Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Other Alden(s)

I sort of tried to give my children names that would be not that common. I did not want their names to be really difficult (some people really had a hard time with my name when I was a kid, and I don’t think I liked that) or a challenge to spell (especially given that they were also ending up with a middle name and two last names, one of them hard to spell). A goal I had was that they would be simple, but at the same time unusual.

For the most part, we have traveled through the last 7 years with our Alden being the only Alden. Every once in a while I’ll encounter someone who will tell me about an Alden they know. But, I don’t think we have actually met another Alden, nor have we heard of many.

Except for at Hancock Point.

So, every year, there is this time, when we are in Maine in the summer, when Alden is no longer the only Alden. There are other Aldens.

First, we have Alden Bunker, famous mostly in name, as he has a huge sign up on route one, advertising his business. He’s also famous in reality, somewhat dubiously, I suppose, as the place where my always seeking a good deal grandfather bought at least one, and perhaps several, used cars over the years.

Alden and I pulled into Alden Bunker’s parking lot (which is not that full of used cars, I have to say. Hard to imagine how he makes a go of it), so we could photograph the sign. A nice looking gentleman came out to see us; right off, I introduced us as people with another Alden, rather than people coming to look at buying a car – I really did not want him to be disappointed. He was really nice and we had a fun conversation, in which he dropped the names of about 5 other Aldens, including his son, who live in downeast Maine. “well, there’s Alden __________, over in Harrington, and then Alden ___________ in Machias….” You get the picture.

Then, right in Hancock Point, there is the other other Alden. Alden Woodcock. He’s a kid now about 16 years old, part of another long time Hancock Point family, though we don’t really know them very well. Our paths don’t really cross very much, so there is no real confusion in having these two Alden’s kicking around the same small part of the world. The main connection is that Greg and Sue are really good friends with Alden’s parents, and Greg and Sue’s older boys, Evan and Max (Lily’s big brothers), are friends with Alden.

Last summer, or the summer before, I noticed the name Alden scratched in the door of the boathouse, along with many other names and miscellaneous other “graffiti”. At that point, our Alden was young and pre-literate enough that I knew he had not written it. I know that won’t be the case forever… I wanted to take a picture of that little piece of “local history”, but, they redid the boathouse this year, and the door, with all its local history, has been replaced with a shiny clean new one.

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