Bill Harris was one of the nicest persons I have known to walk the streets of Boothbay Harbor. Quite literally, he walked. As long as I knew Bill, he never drove a car. He may have told me why that was, but honestly, the reason escapes me. In some ways, I suspect, he didn't feel the need for a car. Just one more thing to bother with. Bill had plenty of things going on, with no lack of new ideas constantly bubbling up in his unique and creative mind. He was an institution at the Boothbay Register!
His “Packaged Maine seagull poop” was a big hit, doing very well in local shops. It was made from marshmallows, I think.
Bill and I conspired on some projects. He liked to use my photographs as a backdrop for his art. One poster we created combined a photo I made from a float just off the south end of the Tugboat Inn parking lot, looking toward Tumbler Island. Bill drew a back-to, open clam shell, with legs and arms facing the outer Harbor. The poster was titled, “Expose yourself to Maine.” It was not one of the region's best sellers, but we had fun making it and sharing it with friends.
Bill often visited P & P Pastry shop, which used to live across the street from the Library, next to where Abacus Gallery is today. It was a small shop with a dedicated following and wonderful pastries. Named for Patrice and Patrick Connelly, it was run by Mary and Coley (their parents), later aided by Coley's brother, affectionately known as “Cookie” by our daughters. The Pastry Shop was a very regular stop for a great group of folks, and many fans of Bill. Our girls called him “Oh Gosh” because he couldn't recall who was Megan and who was Morgan. So, when he came through the door and saw them both together, he would voice the greeting “Oh gosh!' Bill was pretty spontaneous. That was part of his magic.
It’s hard to believe that its been almost 14 years this coming week since Bill left us. Like so many others who have moved on, Bill occupies a permanent space in our hearts. One can only imagine what new “items” he would be dreaming up in these times!