Quotes by "Captain Hank Bracker"
The coast of Maine has many fishing villages and old seaports, and its past is steeped in maritime history. Twelve miles from Bath, we came into Wiscasset, known for the wrecks of two old sailing vessels: the four-masted cargo schooners the Hesper and the Luther Little. The Hesper was launched on the 4th of July, 1918. It was a wonderfully festive day when the Hesper was allowed to slide down the inclined ways, but because the ship builders had underestimated her weight, she only slid down the ways by about 10 yards before everything collapsed. The Hesper came to a grinding halt, but fortunately didn’t roll over. It was not until that August before the ship was once again shored up, and launched into the Sheepscot River. Her master was Captain Caleb A. Haskell from Deer Isle, who then sailed her to Lisbon, Portugal. On her maiden voyage she carried a 2,000 ton cargo of coal. I got to know Bo’sun, or Boatswain, Vernon Haskell, who drove the bus that later picked me up in Bangor. He also came from Deer Isle and sailed on these very same ships when he was a young man. Back in those days seafaring was a family tradition, and the Haskells were well-known seafaring folks in these parts. These two sailing ships are now gone and with their loss, some more maritime history is lost forever.
Much of what I had was handed down to me from others. The fact that I was now the oldest child, since my sister had died, put me first in line for toys. Not that the toys and clothing I acquired were necessarily new, nor were they gender specific, but they were newer when I got them, than later, when they were passed farther down the line. It didn’t matter that my sister was a girl…. A coat was a coat, except for how it was buttoned. Looking at old photographs, I sometimes find it impossible to tell if I am looking at my sister or me. It’s only when I see my nautical blue coat, with miniature petty officer chevrons on it that I’m certain that I’m looking at myself. As a baby, I wore her gowns and sleepwear, and this continued until they were worn out, or I outgrew them. Of course I inherited most of her toys, including a plunger type metal top and her beautiful, porcelain dolls. I don’t believe that these dolls were ever for play. They were beautiful enough to have been collectors’ items, but in my hands, they were doomed.