Saturday, May 7, 1988

1988 Erich's First Communion (5/7/1988)

Saturday, May 7, 1988
We went to St Augustine’s for the 11:00 First Communion Mass. Erich looked like an angel.
First Communion program cover
Again a large class of second graders. After lunch we went to watch Erich’s T-ball game, which his blue team won. Kent and I went to Little Chopsticks to hold a table for all of us, and they gave us a private alcove for Erich’s First Communion lunch. Erich arrived with Mary Jane and Barney, Kyle and Ben. Kent and I had hot and sour soup, strange flavor chicken and the house special of scallops, everything was spicy.
Ben, Erich, Kent, Tamiko, Kyle, Mary Jane
Kent didn’t get any fortune in his cookies, and I got the usual one.
Fortune cookie fortune
Erich got a multitude of fortunes in his!
We then drove to Mary Jane’s for a piece of the First Communion cake, then took Kyle and Erich home with us.

Wednesday, May 4, 1988

1988 Circus (5/4/1988)

Wednesday, May 4, 1988
I went back to work, and by then everyone had received the wedding announcement in the mail, and I arrived to congratulations from Baby Team members and a desk full of balloons with a pot of yellow mums in the PT office.
My desk when I returned from the "honeymoon"
There were other little gifts, including a set of four circus tickets for this afternoon! I called Kent, and Mary Jane happened to be at Meeting Street School today, to arrange to pick up the boys. Received a bottle of cognac from Jodi and a mini-heart wreath from Sandy. Kent also found balloons at work, with a bottle of champagne from the advertising person, Julie. Also a glass hurricane lamp for a candle from Cindy. We are doing pretty well with wedding gifts, and yet we really wanted to avoid the whole wedding shower thing!

After my afternoon home visit, I hurried home, and Kent arrived soon afterwards with Erich. We drove to the Providence Civic Center for the 16:00 circus performance. Erich and I walked past the elephants before entering the arena. We had missed only a couple minutes, and Jane M and her daughter arrived later. At intermission, Kent came with Kyle, who had baseball practice. They were able to see the longer second half. All the usual hoopla: trained animals, tightrope, acrobatics, trapeze artists, death wheel, clowns, plus alligator wrestling and the one “resistant” lion. It was over at about 18:30 and we walked up Federal Hill. Since there was a line at Angelo’s, we went to the empty Ricotta’s for grinders. Erich had meatball, Kyle had ham and cheese, and I had a BLT pocket. Kent had a chef’s salad. A long but fun day. Circus tickets were a great wedding gift!

