The first time I visited Bells Island must have been 1962 or 3. We were met at the breakwater by a local fisherman, Collin Hirtle, with his helper Wade and a lobster boat, the June R. I realized later that bringing a boat that size down a narrow, winding channel at night --and on a falling tide- was quite a trick. There were no.navigation lights and some of the few channel markers had a red plastic glove stuck on top thumb pointing ahead. So a stranger was left to guess on which side to pass.
|Percy Baker and Rebecca Watts|
I was exploring the island on the path which mostly ended at ruined houses. I was expecting to be treated like a trespasser as you would be in England. The path went from house to house. There were no roads. No preal foot paths. Because anyone who was doing anything on the path was going to the next house or the next house.
Percy Baker saw me through the window. And I saw what seemed to be this old face peering out the window, and I thought uh oh this could be a problem. So when he opened his door and invited me in it was quite a surprise….
“I see’d you was a stranger. And I said to myself I’ll ask that stranger in. He can tell me about his life and I can tell him about mine.”
I’m sure we all have an unforgettable character in our minds but to me Percy was that. He was so kind and generous. “I won’t be leaving much behind, I’m going to enjoy it while I’m here” he was fond of saying.