On to Maine!

From Shelburne Falls, we headed east–stopping en route in Montague, MA, to visit with Jeremy’s pal from Brown, Peter Masi. Pete taught Jeremy everything he knows about radio, back in 1972. Now he runs his own business selling old books and paper.

Our final, most northern destination was Brunswick, ME, home to two of Jeremy’s aunts: Lydia Horton and Sophia (aka, Sally) Pfeiffer. Lydia and Sally retired there years ago and Lydia’s 1810 house has an apartment in the back. During the academic year, the apartment houses Bowdoin students (the campus is literally across the street), but in the summer she makes it available to Butlers looking to escape the heat. Mom and Dad have been spending a good chunk of the summer there for 6 or 7 years.

This year, they arrived the same day the Butler-Galbraith Family did (18 July). They gave us the apartment for a week and they stayed in the main part of the house with Lydia.

Three Jeremys asmilin’ in the Horton apartment (Jeremy Ian is in a high chair that Mom and Dad rented):

The day after our arrival, Sally hosted a festive dinner in honor of the visiting, multi-generational Butlers. In attendance were three of the four Wells sisters…

Jeremy’s cousin, Cleavie, and his wife, Lindy (on their wedding anniversary!)…

Jeremy’s cousins Hilary and Penny…

Jeremy’s cousin Chris…

whose wife, Tootie, knit Ian a very stylish hat.

Our days in Maine were spent eating lobster and exploring the Bowdoin campus (old and attractive) and having picnics on the Brunswick town green.

We even ventured to a beach. Presuming that the water would be too cold to swim in, we neglected to bring bathing suits or towels or even a spare diaper. To our surprise, the water was quite temperate and Ian greatly enjoyed his first “swim” (wade, really) in the Atlantic–bottomless (Ian, not the Atlantic). He particularly enjoyed squishing the sand in his hands and only ate a very little bit of it.

We took a day trip to Bath, ME, to visit the Maritime Museum (very informative) and eat at Mae’s restaurant–formerly owned by a friend of Tootie’s.

On the 23rd, Mom and Dad helped us pack up and, after one last cheer for Maine, we headed south once again.

Stopping in an Embassy Suites hotel in Marlboro, MA, we met up with Marysia’s friend from her Northampton days, Su Eaton. Marysia and Su ran a family day-care center together. Su had come from a kids birthday party where she was the entertainer. She left a pterodactyl and some “fairy kisses” on Ian’s forehead before she left. He sparkled for several days afterwards.

The next day we made an impromptu stop at Jeremy’s old stompin’ grounds, Providence, RI, and the Brown University campus. Ian was nonplussed.

From Providence, we headed south on I95–encountering the only traffic slow-downs of the entire trip (thank goodness!). We arrived at the Bridgeport ferry station just in time to catch the 3:30 ferry to Long Island.

Once we returned to the Island, Maria took the Butler-Galbraith Family out for a yummy meal at the Old Dock Inn right on the Sound. Quite scenic and a fitting conclusion to our New England Vacation.

Next Stop, Shelburne Falls

After our adventures on Long Island and Manhattan we headed north–ultimately to Maine, but first we made our way to Shelburne Falls, MA, to visit Marysia’s junior-high-era friend, Kara Ballentine and her family. In order to avoid the NYC traffic, we decided to take the ferry from Port Jefferson, Long Island, to Bridgeport, Connecticut, home of the creator of Pogo, Walt Kelly.

Also home to circus entrepreneur, P.T. Barnum, which is why the ferry was named…

…and why Pogo included a blustery character named P. T. Bridgeport, who, in this particular strip is trying to convince Pogo to run for president (which he often did and continues to do).


While riding the ferry across Long Island Sound, we had a bit of lunch.

From Bridgeport we drove north through Hartford and Northampton (where Marysia used to live and co-run a day-care) to scenic Shelburne Falls. The Falls themselves can be seen in the background of this photo of Kara, Marysia, Ian, and Bob. The town is known for its scenic beauty and for the many artisans in the area. Bob chairs the English Department of a high school now, but for five years he was a glass blower here.


Bob and Kara live in a cool, 19th century house that is walking distance from the Falls and a excellent restaurant, Martin’s, where their daughter, Paula, works and where we all had a fine meal.



‘Course, just because the house was built 150 years ago doesn’t mean that it can’t have a few amenities. Here Ian had his first-ever swim in a pool–wearing cool swimming-suit diapers! Bob looked on in amazement.


Also on hand that night was Wiley’s son, Brian, seen here with Paula and your humble narrator. Brian and Paula have been friends since Maria Galbraith baby-sat them 18 years ago.

