Pages From Life

Written By: Ina Thiessen

My name is Ina Victor Thiessen. I am almost 82 years old and I have lived here for 40 years in a fabulous restored horse barn in Water Mill. My husband is a retired surgeon, who among other accomplishments founded SHARE, the first volunteer peer support group for women with breast cancer in New York City in 1976 … Dr. Eugene Thiessen.

This is from a log I kept on our sailing travels on our beautiful 35 foot Bristol which was on the cover of Dan’s Papers a few years ago painted by an artist who saw “The Boat” on the hard In Greenport.

November, 1998 First Weekend:

Our dear Starbound, straining against a wild Nor’easter, broke her moorings and swept up onto a North Haven beach lying strangely askew, but whole. We received the unwelcome news at 8am Sunday, from Mr. Beverly the Harbor Master in Sag Harbor. Sea Tow will take her to the Ship Ashore Marina mooring and all will be put right. If only Willie Sutton were an accommodating uncle. Since he is not, our pockets will be under attack for the “newest” need for repairs. My umbrella and hair curlers are still aboard so you see I am obviously still a presence on the ship while she graces the Marina’s repair units. Till 1999 dear ship rest well till we trundle aboard once again.

Written from memory – August 21, 1999:

I know we were planning a Martha’s Vineyard sail again for four glorious weeks but Gene’s work became so complicated he had only 12 days. Much too tired so we stayed in – you guessed right – Block Island and had a super duper time. Ate at the Naugatuck – a refurbished (just started) old old manse down near our mooring. Dinghied all over, saw Saving Private Ryan and The Mask of Zorro after careening around the island – ice creams in hand.

Went to the Baby Beach … stopped at Scarlett Begonia to say hello again … bought our Jester chandelier for our lovely library and ordered dishes from Block Island Blue. Mooshi our cat having a great time with her nautical feet now “wet”. She is a very happy companion and now that the V berth has a V fitting – she has taken that to be her queen sized bed. We are making plans to keep Starbound in Greenport for the winter to be painted inside and out. Spent glorious day at Main Street Pavilion – swam 20 times or more.

Naturally, our electrician friends did work once more. It is always very good to see Tony and Ed who helped us back to home port from Block Island. It is hard to know how to put this remembrance into perspective as I am writing from our boat in ’99. Even my cough has stopped after 3 endless weeks.

Gene retired in January – Gene’s knee surgery came quickly after … and another big surprise awaiting us. The results of his blood test brought dramatic sad news. My dearest will be operated on in one month to the day for prostate cancer. And this boat – his joy – will be winterized too quickly in Greenport.

Today – September 18th:

Gene is back in his element, sailing and jibing and generally captaining. I am busy getting us into a mess. As I backed out of the slip in Greenport (the boat never cooperates in reverse) I put us in the middle of two fully berthed piers of startled owners seeing us spinning around at half a knot trying to reverse. Needless to say, Gene saved the day and we took several bows – while explaining how we thought we would bring a little “showmanship” into their lives.

Roars of laughter as we regained control of the recalcitrant “Starbound” and headed toward the channel. This is how we started our last sail of the summer of ’99. We are tacking and jibing our way to Sag Harbor just passing the picturesque “Bug Light” lighthouse. My arthritic right hand is scrawling across the page after a delicious lunch of stew. Always did like my cooking. No sailing 2001 but did take Mooshi on board for one last look around. Then 9/11 … nothing – nor we – can ever be the same.