Tuesday, May 3, 1988

1988 Kennebunkport, ME (5/1-3/1988)

Sunday, May 1, 1988
Happy May Day! But a gray day.
After breakfast we dropped Kyle and Erich off at their mom’s, and headed for the Howard Johnson’s near the Susse Chalet where we were to meet all the parents and Kathy for breakfast. A tour bus had just unloaded and there was a line to get in. Kent went to check the Norwood Inn and I walked to the Susse Chalet where Kent’s parents were in the lobby and my parents were just coming in. Kent arrived to report the Norwood Inn was closed, and the girl at the Susse Chalet desk was no help. So we drove towards the airport via a shortcut through a one-lane tunnel. Went to JJ McManus where we had breakfast in two booths of five and two. I had tomato juice and one egg over easy with bacon, toast, and home fries. Kent had two poached eggs and sausage, and coffee. Kent’s dad picked up the breakfast bill. Kathy wasn’t feeling well, but perked up after a couple bowls of soup.
We returned to the motel and said goodbyes. Kent went with his parents back to our house. I went with my parents as they finished packing and checked out. I drove them to the airport, dropping them off at 10:20 for a 10:40 flight to Philadelphia where they had a four-hour layover before flying to Buffalo!
The boys were dropped off at our house soon after I returned, and we microwaved d’Antuono leftovers for lunch, with pickles and carrot sticks. Kent watched parts of Celtics and Red Sox games starting at 13:00. At 15:00, we left on our "honeymoon," leaving the boys overnight with their grandparents, with a phone number for Domino’s pizza.
In drizzling rain we drove up I-95, then I-93 through Boston, and back on I-95. At Newburyport, we took US-1 to follow the coast. Entered New Hampshire, passing through Seabrook, site of a nuclear power plant, which is the center of many demonstrations. It hasn’t opened because people are not satisfied that appropriate evacuation plans have been devised in case of emergencies. The town itself is small and sleepy. Stopped at an antique co-op with big stuff like cars and bars, and streetlights. Expensive stuff.
Drove through Hampton, one of New Hampshire’s earliest towns, having been settled in 1638. Like many New England towns, it has had several names, and was first called Winnacunnet, meaning “beautiful place of pines.” The first tax-supported public school was established here in 1649 for the education of both sexes.
We went through North Hampton where many wealthy families from Boston and Portland, ME built summer homes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Before entering Portsmouth, we found Lago’s Lone Star Ice Cream to stop for a snack. I had a chocolate ice cream soda and Kent had a sugar cone with Dutch almond chocolate ice cream. A bit cool outside, but there we stood to eat the ice cream.
We then drove through Portsmouth, NH, a small city that started as Strawberry Banke when the travelers on the Pied Cow ship arrived on the west bank of the Piscataqua River in 1630 and found wild strawberries. The fishing and farming town soon grew into a shipbuilding seaport to be named Portsmouth in 1653. We crossed the river into Maine on a bridge with graffiti stating it was Sean’s Bridge. Came to Portsmouth’s sister city of Kittery, ME, incorporated in 1647 as it developed into a shipping, lumbering, and shipbuilding center. One of the oldest and the first federal government-owned shipyard in the nation, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was established here in 1800. The “Ranger,” the first ship to fly the Stars and Stripes, was launched here under the command of John Paul Jones on May 10, 1777.
