“To be or not to be a Bonacker, that tis the question…” or, at least, is an ongoing local debate that will be the focus of Mary Ann Seigfried’s next booklet to add to the already extensive collection of booklets chronicling our hamlet’s history for sale at the Springs Library. The term “Bonacker” originally described a person who lived on or near Accabonac Harbor, or a Springs native, most notably baymen. Although there was a time when being called a Bonacker had less flattering connotations (being likened to being called a “hick”), the term has taken on a certain hipness with more and more folks wanting to identify themselves as such. It seems that laying claim to being a Bonacker is becoming all the rage … hence, the great debate.Although my dad is an eleventh generation Miller and a trap fisherman who resides in Springs, I’m not entirely sure that I am indeed a true Bonacker myself. I was born in Korea which is about as far away from Accabonac as one can get, and I’ve often heard it said that one must be born here to claim that title. Still, when people inquire about my heritage, I proudly announce that I am a Korean-Bonacker. I’m one of those people who derive comfort from the knowledge of belonging to the place where I reside, and I think many people feel the same. In that spirit, I can certainly understand why others would want to boast the badge of Bonackership, too. They are a special breed, after all.
Meanwhile, as we await Mary Ann’s booklet to help us shed light on this topic, she just completed another one called “Fishing” that has become available for sale at the library. It’s a compilation of some of the best feature articles from local papers and the New York Times over the years with some dating back to the 19th Century, and sprinkled with fun tidbits and excerpts that come together nicely to educate us all on this important and interesting segment of our community. With a Marvin Kuhn “Bub” drawing illustrating the cover, photographs of the various types of fishermen (including a surprise one of my dad from 1980), and some priceless excerpts from Duane Miller’s 1945 diary shared by his daughter, Bernice Bennett, Mary Ann has put together another valuable resource to be enjoyed by generations to come. I got my copy for just $3 because of two typos, Mary Ann explained. The next batch will be $5. So, if you are a bargain hunter, you better get to the library across from Ashawagh Hall while supplies last! Please visit www.springslibrary.org for visiting hours and more information on this wonderful place.
Next up at Ashawagh Hall and curated by Marilyn Stevenson of New Century Artists Gallery of NYC, is a winter photo exhibition that showcases the traditional, digital, and alternative photographic processes as shown in the work of The East End Photographers Group. This weekend’s exhibition will be hosted by the Hasselblad Corporation and will incorporate informal demonstrations of the latest Hasselblad camera and lighting products by EEPG member and Hasselblad representative, Greg Hollmann. A reception will be held on Saturday, February 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours are Saturday 12 to 8 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
Last weekend, my aunt Lori Miller-Carr and I did have the good fortune to drop into Stephanie Whiston’s “Ocean Matters” exhibition of underwater photography at Ashawagh Hall. Now, I love art in all forms and have often been awestruck by certain exhibits. Never though, have I experienced being totally drawn in by the artwork, the subject matter, and the artist in person in the way I encountered it last Saturday. Stephanie greeted all of the visitors warmly and took us through the exhibit, one stunning photograph at a time, educating us on the exotic creatures and the plight of preserving our precious underwater world. Many of these photographs were so vibrantly hued (especially the gorgeous coral reefs), I was amazed to learn that they were not photoshopped, at all. The close-up expressions of the fish faces and rare moments captured under the sea are testimony to Ms. Whiston’s vast talent. Most important, her work conveys to the viewer how vitally critical it is to become ocean literate as a society before even more irreparable damage is done. To hear her speak with great passion on this mysterious world was a rare treat. Her work can be viewed and purchased on her website www.stephaniewhistonphotography.com True to form, proceeds in their entirety go to the Marine Education Foundation. Last weekend’s mild temperatures with the snow nearly gone allowed me to spend a bit of time on my favorite jetty at Maidstone Park Beach which helped chase away some of the winter doldrums that can start to set in for a lot of us by February. Watching the melted ice drifting by in the peaceful channel, I truly felt the warm light at the end of winter’s tunnel drawing near. Hang in everyone…February’s a short month! Happy week all!