It’s in the winter months these past four years that I have routinely anticipated meeting Thelma Pheobe on the shores of Chocomount Beach.
Just right or west of the familiar clump of rocks, just a Frisbee throw seaward from Picnic Rock, I look for her reappearance-remains of her day.
Simply, out in the field, but in my thoughts I see the black and white photograph that hangs in our Henry Ferguson Museum. I stand aground where she did. Remembering her past lives and hearing Pierce Rafferty’s historic depictions of the fateful day in April 1923. When the once former World War I patrol yacht USS Onward, which was transferred to US Coast Guard as a Geodetic Survey vessel in 1919 and later renamed Thelma Pheobe, she became a rum runner during the early 1920’s and wrecked ashore here.
Smashed and shattered porthole glass and whiskey bottle cargo….salted and worn. Petrified deck lumber, crumbling iron…. residuum, remnants, artifacts, imaginings, call them what I will- skeletal remains of her day.