We drove through York, one of Maine’s oldest and most historic places. It was settled in 1624 and named Agamenticus for the Indian village abandoned on the site. The aristocratic agents of Sir Ferdinand Gorges arrived in 1630 to establish a plantation and adopted the name of their home city of Bristol, in 1638. In 1642, Gorges granted the first chartered English city in America to the settlement in the name of Gorgeana, He died in 1647, and after political unrest, the people became Massachusetts freemen, and Massachusetts demoted the city to a town and named it York. In January 1692, the Candlemas Massacre occurred with 500 Abenaki Indians attacked, one of the worst disasters of the French and Indian Wars. But the town survived and supported the colonial cause in the Revolutionary War, staging their own tea party.
Next we passed through Ogunquit, called “beautiful place by the sea” by the Abenaki Indians. Now it is a popular summer resort. Especially among artists. We saw the Ogunquit Playhouse, which has offered exceptional summer theater since the 1930s. We then drove through Wells, another resort area with a plethora of motels and hotels.
We turned down ME-9 towards Kennebunkport and passed the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Went through Kennebunkport Beach and crossed a drawbridge into Kennebunkport. Entered Dock Square with the eagle statue in the center surrounded by 19th century restored structures now housing boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. It is popular with artists and writers. Novelist Kenneth Roberts, born in Kennebunk, lived in the ‘Port and used the area as a setting for his Chronicles of Arundel, a series of historical novels about the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Booth Tarkington summered here, writing at dockside in his schooner, “Regina.”
We turned right at Ocean Avenue, and soon spotted the Captain Lord Mansion up beyond a large green.
The Captain Lord Mansion brochure
We had reservations for two nights in this popular bed & breakfast inn. We brought in our bags and were greeted by Rick, one of the innkeepers. He had us sign the guestbook, then showed us the Gathering Room with a fireplace and a nickelodeon, as well as board games.
The Gathering Room
Breakfast Room
We also saw the Country Kitchen where iced tea and hot tea were available. Rick showed us the combination to the outer door that is locked at 23:00, and then we trekked to the third floor to our room, named for the ship “Bark Mousam.”
Room name
It was actually a suite comprised of a sitting area with a colonial sofa and chair, a desk and sideboard, and a wood stove.
Sitting area
And a bedroom with a beautiful crocheted canopy over the bed.
There was a sink and door to the bathroom. Modern facilities and heating, but antique atmosphere, lots of windows and it was very well maintained and clean.
View of the Barn used for special events
Lantern in the cupola
Looking down the stairs
The Captain Lord Mansion
After we unpacked, we took a walk around town, noting the boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and craft shops, especially around Dock Square. Many of the mansions in the surrounding area are now inns and lodgings. We decided to eat in the Café Gitano, eating upstairs where for most of the evening we were the only customers. I had a Perrier and Kent had a half bottle of Orvieto Ruffino white wine. We shared a delicious appetizer of salmon and dill tortellini in a cream sauce with garlic toast. We also shared an antipasto of green olives, tomatoes, hot peppers, salami, provolone, wonderful prosciutto, anchovies, and little toasts. Next was the clam and garlic pizza of which we could only eat half. We left $25 and walked in a drizzle back to the inn. We realized we had forgotten to take the leftover box with us, but when we returned to the restaurant, they had already thrown it away.
We went to the Gathering Room where another couple sat reading the newspaper. Kent got a cup of hot tea, and I had iced tea. He read the newspaper, and I looked at a couple autographed books on Punography (photo illustrations of puns) by Bruce McMillan. We perused scrapbooks of the inn, checked out all the available games and puzzles, tried the stereoscope, and removed the ring off a wooden brain teaser puzzle. The cat, Aggie, wandered around. Another couple came in and put a penny in the antique music box or symphonium, a metal disc player. We called our house to talk to Kent’s parents.

