A collection of reminiscences.

I first arrived on Monhegan in June 1950 to work at the Island Inn to earn money for college. There was an organization known as MYSO – the Monhegan Youth Social Organization. Everyone was strongly encouraged (ordered, I guess, – there was no way to say no) to join. Ruth Grant Faller seemed to be in charge. There didn’t seem to be any other reason for MYSO’s existence other than to put on a show, the purpose of which was to raise money for either the school or the library. Most all of the Island Inn workers were members. There were songs which had been written (see below) and we practiced singing and creating harmony all summer. I seem to remember that the show was put on in mid-August. There were two artists, Harry Gommel and Brash who helped with the scenery. It was an enormous amount of of fun to put on such a show. We did it for three years I was there, 1950, 1951 and 1952. Just a few remembrances. Lonnie Treadwell was in the show one year I was there and he was dressed as a South Seas woman, including an augmentation via balloons which he popped at the end of the song. His mother objected but Dr. Sutton, a minister staying at the Inn, spoke to her and she withdrew her objection. Dr. Sutton was a sweet retired minister and highly regarded. I waited on him at the Inn.

Ruth Grant, Norma and I draped kelp around us and sang the song, “Rain.” We were supposed to be mermaids. The cold wet kelp was bad enough on the first night, but on the second night it was also slimy. Remember, there are never any warm nights on Monhegan.

Barbara Elwell, “Boots”

We did Monhegan lyrics to “Doing What Comes Natrurally.” It was composed by all the people on the Island and was so clever. I know I sang “I Can’t Say No” in 1946 and in 1948, “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun.” Lonnie was classic. He stole the show in big hiking boots, a short skirt, big black velvet hat snd carried a clam hod with flowers. He sang “I’m Called Little Buttercup,” had two ballons blown up “too big” as breasts and on the last stroll across the stage, popped one. It brought the house down. His mother was embarrassed and said he could not go on the next night. So I asked Dr. Sutton, retired Episcopal Bishop, what he thought. He smiled and seemed to take it as “typical Monhegan,” agreed to go to Mrs. Treadwell and talk with her. All was well for the second performance.

MYSO was started by Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Mason and they went to the “school board”  to get permission for us to use the School House  for dancing on Saturday nights. We also had a masquerade every August. There was no limit to our good times!

Ruth Grant Faller


(Deerfield Academy Song)

Far beyond Maine’s rocky coastline, lies an isle of quiet fame,
Where the cliffs are ever changing, yet eternally the same,
All the Island lies in splendor, hushed before the coming night,
From a hundred ancient windows flashes back the sunset’s light.
Now the meadow’s wind soft whisper, stirs the old spruce silhouette,

Bonds each firey tower above us, caught in evening’s dusky net,
Now the day is done with striving, let the heart hold memory bright,
Soon those rocky shores we’re leaving, raise thesong before we go.
Island days are days of glory, memory lives in every sun,
Let no other nme be spoken, ‘til the evenhour is done.
Mike Nelson


(Cayuga’s Waters)

Off the coast of rustic Maine, lies Monhegan fair.
Rocks and trees and cliffs are mighty , all abounding there,
On the hill there stands a beacon, shining with pure light,
Guiding sailors on the ocean, safely through the night.
Dear Monhegan, fair Monhegan, site of happy days,
Join we now our gay young voices, in her loving praise.
Anne Wibley

(Springtime in the Rockies)
From 1950 show, “Salt Water Daffy.”
We fancy it is summer on Monhegan,
The sunset with its colors all aflame,
And every day the waves are softly calling,
“It’s summer on Monhegan once again.”

The twilight shadows deepen on the rocks, dear,
The island lights are gleaming o’er the sea,
We sit together down at Lobster Cove, dear,
We’re dreaming of the days that used to be.
When it’s summer on Monhegan, I’ll be coming back to you,
To your cliffs and rocky ledges, and your sea of sapphire blue,
Once again I’ll hear the foghorn, see the surf and flying spray,
When it’s summer on Monhegan, on that Island far away.
Ruth Faller

(Same tune)
I miss the walks we used to take to Whitehead,
I miss the crowd that came to all the School House dances,
The gossip circles in the hall,
I’m homesick, that’s all.
I miss the gang that gathered at the tea-room,
The times that Mrs. Wibley sang, “My Hero.”
I’m homesick, that’s all.

I miss the evening services on Sunday night,
And the thrill of hearing sea-gulls call,
I miss the scramble for the chicken every Sunday,
The excitement at the Costume Ball.
I miss the lunches at the kitchen table,
I miss the muffins Johnny made when he was able,
The friends I had to leave this fall,
I’m homesick, that’s all.
Ruth Faller, 1948


  1. Now those fantastic memories bring back memories, albeit shortly before I became involved in MYSO. The first show I vividly recall was based on “New Girl in Town,” where Carl Wincapaw and Juliette Odom sat on a cardboard rock and had to kiss at the end of the song…oh my! And there was a chorus line of fishermen in full gear, replete with high kicks, and I remember Lois Rothstein had the lead and was the “new girl” on the island. MYSO also sponsored weinie roasts at Lobster Cove and the fabulous Moonlight Sails, and the Wednesday and Saturday night dances. It was raucus fun and it was magic, all at the same time. Do you all remember when the Island Inn waitresses used to go down to the dock and “sing in” the Laura B.? I was really little, but I do recall thinking that’s what I wanted to be when I grow up…an Island Inn waitress.

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