Fall & Winter Reflections and Spring Anticipation

posted in: Family and Friends | 5

While the Kindred Spirit hibernated for the winter, we found plenty of other things to do, although the winter of 2022-2023 will rank very low in my list of winter memories. The weather was mostly dismal – chilly, gray, windy, rainy and very little snow. Snow is what makes a New England winter special and we just didn’t get much at all.

We enjoyed time watching sporting events – our grandchildren, not pro or college sports. Dare I confess we aren’t sports fans??? ESPN means nothing to us. We sometimes catch the last 5 minutes of the Superbowl or March Madness and feel quite fulfilled with just that. But watching the grandchildren? Now that is fun!

Addie on her first grade girls soccer team.
Action shots! We saw real improvement in all the girls over the weeks.
Caleb decided he wanted to play baseball. Ceci chose dance (no photos of that yet.)
My two favorite baseball photos: Caleb earned the game ball (twice) and hanging out in a restaurant after the game.

Halloween is a favorite holiday among kids. Here is all seven of the grandchildren in their assorted disguises.

Darth Vader (Caleb) and a black cat (Ceci), a unicorn (Addie), and the Delaware crew – Ninja (Alivia), pumpkin (Ella), ???? (Aaron) and Cookie Monster (Liam.)

In early October we made a road trip to visit Sam and Kayda in Maine.

Good times catching up with Sam and Kayda in their beautiful Maine cottage.

Sam and Kayda volunteer at the Coastal Maine Gardens in Boothbay. That could be an entire blog post all on its own. Even in October, the 300 acres of gardens and natural spaces are a delight to explore. We focused our visit on the Guardians of the Seeds, magical, mysterious giant recycled wood troll sculptures created created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. I’ve never seen nothing quite like this.

Roskva is the heaviest, hardest, and strongest of the trolls. Every day, Roskva climbs towards the sky, and every year she grows taller and wider. She counts the seasons and remembers everything that happens around her.
Søren is a very curious troll; his head is always turning and twisting, searching for places ever higher. He dreams about drifting around on a cloud in the sky, and when the wind is blowing, he loves to celebrate with a dance.
Gro is the wanderer. Every fall she disappears, but the trolls are not worried because every spring she returns to the forest. Birk is the wisest and most mysterious of the trolls. He hides in the shadows and listens to the whispers of the soil. He knows everything that happens in the wild, and every day he tells tales to all the other creatures of the forest. Lilja, youngest of the trolls, is still just a child. She loves the colors and the scents of the flowers and when bees and butterflies fly among branches.
We ended our visit with dinner at John’s.

A “boating” event in December caught our eye – the Coronet, 1885 133-foot luxury schooner and the last of the Gilded Age yachts, was to be moved from IYRS in Newport to Mystic Seaport here in Connecticut for a three-year restoration. The Coronet is a rare survivor of that time, the Gilded Age. We have a fondness for the Coronet because we first saw her back in the late 1990’s- early 2000’s. At that time you could actually go onboard and wander all around the old yacht, unsupervised.  I’ve already written about IYRS, International Yacht Restoration School founded in 1993 and the Coronet in 2019 blog post about our 25th wedding anniversary visit to Newport so I won’t repeat myself. 

We called Marcia and Dan to join us and watch the Coronet be brought up the Mystic River.  On a chilly early December day we virtually followed the tugboat that would bring the Coronet to Mystic on Marine Traffic so we could time our arrival. Moving the Coronet from Newport to Mystic was not a simple project. 1) dismantling the building that housed the Coronet in Newport, 2) lifting the yacht with a 1000-ton floating crane and 3)moving it to a dock near the IYRS facility, and finally 4) the 8 hour journey from Newport to Mystic through the bascule bridge to the Mystic Seaport Museum. 

We used Marine Traffic to track the tugboat that was bringing the Coronet from Newport to Mystic so that we could time our arrival.
We stopped and caught sight of the Coronet heading up the Mystic River.
In Mystic, approaching the bascule bridge.
The Coronet passes through the bascule bridge heading up to Mystic Seaport.
Al, Dan, Marcia, and me

Which brings us to the Christmas holidays, always a special time with family and friends. Alas, no white Christmas. Maybe next year.