Monday, May 2, 1988
The day started with some sun, but got cloudy again. We went down to the Gathering Room where Kent had the last of the coffee. Bev, the other half of the innkeeping couple, came in and put a penny in the symphonium as a signal that the 9:30 shift of breakfast was served. We had assigned times for breakfast and had to be punctual! We sat around two tables and were served by Bev and her daughter, Stacia, as well as another girl. There were pineapple-upside-down muffins and a nut bread, as well as juice and coffee for all. We could also have soft-boiled eggs, and people were intrigued by the egg topper that encircled the top of the egg, and with a squeeze it cracked off the top of the shell. There was French vanilla yoghurt and blueberries, as well as butter, sour cream, and jams, which we didn’t use since the baked goods were so sweet and rich. Cold cereal was also available. We even had a second muffin, but were stuffed!
We left at 10:15, and drove up US-1. We stopped for gas in Biddleford, and the pumps had buttons for cash and credit to determine the price. The proprietor told Kent that the system was computerized to keep track of his accounts, but it was also online with the regional headquarters where each transaction is recorded! In 1662, the son of John and Priscilla Alden erected one of the region’s first saw mills at the falls seven miles upstream from the mouth of the Saco River. Biddeford became a textile manufacturing center, and has a French-Canadian heritage.
We crossed the river to the sister city of Saco, settled in 1631 at a site first noted by Captain John Smith in 1614. In 1762, the town was incorporated as Pepperellboro. It became Saco in 1805 and ironworks were established. We followed Main Street through town, passing many fine houses, including those hosing the Dyer Library and the York Institute Museum. Most things were either closed for the season, or closed on Mondays! We also passed the Maine Aquarium. We crossed I-195, a three-mile stretch of highway built to reach the resort area of Old Orchard Beach. Later we turned off on ME-207 to head closer to the shore. Then we took ME-77 up to Cape Elizabeth and drove out to Two Lights State Park. Arrived at the water’s edge after passing a WWII lookout tower. It was dark and gray, with an angry ocean throwing up a lot of spray against rough jagged rocks. Authentic Maine coast!
It was windy and cold, so we took a quick jog around, and viewed the Portland Head Light, which was erected in 1791 on orders from George Washington.
Portland Head Light
It was the first lighthouse authorized by the United States, and is one of the oldest lighthouses in continuous use. We could see another lighthouse back up on the ridge.
We continued following ME-77 to Portland, driving on a half-wide road, due to either construction or washouts? We passed bogs and salt marshes all along the coast. We drove across a bridge to enter Portland, seeing cruise ships of the Prince of Fundy Line below us. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born here and called it “the beautiful town that is seated by the sea.” It is now a major industrial center, but the original area on the small peninsula in Casco Bay makes an attempt to be quaint and beautiful in restoring its 19th century buildings on narrow streets, and lining the streets with trees. Portland is the largest city in Maine with a population of about 62,000. Kent gave the town a ‘B-‘! We found the main street downtown, Congress Street, and followed it north, passing the colonial observatory built in 1807, which apparently has an excellent view of the harbor, and seamen’s wives and others could watch for the return of sailing vessels.
Portland Observatory
We continued to the end of the street to the Eastern Promenade, a park-like fringe overlooking the water and numerous islands, called the Calendar Islands because there are 365 of them. Captain John Smith first visited these islands in 1614.
We drove back by way of Washington Street to Congress Street, going by the classic City Hall and finding 487 Congress Street, right downtown. At this address was a brick home built in 1785-1786 by General Peleg Wadsworth, maternal grandfather of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who lived here during his childhood. It was made of bricks barged from Philadelphia, and was the first brick house in Portland. We passed the Portland Museum of Art, a modern but simple brick building named for Charles Shipman Payson and designed by I M Pei and Partners.
At 714 Congress Street was the Neal Dow Memorial, a not very attractive Federal style mansion built in 1829 for the prominent Maine politician, abolitionist, and prohibitionist Neal Dow, now housing the Maine Women’s Christian Temperance Union. We turned around to circle the Museum of Art, noting a narrow flatiron building (Upper H H Hay Building, 1826) across the street filling a block between two merging streets.
We found the Victoria Mansion on Danforth Street at Park, and Italian villa in French rococo style, a huge ugly brown edifice! It is an example of domestic architecture of the high Victorian era, and was designed by Henry Austin, as a summer home for the wealthy Maine-cum-New Orleans hotelier, Ruggles Morse. Begun in 1859, it required 12 Italian artisans four years to complete the elaborate wood carvings, and the richly painted and gilded decoration of walls and ceilings. There are seven intricately carved Carrara marble mantels imported from Italy! We found ourselves down by the waterfront in the Old Port exchange area with narrow streets, gilded shop signs, and gas lamps, all reconstructed in Victorian style.
We made our way to I-295 and headed north to Freeport. We missed the exit to the rest area and information center, and found ourselves in Freeport, known as the “Home of Maine” because it was here that the papers were signed, granting Maine separation from Massachusetts, and finally statehood. It is now known as the Home of LL Bean, with a multi-story one block store open 24 hours every day of the year!
