Mo's Thoughts

News and info about the project.
Created by mo.labrie on Sat 13 of Mar., 2010 13:09 EST
Last post Sat 27 of Mar., 2010 06:37 EDT
(2 Posts | 10156 Visits | Activity=2.50)

By mo.labrie on Sat 27 of Mar., 2010 06:37 EDT
I was at the Clipper Home in Portsmouth recently, interviewing a man who had worked on Goat Island in the Fifties. SL can be lucid; he also has periods of fantasy (according to his family - I'm not so sure). In the course of our conversation, he mentioned that he had a box of papers and office effects from his time at the 'Bin'. I tried not to get too excited, but he must have seen that I was interested because he offered the box to me on the spot. By happy coincidence, the daughter whose attic the box was stored in was in the room with us - the family likes to make sure there's a chaperon whenever SL talks to anyone who's not family or nursing home staff. Even more surprising, the daughter was also willing to give me the box - once my chat with SL was over, I followed the daughter back to her house and we retrieved the box.

Not knowing what I'd find inside, I waited until I got home to open it. Most of the contents were of little interest - some Life and National Geographic magazines, a swizzle stick collection, etc. but there was some Miskatonic Geologic Archive paperwork - purchase order paperwork and a bit of correspondence. And there was a big find: unused patches and field notebooks from the Second Miskatonic Antarctic Expedition!

Obviously, a few examples of each are going to be archived. After talking it over with other project participants, we've decided to sell some as well to help cover some of the costs we've been paying for on our own. I'm going to put a note about it on the front GIP page and I've asked John to handle the transactions.
By mo.labrie on Thu 25 of Mar., 2010 18:56 EDT
My name is Maurice (Mo) Labrie and I'm the person that started the Goat Island Project. I was born in Laconia, New Hampshire but my family moved to Dover in 1962, when I was 16. I went to UNH, got a degree in Electrical Engineering and spent most of my working career at GE's Meter Business in Somersworth. I took early retirement in 2001 and drove my wife crazy for a few years before I started to get interested in following up on some stories friends had told me years ago. I've always been fascinated by history and there's a lot of it in this part of the US. The history I got curious about didn't seem to be written down anywhere; it only seemed to surface late at night, after card games and the like, when people a little older than me got sufficiently drunk. I'd hear about 'The Bin' out on Goat Island and the Antarctic expedition during the International Geophysical Year, about the folks who worked on the island who died young or went crazy and about the winter of 1961/62 when, after a lot of activity on the island, everything got packed up and all that was left behind was rubble.

The more I thought about it, the more curious I got. I started nosing around, talking to old-timers and ran into a couple other people who shared my interest. It didn't go much beyond wild stories for a while, but the wild stories were oddly consistent; after a bit, what seemed to be suppressed history started to emerge. We worked along, then, a year or so ago I ran into John Pittman on the street in Portsmouth. John worked at GE in the nineties and early whatever we're calling them - the naughts? He was in I.S. (Information Systems); we didn't have a lot of contact until he got put in charge of the network, but he'd always seemed OK. We compared post-GE notes and he was really interested in what our group was, by then, referring to as the Goat Island Project. We got together a couple more times to talk and we both came up with the idea of putting the information we had about this period in seacoast history out on the internet. Finally, he got this web site up and running and here we are. It's exciting and pretty intimidating to realize that we now need to start writing up interview notes, scanning the few documents we've found, etc. and making things available. Will anyone even notice? Who knows - but John says that nothing ever really disappears from the internet, so even if no one cares now, maybe a generation from now it'll do a real historian some good.

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