A member asked today if there was anything to do near Portland, Maine. It immediately took me back to our 2011 reunion which was based in Portsmouth, NH. As I looked for my blog post about the reunion, I realized that this occurred before I began keeping it. So, I’m going to recount it as best my memory serves after 11 years have passed.
As soon as we arrived in Portsmouth, NH we did the no brainer thing for any Babb and headed right out to the Isles of Shoals 9 miles off the coast. While there we scattered Jean Sargent’s ashes on Babb’s Rock. She brought Phillip to us, and we brought her back to return the favor.
On the final full day of the reunion, we had already planned to go and visit a site known as Babb’s Bridge. It isn’t known to be named for a particular Babb, but rather for the Babb family of that area. I always thought that was nice and allows us all to claim it as our own.
Something was missing from the first two days of the reunion. One of our Founding Members, Ruth Harrington had tripped and twisted her ankle, in an awful way, the night before the reunion started. Ruth had been to virtually all 10 of the Babb Reunions since the first one in 1989. She was stuck in a hospital in Portland, ME. Babb’s Bridge is just outside of Portland, so as we all gathered for breakfast, I put a question to the attendees. I figured that since Ruth couldn’t get to the reunion that we would bring the reunion to her. The response was immediate and unanimous!
I shouldn’t need to tell you that it’s not good to shout SURPRISE to an 94-year-old woman. So, we agreed to whisper it. We all gathered in the community room and her children went to visit and brought her into the room where we all were waiting. The facility was very helpful as well and knew we were coming. We snapped this picture to commemorate the event while we were all together.
The story was so moving and our bond as a family was so strong that a local newspaper (WireNH) picked it up and made it into a Front-Page article for their 4th of July issue. The cover image is shown at the beginning of this article. The additional relevant pages are below.
Ruth was in no condition to join us after the visit, so we reboarded the bus and headed to Babb’s Bridge. It was a magical day and one of my favorite memories. I should note that the graffiti on the inside of the bridge is quite common to those. This particular bridge was replaced in 1976 after the first one was destroyed in a natural disaster. However, this is an exact duplicate.
This is the extend of the time I was able to spend in the Portland, ME area. Like Portsmouth, NH it is steeped in Babb history. The descendants of Phillip Babb of the Isles of Shoals spread throughout the entire Northeast of the US and to date it still holds the largest concentration of Babbs in the US.
Help us learn more
If you are aware of other Babb locations in the Portland, ME area, please reply to this post below and let us know what your favorite area treasure is!