A Mikasa outlet store caught our eye, and we stopped to look at china, but got some cookware instead. Continued a short distance into town to park and find a place to eat. We walked back nearly to the Mikasa store to eat at the Lobster Cooker. I got the chicken salad sandwich (generous portion) and seafood chowder, with Poland Spring mineral water (bottled in Maine!). Kent had the fried fish sandwich, like a half portion, and a Labatt beer. When we were finished, we put the returnable bottles in a carton, and the trash in the trash can.
We browsed through the outlet stores along the street, not going on a wild spending spree, because we have committed to buying a house! Kent found a great London Fog all-weather coat. Later he was disappointed to find the Cole Haan shoes he wanted went for $168 at the outlet store! Wow!
We wandered aimlessly through LL Bean, not buying, but marveling at the department store atmosphere. A pool under a huge skylight contained brook trout. I bought postcards and Kent perused the factory store section, where the discounts were. We went out to Ben & Jerry’s for a snack. I had Reverse Chocolate Chunk, white chocolate with chunks in brown chocolate ice cream, in a cup. Kent had a cone with New York Super Fudge Chunk, a rich dark chocolate with white and dark chocolate chunks, and walnuts. Yum!
We went through a great variety of stores with more shoes, housewares, and dried flower wreaths. Rejoiced when we saw a public restroom, but it was closed! We returned to the car and drove further to another set of stores, going through more shops, and finding a birthday/Mother’s Day gift for Kent’s mom, a unique knitted shawl. Kent asked about restrooms, and they directed us back to LL Bean!
L L Bean, Inc.
We drove past a McDonalds in a colonial house, and returned to US-1 to find a rest stop.
Freeport McDonald's
Finally we were able to “rest” and picked up a few brochures. Across the street we saw a beautiful trotter horse being exercised by someone driving a pickup truck, holding the halter lead of the horse out the window! They were going at a good clip.
We took I-295 to I-95, joining the toll road of the Maine Turnpike. At Portland, a USAir jet flew just overhead to land at the Portland Jetport. We got to drive 65 mph and pay $1.05 in tolls to get off at Kennebunk, a town developed about 1650 between the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers. By 1730 there were shipyards and West Indies trade. Between 1800 and 1850, shipbuilding was big with more than 1,000 schooners, clippers, and cargo vessels built in 50-odd shipyards. We passed the legacy of this period of wealth in the beautifully detailed and large Federal, Greek revival, and Victorian houses. On Main Street we passed the Brick Stove Museum series of early 19th century commercial buildings, dated 1810, 1814, and 1824. We also passed the big white First Parish Church (Unitarian-Universalist), built in 1772. The three-tiered Christopher Wren steeple looked newly painted, and supposedly contains a bell cast by Paul Revere’s foundry and hung in 1804.
As we headed out of town past beautiful homes, we saw the lavish Wedding Cake House, a gingerbread Victorian mansion.
Postcard of the Wedding Cake House
We also saw Tom’s of Maine Natural Products outlet. We drove past the Shawmut Inn where we would be having dinner, and it seemed farther than three miles as we passed the Kennebunkport Marina full of boats, out to the mouth of the river to see rough ocean on rough rocks, with a multitude of huge boarded-up summer boarding houses.
Kennebunkport Harbor
All weathered-looking buildings, some with character and stone accents. There were also some new homes.
It was about 17:30 when we returned to the Captain Lord Mansion, and Kent rested as I attempted to catch up on the journal! Ha!
We showered and dressed for dinner at the Shawmut Inn, which was recommended by Rick as an elegant and intimate dining with great food, and they made the 19:30 reservation for us. We kept an eye on the odometer and found the Shawmut Inn was 3.5 miles away.
Shawmut Inn
It is a resort with a hotel, motel, cottages, and houses. The dining room looked out over the ocean, and we got the last table at the window. It was still light enough to notice splashing of heads in the water, and found out from the waitress that there are often seals on the rocks, but they swim out as the tide comes in. These seals really seemed to be cavorting, splashing and clapping their fins.
There were seals out there!
We dined by candlelight and tulip. Kent had a couple glasses of the house white wine, and we had a rich gourmet meal, as in lots of taste but not mounds of food (a plus: we had room for dessert!). We were first brought English water biscuits (crackers) with a dill spread. Then rolls and croissants with curled butter balls. For an appetizer we were first given someone else’s salad, but the mistake was caught before we dug in. I had smoked chicken liver sausage, six pieces with an array of Belgian endive with tomato bits and huge capers, with balsamic vinaigrette. Kent had the scallop terrine in a cream sauce, delicious! Then our salads with pickled pimento and celery; mushrooms, greens, cucumbers, tomato, cheese, and alfalfa sprouts; I had the Dijon creamy dressing and Kent had the balsamic vinaigrette. The entrées arrived; Kent had a neat row of grilled lamb in a rich cream sauce, with a dish of sautéed peppers and snow peas, baked new potatoes, and two small beets. I had the same vegetables, with a rich lobster (out of the shell!) dish with golden chanterelles. Ultra-delicious! We then chose from the dessert tray, or Kent did as we shared a slice of white mousse and raspberry mousse layer cake with a crème de cassis (a black currant liqueur) topping. Nothing appealed to me on the dessert cart, but I liked Kent’s choice! We left $85 and didn’t have to waddle out.
Drove back to the inn and relaxed in the room. They leave chocolates on the dresser each night, and provide shampoo, soap, and lotion, and even a disposable razor with the inn’s name imprinted on it!

