Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Our offices have moved...

Disclaimer: This blog is only marginally related to BBT Magazine, however, it does contain ghosts, lighthouses, ships captains, couples living on deserted islands, and Edgar Allen Poe.

In addition to being a big publishing magnate I am also a boat captain, a line of work which has opened many unusual doors for my wife and me in the past few years. After running and living in a slightly haunted lighthouse in San Francisco Bay on a tiny little island (which our dear friends now run, bless their little hearts), we packed up and moved to the Boston area, and we love it.

A few months ago I was hired as a ferry boat captain for the Thompson Island Outward Bound program, a program which has a mission statement we both heartily endorse, and shortly thereafter my wife was hired as a mate.

It’s nice really, having my mate as my Mate, and we really enjoy each others company.

We gradually learned the amazing history of the island in bits and pieces. Here’s a bit of it from the Boston Harbor Islands website:

“In 1626 (four years before the Puritans arrived in Boston) David Thompson established a trading post to trade with the Neponset Indians on the island that now bears his name… …For the next two centuries, Thompson Island was also leased to several different families for farming.”

In 1832 it was made a farm school for children who were destitute as a result of the War of 1812, and by 1834 it had acquired the rather creepy name of “The Boston Asylum for Indigent Boys” and later “The Boston Asylum and Farm School for Indigent Boys.” From that point forward it has continued to be a place where education of children has flourished.

Twice, in 1842 & 1892, the ferry boats full of boys, sank into the sea on the way to the island. The remains of all the lads are buried on the western side of the island, along with the remains of Native Americans the found on the island while they were building schoolrooms and dorms. There is a very old sign there which reads "Two tragedies of the Boston Harbor in 1842 & 1892 drowned these boys. May the water and the winds bless their souls; may their souls bless our hearts and our island."

All and all a fairly creepy, but also seemingly happy place, to judge by the old photos of the boys.

After a month or so the offer to care take the island while the program shut down for the winter was advanced to my wife and myself, and we accepted. We have had experience living on small islands before (very small – the lighthouse was on a rock ¾ of an acre), so we are aware of the romance & reality of the situation, but as a writer, and publisher of a small press magazine, I could hardly say no. We will have the whole place to ourselves (usually) and we should have time to pursue our various projects.

We’ll just have to ignore the tales of people waking up in the middle of the night to find little boys standing in their rooms by the bed, and the woman in green who shows up at the docks at night, presumably waiting for her son.

We’ll keep you posted…

Oh, and Edgar Allen Poe?
He was stationed across the water about a mile away from us at Castle Island and old army fort. It’s where he wrote "The Cask of Amontillado."

Yep. Lotsa history.


Pete Tzinski said...

There's a great short story in there somewhere, called "The School for Indignant Boys." I'm not sure what the boys would be up to, but it sounds fun.

Just remember: the alone on the island bit which tales of supposed hauntings is entirely a recipe for a good Stephen King short story. You may be in trouble.

BBT Magazine said...

Funny enough, we had a locksmith out to change the locks recently, and he looked exactly like SK.

I had to do quite a bit of fast talking to Isabella, my wife, in order to convince her he wasn't out there doing research.

Your right though, there is an idea for a story in all this. Probably many.