From Shelburne Falls we took a day trip down to Northampton to see Marysia’s old haunts and to have brunch at Sylvester’s, where she used to wait tables.

Marysia sighed a few times as she thought about those halcyon days.

Party On Manhattan

On the 14th–Woody Guthrie’s Birthday and Bastille Day–we ventured onto Manhattan Isle to meet Beata, a Polish friend of Marysia’s. She was in the States visiting her sister and crossed the Hudson on a ferry to connect with us.

She brought a cute lil’ stuffed bear for Ian, which he immediately fell in love with. It comes with a T-shirt that says, “Nie mow do mnie misiu.” Literally, this translates as “Don’t call me teddy bear,” but Beata says that there’s an idommatic meaning in Polish. It also has a spare T-shirt with a zoomin’ car on it!


We picked up some sandwiches at a grocery store and made our way to Central Park. The weather was beautiful and we stumbled upon a small gazebo where we had our picnic.

We’d brought food for Ian, but neglected to include a spoon. Marysia improvised with the wrong end of a fork.


Ian did not seem to mind.


Next we walked to the pond where sail boats commonly sail (officially known as the Conservatory Water) and where Penny and Jerry Butler walked the Infant Jeremy and his pesky little brother, Reid, in 1958–when the former was 4 and the latter was 2. Dad was working in NYC and we had lucked into an apartment near the park.

Marysia and Beata, in a quintessential New York scene:


I was eager to introduce Ian to the pond.


And, in particular, I wanted him to “meet” Hans Christian Andersen–a larger-than-life bronze statue that was installed in 1956. It was virtually brand new when I first visited it and I’ve long believed that sitting on his lap is my oldest childhood memory. When I visit NYC I often make a little pilgrimmage to Hans Christian Andersen and hop up on his lap once again.


Ian was fascinated with him–especially the “ugly duckling” at his feet.


He then demanded that he be lifted up so that he could read the beginning of the story of the ugly duckling that is inscribed in HCA’s book.


After communing with Hans, we set off for Ian’s first subway ride.


All in all, a very eventful day!

Party On Long Island

Ian entertained family and friends today at our first party of the Vacation.

Our chefs were Chris and Shih Han, who prepared delicious chicken and tuna filets…




…which the assembled crowd enjoyed greatly (from left: Mary, Elizabeth, Maria/Babcia, George, Ian, Marysia, Elinor, Kim).



Elizabeth and Maria exclaimed on the perfection of the weather and beauty of the garden (tended by Maria and Chris–the garden, not the weather).



Ian got up-close-and-personal with Uncle Chris…



…and Elinor, former across-the-street neighbor.



George (Elizabeth’s husband) extended the hand of friendship to Ian.



Ian liked the grass very much. It was soft to sit on, easy to pull from the ground, and very tasty.



His mom and dad liked the grass too.



All in all, a great time was had by all.

Up In the Air, Junior Birdman

Ian took his second-ever trip on a plane today.

He, Marysia and I jetted from Birmingham to New York (Laguardia airport):

We’re on our Summer Vacation in New York and Maine. Our first stop is Long Island where we’re staying with Ian’s Babcia, his uncle Chris and his kaufoo Shih Han.

Ian acted like a seasoned traveler as we drove from Northport to Birmingham (chaufeurred by our friend Daniel), then flew to Laguardia, then rented what was billed as a “mid-sized car” but turned out to be an SUV (a Jeep Liberty) and drove to East Northport, LI, NY. The whole excursion took about nine hours, but Ian fussed very little. In fact, he slept through most of the plane flight.

Patriotic Ian

On Ian’s first Independence Day he showed his true colors by wearing a shirt that he and his day-care teacher, Rachel, made. The stripes are Ian’s itty-bitty footprints and the field of blue is made of his handprints.

Note that Ian is standing on his own in this picture, supported only by Marysia’s necklace. He’s pulling himself up on all stationary objects these days–and starting to “cruise” his way along those objects. Rachel says that Ian is very quick, doing things ahead of schedule and that we’ll “be in for it soon” (meaning when he starts walking). I replied that we’ll be getting that baby strait-jacket then.

We made our way to “aunt” Olivia’s house for an ID potluck. Ian was in very good spirits and charmed the crowd. His parents enjoyed the food and the company.

In honor of America’s cultural diversity, most of the food was of an ethnic origin–Mexican, Indian, Middle-Eastern. We brought couscous.

Yum.

P.S. Ian’s sleep habits have greatly improved since the last post. He usually sleeps from 7:00 p.m. to about 3 or 4, when he wants to nurse. Then he sleeps until 6 or 7:00 a.m. There’s still the occasional time when he cries out, but he usually falls back asleep.

The next step: convince him he does not need to nurse in the middle of the night.