Grindstone News - August 26, 1992
Grindstone Island - Caroline Wright died late in the morning on Aug. 19, and on Aug. 21 Grindstone Islanders gathered in the Episcopal Church in Clayton to remember her and celebrate her life. The multitude of flowers all came from Grindstone Island, the sandwiches for the reception, and the cakes and cookies and vegetables all came from Grindstone, reminding us of the constant flow of gifts crossing the river to Clayton from this large island that lies offshore from the town.
All weekend when people talked about Caroline Wright, they told about her bringing "the workboat" into the town dock in Clayton, at top speed, frightening the uninitiated who thought she would surely plow right into the dock as tender little grandchildren threw out the bumpers. She never did. And the workboat still does much of the fetching and carrying to and from Long Point. The Captain - Mr. Thibault built the boat, drove it, maintained it, and, when Craig Wright died, taught his wife, Caroline, to run it.
The sounds of all the old racing boats "flying by" Clayton this weekend reverberated welcome to the workboat and memories of Mrs. Wright to their docks.
From all around Grindstone Island, people contribute to the joy of boating on the St. Lawrence. At the St. Lawrence Restoration Company, Nugen Brown assisted Don Price as they whipped across the wakes in the Running Wild. Dick Matthews went over the work yet to be done on the Chuckel, which is being brought back to its former beauty in the St. Lawrence Restoration Shop. Dick has done much of the carpentry on the boat and installed the sophisticated workings of the engine and steering mechanism in the resurrected boat, with Nugen's help.
Over on the other side of town, Audrey and Bob Lashomb - Robbie, and the whole Lashomb family care for the boats in their marina and Audrey sets all her Remar House Boats forth on the river. Brenda Slate sees that the houseboats are clean and tidy, and her son, Tom, keeps boats running over in the French Creek marina.
Junior Rusho and his brothers and friends from Grindstone barge trucks, horses, cows - whatever needs to cross the water that is too big for the Debbie Lynn, the mail boat, run now by Salt Gamsey. And Junior Brown is the dependable mechanic islanders call to get their balky engines going. There is Milton Carnegie, too, who re-finishes the beautiful skiffs that are sailed or rowed from island bays. A Cupemall, another Grindstone Island name, built one of the boats in the regatta long ago. Dawn Rusho helps keep the boat museum on track, and Leon Rusho, too, restores boats - and on and on.
Harold Waterson from Eel Bay Road on Wellesley Island remembers when his grandfather, Savannah H. Slate had a shipyard on the Carnegie place on the north side of Grindstone where he built and repaired all types of boats. He pulled a good many steam boats out every fall, stored them in the sheds under the hill, and fitted them out again when spring came. But the scows got his careful attention too, for they were the workboats most islanders used every day. His blacksmith shop and carpenter shop burned down so it is hard to locate the shipyard from the river, but Erma pointed it out to her friends, the Harmons and Judy Bacci as they went around the foot of the island from Thurso Bay on a shopping excursion.
Coming out of Thurso Bay, they also passed Jolly Island, which is just off Webster's Point where Bill Danforth, who, with Bob Cox from Grindstone's south shore, deserve a great deal of the credit for the success of the Antique Race Boat Regatta! Obviously if you live on an island, boats are integral to your life, and these islanders bring their gifts to Clayton.
At the church, the Rev. David Geer led the worship service and presided over the charge conference in his role as superintendent of the St. Lawrence District. The pot luck lunch afterwards let the talk of boats continue. Next year, Mr. Geer assured the congregation, we will have a pastor in the parsonage for the whole summer!
Doc Schwartz led the congregation through the mysteries of the treasurer's report, and the retiring members of the board, plus Marjorie Rusho, our ever watchful and caring member, were asked to continue on as trustees the new formal title in the United Methodist Church. The class of 1995 is: Brenda Slate, Margaret Taylor, Marjorie Gamsey, Lolita Pfeiffer, Deborah Donaldson, and Marjorie Rusho.
We've talked about boats this weekend, but the biggest topic of conversation was the unbelievably summer weather. Weather is and apparently has always been, the foremost topic on the river. Every entry in Nellie Dodge's diary begins with a note on the weather, and every entry in Frederick Remington's river diary begins with a note on the weather.
Bruce and Carol Faust weren't here to enjoy the weekend. They are travelling in Germany. Sis Matthews' sister, Pauline, is just out of the hospital and all islanders are wishing her well.
Caroline Larson taught Sunday school this week, and next week Deb Donaldson will be teacher. The children will sing in church the song they learned today. We've missed a choir this summer.
Night Wind provided the music for the Saturday dance, a guest of Marjorie Gamsey's won the 50-50.
And the week ended - everyone tired, but having had a wonderful time - whether at the boat regatta, the beach, or at the picnic tables.
So it is.