June 21, 2018
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After 100 stories, some favorite updates

By Robin Clifford Wood, Special to the BDN

After well over a hundred “Conversations With Maine” stories, readers and I have made the acquaintance of people all over Maine, young and old, from all walks of life. What has gone on with these interesting people since their stories went to print? I checked in with a few to see what was up.

It was about a year ago that the very inquisitive and perseverant Nathan Carey (8 years old at the time) held a 100-year commemoration party for the great ship Titanic. Nathan’s mom reports that his enthusiasm for the great sea disaster is undiminished. And it’s no wonder.

In response to his story, there was a tidal wave of appreciation. He heard from several Titanic enthusiasts, including a retired professor of Marine Transportation from Maine Maritime Academy. Time-Life books sent Nathan two copies of their beautiful 100-year anniversary coffee table book about the Titanic. The extra copy went to his school in Holden. This spring, the Ocean Exploration Center in Mystic, Conn. sent a belated letter of appreciation and a photo signed by Dr. Robert Ballard, the oceanographer who discovered the wreck of the Titanic.

Nathan’s most exciting response, however, came from a local woman who cherished an antique book about the Titanic, published in 1912. It was a childhood gift from her grandmother, whose close friend had survived the Titanic disaster. The woman knew it was a precious book, but didn’t know what to do with it until she read about Nathan. She left it for him at his school.

Nathan’s mother wrote: “She refused to leave her name or a note; she just wanted someone that would appreciate her treasure to have this book. It is in fantastic condition, but Nathan still turns the pages with delicate fingers. It is a treasure to both parties.”

Another story that drew many responses was Allan Drew Currie’s explorations to rediscover his family roots in the lost mill town of Drew, Maine, the town that provided Currie with his middle name. Dr. Currie heard from several Mainers who shared their own connections to the town of Drew and other towns that saw their heyday during a bygone era. Many readers were interested to see the book about Drew’s history, written by Currie’s aunt. “A Town Called Drew and Beyond,” by Eleanor Currie Parsons, is available through the University of Maine and the Bangor Public Library. Drew’s legacy has recently extended into the next generation with the birth of Allan Currie’s granddaughter Lillian Drew Young.

Bill and Helen Carney, whose sea glass collection exceeds 50,000 pieces, reported that they raised $3,500 by selling sea glass jewelry made by Bill. After the column about their hobby went to press, they shipped jewelry across the country and overseas, with all the proceeds going to the cancer center. This spring, the SALT Institute for documentary studies got in touch with the Carneys and is currently working with them on a documentary about their sea glass avocation.

Another inventive soul is Charley Earley, whose EKLIPSE invention, a multi-use, no-squeeze clip, was featured in a 2011 column ( EKLIPSEllc.com) Since that time, Earley’s design has captured attention everywhere it goes, both in print and through word-of-mouth advertising.

“I have given away countless free samples and made sales all across America,” Earley said. Since he has a full-time career in architecture, however, EKLIPSE moves more slowly than it might otherwise.

“I don’t measure my success in a monetary sense…the joy is in the journey.”

Musician Putnam Smith has seen a lot of success since I wrote about his house concert in Bangor. The CD he had just recorded at that time, “We Could Be Beekeepers,” went to No. 2 on the national Folk DJ Charts with three songs in the Top 10.

In the summer of 2011, Smith performed at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in New York, after being selected as an Emerging Artist. In 2012, he was selected as an official showcase artist at the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, Tenn., and at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference in New York. Smith’s newest CD, “Kitchen, Love…”, will formally be released in Portland on May 19, in Longfellow Square, featuring live performances.

During my recent meeting at Boyd Place with Harry Weiss, I had the great privilege of reacquainting with the Queen. Elizabeth Siegel, still fondly referred to by all who know her as Queen Elizabeth, was featured in a column about her irrepressibly sunny disposition that warms hearts everywhere she goes. Although a walker has limited her visits to exercise class at the senior center, I am happy to report that the Queen’s smile is undiminished in its royal glow.

If you are interested in news updates about other subjects from “Conversations With Maine,” let Robin know at robin.everyday@gmail.com. As always, your feedback is welcome and appreciated.

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