Tuesday, May 3, 1988
We realized we never checked to see what time we were to have breakfast. Kent went down at 8:00 and found out we could eat at 8:30. Kent got his coffee in the Gathering Room, and the symphonium called us to breakfast. Another woman hosted us, and we had blueberry muffins and a strawberry bread, the yoghurt with raspberries (yum!), and the soft-boiled egg. Didn’t take seconds. Today there was only one table of guests. Yesterday our tablemates were a couple from Texas. Today they were from California, New Jersey, and Montreal. After breakfast Kent checked us out and I took photos.
We drove to Shawmut Inn to walk out by the ocean. The tide was higher than the night before, but we could see a seal perched on a rock in the water. Found a telescope viewer to watch him until he was inundated. Saw several seals playing, and they really clapped and slapped at the water.
We drove into town to park in Dock Square to walk around. Antique stores were closed for the season, and others were just opening. Finally got into the Compliments Gallery to get a closer look at modernized Tiffany-type lamps, which we really liked, but were afraid to buy anything at $500. Maybe once we are settled in the house and know better where a lamp would go, we could decide on a style (floor or table) and color. I purchased postcards in a pharmacy, and Kent inquired about restrooms. Signs in all the shops saying “No Restrooms” seems to indicate this is a real problem in outlet and boutique towns! We were directed to the municipal office, and from the town clerk’s office to the health office to find the restrooms. An artificial Christmas tree was stored in the ladies’ room! Relieved, we went on to walk across the bridge to the main land to check out more shops. Back to the car to drive farther inland and visit a couple antique shops with very fine furniture, at very fine prices! Too much for us.
We drove back through Kennebunk, taking back streets and followed US-1 to where US-1A turned off at York Beach. Another resort area and there was great ocean spray against the rough rocks. Kent found a public restroom. York Beach seemed to be a blue collar resort to Kent, but as we drove farther to York Harbor, it became classier. Back to US-1 to Kittery and the Tidewater Mall with a Lenox outlet to look once more for china. Across the street to a Royal Doulton and Reading China and Glass outlets. Then to another mall to Oneida and Scandinavian Design outlets. This mall had public restrooms (whew!). You can shop a lot longer on an empty bladder, don’t the merchants know that?!
We were hungry and stopped at the next restaurant we saw, a Valle’s. It was a senior citizen-type place, and Kent wanted me to remind him never to go to one again! However, all the local seafood places were closed for the season. I had a cup of clam chowder, and the crabmeat seafood pie, which was actually quite good with shrimp, scallops, white fish, cheese, and bread crumbs. It also came with French fries and zucchini with tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Kent had fried shrimp and scallops with fries and coleslaw. Left $15, and used the restrooms!
It was getting sunny as we waited for a drawbridge to go down after letting a ship pass. Saw planes, including a fueling plane, fly into Pease Air Force Base, as well as signs to the Portsmouth Naval Base. We got onto I-95 and paid a 75-cent toll. Through New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and home by 16:30, missing Boston and Providence traffic.