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Saturday, March 27, 2010

My experience in life on Monhegan

There is a philosophy that reality exists in the perception of that reality.So it follows that there are as many worlds or realities as there are people to perceive them.Or we all live in our own world to an extent.Certainly no two peoples experiences are the same.Even if they experience the same event.That is how I feel about living on Monhegan.It may even be more valid here as no one seems to see Monhegan the same as anyone else.
 I arrived on the island in the summer of 1973.Just having  graduated from high school and ready for a change.And what a change it was.Living on an offshore island was isolation and solitude I had never experienced in my small town then city life.You see,in 1973 we basically camped in cottages in the winter.Camping means;no running water,no electricity,very little company.There was a mental adjustment to be made or you wouldn't stay sane.My first winter I sterned (sternman on lobsterboat)for a guy who lost all his traps the first couple of weeks after bad storms.We were grappling for traps off the backside of the island,me sick as a dog,in very rough seas.I remember thinking'Is this any way to go lobstering?'The next day I got laid off as the guy had no gear to tend.I spent the spring chasing another fisherman down the beach till I could earn enough money(Pay was $45.00 a day)to buy a ticket out of there.
I always intended to return with a stake to start my own lobster business.While I puzzled that out I worked in a factory for Rayovac running blow molders and other machines making parts for batteries and other products.One machine put nylon rings around button battery shells.Repeating the same motion 1100 times a day.Good training for lobstering ,which is very much like factory work.You tend traps basically the same way.
It was while working for rayovac I saw an old High school buddy of mine.His dream in high school was that we would enlist in the marines together under the buddy program and go to boot camp and then serve together.I was very skeptical of that plan as I didn't think it would work out that way.At the time it seemed rash,but in 1975 being older I decided to do it and enlisted.My friend was angry,but forgave me.
Skipping the service for this entry,(I'll revisit in another installment.)I returned to Monhegan to make my home.

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