Home is where the heart is, so someone once said. I left the place of my birth and early childhood at the age of 12 when my parents returned to Connecticut from whence they came. But a piece of me stayed in Maine; and Penobscot bay on the coast of Maine will always be home to me.
Perhaps you have noticed the airplane is gone from the banner on this blog. It is also gone from my life. “Two Papa Zulu” has a new home smack in the geographic middle of America in a town named Lee’s Summit. What you now see in its place is a sunset on Penobscot Bay. I took the picture this past August but the scene hasn’t changed in the 80 years since my birth.
When Two Papa Zulu flew away on New Years Eve my thoughts turned to two seagulls named Tony and Jo. They were my pets for a year. I raised them from chicks, fed them oatmeal from the cupboard and clams I dug up on our shore when the tide was out.
I also taught them to fly. My parents always disputed that. When their fluff turned to feathers I walked them to a rock and pushed them gently off. One bird took her lessons well and flew a little further each time. The other joker simply plopped to the foot of the rock. That was Tony and he never learned to fly, not an inch. That is until that day when my parents and I walked the pair down to the shore. As soon as Jo saw the opening in the woods she took off. Tony continued walking with us until we all stopped and stood at the edge of the cliff.
By now Jo had flown out of sight. Then suddenly, with a squawk, a squat and a leap Tony was in the air. He flew along the shoreline and was quickly also out of sight. I guess my parents were right. It wasn’t me who taught them how to fly. In a few minutes they were both back from their flight and we all walked up the hill through the woods and back to the house. Two days later, once again we made the same walk to the shore. We knew Tony and Jo wouldn’t be walking back with us this time, and they didn’t. But it wasn’t the last time we were together.
My mother and I would occasionally walk down to the shore late in the day and stand on a rocky outcrop called Dyers Point. As each flock of gulls flew back to their nests after a day of foraging, we would call out for Tony and Jo. If they were in the flock, the two would peel out and land at our feet. Mom always brought a bowl of oatmeal which they quickly gobbled up. Then after much chirping and bobbing of heads, off they would go to their own island home somewhere on the bay.
A true story from the life of a young boy growing up in Maine.