Thursday, April 13, 2006

Greenport, NY

A couple of weeks ago I heard from gentleman who grew up in Greenport, NY. The Bowie was built by the Greenport Basin and Construction company in Greenport and I had done some tertiary looking about to see if the company was still around but hadn't really thought much about the community.

I thought it would be interesting to post his email to me, as it certainly gave me pause for thought on a couple of things.

Richard writes:
I was doing research on the minesweepers and landing craft built in Greenport, NY, and came across your website.

Well, now, God Bless you! Just when I have had another week of suburbia, traffic and George Dubya, and am wodering where the hell the real world went, I come across people like you. Thank you.

I grew up in Greenport (actually, in nearby Orient, but Greenport was considered "town" and Orient was considered the sticks). I now live in the burbs of Seattle.

I am assembling information on the period in Greenport from the end of World War II up to 1968. American literature has plenty of tales from WWII and plenty of tales during the 60's, but I think there is a great story in what happend to people who survived a depression, then a world war, and now faced this wonderful new world. Greenport today is a yuppie haven for New Yorkers, with no real stores. What few locals are left travel 60 to 70 miles for groceries, yet when I was a young lad in the 50's it had three car dealers, three supermarkets, two shoe stores, etc. Now, if you want some scrimshaw or souvenir seagull carvings made in Mexico, you can get it, but you can't buy a suit or get a new spark plug for your lawn mower.

I digress. As I said, I am constructing a history of sorts about that era. Maybe a novel, who knows? Greenport swelled during the war as people from the south moved there to build the 'sweepers and landing craft, and many remained behind after the war. I am fasciated by the optimism of that era, the culture that begat the pitcher of martinis at the end of the day, and consumerism.

Your website has given me the idea that maybe one of the characters needs to be made of wood and powered by diesels.

I honestly wonder everyday it we should (or I should) be doing what we are doing. Greig never questions it. His single minded focus is inspirational and frustrating as hell. Or maybe it is just obsession. People tell me how brave/patient for "putting up" with it. But I choose to be there so there you have it. We have made huge progress but everyday provides us with fresh new challenges. And those challenges actually come from other people - not so much the boat itself.

To be inspirational to others in any way is hugely supportive. Thank you Richard! And for as many people who probably think we're crazy there are just as many who think we're not. I have to get on perhaps making the Bowie a non-profit organization somehow. I really don't know the first thing about it.

Another task for the "round tuit" list.

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