Big week for Emily
Sep 3, 2009
First bike ride. And then, right on down that same sidewalk, first day of kindergarten.
Sep 3, 2009
First bike ride. And then, right on down that same sidewalk, first day of kindergarten.
Aug 29, 2009
On a couch or a soft carpet, Dobby the dog is pretty good about sitting on command. But on a hard floor? He'll make a show of pretending, as shown here with Emily and Joshua Wiggin, who are very good at kneeling.
Aug 25, 2009
Hank jumps off the bannister into space. He is falling faster than a cellphone camera shutter can click.
I wasn't around when this picture was taken, and I know absolutely nothing about the landing. But the date on the digital photo file is 2007, so it must have all worked out.
Sep 24, 2009
Carol Stack, of North Carolina, and Azaria Galli, of Maine, who have friends in common, recently shared a pizza at Flatbread's on the waterfront in Portland.
Sep 26, 2009
I triple dogg dare you, sez the writing on the lightpole.
Oct 8, 2009
Portland photographer Corey Templeton took this picture last summer. He says the staircase is somewhere in the West End.
Oct 22, 2009
Ninety-eight winters of salt have done a number on the mortar that was supposed to be holding the bricks together on my front steps. Fortunately, I count among my good friends an experienced bricklayer who was willing to take on the project. Here you see Katrin Maldre chipping away at the old mortar, using my little old rock hammer and a fancy new chisel.
To be fair, Katrin's bricklaying experience was not extensive or recent. But one summer back in Communist times, when she was growing up in Estonia, she and her friends were sent out into the country to work on a large brick construction project. Mostly, they moved bricks to and from piles---but it's a whole lot more bricklaying experience than I can claim.. (Katrin also has a son who has an engineering degree and knows about bricks and stuff, and who was willing to supervise this project from Estonia via Skype.)
Within an hour or two we got rid of most of the old mortar, slathered the free bricks with new mortar, and set them back in place. We broke one brick, and when the job was finished we somehow had an extra piece of brick left over. But you can't tell by looking at it.
The highlight of the job was definitely the new chisel. Note that yellow foam hand protector thing. Worth its weight in gold! Its inventor is a genius.
Oct 27, 2009
This is the second most stunning bit of fall on my street. It's a cherry tree I planted when we first moved into this house, and it's big enough now that I could stand underneath the branches and take this picture aiming up at the sky through a crown of glowing leaves. The picture is not turned sideways; the branches just branch off one another that way.
The first most stunning bit of fall on my street is a hydrangea down the block with leaves as pink as the flowers. I hope to get a shot of it, but in the meantime . . . you don't have to take my word for it; you can imagine it however you want.
As Octobers go, this one was so too wet to be entirely pleasant. But perhaps because of all the rain, a lot of leaves are still hanging in there. Then too, the few blue-sky days have been all the more precious.
Nov 1, 2009
Every day had a theme during Spirit Week at Deering High School. There was '80s Day, Mainer Day, and then Toga Day. But the school administration had second thoughts about Toga Day--What if those stupid kids didn't wear enough clothes underneath their "togas"? At the last minute, Toga Day was called off, to be replaced by Backwards Day. Most students chose to not get the message about the late change in plans, and they came to school dressed pretty much as the administrators had feared. Our own Hank Stein, however, chose to observe Backwards Day, all decked out in his Senate page uniform.
The seniors who were eventually elected 2009 Homecoming Queen and King are both in the toga picture. The queen, Mohdis, already has a crown, and the king, Jacob, is wearing a t-shirt labeled "toga."
At the end of Spirit Week, the homecoming football game on Friday night could have gone better; Deering got trounced by Cheverus. But I am told that the dance on Saturday night was just fine. In the picture here from a pre-dance party and photo session, Hank is once again right in the middle of everything, but this time in a black shirt and white tie.
Nov 7, 2009
Winter is sneaking up on us fast--in fact, these last couple of days here have left the impression that it's done snuck up already, and snagged us in its clutches. Anyway, here are a last couple of fall pictures, from last month. The first one is of Rye Beach, New Hampshire, by Tanja Baker. The other one shows a hydrangea bush on my street in Portland.
Jan 10, 2010
The Grand Trunk Line went bankrupt in 1920. Cost overruns on its expansion to the West Coast stressed the company, and its route planning out west proved unfortunate, too far north to compete with the fledgling Canadian National Railroad, which eventually absorbed it. The Grand Trunk's U.S. lines were assigned to a holding company that used the Grand Trunk name, but they too declined and faded in the mid-twentieth century along with the railroad industry in general.
The Grand Trunk station in Portland, on India Street near the waterfront, was demolished in 1948. These pictures actually show a different Portland train station, Union Station on Congress Street near St. John Street, which handled southbound passengers and freight. Union Station opened in 1911 and was demolished in the1960s to make way for the I-295 highway.