We held the second annual “Gingerbread House Cousins Sleepover Weekend.” Caleb, Ceci and Addie spent the weekend here with us.

Papa, master builder, constructs the houses before the grandkids arrive.
No rules, no guidelines, just decorate with a free spirit of delight.
Works of art!
From Delaware to Connecticut, from 2 years old to 13 years, seven very special people.

Amidst all of these happy occasions, there was a sadness through the winter for all of us. My mother suffered a stroke in early November and passed away in late February. Those four months were difficult but she is at peace now. The sadness is accompanied by the knowledge that I am fortunate to have had both of my parents for 90 years each.

I love you, Mom.
The only good thing about these sadder life events is that it brings us all together again. Here is a rare moment with all seven of our grandchildren together. 🥰
Caleb (8), Addie (6), Ceci (6), Aaron (13), Alivia (5), Ella (9), Liam (2)

We ALL know how Al spends winters working on our boat(s), happily freezing his ___ off while fixing, remodeling, recreating, rejuvenating, and just general maintenance on every boat we have ever had. Our Kadey Krogen is in such good shape that there isn’t a lot to do anymore, which strikes fear in my heart. Why? Because once Al is finished with his ‘watsoning”, the boat is usually sold and we get another fixer upper. He has promised that this Kindred Spirit will really be our last boat. Keeping him busy was not a problem this winter – a new kitchen for the house in Milford. It was quite the project, small, but challenging AND it kept Al busy from January through March.

The house is 95 years old with lots of assorted surprises in the wall, floors, plumbing and electrical. And there were little hands that wanted to help as soon as they got home from school.
A dramatic improvement for this little kitchen thanks to Papa Al! That man sure is talented. And very loved.

The months passed quickly, spring arrived (sort of) and it was time to celebrate Al’s birthday. He does not like to acknowledge his birthday anymore, but with the help of the kids and grandkids, we were able to happily surprise him with a birthday brunch.

Happy Birthday, Papa!
We aren’t ones to limit birthday celebrations to just one day, so we continued by having dinner with Mary Jo and Dean in Mystic, finishing with ice cream at Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream. Sooooo yummy!

Time to get that boat ready to launch!!

5 Responses

  1. Robert Lentz

    It’s so great to see you having fun with your family. We’re missing our grandkids.

    Summer is coming…

    We hope to see you soon.

  2. Prue Preston

    Nice to hear from you. The part on the Coronet was particularly interesting as we watch the reconstruction annually during our stops in Newport. It always seemed a bit of a funding issue. Was the hull given to Mystic or are they just completing the project in their facilities? Guess that means we’ll be stopping in Mystic. Summer cruising will start for us in late May.

  3. Deanna and Sarah

    It is just wonderful to hear from you and know what you have been doing and seeing. We have lost so much of Hopetown but here in Florida there is a group, known as “Hopetown West” and a gathering about once a month that will bring together 20 or so Hopetown relocates, winter snowbirds and boaters. Always such fun to see our friends and with Dorian, we have lost any. When you see Dan and Marsha again, please pass on a warm hello. Love you lots, Deanna and Sarah

  4. Ellen Margel Seltzer

    Omg…this is an entire life summary and I’m unsure how to respond…let’s see…first the grandkids are fabulous…you can almost discern their individual personalities through your photos. Thank you for sharing them with us. I love the pics of the new kitchen…Al did a great job and it really turned out beautifully…you know how I feel about the passing of your mother, but you are special to have had both parents for so long. Must say something about who you are!

    The boat is great and your adventures this fall and winter let me know how much you miss it and can’t wait to “shove off” again. It is so nice that you get to see other boating friends during the off months…you must have so many memories to share together. I loved the gardens of the seeds – how fascinating to see the trolls and learn about their folklore. So interesting and captivating-a good trip for the grandkids?

    And in the meantime we get to have you as neighbors. Yay for all of us. Thanks Michelle. See you soon! xo

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