Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Pelican

Today I received comments from a reader of my September blog posting about hooked rugs. He mentioned the sailing yacht (the "Pelican") depicted in the hooked rug made in 1958 by Sadie May Morse in Marblehead. He had lived near Miss Morse and observed her as she was hooking this rug! He was trying to recall who had owned that yacht.  

The Pelican was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Phillips of Salem, friends of my parents. They frequently invited my parents to crew for them when they took cruises along the coasts of Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. 

Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Nichols. New Brunswick
My father was a skilled skipper and a very handy person to have on board, able to fix things and stay calm, regardless of challenges. My mother assisted not only with the sailing, but also cooking in the galley. Mrs. Phillips (Betty) loved to do the advance planning for each trip; she was a highly skilled navigator.

I heard many stories of sailing adventures on the Pelican, and excursions ashore in places new to my parents. My father took photos of white gypsum cliffs with odd shapes. My mother told of hard-shelled eggs sold in paper bags, without the need for egg cartons, because the chickens had so much gypsum in their diet. Hard eggs to crack open, she reported.

One very foggy day my mother was assigned to watch carefully for obstacles ahead. She lay on the decking at the bow, peering into the thick fog. She struggled to see anything in the fog. When a huge gray object suddenly came into view, she shouted a warning about a possible battleship ahead. When the gray gull spread wings and flew away, she felt foolish, but much relieved. Judging distances in fog is really tough!

My sister and I rarely joined them on the Pelican. I only recall one overnight stay on the Pelican. Usually we spent the time with our cousin Anni and her family in Edgecomb, Maine. We loved those vacations with Anni while our parents were away on the Pelican.

The Pelican
Today, prompted by the reader's query, I decided to search through my father's slides to see if I could find any images of the real Pelican, or of Mr. and Mrs Phillips. (I recall many visits to their home, and also seeing Stephen ski in Danvers at Locust Lawn, where my father ran the rope tow.)  Look what I found! 
Jane Phillips at the helm; my mother, right. 

Here's a photo that proves I was on the Pelican (wearing my white sweatshirt with blue LRY logo). My sister Jean is in green. Mr Phillips is seated to the right, and one of his daughters is at the helm.

Betty at the helm; Jean on right; I'm on left.

Today, on a cold rainy December day, it is a pleasure to view images of summertime sailing.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

There is now a historic house museum at 34 Chestnut Street, Salem, called the Phillips House. I just learned of a Danvers connection (1821) to that house: see Wikipedia entry on Stephen Phillips House. An ox cart hauled the original rooms from a farm in Danvers.

That house was NOT the one I had visited as a child; It belonged instead to the father, Stephen W. Phillips. The Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Phillips I knew lived next door. I recall beautiful Christmas decorations in their home, and playing with an electric model train with their daughter Jane.

Another mansion on that street was owned by the Unitarian Church and served as its Parsonage, where Rev. and Mrs. Bradford Gale raised their daughter Stephanie, who was my age. Many Chestnut street memories.