Portland lost an elegant building that day--the current Amtrak station is basically just a corner of the bus station lobby--but by all accounts, the destruction awakened people to the importance of historic preservation. And though it couldn't have been foreseen in the 1960s, when urban renewal was thought to lead to future glory for America's cities, Portland's old buildings and cobblestone streets have turned out to be what saved this town--people have learned to make money off of "quaint."
Jan 17, 2010
The old Eastland Hotel in downtown Portland has a lot of windows and a lot of bricks.
Jul 17, 2010
Used to be, the city of Portland would set aside a time in June when people could put big pieces of junk--such as unwanted furniture--out by the curb for city garbage trucks to collect. But there are no more Big Trash Days; the service was slashed as a budget-cutting measure. Although city residents are now expected to haul their own stuff to the dump, Jacob Powers found this resting spot a few weeks ago in a couch left out at the curb.
Nov 6, 2010
He turned eighteen the other day. Our work is done. He's up and away now.
Jan 24, 2011
Ferrets in their den, according to their mother. Groundhog Day comes next week.
Jul 19, 2011
That's Pete, in his straw boater, as the eponym of Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend, a sendup of 1920s-style song and dance.
Waynflete staged the show as its 2011 spring musical. Although the production was well received, its three-night run was a bit shorter than that of the original production in London's West End, where it played for five years and more than 2,000 shows.
The Broadway production was also a hit, introducing Julie Andrews to American audiences. But in 1971, a film version of The Boy Friend–starring the fashion model Twiggy–earned critical acclaim but was a commercial disaster.
Dec 19, 2011
When this picture was taken, the Wiggin family had included Vera the dog for about two hours.
Dec 28, 2011
The twins rolling around on the mat at lower left are imitating their father's winning wrestling moves at right, during Deering High School's annual alumni wrestling meet last week.
For many alumni of Deering's storied wrestling program, this meet is their only chance to lace up their old wrestling shoes and see if they've still got what it takes. Coach Kirk, who's been running the show at Deering for more than thirty years, matches up each alumnus against a member of the current varsity squad; the wrestling is vigorous but not particularly intense, because Coach always rigs the matchups to favor the old guys. This year, as in most years, the alumni won every bout.
May 12, 2012
For an overnight Girl Scout adventure, these young'uns were coached in singing and dancing by an older troop of Cadette scouts. Then they assembled their costumes from bags of stuff and put on a runway show. "Yes, my daughter is donning a cheetah bra and tiara," reports Susan Wiggin. "Very proud moment."
Jun 11, 2012
Ramon Toye, a 250-pound guard for the Southern Maine Raging Bulls football team, was out on the tarmac at the Portland airport this past weekend pulling really, really hard for about five or six seconds. Apparently, that's how long it takes a typical team of twenty-five determined individuals to pull a 127,520-pound cargo plane a distance of 12 feet, which is the timed challenge for this annual competition.
The Raging Bulls and a couple of dozen other teams--entrants included a bank, a church, a gym, the Scarborough Police Department, the Shipyard Brew Crew, and of course a chiropractic office--pull the plane as a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
In the fall, the Bulls play football in the AAA New England conference; last season they went 7-3, placing second behind Lowell in the Northern Division. The rest of the year they pull airplanes and participate in other community service activities.
Jul 8, 2012
Oct 23, 2012
If it's October, there must be a pumpkin. This assemblage–which was first featured about four years ago in a predecessor to this here blog–dates back to the time when the brick steps in the photo led up to a house we lived in on Columbia Road in Portland, Maine. In addition to the pumpkin, the still life includes a non-blooming potted geranium and five quinces. The petrified tree stump, which is approximately 200 million years old, is something we found in an abandoned coal mine in Walker County, Alabama; it now sits near our back door in Philadelphia.
Oct 26, 2012
Susan Wiggin writes from Portland, Maine:
Miss Vera had 2 little boy puppies on Saturday night. Here they are on Sunday. Everyone is doing great & they are velvety soft & they squeak.
Mar 1, 2013
They've been getting a lot of snow this winter in Maine–a foot last weekend and a record 29.3 inches early in February from the storm they called Nemo, and more before and since and in between. This photo was taken after Nemo, in Portland's Old Port.
Some Mainers are probably happy about it.
Here in Philly, we got nothing.
Mar 24, 2013
The two families pose together at a party celebrating the upcoming marriage of our niece Maggie to Colin Doody.
Mar 28, 2013
This was a winter of of moving on up for Joshua and his denmates in Portland, Maine, as they graduated from cub scouts into boy scouts. The controversy surrounding scouting these days is probably inaudible or nearly so to the kids, who like scouts of generations past happily keep their eyes on the prize: camping trips and merit badges and all that awesome quasi-Native American stuff.
Jun 10, 2016
A nice day on Casco Bay, as seen from the Portland Observatory, the city's old maritime signal tower atop Munjoy Hill.