The purpose of the England trip was to visit the historic ships you have to go there to see—the Victory, the Mary Rose, the Trincomalee…. Decades before, we had redeemed a model kit of the Cutty Sark with S&H Green Stamps. The first vessel we stepped aboard was the Cutty Sark (two years before she partially burned). In Port Townsend, our latest home, he eagerly became involved in historic maritime pursuits, helping out aboard the Adventuress (google Adventuress Sound Experience) and working the Wooden Boat Festival each September.
As I mentioned above, he was a founding member of the northwest chapter of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association. He loved canoeing and as a teen would camp with buddies each September in Algonquin Park, basic getting lost while in canoes. When we moved to Maine, our first purchase was a wood-canvas Old Town canoe (that’s yet another story for sometime) that turned out to be a Carleton. It is in my garage as I write this.
He was a member of the Senior Center board. One day he left the meeting to answer nature’s call. When he came back from the bathroom, he found he was president. He was president of our homeowners’ association, too, but only because no one else wanted the job.
We both have really enjoyed helping out with the Tribal Canoe Journey here in the Pacific Northwest. Each year, Indians from Oregon, Washington, and Canada paddle their long canoes to a host village for a week of cultural sharing. Not too many centuries ago, these same tribes would canoe from village to village to pillage and murder. Now they sing and dance for each other. This, Bill would say proudly, is a REAL peace process.
How did we meet? In the early sixties I was a graduate assistant in Dr. Herbert L. Stahnke’s Poisonous Animals Research Lab at Arizona State University. This was heady stuff; the whole second floor of the Life Sciences Building PARL facility was locked down with tightly controlled access, not a bad idea since we had these rooms full of venomous snakes, scorpions, and Gila Monsters. My job was mostly milking the scorpions of their venom. A major function of the lab was to determine effective antidotes and contra-indications in the treatment of poisonous bites and stings. Bill was a teaching assistant to Dr. Stahnke and therefore had a key to the PARL sanctum, and the elevator opened right outside my office. We met. Ten weeks later, we married. You realize such whirlwind romances never last, right?
Forty-seven years later, during a visit with my sister in Scottsdale, Bill and I stopped by ASU. The Life Sciences building is still there, but it is now Building A, and there are B, C, and D out there. Any Tom Dick and Harry can walk up through the second-floor sanctum; it’s not limited access anymore, although the secondary hall doors are still there, and people probably wonder why.