Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tribute from Inge Chafee

For thirty years Jane was for me an integral part of summers in Sorrento. She opened my eyes to possibilities which the Francis Chafees simply did not see. They did not walk. She did.

In the summer of 1971 I spent several months at the Shoebox with our then three-year old Louisa and Baby Clio. Dick came now and then, but was mostly away doing research at various libraries. 

Early on Jane drifted by and wondered whether I was interested in doing some walking with her. She was aware that I had a baby sitter (provided by my mother-in-law with Junior’s help) and declared that we would go out that afternoon, taking the children and their sitter with us. Thus I got to see why one needed a car with four-wheel drive to get to the beach of Donnell Pond. Once there, we installed the three young ones on the beach and Jane told them we would be back in about two hours. What followed was the first of many ascents of Schoodic Mountain from “the other side” over the rock slide. Jane’s purpose was to reestablish the path that her father had marked many years ago, but which had been obliterated by a fire that had burned the side of Schoodic facing Donnell Pond. Once on top, I had to hold a surveyor’s pole. Jane disappeared among the burnt remnants of the woods and when she shouted, I was to wave my pole and shout back so that she could determine our respective positions. It took several trips for her to leave sufficient signs to mark the descent to Donnell Pond. At first she used cans with spray paint, I think. As their nozzles tended to clog, she changed to a little hatchet (or was it the other way round?). In subsequent years there were many climbing parties in which everyone carried clippers to improve the path, until the boys of a summer camp discovered and marked it properly. 

I admired Jane not only for her uncanny knowledge of the lay of the land but also for her clear judgement of people which she shared. I was grateful for her candor. 

Very sorry there will be no more walking with her.

Inge Chafe

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