmas carols in the church and lighting the first community Christmas tree in many years — perhaps a new annual tradition. Join with your neighbors to be a part of next year’s celebration.
From the Westport Island Town Office
About 40 people filtered in and out of the Town Office’s annual holiday open house on Tuesday. They brought food, well wishes and appreciation for a small town way of life.
One of our newest residents made an appearance: 2-month old Ivan Wiles. Santa sledded in. And visitors got a listen to the newly formed duo of Santa and elf Richard Gray singing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” The performance left us looking forward to next year when they have had a tad more time to practice and learn the words.
To those who did not receive well wishes in person on Tuesday, Merry Christmas! May you enjoy time with friends and family and bring good memories of this holiday season into 2017.
Masquerade and hocus pocus at the Town Hall
The Community Association’s annual Halloween party included pirates, a bat, a convict, a jester, a zombie bride, town elders and a fairy princess that turned her grandma into a rabbit. Were Vincent Van Gogh and King Arthur also spotted? No, it wasn’t Van Gogh! It was Bob Ross, PBS’s silly artist, promoting “his” philosophy that “there are no mistakes – just happy accidents.”
Fashionistas wore black and white, and the dashing Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara grabbed the spotlight. Scarlett was the belle of the ball with a hooped ball gown fashioned from drapes — with the rod still attached — winning her accolades for most original costume.
Deciding awards for most original, funniest and scariest costumes taxed Judges Deborah Williams, Christy Hopkins and Debbie Speed. All of the masqueraders exhibited award-winning Halloween spirit. One must wonder what the loon, who has been presiding over town hall events since 1889, thought of the Halloween hijinks.
Photo credits for “Bob Ross” to Johnny Scott and for the fairy princess to Laurie Jaramillo
Celebrating 79 years; 61 years on Westport…
Born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts and raised down the road in Dresden Mills, Althea Fitch came to Westport when she married Jud Cromwell in 1955. She’s been here ever since.
In that time, Althea has been an active participant in island life. Her proudest achievement was raising three sons — Thomas, Michael and Brian — largely on her own. And, as any one of them would tell you, the three of them were a handful. They have great admiration and love for their mom. To show it, they worked with friends and family to organize a surprise celebration to let her “feel the love” for all she is and has done.
Althea was a charter member of the Wiscasset Ambulance Service — serving Westport as an EMT in the 1970’s. In the 1990’s, she ran the Pumpkin Press with a partner. The Pumpkin Press was an antique letterpress shop on the island. Its published works included a reprint of another islander’s poetry — Henry Swanton’s 1922 “The Coast of Maine and Other Verses” and a historical booklet, The Wiscasset Ships, a remembrance of the Hesper and the Luther Little.
When oral historian Susan Bowditch interviewed Althea, two things struck her — one expected: “what you see is what you get” — she is firm in her opinions and frank. …Another was less expected: Althea loves to dance… Lessons started as a young child continued until she was 17. Dance is her passion — her favorite is tap dancing. To this day, you might get a glimpse of her dancing to Lawrence Welk on a Saturday night as you pass by her house.
As the wife and mother of lobstermen, Althea is “one” with cruising the island’s waters. She loves sitting in the back of Mike’s lobster boat and feeding the seagulls — not so good for his lobstering business, because the seagulls get more bait than the bait bags. Inside pastimes include sewing, needlepoint, knitting and crocheting — valuable skills when she was a member of Westport Willing Workers. The Willing Workers, active from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, organized fundraising dinners and made crafts and quilts for raffles to benefit the town. They cleaned the Town Hall (including the outhouses), bought the first tables and planted the shrubs at the Town Hall. Later, she was a contributor to the 2011 Westport Island quilt that was designed and assembled by 18 island women to create a traditional fabric narrative of life on Westport. She created “The Lincoln County Flag” square.
If you’ve fallen on hard times and need a hand from Helping Hands’ Island Food Pantry, you’ve likely met or spoken to Althea who is the neighbor with a key and commitment to helping Island families. And, if you are more fortunate and have donated to Helping Hands, the carefully written thank you notes initialed “AC” come from Althea.
Happy Birthday Althea!