Posts Tagged ‘Maine’

Photos from Frankie’s Memorial Service

I felt a little awkward taking photos at a memorial service, but there were so many memories there. So hopefully, I will be forgiven for that—and for not using a flash, which produced a bunch of blurry photos.

I’ve attached a few below, but you can find all of them in My Gallery

Frankie’s memorial service

Usually I go to Maine for the Fourth of July. I used to go for Christmas, but a few years back, Meine Schwester and I started wondering why we went back during the worst weather instead of the best.

This year, I came out a little later so that I could attend Frankie’s memorial service. It is part of my Four Weddings and a Funeral year. Hopefully this will be the only memorial service this year.

Frankie was the guy who would yell at you to get off his lawn—or dock, as the case may be. He and Virgie have the camp next to ours. They and my grandparents used to live together in the house I grew up in. They like to think of it as the first commune.

As much as Frankie was that mean, old bastard who’d yell at you for making too much noise, Frankie was an instrumental piece of my childhood.

Frankie and Virgie ran Rollerland on Sebec Lake, just a few hundred yards from my house. My summers consisted of four things: sleeping, eating, swimming, and rollerskating. Every Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday nights, and Wednesday afternoons, we would gather our change and don rollerskates.

At Rollerland, you didn’t just skate in one direction and change direction for one song. Our play time was structured. We feared, respected, and loved the sound of Frankie’s whistle. Sometimes it meant reverse skate. Othertimes, it indicated time for a game, such as the wheel, memory with six wooden cards, or the game where we would all pick different special locations around the rink and Virgie would call out a location and those kids would be out of the game. Frankie also used the whistle to punish someone (usually one of the boys) for skating too fast, or hot dogging in a way that was dangerous.

What the girls all waited for was the whistle blow that indicated a couple’s skate. This was when you found out who liked who. There would be a slow song, and the lights would dim, and couples would go out on the floor hand in hand. I spent a lot of couples skates looking out the big window at the boats in the marina, but occasionally I’d get a chance to skate.

My favorite boy was Zippy, who would come up from the exotic Boca Raton to spend the summer with his grandmother. He was the kind of boy you’d find in a magazine or Abercrombie & Fitch ad. The girls all loved him. I adored the Adonis. I was fairly homely as a kid, but he’d hang out with me, and occasionally, he would make my night by asking me to a couple’s skate. Those were some of the best nights of my childhood.

And those nights wouldn’t have been possible without Frankie and Virgie. They provided a safe environment for teens to hang out. They gave jobs to my brothers who worked in the skate room. And when we didn’t have the money to get in to the rink, they would let us in for free.

When a girl with my size skates left hers at the rink and didn’t claim them, Frankie and Virgie gave them to me. At least that is the story they told me. The skates were beautiful. White and perfect in their own case. I eventually got new rubber wheels for them and new stoppers and they would glide on the floor. I never skated as well as Frankie and Virgie, but we all aspired to their grace and talent.

Frankie passed away back in October. It was probably for the best, as he hadn’t been doing well for a number of years and hadn’t been able to spend his summers in Maine. But he is certainly missed—every time there is silence when someone slams the screen door on the camp. And every time I hear a whistle and think maybe this time I won a prize.

On the bus

I was going to take the Downeaster train into Boston, but they don’t seem to have any between 8 am and noon. So I’m on Concord trailways bus line. Not as sexy as the train, but they have headphones and play a movie, so it makes the trip go by really fast. And I can go directly to the airport without taking the T.

So I’m watching New in Town. Not a great movie, but I am drooling over Harry Connick, Jr. And laughing at Minnesota. It is kind of like Maine, but different.

— Post From My iPhone

Visit with iDad and P

Stopped by southern Maine to visit with the other parental units. Spent some time hanging out with iDad and P catching up on current events, making fun of Fox News and CNN, watching the Bachelorette finale, and viewing a bit of the Red Sox game. Overall, a nice wind-down to my overly long weekend trip.

They were not expecting me to take these photos, as you can tell…

Wonder what I’ll write about you?

I visited with The Deacon and his wife today. We talked of shoes and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages and kings. And we contemplated what I would write about later. People sometimes wonder that.

I mistakenly said The Deacon was Methodist because I had driven on Methodist Road to get there. Oops. He’s a JV Catholic, aka Episcopalian. I do sometimes wonder if knowing that would make me behave, but it doesn’t. However, I’m curious about the Episcopal church and the different decisions that they have made from the Catholic Church. Especially curious about their presiding bishop, who has degrees in biology and oceanography, is a pilot, and most importantly, is female.

We toured the lake and picked out our favorite abodes. We discussed in detail the difference between camps and cottages. A camp doesn’t often have running water or electricity. A cottage is usually a mini house, but not insulated for winter use. Back in Cali, I usually have to misuse the term cottage to refer to the place I go to in Maine because people think of a camp as a place with black flies and counselors and dinner bells.

Camps, and the associated equipment, are usually just barely held together, possibly with duct tape. If you have a camp, you probably use blue tarps to keep rain out of something, and bungie cords to hold something down. The furniture is whatever you found the last time you were at the dump. The boat, if you have one, has a bucket in it to bail out the water when it gets too deep inside. If you have more than an outhouse, and the toilet backs up into the shower, you put an Out of Order sign on the door and go looking for a snake. This is a typical Maine camp.

A cottage is often owned by an out-of-stater, or flatlander. The furniture was purchased specifically for the building, or was handed down through generations of families who owned that cottage. The boat has a rented space at the local marina to be protected in winter. And when the flush toilet stops working, a plumber is hired to fix it. Guests often have their own room instead of piling into the bunk house or sleeping in tents next to the camp.

We drifted in the lake for a while, discussing life, death, and the stuff in between. It was a great way to spend a lovely afternoon!

Perl’s mom

Say hello to Hope. She got here, wandered around and when she found me, went crazy. This is why Perl thinks she is a lap dog. She gets it from her mom.

Tents are popped

Brother K, Sister-in-law T, Ducky and Kanga have their 8 person tent. It has two rooms and a screened room.

They brought me my own four person tent. Brother K said I could bring home boys. Um, I can't figure out how to bring home boys to my condo, let alone a tent and a single sleeping bag. But thanks for thinking of me. :-)