Monday, August 29, 2005

Tug on the Memory

After a week Downeast, blogging renews.

We were above Acadia in Maine and now I am stuck with trying to recall the name of a fascinating fellow I met there nearly 40 years ago, one with a Ball family connection. If anyone knows of him, please relay the information.

A friend had spent the summer as nanny to a family in snooty Seal Harbor. Well, my fellow was not snooty, as I discovered when I drove from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to bring her back to town. She did not care much for most townspeople. Not only were they wealthy, but they had the New England arrogance of demanding deference.

However, she had run into and was befriended by a retired physician with many jokes and quirks. He was a genealogist and historian, but his most memorable trait had to do with his tugboat. He had built his own tiny steam tug, which he used to right sailboats of the clumsy rich kids after they (frequently) capsized them. It amused him greatly to be the savior of the spoiled boys and girls.

He invited us to his porch on the harbor for drinks and we had a jolly afternoon, just the pinkos and the old doc. Eventually, he asked my last name again. Hearing Ball, he asked where the family came to America and when. It turned out that one of his greatgrandmothers was also a Ball, descended from the same John Ball who landed in Virginia in the early 17th century.

He and I were both pleased to find out that we were direct cousins.

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