The Red Dory – a Long Island Book
by Chris McDuffie
It is not only the new books in our library which are interesting. I signed out The Red Dory by Hazel Wilson recently because I knew its author had spent a lot of time in her family’s cottage next to ours in Beach Cove, the one now owned by her grand nephew Greg Brown. Hazel Wilson published about 20 books, mostly for young readers, and The Red Dory was her first, published in 1939. It presents the summer adventures of a boy, Donald, living with his grandparents on Long Island.
In this book Wilson changed the name of Long Island to Pine Island, but there is no doubt as to the real location when she talks of Harbor de Grace where Donald lives, catching a lobster thief off the Stepping Stones, and taking summer people fishing off Outer Green Island.
Pasted in the back of the library’s copy there is a note from Hazel Wilson to a Mrs. Hewey which says, “The old captain in the book is partly modelled after Captain Ben Woodbury, whom I knew as a child. None of the happenings are really true, but his character was kind and dignified as I made Captain Eben in my book.”
The “happenings” (like the day a swordfish takes Donald and his red dory for a “Nantucket sleigh ride”) are things she may have made up to appeal to her young readers, but the book is so rich in details about the lean circumstances of a fishing family on Long Island in the 1930s that I think anyone who loves Long Island, as Hazel Wilson did, will find this a fascinating read.
There’s another Hazel Wilson book at the library, Island Summer, and again it is set on Pine Island (Long Island to those of us in the know). That’s going to be my next read.
Wednesday FOREIGN FILM NIGHT “LE HAVRE”
An elderly shoeshine man stands up to officials pursuing an immigrant child in this contemporary fable. English Subtitles.
COME EARLY AT 7:15 PM TO SEE A REPEAT SHOW OF THE 12 MIN. FILM STARING BOB JORDAN, EMIL BERGES, AND PHIL HALE, DIRECTED BY CALLUM HALE THOMSON.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22
Library Learning Center, 7:30 p.m.
FREE (Wednesday night series of movies from around the world.)
For those of you who missed the talk at the beginning of this summer’s Long Island garden tour by Lisa Colburn, you will have another opportunity upcoming, at Portland Public Library’s Local Author’s Lecture Series on Friday, August 31st, at noon. Lisa’s book is subtitled: Insider secrets from Maine people who love to put their hands in the dirt.
For more information on Lisa and her book, check out her website: http://www.mainegardenjournal.com/
Our foreign film night series begins again tomorrow night (Wednesday August 8) at the Library Learning Center with:
“The Women on the 6th Floor” (2010 France).
A French businessman’s life is turned upside down when he discovers the world of Spanish maids living in his family’s building. Comedy set in 1960’s Paris. (English subtitles.)
Come join us at 7:30 p.m. This series is free and highlights movies from around the world.
In addition, we’ll have a bonus short feature to show beforehand: “Sandwich.” This short (12 min.) film is a story of mystery, suspense, and comedy. Filmed on Long Island, Maine, (although a British project), it stars the well-known Long Island actors, Bob Jordan, Emil Berges, and Philip Hale.
The film was written, directed, filmed, produced, and financed by young, award-winning Callum Hale Thomson of the Hale family, long-time summer residents. The film has just been accepted for entry in a Chicago film festival this October. Come and see a fine film and great acting! FREE at the Long Island Learning Center at 7:30 p.m., before “The Women on the 6th floor.”
10 years ago our library was in the midst of a major expansion project, which allowed us to move our tiny library collection from the cramped and dark basement area of the school, into a glorious new space full of light and color. Thanks to the hard work of the building committee, ably led by our current library director, Nancy Jordan, this space, which not only includes a library, but also an art gallery, meeting space, multi-purpose room, meeting room, and computer room, is now open 7 days a week. Architect Frank Oliva designed our beautiful new building, which was completed in 2004.
Nancy Jordan recently donated the records of the project to the Long Island Historical Society, and they are now processed and available for researchers. This collection (1.5 linear ft.) is an excellent documentation of a construction project, and includes correspondence, documents, invoices, newspaper clippings, photographs, and minutes. Major parts of the collection are regarding not only the construction, but the fundraising and grants applied for. It’s truly evidence of what can be done with a lot of determination and fortitude.