Sara Kirschenbaum
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A Sublime And Ridiculous Trip Part II

Posted Tuesday, Aug 09th, 2011 at 2:35pm

So there I was in New Harbor, Maine waking up in a bed and breakfast, the Gosnold Arms overlooking the harbor and the ferry that I would take to Monhegan, when two text messages squeaked through the lousy Verizon coverage.

"Ur mom called me. They r back in the hospital and she asked me to ask u to come."

My dad's pacemaker/defibrillator had shocked him earlier in the week sending my frightened mother and father to the hospital. Things had apparently stabilized and they had come home. But now things must have turned to the worse and my parents needed me. I ran to the water for one last look:

water drops

I hopped in the car, looking longingly at the ferry, and drove 8+ hours to NYC.

This is what I found in the cardiac ICU:

Bernie downtown

Needless to say, not a happy camper (and the food doesn't look so great either). The hospital is near Chinatown, and they gave him a bowl of Congee every day.

The next day my dad was transferred to an "Uptown" hospital - Cornell Presbyterian - where they could do more extensive procedures. And provide a greener lunch:

Bernie uptown

The ambulance drive from the one hospital to the other was interesting in that all four of us: Bernie, me, and the two EMT's were all left handed.

Two days later was to be the last stop on my book tour. Actually, my late grandfather's book tour, of his memoir, "Outer Island," that I finished and self-published for him. I was glad that my father was well enough so that I could take off for the day. But it was too bad that my mom didn't feel that she could come along.

This was to be a very special stop on the book tour because I would be reading in the Stony Creek library near the island that was the subject of his memoir. And I would get a special trip to the Island itself, which is now the property of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This would be my second trip to the island since I was a three-year-old.

Here are some pictures from the beautiful island that was once my grandparent's home:


pink shadow Me and my pink shadow...

Egret Egret

Egret flying Flying away

notice On the island was a notice of my reading that night. You can see my reflection and the island's reflection in the glass. Sweet!

jellies I had hoped to swim around the island but there were stinging jellyfish everywhere. Something my grandfather had written about in his memoir.

dry jellies

blues Such a celebration of blues.

shadow too And green.

house As I left, I could clearly see the little house where my mom spent much of her childhood.

And it was time to prepare for the reading of my grandfather's memoir at theWilloughby Wallace Memorial Library in Stony Creek.

I hoped 10 - 12 might show up. So I brought along 16 flyers about how people could buy the book. Imagine my surprise when over 100 showed up!

100 This picture was taken before the room really filled up!

me Here I am with my late grandfather and grandmother, the real stars of the show. I made sure to read the sexy part about the jelly fish since I had seen them at the island that day.

aaron Many people at the reading had been on the island when my grandparents owned it, including above, "Baron Aaron." I was so happy that my Aunt Judy and Uncle Jim, who both grew up on the island, were at the reading.

signing Here I am signing a book for Beverly who was our neighbor across the street when we lived on Prospect Hill in Stony Creek. It is amazing to find old friends, 45 years after you have moved!

After the reading I drove back to NYC to find my dad in worse shape:


His heart was going bezerk and over-riding his pacemaker:


Amazingly enough, it was nothing a little (6 hours) cardiac ablation couldn't take care of. He left the agonizingly long procedure with an obedient heart listening to his pacemaker.

Here he is with the therapy dogs the next day:


With my dad stable, I returned only one day late, back to Portland.


  1. Julianna Wrote on Tuesday, Aug 09th, 2011 at 4:26pm

    I love this!

  2. Beth Enson Wrote on Tuesday, Aug 09th, 2011 at 7:15pm

    Crazy trip! So glad all went well. Such a great turnout for the reading! Mazel tov!

  3. Amy Nowatzki Wrote on Thursday, Aug 11th, 2011 at 10:24am


    The writing and photos are fabulous. With just a few words and shots, you were able to stir so many emotions in my heart - I was both smiling and crying. I felt I was there. Thank you for sharing your amazing trip. xo

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